The Advocate | May 4, 2021
May 4, 2021
Virtual Meetings with Colorado Congressional Delegation Scheduled for May – RSVP Today
NAHB’s Bringing Housing Home® is an opportunity for our members to conduct in-district meetings with our U.S. representatives and senators. These meetings are key to strengthening relationships with our Washington lawmakers and to keep the housing industry as a priority in Congress. We encourage your participation in these meetings, which will be conducted entirely via Zoom this year. Our congressional delegation wants to meet with you, their constituent, not just the CAHB and local HBA staffs. With that in mind, we encourage you to join the meeting with your respective House representative and either or both meetings with our U.S. senators.
Each of our members provide an important perspective as industry practitioners. These are meetings on behalf of NAHB, so as you can imagine, we will primarily discuss federal housing and construction issues. Please review NAHB’s 2021 Legislative Priorities brochure so that you understand the issues we are tasked with conveying to our members of congress this year. Below is a schedule of this year’s meetings with our Congressional Delegation:
- Rep. Diana DeGette – Tuesday, May 4 at 2:00 pm
- Rep. Ken Buck – Tuesday, May 4 at 1:30 pm
- Senator John Hickenlooper – Wednesday, May 5 at 7:30 am
- Rep. Jason Crow – Wednesday, May 5 at 12:30 pm
We encourage you to participate and help us bring housing home to our congressional delegation. For more information and to register for the meeting, please contact Corinne Burch and specify which meetings you would like to attend.
In his May update, NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke promoted Bringing Housing Home® — the key Federation-wide event taking place this week, urging members from around the country to meet with federal lawmakers in their home districts to discuss important issues impacting the housing industry and their communities.
OSHA 10-Hour Industry Outreach Course – May 18-19, 2021
The HBA Jobsite Safety Committee has organized an OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry Outreach course on May 18 – 19 and is open to all HBA members. The 10-Hour Outreach Training Program teaches workers about their rights and employer responsibilities as well as how to recognize, abate, and prevent job-related hazards on residential construction sites. Please contact Morgan Cullen for more information or to register for this event.
City of Aurora Announces Changes to Planning and Review Process
The HBA has conducted several meetings in Aurora over the past two months on the Development Review Process for engineering projects. On March 2, we convened a meeting with City Manager Jim Twombly and municipal staff from the Office of Development Assistance. The meeting centered around what has become a slow planning and review process by the City for public works engineering applications. We also had a follow up discussion regarding this same issue with a broader group of stake holders at our Joint Taskforce meeting on March 4. These meetings, along with outreach to City Council conducted by the HBA and our members, appear to have been effective. At the behest of City Councilmembers Marsha Berzins and David Gruber, a staff update was made by Aurora Public Works Director Cindy Colip to the Planning and Economic Development Committee about how the City is going to resolve the unacceptable delays in its review process. According to City staff, the on-time review performance was at 48 percent, but in the first three months of this year, it has increased to 69 percent. City staff is now contracting with Bohannan Huston Inc. as consultants and to assist staff with reviews. The City is also adding an additional supervisor and two additional review staff to help improve workflows. Finally, the City has indicated that it is improving supervision and prioritizing the importance of the pre-app process to make sure problems are dealt with on the front end to avoid late-stage surprises that can slow up the process. The HBA will continue to engage in this effort and do everything we can to assist the City to reach its ultimate goal of 100 percent of applications completed on time.
HBA April 8 OSHA Virtual Session Now Available Online
On April 8, the HBA of Metro Denver Jobsite Safety Committee sponsored a training session with OSHA Compliance Specialist John Olaechea. The session covered several updates to the agency’s health and safety regulations, as well what it is currently prioritizing during inspections of the residential-construction industry. A recording of the session is available on the HBA of Metro Denver website.
City of Centennial to Conduct in Depth Housing Review Process
Centennial City Council recently started a general review regarding housing in the City with the intent of creating a vision for meeting the near- and long-term needs of its residents. Municipal staff (Sturgeon/Houlne/Marciniak/Morgan) provided broad presentations on the current state of housing in the City that centered around geographic, demographic and socio-economic statistics. The Council then had a general conversation, with each council member given 3 minutes to discuss their ideas, concerns and priorities. Because this was the first meeting on this issue, everything was fairly general in nature and no specific policy proposals were put forward. It should be noted that most of the conversation focused on affordability and the need to continue to attract new residents to the community, as well as retaining existing residents. With this objective in mind, the Council would like to increase the diversity of residential dwelling units to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of potential buyers with varying income levels. The HBA has reached out to members of Council to let them know that the HBA will be following the conversation and would be happy to assist with any questions or requests for resources that they may need.
Implementation of Denver’s Net Zero Program Picks Up Momentum
HBA held its Denver JTF quarterly meeting for the year on March 31. Most of this meeting focused on the City’s Net Zero Energy initiative that it will be implemented over the course of this year. The objective of the NZE initiative as it relates to the homebuilding industry is to implement a comprehensive update to Denver’s ICC code, requiring all new homes built in Denver to be fully electric and net zero by 2024. This means that new residential housing units will have to be highly energy efficient, all-electric, powered by renewable energy and providers of demand flexibility for the grid. Obviously, this represents a monumental shift in the way homes will have to be constructed in Denver. The HBA of Metro Denver has set up a subsequent meeting with City staff at the Office of Sustainability to discuss what we need to do to make sure our industry is properly represented on any established stakeholder and working groups for both NZE and the 2021 Code Revision. We will continue to keep the HBA Executive Committee and the GAC informed on these developments.
Denver To Begin Implementing New Transportation Demand Management Strategy in May
In an effort to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) in Denver, City staff are in the process of initiating and implementing a new transportation demand management program that will place burdens on new residential and commercial development. Beginning in June, all new residential developments with more than 25 dwelling units will have to include a TDM plan during the permitting review that will include specific programmatic or infrastructure-related steps the development will take to reduce traffic congestion. These can include a variety of different options such as subsidized EcoPasses, car-share programs, protected bicycle parking and designated showers and locker rooms for commuters. The City will be conducting a stakeholder meeting with interested parties on May 31 to discuss the new program and solicit feedback from the public. More information regarding the program is available on the City’s website by clicking here.
Lakewood City Council to Consider Series of Metro District Reform Measures in June
Lakewood continues to hold discussions on metro district reform. The City is reviewing a series of proposals, which run the spectrum of adding guardrails to metro district service plans to an outright ban on new districts. HBA staff has held meetings with members of Lakewood City Council on the proposed staff recommendations. The first two full-council study sessions presented the Development Dialogue Committee’s initial proposals on March 15 and April 19. A proposed final Council meeting on the subject is scheduled for June 21, with the objective to discuss and determine consensus on proposals that have been put forward and provide direction to municipal staff to finalize a draft ordinance for consideration. The HBA will be reaching out to the relevant committee members in Lakewood prior to this meeting and will be following all new developments closely.
Thornton City Council Considering Amendments to Model Service Plan Governing Metro Districts
Thornton is considering updates to its model service plan governing metropolitan districts. Potential reform areas include mill levies, debt/interest rates, fee limits and greater transparency/disclosure requirements. The HBA submitted two letters to appropriate City staff and held follow up meetings to go through our concerns on the initial staff recommendations. The City Council has since held three meetings on metro districts. The first two were purely educational in nature and no specific proposals to modify service plan requirements were presented. City Council attempted to take up the staff recommended changes to its service plan on April 20 but quickly postponed the discussion when it became apparent that it was simply too much information for the Council to absorb in the time allotted. Council and staff agreed to set up multiple planning sessions in the coming months to provide ample time to properly discuss and study the various proposals. HBA staff will be paying close attention to these upcoming study sessions and provide any outreach to Council and staff to make sure our concerns are fully recognized and considered. More information regarding Thornton’s recommended proposals on metro districts is available on the City’s website here.
Metro Housing Coalition-Backed Candidates Victorious in Parker City Council Election
The HBA’s Metro Housing Coalition supported two candidates in an April 20 special election in Parker to fill two vacant seats on City Council. The HBA’s fundraising and political organization provided both direct and indirect contributions to help solidify a business-friendly majority in Parker. Candidate Joshua Rivero was the night’s top vote-getter with 4,616 votes, and candidate Anne Barrington came in second with 3,223 votes. With 27 percent of the vote out of seven candidates in the race, Rivero won handedly. However, Anne Barrington was able to clinch the other seat by a much smaller margin, with just a little over 2 percent in front of third-place finisher Nate Matthews. Such a close margin of victory clearly reinforces that the early and late support by the MHC helped to secure her victory and seat on Parker’s City Council. More information on the Parker Special Election Results is available 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.