The NAHB State and Local Government Affairs Committee heard presentations from four HBAs in June asking for the Federation’s help in overcoming significant local roadblocks.
Committee members recommended — and the NAHB executive board approved — grants from the State and Local Issues Fund, which provides financial assistance to HBAs as they advocate on issues affecting the affordability of homeownership.
Philadelphia’s outdated plumbing codes require steel and cast iron pipes in multifamily and single-family construction over four stories, increasing installation costs by nearly 35% and adding to the likelihood of injury on the job. The BIA of Philadelphia requested funding to help pass local legislation allowing PEX and PVC pipes in addition to steel and iron, making the codes product neutral. The committee recommended a grant of up to $5,000. Staff will also gather information for the BIA from other states that have dealt with this issue.
Construction defect litigation is on the rise in Florida, particularly involving the application of stucco to building exteriors. The state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act has an uncertain trigger that can begin once final payment is received. This often doesn’t allow time for the builder to fix the problem before being sued. The Florida HBA requested funding to help draft, file and pass a “Right to Cure” bill to allow time to fix human error and offer coverage for many builders. The committee recommended a grant of up to $10,000.
Fort Collins, Colo., has increased impact fees at a rate that outpaces the market need, resulting in only those citizens with above-average means to afford living in the city. The HBA of Northern Colorado requested funding to hire a consulting firm to do an additional impact fee study. They believe that keeping fees at current levels until incomes have risen proportionally to home values will not harm the city and will facilitate attainable housing for the community. The committee recommended a grant of up to $10,000.
In the last two years, the HBA of Greater New Orleans has conducted a lobbying and public relations campaign to combat mandatory inclusionary zoning ordinances, which worsen the housing affordability gap and strike at the heart of free market housing development and construction. This HBA will join forces with the Louisiana HBA as well as local Realtor and apartment associations to ensure passage of a state bill to address this issue through a robust public relations and lobbying effort. The committee recommended a grant of up to $20,000.
The committee will next meet in January before the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando.