Anti-Builder Amendments Defeated in Frisco, Texas
Builders in Frisco, Texas, a bustling suburb of Dallas, have faced down and defeated two proposed charter amendments on a May 7 ballot that would have brought home building to an abrupt halt.
The first amendment would have required all home builders in Frisco, before receiving a building permit, to post a $250,000 surety bond for one home, and up to $2 million for multiple houses, to cover any housing-related defects. The restrictive bond would have been the first of its kind in the nation.
The second amendment would have required builders to file disclosure forms with Frisco, a step that undoubtedly would have created a new layer of bureaucracy, and would have given the city the authority to issue stop-building permits to builders who failed to comply.
The HBA of Greater Dallas joined with various political leaders and business groups to counter the charter changes through a coalition named “Citizens United For Frisco’s Future,” or CUFFF. NAHB’s State & Local Political Operations team providing consulting services.
Enlisting the aid of a former city council member and two former mayors, the coalition waged a 45-day media campaign to educate voters. Because Texas allows voters to cast their ballots two weeks early at convenient locations like libraries and recreation centers, and election day is held on a Saturday, the group needed to wage two campaigns — one targeting early voters and the other reaching out to election-day voters.
Sixteen leading bond agencies in Texas stated that the type of surety bonds required by the amendment did not even exist, the coalition found. And the disclosure amendment, according to the city manager, would have cost the city at least $1 million a year to implement and would have required at least six new city employees for oversight and management.
With the facts on their side and with an aggressive grassroots and media campaign, the builders trounced both amendments. With nearly 5,500 votes cast, the surety bond proposition lost by 92% to 8%, while the disclosure amendment was defeated by 85% to 15%.
“Even though the opposition gathered 4,600 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, their campaign was never based on facts,” said Robert Pavlis, president of the HBA of Greater Dallas. “There were many unanswered questions about the amendments. The fact was these measures would have not only hurt builders but the whole community.”
NAHB is available to provide political consulting assistance to state and local home builders associations that are battling ballot measures. For more information, e-mail Daniel Quinonez or Ashley Geyer at NAHB, or call them at 800-368-5242 x8585 or x8126, respectively.