Local Builder Leaves HBA

Mark Marcoplos gave me permission to post this letter to the president of the Home Builders Association. It speaks volumes and most eloquently.

Marcoplos Construction

February 9, 2005

Dear President Burgess,

After much deliberation, I have decided not to renew my membership in the Home Builders Association.

From my perspective, the long-term viability of our communities, our economy, and our health is in danger. Our society embraces short-term profit-seeking at the expense of human needs, environmental protection, and a sustainable economic framework.

At the forefront of this short-sighted approach is the Home Builders Association. Whether the issue is building along fragile coastal areas in North Carolina, building housing developments in the Florida Everglades, or battling regulations that would help curtail urban sprawl, the HBA is consistently advocating for whatever will allow more building with less barriers and more profits.

Water and air quality issues are not a priority. Global warming merits no concern. Huge national debt for misguided military adventures is supported. The HBA is a huge spender in political races, mainly supporting candidates that ignore data revealing the unsustainability of our current economic and environmental practices in favor of whatever fattens the wallets of their supporters.

On a positive note, the HBA has become involved in the Green Building movement. Unfortunately, the aspects of green building that apply to sustainable land use and healthy communities are given short shrift. It appears that the HBA advocates destroying Everglades habitat and building homes there which use 5% less energy than the norm and calling that progress.

In the end, it is as simple as the fact that the values of the HBA and the values of my customers are at odds. My customers value environmentally-sound construction, careful community planning, paying workers a fair, living wage, and sound economic policies with the health of future generations in mind. They would like to see a future in which the United States pursues global cooperation, communities are valued over corporate profits, workers are respected, and the natural world is protected. This is just the opposite of the policies advocated by those who receive strong financial and political support from the HBA.

I appreciate the help I have received from Nick Tennyson over the years. But I can no longer support an organization which is actively working for a future that threatens my children and future generations.

Mark Marcoplos




I agree with 80%+ of your letter but I think you could effect change better as an HBA member than as an outcast.

Early in my life, I quit churches that did not agree with my personal philosphy but since then I have matured & I quietly try to change organizations from within.


A well written letter to which I can agree with, but like Jack was implying, unfortunately just leaving the HBA does not do anything to get on a path towards progress. I'd like to steer discussion towards what can be done to remedy the problem. How can the Home Builders Association and the independent developers who form it's agenda be influenced to change the organization's focus to work towards sustainability? And what of the consumer? What can be done to show the average Joe Shmoe that ecologically sound building in places actually suited for home construction are not only preferable, but should be given priority consideration over the elements that seem to be taking priority in today's housing market?

One suggestion is to encourage your local Planning Depts and Boards to adopt plan review criteria that include sustainable characteristics, such as site plans that minimize stormwater runoff, use of non-invasive plants, access to public transportation, inclusion of bikepaths, open spaces, etc.


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