Hans Riemer: The Montgomery County Council made historic progress on housing

The writer served as an at-large Montgomery County council member from 2010-2022, and was chairman of the council’s Planning, Housing & Economic Development Committee.

Responding to the growing challenge of affordability in an expensive region, the Montgomery County Council enacted powerful housing policies over the past several years. As the just-finished council’s chair on housing matters, I had the opportunity to lead my colleagues to enact these reforms.

The context of housing policy shifted helpfully several years ago when the Washington region’s Council on Governments undertook a housing affordability initiative. That project focused on where we are headed, finding that costs will only continue to rise as supply fails to meet demand.

In its call to action, the Council of Governments concluded that Montgomery County would need to nearly double the amount of new housing created every year — which has declined to about half of its historic annual rate — while placing thousands of units under long term affordability protections.

So how did the council respond?

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