1:10 p.m. - 2:50 p.m. Thursday, June 10, 2010 Sacramento, 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. Federal Issues - Barbara J. Palmer, Vice Chair A. Climate Change Legislation - Pending before Congress is climate change legislation that includes energy efficiency provisions for commercial and residential buildings. Last summer, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2454: the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which includes energy efficiency provisions for new construction only. Realtors® succeeded in making a number of positive changes affecting the real estate provisions of the bill passed by the House. Currently, the Senate is working to develop a Climate Change bill called the American Power Act.
B. Home Star Energy Efficiency Rating Program - The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5019: the Home Star Energy Rebate Act, which 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. 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 and will work to add these provisions in the Senate version of the legislation, S. 3177, which at this time, has been referred without further action to the Finance Committee.
C. Clean Water Act Changes - Pending before Congress is legislation to amend the Clean Water Act to replace the term "navigable waters," which are subject to non-tidal wetlands permits, with "waters of the United States" defined as “all… intrastate waters, including … all tributaries … and all impoundments of the forgoing.” Opponents of the change, including REALTORS®, strongly believe that this will expand the scope of the Act to all U.S. waters (including roadside ditches and storm drains), not just the navigable ones, which will likely result in further restrictions on property development or make the process more cumbersome where wetlands are discovered.
III. Environmental - Shari Setser, Issue Chair A. Naturally Occurring Asbestos - 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 are fighting to preserve the existing definition of “asbestos” which is well-understood by the regulated public, testing laboratories, and other state and local agencies. Changing the definition will limit economic potential, increase regulatory burdens and increase public stigma that will functionally prevent a variety of permitted uses from being undertaken. These effects could seriously hinder state and local recovery projects, labor demand, and materials availability, while also damaging existing investment in projects well outside known NOA areas.
B. Lead Based Paint and Renovations - 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. The new rule requires that no more than 60 days prior to commencing the renovation, renovators must give to the owner or occupant of the dwelling a pamphlet and obtain written acknowledgment that the owner or occupant has received the pamphlet The rule also establishes requirements for training renovators, other renovation workers, and dust sampling technicians; for certifying renovators (and others); for accrediting providers of renovation training; for renovation work practices; and for recordkeeping.
IV. Land Use and Zoning - Larry Matteson, Issue Chair A. National Flood Insurance Program - On March 28, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) expired for several weeks due to the House and Senate's failure to agree on how to pay for reauthorization of the NFIP along with an extension of several other programs. An all-member Call for Action was issued urging REALTORS® to contact their Representatives and Senators. On March 2, the program was extended to May 31, 2010. 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. The program insures more than 5 million properties nation-wide.
B. Alluvial Fan Task Force - The Department of Water Rescources Alluvial Fan Task Force recently released guidance documents for alluvial fan floodplain management, largely intended to affect future development in the Southern California region where high-velocity, debris-laden flows resulting from storms, particularly following wildfires, are common. C.A.R. monitored the development of the guidance documents which are voluntary and intended to be locally-adopted model ordinances for communities subject to flooding on alluvial fans. The guidelines assist in developing recommendations for future development on alluvial fans and encourages the evaluation of hazards, resources, stormwater management, and public safety.
V. Property Rights - Staci Caplan, Issue Chair A. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program - The Property Assessed Clean Energy initiative (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.
VI. 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. Currently the draft language for the proposed regulations is being 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: AB 758 Implementation - C.A.R. will be working with the California Energy Commission to develop strategies for a comprehensive program to improve the energy efficiency of existing residential and nonresidential buildings in response to AB 758 (Skinner, Statutes of 2009). The proceeding will ultimately result in newly developed and adopted regulations, but the development of the regulations has been put on hold until the regulations for AB 1103 have been completed.
VII. 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 coupled with recent staff changes at SWB has resulted in a 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 early 2011.
B. Septic Working Group 2010 - Members of the Land Use & Environmental Committee encouraged to volunteer for a working group charged with reviewing and providing comments on the impending regulations.
VIII. Open Forum A. Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® Septic Update B. Realtor Committee on Air Quality (RCAQ) Report C. Big Bear Association of REALTORS® update on Private Property Rights & ADA battle D. Sutter Yuba Association of REALTORS® Local Flood Assessment E. Other
"*" indicates that issue briefing materials are included with the reporting committee's agenda materials.