2017 accomplishments – NATIONAL
- Representatives attended “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in Washington DC (March 8-10). Participating were Lauren Gwaltney, Ross McCain, Rob Walker and Bruce Herrington.
- Ross McCain attended “SpeakUp!” workshop in Denver (July 12-14).
- Attended the State Government Network (SGN) in Bruce Herrington participated.
2017 accomplishments – STATE
- Prison Bill. Monitored bill during Legislative session; proponents did not mount a serious effort for
- Historic Preservation Tax Actively supported passage of the Historic Tax Credits bill
- “Anti-LEED” Bill. Monitored any activity on this potential bill; ensured the Birmingham Business Alliance maintained this initiative on its “Monitor Agenda”. Bill was never introduced by allies of the timber industry.
2017 accomplishments – LOCAL
- Birmingham’s proposed “Character-Based Zoning Ordinance”. The City has established a public comment period for the proposed Ordinance changes/additions, and is holding scheduled meeting approx every 2 weeks for review. The Character-Based Ordinance appeared to be overreaching and too specific; it appeared to dictate design rather than provide parameters for design. Richard Simonton, Mike Gibson, and Alex Krumdieck attended meetings in the spring to discuss the proposed verbiage. Richard was/is heading up AIA Bham’s official response. The City took a months-long hiatus to modify the proposed changes to be more in keeping with the design & development community’s stated desires. This issue “began again” during the last week of November 2017.
- Expanded awareness and involvement. Team members met with Mayors and other leaders of the following suburb cities, to inform them of how Birmingham AIA can assist their municipalities:
- Vestavia – Mayor Ashley Curry, City Manager Jeff Dunn (April)
- Mountain Brook – Mayor Stewart Welch, City Mgr Sam Gaston, GIS Mgr Hunter Simmons (May)
- Hoover – Mayor Frank Brocato, City Administrator Allan Rice (June)
- Meetings with Homewood and Tuscaloosa elected leaders were proposed by AIA Bham; unfortunately meetings did not materialize
- Association representation. Bruce Herrington continues to represent AIA Birmingham in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’.
- Richard Simonton, Marshall Anderson, and Bruce Herrington met with Mayor Bell on 4/12 to review the results of the review of the International Green Construction Code, a joint effort between AIA Birmingham and the City’s Planning, Engineering & Permits
- Met with Mayor William Bell Sr. (and 2 members of his staff) on April 11. AIA attendees were Lauren Gwaltney (2017 President, AIA Bham), David Blackmon (2017 President, ACFA), Bruce Herrington; also Rhea Williams and Kathryn Moore. Meeting held at the ACFA, specifically for Mayor Bell to review the Center’s “Living Small” exhibit.
- Ecodistricts / Innovation District. In 2016, the “ecodistrict” initiative transformed into an “Innovation District” initiative REVBirmingham headed up an effort known as “Innovate Birmingham”, which actually had a broader target aimed at recruiting innovating companies to Bham.
2018 probable targets/initiatives
- Have representatives attend Grassroots Conference / San Diego (March).
- Issues on the AIA National website:
- Procurement and project delivery – Reform procurement laws that stifle competition
- Business of architecture – Help small firms thrive; Promote preservation of public buildings and spaces; Promote financing for energy efficient buildings: et al
- Global practice – Promoting American architects abroad
- Career issues – Relieving student debt (National Design Services Act)
- Sustainability – Oppose Federal repeal of energy-saving goals, et al
- Communities – Invest in our nation’s infrastructure
- Design – Oppose the use of “stock” or standardized plans for schools
- Building codes – Help communities prepare for natural disasters; “resilience”
- State. The following bills / initiatives will be monitored during 2018. Note that Don Brown and Gary Greenshields are very involved in Legislative Affairs at the State level. Larry Vinson (Executive Director of the Alabama Council AIA) continues to assist also.
- Historic Preservation Tax Credit Bill (support)
- Prison Bill (ensure the best alternative delivery language is included)
- CM at Risk and/or Design/Build
- Any “Anti-LEED” bill(s). Regardless of the recent moderation of the timber industry’s actions, it may re-tool its bill and propose that third-party rating systems be consensus-based and ANSI
- Certificate of Merit
- Mechanics Lien Law
- Tax Credits for Businesses that fund apprenticeships.
- Local. Continue with the above-described initiatives:
- Continue participation in review/response to Birmingham’s Character-Based Zoning Ordiance.
- Expanded awareness and involvement via visits to mayors of surrounding cities.
- IgCC review (will probably utilize this as a message to take to the Mayors on a follow-up visit.)
- IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), which works hand-in-glove with the IgCC.
- Innovation District / Ecodistrict
Archi-PAC was established to strengthen the collective voice of architects in Alabama, the political action committee for members. Contributions to Archi-PAC are strictly voluntary and funds collected through the PAC are earmarked for financial support for those candidates who are supportive of the design and construction industry in Alabama.
Support your profession by contributing to Archi-PAC Alabama. To make a contribution contact Larry Vinson at 1-800-239-5545, or mail your check payable to:
Archi PAC Alabama
Post Office 240757
Montgomery, Alabama 36124