Yesterday, November 10, 2011, House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) introduced H.R. 3397, The Cabin Fee Act of 2011 (CFA). This historic legislation received a positive hearing by the Natural Resources Committee on September 9th, where cabin owner Pete Bailey of Tacoma, WA, testified on behalf of National Forest Homeowners (NFH) and the Cabin Coalition (C2).
H.R. 3397 is very similar to the 2010 Cabin Fee Act, which was also introduced and championed by Chairman Hastings. Like last year's bill, H.R. 3397 is expected to receive strong bipartisan support. The new bill will replace the flawed appraisal-based fee system mandated by the Cabin User Fee Fairness Act of 2000 (CUFFA). Nine value tiers would be established, ranging from $500 to a maximum of $4500. The NFH believes this will mean a much more equitable and balanced fee structure that will more truly reflect the true value of the cabin use than the gross fee disparities under CUFFA. Assignment to value tiers, that will establish individual cabin fees, will be determined by a rank order of all appraisals following the completion of the final CUFFA appraisals - the last use of any appraisals. During the transition period from CUFFA to the CFA, fees will be the lesser of $4500 or the current CUFFA fee, provided that the CUFFA fee cannot result in more than a 25 percent annual increase over the previous year's fee.
H.R. 3397 will also provide a "cabin transfer fee" based on the selling price when a cabin changes ownership and a new permit is issued. This transfer fee will be a flat $1,000, plus 5% of the sales amount in excess of $250,000 up to $500,000 and an additional 10% of the sales amount in excess of $500,000.
NFH President Geoff Anderson, of Lincoln, CA, hailed the new legislation. According to Anderson, "Passage of this legislation will mark a new day for cabin owners. It will do away with the inconsistencies and excessively wide range of fees resulting from the current appraisal system. It will result in fairer and more reasonable fees that more accurately reflect the actual
value of the cabin use. It will enable families who have built and maintained their cabins for generations to continue to use and enjoy them. The NFH and the C2 Coalition is deeply grateful to Chairman Hastings for his leadership and we look forward to working with him to get this needed legislation enacted into law."
A copy of H.R. 3397 will be posted on this NFH website as soon as it is available.
Aubrey King, NFH Washington Representative