Affordable Housing Could Be Required In New Anne Arundel County Neighborhoods
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD - New neighborhoods in Anne Arundel County could soon be required to build affordable housing units.
The County Council is considering a bill that would require developers to sell or rent a portion of their units at moderate prices.
Supporters argue that rents are up and home prices are growing faster than salaries. They think that incentivizes developers to build only high-priced options.
Rent increased by 21% from $1,566 per month in 2019 to $1,893 by the end of 2022. Median household incomes increased by 17% from 2017 to 2022, but median home prices are up 35% in that same span.
Opponents prefer freeing up zoning regulations to allow for more development. They think having more homes for sale would let the market settle itself naturally without government intervention.
County Executive Steuart Pittman, a Democrat, supports the affordable housing bill.
"I’m committed to facilitating the flexibility in our zoning code to diversify our housing stock," Pittman said Friday on Facebook, noting that other nearby counties have a similar affordable housing provision. "But if we continue to be one of the few counties in the region that allows the last of our developable land to be built out with luxury homes and apartments that half of our workforce can’t afford, our next generation will look back and say that we built an unsustainable future."
Pittman thinks the legislation would make 200 new homes and apartments per year available at moderate prices.
How It Would Work
The bill is called the "Essential Worker Housing Access Act of 2023," but anybody who has lived or worked in the county for at least a year could also apply for the new affordable housing.
If passed, all new developments with more than 10 units would need to designate 15% of rental units and 10% of for-sale units as moderately priced housing.
Pittman said these rental units would need to be affordable for those making 75% of the area's median income, which is $62,156 annually for a single person and more for families.
He said the units for sale would need to be affordable for those making 100% of the area's median income, which is $82,875 annually for a single person and more for families.
The affordable housing would then be available by application to households that meet the income requirements and have at least one member who has:
- Been a resident or employee in the county for at least a year
- Or is currently employed by Anne Arundel County or the City of Annapolis
- Or is currently employed as a teacher by the Board of Education
Buyers would have to show that they can secure financing, that nobody in the household has owned property in the county in the past three years and that this home would be their primary residence.
These rules would only apply to new developments, not existing ones.
Neighborhoods with 10 to 19 units could pay a fee to the county's Housing Trust Special Revenue Fund instead of offering moderately priced units. Communities with 20 or more units would not have this option. Those developments would have to make the affordable housing available.
Budget Officer Chris Trumbauer estimated that this legislation would cost the county about $5.8 million in revenue per year, a loss that would need to be made up elsewhere. This deficit would come from program management costs and lost revenue due to fee exclusions for the affordable housing units.
County Council Chair Pete Smith (D-District 1) introduced the legislation on Oct. 2 at Pittman's request.
Share Your Opinion
The public is invited to testify on Nov. 6 at a 7 p.m. hearing at the Arundel Center in Annapolis. Residents can learn how to testify at this link.
An affordable housing rally is scheduled before the meeting. Attendees will gather at 5:45 p.m. across the street at The People's Park, located at 43 Calvert Street.
The proposal, also called Bill No. 78-23, is posted here.
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