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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Howard officials intend to investigate affordable housing in county – Baltimore Sun

By meerna Jun12,2024

Howard County officials are taking steps to address concerns about affordable and affordable housing.

County Executive Calvin Ball recently signed an executive order establishing a 13-member Affordable Housing Working Group that will recommend goals and criteria for the county’s affordable and affordable housing program.

“The creation of the Affordable Housing Working Group reflects our commitment to providing a full spectrum of housing opportunities in Howard County,” Ball said in a June 6 news release. “As the housing crisis continues across the country, the Working Group will help address our local housing challenges and propose policies that expand housing options for individuals and families who want to live and work here.”

The new group was created as a recommendation of the county’s HoCo By Design, a 327-page plan that lays out a long-term vision for the county’s development and growth over the next 20 years. The plan identifies housing affordability as one of the most important challenges facing the county.

The plan states there is a need for a greater variety of housing types at different price points, both for renting and owning. There is also a need for more housing that will serve residents of all ages, especially older people.

“Overall, housing affordability challenges are most severe for low- and moderate-income households,” the plan states. “Concentrated primarily in Columbia along Route 40 and Route 1, these households have lower rates of homeownership and less access to affordable homes for sale.”

Home prices in Howard County rose 13.6% in April from a year earlier, according to the latest statistics from Maryland REALTORS, a nonprofit real estate association. The average housing price increased from $610,605 in April 2023 to $693,526 in April 2024.

As part of the assessment, the district’s new Affordable Housing Task Force will recommend criteria for affordable and accessible housing, including housing types, sizes and designs, the news release said.

It will also make recommendations tying affordable housing to the county’s Public Facilities Adequacy Ordinance, which delays growth and development if roads are too congested, schools are overcrowded and sewer and water services are inadequate. These issues must be addressed before housing development can move forward.

The group will start meeting this summer and produce a written report. Recommendations will be submitted to the county government, the County Council and the Department of Planning and Development by December 1.

Ball appointed the following members of the working group:

  • Ned Howe, vice president of procurement and structuring at Enterprise Community Development Inc.
  • Timothy J. Goetzinger, Howard County Housing Opportunity Trust Fund Advisory Committee Member and Chief Financial Officer of the Montgomery County Housing Opportunity Commission
  • Justin Kennell, vice president of Bozzuto Development Company and a residential developer with experience in market rate and affordable housing
  • Grace Morris, executive director of Heritage Housing Corporation
  • Jacqueline West-Spencer, executive director of the Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority; former regional vice president of development at Community Builders Inc.; and housing committee member of the Howard County chapter of the NAACP
  • Jessica Zuniga, CEO of Humphrey Management; chairman of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition; and board chair of Bridges of Housing Stability

The following are the members recommended by the County Council and approved by Ball:

  • Cedric Brown, District 2 resident and Howard County Housing and Community Development board member
  • Tom Evans, a resident of District 5 interested in people with disabilities
  • Paul Revelle, District 3 resident and member of the Howard County Housing Affordability Coalition
  • Taneeka Richardson, District 1 resident and former housing advisor and research assistant for the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership
  • Kathryn Valentine, District 4 resident and member of the Howard County Housing Commission

The group’s two non-voting members are Kelly Cimino, director of the district’s Department of Housing and Community Development, and Peter Engel, executive director of the district’s Housing Commission.

“In the face of the housing shortage and unaffordability crisis, Howard County, like many other jurisdictions, is taking action,” Lynda Eisenberg, director of the county Department of Planning and Zoning, said in a news release. “This working group of technical experts will collaborate to recommend viable and feasible solutions, guided by the principles set out in HoCo By Design.”

By meerna

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