Helping Low-Income Residents — A Valuable Change in Zoning Regulations

The county planning board is proposing a beneficial change in zoning regulations, to make them less restrictive.   The change would make it easier for homeowners to create accessory apartments (better known as “mother-in-law suites”) in their homes.  These apartments have kitchen facilities, bathrooms, and a separate entrance.

There’s a public hearing on the proposal on Tuesday, at 7:30 pm,  in the council building.

There are clearly problems that can be caused or exacerbated by these apartments.  They can increase crowding, including parking.   There’s a more general concern about stress on public and private services and infrastructure.

But they also have multiple benefits:
— They provide a way for families to live close to each other, when it is not otherwise financially feasible.  The classic example is a separate apartment for an elderly parent, who otherwise could not afford to live near a grown child.  Often, a mother-in-law suite is the difference between an elderly parent living at home and institutionalization.

– They help alleviate the problem of housing affordability by increasing the housing stock.  This county has a serious affordable housing problem.  Simple economics suggests that one reason for that problem is insufficient supply of housing units to meet the demand.

– They help provide additional income for people who are struggling in the bad economy..

– -They help alleviate unnecessary sprawl.  Cheaper housing can be difficult to build in the densely populated part s of the county.  If not for these apartments, people might be looking to build new housing on unused green space.

If we are serious about alleviating housing costs, and helping the poor get on their feet — this zoning change would be a change for the better – and deserves support.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Housing, Montgomery County, Regulation, The War on the Poor

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