Regulatory Barriers Strategy Paper

Regulatory Barriers Strategy Report


Local governments and elected officials have great autonomy in adopting development regulations that increase or decrease regional economic competitiveness, promote or hinder environmental protection, and have affects on many other quality of life factors. Local development regulations are designed to shape the character of the community, ensure health and safety standards are achieved, provide sufficient infrastructure, supply public services, and offer desired amenities. Many development regulations are necessary for the public good; however, a common byproduct of regulation is an increase in the cost of development, which is often passed onto potential homeowners and renters. As a result, the costs of regulations can pose a significant barrier to creating a diverse housing stock. This report intends to better determine how development regulations shape the housing stock and in turn, affects the health and vitality of the region..

Table of Contents

  • Introduction 
  • Barriers and Mitigation Strategies
    • Building Codes
    • Land Use Controls / Zoning
    • Impact Fees
    • Administrative & Procedural Processes
  • Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • References

A sample of findings:

  • Nine out of ten developers said that excessive regulations challenge housing affordability because they drive up construction costs (Brunick & Patton 2003)
  • Some localities use excessive building codes to preclude the construction of affordable housing, by raising the cost of a house by up to 13%
  • Revising and improving regulations was found to decrease rehabilitation costs in New Jersey by 10 to 40%, and the new code led to an increase in rehabilitation activity of 25% (Listokin 2004)
  • A 2007 study of subdivision requirements prepared by National Association of Home Builders Research Center for US HUD found that 91% of subdivisions had regulatory barriers that exceeded acceptable standards.

If you're interested in learning more about regulatory barriers to housing, please download the following CMAP strategy report.  Comments and criticisms are encouraged.