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Legislative News

USPS Begins to Enforce New Delivery Procedures for Subdivisions

NCHBA was contacted by the HBA of Raleigh-Wake County and the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (TREBIC) after several developer members were required by the U.S. Postal Service to put Centralized Box Units (CBUs) for mail receipt instead of traditional curbside mailboxes.

Upon further research, we learned that CBUs are now required in subdivisions where postal service delivery was not established by the date specified in the USPS amended Postal Operations Manual (POM) or approximately April 2012. The implementation of CBUs is causing adverse effects, the most serious being single-family homes that are occupied and have curbside mailboxes installed, but where these residents are not receiving any mail.

Based on conversation with municipal officials, neither the municipalities nor the developers were made aware of the POM changes prior to subdivision plan approval. In some instances, residents of earlier phases of the subdivision are receiving curbside mail delivery, and it is impractical (if not impossible) to retrofit the subdivision plan to accommodate the CBUs in later build-out phases.

U.S. Representative Mark Meadows (11th Congressional District)— as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform—and his staff recently met with USPS officials in Washington, DC. Lead staff in Meadows’ office reported that USPS understands the problem of residents not receiving curbside mail in existing subdivisions and “would like to find areas of common ground.” USPS officials did reiterate the CBUs are the way of the future, due to their cost-savings and the current financial state of the USPS.

How Does This Affect You? Even if the subdivision you are building in is currently receiving mail via curbside delivery, remaining houses and/or phases may be required to use CBUs.

We are currently seeking waivers from the CBU requirement in the USPS Greensboro District (zip codes beginning in 270-279 or 286), as this was the first area to implement the new procedures. However, this is now a statewide problem, because in late May, we received information from the USPS Mid-Carolinas District (zip codes beginning in 280-285, 287-289 and 297), which included a letter to local government planners informing them of the CBU requirement and stating that this will affect all “new and existing subdivisions.” The letter was accompanied by a Builder and Developer Guide. Your local government planner may or may not have received this. Please see this link for the information NCHBA received.

NCHBA recommends that you check with your local government planning office and with your local postmaster prior to beginning new subdivision phases to get guidance on what to expect with mail delivery. Meanwhile, NCHBA will continue to work with Rep. Meadows and the rest of our Congressional delegation to: 1) get CBU requirement waivers for houses currently occupied and that are not receiving mail, and 2) get waivers for presold lots and/or for subdivisions that are platted and that cannot be redesigned without being re-approved by a local government. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Lisa Martin at lmartin@nchba.org or at 800-662-7129.

NAHB News: Study Finds Government Regs Are 25% of New-Home Cost

NAHB’s study, How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home, provides estimates of the impact that such regulations have on the price of a home. And those estimates are truly eye-opening; they indicate that, on average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for 25.0% of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale. Nearly two-thirds of this — about 16.4% of the final house price —  is tied to higher costs associated with the finished lot due to regulations imposed during the lot’s development. A little over one-third — 8.6% of the house price — is the result of costs incurred by the builder after purchasing the finished lot.

The study points out that the relatively high share of regulatory costs affecting a home during its development are particularly significant in the current environment, when there is a low level of developed land in the pipeline. Thus, in most cases the full range of regulatory costs—those that fall on development as well as construction—will need to be overcome if production and employment in the housing industry are to get back on track. For more information, contact study author Paul Emrath at 800-368-5242, x8449.

DENR publishes stormwater transfer permit form

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has published a form, State Stormwater Permit Transfer Request, in response to one of NCHBA’s legislative priorities — HB 750: Stormwater Best Management Responsibility/Association.

This request form is for a transfer of the stormwater permit from a current permittee who is the declarant of a condominium or declarant of a planned community (as defined in Chapter 47C or Chapter 47F of the General Statutes, respectively) to a unit owners association, owners association, or other management entity identified in the condominium or planned community’s declaration pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-214.7(c2)/ Session Law 2011-256.

Click here to download the form.

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