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Thurmont considers MPDU program

(5/3) With the rising cost of real estate in the county, middle- and low-income families have found themselves pushed out of the county. Thurmont may take advantage of a county program to help keep those families in town.

The Frederick County Commissioners adopted a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program in 2002. The program caps sales prices and rental fees on dwelling units and targets to price-controlled units to residents earning moderate incomes. Frederick County’s first eight MPDUs are in the process of having their sales closed. The county program only applies to projects outside of municipal boundaries, though.

“If its really going to be effective, it needs to be spread out,” Margie Lance, coordinator MPDU program told the town commissioners during their April 24 meeting.

Mayor Martin Burns said there is a possibility that if the town were to adopt the county’s program, there is a possibility that the county could administer the program for the town.

“It’s a good program,” Burns said. “I see it as a win-win for everyone.”

This would promote the programs goal of increasing the county’s supply of MPDUs as a natural function of development.

The new program applies to developments of 25 or more units that are on public water and sewer. These developments are required to have at least 12.5 percent of their units as MPDUs. MPDUs can be slightly smaller, on smaller lots or not as many features as market-priced homes. If the developer creates a greater percentage of MPDUs, the development can receive density bonuses that allow for the creation of greater density than allowed by the zoning.

These units have price controls on them for 15 years if they are units for sale and 25 years if they are units for rent. The program also sets stipulations for the sale of MPDU units. A house which costs $335,000 at market value would probably sell for around $177,000 as an MPDU.

The income limits are based on federal standards. For rental units, the county uses 50 percent of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development limit and 70 percent for home buyers. This means a family of four can qualify for a Frederick County MPDU to buy if they earn no more than $66,150 and no more than $47,250 if the family wants to rent an MPDU.

For more information on the program visit Frederick County’s web site at

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