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Category: Housing

UMD Promotes Affordable Housing for its Graduate Students

The sign at the Graduate Hills apartment complex (DBKNews.com)

Recently, the City Council received a “Graduate Student Housing Affordability White Paper” which identifies a strong unmet demand (3,300 students) for affordable graduate housing in College Park.

Please see the whitepaper below.

The University, the City, and the State would benefit from a significant increase in the availability of affordable graduate student housing on campus or elsewhere in the City. The University would be a more attractive option for graduate students, and the City and State would benefit from the increased likelihood these students would continue to live in the City or the State.

The paper indicates the 21st District delegation requests a one-time $50 million contribution to increasing access to affordable graduate student housing by developing new housing, acquiring existing multi-family housing, and acquiring and converting single-family homes. The first two options generally would require a subsidy (roughly $50,000 to $100,000 per bed), while the acquisition of existing single-family homes for use as affordable graduate student housing would likely not require a subsidy. The paper states that the solution would likely require a combination of approaches.

The City Council will discuss the whitepaper at its March 15 worksession on how it may support the request for the State to provide a $50 million subsidy to increase the number of affordable graduate housing units in College Park.

Preserving Neighborhood and Exploring Affordable Housing

At this week’s Council meeting, we’ll discuss two important topics on the housing situation in College Park. In the two parts discussion, the City Council will look into the data on the single-family and rental homes and explore ways to preserve the neighborhood against the conversion of single-family homes into rental homes. Additionally, the Council will discuss how to increase the supply of affordable housing in the College Park

  • Preserving Neighborhood – Single Family Vs Rental Homes

Many single-family neighborhoods in College Park have had comparatively high percentages of

detached rental houses, particularly for local university students. Single-family houses are attractive for student rentals due to the affordability and less restrictive environment compared to apartment buildings and on-campus dorms. Property owners of detached housing can generally obtain more total rent from four or five renters than they could obtain from a typical family.

Despite the addition of new apartment units off-campus and new dorms on-campus, the number of for-rent detached single-family homes has generally remained constant. In some neighborhoods, anecdotal evidence indicates that previously owner-occupied housing is being purchased by investors to offer for rent and that investors are out-bidding potential owner-occupants. The City Council and staff often receive complaints about noise and other disruptive issues with rental houses that code enforcement, contract police, and University police deal with on a regular basis.

  • Exploring Affordable Housing:

The City Council has often asked about affordable housing units when evaluating residential development proposals, and the Council hears from students and other groups about the cost of

rental housing in the City. This discussion will provide an opportunity for the Council to review general definitions of affordable housing, some data regarding housing and affordability in College Park and the region, and various strategies that could be used by the City, County, State, the Partnership, and the University to support housing affordability and also preserve homeownership. The Council will discuss various policy options for increasing the housing supply.

 

Housing Units in College Park’s Neighborhoods

Towns and jurisdictions often use the number of housing units in different sections / areas within their towns when they analyze events (such as crime incidents) and discuss future policy decisions (such as adding future amenities etc.).  Recently, I came across the latest data on the apartments (student and multi-family) in the city. I combined that with the number of single-family homes in different neighborhoods and prepared this list.

North College Park (3709)
Single family homes2264
Camden508
Monument235
Mazza232
Wynfield302
Ferris Manor60
Attic tower108
Mid Town (2230)
Single family homes548
University View I507
University View II360
The Varsity258
Spellman141
Parkside128
Enclave97
University Club135
Alden-Berkley Townhouses56
Old town / Calvert Hills (2125)
Single family homes554
Landmark267
4611 – 4613 Calvert Road31
Terrapin Row418
South Campus Commons599
Domain College Park256
Estates and Yarrow (314)
Single family homes314
West College Park (667)
Single family homes667

Interest Free Loan for First time New Home Buyers

The County has recently introduced  Purchase Assistance Program (PGCPAP) providing home purchase assistance to eligible, first-time home buyers to purchase residential properties in the County.  Home purchase assistance includes down payment, mortgage principal reduction and/or closing costs. Are you interested in a USDA home loan? Visit https://cishomeloans.com to learn more about it.

Home loans are funded by a lending institution, such as a mortgage company, bank, savings and loan association. Hard money lender Seattle is the #1 lender for hard money loans, fix & flip loans, commercial bridge loans, and rental property loans.

Single family dwelling units, townhouses, and condominiums are eligible for assistance. Eligible properties include resale, foreclosures, short sales, and new construction. If you’re looking for a new home, you can look into homes for sale in Beaufort, SC.

The maximum loan amount is $15,000.00, with a purchase price limit: $462,000 (resale or new construction). Loan terms include 0% interest, deferred payment. Purchaser must pay back the loan in full when the home is sold, transferred or ceases to be the primary residence of the buyer(s) regardless of the length of residency. To learn more about bank loans and the requirements needed, you can visit a helpful site similar to beehive.org/rigby/.

If the buyer a police officer, a deputy sheriff, a classroom teacher, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician . or a nurse, they may be eligible for an additional $5,000 based on their need. This would bring the total loan amount to $20,000. If you’re looking for more ways to get yourself out of debt or loan, you can visit a site like https://www.debtconsolidation.com/how-to-get-out-of-debt/ for more info!

More about the application eligibility can be found here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/2965/Purchase-Assistance-Program-PGCPAP. The application related documents for new homebuyers can be found here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/2966/First-Time-Homebuyer-Documents

Wisconsin Loan Centers offers installment loans West Allis Wi residents can trust, check out their website.

Additionally, the City of College Park provides $5,000 grant for new homeowners in the city. More on the program can be found here: http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/government/planning/homeownership_grant_program.php

The College Park City University Partnership also provides $15,000 to the UMD staff towards the down payment or closing cost assistance for a home purchased anywhere in College Park. More here: https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/Planning/CPCUP_Home_ownership_program___guidelines_and_application.pdf

Please spread the word!

County Bill May Stop Rental Property Conversion in College Park Neighborhoods

A proposed bill in the County Council may stop conversions of single family homes to rental properties in College Park.

The bill, proposed by Dist 3 County Councilman Eric Olson, will be discussed at our Council worksession tonight. The Council may take a position whether to support the bill when it will be formerly introduced in County Council next week.

The bill intends to create Single Family Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay Zone to “ensure that land in residential neighborhoods retains its traditional single family residential character, integrity and appearance”.

Here are a few highlights of the proposed ordinance.
1. The zone can be established within 2 miles radius of a higher educational institution, such as the University of Maryland. This may cover College Park and areas outside of city boundaries.

2. The zone may not include transient facilities such as boarding houses, tourist homes, inns, motels, hotels, school dormitories, hospitals or medical facilities etc.

3. The Planning Board may initiate or another person may request a zoning map amendment only with the concurrence (by
resolution) of the County District Council.

4. During the preparation of the proposed zone, the County will contact all owners of land, and any municipality lying (wholly or in part) within the anticipated boundaries of the proposed zone and any municipality within one mile of the anticipated District boundary, to invite comments and recommendations.

5. Once the zone is established, no new rental licenses (required pursuant to provisions of a city code) shall be issued within the boundaries of the proposed zone.

6. The County Council will take final action on a zoning map amendment at any time after the close of the final public hearing record. A two-thirds (2/3) super majority vote of the full District Council shall be required to override the recommendation of a municipality if any portion of the Zone Map Amendment which falls within the boundaries of the municipality.

7. The zone must contain at least ten (10) contiguous acres and at least thirty (30) existing single family houses.

8. A single family rental dwelling located within the shall be at least 800 feet from any other single family rental dwelling within a District

9. A waiver of the Code may be granted where the property owner of a single family dwelling within a District must relocate for temporary employment reassignment, military service assignment, or other similar circumstances that may require temporary relocation out of state or overseas.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Beds and Units: Status of College Park’s Student Housing

During last Tuesday’s Council vote on rent stabilization, we looked at the number of units / beds in the on-campus and off-campus student apartments in College Park. These numbers play important roles in determining the demand for rental properties in College Park. Based on the data provided by our planning department, by next year, we will have a total of 5,847 beds for UMD students in the city. 2867 more beds will be added in coming years. Such beds will pair perfectly with items like that textured throw blanket.

Additionally, College Park has a total of 744 number of units and 518 more is expected to be added in coming years.

On-Campus Student Housing DevelopmentsYear CompletedNumber of Beds
South Campus Commons #72010368
Oakland Hall2011709
Prince Frederick Hall2014462
1,539
Off-Campus Student Housing DevelopmentsYear CompletedNumber of Beds
Built/Under Construction
University View I20051,042
University View II2010516
Mazza Grandmarc2010630
The Varsity2011901
The Enclave – Phase I2011369
Maryland Book Exchange2015850
4,308
Approved Plans
Knox VillagePlanned for 20161,575
The Enclave – Phase II?300
University View Village?992
2,867
Non-Student Housing DevelopmentsYear CompletedNumber of Units
Built/Under Construction
Camden College Park2007508
The Domain2013236
744
Approved Plans
Monument VillagePlanned for 2016235
Metropolitan* (includes 45 townhomes)Planned for 2016283
518

Can College Park Adopt D.C’s Vacant Property Tax Law?

D.C.’s vacant property tax law is designed to reduce vacant and blighted properties like this one. But the law has its own challenges.

This morning, I came across a discussion on vacant and blighted properties in our district in north College Park. A neighbor was referring to a house, which has been vacant for at least 2 years and has been recently broken into.

One idea to address to reduce vacant and blighted properties is to adopt ordinances similar to what the D.C City Council has recently adopted. According to this law, the vacant property owners are charged $5 and $10 per $100 of their property values for vacant and blighted properties respectively. This is way more than the normal occupied property rate, which is $.85 / $100. They would need a property lawyer to settle this.

Please see here more about D.C’s vacant property tax program.

The idea is that any property remains vacant for 3 or more years will be assess a higher tax rate. Each year it remains vacant the tax rate will increase. This is to push the land owner to either do something with the property or keep paying higher taxes each year.
One challenge the program has is that vacant property owners often appeal and it takes a long time to resolve these cases. Also, as long as the property owners try to sell the property or try to renovate, the law  does not apply them.
There are also challenges to find the owner of a vacant property when the owner dies and does not leave anyone to look after the property.
That said, I think we should look into have a similar law in college Park and we will be in touch our staff for looking into this.

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