By County law, Montgomery County’s Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP) must be updated every four years, and an update is currently underway. In conjunction with County Master Plans, the SSP is used to determine whether public facilities, such as public schools and transportation systems, are sufficient to support new development. If public facilities are found to be insufficient, the SSP outlines remedial actions and imposes taxes to fund new infrastructure.
Notable proposed updates to the SSP, which can be found at www.montgomeryplanning.org/planning/countywide/subdivision-staging-policy/, include:
- Eliminating housing moratoria even where schools are overcrowded (except around Clarksburg) and, instead, charging developers a “utilization premium payment” when a school is 120% above capacity. This effectively eliminates caps on school enrollments.
- Substantially reducing school impact taxes that developers are charged for new multi-family housing.
- Progressively increasing recordation taxes on properties sold for more than $500,000 in order to generate more funding for school construction and affordable housing initiatives.
- Eliminating the motor vehicle system adequacy standards near Metrorail and future Purple Line stations.
- Increasing the allowable levels of congestion along transit corridors.
- Incorporating ‘Vision Zero’ principles in transportation policies in an effort to end vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle deaths.
- Changing the name of the SSP to ‘County Growth Policy.’
This past June, the Town submitted comments (https://bit.ly/2Q497jP) on the first draft of the SSP. The Town’s Subcommittee on Regional Growth and Development is studying the latest draft and formulating recommendations for the Town Council’s action. The County Council will hold a public hearing on the SSP on September 15 and will finalize a new policy by November 15. Residents are encouraged to review the SSP documents and submit comments to the County Council either before ([email protected]) or at its September 15 public hearing.