County Council Approves PILOT Program For Proposed Affordable Housing Project

It will be located in Frederick city.


Frederick, Md (KM). In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the County Council agreed to provide a payment in lieu of taxes for an affordable housing project in Frederick city. That means that the developer of the Ox Fibre apartments, 400 Church Owner LLC, will be required to make a payment each year which is lower than the property tax rates in return for providing affordable housing.

The project is planned for the former Goodwill Industries building at 400 East Church Street. It has 80,000 square feet of space.

“The total development cost is roughly $22.9-million,:” says Milton Bailey, the County’s Director of Housing and Community Development. “The site will become an adaptive re-use mixed income apartment building, offering 83 residences for rent by entry level workforce employees and their families.”

Bailey says the project will have 51, one-bedroom apartments, 26, two-bedroom apartments and six, three bedroom units Out of those 83 units, 73 will be for persons earning 60% of the Area Median Income, and the remainder will be for persons earning 40% of the Area Median Income.

He says that would be single people earning up to $34,000 annually, and a family of four taking in $72,000 a year.

These lower rents, according to Bailey, could help make sure these individuals can meet other expenses. “The savings are significant because after tax income of a single adult with annual gross income of $34,000 amounts to approximately $29,000 a year of disposable income, or $13.94 with which to pay utility bills and other expenses,” he says.

The background material presented at the meeting indicated  the increased need for affordable housing in Frederick County. The Housing Study said in November, 2016,  the county had an  immediate need for 5,720 additional  affordable housing units..

Bailey said the rents for units at the Ox Fibre apartments will be $854 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1005 for a two-bedroom apartment and $1660 for a three-bedroom apartment. That contrasts with average rental  units  in Frederick which are $1301 for a one-bedroom unit, $1441 for a two-bedroom apartment,  and $2334 for a three-bedroom unit.

He says there will be savings for residents at Ox Fibre “On a one-bedroom apartment, the occupant will be saving $447 a month; for a two-bedroom apartment, $436; and for a three-bedroom apartment, $374 a month,” says Bailey. “The County PILOT contributes $31 a month per unit toward that rent savings.”

Speaking during the public hearing part of the meeting, Mark Long, a member of the Affordable Housing Council, urged the County Council to support granting this PILOT for this project.. “This is a great project. It’s going to provide quality housing for workforce here in the county and the city,” he said. “And in addition to that, it’s adaptive re-use. It’s going to preserve an older building which is a plus.”

Before the project can continue, the developer must now take the proposal to the Board of Aldermen and make a request for a payment in lieu of taxes from Frederick city.


By Kevin McManus