News & Updates

Entering a third week of protecting housing in Virginia

Jan 22, 2024 | Capitol Connection, HBAV News

Regulatory costs add almost $94,000 to the cost of a new home in Virginia. When the cost of a home increases by only $1,000, nearly 4,000 Virginia households are priced out of the market.

Craig Toalson, Chief Executive Officer, HBAV

That statistic leads the way for us in the 2024 General Assembly session, which just completed its second week. More than 2,000 bills have been filed, and of them, HBAV has flagged over 300 pieces of legislation that may impact home builders, partners, and suppliers.

Our team has been not only tracking bills, but communicating with members of the General Assembly on our legislative priorities and why we oppose bills that do harm to our industry.

Let’s take a look at them, starting with those we oppose. You can click any bill number to see its current status in the legislative process.

We look forward to seeing our members for our annual Day on the Hill this Thursday, January 25 in Richmond to meet with legislators and work to protect housing in Virginia.

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 364 (Martinez) and SB 524 (Williams Graves): Local authority to mandate fire sprinklers in new townhomes

Virginia’s uniform statewide building code development process allows all stakeholders to thoroughly vet each code proposal before being voted on by the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

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 install a sprinkler system in their home to do so.

HB 950 (Lopez): Local stretch energy codes

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) and SB 652 (Sturtevant): Local government denials of zoning applications based on current public facility infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.


HBAV members: Join us Thursday (Jan. 25) for our Day on the Hill

Don’t miss one of our most important annual events! Show up and show legislators that home building matters. Coordinate with your local association to schedule meetings with members of the General Assembly that morning. After our time at the brand new General Assembly Building, HBAV will host all members and guests in our offices located at the James Center for lunch and a debrief meeting. Register and get the schedule here.