Realtor® Wins Primary
Realtor® Marta Loachmin beat Jonathan Singer in a closely contested Democratic primary for District 2, winning the right to face Republican James Crowder in November. Considered to be a longshot by some observers, Loachmin raised far less in contributions, $7,145 as of late June. Singer, who raised $18,147 in the same time period. Loachmin received endorsements from the current commissioners although Singer was supported by other Democratic heavyweights.
Democrat Claire Levy, a former Colorado House legislator, will face Cinda Kochen for the District 1 seat. Neither candidate faced a primary opponent.
Council Begins Review of Climate Plan
On June 30 the City Council began its review of the Longmont Climate Action Report. The recommendations were drafted by a Climate Action Plan Task Force. The entire document is over 140 pages long, so the Council will continue its work again on July 7 to consider the section devoted to resiliency and land use.
One significant recommendation is to “improve” building codes to include energy conservation measures and promote renewable energy by Adopt and implement new codes and policies by 2022. In addition to adopting the 2021 building codes for residential and commercial buildings, the task force recommends new appendices.
The new appendices, if adopted, would require solar-ready wiring for rooftop or yard installations, car charging ready wiring in garages, energy star rated appliances and updated codes for electric heaters and water heaters. The goal of the appendices is to promote all-electric buildings.
The task force said contractors and builders would benefit the most because homes with these features command a higher price on the market. At the same time, the report indicated concern for the “additional complexities and requirements that may make homes less affordable for first time home buyers and disadvantaged community members.”
The Council did not discuss or debate the recommendations, but they had time to ask questions and receive clarification. Once the entire report has been presented, staff will ask the council for direction on how to proceed with the recommendations.
County Allows Open Houses With Unique Requirement
As of June 30, Larimer County is now allowing open house events. However, unlike other counties in Northern Colorado, each Realtor® planning to hold an open house in the county must submit an indoor request online form. The form only has to be submitted once. Here’s a link to the form: https://www.jotform.com/form/201706022336140
In filling out the form, use the advice provided by your company’s attorney and/or CAR’s legal counsel Scott Peterson to ensure safety. See more advice from Peterson, below.
Surprises in Larimer Commissioner Primary Races
In the Republican primary for District 2, Bob McCluskey decisively beat Jeff Jensen by over 6,400 votes. He will face Democrat Fort Collins City Councilmember Kristin Stephens in November. Stephens had no opposition from her party in the primary.
Jody Shadduck-McNally easily beat Myles Baker and Karen Stockley in her bid to be the Democratic candidate for District 3. In November She will face Republican Ben Aste (aka Uncle Benny), who bested former Fort Collins City Councilmember Aislinn Kottwitz by 8,211 votes.
FCBR and LBAR will conduct joint county commissioner candidates on July 28. The boards of both associations will then consider recommendations for endorsement, should the interviewing team decide to recommend supporting any of these candidates.
Primary Results Defy Conventional Wisdom
It was widely believed that the Weld County Council’s decision to appoint Kevin Ross to the vacant at-large commissioner seat would give him an advantage in the Republican primary. Instead, Colorado House legislator Perry Buck beat Ross decisively with 62 percent of the votes. In November, Buck with face Democrat Paul Echternacht.
Mike Freeman beat former Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez to retain the right to run for the District 1 seat in November. Freeman will face off against Democrat John Shull, who had no primary opponent, in November.
Another House legislator, Lori Saine who represented House District 63, narrowly defeated Tommy Holton and Lynette Kilpatrick in the Republican primary. Libertarian Matthew Hess will be Saine’s only opponent in November.
Primary Races Featured Recognizable Name
Barbara Kirkmeyer, the term-limited Weld County Commissioner (District 3) beat Rupert Parchment in the Senate District 23 Republican primary. Vicki Marble who held SD 23 until term-limited this year, lost her bid to be the Republican candidate for House District 49 (formerly held by Perry Buck) to Mike Lynch.
Other incumbent legislators in our region such as Edie Hooton (SD 10), Joann Ginal (SD 14), Steve Fenberg (SD 17), Mary Young (HD 50), Hugh McKean (HD 51), Cathy Kipp (HD 52) and Jeni Arndt (HD 53) didn’t face primary opponents.
State Amends Order, Allows Open Houses
As of June 30, the State is allowing open houses with a multitude of requirements. In Scott Peterson’s latest Legal Bytes, he offered advice, which is summarized here:
Scott referenced pages 6 and 7 of the amended order. Read the Eighth Amended Public Health Order 20-28.
A maximum of 100 people is allowed at an “event,” but is challenging to meet all the requirements and have 100 people at an open house at one time. Peterson referenced the social distancing calculator (see the link, below) but advised he would focus on the maximum allowed for each room.
Consider eliminating the use of restrooms especially the sinks and toilets. Leave the doors open, tape off sinks and bathrooms, etc.
The requirements included in Appendix B for showings are still in effect. Face coverings, social distancing and gloves are still required.
Eliminate or minimize mixing people especially at entrances and exits. Use directional signs.
Ventilation must meet OSHA standards: https://bit.ly/2YQuz0X
It is critical to keep a log with every attendee’s contact information and the date in case anyone tests positive for COVID and public health officials need to trace people who could be affected.
Have a conversation with sellers and get their confirmation in writing that they authorize an open house.
Broker open houses – the same rules apply.
Social Distancing calculator: https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home/social-distancing-calculator-for-indoor-and-outdoor-events
Colorado Safer at Home Guidance for Public Health Order 20-28 updated July 1, 2020 – field services: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FcuKBB6XhmN5kCS9yJv5B3mzVaE0o7yxVWgUU5YxtxM/edit#
Congress Extends PPP
On Wednesday, July 1, the House of Representatives extended the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through August 8, 2020 (the Senate passed the extension the day before). The program had previously expired on June 30, with more than $100 billion in funds still available for borrowers, and NAR strongly advocated for its extension in both the House and Senate. This extension means that new applicants will be accepted by SBA lenders until August 8 and allows the program to continue assisting small businesses and independent contractors while Congress works on the next COVID-19 relief package.
House Passes Infrastructure Bill
NAR sent a letter supporting H.R. 2, a wide-reaching infrastructure bill last week, with a number of NAR-supported provisions. This bill combines significant investment in surface transportation and mass transit, broadband access, water infrastructure, affordable housing, and other important provisions to make these systems more resilient and sustainable.
NAR supported traditional infrastructure issues such as significant increases in direct federal investments in surface transportation and mass transit systems; an extension of the Highway Trust Fund through October 1, 2025; incentives to encourage high-density, transit-oriented development; streamlining the costly federal permitting process while continuing to provide critical environmental protections; resources for communities to develop systems to better manage, utilize, and control their water, wastewater, and drinking water resources; and resources for communities to make their transportation and infrastructure systems more resilient and sustainable.
In addition, NAR supports a number of provisions related to affordable housing including: reform and modernization of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit; private investment in community development and affordable housing through private activity bonds and the New Markets Tax Credit; and resources to preserve, protect, and expand affordable housing in rural communities.
Lastly, NAR supported expanded broadband, as well as energy efficiency measures to extend and expand the 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction and Home Energy Savings Retrofit Rebate Program.
The measure passed the House largely on a partisan basis. The Senate is expected to consider an infrastructure proposal later this summer, and NAR will work to see these provisions included.
FHFA Asked to Extend Comment Period
NAR joined a coalition of housing, finance, and consumer groups requesting an extension of the FHFA’s comment period on its proposed capital rule. The proposal was made public earlier this month with a 60-day comment period that began on July 1st. The rule is an update to a 2018 proposal by the agency.
The new proposal incorporates a number of significant changes that would meaningfully raise the level of capital the GSEs must hold above the 2018 proposal and makes it harder to structure the capital. As a result, these changes would have far-reaching impacts on the GSEs’ business models and their abilities to carry out their mission. NAR and the coalition have requested an additional 60 days for analysis and comment which would make the comment due by the end of October.
NAR Supports HUD Funding
NAR sent a letter to the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee for HUD’s FY2021 budget, requesting additional funding for fair housing and housing counseling. Specifically, NAR supports increases in Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to support private nonprofit enforcement of the Fair Housing Act (the Act), the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) and increased salaries and expenses for HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), the primary federal office charged with the administration of the Act. We also support strong funding for HUD’s housing counseling program.
In January 2020, NAR launched its Fair Housing Action Plan (ACT!) in order to increase accountability, culture change, and training among the real estate profession. Increases in FHIP, FHAP and FHEO are consistent with this goal. In voicing its support for fair housing testing, NAR emphasizes that adequate funding must be made available to ensure testers are well trained, and adhere to the highest standards. Poorly-conducted tests unfairly tarnish our members and the reputations of the entire fair housing community.
The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the housing situation of so many Americans. As forbearance measures end, many homeowners may be struggling with their repayment plans. Housing counseling could be an effective tool to help them stay in their homes after the pandemic.
The House expects to finish work on the T-HUD budget bills before the August recess.