Regulatory Affairs Update: Sprinklers Debate Returns, Report Submitted On Housing Affordability

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At a Friday meeting of the Residential Building Code Technical Advisory Groups (TAG), the Minnesota Fire Association Coalition proposed that Minnesota’s Residential Building Code mandate sprinklers be put into all new homes in Minnesota.

Housing First Minnesota, which successfully defeated the sprinkler mandate in the BATC v. DLI court decision, advocated against the proposed change. In a letter to the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, Housing First Minnesota said that data from the State Fire Marshal shows that fire deaths appear in homes built before 2004, or in homes for which a date of construction can not be determined.  

Housing First Minnesota TAG appointee Brent Nygaard of Lennar and Nick Erickson, Housing First Minnesota’s regulatory affairs manager, advocated against the proposed change, stating it will negatively affect housing affordability, particularly at the lower price points.

While not a binding decision, the TAG was not supportive of the sprinkler requirement.   

Housing First Minnesota Submits Proposal To Governor’s Housing Task Force

As Governor Dayton’s Task Force on Housing Affordability examines the high cost of housing in Minnesota, the group has sought input from the public on how to solve the state’s growing housing affordability crisis.

Housing First Minnesota responded to the Task Force’s call for ideas last week by submitting a report titled Solutions to The High Cost of Housing in Minnesota. The report outlines two barriers to housing affordability in Minnesota: increasing regulatory burden and the industry-wide labor crisis.

As a solution to rising regulatory costs, Housing First Minnesota pointed to HF 3044/SF 2567, a bill which would allow legislative review of housing regulations that cost homeowners $1,000 or more. This bill, part of the Minnesota Homeownership Initiative, has already been heard in both House and Senate legislative committees this session. To aid publicly-funded affordable housing projects, Housing First Minnesota proposed allowing cities to exempt these project from local fees. As for the industry-wide labor crisis, Housing First Minnesota said funding for Project Build Minnesota’s efforts would help attract more workers. Last week, HF 3810/SF 3430 was introduced at the Minnesota Legislature.

In addition to the proposal, Housing first Minnesota has participated in the Task Force and Home Ownership Workgroup meetings, including testifying before the Homeownership Working Group.

To obtain a copy of Solutions to The High Cost of Housing in Minnesota, contact Nick Erickson, regulatory affairs manager.