Montgomery County Council Adopts 2020-2024 Subdivision Staging Policy

AvatarElizabeth Rogers, Attorney

On November 16, 2020, the Montgomery County adopted the new, four-year Subdivision Staging Policy, to be renamed the Growth and Infrastructure Policy, controlling growth and development for the next four years. Lerch, Early & Brewer was pleased to have had a significant role in working with Park and Planning Staff, the Planning Board, County Council Staff and the County Council itself on a policy that will better accommodate new development.

Most significantly, the new SSP eliminates the school moratorium policy, county-wide. It also addresses other challenges to new development with the goal of accommodating more housing in the county and making it easier for employment to grow. Further major changes are listed below.

Schools: The Council made the following significant changes:

  • The Council voted in favor of eliminating the residential moratorium countywide. (Under the current SSP, when school capacity reaches 120% the affected area goes into moratorium, preventing any new residential development.)
  • The Council approved a graduated UPP scheme. The UPP will be a percentage of the impact taxes associated with the school level that is over capacity, as follows:
  • A 40% UPP would apply at 105% capacity (and corresponding seat deficit)
  • A 80% UPP would apply at 120% (and corresponding seat deficit); and
  • A 120% UPP would apply at 135% (and corresponding seat deficit).
  • The Council divided the County into two impact areas for school impact taxes “Turnover Impact Areas,” and “Infill Impact Areas” for the purposes of calculating school impact taxes.  Impact tax rates will be driven by the disparate student generation rates in the two impact areas

Transportation: The Council has made the following significant changes:

  • The Council placed all Purple Line station areas in the Infill Impact Area (schools) and Red Policy Area (transportation). This move lowers impact taxes and eliminate motor vehicle LATR testing.
  • The Council set a 50 person trip trigger for the testing of pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities. This is a significant change from the current policy which requires 50 trips in the relevant modal category before testing is required.

Impact Taxes: The Council has made the following significant changes:

  • The Council exempted Opportunity Zones, in addition to Enterprise Zones, from impact taxes.
  • Currently, projects providing at least 25 percent affordable units are completely exempt from impact taxes. The Council altered this by: 1) requiring the affordable units to be registered in the MPDU program; and 2) reducing the exemption to the amount of lowest standard impact tax for the applicable dwelling type.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of the land use attorneys at Lerch, Early & Brewer for more information.