The HBAM lobbyists are always
working to protect our industry.

Join the team that is fighting for you
and help grow our influence, save jobs
and secure the future of home building.

Septic Ban • Permitting • Impact Fees • Stormwater Management • Sprinklers • Inspections • Erosion and Sediment Control • Visitability • TMDL • Design Regulations • WIP • Downzoning • EPA •
Credit Availability • MDE • Appraisals



Top Priority Issues

The 2011 Maryland General Assembly introduced nearly 200 bills impacting the home building industry and the HBAM Legislative Committee adopted a position on 65.
HBAM supported 36 bills, of which 8 passed and opposed 29 bills, of which 5 passed.

      Enactment of Green Building Legislation: HBAM’s green builders successfully lobbied the General Assembly to recognize homes certified as Silver, Gold or Emerald by the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard as being ‘High Performance Homes’
and equivalent to LEED.

      Defeat of Land Use – Septic Systems: HBAM, along with our industry coalition partners, successfully killed the Governor’s
septic ban legislation this year and sent the issue to summer study. This issue is by no means dead and will resurface next year through legislation if not sooner through regulatory initiatives.

      Defeat of an IDOT Tax Expansion: Delegates sought to “close a tax loophole” by applying the recordation tax on indemnity mortgages exceeding $5 million when an entity creates an LLC and has the LLC borrow money with the original entity as the third-party guarantor of the debt.

      Defeated an Onerous Visitability Bill: A bill was introduced that would have required 50 percent of SFD homes in developments of six or more houses to be equipped with costly handicap accessible features. Lobbyists were successful in defeating this bill by negotiating amendments to make handicap accessible features optional in developments of 11 or more SFD homes.  

State Accomplishments
• Visitability Legislation - Defeated legislation 4 years in a row that would require new homes to be built with a “zero-step” entrance in order to provide access to visitors with disabilities. The cost estimate for a zero step entrance could exceed $30K per unit.

• Stormwater Legislation/Regulations - Succeeded in obtaining sweeping amendments to the 2007 Stormwater legislation that would have required restrictive low impact development components to be used to manage stormwater. In addition, HBAM lobbyists succeeded in revising the stormwater regulations to provide an adequate transition period for projects to comply with the regulations to prevent costly redesign and possible loss of density.

• NPDES Permit Transition - Sought and secured an extension to MDE’s required transition from an older version of the general discharge permit to the current permit. MDE proposed a 30-day transition period. HBAM lobbyists secured a 90-day transition period with flexibility for projects that may commence construction in a reasonable time frame.

• Erosion and Sediment Regulations - HBAM lobbyists successfully sought a more flexible application of a grading limit to be applied to all new projects. MDE revised their proposal to provide flexible language in the Manual for the grading limit. Also, HBAM lobbyists strongly opposed a provision in the initial draft regulations that would have required chemical application (active treatment) to control erosion. The proposed regulations did not include any new provisions on chemical application. Estimates for active treatment for erosion control could exceed $30K PER WEEK for large projects.

• Permit Tolling Law - HBAM lobbyists succeeded in passage of permit tolling legislation to require local permit authorities to “toll” or freeze permit approvals past their expiration date due to the economic downturn. Projects that would have otherwise been required to move forward or lose and be forced to reapply for permits were able to delay such steps.

Anne Arundel County
• In 2008, HBAM’s Anne Arundel Chapter was successful in obtaining a significant delay in the increase in impact fees

• In 2010, HBAM led the charge to implement a green home tax credit in AA County for new construction homes built to LEED Silver or better. Tax credit lasts 5 years and the amount of the tax credit increases depending on how “green” the home is built.

Baltimore City
• Tax Credit for Newly Constructed Dwellings: HBAM members worked with City Council to pass a diminishing property tax credits for newly constructed homes. 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%.

• Inclusionary Housing: HBAM members participated in work group sessions to help lessen the burden on the home building industry, making the proposal less onerous. Without the organized effort, this initiative would have hit our industry hard.

Baltimore County
• Chapter members successfully negotiated with the Office of Planning less burdensome design regulations. Regulations were proposed that would have required a minimum number of architectural features on all sides of all houses in the county. Chapter members met with Office of Planning staff and the Director for more than 3 months to reach a compromise that everyone was satisfied with.

• Chapter members sought additional flexibility when paying the county’s Open Space Waiver fees and convinced the Department of Recreation and Parks to allow letters of credit as payment at permit recordation. This additional flexibility relieves developers from carrying additional debt over an extended period of time while ensuring the County will receive the fee at Use and Occupancy permit.

• Chapter members successfully negotiated new PUD legislation that ensures a smooth, fair and consistent development process.

• Chapter members successfully negotiated a new vesting law that protects developments at recordation. This new vesting standard provides consistency and reassurance to landowners that the laws won’t change before their project moves forward.
Carroll County
• Earlier this year, Chapter members met with the Carroll County Board of Commissioners to seek a residential green building tax credit as an incentive for builders to build green homes. Although the Commissioners supported the tax credit, they could not pass tax credits without authorization from the General Assembly. Chapter members successfully lobbied the County’s General Assembly Delegation to introduce legislation which ultimately passed the entire General Assembly unanimously and was signed by Governor O’Malley. Chapter members are now working with the new 5-member Board of Commissioners to implement a residential green building tax credit using the NAHB/ ANSI National Green Building Standard.

• When the 2010 Building Code was introduced to the Commissioners, the Director of Permits and Inspections sought for an immediate implementation date of the new code and building permit approval to be grandfathered under the old code. Chapter members successfully lobbied the Commissioners to delay implementation of the Code and change the grandfathering requirement to building permit application. The additional time and change in grandfathering saved one HBAM member company over a half-million dollars in building permit fees.

• When the Director of Permits and Inspections sought an unprecedented expansion of the County’s sprinkler mandate to include renovations and additions, Chapter members teamed up with the Carroll County Realtors Association and successfully defeated the proposal.

Cecil County
• In June 2010, Cecil County passed a requirement for all newly constructed one- and two-family homes to have sprinkler systems installed, without grandfathering or any other exceptions with a January 1, 2011 effective date. In the fall of 2010, HBAM actively lobbied to repeal the requirement and, on January 4, 2011, a bill to place a six-month moratorium on the new law was passed by a vote of 5-0. We are working with the Commissioners to repeal the requirement and instead make this a mandatory option present to the purchaser before the build.
Harford County
• Sprinkler systems for one- and two-family homes – Harford County Council put a 1-year moratorium on the implementation of this new requirement. Allows time for implementation. Working on replacing with a mandatory option.

• Compaction Standards: in mid-2010, the Harford County Dept. of Public Works modified its 2007 Provisional Compaction Specification to require an additional 18” of stone above all pipes within the right-of-way as well as additional stone at utility crossings. This would have added an estimated $3,000 - $8,000 per lot to the development costs. After three rounds of meetings between the County and the home building industry, we reached a resolution that reduced the requirement to 9” of stone above all pipes in the ROW.

• TIF for Beachtree Development – Long-time HBAM Member Clark Turner Development led the charge on the Harford County government approving the first ever Tax Increment Financing proposal in Harford County, which allowed the Beachtree Development (a 786 home development) to move forward even in this extremely financially challenging time.

Howard County
• Chapter members successfully fought off unreasonable review fees proposed by the Howard Soil District and continue to negotiate a compromise. • Chapter members convinced the Ulman administration to appoint a liaison to the development community to oversee the development process and suggest changes to expedite and make the process quicker, smoother, and easier.

• Chapter members are currently working with the Health Department and the Department of Planning and Zoning to resolve issues with stormwater setbacks and clustering homes on 1 acre lots.

• Chapter members convinced the Council to delay implementation of the residential sprinkler mandate to January, 2011.
Michael Harrison
Director of Government Affairs
410-265-7400, ext. 109

Jeff Tosi
Director of Government Affairs
410-265-7400, ext. 101