Construction defects debate in offing

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As municipalities take it upon themselves to find ways to deal with construction defects issues, the debate will return to the Statehouse this session – and at least some legislators are optimistic.

“I think the atmosphere is right this year for passage of this bill, whatever it may look like. It won’t be easy,” Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Dist. 2, told NAIOP Colorado members at their membership breakfast this morning. Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Dist. 4, also is positive “about how we can move forward.” With cities creating their own laws, maybe the answer lies in “thinking about the insurance piece” so condominium developers can afford insurance against litigation that might arise, he said.

The issue is part and parcel of attacking Colorado’s affordable housing issue, which Evan Dreyer, deputy chief of staff for Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, said puts the region at risk of losing longtime employers and discouraging other companies from moving to Colorado.

“This is a business issue for our community,” agreed City Council member Robin Kniech.

Denver is looking at ways to leverage an average $15 million a year against federal funding to help address the issue. Local funding could come from a new development impact fee on both residential and nonresidential construction, as well as a “sliver” of property tax revenue, said Dreyer.

Although affordable housing demand at the state level far outstrips the General Assembly’s ability make a dramatic impact, Pabon said between a banking settlement awarded to Colorado and $60 million in state tax credits, nearly $100 million could be available for affordable housing over the next 10 years.

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