The Washington Post
Solving housing issues
Regarding the March 7 Metro article “Md. county has dueling bills to cap rent hikes”:
The approaches by Montgomery County Council members and the county executive don’t address the need for housing in Montgomery County and fail to provide adequate solutions. The article noted that by 2040, we will need about 60,000 additional units. Stabilized rent increases won’t solve the shortage.
Painfully, an 8 percent annual increase doubles the current rent in less than nine years, and is still unaffordable. Politics being what it is, you can’t beat the NIMBYS. So, allow existing neighborhoods to remain.
Montgomery County leaders can solve this problem. Here are two suggestions:
Creatively build on the existing abundance of underused county-owned and private property situated near some of our Metro stations. These spaces would easily become large, self-contained, substantial high-rise communities similar to those in New York and other cities, where large developments have provided abundant and comfortable communities.
The shifting equilibrium between commercial and residential demand makes real estate development, a long-term choice, extremely risky. Architects and planners can create flexibility so that new commercial buildings could be converted to residential economically by creating basic residential infrastructure in the designing, planning and construction of a commercial building.
Affordable housing attracts the necessary workforce essential for economic growth. Charles Kauffman, Bethesda The writer has served on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging.