2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Thursday, October 7, 2010 Anaheim, California
Land Use & Environment Committee Mission Statement:This Committee is a Policy committee. Its mission is to develop C.A.R.'s land use and environmental policy. It has original jurisdiction to evaluate legislation and regulation in the following issue areas as they relate to real estate: Environmental, Land Use and Zoning, Property Rights, Resources, and Subdivision and Development.
Presiding: Phyllis Carmichael, Chair Barbara J. Palmer, Vice Chair
Issue Chairs: Shari Setser, Environmental Larry Matteson, Land Use and Zoning Staci Caplan, Property Rights Kim Boda, Resources Jeanne Radsick, Subdivision and Development
I. Welcome and Opening Remarks - Phyllis Carmichael, Chair
II. Action Item - Phyllis Carmichael, Chair PROPOSITION 23: Suspension of AB 32. Initiative Constitutional Amendment* Position: FOR, AGAINST, NEUTRAL, or NOT REAL ESTATE RELATED
III. Federal Issues - Barbara J. Palmer, Vice Chair A. Home Star Energy Efficiency Rating Program The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 5019 and H.R. 4785. H.R. 5019 would establish the voluntary "Home Star" energy efficiency program to offer financial incentives including rebates to homeowners who choose to make energy-related home improvements. H.R. 4785 would create a new energy-efficiency loan program to run for the next five-years. REALTORS® successfully worked with members of Congress to add a strict prohibition on the use of the program as a de facto means of enacting energy labeling. While these programs enjoyed bipartisan support in the House, it is unclear if the Senate will be able to address these or similar bills prior to the end of the year.
B. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program In an effort to address the high upfront costs associated with energy efficient upgrades for properties, the White House has developed the Property Assessed Clean Energy initiative (PACE). PACE allows property owners to take a 15 to 20 year loan to make energy efficient retrofits to their properties. The loans are funded by local governments which finance the loans through a municipal bond program. To ensure repayment, a special assessment is added to owners’ property-tax bill.
Recently, this program has come under fire from Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA has declared PACE loans that place the tax assessment in a senior position to the first mortgage are not in line with the GSE’s guidelines and are therefore not eligible for purchase or guarantee by the two mortgage giants.
This issue will be addressed in the Taxation & Government Finance Committee during these meetings.
C.National Flood Insurance Program As of the posting of this agenda, Congress had failed to extend funding for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) past the September 30 deadline. This will be the third time this year that Congress has allowed the NFIP funding to expire forcing delays and confusion for homebuyers purchasing in flood planes that require flood insurance.
For some time now Congress has been approving a series of short-term extensions of the NFIP while discussions continue over comprehensive reforms to improve the program's actuarial and financial foundations. Without the NFIP, property owners in federally designated areas across nearly 20,000 communities nationwide could not obtain a mortgage or flood insurance to protect their properties.
D. EPA Lead Paint Update Starting on October 1, 2010, contractors had to have at least one person on every qualifying job either have a certification or enrolled in a class in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule. This was a new deadline which extended the original April 22 deadline. According to the new rule, if a home was built before 1978 it may require additional precautions in order for a contractor to do almost any renovation or repair on the property.
This summer four industry groups brought a lawsuit against the EPA. The suit was brought by the National Association of Home Builders, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, and the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. The focus of their lawsuit was the removal of an opt-out provision for homes with no children under the age of six. As of the posting of this paper there has been no update on the status of this lawsuit.
E. Questions on Reported Items?
IV. Environmental - Shari Setser, Issue Chair A. Naturally Occurring Asbestos & CA Air Resources Board - C.A.R. has been working with a broad coalition of organizations representing the construction materials and building industries, housing, labor, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, geologists, scientists and engineers to address a recent proposal by the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) to redefine naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) for the purposes of instituting control measures. C.A.R. and the coalition worked hard to preserve the existing definition of NOA which is well-understood by the regulated public, testing laboratories, and other state and local agencies. After an intense lobbying campaign, CARB formally declared that they will only be focusing on creating testing procedures that are more reliable and uniform and that they have no intention of changing the definition of NOA at this time.
B. Lead Based Paint and Renovations - The National Association of Homebuliders announced that it will sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for removing an "Opt out" provision in its lead paint regulations. The new federal rule affects construction contractors, residential landlords, property managers and others who perform renovation for compensation in housing that may contain lead-based paint in housing built before 1978. Renovation includes most repair, remodeling and maintenance activities that disturb painted surfaces.
C. Questions on Reported Items?
V. Land Use and Zoning - Larry Matteson, Issue Chair A. SB 375 Implementation and Regional Targets - C.A.R. joined a large coalition of stakeholders to send a letter of concern to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding the implementation of SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) a regional transportation planning mandate that applies to the 18 regions in California that already have designated Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). The letter opposes the adoption of regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets which are viewed as unachievable without great cost. The coalition estimates that annual travel costs will skyrocket 460% under the proposed targets.
B. Questions on Reported Item?
VI. Property Rights - Staci Caplan, Issue Chair A. AB 226 (Ruskin) Coastal Resources and Enforcement - Under current law, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) is authorized to seek, through the Attorney General, civil penalties and fines on individuals who engage in unpermitted development activities. All fines collected from these violations are paid into the state's general fund. AB 226 proposed to extend the judicial authority to the CCC, allowing the commission to impose civil penalties and to retain the penalties collected. C.A.R. opposed the passage of AB 226 because judicial authority to pursue fines and penalties should remain in the courts where due process is afforded. AB 226 was instead amended to pertain to county employees’ retirement compensation. With these amendments C.A.R. removed its opposition.
B. Questions on Reported Item?
VII. Resources - Kim Boda, Issue Chair A. California Energy Commission: AB 1103 Implementation - Since the passage of AB 1103 (Saldana, Statutes of 2007), C.A.R. has been actively participating as a key stakeholder in the development of the Commercial Building EnergyStar Benchmarking program which will require building owners to register and benchmark all nonresidential buildings within the US EPA EnergyStar program, and disclose this information to a prospective buyer, lessee, or lender when an
entire building is sold, leased, financed, or refinanced. The draft regulations finalized and will be released to the public for review in June and should be adopted in December. The regulations, which are anticipated to become effective January 1, 2011 will go into effect on a tiered schedule based upon building size.
B. California Energy Commission HERS Booklet - The CEC is required to establish regulations and a consumer handbook for a standardized home energy rating program to certify homes in California including general home energy efficiency information. The regulations are now complete and so is the consumer handbook. C.A.R. staff and a panel of REALTOR® members worked with the CEC to complete the consumer handbook which is now required in all real estate sales. C.A.R. has incorporated this new disclosure booklet in with our Earthquake Hazards booklet.
C. AB 1747 (Galgiani) Mining Mineral Deposits - The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires an environmental impact report to determine if a proposed project will have a negative impact on the environment. AB 1747 would require a residential, retail or commercial development project in an area designated by the State Geologist to contain significant mineral deposits, including sand and gravel, to consider the impact to the ability to surface mine those deposits when considering a projects environmental impact. C.A.R. opposed AB 1747 as it would severely limit the ability to develop land overlying aggregate or other mineral deposits.
D. Questions on Reported Items?
VIII. Subdivision & Development - Jeanne Radsick, Issue Chair A. State Water Board: Statewide Septic Regulations - C.A.R. has been working with the State Water Board (SWB) on the development of statewide septic regulations since the process began in 2002. A strong response by the regulated community over past proposed regulations has resulted in a proposed new approach to regulating septic systems. The soon to be released regulations will be risk-based and include three tiers of regulation. Tier 1 will be for systems that meet ideal site conditions, Tier 2 will be for most systems, where ideal conditions do not exist, but where surface and/or groundwater are not impacted by nitrates or bacteria from septic systems, and Tier 3 will be for sites where water quality has been impacted by septic systems. Existing systems in Tier 1 or Tier 2 will not have any new requirements imposed. The SWB anticipates adoption of the new regulations summer 2011. C.A.R.'s Septic Working Group will review the new language which is promised to be released before the end of 2010.
B. SB 959 (Ducheny) Permit Approval Process - This bill would expand the role of the Office of Permit Assistance to provide information to developers on state and local permit approval processes and to assist them with identifying the necessary permit(s) for the proposed project. The bill would also provide grants and technical assistance to city and county agencies to assist them in developing an expedited development permit process. C.A.R. supports SB 959 as it would help streamline the development approval and permit process.
C. Questions on Reported Items?
IX. Open Forum A. REALTOR® Committee on Air Quality (RCAQ) Report B. Yuba-Sutter Flood Assessment C. Santa Cruz Vacation Rental Ordinance D. PG&E Smart Meter Update E. Other
"*" indicates that issue briefing materials are included with the reporting committee's agenda materials.