Advocacy

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The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin is your voice and advocate at City Council. We worke tirelessly to ensure that the regulatory environment in the greater Austin area encourages growth and development and doesn’t restrict it. Whether it’s working on an Ordinance, testifying at Council, or helping our members with a permit delay or issue—we are here to represent YOU!

  • Accessory Dwelling Units
  • Administrative Rules and Policy Changes
  • Code Adoptions and Updates
  • Density Bonus Programs
  • Electronic Permit and Plan Submittal
  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Impact Fees
  • Inspections and Review
    • Delays
    • Need for improved city employee training
  • Infill Tools
    • Small Lot Amnesty
  • Labor Laws
  • Lobbying
  • Masonry Requirements
  • Parkland Dedication
  • Permit Fees
  • Planned Unit Developments
  • Rough Proportionality
  • Smart Housing
  • Utilities
    • Georgetown Utility/Chisolm Trail Merger
    • Austin Energy Extension Fees
    • Austin Water Tap Plans
  • Visitability
  • Water
  • Zero Waste
  • Zoning
    • Inclusionary Zoning
    • Historic Preservation Districts
    • Zoning un-zoned land
  • Zucker Report Implementation
If you have a passion for Government Affairs and Public Policy then please consider joining us at our monthly Government Relations Committee(GRC) meet where we discuss the various issues in our 6 county area. Meetings are held on the 1st Thursday of every month at the HBA offices.
The only thing equally as important as our Government Affairs work, is the work of our Political Action Committee (PAC), HomePAC. The purpose of HomePAC is to elect and support candidates that understand our industry, and will be advocates for it, once they are elected.

Learn how you can get involved in HomePAC:

Get Involved Donate to HomePAC

 

2017 Policy Issue Victories:

  1. City of Austin Development Services Department Efficiency Meetings
    In October, the HBA and the Development Services Department agreed to conduct ongoing meetings with each division manager in the department to identify and resolve inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the development process. The HBA started with the Trees Division, where we met with Keith Mars and his team over the course of several weeks where a handful of simple but important issues were resolved, including a Plan Review Checklist for Tree Permits, non-impacted tree track, draft tree notes, and additional capabilities in the AMANDA system.
  2. City of Leander Three Car Garage Solution
    In March of 2017, the City of Leander made a number of sweeping changes to the Composite Zoning Ordinance, which included new zoning uses and changes to architectural components and standards. One of the many changes made during this overhaul was a prohibition on street facing three car garages on any lot, regardless of the width of the lot. For months, the HBA has worked with a Leander councilmember to support a solution that would allow street facing three-car garages on lots 60’ or wider.
  3. HBA is Awarded $20,000 Grant from NAHB
    In October, the HBA applied for a grant from the National Association of Home Builders’ State & Local Issues Fund. In early December, the HBA was notified that it had been granted $20,000, the maximum amount that could be granted. The grant will be used to assist the HBA in its CodeNEXT efforts, including hiring consultants, developing and distributing marketing collateral, and assisting with field operations.
  4. HBA joins Evolve Austin; Amplifies CodeNEXT Efforts
    The City of Austin is rewriting its entire land development code for the first time in over thirty years. Given the importance of this issue, and the political landscape of the local politics, the HBA made the decision to invest in an organization called Evolve Austin. Evolve is a coalition of business and industry leaders as well as over 30 nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity, Walk Austin, and the Affordable Housing Coalition. Through Evolve, the HBA has solidified its influence in the shaping of the new code. The Evolve Research Team is chaired by an HBA board member, who leads a group of industry and policy experts in creating white pages and policy positions that are then shared with elected officials.
  5. City of Kyle Style Guidelines Corrected
    Earlier this year, several HBA members and the City of Kyle underwent a thorough stakeholder process to deliberate a change to the building aesthetic regulations in the City of Kyle. Several months later, when the City of Kyle published its Style Guidelines, there were some inconsistencies between the guidelines and previously agreed upon regulations. After an HBA member brought this inconsistency to staff, the HBA worked with the mayor, and presented the case to council. After testimony was given, the council agreed to correct the error and directed staff to draft the new ordinance, effective immediately.

2016 Policy Issue Victories:

  1. Leander Masonry Ordinance
    The HBA and several members successfully pushed back against proposed amendments that would’ve severely restricted the use of stucco as a building material. Thanks to our efforts, Leander City Council rejected the original proposal and directed staff to go back to the drawing board and use our feedback as the starting point.
  2. Austin Volume Builder Program
    For several years, the City of Austin’s Volume Builder Program had fallen to the wayside and was nearly non-existent. Working with several of our members, a revamped version of this program was developed and then tested in a small pilot program. After several weeks of testing and seeing drastic improvements in wait times and processing, we jointly rolled out the new program to our Volume Builders with the City of Austin.
  3. Bastrop Subdivision Regulations
    As development continues to push out east of I-35, the HBA was appointed to a Bastrop County Task force to re-write and update the County’s subdivision regulations which had not been updated in over 10 years. Using the technical expertise from our members, the HBA was a key voice in the update which will make future development in Bastrop easier, and more efficient.
  4. Travis PID Task Force
    The HBA was also appointed to a Travis County task force to examine additional labor requirements on Public Improvement Districts (PIDs). These new requirements are being pushed by the Workers Defense Project who’s Better Builder Program requirements add significant costs and barriers to development, while ignoring common industry practices and free-market enterprise. The task force ultimately voted to recommend (with the HBA and other industry orgs opposing) these new requirements on PID projects, but the HBA was successful at getting residential projects exempt.
  5. Preservation of Infill Building
    Throughout the year, the City of Austin made several attempts at restricting certain types of infill building by removing tools needed to build infill product. The HBA was successful in shutting down a proposed change to the Garage and FAR requirements and managed to get “no” votes at Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. Later in the year, the HBA was also able to halt the addition of several new requirements for demolition permits and historic zoning.
  6. Electing the Right Candidates
    One of the most critical aspects to our advocacy successes is ensuring that candidates who understand our industry are elected to office. This year HomePAC spent over $45,000 to make sure that our voice is present in the elected offices throughout our area.

2015 Policy Issue Victories:

  1. Pushed back against the city’s Lobbying Ordinance and worked with other real estate development organizations to successfully alter the proposed resolution with over 7 amendments.(Austin)
  2. Worked to change an anti-growth/development Parkland Dedication Ordinance, to one that considers costs and the need to create more housing. Passed without amendments from Council.(Austin)
  3. Fought to preserve future growth through supporting two candidates, while managing the creation and mailing of 6 Direct Mail pieces and raising over $30,000 from the community for those campaigns. (San Marcos)
  4. Received recognition for development of the “Sensible Landscaping Guidelines”(Austin and LCRA)
  5. Continued to build and grow relationships with elected officials, resulting in over 60 in attendance at our elected officials night.
  6. Provided testimony at over dozen city Council Meetings and met with council and city staff at over 100 meetings.

 

  • Recent Advocacy News

    • Since March of 2017, the HBA has been negotiating with the City of Leander on a solution to allow its members to build street facing three car garages. The proposed solution will allow for builders to build homes with street facing three-car garages on lots 60’ or wider. In late December, Leander City Council took up Read more »

    • HBA members come together to honor our local elected officials for the 12th consecutive year. Dozens of elected officials attended the event, giving HBA members an opportunity to talk with them about key issues in the industry and build relationships. Granger Macdonald, NAHB chairman was the keynote speaker. Macdonald touched on highlights affecting the industry Read more »

    • “We have to cut property taxes,” Abbott said. “I would think that is the number one issue.” Abbott, who frequently talks about his mission to stop the Californiacation of Texas, said he is also concerned about the “Illinoisification” of the Lone Star State, and that property taxes in Texas were now “up near” Illinois. Read Read more »

    • Local control was a recurring theme during the 85th Texas Legislative session, and many of those policy debates will continue during the upcoming special session. When Gov. Greg Abbott announced the 20 items that will be taken up by lawmakers, some of them seemed plainly targeted at City of Austin policies. “Some local governments like Read more »

    • And they’re back: State lawmakers return to the Capitol today to tackle business left unfinished during a divisive legislative session that ended in May. But a seven-week break doesn’t appear to have mended their ill will.  This article serves as a great refresher for special session at the Capitol, which kicked off last Tuesday. Read Read more »

    • The City of Cedar Park is updating its land development code. They have released their first draft, and the HBA is reviewing the draft.  We will continue to monitor the process, and will provide comment as necessary. 

    • July 14th was the deadline for the proposed Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program.  The CodeNEXT task force reviewed the program, and found several areas of concern, highlighted below: Limiting the base entitlement values will result in a net loss of housing units, even with the bonus program. Although some developers may opt to utilize the program, Read more »

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