2:18 pm - Fri, Jan 18, 2013

Mixed-Use Development and Federal Regulation: A Case Study

The Regional Planning Association has recently released a collection of case study findings on Mixed-Use Development and Federal Housing Regulations. Their report-partially documenting the efforts of CNU on FHA and HUD housing requirements-outlines federal housing restrictions and their effect on creating walkable communities.

Also documented in the report are recent successes for neighborhood walkability advocates, notably the creation of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities in 2010 and the 2012 FHA decision to relax limitations on commercial space included within new residential developments.

The entire study can be read and downloaded on CNU’s Live/Work/Walk Resource page. Check it out!

5:51 pm - Mon, Jan 7, 2013

CNU 21: Living Community Registration Now Open

Registration for CNU 21: Living Community is now OPEN. Take advantage of our Early Bird rates by signing up before April 24th, 2013.

CNU 21 Living Community will be held in gorgeous downtown Salt Lake City , May 29 - June 1, 2013. Living Community balances the demands of physical, social, economic, and environmental values by connecting people to place and awakening in us a stewardship for our land and each other.

Stewardship is tangible. It is measured by how well we care for the people around us, the places we make and the land that hosts us. This year’s Congress will delve into these issues, contemplate the role of cities within nature and place within cities.

Join Plenary Speakers Richard Louv, Sarah Susanka, Chuck Marohn, Andres Duany, and many, many more at CNU 21. Register today!image

4:18 pm - Mon, Oct 1, 2012

FHA Raises Cap on Financing Limits of Commercial Space

CNU’s Live/Work/Walk Initiative Progresses as FHA Resets Rules

Responding to demographic changes expressing market preference for mixed-use developments in walkable, urban areas, FHA recently revised rules that limited the cap of commercial space in mixed-use condo buildings from 25% to an updated 35% commercial use, with possible waivers for developments with up to 50% commercial space. (For full coverage, see "FHA Eases Burdensome Condo Financing Rules" - Los Angeles Times, 09/23/2012)

With the action, FHA is recognizing the economic benefits of mixed-use development and taking steps towards aligning federal financing housing policy with the goals of the HUD/USDOT/EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The new rules allow the marketplace more room to develop and deliver the type of walkable, urban product that is in demand in cities and suburbs alike, and sends an encouraging signal to private banks to finance mixed residential-commercial projects as the stigma of mixed-use lessens. As a result of the changes, a greater number of condo developments and thereby potential buyers will be eligible for FHA-backed financing, unlocking hurdles to the continuing housing recovery and allowing the market to meet pent-up demand. 

Since 2010, through its Live/Work/Walk: Removing Obstacles to Investment initiative, CNU has been advocating for FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to revise the regulations on the amount of commercial space allowed in mixed commercial-residential areas. The recent FHA change not only represents a victory for CNU and its allies, but for the places that are increasingly where people want to live: connected, compact communities that deliver public health, environmental and economic benefits.

Recent Press on Updated FHA Guidelines:

"FHA Eases Burdensome Condo Financing Rules"- Los Angeles Times, 09/23/2012

"CAI Confirms Support for New FHA Guidelines" - M Report, 09/18/2012

"FHA Releases Revisions to Condominium Approval Guidelines" - Tinnelly Law Group, 09/13/2012

4:16 pm

Wanted: Artwork for CNU Charter Book

Want to get published in the new CNU Charter Book (McGraw-Hill, 2013)? 

Give us your best shot! (or drawing, illustration, rendering, etc). 
Please include a short caption: what principle does your photo/illustration show?
Email to: Emily Talen, CNU Charter Book editor, etalen@gmail.com
Deadline: November 1, 2012
Resolution: at least 300 dpi at target size
Black and white only (you can submit color, but they will be converted to B&W). Please only submit your own material or material for which you have (or can easily obtain) the copyright.
Thank you!
3:59 pm - Fri, Aug 24, 2012

“‘For the first time since World War II, the United States is experiencing increased levels of urbanization,’ says senior research analyst Eric Bloom. ‘As more people move into cities, they tend to occupy apartments, condominiums, and other attached multi-unit housing types. By 2021, over one-fourth of the residential stock of the United States will be in multi-unit residential buildings.’”

from "Total Single-Family Residential Building Stock in the U.S. Will Shrink by 4 Billion Square Feet by 2021, Forecasts Pike Research"

3:14 pm - Wed, Jul 18, 2012
2:09 pm - Wed, Jun 6, 2012
’The big challenge now is supply,’ argued John Norquist, the president and chief executive officer of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an urban advocacy organization, and the former mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ‘because there are so many constraints on building urban, walkable communities.’
"Living the Picket Fence Behind" - Kevin Brown, Remapping Debate
2:08 pm - Thu, May 31, 2012

"Increasingly, federal officials are realizing the deleterious effects of these. The 2009 report from HUD, “Great Places to Call Home: A Representative Portfolio of HUD’s Section 202 Program” states “Restrictions on commercial space had the effect of eliminating commercial activities altogether.” More recently, the Los Angeles Times noted that in an effort to bolster market activity for condominiums, FHA may look towards relaxing some of the rules that currently hamper such financing, including evaluating nonresidential space use.

At a time when the moribund housing market is showing signs of sustained recovery, and as Brookings Institute’s Chris Leinberger has writtenof  “the convergence of the two largest generations in American history, the baby boomers and the millennials,” who together are driving the “pent-up demand for walkable, centrally located neighborhoods,” it is heartening to see FHA begin to realize the economic potential currently locked behind artificially-designed restrictions. To remove obstacles to investment in these economic times, the government should heed market demand and allow a mix of commercial and housing development to act as a catalyst for economic growth.”

2:09 pm - Fri, May 25, 2012

FHA may loosen limits on condo mortgages

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Thousands of condominium owners and buyers around the country could soon be in line for some welcome news on mortgage financing: Though officials are mum on specifics, the Federal Housing Administration is readying changes to its controversial condominium rules that have rendered large numbers of units ineligible for the agency’s low-down-payment insured mortgages….FHA officials defend their requirements as prudent and necessary to avoid insurance fund losses but have expressed a willingness to reconsider some of the issues that have upset condo owners and the real estate industry. Among the biggest areas of criticism of the FHA’s rules are its limitations on:

•Nonresidential space usage. The FHA has set a cap of 25% of the total floor space in a project for commercial use. Critics say this is too low and unrealistic for condo projects in urban areas, where retail and office revenues can be important to overall financial feasibility.”

Read the full article by clicking here.

Install Headline