Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Housing Industry Must Work to Reduce Costly Regulations

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Housing Industry Must Work to Reduce Costly Regulations

Article excerpt

Members of the housing industry have no one but themselves to blame for the mountains of regulations and codes they face in developing their projects, a federal housing official told those attending a seminar on affordable housing.

Shirley McVey Wiseman, general deputy assistant secretary for housing and deputy federal housing commissioner with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told an audience of more than 700 at the seminar that it is up to them to make the difference in ensuring that housing becomes affordable and remains that way.

"Today, without our involvement, I contend that the American dream (of home ownership) is dying, if not already dead," Wiseman said during her keynote speech. "But, we can't blame anybody but ourselves.

"You have to get involved at the local level; do something to make the changes necessary to provide affordable housing now and make it available in the future for our children and grandchildren.

"Affordable housing is a two-part equation made up of sensible regulation and sound economic policy," Wiseman said. "But, regulation isn't something that comes down from Washington, it comes up from the local level of government. It's up to you to make sure your elected officials reduce unnecessary regulations."

Wiseman pointed out that getting changes made in federal regulations is a "long and tedious process, which is full of hard work."

She pointed to the elimination of subdivision approval as an example. That effort, she said, took two years to bring to fruition.

"And, while that effort was important," she added, "The most important thing that HUD has done in the past several years was its joint venture with the National Association of Home Builders for affordable housing.

"That program has proved that there are ways of reducing the cost of homes by reducing regulations and construction costs," Wiseman said.

Such regulations, she said, include expensive land development items such as excessive street widths, plus the installation of curbing, sidewalks and gutters where not needed. …

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