2023 Leadership Award Recap
2023 Leadership Awards Recap
Prince George’s County is linked to Washington, D.C. by a dense transit and road network and is an important part of the regional economy and well positioned to capitalize on the region’s large federal presence, diverse workforce, strong educational institutions, and high median incomes. For generations, Prince George’s county was the wealthiest Black community in the country, but this designation has since moved south to Charles County, which has become an easier and more welcoming place for new development.
Efforts are underway to build new housing and attract new development to make Prince George’s County a desirable destination to live and work, but recent rules and decisions by the County government and planning board have made development in the region more difficult. A two-year moratorium on townhouse development and a rent stabilization cap of 3% have created uncertainty, fractured trust, and inadvertently incentivized developers to go elsewhere. A housing shortage remains, and yet the focus on creating new homes concentrated in transit centers inside the Beltway appears incongruent with the current demand for housing in single-family homes in the less-urban parts of the county. Residential property taxes make up 75% of the county’s budget, and while property taxes remain high, the lack of sufficient affordable housing impedes Prince George’s County’s ability to attract more employers and residents.
A two-day ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) was convened to recommend improvements for housing and economic development efforts in the County. The Panel reviewed and analyzed the existing policies and procedures, including the rent stabilization and townhouse moratorium bills, and the text amendment process which has become a method for developers to bypass the County’s Master Plan, “Plan 2035.”
The Panel found that, in its current form, the rent stabilization bill was not well designed; it is missing a connection to objective metrics (like the CPI) and supportive code enforcement policies and procedures. The Panel offered considerations for the County’s Working Group to consider as they plan a permanent policy beyond the current 1-year 3% cap.
The townhouse moratorium appeared to be a direct response to the historic community mistrust of the County’s use of the text amendment process to bypass the (outdated) Master Plan. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the bill, multi-family builders were canceling projects and leaving the County. Though the moratorium may have been well-intentioned, the Panel anticipated that it would have long-term negative effects on the County’s economic development and housing goals.
The Panel recommended tools to encourage development in the urban core, including home purchaser and developer incentives and updating the Plan 2035 to take into account different work, transit and housing patterns that have shifted since 2014, when the Plan was originally created. The Panel also provided examples of best practices and case studies from other municipalities, with the goal of helping Prince George’s County move forward with housing plans and development priorities that will best serve its residents.