Gray seeks votes, offers compromise on low-cost housing bill

November 25, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

County Councilman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, kept his affordable housing bill alive a little longer last night with compromises aimed at winning support from his legislative colleagues.

As originally drafted, the three-bill package would increase the county's stock of affordable housing by 250 units a year by offering so-called bonus density incentives that would allow builders to put up more houses.

Council members Shane Pendergrass, D-1st; Darrel Drown, R-2nd; and Paul R. Farragut, D-4th, said that to offer a density bonus on top of increases residential developers will seek during comprehensive rezoning is too much growth.

Mr. Gray has agreed to cut back a little, leaving less density than would otherwise have been allowed under his proposal. He will offer three amendments to the legislation Dec. 7 and move to table the entire package for another month to allow public evaluation of the proposal. The legislation has already been shelved once before for 30 days.

Mr. Farragut said he was pleased to discover that the legislation would not increase density in mixed-use developments where apartments exist in combination with businesses.

Ten percent of the residential units in mixed-use developments would be reserved for households having 75 percent or less of the county's median income, but the builder would not be given a bonus.

The county contends that allowing a builder to develop commercial establishments in conjunction with houses would be incentive enough.

The legislation would require builders of other developments with 10 or more units to reserve 10 percent of those units for moderate to low-income households. The units would be sold at cost to eligible buyers and, in return, builders could increase the number of units in their developments by 20 percent.

Ms. Pendergrass told Mr. Gray that the changes he has made to his bill will not satisfy her constituents. They don't want more density -- in the form of town houses and apartments -- that such an increase would bring, she said.

The council also dealt with three other matters at the work session: a bill providing tax credits for religious organizations that rent rather than own their facilities, legislation authorizing the county to send businesses a bill based on estimated personal property taxes, and a bill that would amend the General Plan and link the southern portion of Trotter Road with River Hill Road by way of Sunset Drive.

The personal property tax legislation was the only one the council accepted without reservation. The legislation would allow the county to send estimated bills Sept. 1 to all companies whose personal property assessments are still outstanding. The estimates would be based on the previous year's assessment.

Mr. Gray said the legislation to offer tax credits to religious groups is state interference in a religious matter. He said he will vote against the measure.

Mr. Gray was also at odds with Mr. Farragut over the Trotter Road bill, but that proposal should also pass by at least a 3-2 vote Dec. 7.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.