Bill barring architectural standards dies

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Officials in the county are applauding the death of an Indiana House bill that sought to strip their ability to regulate much of a residence’s external appearance.

Authored by state Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart, House Bill 1114 aimed to prohibit local governments from regulating design elements of residences. Those elements included, among other things, the choice of exterior colors; type or style of exterior materials; the number and types of rooms; and the minimum square footage of a structure.

The bill excluded historic structures, those in areas governed by homeowners associations and properties owned by municipalities.

Miller, a managing partner with Tailor Made Homes, said his motivation was to help keep housing affordable and that architectural standards needlessly add on thousands of dollars to home prices and mortgages.

Leaders in Hancock County countered that the bill would have wrongly stripped them of important local control and that architectural standards impact tax revenue while also allowing residents to go to officials when having issues with neighbors. The bill would have taken away municipalities’ ability to negotiate standards with developers while encouraging high-density, cookie-cutter housing, leaders in the county said as well.

The bill was approved 8-5 in the House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform but was never considered before the full House by last month’s deadline.

“It’s great news for local municipalities across the state, that local municipalities retain control rather than a state mandate,” said Adam Zaklikowski, Fortville planning and building director.

Tonya Galbraith, McCordsville town manager, welcomed the news as well.

“I think there were enough people who realized it really wasn’t in the best interest of the communities in the state to prohibit architectural and building design standards,” she said. “I think people want to see there be quality design in the houses around them and the homes that they choose.”