Mayor and Council
4500 Knox Road
College Park, Maryland 20740
June 10, 2003
Subject: College Park Housing Plan
Dear Mayor and Council:
The attached Housing Plan for the City of College Park was developed in an effort to focus attention on housing and housing-related issues in the City. The underlying purpose of the Housing Plan is to increase the focus on housing to meet the needs of the entire City and to guide and direct future housing development and neighborhood revitalization. The Housing Plan reflects the input of many stakeholders including the Mayor and Council, College Park residents, the University of Maryland and the real estate development community.
The Housing Plan provides a fresh look at housing issues. It elevates the importance of housing in the context of other Citywide issues. Housing represents 70 percent of the Citys tax base, and many of the issues related to housing significantly impact the budgetary decisions made by the City. Heretofore, economic development programs have focused almost entirely on non-housing related issues (retail, commercial, hotel, industrial development). In actuality, the projected increase in the residential tax base for FY 2004 is 2.44 percent compared to the projected FY 2004 increase in the commercial tax base, 0.98 percent. Therefore, the residential tax base has a far greater impact on revenue in the City of College Park than non-residential. This does not preclude the City from pursuing economic development projects that will enhance the Citys tax base. Residential and economic development projects that increase the Citys tax base should be pursued concurrently. However, a greater percentage of the increase in tax base from 2003 to 2004 has come from residential tax base.
This Plan catalogs and maps numerous sites which are zoned, planned and approved for housing development. If housing were to be developed on these sites, most of the demand for conventional and student housing would likely be addressed within the next few years. In turn, this new residential development will substantially enhance the tax base of the City.
Major housing issues in the city have been identified along with policies and strategies to address them. The plan divides the discussion of housing issues into three basic categories: new housing construction, neighborhood revitalization and public capital investment. Key findings in each of these areas are as follows:
New Housing Construction
Public Capital Investment
HOUSING SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Housing production is influenced by factors such as demographics, consumer preference and cost. Housing starts are a key economic indicator even though new housing construction typically represents a small percentage of the total housing stock. Over the last ten years, only 365 new units were added to the Citys housing stock because few vacant sites with appropriate zoning were available. The City has an aging housing stock with 74 percent of the Citys units built prior to 1970. This provides the City with a relatively affordable housing stock (the median value of a home in the city was $141,300 in 2000), but also underscores the importance of revitalization efforts to maintain a safe and sound housing supply.
Household demand largely determines where housing units will be located. In making a housing choice, households usually consider the specific housing type, the nature of the community and its amenities, and what they are willing and able to pay. The challenge of planning is to make sure that there are adequate housing choices to meet the needs of all households and attractive and desirable neighborhoods in which to live. Vacancy rates are an important indicator of the degree of choice available within a community. In College Park, the presence of the main campus of the University of Maryland creates a strong demand for housing and this is reflected in the citys low vacancy rates.
Housing development is a complex process and fluctuations in the housing market are affected by the similar fluctuations in the financial markets. The availability of construction financing and mortgage credit are essential to financing housing. The present state of the economy, the well publicized student-housing shortage and new incentives along the Route 1 corridor for residential construction, have combined to create a noticeable surge of interest in housing in College Park. Market indicators show a strong demand for both student and conventional multifamily housing as well as single family home construction on infill sites.
This presents the City with an opportunity to revitalize neighborhoods and reduce the number of single family homes converted to rental properties. To do this, we have examined supply and demand issues, reviewed housing trends locally and nationally, and worked with stakeholders in the community to identify issues, propose policies and recommend strategies. Suitable housing sites have been identified and specific projects that are planned or approved have been cataloged. Most importantly, we have included an Action Plan for implementation and suggested some benchmarks.
Taken as a whole, the Housing Plan is a snapshot of where the City is today and where it can be in the future. I look forward to implementing the Housing Plan with the Mayor and Council and the community.
Samuel A Finz
Samuel A. Finz
A complete draft of the plan is available in PDF format click below.
CP housing plan march 2003 (26,892KB) Get your free copy
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