Education Forum: Zoning, Look Before You Leap

Your HBA of Greenville is pleased to announce that HBA of Greenville members are invited to participate in an upcoming education course at the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors:

  • Zoning: Look Before You Leap
  • Friday, September 6
  • 10 a.m. until 12 noon
  • GGAR Office, 50 Airpark Court

The course is presented by Kelli McCormick of Greenville County.  The class will focus on zoning and why it is important to use GIS, the zoning ordinance, and other resources at Greenville County before buying, selling, leasing, developing, and listing real property.  McCormick will teach members about some little known tricks of the GIS system and ways to speed up your due diligence process.

To register, click here.

Your HBA staff thanks the GGAR members and staff for making this opportunity available to HBA members.

New Study Shows American Dream Under Threat from Excessive Regulation

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 6, 2010 — New research from Demographia, an international public policy consulting firm, shows that the American Dream of home ownership has all but ended in some metropolitan areas.

The just released Demographia Residential Land & Regulation Index shows, for example, that new house costs have skyrocketed in San Diego as a result of land and regulation costs, which have risen to 13 times normal. In four other metropolitan areas (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, Seattle and Washington-Baltimore) land and regulatory costs have risen from two to six times normal. In contrast, land and regulation costs in six metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Raleigh-Durham and St. Louis) remain at historic normal levels.

The increase in land and regulation cost is estimated to have added $220,000 to the price of entry-level new housing in San Diego and from $29,000 in Minneapolis-St. Paul to $74,000 in Washington-Baltimore. “Excessive regulations have driven house prices up strongly in some metropolitan areas, where the American Dream of home ownership could become a thing of the past,” said Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia. He added that “in other metropolitan areas, the Dream of home ownership remains alive and it is not surprising that households are flocking to these areas.”

Cox went on to say that “this massive loss in housing affordability was an unanticipated consequence of regulations that have imposed urban growth boundaries, building moratoria, excessively expensive development impact fees and bureaucratic processes.” Before the restrictive regulations were imposed, there was little difference in new or existing house prices relative to incomes among the nation’s metropolitan areas.

More restrictive regulations often go by the innocent sounding labels of “smart growth” and “growth management,” however these regulations are routinely adopted without any consideration of the longer term impacts on housing affordability and the standard of living for average Americans. These impacts are particularly ominous given the recession, proposals for higher tax increases, and the possibility that job creation and economic growth may be less robust in the future.

Economic research has documented the association between more restrictive land use regulations and house prices. This reduces the standard of living by leaving less household income for other needs. Just as importantly, more restrictive land use regulations tend to reduce job creation and economic growth in the metropolitan areas where implemented.

Read the entire report by clicking here.

NAHB Study Evaluates Higher Density and Greenhouse Gases

A study commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and conducted by Abt Associates showed that higher-density communities will only modestly alter travel behavior and therefore have a similarly modest impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis was based on a review of 200 case studies on residential density and its relationship to travel behavior and climate change.

“Not everyone wants to, or can, live in a high-density community, and consumers continue to require a range of housing types and neighborhoods because of a complex set of interacting market, demographic, and other factors,” Jerry Howard, President and CEO of NAHB, said. “Before government starts dictating how Americans should live and the types of communities they can live in, we should make sure that sound research validates that as a sensible approach,” Howard said.

NAHB’s study found that while much of the vast volume of research on the impact of development on greenhouse gases shows a link between higher density communities and the number of vehicle miles traveled, it is an oversimplification that higher density equals lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the entire study by clicking here and clicking here.

New Greenville County Summary Plat Procedure

With the participation and input of your Home Builders Association of Greenville Legislative Committee, Greenville County has revised its Summary Plat Procedure effective November 12.

  • Subdivision plats creating only one new lot will be exempt from the summary plat review process, provided that the purpose of the new lot is not for immediate development.
  • All other subdivisions will continue to be submitted and reviewed as either a summary plat or preliminary plat subdivision.

Exemptions to the summary plat procedure include:

  • The combination or recombination of portions of previously platted lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots are equal to the standards of the Land Development Regulations and/or Zoning Ordinance
  • The division of land into parcels of five acres or more where no new street is involved.

Plats under these exceptions must be submitted to the Planning Department and will be stamped as being received as information under the exemption.