Charles County Housing Initiative Project: Inclusion, Affordability, and Diversity

Community Planning Assistance Team Report



Charles County, Maryland, adopted a comprehensive plan with a number of housing initiatives. Public input on the plan focused on housing affordability, with many comments on the high cost of housing and the inability of many working individuals and families to obtain decent housing at an affordable cost.

The scope of a visit to the county by an APA Community Planning Assistance Team was defined around two key objectives: to refine the county's housing initiatives to address housing affordability, including ways for residents to age in the community, and to explore affordability barriers to for-sale and rental housing.

The October 2017 visit included small group discussions on the following questions:

  1. What are the impediments to developing the type of housing Charles County needs?
  2. What resources are available, and how should they be leveraged to get the type of housing Charles County needs?

The feedback from the community meeting is included in the team's final report, which explores existing conditions and planning priorities.

Meet the Team

Team Leader

Nancy E. Letendre, JD, AICP

Nancy E. Letendre is an attorney with the Cranston, Rhode Island, firm McGunagle Hentz, PC, and a consultant with Mason & Associates, Inc., an environmental and planning firm based in North Scituate, Rhode Island. Letendre has 18 years of experience in municipal land use law in the State of Rhode Island. In addition to representing Planning and Zoning Boards as a municipal land use attorney, Letendre has presented both oral and written testimony on land use issues before the Rhode Island Courts, state agencies, and the Rhode Island General Assembly. An AICP-certified planner since 2007, Letendre has also served Rhode Island municipalities as a planning consultant. She is known for her expertise in the writing and administration of comprehensive plans, ordinances, and regulations and with effective code enforcement.

Team Member

Li Alligood, AICP

Li Alligood is a land use planner with the multidisciplinary firm Otak, Inc. She is a certified planner with more than 10 years of experience in current and long-range land use planning, public engagement, affordable housing development, and historic preservation for public, private, and nonprofit organizations. Her experience includes policies and regulations guiding commercial and mixed-use development and housing variety. The multidisciplinary nature of her public and private work has provided her with perspective on how the various components of policy, regulation, and environmental requirements impact and guide development. Alligood received a Master of Community Planning degree from the University of Cincinnati, a Bachelor of Community Development degree from Portland State University, and a Bachelor of Sociology degree from the University of Minnesota.

Team Member

Luis Gonzalez, AICP, ASLA

Luis F. Gonzalez is a senior planner and landscape architect with Rodgers Consulting, a Washington, D.C., metropolitan area consulting firm specializing in all areas of community planning, urban design, and civil engineering. Gonzalez has collaborated on multidisciplinary design teams for over 15 years, bringing excellence in urban planning and urban design and approvals to challenging entitlement cases. As a registered landscape architect and an AICP certified planner, Gonzalez has provided written and oral testimony on planning and landscape architecture related issues before state and municipal agencies and boards, as well as community organizations throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. He has presented at local and national AIA and ASLA conferences, taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and in Costa Rica, and participated on design juries.

Team Member

Jennifer Raitt

Jennifer Raitt serves as director of planning and community development for the Town of Arlington, Massachusetts, with more than 20 years of experience serving local, regional, state, and national housing, community development, and planning organizations. Her work has been awarded and recognized by the American Planning Association, Massachusetts Municipal Association, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and local and regional jurisdictions. Raitt is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University's City Planning and Urban Affairs program and a trainer for the Mel King Institute through the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations. Her leadership appointments include Citizens' Housing and Planning Association board member and APA Legislative and Policy Committee member. She holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from The New School and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning and Documentary Studies from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Team Member

Jesse Saginor, PhD, AICP

Jesse Saginor is an associate professor in the School of Urban & Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University. He teaches courses in capital facilities planning, economic development, planning methods, and urban revitalization. Saginor's research interests revolve around economic development, planning, and real estate. His service projects over the past 15 years involve economic development, housing, market analysis, public policy, and real estate valuation. Saginor also serves as the vice-chair of the Delray Beach Housing Authority as well as the executive boards of the American Real Estate Society and the School Board of Palm Beach County's Independent Sales Surtax Oversight Committee.


Page Count
Date Published
Aug. 16, 2018
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents

The Purpose of the CPAT Program
Guiding Values
Program Background

Executive Summary
Project Overview
Community Meetings and Workshop
Housing Affordability

Existing Conditions
Comprehensive Plan Policies
Housing Studies
Demographic and Market Information
Existing and Future Housing Needs
Demographic Trends
Household Age and Composition
Existing Housing Inventory
Existing and Future Needs

Planning Priorities
Comprehensive Plan Policies
Code Audit
Key Elements of a Mandatory MPDU Program
Action Plan
Amend the balanced housing stock policy
Modify the Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU) program
Identify and prioritize county-owned parcels that can be sold or leased to nonprofits for the development of mixed-income housing
Incorporate affordability into subarea and village plans
Remove barriers to affordable housing production
Devote funding and resources to affordable housing preservation and production
Ensure housing remains affordable
Establish the Charles County Affordable Housing Board
Explore the feasibility of creating the Housing Advisory Board of Charles County with a board of commissioners
Engage the public in continued dialogue about housing