FAA Bill Includes Key Housing Affordability Provisions

Filed in Capitol Hill, Codes and Regulations by on September 28, 2018 3 Comments


This post has been updated.

The House and Senate have passed a five-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that contains a key provision championed by NAHB that will add a three-year delay for a major building and affordability barrier that would have started in the Pacific Northwest and quickly spread throughout the country.

NAHB also posted important wins on the codes side of the ledger that will boost housing affordability.

At issue is a 2016 biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service that would have required the National Flood Insurance Program to take the Endangered Species Act into consideration when building and updating flood maps, among a number of other programmatic changes.

These requirements would have drastically limited the location and size of development, added red tape and dramatically increased costs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages the development of the flood maps at the federal level, and any changes in the rules to creating and maintaining maps would affect the entire country, regardless of the location of the initial Fisheries Service ruling.

The intent of the flood insurance program was never to protect endangered species, but to ensure the safety of development in the floodplain. NAHB will continue to work with Congress, and the states that are in line to be immediately affected — Oregon, California and Florida — to ensure that new construction continues to be safe and affordable, and not unnecessarily burdened.

Moreover, at NAHB’s urging, the legislation assures that states will be able to receive funds from FEMA if they adopt either of the two latest editions of the relevant consensus-based codes, such as the 2018 or 2015 editions of the International Building Code or International Residential Code.

Some lawmakers had urged that funds be made available only if states adopted the most recent building consensus code. NAHB successfully argued that this criteria would be too restrictive and needlessly harm housing affordability. This provision on the two-code cycle has a five-year sunset.

In another important win, we also worked with lawmakers to preserve the ability of states to amend the latest building codes to address the specific needs of local communities. This will encourage, through voluntary incentives, the construction of resilient homes, infrastructure and communities.

Trump is expected to sign the FAA reauthorization bill soon.

For more information, contact Jessica Hall at 800-368-5242 x8253 or Lake Coulson at x8510.

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Comments (3)

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  1. It would be nice to see a movement initiative to encourage affordable housing for our aging population in communities where they’ve lived their whole life and want to stay, but due to physical and/or health related restrictions, they’re unable to afford to stay.
    In some areas there continues to be a consistent growth of multiple story buildings that lack the universal concept of age friendly livability, according to the World Health Organization.

    What are we doing in this country to support our tremendously growing baby boomer population?
    Age friendly livability should be our top priority, as statistics have shown by the year 2035 they’re going to outnumber the younger people! I feel it’s important we band together and start focusing on preparing our communities for the needs we are all going to end up benefiting from!

    • Cindy Morris says:

      Carolyn, While I understand the point you are making, the problem is not a Federal Government issue. Free market solutions are the key to addressing your concerns. If we know the market has a need, it is up to the homebuilding industry to find a way to fill the need. The only thing builders and developers require is a fair playing field. Federal and Local Governments should be cautious of over-regulating our industry so that we can afford to build affordable housing. I applaud the NHBA for the work they are doing. It is refreshing to have an administration that does not hate builders and developers.

      We volunteered 15 townhome lots for affordable housing as part of our presentation for a large community to the city council which helped us obtain zoning in a town that is unfriendly to developers and builders. I can see how we could make the argument for elderly accessible housing to obtain zoning in the future. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Dan Thomas says:

    I strongly disagree with our leadership on reducing the barriers to developing in coastal/floodplain areas. This is something we should be leading with – making it harder to build in those areas. I happen to care about the total societal costs associated with flooding, and not just the short term profits of developers and builders.

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