Howard County Unveils Plan To Boost Affordable Housing

From Maryland Matters

Howard County Executive Calvin B. Ball III (D) unveiled a plan to make housing more affordable for tenants and homeowners alike Tuesday, including a proposed $5 million in seed funding to help kick off the county’s affordable housing effort.

Howard County’s Housing Opportunities Master Plan – the county’s first master plan for housing needs in more than a decade – involves three overarching strategies to make housing more accessible and affordable, Ball said at a Tuesday press conference. Those strategies include:

  • Revamping the county’s land use, planning and zoning regulations to improve “availability, accessibility, affordability and diversity of housing stock.” That will mean making mixed-use neighborhoods and developments easier to build in the county and streamlining development, according to the master plan.
  • Providing more resources to the county’s existing housing programs and creating new ones to boost housing stability and capacity.
  • Balancing housing and infrastructure needs in the county to ensure that “neither form of demand eclipses the other.” That will mean revising the county’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), a growth management ordinance that directs new development to areas of the county where “adequate infrastructure exists or will exist,” according to the county website. According to the master plan, the APFO is “placing significant limitations on the amount of housing that can be built.”

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