Referred Measure Proposed by Castle Rock Would Impose New Excise Tax on Residential Development
The Castle Rock Town Council continues to move forward on a proposed referred ballot measure to provide additional resources for police, fire, parks and open space. The proposed ballot question passed unanimously on First reading on July 10. The $7 per square foot new home construction tax would only apply to new multi-family and single-family residences. While the proposal may prove popular with existing residents who will receive the benefits off added public safety programs without bearing the tax burden, it is an extremely unfair way to treat future residents who will be paying an additional $15,000 to $25,000 on the price of their homes. There has always been a longstanding expectation in Colorado that new development pays for itself, but the idea that new development also covers the public services of existing residents is completely unfair and will only exacerbate the affordable housing crisis in Castle Rock and across the Front Range. The HBA of Metro Denver has submitted a formal letter to Council highlighting our concerns, testified at the July 10 hearing and met with Town Manager David Corliss, who seems intent on bringing this measure before voters in November. The measure is scheduled for a second reading vote on August 15. We will continue reaching out to Council members to share our concerns. We will continue to keep our members updated on this issue.
HBA of Metro Denver Establishing 2021 Comprehensive Code Taskforce
This year, 11 different municipalities within our jurisdiction will be undergoing a comprehensive code update and we need your help. The HBA is looking for qualified members who are willing to familiarize themselves with and advocate on behalf of our proposed amendments to the 2021 international codes that will directly impact our industry. To this end, our association will be organizing a taskforce that will meet intermittently through the end of this year to thoughtfully evaluate, discuss and propose the necessary recommendations. This process will have a direct impact on every facet of the homebuilding industry and the product we bring to market, so please consider getting involved. If you are interested, please email Morgan Cullen at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know you would like to volunteer. Thank you for your consideration.
From Conflict to Compassion: A Colorado Housing Development Blueprint for Transformational Change
The Common Sense Institute, a nonpartisan Colorado research organization, has put together a blueprint to help solve the state’s growing housing affordability crisis. The research and policy ideas of the paper were informed by more than 40 conversations and interviews with housing experts across Colorado. According to the organization, the methodology used was to simply ask the questions no one else is asking. What are the force multipliers? Where are the rabbit holes? Where are they doing it right? Why is no one talking about but needs to be part of the conversation? If you had the magic wand for the day, how would you fix this issue? It was the conversations around these questions that shaped their thoughts, influenced their recommendations, and in some cases, changed their minds. The study has been published and is available here. HBA of Metro Denver hopes the ideas contemplated by this publication help drive further conversations and the policy decisions that bring about positive change.
Broomfield Council Approves 2,000-foot Reverse Setback Requirement for Preproduction Wells
On July 27, the Broomfield City Council approved a 2000-foot reverse setback ordinance for new development during the preproduction phase of oil and gas development. Councilmembers had previously agreed on a 2,000-foot setback for preproduction wells and to exempt properties within proposed setback distances, but discussions broke down when it became apparent this would significantly limit the ability for additional residential development in key areas of the city. During their June 8 meeting, City Council appeared conflicted about the proposal because it would likely negate an 1,800-unit senior living facility being proposed at a time when affordable options for senior residents are at a crisis point in the city. This prompted Council to table a proposed Second reading vote until later in July for the preproduction setbacks. It is important to note that builders and developers with vested property rights are exempted from the new ordinance. Staff testified at the July hearing, sharing the HBA’s concerns about how future setback requirements could impact the future growth and economic development of the municipality. Council is tentatively scheduled to work on additional setbacks for production phase and plugged and abandoned wells later this year. We will continue to monitor this issue closely.
Denver Updates Excavation, Benching and Shoring Requirements and Required Notifications
Denver has updated its excavation, benching and shoring requirements for IRC Structures, as outlined in Denver’s Building Code Policy Admin 130.2A. For our active builders in Denver, this policy change is one that happened very quickly and without sufficient notification. The collective concern is that the new policies will drive additional permitting (timeline and cost) requirements and possibly additional costs/delays in the field. Builders in Denver are already struggling to get permits in a timely manner in order to hit business plan numbers, and this certainly is going to further slow down this process. It appears our builders were caught off guard by this requirement, and the HBA is working with the city to see if some temporary changes can be made to give our members an opportunity to adjust to the new requirements. That was the basis for the letter we sent on July 7 and our follow up outreach efforts. We will continue to keep our members updated on any new developments. In the meantime, additional information regarding notifications of adjoining structures can be found in the DBC IBC Section 3307.1 (page 157) of the Denver Building and Fire Code. The requirements are further outlined on page 6 of the Master and Type-Approved (TA) Permitting Guide.
Erie Continues Update of the Town’s Unified Development Code (UDC)
In November 2020, the Erie Board of Trustees adopted changes to various chapters of the Town’s Unified Development Code (UDC) that addressed several of the items identified by the HBA’s Joint Task Force (JTF) group that was active in 2019 and 2020. This year, the Town drafted language to update the remaining sections of the UDC related to new residential development as well as a residential Development Design Standards book for incorporation into the Town’s standards. The intent of the proposed changes is to incorporate the feedback received through the JTF group to date, including increasing flexibility and aligning the Town’s standards with today’s residential product types; clarifying and enhancing the Town’s design standards through the creation of the Development Design Standards book; and general clean-up of outdated portions of the code. By leveraging the hard work and expertise of our membership active in Erie, the HBA recently provided a complete review of the new proposals, provided written feedback to municipal staff and participated in a follow up meeting with the Town to ensure our concerns were accurately understood.
Save the Date – MHC 2021 Political Forum at the Highlands Ranch Mansion – September 29
The Metro Housing Coalition hosts one premier event every year – The Political Forum. While last year’s Forum was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19, we are excited to be holding the event again this year at the Highlands Ranch Mansion on September 29. Information regarding tickets and table purchases will be available shortly.
CAHB Water Taskforce to Begin Meeting on August 11
The Colorado Association of Homebuilder’s Water Taskforce will begin meeting on August 11, and all interested HBA Members are invited to attend. The taskforce meets intermittently throughout the interim to discuss the prevailing water issues of the day and their impact on the residential construction industry. Issues like conservation, the Colorado Water Plan, ongoing drought mitigation efforts and other issues will be thoroughly deliberated and discussed. If you are interested in participating, please contact Rachel Lee at email@example.com for more information.