The Longmont City Council debate on whether to adopt builder friendly construction defect ordinances took center stage last week.
Representatives of both the housing industry, which blames the lack of “affordable” housing construction on costs associated with construction defect lawsuits, and community associations, which claim that this effort is nothing but pressure put on city councils to protect builders and strip rights of homeowners, presented their arguments for and against this type of ordinance. Also present at the meeting was Colorado House Representative Jonathan Singer, who urged the City Council to wait and see what reforms may be passed by the State Legislature in 2016. At the end of the night, feeling more information was needed, the City Council voted to instruct their staff to conduct additional research on the issue and report back to the Council in March for future debate and consideration.
Based upon the vote taken, it appears that Longmont is not going to wait until the State acts, as there seems to be very little confidence that the State will act having failed to do so in each of the last three years. However, pressure on the State is higher than ever as more and more cities act on their own to pass construction defect reform ordinances, including Lone Tree, Littleton, Lakewood and Denver.
With renewed efforts at local levels, the State may be forced into enacting legislation to address the issue of condominium construction. What can be said for sure is that the debate over housing and condominium construction is not done and will continue over the course of the legislative season. Even with the entrenched positions of both sides, the Longmont City Council seems confident that the people working the issue can reach a balanced solution.