Montgomery panel proposes yard signs telling neighbors of apartments in houses

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Photo - Apartment for Rent Sign
Apartment for Rent Sign
Local,Maryland,Kate Jacobson

Montgomery County lawmakers on Monday proposed requiring homeowners to place signs in their yards when they are applying to add apartments to rent in their homes.

County Council members and county staff worked on finalizing a draft bill that details the requirements for homeowners applying for an "accessory apartment" license, which allows them to build or remodel their home to include a separate living space available for lease. For a space to qualify, it needs to have a kitchen.

Discussion Monday circulated about how neighbors should be notified that a homeowner has applied for an apartment license. In the proposed bill, applicants would have a large sign installed in their front yard to alert neighbors of their application.

Council members decided a sign should be installed with information referring to a website for the apartments, where applications would be found.

Councilman Marc Elrich, D-at large, suggested a sign might not be enough -- asking members of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee to consider mailing notices to adjacent homes. Councilman George Leventhal, D-at large, disagreed, saying mailing neighbors when there was a large sign in the front of the house seemed redundant.

"If it were that sign, would not that provide just what you're saying?" Leventhal asked Elrich, saying a sign would provide as much notice as a letter. "It provides a neighbor the opportunity to object at the beginning of the process."

The draft bill is scheduled to go in front of the full council next week and could be scheduled for another public hearing in as soon as two weeks.

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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Kate Jacobson

Montgomery County reporter
The Washington Examiner