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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the student yield factors, by area, and by housing type?
How many MPDUs have been built since the beginning of the program? What is the average number of MPDUs built each year? Which year saw the most number of MPDUs completed?
What is a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU)?
How does Montgomery County define Affordable Housing?
What is the "Green Tape" review proccess?

Q: What are the student yield factors, by area, and by housing type?
A: Click here to see student yields by area and by housing type.

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Q: How many MPDUs have been built since the beginning of the program? What is the average number of MPDUs built each year? Which year saw the most number of MPDUs completed?
A: From 1976 through 2004, an average of 418 MPDUs have been produced each year. In 1984, the largest number of MPDUs were completed in any year before or since: 1,224 MPUDs. Click here to see annual MPDU data.

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Q: What is a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU)?
A: Montgomery County's Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) program is believed to be the nation's first mandatory, inclusionary zoning law that specified a density bonus allowance to builders for providing affordable housing. The density bonus was designed to preclude developers from losing opportunities to build market-rate units and to help offset some of the production costs of the MPDUs. The program's implementation involves both the public and private sectors, with the local government performing regulatory and administrative functions and the building industry producing the housing. Some highlights of the MPDU program are as follows:

  • Between 12.5 and 15 percent of the total number of units in every subdivision or high-rise building of 20 or more units be moderately priced.
  • The zoning ordinance allows a density increase of up to 22 percent above the normal density permitted under the zone.
  • The ordinance also allows some attached housing in single-family zoning classifications so that optimum development of the property can be achieved and less costly housing can be constructed. (The density bonus, in effect, creates free lots upon which the MPDUs are constructed. The builder normally obtains some additional market rate units equal to the difference between the density bonus and the MPDU requirement.)
  • The County imposes certain resale and occupancy restrictions on the MPDUs when the completed units are sold.
  • Three agencies within Montgomery County, Maryland, are key to the implementation of the MPDU program:

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Q: How does Montgomery County define Affordable Housing?
A: Housing affordability is based on the purchasing power of household income. It is calculated on the HUD Area Median Household Income (AMI). In Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 the AMI was $85,400 and in FY 2005 the AMI is $89,300. The AMI is updated annually.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, there are many affordable housing initiatives, both for rental and for home-ownership. In fact, Montgomery County developed the nation's first Moderately-Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) program in the early 1970s.

In an on-going effort to monitor the impact of development on affordable housing stock, the Planning Department has begun to track the net gain or loss of the following three categories of affordable housing:

  • Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs) - MPDUs include rental and ownership units that serve households with incomes up to approximately 60 to 70% of the AMI. In 2005, the County Executive approved a new set of income guidelines for the MPDU program, and the new guidelines set different limits for purchases and for rentals. Households may qualify for the MPDU program if they earn between $40,000 and $68,000 annually, depending on household size and whether the household wants to rent or to own. The Planning Department used the new income limits to calculate approximate MPDU purchase prices and rents, and determined that, depending on household size, MPDU purchase prices will be between $146,667 and $226,667, assuming 10 percent down and good credit; and MPDU rents may range from $1,000 and $1,550 monthly. Developers build MPDUs as part of most residential development within the county, and nearly 80 percent of all MPDUs have been home-ownership units.
    Chart - 2005 - MPDU Income Guidelines (pdf)
  • Workforce Housing - Workforce housing can be either rental and ownership market housing units that are affordable to households with incomes from the MPDU income limit up to 120% AMI. As of January 2005, houses valued between $187,530 and $321,480 are assumed to be workforce housing.
  • Other affordable housing includes units affordable to households with incomes less than 60% of the AMI or units constructed, purchased, or rented with government assistance. This group of housing includes traditional subsidized housing programs.

The following chart lists the various programs available to Montgomery County residents, and includes the appropriate development review category. County Housing Programs chart [PDF] (pdf)

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Q: What is the "Green Tape" review proccess?
A: The "Green Tape" review process reduces Red Tape for Affordable Housing Development. Time is an important component of the development process, and reducing red tape can save time — and money. Projects eligible for “Green Tape” review include any residential or mixed-use development that designates at least 20 percent of the total number of housing units to persons or families with incomes at or below the income level for moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) as provided in the Montgomery County Code. Projects are not automatically green taped. Instead, the developer of the eligible project must include the request for such a review as part of the application package . (See Green Tape process request form.)

Among the interagency changes necessary for a successful "Green Tape" process are:

  • an expedited review process for applications
  • improved communications between the reviewing agencies
  • creation of a geographic information system map overlay of green tape applications for easy identification of these projects
  • expedited construction permits and utilities permits processing

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