Four HBAs Receive Grants from the Legal Action Fund

Legal
Published
Contact: Lavon Roxbury
lroxbury@brainiacmarketing.net
(202) 266-8359

At the 2024 International Builders’ Show, the NAHB Legal Action Committee recommended financial assistance from the Legal Action Fund for four cases, which the Board approved at its meeting. Each case addresses an issue of national significance or a question that poses a common problem for NAHB members.

For more than 40 years, the Legal Action Committee has helped builder and developer members, as well as local and state HBAs, defray litigation costs on issues that are common to the industry and that may carry nationwide impact.

Challenging Impact Fees

The Desert Valleys Builders Association (DVBA) received continued support in its challenge against the City of Coachella’s handling of development impact fees (DIFs). Instead of maintaining separate accounts for each DIF, the city has commingled the funds from all DIFs. Moreover, the city has failed to produce annual reports and audits required by statute. DVBA sued the city in January 2019, seeking mandamus and declaratory/injunctive relief. The case then experienced a series of delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic and re-assignments to various judges (four in total), among other obstacles.

The second grant involves Builders Industry Association (BIA) of Tulare and Kings Counties’ challenge to an increase in school impact fees from Level 1 ($4.79 sq./ft.) to Level 2 ($5.50 sq./ft.). Specifically, the BIA is challenging:

  1. The method used to calculate necessity,
  2. The blending of space available for all grade levels instead of treating them separately,
  3. The school district disregard of the use of portable classrooms, and
  4. The school district’s refusal to use any part of a recent $105.3 million bond to fund new schools.

The Indiana Builders Association’s approved grant involved an erroneous impact fee in Pendleton, Ind. The fee came after a statutorily required report was created by the town. However, this report only gave lip service to the Indiana code and the Nollan/Dolan tests for nexus and proportionality. The report made the entirety of the town an impact zone and included road projects that had nothing to do with the development.

Fossil Fuel Ban

Lastly, the grant for BIA of New York City was in support of its challenge to New York City’s prohibition on the “combustion of any substance that emits 25 kilograms or more of carbon dioxide per million British thermal units of energy,” which would create an outright ban on not only gas but all fossil fuels.

NAHB will next consider Legal Action Fund applications at its Spring Leadership Meeting in Washington, D.C., in June. Applications are due Friday, May 17.

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