Rockville adjusts MPDUs

  • Published in Local

Seal of Rockville MdIn the hope of making the City’s expensive apartments more affordable to residents, the Rockville mayor and council decided Monday to change the standards for affordable housing units to make them available to more people.

The mayor and council unanimously approved the changes, which expand the regulations to allow people 120 percent below the City’s Area Median Income to be eligible for moderately-priced dwelling units and lower the rents for people renting MPDUs. The changes apply only to new units to be built within the City.


Interfaith Works opening

  • Published in Local

The daily shoulder-to-shoulder throngs of people waiting for Interfaith Works Clothing Center in Rockville to open its doors each morning is finally a thing of the past. With Monday’s ribbon-cutting, the nonprofit that provides low-income families with free clothing, linen and other items now operates out of a larger and much cheerier, sunlit space.

The center will continue to operate in the former Edward W. Broome Junior High School, which still has the dank look and smell of a high school gym. However, everything has moved upstairs, where there is more space and even windows.

There, director Monica Barberis-Young along with the center’s small staff and 1,000 volunteers take the mounds of donated clothes, shoes and household items and sort them.

Everyone who qualifies, mostly due to low-income levels, is welcome to fill a large blue bag of items and carry out one large item once a month.

The clothing center that helped 13,500 people last year also is adding to its services and now will also offer its clients help with their legal, medical, housing and educational needs.

“In as rich a county as this,” there often are 50 or 60 families waiting for the center to open its doors Tuesdays through Saturdays, Barberis-Young said.


MoCo sees slight dip in number of homeless residents

  • Published in Local

Homelessness in Montgomery County decreased by 9 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to an annual survey conducted by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

According to the survey, which was a one-night snapshot of the homeless population on Jan. 25 of this year, there were 894 homeless people in the County, as compared to 981 in 2016 and 1,100 in 2015.

The 894 people included 86 families and 172 children, according to the survey.

The survey, in its 17th year, tallied the homeless population in nine jurisdictions in the Washington, D.C. area. Overall, there were 11,128 homeless individuals in the nine jurisdictions, according to the survey which was released last week.

Amanda Harris, Montgomery County’s chief of special needs housing in its Department of Health and Human Services, called the numbers in the survey “typical,” although the survey noted that day was unseasonably warm.


Tower Oaks project approved

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – The City Council unanimously approved a proposal to construct up to 375 new housing units along the east side of Preserve Parkway.

The vote, one of the last done by the council before beginning a six-week recess, marked the second time in the last month council members backed the project 5-0.

They previously instructed staff to draft a resolution approving of the residential proposal by developer EYA.

Although the developer will still need to present its site plan to the Planning Commission for approval, the Monday vote offered more details about what the project must contain in order to match direction from the City Council.

 “I just think it’s a super project and I wish you all the best,” said Council member Mark Pierzchala.


Rockville clears the decks for new Tower Oaks plan

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – The City Council cleared the way for a developer to build hundreds of new townhouses at a site formerly slated for commercial office buildings along Preserver Parkway.

On Monday, the City Council unanimously agreed to instruct city staffers to draft a resolution in favor of the proposed Tower Oaks development by builder EYA.

It would allow up to 375 housing units, including townhouses, single-family houses and condos, on what is now largely wooded property near Wootton Parkway.


Ignoring housing during elections

During the 2012 presidential election, housing seemed to take a back seat as the real estate market was still emerging from a foreclosure crisis and recession just four years earlier.  Fast forward to today and homeownership is hovering near a 30-year low; homeownership is out of reach to many due to tightened mortgage qualifying and increasing home prices; while Americans’ incomes are being squeezed by rising rents.


It's always about the price baby - yeah!

The warm weather that occurred early in the season probably gave many of us a false sense of security, such that we may have put off the pre-winter inspection. The good news is that it’s not too late; and you should check out your home’s roof, gutters, and the surrounding grounds after the blizzard – even if you’ve already conducted a pre-winter inspection.


The problem of buying affordable homes

I talk to lots of people while at open houses. You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that although some express concerns about increasing home prices and their ability to buy a home, many also express their exasperation with increasing rents. And although home prices and ability to get a mortgage are among top concerns for home buyers, according to Realtor Magazine (Top 6 Home Buyer Concerns,, August 24,2015); buyer apprehensions have not changed much over the years. There is always a group of buyers who fuss over home prices, down payments, and mortgages. So much so, that it seems as if it is a permanent part of the housing landscape.


Real estate remains a wise investment


house genericMany years ago, buying your first home used to be a rite of passage that usually coincided with starting a family. Your first home was not just a place to live; but was considered an investment that was expected to grow and provide a “nest egg” for your later years.


A giant mea culpa for NAR please

house genericNews about the D.A.N.G.E.R. Report is making the media rounds, but maybe the excitement is more hyperbole than news. And contrary to the recent hype, the D.A.N.G.E.R. Report is not a mea culpa by the National Association of Realtors.

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