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For the last three months, the Town Council has been closely following the progress of the County’s proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07, which would allow Missing Middle Housing to be built by right in single-family neighborhoods within one mile of Metro. Missing Middle Housing is a range of housing with multiple units that could include duplexes, triplexes, townhouses, and small apartment buildings built on aggregated lots. County and planning board documents state that these units are meant to be compatible in scale and form with single-family homes located in walkable neighborhoods, but people have differing views as to whether all these structural forms can be considered compatible within residential neighborhoods.
The County Council has recently clarified the process it intends to follow regarding ZTA 20-07 and Missing Middle Housing. On March 4, 2021, the County Council sent a letter to the County Planning Board and Planning Department that urges the Planning Board to develop a new ZTA that considers the concepts currently included in ZTA 20-07 and in a separate draft ZTA that would allow the Planning Board to approve Missing Middle Housing on certain residential lots within one-quarter mile of Bus-Rapid-Transit corridors. The County Council hopes to consider the Planning Board’s zoning reform recommendations around the same time that it considers Thrive Montgomery 2050, the proposed County general plan update. We anticipate that the Planning Board will transmit its Thrive Montgomery 2050 draft to the County Council in April 2021.
Meanwhile, based on a recent opinion from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the Town Council believes that our municipal building regulations will continue to apply to all residential structures within the Town, including any Missing Middle Housing that the County may authorize in the future.
To enable the Town’s continued advocacy with the Planning Board and the County Council, the Town Council hopes to develop a position on Missing Middle Housing based on resident feedback and other information. In particular, the Town Council would like to hear residents’ opinions about three different scenarios for the Town (or other variations that residents would like to see):
Construction of duplexes and triplexes only on single lots within the current Town building code envelope (i.e. using the same height and setback requirements that apply to a single-family house);
Construction of townhouses on combined lots; or
No Missing Middle Housing development within the Town.
The Town Council is planning a public forum and an educational session on April 8, 2021 from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss feasible types of Missing Middle Housing and listen to resident opinions. Following the forum, Councilmember Irene Lane will hold a series of recorded listening sessions for residents to provide feedback. The listening sessions are currently scheduled for Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, April 18 at 4 p.m.; Wednesday, April 21 at 1 p.m.; and Monday, April 26 at 7 p.m. Stay tuned for more details, and please send comments, questions, and RSVPs for the listening sessions to the Town Office at firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] .
In addition, you can find out more about the different types of Missing Middle Housing and best practices for implementing it in neighborhoods by signing up for a presentation sponsored by the County Planning Department as part of its Silver Spring Master Plan and Missing Middle Housing Market Study [https://montgomeryplanningboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Item3_SSDAC-Market-Study-Staff-Report-tfk-lmg-lh.pdf] update:
WHEN: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 7-9 p.m.
WHERE: Virtual Meeting ( register here [https://montgomeryplanning.org/events/what-is-missing-middle-housing-presentation-to-the-silver-spring-community-from-opticos-design/] )
This event will feature Tony Perez from Opticos Design [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001XFaN6n27oLMzRhr1g06-yq_faDmUPE8CQO_f70534H0t-eE89p5SMnlgwBP-4FoD_XwcklWGyZpfiNMdIhI_NQp0mcmSYFdeC2Yrp0WuKP47_aWTLma1RG3yXbBA0-1w1hR2lHCF3PD1-n17yk7uZw==&c=l21XKJw26RqaarROaNo657dmnhc6oGdazRbUyoPCZQI71VYSQa3rPw==&ch=bxvQzwpCBSLJG6uukXMM32Lrnf3USw6pW_C6LbuESSQK5HOU89PnNA==] who is a Missing Middle Housing expert and works with communities to translate policy into implementable development standards. Mr. Perez is also a leader in “Form-Based Coding,” which is often used to ensure that Missing Middle Housing is compatible in form and scale with single-family houses.