What follows is the letter (sent via email) to my county Planning Board and Commissioners. Omitted the county name. Where I happen to work and live is unimportant … all municipal entities that set the rules of home construction will have to deal with this. As I said in the earlier blog, if there is a response I will share it with you.

Some weeks ago I wrote in this blog about how I think the housing market needs to change to adapt to “the new normal” - www.roofingcontractor.com/Articles/Blog_Rick/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000654915.

What follows is the letter (sent via email) to my county Planning Board and Commissioners. Omitted the county name. Where I happen to work and live is unimportant … all municipal entities that set the rules of home construction will have to deal with this. As I said in the earlier blog, if there is a response I will share it with you.

To the county Board of Commissioners and Planning Commissioners:

I am writing to you both as a citizen and homeowner in the county and as one who works in the roofing and building material supply industry in the county. I also serve as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and believe all citizens deserve the opportunity to work hard and become a homeowner. I am not a planning expert, but would nonetheless like to offer a suggestion as you move forward with long-range plans.

The recent tumble in the housing and financing sectors have made things tough in my business and no doubt have made things difficult for county government. We have had to face some very difficult choices. I believe there are some tough choices that designers, developers, builders, and government officials still have to make.

The oversupply in housing brought on by the lending crisis and the foreclosures that followed will take care of itself in time. The hangover from building homes larger than many families could reasonably afford, however, is going to have some lingering effects. I believe the homeowner of the future is going to demand smaller, more sustainable spaces. I believe the homes that developers have built (and many municipalities laid out plans for) have been unrealistically over-sized for decades. Faulty lending practices have been blamed for the financial crisis, but we must recognize that they also enabled some overzealous planning, developing, and building.

I believe the builders and developers in our county are ready to move into the new generation of home construction. I believe the citizens of the county (the ones who live here now and the ones who will join us in the future) are ready to invest in homes that are more affordable and sustainable. I also believe that sticking with plans made in the 1980s, 1990s, and in the first half of this decade need to change. I think you would agree that the county would benefit from a return to development and construction.

My suggestion is that you consider revisiting long term plans in light of the “new normal,” and sooner rather than later. Moving quickly may not be routine for county governments, but these are not routine times.

Best regards,
Rick Damato