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(a) The County Executive and County Council adopted on October 20, 1981, Joint Resolution No. 9-1503, "A Housing Policy for Montgomery County, Maryland in the 1980's." That policy made certain findings which are incorporated by reference herein.
(b) The need for housing in the County for moderate- and low-income households has become more severe since 1973, when Chapter 25A, "Housing, Moderately Priced," was adopted. Even though the private sector, the County government, the Housing Opportunities Commission, and nonprofit sponsors of housing projects have made substantial progress in financing and constructing affordable homes, and in the full use of federal and state programs, there remains a severe shortage of homes that are within the means of families of low and moderate incomes. Given economic trends and conditions projected through the year 2000, land and construction costs, inflation, diminished federal tax incentives, and high interest rates will increase rents to a level that will cause the problem to intensify, particularly for newly formed households, older people, handicapped individuals, those living in substandard housing, those subject to discrimination, and those with low or moderate incomes. These trends and conditions, if unabated, will frustrate the County's goal of a full range of housing choices, conveniently located throughout the County. The County should devote special attention to the provision of assisted-family housing and identify actions that the County may take to provide or stimulate production of additional units of assisted-family housing.
(c) Rising costs, when combined with the changes in the size and age of households in the County, compel a higher priority than has heretofore been given on planning for, zoning for, and constructing a larger proportion of smaller, less costly and more energy efficient homes located in more compactly formed communities and, where possible, capable of being served by public or shared transportation. Where feasible, energy and transportation conservation can be better advanced by mixed use development which closely relates housing, employment and other activities in well-planned communities.
(d) Notwithstanding the clear evidence of this present and future need, there is concern among the public over the effect on established neighborhoods, communities and services of any increase in the densities and supply of housing. However, these community concerns can be addressed in a variety of ways. Smaller, energy-efficient homes can be attractively designed and developed to be compatible with their environment from the perspectives of density, appearance and use of services and facilities, so long as reasonable standards are followed. Well-designed elderly housing, low- and moderate-income housing and group homes can enrich the overall quality of community life, making it possible for people to remain in their home community throughout the entire cycle of life. Similarly, the elimination of unlawful discrimination in housing has the effect of enriching community life while promoting broader opportunities and better personal relations.
(e) Wide distribution of affordable, including assisted-family, housing throughout the County is a desirable objective of public policy in order to provide for a balance of housing choices in any one community to avoid over concentration of assisted-family housing in any community, and because communities that are racially, ethnically, chronologically, and economically heterogeneous are preferable to those which do not reflect the broad diversity of people who live in the County.
(f) The County has well-developed processes for determining the need for facilities and amenities. These processes, which provide for extensive public participation, include the capital improvements program process, the master plan and sector plan processes, zoning, the development approval process, including subdivision regulation, adequate public facilities ordinance, growth policy, site plan review, and special exception and variance procedures. Nevertheless, stimulating public advocacy and participation in the development of affordable and assisted-family housing can have a beneficial effect on public understanding and support for such housing. (1982 L.M.C., ch. 45, § 1; 1993 L.M.C., ch. 37, § 1; 2004 L.M.C., ch. 2, § 2.)