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The original item was published from 9/14/2023 2:19:55 PM to 10/1/2023 12:00:11 AM.

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Posted on: September 14, 2023

[ARCHIVED] County Council Enacts Universal Design Legislation


Measure Proposed by District 5 Council Member Jolene Ivey Ensures Inclusive Housing Options for County’s Residents 


The Prince George’s County Council, during session on Tuesday, September 12, unanimously voted to enact Council Bill-065-2023, universal design legislation sponsored by Council Member Jolene Ivey (District 5). The measure will make housing in the County more inclusive and accessible by providing a range of benefits for elderly residents and those with disabilities or injuries. The bill, which has been years in the making, is intended to help ensure residents can more easily function in their homes.  


In addition to helping people with temporary or long-term disabilities, universal design elements in a home help people age-in-place by providing features that help older adults live independently and with autonomy. Homes built with universal design elements have proven to be appealing to a wider range of home buyers.

Elements of universal design will now be required for at least half of new single-family attached, single-family detached, two-family, and multi-family residential dwelling units constructed in Prince George’s County after January 1, 2026, with some exemptions. A waiver included in the bill will allow up to 50% of new homes in a development to be exempt from these requirements if it is not possible to comply because of the terrain. Townhouses and 2-over-2s are exempt. 

Council Member Ivey, proposer of the legislation, was not present for the vote due to illness; however, Council colleagues recognized her efforts as a longtime universal design advocate in the County who has worked tirelessly to bring this legislation to fruition and create a more genuinely inclusive Prince George’s County.  

“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 visibility and allows people of all ages and abilities to live together comfortably and safely,” said Council Member Ivey in previous legislative discussions. 

Universal design requirements under CB-65-2023 will apply to exterior entrances, interior routes of travel, the placement of some controls, switches, electrical sockets, and plugs, and would require a bathroom and kitchen on the first level. 


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