Beauty is in the eye of the municipality

Beauty is in the eye of the municipality

We have all heard the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, which means that what one person finds beautiful another person may not. In some Indiana communities, beauty is less subjective, and in fact, it is quite prescriptive – mandating that new homes have brick exterior on large lots, lots of windows, side-loading 2-car garages, varying roof pitches, a front porch, and the list goes on. Government intervention through mandated design standards drives up the cost of housing making it unattainable for many families.

NAHB’s Residential Design Standards: How Stringent Regulations Restrict Affordability and Choice report finds “Regulations that artificially raise housing prices without direct ties to public health and safety should not be prioritized over meeting the shortage of affordable homes for families.” The report provides examples of communities across the country where mandatory design standards have been introduced, resulting in legislation to prohibit such requirements.

During the 2020 legislative session, the Indiana Builders Association and other housing and business organizations supported legislation to prohibit mandatory design standards. The legislation was met with stiff resistance from local units of government and architects who esteem aesthetics over attainable housing.  Rest assured, the IBA will continue to educate legislators on the need to protect consumer choice and Hoosier jobs, eliminate government intervention in private contracts, and keep housing attainable for hard-working Hoosiers.

Our members create jobs and strengthen our economy by providing one of life’s basic needs –shelter. Building homes that are desirable and will sell is an absolute necessity for home builders to provide for their families. To meet the needs of buyers, home builders invest in market studies to learn what homebuyers want, and equally as important, what homebuyers can afford. Our members quite literally cannot afford to build housing that won’t sell either because it’s priced too high or it’s not what homebuyers want.

COVID-19 has impacted families, communities, and businesses, including home building. While we anticipate there will be many bills filed during the 2021 legislative session aimed at resolving pandemic-related issues, it is critical that families have housing that is safe and attainable.

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