By Lee Whitaker • 2018 President
The City of Bastrop recently put a building moratorium in place while staff works to rewrite its building code. Given the recent efforts in Austin, the HBA certainly understands the need to update building codes; however, halting development while doing so will do more harm than good. At a time when demand for housing is far exceeding supply, the HBA and the larger homebuilding community was caught off guard by the Bastrop City Council’s vote to impose a moratorium, especially when the city did not seek the input of professionals who not only have the most at stake, but who could offer the kind of expertise needed to ensure an efficient and speedy process.
“As an ongoing stakeholder with the city and county, the HBA was surprised there was no prior outreach to members of the building and development community prior to this decision,” says Emily Blair, CEO of the HBA of Greater Austin.
The HBA continues to encourage the city to seek public and stakeholder input on key policy items that will impact Bastrop’s economy and the families looking for an affordable home in the area. The Bastrop development moratorium is unnecessary in order to accomplish the council’s goal of re-examining the code. Many cities have undertaken code rewrites without issuing a moratorium, which would inflate the selling price of housing units once they finally reach the market. A development moratorium limits supply and worsens our housing affordability problems.
We hope that the city will hold firm on the 90-day limit; without a managed process, this could easily extend well beyond 90 days. The HBA of Greater Austin is ready and able to provide feedback and assist the city with this important task in order to end the moratorium as soon as possible and help achieve the land development code goals for the community of Bastrop.
If you’d like to learn more and get involved, consider joining the HBA. Visit www.hbaaustin.com or call Ann Thomas, HBA membership director at (512) 982-9173 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. RL