Multifamily Builders Bring Floodplain Worries to White House

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Environmental, Multifamily by on August 22, 2016 0 Comments
NAHB staff enjoyed a sunny day but had a serious messge for OMB regarding the flood risk management standard.

NAHB enjoyed a sunny day but had a serious message for OMB regarding HUD’s plans for a new flood risk management standard.

Steve Lawson, a multifamily builder from Virginia Beach, Va., and NAHB staff met last week with White House Office of Management and Budget officials to voice their concerns regarding HUD’s forthcoming Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) regulation.

The FFRMS expands floodplain management requirements well-beyond long-standing rules tied to the 100-year floodplain.

Misapplying these rules to FHA multifamily mortgage insurance programs and requirements to elevate new and substantially improved multifamily structures above the new floodplain limits will have a negative impact on the cost and availability of multifamily projects, Lawson and NAHB staff told federal officials.

In response to NAHB efforts last spring, the agencies implementing the FFRMS clarified that the expanded floodplain management requirements only apply to “federally funded” projects.

NAHB stressed that the FFRMS should not be applied to FHA mortgage insurance programs as they do not constitute “federally funded projects.” Additionally, Lawson and NAHB staff argued that prior to implementing the new floodplain requirements, HUD must at a minimum provide maps depicting its extent.

“Without maps of the new floodplain, builders and developers using HUD programs will face unnecessary uncertainty as they plan multifamily projects. As a small business owner, this additional uncertainty could result in delays and expenses that could render an entire project infeasible,” Lawson said.

Small Business Administration and HUD staff also participated in the meeting.

NAHB anticipates that the White House will soon sign off on the proposal and return it to HUD, which will then publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register. At that time, NAHB will comment before it goes final.

For more information, contact Owen McDonough, program manager for environmental policy, at 800-368-5242 x8662 or Michelle Kitchen, director for multifamily finance & affordable housing, at 800-368-5242 x8352.

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