On Tuesday, June 15, 2015 the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission approved a rule that removes a 4-inch requirement for topsoil coverage on development lots and sites. We believe and support home rule, but the costs to haul in topsoil has a detrimental effect on housing affordability. Our Federation will always fight for that. North Liberty will hold a special meeting of the Tree and Storm Water Board on July 29th. The City of North Liberty staff recommends preserving the top soil on site and not requiring a specific depth.
Housing affordability is a topic of conversation in everything we do and regulatory burdens increase the cost of a home in significant ways. Our professional association’s estimate of the four inch requirement is between $1,600 and $2,700 for every new homeowner. Hard data from the U.S. Census Bureau and our National Association of Home Builders shows that every $1,000 increase in the price of a new home eliminates 3,126 families.
The additional cost of dictating exactly where the topsoil gets placed is an unnecessary impediment to affordable housing and is unnecessary to meet the intent of the EPA rule.
Residential lot development is only a part of the overall water quality and soil erosion issue. Overall, Home Builders have done an outstanding job of reducing the impacts of soil erosion and improving water quality.
It is important that you join us in North Liberty for the Special Meeting July 29th at 7:00 and the North Liberty City Council Meeting August 11th at 6:30 in the Council Chambers, 1 Quail Creek Circle, North Liberty. If you are unable to attend the meetings, e-mail, write or call the council members.
Their contact information can be found at http://northlibertyiowa.org/government/city-council/.