Regional Government Affairs Update November 26, 2019 🦃 🍂❄

November 26, 2019

In this issue…

Boulder County
Rodriguez Elected Mayor Pro Tem
Additional Requirements For Riparian Developments
Larimer County
Fort Collins

Final Vote on Stadium Rezoning Postponed
Mayor Comments on Election
Council To Discuss Metro Districts — Again
Rent Control Lawsuit
Flood Insurance Extended


Boulder County

Rodriguez Elected Mayor Pro Tem: The new City Council elected Aren Rodriguez as Mayor Pro Tem. The mayor pro tem runs the Council meetings when the mayor is unavailable.

Polly Christensen had previously served in this capacity but given the OUR Center controversy surrounding Christensen and fellow Council member Joan Peck, it is probably just as well that the Council chose another member to fill the role. It was simply a lucky coincidence that the decision was made prior to news of the controversy, which broke in the Times-Call on November 16.

Additional Requirements for Riparian Developments: On November 12 the City Council gave approval to require additional review requirements for development proposals along four river corridors: the St. Vrain, Left Hand Creek. Dry Creek Number 2 and Union Reservoir. Proposals in those areas were already subject to 150-foot setbacks and a variance process but now they will be subject to the new Sustainability Evaluation System approved last month.

The Council also asked staff to draft an ordinance adding four other corridors to the riparian areas requiring additional review: sections of Spring Gulch Number 1 and 2, Lykins Gulch and Dry Creek Number 1. Staff and Council have made it clear that an extensive public outreach process will be undertaken to make sure all relevant property owners have been notified.

Larimer County 
Fort Collins
Final Vote on Stadium Rezoning Postponed: The City Council postponed the final vote on the Hughes Stadium rezoning until January 21st so that an ethics complaint related to the project can be addressed. The item was scheduled for November 19 but Mayor Troxell suggested that the item be postponed.

The three-member Ethics Review Board includes Stephens and council members Julie Pignataro and Ken Summers, with Troxell as an alternate, but Stephens and Troxell can’t be participate because they’re named in the complaint. In accordance with city code, the other five council members will serve as the review board for this complaint.

City code directs council members to recuse themselves from voting on issues where they have personal or financial conflicts of interest. Personal interest is defined as “any interest by reason of which an officer or employee, or a relative of such officer or employee, would, in the judgment of a reasonably prudent person, realize or experience some direct and substantial benefit or detriment different in kind from that experienced by the general public.” The Ethics Review Board has until Dec. 30 to screen the ethics complaint and determine whether it should be formally investigated. City Council will then review the recommendation and decide whether to adopt it.

Mayor Comments on Election: After the November election, in which Mayor Marsh won by a landslide, she gave an interview to a local blog in which she gave the following explanation for her victory:  “I believe the election shows that the people of Loveland are not happy with incentives, Metro Districts and blind loyalty to one Developer. People want transparency and accountability and they want managed growth. People want to know that their dollars spent wisely before giving Council more dollars. I think this election shows that people are concerned.”

The mayor had earlier told the Reporter-Herald that she will continue to circumvent the City Council to ensure oversight of the City’s metro districts. This comment prompted a testy exchange with the Council on November 19. The mayor defended her position, saying it is her “moral responsibility” to look out for the people of Loveland. The Council then approved a request by Councilmember Dave Clark to schedule conversation about ethics and the role of Council in terms of representing the City’s official positions based on majority rule. None of this bodes well for the future. It is apparent that the mayor will continue to push her own agenda, creating frustration and ill will for the rest of the Council.

Council To Discuss Metro Districts — Again: In an attempt to further educate citizens and push back against Mayor Marsh, on November 19 Councilmember Steve Olson requested another City Council study session to focus on metro districts. Olson got enough support from his fellow councilors to add the topic to a future meeting.

Olson suggested the discussion would include an independent panel of metro district experts to focus on the legal and financial aspects of these districts, including debt and the role of the city council in approving metro district authority. Other Councilmembers suggested additional issues, which as the impacts of metro districts on housing prices and a history of IRS rulings related to them.

Spending more Council time on this topic is unlikely to change opponents’ opinions of them, however. The Mayor and her allies have had multiple chances to educate themselves on metro district structure, regulations and finances/ regulatory oversight and financial requirements in both formal and informal settings; it is unlikely any additional meetings will change their minds.

Rent Control Lawsuit: A group of national housing organizations are lining up in a show of support for the lawsuit by the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) and seven property owners in New York City, which challenges the constitutionality of the New York Rent Stabilization law (RSL).

The National Apartment Association, the National Association of REALTORS®, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the National Association of Home Builders and the New York State Builders Association are backing the lawsuit, which is a comprehensive argument for why Rent Stabilization and other rent control laws in New York violate the 5th Amendment’s takings clause and the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.Where previous lawsuits challenging rent control have focused narrowly on specific provisions, this case details how a patchwork of bad laws and their inconsistent implementation has resulted in both a physical taking of property without compensation, and a regulatory taking, in which the property owner no longer has control of their possession.The suit also makes a clear case that the laws violate Due Process because there is no benefit for low-income renters, units are only obtained through good fortune, and there are no financial requirements on who receives this benefit, which is paid for by property owners.

Vince Malta, President of the National Association of REALTORS®, said his organization is “concerned that the expansion of rent control laws across the country will worsen our nation’s affordable housing crisis by discouraging investment and reducing supply. “In addition, the expense of complying with rent control laws and regulations inevitably increases the cost of housing to the consumer, while the expense of enforcing rent controls adds to the cost of local government. NAR maintains our belief that America must face its housing shortage head on by building more affordable homes needed to accommodate the nation’s rising population.”

The coalition of New York landlords and building owners filed their federal lawsuit against New York City and a New York State official in July. They are seeking to strike down the state’s rent control laws, including a series of changes approved by the Legislature in June intended to

Flood Insurance Extended: As of November 21, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been extended through Dec. 20th as part of another continuing resolution (CR).  The House passed the bill earlier in the week with the Senate taking up and passing the bill on November 21st.

This CR extends the time Congress has to finish an appropriations package which will include a number of NAR legislative priorities including NFIP, and possibly tax extenders.  NAR will continue to keep everyone apprised as things progress, but the goal of Congress is to clear as much from their calendar as possible for 2020 and the elections.

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