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Berliner Changes MoCo House Size Bill

Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner has modified a bill aimed at limiting construction of single-family houses of the kind whose height and bulk have roiled the close-in Washington suburbs.

Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), whose district has become ground zero for tear-downs and McMansions, said several representatives of the building industry had agreed not to work against his bill in exchange for the modifications. Berliner's proposal would change the method of calculating maximum house size to take into account the size of the lot, resulting in slightly smaller houses.

The changes include focusing the legislation mostly on downcounty areas where propoerty owners are building large homes in many neighborhoods; delaying the legislation's effective date from the original 20 days after passage to 120 days; allowing a 240 square foot single-car detached garage that would not count against the allowable house size; and clarifying that a builder's obligation to notify neighbors of proposed plans doesn't mean the plans are fixed and could not be changed later.

The proposed legislation says that the maximum size of a house on a 6,000-square-foot lot, a common size in Berliner's district, would be 4,750 square feet, down from the 5,150 currently allowed under local zoning.

Last week, the Montgomery County Planning Board split 2-2 over whether to back the bill. Berliner announced his modifications hours before tonight's public hearing.

By Anne Bartlett  |  June 17, 2008; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack  
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