The Montgomery County Council has completely overhauled the jurisdiction’s development moratorium system, ending a long-running practice of automatically prohibiting new residential construction in areas with overcrowded schools.
The County Council’s unanimous vote Monday marks the end of a lengthy debate over a new county growth policy and delivers a major victory for real estate developers and housing advocates that have spent years railing against the bans.
The changes should unlock the potential for a great deal of new residential construction in populous areas around Bethesda and Silver Spring. The county’s old policy ensured many of those neighborhoods were walled off from construction while local schools remained crowded, irking developers anxious to pursue projects in some of Montgomery County’s desirable transit corridors.
“To have a moratorium hanging over investment in critical sectors of the economy where we need to make progress, it’s a fatal problem,” said Councilman Hans Riemer, D-At large. “But we finally stepped up to do what we know we should’ve done.”