By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Short-Sighted

That was what the NAHB called the Feb. 27 introduction of the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act.

"This act would, in effect, elevate roadside ditches to the same level as wetlands connected to the Everglades. This is akin to regulating anything done on any blade of grass in the country. The bill is short-sighted, as it simply serves as a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived need, not a documented one," NAHB executive vice president and CEO Jerry Howard says. Rather than furthering the protection of wetlands, the bill will exacerbate existing inefficiencies.

Howard is calling for a reinstatement of process similar to the Nationwide Permitting Process. But, he says, waves of restrictions have made an efficient permitting program under the Clean Water Act practically extinct.

"We should also keep in mind," adds Howard, "that the intent of Congress with the Clean Water Act was to protect and regulate 'navigable waters of the United States' that can be used for interstate commerce, not just any vernal pool, prairie pothole, or puddle."

Active Winners

Carriage Hill, Southborough, Mass., and Vistoso Village, Oro Valley, Ariz., shared the gold in the Small Active Adult Community category at the NAHB's 2003 Best of Seniors Housing Design Awards.

There were 52 gold and silver winners in 25 categories. A 12-member panel of architects, designers, and builders judged projects on how effectively they responded to the housing demands and design needs of the burgeoning 50-plus market.

Entrants came from as far as Japan and were evaluated on their ability to meet target market lifestyle requirements; judges examined the master plan, community facilities, and model homes, as well as marketability, budget, and ability to work on challenging sites.

Learn more about the winners at /generic.aspx?generic ContentID=4844.

Pass Credit

To put more people to work and spur economic growth, NAHB executive vice president and CEO Jerry Howard urged Congress to pass the single-family homeownership tax credit.

"Similar to the low-income housing tax credit program, which produces 100,000 affordable apartment homes each year, the single-family homeownership tax credit would also have a stimulative effect, producing some 50,000 new or rehabbed homes each year," Howard says.

Caution Urged

In early March, the NAHB reiterated its support for President Bush's 10-year, $665 billion economic growth package. However, the association voiced concerns that some aspects of the plan may need fine-tuning to avoid unintended consequences harmful to housing.

A February study released by Ernst amp; Young concluded there would be a 35 percent reduction in the number of low-income housing tax credit units built if the package's proposal to eliminate double taxation of corporate dividends was enacted.

NAHB executive vice president and CEO Jerry Howard says, "The president's dividend proposal involves a series of very complex issues, and we believe it would be unwise to dismiss the entire Bush tax plan out of hand over this one study."