The HBA has been recognized for its outstanding advocacy efforts with an Award of Excellence from the Executive Officers Council of the National Association of Home Builders. For the past year the HBA has partnered with Austin’s Development Services Department (DSD) to identify administrative inefficiencies in the development process that are a burden to both industry and staff alike. After identifying these inefficiencies, HBA, DSD and other industry stakeholders brainstormed solutions that proved to be win-win for builders and City staff.
Top 5 items:
Much of our advocacy efforts at the end of 2019 were spent working on the City of Austin’s land development code revision. Last year, the Council renewed their attempts to revise the code after CodeNEXT failed in 2018. The Austin City Council took major steps towards approving a new land development code. The City’s current code was put in place in the 80s and has been amended hundreds of times throughout the years, resulting in confusing and often times conflicting regulations.
In May of 2019, the City adopted a policy guidance document that included many of the HBA’s recommendations. The following October, city staff released the first draft and the HBA worked closely with Council leading up to the first reading adoption of the draft code in December. The conversation will continue into second and third reading in early 2020.
Roadway impact fees
In early 2019, the City of Round Rock adopted roadway impact fees. The initial proposal for the impact fees was rolled out in 2018 and contemplated potentially $10,000 per home impact fee. The HBA educated City Council on the negative effects of the proposal, and City Council ultimately voted down the ordinance and instructed City Staff to revise it. The new proposal gave builders a lower fee, with more time before the fees are enacted, broken up into three separate tiers. One project in Round Rock had their fees reduced from $8.5 million to approximately $1.7 million.
Rally Day at the Capitol
On March 20, 2019, the HBA joined hundreds of other builders from across the state at the TAB Rally Day. Rally Day is our industry’s day to come together at the Texas Capitol and meet with legislators on issues that are important to our business. HBA members headed met with local state representatives and senators, and highlighted key issues facing the building industry during this legislative session. There were many pieces of legislation impacting builders, including but not limited to: property tax reform, housing affordability, local product mandates, and workforce development.
Leander parkland dedication
In November, the City proposed increasing parkland dedication requirements from 3.5 acres per 100 units to 4.5 acres per 100 unites. After analyzing the change, the HBA educated the Council on the financial impact that would have on a typical project. Ultimately, the item was pulled from the agenda saving one project over $1 million.
Williamson County Subdivision Ordinance Task Force
The HBA is serving on a County task force to review its subdivision ordinance. The County is interested in removing barriers for housing. The Task Force is addressing a wide variety of issues including the new Atlas 14 rainfall data, which indicates increased rainfall in central Texas, HB 3167 compliance, road design and other issues. The task force is made up of County Commissioners, builders, developers, engineers and county Staff.