Broadband Effort, Park Impact Fee Draw Fire From Builders
At the fall board meeting in Salt Lake City, the NAHB Legal Action Committee approved financial support for cases involving a broadband installation requirement, an impact fee for parks and the denial of a builder’s zoning permit.
The Legal Action Fund supports litigation by state and local home builders associations and builders in cases involving matters of common importance or national significance to the home building industry. The committee reviews applications three times a year during NAHB board meetings.
Funding was approved for three cases on:
- Local broadband ordinance. The Metropolitan Builders Association in Waukesha, Wis. is challenging a village’s efforts to require new developments to install fiber-optics and conduits as part of the local broadband system and dedicate them to the village at no cost. Unlike electricity, water and sewer, the association contends, broadband is not an “essential service” under state statutes and the village is attempting to shift a disproportionate share of the system’s cost onto developers and builders who are seeking permit and plan approvals. The association also says that the requirement constitutes a taking without just compensation.
- Impact fees for parks. The Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis is challenging a park impact fee adopted by the town of Zionsville, Ind. While state enabling legislation allows local governments to charge impact fees based on their assessment of the actual cost of the infrastructure that is being provided, the town council established its fee based on a national average of $1,862 per lot. This exceeds the amount recommended by the local parks board and impact fee advisory committee following their study of what the town needs.
- Preserving a favorable court ruling on a zoning permit. The Building Industry Association of Philadelphia submitted an application on behalf of one of its members who received a favorable court ruling that the city of Philadelphia improperly denied the builder’s zoning permit. The city’s department of licenses and inspections announced its intention to approve the builder’s application, but before it could issue the permit, a city councilperson and planning commission personnel intervened to have the permit denied. The city’s law department concluded that the city should have issued the permit, which was later countered by the head of that department. Responding to a suit by the builder, the court agreed that the city should issue the permit, noting that city personnel should not have allowed themselves to be influenced by the councilperson’s “contrary opinion.” The city has appealed and the builder is seeking to preserve the favorable lower court decision.
The deadline for Legal Action Fund applications for February’s board of directors meeting in Orlando, Fla. is Friday, Dec. 22.
For information on submitting an application to the Legal Action Fund, NAHB members can click here.
For more information on the three cases receiving the grants, e-mail Mary Lynn Pickel at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8485.
For further information on submitting an application, e-mail Felicia Watson, or call her at x8229.