The Montgomery County Council is pushing through zoning changes to allow a proliferation of “auxiliary dwelling units” in people’s backyards. Despite announcing a “work session” on this topic for June 18, Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At Large) admitted in a constituent letter that the county already was hiring inspectors for these controversial units. This shortsighted proposal will cause property values to plummet and even more residents to flee the county.
The council appears oblivious to signs that Montgomery County is losing appeal, as if declining tax revenue and school performance weren’t enough. For most people, their home is their biggest investment. Allowing campers, trailers and storage containers to be put in a neighbor’s backyard to house low-income residents is a slap in the face to those people who have worked hard to build a comfortable home and neighborhood. It is a sham to suggest that this is being done to provide housing for aging parents or adult children. Most people provide space in their homes, even if it means putting an addition onto their home, for family members. The council should instead lift some of the onerous restrictions on developers to encourage them to build decent and affordable housing. Just because others flee crime-ridden and poverty-stricken areas doesn’t mean Montgomery County has to be turned into a slum to accommodate them.
Katherine C. Gugulis, Gaithersburg