Chairman Grabowski and members of the Planning Board:
ZRA -108: A proposal to amend Section 103A (Definitions) to permit older adults over age 18 without children to occupy 20% of the dwelling units in an age-restricted adult housing complex.
The League of Women Voters of Howard County opposes ZRA 108 based on the League's position for supporting adequate housing choice and maintaining and increasing diverse housing types.
The County's 2000 General Plan proposed policies to increase the types of housing available to those age 55 or older. Market conditions enabled numerous age-restricted housing units to be developed in the County with many more proposed and in development review process. The proposed zoning regulation amendment would impact existing age-restricted housing with current owners and renters as well as their existing covenants. The proposal to allow 20% of the dwelling units to be sold or rented by persons over the age of 18 reduces the number of dwelling units available for individuals' age 55 or older. The General Plan and recent census data indicates that the
over age 55 population in the County continues to grow. In December 2004, the Howard County Senior Housing Master Plan was adopted. The Plan's Executive summary states that over the next 25 years the population of those over age 55 will increase by more than 46,000 and the population will represent 31% of Howard County's population. Those age 55 or older currently represent about 19% of the County's population.
A strong argument is made in the ZRA amendment for the benefits of universal design needed by those under age 55. The League strongly supports universal design construction for all new dwelling units and renovation of existing dwelling units. That argument is not sufficient to justify the ZRA proposed.
The League urges the Planning Board to follow the Department of Planning and Zoning recommendation of denial of Zoning Regulation Amendment 108.
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