CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS IN Columbia, Ill., are weighing a proposal that would require the exteriors of all new single-family homes built in Monroe County to be 75 percent clad in brick or stone. A vote is expected some time this month. The ordinance was introduced to “prevent Columbia from becoming a sea of vinyl ... ,” one alderman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Critics fear that the ordinance would limit aesthetic choices and increase material costs, thus driving up home prices. Jerry Rombach, executive officer of the HBA of Greater Southwest Illinois, estimates that the measure could drive up new-home costs by as much as $20,000, thereby pricing many first-time and low-income buyers out of the market.

The town of 8,500 is not the first to consider masonry standards. Similar design ordinances have been in place in suburbs surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth for nearly a decade, with an eye toward preserving “neighborhood integrity and curb appeal,” according to Paul Cauduro, director of government relations for the HBA of Greater Dallas.

In 2000, Aurora, Colo., officials passed a measure requiring 50 percent brick masonry on all new-home exteriors. The formula was revised in 2004 to allow other types of durable siding (including fiber-cement and stone) to be used in conjunction with brick.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Kennewick, WA.