Virginia Home Builders Log Big Wins During 2020 Legislative Session

Land Development
Of more than 3,600 pieces of legislation introduced during the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, the Home Builders Association of Virginia's (HBAV) government affairs team found 270 that had a direct or indirect impact on residential land development and construction. The team, HBAV’s legislative committee, and hundreds of members worked hard to defeat several bills and resolutions that could have harmed housing affordability and economic growth in the Commonwealth. Key successes for HBAV members also included drafting and helping to pass several affordable housing bills and advancing a constitutional amendment to enact full or partial real estate tax abatement programs for new construction of affordable housing developments. The amendment was carried over to the next General Assembly election year in 2021 because of procedural requirements. Some of the most significant pieces of legislation HBAV worked on this year include:
  • Affordable Dwelling Unit Ordinances: HBAV drafted HB 1101 (Betsy Carr–D) and SB 834 (Jennifer McClellan–D) to create a new "affordable dwelling unit ordinance" enabling statute in Virginia. Both bills allow localities to enact ordinances to reduce economic barriers to entry for affordable housing projects by offering density bonuses and waivers/reductions of local development standards such as parking requirements, height restrictions, setbacks, buffers, and other local regulations. The bills do not require localities to make all new development include affordable housing units, but simply allow localities to offer voluntary incentives to incorporate them.
  • Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit: HBAV led the effort to advance HB 810 (Jeff Bourne – D) to direct the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) to convene a stakeholder advisory group (“SAG”) for the purpose of developing a Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit, often referred to as a "State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit." The bill was supported by a broad coalition of private-sector and non-profit housing advocates. Like the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the Virginia credit provides incentives for the utilization of private equity in the development and construction of affordable housing in Virginia.
  • Constitutional Amendment – New Construction Tax Abatements: HBAV worked with Delegate Jeff Bourne (D–Richmond) to introduce House Joint Resolution 2, which would amend Virginia's Constitution to allow the General Assembly to authorize local governments to enact full or partial real estate tax abatement programs for new construction affordable housing developments. Currently, localities are only permitted to enact these programs for the rehabilitation of existing structures.
Read more about HBAV and its history of legislative successes.

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