Dueling Bills for Proposed Bethesda Public Housing
Montgomery County Council members Roger Berliner (D-Potomac, Bethesda) and George Leventhal (D-At large) are poised to introduce dueling legislation tomorrow over the fate of a five-bedroom house that has been proposed as public housing next to a leafy Bethesda neighborhood park in the Hillmead area.
Berliner will propose that the house be torn down, and Leventhal wants to fix it up to make it habitable for residents eligible for the county's affordable housing program.
The issue has divided the Hillmead neighborhood, where some residents have complained that efforts to acquire the house and land to expand the park have backfired.
A county report says it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix up the house. The county park system spent $2.5 million to acquire the 1.3-acre site after the owner's plans to sell it to a developer fell through.
County officials say the debate in Hillmead is hardly unique, and it highlights the challenge they regularly face as they try to find sites for affordable housing in one of the country's most affluent and expensive counties. Officials estimate that about 1,100 residents are homeless every night in Montgomery County..
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