HBAI Newsletter 7.5.18

June 14, 2018 by Melisa Cox
Categories: HBAI Newsletter



   The Greater Iowa City Area HBA partnered with the Vocational Training Council, Kirkwood KCC, to build a home to be used for housing for adults with disabilities.  It’s been a number of years since there has been a student built home in the area, so this is an awesome project.  Governor Kim Reynolds participated in the event, which was very well attended and had exceptional press coverage.  Check out the story here.

Major Victory with Clean Water Act

On June 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with an NAHB member engaged in a decade-long legal battle in a case supported by NAHB’s Legal Action Fund – Orchard Hill Building Company v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The case concerned 13 acres of wetlands owned by Orchard Hill Building Company. Orchard Hill sought a jurisdictional determination as to whether it would need a Clean Water Act section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop these acres. The Corps found that the acres fell under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Orchard Hill disagreed with the Corps’ determination and over a 10-year period fought through the Corps’ internal appeals process. During this time, Orchard Hill’s efforts were buoyed by several court cases.

Orchard Hill finally got its day in court when the U.S. Supreme Court found in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes that jurisdictional determinations are judicially reviewable. Ultimately, the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Orchard Hill, holding that the Corps had failed to prove the wetlands at issue had a significant nexus to any truly navigable water.

NAHB aided Orchard Hill in two distinct ways: First, it provided Orchard Hill with a $10,000 Legal Action Fund grant in 2016. Second, NAHB was involved in every court case that kept Orchard Hill’s claims alive over their decade-long battle.

NAHB’s proactive Litigation and Amicus Brief program allows NAHB to bring lawsuits and submit amicus briefs on significant issues that impact NAHB members. Through this program, NAHB aided Orchard Hill by litigating in cases that clarified the bounds of the Clean Water Act, vacated a rule that curtailed the use of the “prior converted croplands” exemption from the wetlands permitting program, and required jurisdictional determinations to be judicially reviewable.

The NAHB Legal Action Committee’s Legal Action Fund is available to NAHB members and HBAs with litigation that implicates a national policy issue or a state or local problem that is common to the housing industry.

Awesome Article on Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Tournament History

We just finished our fifth golf tournament, with proceeds going for scholarships to students going into the skilled trades. Check out the article, as well as the entire issue, of Build Des Moines. It’s a first-class publication and is always informative. The article on the golf tournament was well done though. Check it out here.

We have awarded over 150 scholarships to students going into the building trades. Some of the winners are multi-year recipients and we always have a quality group of applications to review each year. The deadline is always the last day in March and you can find the application and rules by clicking here.

The board of trustees is continually looking for legacy gifts as you plan your departure from this earth – just think about that – a named scholarship in your honor. We can make it happen. Email Jay Iverson.

It’s not just a vanity thing either, legacy gifts are a great way to give back to the industry that gave you so much in return.  Starting the next generation is a very worthwhile endeavor.



NAHB Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court “Takings” Case

NAHB recently submitted an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case that may have a profound effect on land use lawsuits. This fall, the court will hear arguments in Knick v. Township of Scott, a case that has major implications for Fifth Amendment “takings” claims. The takings clause provides a guarantee that property owners be paid “just compensation” when the government takes property for a public use. The issue in Knick deals with access to federal courts for just compensation claims.

Due to the court’s 1985 decision in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, plaintiffs have to jump through a number of legal hoops before bringing a takings claim in federal court. These legal hoops, referred to as Williamson County’s ripeness test, cost time and money, and government defendants use Williamson County to wear down plaintiffs well before a federal court has the opportunity to hear a takings claim on the merits. The Knick case will reconsider Williamson County.

NAHB has long argued that Williamson County should be overturned. Since the 1985 decision, NAHB has pursued multiple avenues to overturn Williamson County, in the form of amicus briefs and efforts to find a Congressional fix. NAHB submitted one of just three briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to take the Knick case. On March 5, the court agreed to hear the case.

NAHB submitted another amicus brief on June 5, this time for the merits stage of the Knick case. In addition, other NAHB members participated in separate amicus efforts. NAHB LANDS member Tim Hollister submitted a brief on behalf of certain members of Congress, and longtime NAHB Frank Kottschade joined another amicus brief, which highlighted his years-long takings lawsuit.



The Professional Women in Building group at the Greater Des Moines HBA put together a construction camp with 35 girls last week.  A panel featuring Nicole McGlothlin (Sundance Homes), Megan Roettger (DJR Construction), and Steph Reed (Partners by Design Homes) was very well received.  The panel also featured representatives from ISU, Turner Construction and NAWIC.  The group then visited Painted Woods West, a Kimberley Development, and toured three homes under different stages of construction.  Jenna Kimberley, Jordan Kramer and two superintendents from Kimberley, Shay and Jason, helped with the tours.  Check it out by clicking here.


Check Out These Local HBA Publications!

Here are links to the Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Des Moines HBA monthly electronic newsletters. Check them out, very well done! It’s always good to know what our Federation members are doing.

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