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The Advocate | April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021

Please contact Morgan Cullen, or 303-551-6730 with questions about any content within this monthly newsletter, or to become engaged in any of the HBA of Metro Denver's Technical or Regulatory Committees.

Jobsite Safety Committee: OSHA Update for Construction - April 8th, 8:00AM
This discussion will cover updates regarding the new administration and management for OSHA as well as current inspection emphasis programs and initiatives in the construction industry. The recent executive order and employer obligations for protecting workers during the COVID-19 pandemic will also be covered. Register for this informative session today!City of Denver Hiring New Chief Building Official
The City and County of Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department (CPD) is seeking an innovative and dynamic Chief Building Official (CBO). Denver Recruiting Manager Christa Trifanoff reached out to the HBA of Metro Denver in March to help get the word out and provide our members the opportunity to provide input. If any HBA members have recommendations on a qualified candidate, please let Christa know. A recruitment brochure for the position is available here.Brighton City Council Set to Increase Water Dedication Fee In-Lieu Rate
Brighton utility staff updated City Council on the current water fee in-lieu of dedication rate during their March 23rd study session. Staff highlighted that while the City has purchased an additional 300-acre feet of water over the past three years, that amount has not kept pace with the 543-acre feet that has been dedicated to new development. In order to meet the current level of demand and cover the municipality’s costs, the City is proposing an increase to fee in-lieu rate from $11,000 to $17,000. This proposed fee structure was an average based on a typical residential development of 8-units per acre and could be adjusted based on the density of the site plan. The increase was justified on the need to increase their local supply of water by purchasing regionally – which is more expensive. Members of council appear to broadly support the staff recommendations and want to revisit the fee in-lieu rates each year going forward to make sure costs are being covered and that new development is paying its own way. The HBA of Metro Denver will continue to monitor this issue going forward and would appreciate any feedback on the cost impact from our active member in the municipality.

Town of Erie Conducting Development Review and Building Fees Update
The Town of Erie is considering adopting the 2012 ICC Building Valuation Table for calculating building permits fees and amending the fees schedule to reflect a single fee for land use in Erie. The board of trustees sees the increase as an incremental and reasonable increase to help cover costs and appears to have the unanimous support of the entire Town board at the moment. Our own analysis of the fee rate schedule indicates a $215 aggregate increase per dwelling unit in Erie, which seems appears fairly modest given the amount of time that has transpired since the last time these fees were adjusted. If any of our active builders in the area have any thoughts or concerns, we would appreciate any input you can provide.

Lakewood City Council Considering Reforms to Metro Districts
On March 15, the Lakewood City Council met to review the metro district reform proposals that came out of the Development Dialogue Review Committee. At this stage, the proposals are general in nature, covering familiar topics like disclosure, the makeup of district boards, limitations on metro district debt and developer loan interest, without going into too many specifics. Also being considered by council is a city-wide prohibition of metro districts in the municipality. The HBA of Metro Denver has been in regular contact with the Mayor and the formative City Council members that will be influential in making any final decisions. The Council has agreed to take the issue up again on April 19. Any HBA members with a vested interest in this issue are encouraged to reach out to Morgan Cullen for more information.

City of Arvada Conducting 2021 Affordable Housing Strategy
Arvada City Council included a performance outcome in its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan that by December 2021 the City would implement an affordable housing strategy. The purpose of the 2021 review is to develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve future housing diversity and develop policies aligned with practical, functional strategies that provide clear future outcomes for housing affordability in Arvada. To this end, Arvada has contracted with Root Policy Research, which has recommended a number of policy proposals for the City to consider including:

  • Establishing a committee to implement the City’s affordable housing action plan and support affordable housing development.
  • Incorporating additional development incentives into the City’s land development code.
  • Allocating publicly owned land (and/or acquire vacant or underutilized properties) for affordable and mixed-income housing.
  • Implement a foreclosure/eviction prevention program.
  • Establish a local funding source for housing by collecting linkage fees from developers.
  • Leverage existing resources to facilitate affordable housing development.

While this year-long process has only recently begun in earnest, HBA of Metro Denver will be monitoring Arvada’s housing strategy over the course of this year and provide input where necessary. It will be important to make sure that City Council has a full understanding of the unintended consequences that can result from policies like linkage fees on housing affordability.

Thornton Suspends Water Tap Fee Increase
Last month, the HBA reported on the City of Thornton’s proposed connection fee increase set to go into effect early next year – increasing the connection rate for single-family homes from $24,000 to more than $40,000, a more than 62% increase. The association submitted a letter to Thornton City Council outlining our general opposition and concerns about the impact the new fees would have on home prices in the City. It appears a significant number of council members also agreed with our assessment and have decided to put the fee increase on hold for the remainder of the year, while  requesting a more sustainable solution be proposed. This will continue to remain and ongoing issue for the association, and we will continue to need the proactive assistance of our membership. A copy of the HBA’s formal letter can be viewed here.

HBA of Metro Denver Issue Tracker
Questions on what is happening in a specific City or County? The HBA is regularly monitoring the council and board activities in every political subdivision in the Metro Denver area. Our Issue Tracker offers a great resource to learn about the issues being deliberated with links to agendas, packets and links ordinances. The HBA of Metro Denver Issue Tracker is available to all members here.

All HBA Joint Taskforce Groups Now Meeting Regularly
Over the years, the HBA of Metro Denver has implemented joint taskforce groups in tier 1 areas to provide a consistent line of communication between municipal staff and the residential building community. To date, the Aurora, Denver and Thornton JTFs have all met at least once this year to discuss a number of important issues currently being deliberated by these city councils. In Aurora, this month’s JTF discussion primarily focused on engineering review challenges that the residential building community has been dealing with and how to improve efficiency, remove unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles and better streamline the process. In Thornton, discussion primarily centered around the City’s ongoing water pipeline project, a status update on the rezoning request for the East Creek Farms development, and the City Council deliberations surrounding updated requirements to its model service plan governing metropolitan districts. The Denver Joint Taskforce will be meeting at the beginning of April for key updates on the City’s Net Zero Initiative, Housing Affordability Project and its 2021 ICC Code update. Any HBA members interested in participating in the organization’s JTFs are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please contact Morgan Cullen for more information.

All of the HBA of Metro Denver's Regulatory and Technical Committees are meeting regularly – Join today and make your voice heard!

As a volunteer-driven organization, the HBA's Jobsite Safety Committee, Permitting Committee, Regulated Utilities Committee and Stormwater Management Committee help guide the HBA's events and activities throughout the year. Consider joining one — or more — if you want to build strong, long-lasting relationships and make a difference to your fellow HBA members, while sharpening your leadership skills. Please visit the HBA website for more information or reach out to Morgan Cullen if you are ready to participate.

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