Transit-Oriented Development and Affordable Housing in Prince George’s County: A Case Study-Based Approach
Prince George's County TODs & Affordable Housing Report_FINAL.pdf (5.710Mb)
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No. of downloads: 165
Smith, Jerah A.
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Prince George’s County is eager to activate and capitalize on some of its greatest assets, i.e. its Metro stations, by attracting dense transit-oriented development projects to the county. However, this poses a serious risk of displacement to many of the station areas’ existing residents and has the potential to limit accessibility for potential future low-to-moderate income households by virtue of prohibitively high housing costs. While Plan 2035 prominently features calls for dense, mixed-income communities around transit, the county currently appears to lack the market, regulatory measures, political interest or funding to ensure that this comes to fruition. Prince George’s housing development market, including around its Metro stations, lags behind its neighbors, due at least in part to a perception among developers that the county is comparatively hostile to new development. To rectify this imbalance, county officials wish to improve the county’s reputation as a more development-friendly place to build. Housing market pressures generally do not provide for new affordable housing, thus requiring government intervention and subsidization to ensure their existence as a meaningful share of the housing stock. Market-rate developers often see affordable housing requirements as a procedural burden and a limitation on their profit margins, which conceivably opposes Prince George’s County’s goal to improve the county’s reputation as a good place to build. There is a feeling among many county officials that Prince George’s County already has the region’s fair share of affordable housing opportunities, thereby reducing the sense of urgency and political interest in preserving and promoting affordable housing development. Prince George’s County officials are particularly eager to cultivate market-rate housing and commercial development to expand the county’s tax base. Given its limited tax base and budget, the county lacks a dedicated revenue source for affordable housing preservation and development. As a result, affordable housing preservation and development initiatives are currently underprioritized and underfunded despite the looming threat of displacement often associated with TODs. Bearing in mind the multifaceted challenges that Prince George’s County currently faces in attracting development, let alone addressing the issue of affordable housing around TODs, this study proposes a temporal three-phased metrics-based plan intended to help reconcile these potentially conflicting goals. A variety of affordable housing mechanisms were examined for utilization around Prince George’s County as a whole, as well as place-based initiatives that could be applied specifically to the county’s Metro stations. The first phase includes the most developer-friendly and revenue-neutral affordable housing initiatives to mutually address the county’s goals of cultivating a better reputation among developers and promoting housing opportunities for lower income households in dense, transit-accessible areas. Each succeeding phase assumes an improved housing market, thus implying a more development-friendly environment while also providing the county with more funding and greater leverage for increasingly aggressive affordable housing measures. To demonstrate applicability, the phased initiatives were examined in relation to five of the county’s Metro stations that have the greatest potential for growth and investment in the coming decades. Table 1 provides an overview of the three-phased implementation plan as applied to the five Metro stations examined in this study.
Final project for URSP788: Independent Study in Urban Studies and Planning (Spring 2018). University of Maryland, College Park.