Chairman Sigaty and members of the County Council:
The League of Women Voters of Howard County supports the adoption of the Housing Unit Allocation Chart for Fiscal year 2010 with amendments.
The annual adoption of the Housing Unit Allocation Chart is an opportunity to review General Plan policy decisions made to address housing needs. The League has supported past policy changes such as Senior East housing, Route 1, MIHU and Green Neighborhood as well as the reduction of Rural West housing allocations that the County Executive and the County Council have adopted.
The League supports another change to the Housing allocation chart be made to Council Resolution 53. We propose a reduction to the Senior East housing allocations of 250 to 150 units similar to what was done in the 2006 Housing Allocations adoption for the Rural West. The 100 units should be reallocated to the MIHU allocations. The justification for such action is the need for MIHU units for Columbia redevelopment of both downtown and Village Centers as well as the continued need in the Route 1 corridor. The February, 2009 Development Monitoring System Report states that as of September 30, 2008, 628 MIHU units were in process a decrease from the prior year of 305 units.
The second justification is the in process pipeline of senior age-restricted housing. According to the same Development Monitoring Report, as of September 30, 2008 there were 1,336 age-restricted units in the planning process. That number is 336 more age-restricted units in the process pipeline than the prior year.
In reviewing the Housing Allocation charts from FY 2007 to FY2010 we note that policy changes like the reduction to the Rural West housing allocations are achievable in a three to 4 year period of time. We also noted the variation in the total allocations available from the predicted availability from FY 2007 through FY 2010. We assume the rise in available allocations is the results of economic fiscal issues affecting housing construction that will continue past 2015. The forecast of total housing allocations of 1,850 for 2012 through 2015 are questionable. The anticipated 1,600 housing allocations units for 2016 and beyond are also suspect.
The League knows that the larger issue of regional housing allocations will be an issue in the development of the next General Plan as well as the pace of the County's residential development.
The League urges the County Council to make the policy change to increase the MIHU housing allocation by 100 units and reduce the Senior East allocation by 100 units.
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