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Measure Proposed by District 5 Council Member Jolene Ivey Ensures Safe and Inclusive Housing Options for County’s Disabled Residents
The Prince George’s County Council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee, on Thursday, July 6, 2023, favorably considered Council Bill-065-2023, Universal Design legislation sponsored by Council Member Jolene Ivey (District 5). The proposed measure requires inclusive residential dwelling options in future housing developments for County residents, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or functionality.
“Adopting a universal design approach when building new homes provides a range of benefits and ensures that everyone can more easily function in their home. It promotes inclusivity and allows people of all ages and abilities to live together comfortably and safely, and it helps people to be able to visit with one another,” said Council Member Ivey.
The bill will require elements of universal design for housing in Prince George’s County after January 1, 2026. Certain exemptions and waivers will allow up to 50% of new homes in future developments to be exempt from these requirements if it is not possible to comply because of the terrain. The bill also exempts new townhouses and “two-over-twos.”
Council Member Ivey expressed appreciation for the support of the Maryland Building Industry Association, disability and aging-in-place advocates, and the Office of the County Executive for their collaborative efforts to improve the legislation.
Former County Council Member Monique Anderson-Walker, who introduced earlier versions of Universal Design legislation during her tenure, expressed her support for the current measure during Thursday’s committee meeting. “This is squarely within diversity, equity, and inclusion – we’re talking about accessible housing for everybody.”
This is a first step in creating buildings that are usable by as many people as possible, regardless of age, size, ability, or disability. Adopting a universal design approach when building new homes provides a range of benefits and creates an inclusive Prince George’s County.