Overriding veto, Montgomery County Council approves bill to spur housing at Metro stations

The Montgomery County Council has overridden a veto by the county executive and enacted a bill that aims to grow the number of housing developments on Metro property in the county.

The council on Tuesday voted 7-2 to override County Executive Marc Elrich’s veto of the More Housing at Metrorail Stations Act, which will exempt from property tax any new high-rise development that includes at least 50% residential housing for 15 years.

In addition, “the new high-rise developments would need to include at least 15% affordable housing, with 25% of that figure being housing affordable to people making 50% or less of the median income in the county,” the council said in a statement.

Developers will still pay impact taxes, and residents of the buildings will still pay property taxes, the council said.

“Presently, there are no high-rise developments underway on any Metro station property in Montgomery County nor have there been for many years,” the council added. “Incentives are required to spark the level of housing development needed for residents because it is not occurring on the open market.”

Council members said the move would not only help the county’s housing crunch but take cars off the road.

They cited projections by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Urban Institute that said Montgomery County is expected to become home to more than 60,000 additional households by 2040. The council added that Metro said there’s capacity for nearly 9,000 housing units on their property in the county.

Council President Sidney Katz and members Gabe Albornoz, Andrew Friedson, Evan Glass, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer voted for the override, one more than was required.

Council Member Will Jawando and Council Vice President Tom Hucker voted against the veto override. Upon Elrich’s veto announcement, they agreed with him that the deal gives too much to developers to build in an already-desirable location, according to Bethesda Beat.

The bill goes into effect in January and ends in 2032. You can read it on the Montgomery County Council site.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up