News & Updates

Building Momentum as General Assembly Hits Halfway Mark

Feb 5, 2024 | Capitol Connection, HBAV News

We’re nearing the halfway mark for the 2024 General Assembly session and seeing positive traction on HBAV’s legislative agenda while working diligently to defeat bills that would be a significant detriment to our members.

Craig Toalson, Chief Executive Officer, HBAV

This week is extremely important as it’s the week leading up to crossover day.  Crossover day – when bills that pass one legislative body and move to the other for consideration – is Feb. 13.

Read below my signature for updates related to HBAV’s legislative agenda. But first, let me call out some other bills that drew our efforts last week:

  • We faced 11 bills related to tree issues, including placement and replacement. We’ll give you a fuller update after crossover.
  • We’re tracking consumer-protection bills related to advertising fees and pricing, so be on the lookout for more details soon.
  • And we succeeded in ensuring a bill related to cash proffers and development rights didn’t get out of committee.

This week, we’ll also be testifying against several energy bills with impacts on builders. Those include more stringent local energy efficiency and climate requirements and potential mandates for electric vehicle charging stations in site plan development.

Finally, our success each session depends on the relationships we build throughout the year. Our HBAV Build Pac supports candidates who recognize the value the homebuilding industry brings to all Virginians. We encourage you to make a contribution.

Craig Toalson, CAE
CEO, Home Builders Association of Virginia

Opposing bills that would harm Virginia’s top-ranked Building Code process

Virginia’s Building Code development process is ranked No. 2 in the nation — a ranking we want to keep, and one that makes the Commonwealth competitive and a great place to live and work. Several bills will harm that status, hurt builders, and make homes less affordable.

We must protect the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) process and not create local building codes, which would lead to chaos and uncertainty in the market.

HB 950 (Lopez): Local stretch energy codes

Update: This bill is in the Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, Housing Subcommittee and is likely to be heard this Thursday, Feb. 8. We’ll continue to voice our opposition to this bill, which would create local building codes.

Background: The bill would allow localities to create and require stretch energy codes, which emphasize energy performance beyond a “base” energy code. In recent code cycles, Virginia has made significant strides in energy efficiency standards in new homes with increased ceiling insulation and mandatory building envelope testing.

This bill skips that process and establishes local building codes, creating uncertainty for the housing market and consumers. Current Virginia Code allows customers who choose to build a home to a higher energy efficiency standard to do so.

Here’s a few other bills we strongly oppose. 

HB 930 (Earley): Local government denials of zoning applications based on current public facility infrastructure

Update: Following up on our success with SB 652, we helped to defeat HB 930 in committee as well.

Background: This bill would allow a locality to reject or defer a rezoning application solely on the adequacy of current public facilities. Virginia’s population and job base is growing, and housing supply needs to keep pace.

Localities need to own the housing supply problem and be willing to address it. This legislation allows localities to significantly limit housing supply and job creation.

HB 471 (Martinez) and HB 567 (Askew): Mandatory EV Charging requirements in new multifamily development

Update: Askew’s bill has been re-assigned to a Committee on General Laws Subcommittee. HB 471 was previously stricken from the committee’s docket.

Background: HBAV is actively working with stakeholders and utility providers on the electrical grid’s capacity for EV charging stations in new homes. Challenges include a plan for development processes, grid capacities, electric components, easements, and right-of-way. We are committed to finding common ground on this issue as grid capacity and technology expand.

There are several bills we actively support.

HB 1356 (Owen) & SB 296 (VanValkenburg): Review of preliminary/final plats and site plans

Update: SB 296 passed the Senate 39-1 and is headed to the House. The House counterpart is still in committee.

Background: Guardrails and parameters regarding plan review and timelines differ between commercial and residential projects. This legislation, backed by HBAV, seeks to give the same protections to residential development and construction that is afforded to commercial projects. This limits endless rounds of comments and speeds up construction timelines.

SB 244 (McPike): Protect land use decisions made at virtual meetings during pandemic

Update: The bill passed the Senate and is on to the House for consideration.

Background: Like all businesses, government at all levels relied heavily on virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent court case in Northern Virginia has questioned the land use decisions made by local governments at virtual meetings, and our bill seeks to uphold these decisions.

SB 489 (Carroll Foy): Virginia residential development infrastructure fund

Update: The bill passed the Committee on Rules and has been referred to Senate Finance.

Background: The bill directs the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to work with stakeholders to develop legislation to establish a residential infrastructure fund. The infrastructure fund will be available to local governments who prioritize the linkage between economic development and housing supply.

HB 378 (Owen): Partial bond release for E&S and environmental bonds

Update: The bill passed committee and is headed to the House floor for consideration.

Background: Clarifies that existing provisions related to the partial and final release of performance guarantees shall also apply to erosion and sediment (E&S) control measures, stormwater management facilities, and fill and borrow areas. If a bond release is denied, the locality must provide justification in their policy as to why and what needs to be corrected.

HB 650 (Coyner):  Plats and Plans 3 Year Validity

Update: The bill passed committee and is headed to the House floor for consideration.

Background: Certainty, validity, and predictability of conditional use permits. Our members need certainty, predictability, and reasonable plan validity time. This legislation will set the floor for localities to provide a minimum of three years of validity for conditional use permits, special use permits, and special exemption on land development projects exceeding a certain size threshold.