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Week of May 10, 2004

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President's Message

* For Working Families, Affordable Housing Is in Short Supply

Housing and Economics

* Consumers Win Latest Round in Canadian Lumber Dispute
* A Housing Price Bubble Does Not Exist, Freddie Mac Economists Say
* Eye on the Economy

Housing Politics

* Sarbanes Blames ‘Ideologues’ for Impasse Over GSE Reform Legislation
* Provisions in Habitat Reform Bill Supported by Builders
* NAHB Unveils Virtual 'Get Out The Vote' Election Web Service

Business Management

* NAHB Kicks Off General Liability Insurance Initiative
* Review Your Accounting Reports to Protect Yourself From Fraud


* Supreme Court Decision Brings Good News on Residential Construction Equipment
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* Stillman Knight Honored for Affordable Housing Efforts
* High-Density Housing an Opportunity for ‘Urban Quality’ Design

Small Builders and Remodelers

* Build a Brand: Become a Household Name
* Publicize May as National Remodeling Month in Your Market


* Survey Says Buyers Want Laundry Rooms, Linen Closets
* Best in American Living Awards Accepting Entries

Seniors Housing

* HUD Urged to Provide FHA Insurance for Age-Restricted Elderly Housing
* Not-So-Big Homes Provide Unique Marketing Advantages

Legal Issues

* Texas Town’s Misconduct Not Enough to Show Taking

Housing Finance

* Responses Sought on HUD Proposal For Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Housing Goals
* National Housing Conference to Honor Angelo Mozilo for Lowering Homeownership Barriers

Codes and Standards

* Stair Geometry, Window Sill Heights on Hearings Agenda


* Second International Housing Conference of the Americas Promotes Business Across Mexican Border


* NAHB Members, Job Corps Students Help DC Habitat in Family Build

Building Products

* Vinyl Siding Stays Put During Severe Weather

Builder's Engineer

* Gold-Fringed Business Cards?

Building News Coast To Coast

Association News & Events

* Calendar of Events

NBN Back Issues


Provisions in Habitat Reform Bill Supported by Builders

In April 28 testimony before the House Resources Committee, the nation’s home builders  expressed support for the majority of the reforms in H.R. 2933, the “Critical Habitat Reform Act of 2003,” a conservation measure designed to ensure species’ protection and accommodate the needs of the communities and states where they reside.

“We believe that several provisions within H.R. 2933 offer a real legislative solution to the current crisis regarding critical habitat,” said Don Walters, Jr., a home builder and developer from Flagstaff, AZ, and president of the Northern Arizona Home Builders Association. “However, we are concerned that the requirement in the bill linking critical habitat designations to the recovery planning process may unintentionally create a new litigation threat and place a higher regulatory burden on landowners.”

Testifying on behalf of NAHB, Walters said that this designation would blur important distinctions between the guidance of recovery plans and the regulation of critical habitat. For example, he noted that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had used recommendations from working drafts of the recovery plan for the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl as justification for residential density requirements.

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Several other provisions in the bill designed to protect the environment and allow local communities to expand and thrive were endorsed by NAHB, including the exclusion of habitat conservation plans and other species management and conservation plans from critical habitat designations.

“By codifying these important practices, the legislation would provide powerful incentives to private landowners to continue entering into such agreements to ensure species conservation and preservation,” said Walters.

The legislation would also require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take into account the direct, indirect and cumulative economic impacts when designating critical habitat and would establish statutory definitions for two key terms relating to critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act — “geographical area occupied by the species” and “essential to the conservation of the species.”

“Protecting our nation’s wildlife in a way that is cost-effective and clarifying the meaning of these terms will help to ensure that common-sense conservation policies and programs — and not litigation — will drive the critical habitat designation process. With the notable exception of linking critical habitat and recovery planning, NAHB believes that H.R. 2933 makes great strides in this direction,” said Walters.

To read the legislation, click here, and enter H.R. 2933 in the box at the upper left.

For more information, e-mail Jason Lynn at NAHB or call 800-368-5242 x8307.

Photo by Herman Farrer
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