November 5, 2015

Helping State and Local HBAs in Their Advocacy Efforts



In  order to understand the total value of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) we have to look at all parts of  national's efforts to keep our members productive and profitable. The most vital component to NAHB's successes is the national volunteer commitment. NAHB committees are where members from all over the country problem solve. In the past few issues of Association Maximization we have highlighted the work of a few committees, designed to help our  members back home. Today's guest blogger is Greg Ugalde, home builder from Connecticut and one of NAHB's top volunteer leaders. Greg is the current NAHB State & Local Government Affairs Chairman and someone I consider to be a true friend, to me personally and our industry overall.

Helping State and Local HBAs in Their Advocacy Efforts

Greg Ugalde
NAHB’s State & Local Government Affairs Committee is one of the most sought-after committee assignments and year after year its meetings are among the best attended. The committee is in demand because it shapes NAHB’s response to state and local policy issues that have a daily impact on the way our members design communities, build homes and run their businesses.

I’m proud to work with Vice Chairman Justin MacDonald and 2nd Vice Chair Nicole Goolsby and all of the members of our committee. And I have to praise our excellent staff: Jim Tobin, NAHB’s chief lobbyist, Steve Gallagher, vice president for intergovernmental affairs, and the state and local government affairs team of Katie Bernard, Patrick Hogan and Mike Persaud.

Because of their hard work and organizational skills, we’re able to take advantage of cutting-edge technology to run efficient virtual meetings. And when we meet, we get down to business quickly.

We’re working on a wide variety of projects in an effort to make sure NAHB members operate in a fair and reasonable policy environment. For example, we’re working with the Western Governors’ Association to explore ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act. And we’re considering responses to ballot box zoning, a tactic used by anti-growth groups that seek to use state and local ballot initiatives to impose stringent land use policies.

One of the committee’s best tools is the State and Local Issues Fund, which provides financial assistance to HBAs engaged in advocacy on issues that could have implications for HBAs around the country. So far this year the State & Local Government Affairs Committee has recommended, and NAHB’s Executive Committee has approved, funding for nine State and Local Issues Fund applications totaling $135,500.  

Below is a summary of the approved funding requests, beginning with requests considered during the recent fall board meeting in Dallas.

Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead – $10,000 in funding

The Fargo-Moorhead area is on the Red River, which has exceeded the flood stage 49 of the past 110 years. The Army Corps of Engineers identified a diversion project as the best solution for this chronic flooding problem. Diversion will establish permanent flood protection measures for the region and protect the growth of home building in the area.

The funding will help the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead conduct a public relations campaign to combat negative perception of the project.

Southern Nevada Home Builders Association – $20,000 in funding

More than 50% of land in the United States west of the Mississippi is federally owned. In 1998, the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) authorized the sale of 74,000 acres of this land, with landowners holding surface rights for land use and the Federal Government holding rights to subsurface minerals. The Bureau of Land Management has begun investigating removal of materials from these lands. Developers now face penalties for the most basic land improvement activities, such as grading and implementation of drainage plans.

The funding will enable the Southern Nevada HBA to draft model legislation that would prevent sanctions for standard development activities.

BIA of the Bay Area and California Building Industry Association – $20,000 in funding

California is suffering from an unprecedented housing crisis because the price of rents and mortgages are beyond the reach of many households, including middle-class families. Local jurisdictions have adopted high “affordable housing impact fees” because the state has stopped providing public funds for affordable housing.

The funding will enable the BIA of the Bay Area to poll local voters regarding attitudes about affordable housing and mandatory affordable housing exactions.

2015 Spring Board Meeting

Pennsylvania Builders Association -- $15,000 to address a Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection regulation requiring a 150-foot mandatory riparian buffer adjacent to special protection waterways.

Emergency Request, February 2015

California Building Industries Association -- $7,500 to study the Coastal California Gnatcatcher’s listing as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act.

2015 IBS Board Meeting

Colorado Association of Home Builders -- $20,000 to address the spread of extreme construction defect litigation.

Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts -- $12,000 to address an Army Corps of Engineers effort to develop a generic regional General Permit for the six states that make up New England.

Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga -- $15,000 to address MS4 permit requirements for the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.

The Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont -- $16,000 to address Vermont Department of Labor classification of employee versus independent contractor.

A Great Committee Assignment

The State and Local Government Affairs Committee is active on issues of tremendous importance to members. If this work looks interesting to you, then please consider applying to join the committee in 2016.

You still have time. Applications for committee assignments are due Nov. 18. To apply, go to: http://www.nahb.org/en/members/Committees-and-Councils/apply-to-serve.aspx.

The State and Local Government Affairs Committee works hard, addresses challenging issues, and makes a difference for members across the country.



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