Division of Community Development
Providing "Healthy and Sustainable Communities" is a priority for Montgomery County. The Community Development Division focuses on this priority by planning and implementing neighborhood revitalization projects in targeted communities, by ensuring that the federal and state funds we receive to support this work are spent in compliance with the rules and by directly administering contracts with other jurisdictions, non-profit organizations, contractors and consultants to further these goals.
The Division is divided into three sections
The Grants Administration and Special Projects section provides management and oversight to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements for federal funding awarded to Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Community Development Block Grant, the HOME Investment Partnership Grant and the Emergency Shelter Grant programs. Funds from these programs support both operating activities and capital projects. Activities funded may include property acquisition, new construction, housing rehabilitation, commercial-area revitalization and handicapped accessibility improvements. Staff administers contracts with the Cities of Rockville and Takoma Park as well as with not-for-profit organizations awarded funding to provide a variety of public services to our low- and moderate-income residents.
The Neighborhood Revitalization section provides comprehensive assistance in targeted areas. Activities include commercial revitalization (physical and economic) both in local retail centers and central business districts as well as assistance to address other community concerns, including issues related to housing and public services. Primary funding for these activities is provided through the County's capital budget and includes federal and state funds, such as Community Development Block Grants, Economic Development Initiative Grants and State Community Legacy Grants.
- The Code Enforcement section is responsible for the preservatin and improvement of housing and property standards through enforcement of Chapter 26, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards, Chapter 48, Solid Waste, and Chapter 58, Weeds, of the Montgomery County Code. Consistent enforcement of the Code helps to preserve the quality of life in Montgomery County in general by focusing on maintaining and preserving the quality of our housing stock and our neighborhoods. It provides for safe, decent, and clean housing units, maintains and enhances property values, stabilizes neighborhoods, and prevents blight. The primary activities of the Code Enforcement team are investigating complaints, conducting legally required inspections, and educating county residents on their rights and responsibilities related to property maintenance.
A major function of the Division is strategic planning. The Division of Community Development relies on a combination of activities to carry out its strategic planning functions. These activities are part of the division's annual work program and include:
- Determining neighborhood indicators for performance measurement and evaluation;
- Preparing the County's Consolidated Plan for receipt of federal funding; and,
- Facilities Planning in support of capital projects.
Neighborhood indicators are data categories that are measurable and/or observable. Indicators provide statistics that can be tracked over time and that enable the Department to assess progress in providing "Healthy and Sustainable Communities." Examples of indicators include crime rate, rental vacancy rate, single-family sales data and physical condition of buildings.
Identification of "neighborhood strategy areas" and the preparation of action plans for those areas is a central feature of the Division's planning process. This involves analysis to identify areas of the county where the combination of physical age, socio-economic factors, changes in character, institutions, and conditions, shifting markets, or other factors have resulted in neighborhoods that could benefit from concentrated infrastructure or other improvement efforts.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that all jurisdictions entitled to receive funding under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA) programs develop a Consolidated Plan for community development no less than every five years, and an Action Plan every year. The FY13 Annual Action Plan serves as Montgomery County's application for CDBG, HOME and ESG funds for Fiscal Year 2012 (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013) and was submitted to HUD on May 15, 2012. The plan identifies community needs and identifies specific uses for the annual funding allocations under these three programs. The Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) also maintains a current Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice to ensure non-discrimination in housing by housing providers in Montgomery County. For more information or to download or view the Consolidated Plan or Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (also available via the Fair Housing webpage) please visit the Consolidated Plan webpage.
The Facilities Planning process examines the need for and practicality of potential capital improvement projects. Capital improvement projects may include streetscaping/beautification projects connected to revitalization of older retail centers and infrastructure improvements in older neighborhoods - drainage improvements, new sidewalk and streetlights, tot-lots, mini-parks, etc. The central features of a Facility Plan are:
- A Program of Requirements;
- The Relationship to Master Plans;
- Facility Needs Assessments by Other Departments;
- Identification of Potential Funding Resources;
- Definition of the Scope and Nature of the Project;
- Estimation of Project Costs; and,
- Coordination of Strategic Planning Activities (with other local and state planning and programming efforts).
This final element (Coordination of strategic planning activities) includes fairly detailed staff work with colleagues in other planning arenas, including transportation, housing and land-use planning at the local level, as well as coordination of efforts to conform with the State of Maryland's "Smart Growth Policies" and regional planning and policy work through participation in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.