At the Planning Directors Roundtable in Crownsville, Planning introduced its work on House Bill 1045. The bill, adopted in February 2019, adds a housing element requirement for all comprehensive plans written after June 1, 2020. You may already be familiar with other required comprehensive plan elements, such as those for land use, transportation, and water resources.
So, what is this new bill? It is very simple; all counties and municipalities must have a section of their comprehensive plan that addresses housing,specifically “Affordable Housing”. The bill goes one step further and defines affordable housing for the purpose of a comprehensive plan element.
1. Affordable Housing, including but not limited to the following two categories:
- Low-Income Housing: Housing is affordable for a household with an aggregate annual income that is below 60% of the area’s median income.
- Workforce Housing:
- Ownership – Housing that is affordable to a household with an aggregate annual income between 60% – 120% of the area’s (see AMI) median income.
- Rental – Housing that is affordable to a household with an aggregate annual income 50%-100% of the area’s (see AMI) median income.
- Area Median Income (AMI): Median household income of area (county, city, town, jurisdiction), adjusted for household size. Updated annually.
* all defined in Maryland Annotated Code
- What the element can, but is not required to include:
The majority of comprehensive plans in Maryland already address housing, but over the next eight months, Planning will be developing guidance for jurisdictions to meet the requirements of HB 1045. Our guidance will go beyond the boundaries of the bill to include resources on other housing issues, including assistance for homeowners, housing inventories, and data access. In this effort, Planning will work closely with the Department of Housing and Community Development, housing organizations, and local stakeholders. If you would like to join the housing element conversation, contact Sarah Lipkin Sularz, Southern Maryland Regional Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.