HBA Government Affairs Report 11-26-13

November 26, 2013
William Mutch Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy

William Mutch
Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy

HBA Presents during EPC Board of County Commissioners Working Session

Fire Code issue presented

Last week, the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs presented the industry position on the proposed 2009 fire codes to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners. 2013 HBA President John W. Bissett, J.M. Weston Homes; Code Review Committee Chairman Mark Bussone with Vantage Homes; and, Larry Whitaker , YOW ARCHITECTS, PC, presented for HBA. Marla Novak coordinated the presentation and served as the staff lead for the fire code issues. HBA provided information on the two year stakeholder process that has been on-going between HBA members and the Falcon and Black Forest Fire Districts.

The HBA and the Fire Districts found agreement on more than 90% of the fire code issues identified. However, HBA opposed attempts to include stringent commercial fire sprinkler requirements, as well as onerous residential water supply and other costly requirements applying to individual single-family dwelling construction when the code is intended to apply to larger subdivision developments. The working session lasted more than four hours, and included testimony from home owner’s who lost their homes in the Black Forest fire and have been faced with delays from the Falcon and Black Forest Fire Districts.

In addition to a full slide presentation on the costs associated with rebuilding under various fire code scenarios, should the proposed codes be adopted, HBA also provided an advisory letter from NAHB regarding the appropriateness of the HBA position, as well as a legal opinion provided to HBA by the special district law firm of McGeady Sisneros, affirming that the Board of County Commissioners have the authority to amend the fire code presented by the Fire Districts as proposed by the HBA.

In the unincorporated areas of Colorado, new code cycles must be brought forward by the Fire Districts, and are then approved by the Board of County Commissioners. With the work session now completed, we are hopeful the Board of County Commissioners will support the fire codes, with the HBA positions, during a formal session on December 10, 2013. The codes will apply to the Black Forest, Falcon, Westcott, Cimarron Hills, Security, Hanover, and Peyton Fire District boundaries . We will send an additional update about this issue at that time.

We want to thank our presenters, and the HBA members who have volunteered many hours during the stakeholder process. The following deserve special recognition for their contributions to the effort:  Mark Bussone, Larry Whittaker, Scot Gring, John Bissett, Scott Hente, Nate Dowden, Jack Hinton, Dan Potter, Tiffany Overholser, Jim Stiltner, Brad Ausmus, Josh Peterson, PJ Langmaid, Craig Warnimont.

We have included copies of the HBA position letter, the legal opinion from McGeady Sisneros, and the opinion provided by NAHB for your information. Also included below are several links to news reports regarding the proposed new fire codes and the Nov 21st BoCC Fire Code Work Session.

http://www.krdo.com/news/new-fire-codes-coming-to-black-forest-as-rebuilding-efforts-progress/-/417220/21613542/-/b3kraw/-/index.htmlhttp://www.krdo.com/news/El-Paso-County-reviewing-fire-codes-post-wildfire/-/417220/23097408/-/q3qvk2z/-/index.htmlhttp://www.fox21news.com/news/story.aspx?id=974807http://www.firehouse.com/news/11245040/tougher-fire-codes-eyed-for-colo-area-damaged-by-wildfire

We also want to recognize Marla Novak for the dedication and expertise she has provided to the fire code team. Please contact Marla Novak at marla@cshba.com or (719)592-1800 ext 14 for additional information on this issue.

HBA Letter Supports City for Champions

Last week, HBA sent a letter to the Colorado Economic Development Commission supporting the City for Champions application as a major economic development initiative for the City of Colorado Springs and the region. A copy of the letter is attached to this update. The HBA Board of Directors has been a strong supporter of the City for Champions Application, as described in the application: “City for Champions builds upon Colorado Springs’ history as a health destination, a training ground for service men and women, and a sports and fitness hub by advancing a collection of new attractions unique in Colorado—and in some cases, the country. These venues will attract new out-of-state visitors, extend visitor trips, and improve quality of life for residents of the Pikes Peak region and the state. Together, the four City for Champions anchor projects combine synergistically in ways that will add dimension, energy and economy to the Pikes Peak Region.”

The application will be heard on December 4th in Denver and a number of community leaders from Colorado Springs will be attending. The official presentation begins at 9:00 a.m. and the public will be allowed to weigh in from 10:00 a.m. – Noon.

Location:
Wells Fargo Conference Center
1700 Lincoln Street, Hershner Room, Ground Floor Denver, CO
Northeast corner of 17th Avenue and Lincoln Street in downtown Denver

Please let us know if you are interested in attending the hearing or if you would like to submit your own letter of support. We would be happy to assist you with organizations planning transportation, as well as providing you with talking points and the mailing address for letters of support. Learn more about City for Champions at http://www.cityforchampions.com/

Best wishes for your upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, from the HBA Government Affairs team, and everyone at HBA!

William D. Mutch
Director, Government Affairs/Public PolicyHousing & Building Association of Colorado Springs
4585 Hilton Parkway, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

william@cshba.com
719-592-1800 ext. 16
720-308-3497 Cellular


The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs accomplishes a blockbuster membership drive

November 5, 2013

“79 New Members surpasses wildest expectations and shows industry resurgence.”

Last week, during a membership drive at the Housing & Building Association, volunteer teams of HBA members succeeded in surpassing all of their goals for new membership by signing 79 new HBA members and increasing the association’s total membership to more than 550. We would also like to welcome 5 new Industry Supporters!

“We are simply thrilled with the enthusiastic response our teams received from prospective members about supporting the mission of the Housing & Building Association. It is certainly gratifying to receive such a strong endorsement from the community. Nothing says you are on the right track more than bringing in new companies who are eager to get involved,” said John Bissett, 2013 HBA President.

“In addition to the realization that getting involved in the HBA is good for your businesses, and the local government affairs advocacy support we provide is an essential association value, we also see this membership resurgence as a testimony to the growing strength of the building industry in our region. While many business obstacles still remain, ranging from interest rate uncertainties and the flat numbers we are seeing for job creation, we are seeing a positive trend in building permits, new applications for development and jobs for skilled labor are also in high-demand. These are all signs that point to a positive trend that building is coming back and we look forward to the multiplier effect this will provide throughout the economy,” added Bissett.

The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs is organized to promote the mission of affordable home ownership. The Association accomplishes these goals through a local government affairs program and also provides substantial networking, leadership development, education, and other business development opportunities for our membership.

To learn more about HBA, go to our website www.cshba.com. For membership inquiries, contact Brianna Colbrunn at 719-592-1800.


5,863 Reasons to Support HBA…..and Counting

July 8, 2011

Kyle Campbell, 2011 HBA President

OK, to be honest, I lost count at 2,717 and started estimating after that.  I’m referring to the pages of Code, Design Specifications and Regulations in some of the more commonly used manuals in this development community.  Most of us use them daily or have heard of them: EL Paso County Land development Code, City/County Drainage Criteria Manual, Regional Building Code, Colorado Springs Utilities Service Standards, and the list goes on and on.  I’m not here to debate the need for these regulations, or if there are too few (never the case), or too many (always the case), but instead the effort the HBA goes to ensure that these regulations don’t negatively impact the building and development industry.

Currently, the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association has several active committees that help to oversee these documents: Land Use, Utilities, Utilities Working Group, Code, and Public Policy.   Based on our organization’s positive and healthy relationship with the jurisdictions that control these documents, we are fortunate to be invited to participate in discussions about revisions and additions.  As everyone knows, the best intentions sometimes have unintended consequences.  A proposal to require a new widget may make sense for the person making the recommendation, but if that widget is not readily available, or costs four times the amount of the currently approve widget (that functions well), a debate needs to occur.   Even a misplaced comma can create a different intent than what was envisioned by the preparer.   The HBA’s critique is valuable in providing a balanced view of regulatory impacts and benefits, and without membership participation, this effort would not be nearly as successful as it has been.  As municipalities embark on streamlining efforts and looking at ways to unencumber the building and development process, industry participation is paramount. 

Several efforts are currently underway including an effort to streamline the El Paso County Land Development Code juggernaut, a total update of the City/County Drainage Criteria Manual and yearly updates of various other documents.  No one person can possibly understand and keep abreast of all of the various components of these manuals so the process to review and clearly understand the benefits or impacts of the proposed changes is of supreme importance. 

It’s important to thank every member who has participated in the past and given selflessly of their time to protect the building industry in the less than glamorous task of reading a lot of pages of material.   Review of these manuals is daunting and requires special focus and consideration of many factors.  Implementation schedule, cost, scheduling impact and correlation with other jurisdictional requirements are just a few of the peripheral questions that must be considered during review.  Please stay committed.

Please consider making a continuing resolution to seek out and commit to participating in any of the various HBA committees that exist to benefit membership and the industry.  Your individual experience and expertise is vital in maintaining a healthy and positive building environment in our community.

Kyle  Campbell
HBA President, 2011
Classic Homes

Original Publication in The HOMEFRONT, February 2011