Regional Government Affairs Update June 7, 2021 🌺

Housing affordability remains a top concern for Colorado residents according to polling. In response, governments are proposing various policies to reduce prices for rental and for-sale units.

Can governments create affordability in the real estate market? What are the unintended consequences of such legislation? To learn more about how local governments and the State are addressing affordability, keep reading.

Best Regards, 
Barbara Koelzer
Regional Government Director


LOCAL
Boulder County Boulder
Council Considers New Taxes: The City Council discussed ideas to generate additional revenue for the City at its May 28 meeting. While the Council agreed now is not the time to add a new tax, they all concurred that any tax considered for the future should not be regressive. There was consensus about pursuing a transportation/utility tax, if not this year, then in the near future. 

Sam Weaver, Mark Wallach, Rachel Friend and Adam Swetlik were also interested in reviving the discussion on an employee aka “head tax.” Several councilors want to pursue a tax on services, although they didn’t specify what services they would include. However, it is important to note that such a tax could affect the real estate industry (as has been done in other cities around the country). No other city in Colorado currently taxes services Staff will return on June 22 with suggestions for further consideration.

Longmont
City to Pursue Rental Licensing: The City Council voted 4-2 to direct staff to draft an ordinance requiring rental properties to be licensed and inspected. Mayor Brian Bagley was absent.

Polly Christensen was adamant about the need to inspect rental properties. She suggested any property that is at least eight years old should be inspected, including single-family homes and short-term rentals as well as multi-family units.

The cost of the program is unknown; however, it will cost the City at least $300,000 a year. Staff said a minimum of two additional full-time employees will be needed. City Manager Harold Dominguez asked, “Do you want it to be fully supported by fees and licenses or partially supported by the general fund?” While the Council’s preference is a self-supporting program, general fund money was not ruled out. 

Marcia Martin, Joan Peck and Polly Christensen argued the program is necessary because renters are afraid to ask landlords to repair their rentals.  They said they receive many complaints from residents about sub-standard housing. Joan Peck explained, “For me this isn’t about one side or the other (meaning landlords or renters), it’s about equity.”

Tim Waters said he hasn’t heard from any renters about problems and suggested the City’s current complaint-based system is adequate. “I didn’t realize our complaint-based system is broken…. We keep talking about keep costs down, but this will increase costs for renters…. 
This feels like a huge, huge hammer for a not so big nail.”

Christensen countered, “This is tax-deductible for the landlords. They don’t need to pass it along to residents.” …. We need to not ignore this anymore. They don’t complain because they’re afraid they’ll be kicked out.” She then made a motion to direct staff to proceed with an ordinance to license rentals.”

When asked to comment Susan Spaulding, a Community Relations Specialist for the City, said, “I don’t perceive a great fear among tenants, and I’ve spoken to thousands of them. We have the basic set-up to create a mediation-centered approach to the landlord-tenant relationship. I’m not sure I perceive the problem.”

Mayor Pro Tem Aren Rodriguez said the motion was premature. “There’s too much uncertainty right now. We need to do more research.” Waters agreed, saying he didn’t think the Council had explored any options. The motion to create an ordinance passed with Christensen, Martin, Peck and Hildalgo-Fahring voting in favor.

Note: The Realtors® will provide feedback before the ordinance is considered by the City Council. Staff expects it could be months before the proposal is ready for review.

Broomfield
Mayor Resigns: In a surprise move, Mayor Patrick Quinn, who has been a fixture in Broomfield politics for decades, resigned his office as of May 23. He said the decision was the right choice for his family but did not offer any specifics. 

Mayor Pro Tem Guyleen Castriotta, will fill in as mayor until a new one is appointed. City Council has 30 days to fill the vacancy by a majority vote, according to the Broomfield Charter. The selected individual will finish out the remainder of Quinn’s term, which ends Nov. 9. Should a current council member be selected as mayor, then their seat will be filled by a majority vote of City Council for the remainder of their term. Castriotta and Ward 4 City Councilmember Kimberly Groom already have announced their intention to run for mayor in November.

Larimer County
Commissioners Discuss Affordable Housing Recommendations: The Larimer County Commissioners reviewed measures to increase affordable housing on May 24. Staff identified the top housing needs as affordable rentals for residents earning less than $25,000 a year, starter homes priced near or below $300,00, diverse housing options such as missing middle housing, cooperative living, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and housing for special interest populations including those with accessibility or mobility needs, older adults, manufactured housing and people experiencing homelessness.
 
Recommendations from residents and the stakeholder committee included a variety of options. These groups suggested the County should serve as a repository for best practices and educate local officials, as well as convene regional discussions on the issue. Other ideas included providing housing for emergency housing relief and encouraging creative and non-traditional housing options. The County should also incentivize affordable housing development and promote flexibility in land use. 
 
Staff offered a list of specific recommendations for the Commissioners’ consideration, including the following: 

  • The County should continue to collaborate with NoCo Housing Now and increase awareness of existing programs such as the Metro DPA Loan Program.
  • Land Use Code updates could encourage housing diversity and affordability. 
  • Manufactured housing policies should be aligned with Fort Collins and Loveland regulations. 
  • A pilot program could encourage modular and prefab housing manufacturing. 

Towards the bottom of the list, staff included the idea of a dedicated local funding source for affordable housing activities via a property or sales tax, bonding, a linkage/impact fee or the general fund. 

The Commissioners were generally supportive of the recommendations. They focused on the concept of a dedicated housing fee. Commissioner Kristin Stephens encouraged a conversation with local municipalities to discuss a county-wide tax.

Loveland
Council Decides Against Sales Tax Increase Proposal: On May 25 the Loveland City Council decided not to ask voters for a sales tax increase this fall. The City’s most pressing need is for fire station funding. Stations 3 and 5 require renovation at an estimated cost of nearly $17 million. 

John Fogle said without consensus, the City shouldn’t move forward. He also said it would be disastrous for the City to try and fail for a third time. Andrea Samson suggested the City could find money in the budget for the fire stations. In response, City Manager Steve Adams said the City has already cut millions over the past few years. He added that there’s no hidden money in the budget to solve the City’s budget woes without making some sacrifices.

Voters have not supported initiatives to fund public safety or other capital improvements in recent years and that, coupled with concerns regarding the economic impact of the COVID epidemic on residents, convinced a majority of the Council to delay a sales tax measure in November, regardless of their concerns about the fire stations. The City Manager will come back to Council soon with ideas on how to fund Station 3.

Weld County
Thornton Sues Weld Over Water Pipeline: BizWest reported that the City of Thornton has filed a suit against Weld County over the County’s denial of a special review permit for a water line through unincorporated portions of the County.

In the 1980s Thornton bought several farms and their associated water rights, intending move the water by pipeline. Larimer County has already denied the 1041 permit to authorize the pipeline route through its jurisdiction. Thornton sued the County, but Larimer District Court sided with the County in its denial. Thornton appealed that ruling, and a decision from the Colorado Court of Appeals is pending. 

Meanwhile, Thornton has sought pipeline agreements with several Northern Colorado cities. Windsor, Johnstown and Timnath have agreed to Thornton’s routing plans, and work is underway in those areas to bury the large pipeline. Thornton also needs approval from Weld and Adams County.

Commissioner Scott James, who made the motion to deny, told BizWest that he made the motion “because the pipeline isn’t in the best interests of Weld County,” and he represents Weld County not Thornton. He said its impact on future development in the county “was a breach too far.” Thornton’s alleges that the Board exceeded its authority and acted arbitrarily and capriciously. It seeks court approval of the permit or an order requiring the Commissioners to approve the permit.

Greeley
Keep Greeley Moving Reauthorization to go on November Ballot: The City Council directed staff to draft an ordinance to place the Keep Greeley Moving (KGM) sales tax reauthorization on the fall ballot. According to a resident survey 71 of respondents agree the City probably or definitely needs more funding. 

However, a large of majority of respondents opposed the idea of increasing the KGM tax from .65 percent to .95 percent. After reviewing the polling data, the Council unanimously agreed the tax reauthorization should move forward. Mayor John Gates noted the staff has done a good job showing residents how the money has been spent so far, saying, “This is a huge tribute to the City staff.” 

Council Denies Changes to Occupancy Standards: An ordinance to change Greeley’s occupancy standards was pulled off the Consent Agenda June 1 at the request of Councilmember Kristin Zasada. At the heart of the occupancy issue is the Code’s definition of family. 

In its current form a family is defined as “an individual living alone, or any number of persons living together as a single household who are interrelated by blood, marriage, adoption or other legal custodial relationship; or not more than two unrelated adults and any number of persons related to those unrelated adults by blood, adoption, guardianship or other legal custodial relationship. 

The Planning Commission suggested changing that definition to “Family shall mean an individual or group living together as a single household comprised of any number of persons who are interrelated by blood, marriage, civil union, adoption, or other legal custodial relationship, plus a number of unrelated adults …” The change would have allowed more occupants than the current code allows based on the number of bedrooms in the home in most zoning districts.

One of the issues with the current code is that a married couple can’t rent a room to an unrelated adult, said Caleb Jackson. After staff answered questions about current and proposed definitions, Kristin Zasada said,  “Kill this thing. Protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.”  John Gates agreed explaining, “I almost always agree with staff and the Planning Commission.  I’m ready to let this thing go hoping it comes back sometime in a different form. Most of the feedback I’ve received is from Realtors. I believe Realtors get this.” 

Other members of Council voiced similar opinions with the exception of Tommy Butler. He argued, “Increasing supply reduces home price pressure. I would like to see us revisit the family definition at the least.”

The Council voted 6-1 to deny the ordinance. Dale Hall was absent. The Council did support a proposal from Zasada to ask staff to review enforcement issues regarding current zoning complaints, including over-occupancy.

STATE
Legislature to Adjourn: Depending on how much work the legislature gets done, it looks like the legislative session could end Tuesday, June 8. Most of the Democratic Majority’s key bills have already been approved. Here’s an update on two of the most significant bills. 

Senate Bill 260 “Sustainability of the Transportation System” will add a “fee” to the price of gasoline and diesel as well as a number of other new fees. The bill increases traditional transportation funding marginally, but it also aims to put millions of dollars into transit and infrastructure for electric vehicles. 

House Bill 1117 “Local Government Authority Promote Affordable Housing Units” gives cities the ability to use inclusionary zoning more broadly, including applying it to new rental developments. Until now, the State’s Supreme Court’s Telluride decision kept local governments from requiring developers to comply with inclusionary zoning requirements for rental projects.

Governor Polis supported both bills. When he signed HB-1117 he said inclusionary housing could create higher overall housing costs, even if it leads to more affordable units. He argued higher prices would be offset by the law’s other components, which would encourage cities to allow more housing construction in general. 

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® supported neither bill. CAR worked hard to amend HB-1117, requiring municipalities to offer developers at least one option to provide a percentage of affordable units, as well as offering other policies to make it easier to build housing, such as increasing density and promoting mixed-use developments.

NATION
Court Maintains CDC Eviction Moratorium Pending Appeal: Ongoing litigation regarding the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) nationwide eviction moratorium has resulted in a recent stay issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which means the CDC order remains in place nationwide pending further appeals.

On June 2 the emergency stay was upheld. Plaintiffs, including the Alabama and Georgia Associations of REALTORS®, filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate the stay before the CDC order expires at the end of June.

Regional Government Affairs Update May 17, 2021 🌸

I began speaking to staff at NAR about a metro district study on February 7, 2020 a few weeks before our world was turned upside down by the COVID epidemic. I am happy to announce the study is complete and its results are now available. It was worth the wait.

The study wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of our REALTOR associations (local, state, and national) and two multiple listing services — IRES and REColorado. 

To learn more about the study and review the infographics created to summarize the study and educate both real estate professionals and consumers, keep reading! 

Best Regards, 
Barbara Koelzer
Regional Government Director


LOCAL
Boulder County Longmont
Inclusionary Housing Update: On May 4 Kathy Fedler updated the City Council regarding the status of Longmont’s Inclusionary Housing (IH) program. The program was approved by Council in 2019 and is designed to help the City reach its goal of creating 5,400 affordable housing units by 2035 – 12 percent of Longmont’s housing stock.

The IH program requires builders to deed-restrict 12 percent of new for-sale units for those with an income of 80 percent AMI or below or pay a fee-in-lieu (FIL) to the City. Rental units can be voluntarily restricted for those with an income of 60 percent or less AMI.

In her remarks, Fedler said developers have created 73 units in 2021 to date and 90 units last year. Moving forward Longmont will need 200-300 units a year to meet its 2035 goal. She added that the City needs more rental units for residents with 40 percent AMI because the 60 percent AMI need has been met. At this point, it appears the FIL isn’t “enough” due to the rising cost of construction. 

Councilmember Tim Waters said Longmont needs to reduce the gap for first-time homebuyers. He argued that the City needs a target for attainable units. He warned the attainable target is important “to remain a community that looks like Longmont instead of neighboring communities.” 

Councilmember Joan Peck agreed with Waters but said, “we can probably build middle-tier through the (Longmont) Housing Authority.” Councilmember Marcia Martin wanted to know how other Boulder County communities are doing in meeting the 12 percent affordable housing goal. Fedler said the City is in the progress of gather than data and it should be available in a few weeks.

Larimer County
Fort Collins

Council Gives Approval for 1041 Proposal: The City Council decided staff should proceed with a proposal to develop a feasibility evaluation to implement 1041 regulations. 1041 powers are intended to give local governments local control over development projects with statewide impacts. State statute requires the government to specify areas or activities of state interest and adopt guidelines for the administration of those areas (for example, about water projects). Currently, 61 Colorado municipalities use 1041 regulations.

Former City Council member Ross Cunniff had suggested the adoption of 1041 powers at his last Council meeting to delay the NISP project. “New” City Councilmember Kelly Ohlson described 1041 powers as, “a very important tool to put in our toolbox.” He was displeased with the timeline staff proposed, saying, “it shouldn’t take that long.”

Councilor Susan Gutowsky asked pointed questions, asking if the City could apply 1041 to SPAR projects currently in progress (such as CSU’s proposed Hughes Stadium project?). Paul Sizemore said it is possible. The City’s Site Plan Advisory Review (SPAR) process requires the submittal and approval of a site development plan that describes the location, character, and extent of improvements to parcels owned or operated by public entities such as schools.

In response to Ohlson’s criticisms, staff said time would be needed to research the topic. The City Manager pointed out it is already May, and it takes to get an item on the agenda. Staff will do its best to bring something back quickly. The City Attorney suggested adopting initial 1041 regulations and add other projects/activities later.

Loveland
Council Votes to Lower Water Heater Permit Fees: The City Council has been talking about water heater installation permit fees for over a year. The issue first came up during the Council’s discussion before the adoption of the 2018 building codes. State and local laws require all water heater installations to be inspected and permitted, with the installer generally being either a licensed contractor or the resident-owner of the property in question. Loveland hadn’t enforced the permit requirement until 2020.

Some Councilors had concerns about charging a fee of any sort for a heater permit, saying it shouldn’t be necessary because homeowners could replace water heaters themselves. Then there was a debate over how much the permit fee should be. Some “big box” stores unknowingly charge customers for a permit when they buy a heater, a situation that created consternation for some Councilmembers.

Chief Building Official Samantha Everett said a flat fee of $100, which was suggested by some Councilmembers, wouldn’t save homeowners because the average permit fee is about $48 and the cost to the City (to process permits and inspect them) is $200. Everett recommended keeping the current fee, which is based on the cost of the heater, a contractor fee, and the City’s time to inspect the installation. 

Overcash said, “We are missing an opportunity to offer added value for residents who shop in Loveland. Why not offer the permit and inspection for no fee to encourage 100 percent compliance?” Olson suggested offering the permit based only on the cost of the heater excluding the installation cost. Molloy supported Olson’s suggestion. Samson agreed, saying that was a good “baby step.” Mayor Marsh said she preferred that option as well. Olson’s motion was unanimously approved.

Note: The Council will also consider a motion directing retailers to charge the same permit fee as the City and not more, once the City Attorney researches it to make sure it is legal without unforeseen consequences.

Weld County
New Solar Regulations:  The Weld County Commissioners recently approved changes to the County Development Code for solar energy facilities. The new regulations redefine solar facilities by size as opposed to the amount of energy produced, impacting the permitting and approval process.

The first category is for small solar farms that are less than 5 acres. These may be in the near/urban area or the agriculture/rural area, per a land use map from the county. These must undergo the zoning permit process, and approval is subject to the discretion of Weld County Planning Services.

Only one solar facility may be present per 35 acres; no facilities may be placed adjacent to one another. The Planning Department may approve these small projects without a public hearing if the application criteria are met and the project has not received opposition from 30 percent of surrounding property owners within a 500-foot radius.

Mid-sized projects are broken into two subcategories: solar facilities between 5 acres and 160 acres in the near/urban area, or facilities in the ag/rural zone between 5 acres and 320 acres. These must undergo the use-by-special-review process. 

Mid-sized projects must receive additional consideration by the developer, the planning department, and the county commissioners before approval, to ensure they are compatible with existing and planned developments in the area. Developers must meet with the planning department before submitting a special review application, to discuss any potential changes or considerations. Once approved by the planning department, proposals will go before the planning commission, which will make a recommendation to the county commissioners for a final decision.

The third category is a 1041 solar energy facility. These apply to projects of more than 160 in the near/urban area or more than 320 acres in the ag/rural area. These are only allowed by permit and must receive approval from the planning department, planning commission, and county commissioners.

In Fall 2020 issues arose regarding concerns about solar developers circumventing subdivision regulations. The staff’s proposed regulations didn’t sit well with landowners. So, after convening a stakeholder group, the County drafted new regulations which seem to have the support of landowners and the solar industry.

REGION
REALTORS® Research Metro Districts: The rapid increase in the number of residential metro districts left Realtors® in Northern Colorado with a lot of questions. Do metro districts make new homes more affordable? How does the additional property tax paid by owners affect housing costs? A study proposed by the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS®, the Greeley Area REALTOR® Association, the Longmont Association of REALTORS® and the Loveland-Berthoud Association of REALTORS® and funded by a grant from the National Association of REALTORS® is the first in Colorado to delve into this complicated topic. 

Read more about the study’s findings here: https://ires-net.com/what-is-a-metro-district/

COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Legislative Update:
SB-262 “Special District Transparency” Sponsored by Rep. Hugh McKean (Loveland) CAR Position – Support

This bill would require a debt obligation disclosure and property tax estimate for any new home beginning in 2022. It would also direct buyers to copies of a Metro District’s formation plans as well as how much debt a development is authorized to undertake, debt homeowners would have to repay. Finally, The bill requires Metro Districts to have a website including the information listed above. 

SB21-260 “Sustainability Of The Transportation System” CAR Position – Amend

As reported in my last update, this bill includes an array of new fees, including a road use fee on gasoline that will grow from 2 cents a gallon to 8 cents a gallon, as well as other fees on all kinds of “road users,” including delivery vehicles and ride-share providers like Uber. The bill creates 3 new enterprises to manage the revenues. Some expert observers saying the bill is “taking from roads to fund electric vehicles and greenhouse gas reduction.”

HB-1117 Amended: “Local Government Authority Promote Affordable Housing Units”

Recently I heard a city council member proudly tell her colleagues that their city would now be able to use rent control to create affordable housing. Fortunately, she was wrong. 

HB- 1117 as introduced, would have opened up the Town of Telluride decision that prohibits rent control by expanding the ability for local governments to offer options to developers in their inclusionary zoning ordinances including rent control or other methods to require a certain numerical amount of affordable housing.

However, on Second Reading in the House of Representatives, CAR successfully passed an amendment that confirms this legislation does not give local governments the authority to adopt or enforce rent control policies for existing buildings in their communities. The CAR amendment clarified in the bill that rent control is not an allowable option. 

The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee passed two amendments that improved the bill by addressing issues around zoning changes and jurisdictional authority. With these amendments, the bill provides incentive options to create more affordable housing units such as reducing parking requirements for projects near transit stations, reducing fees and permit costs, and repurposing surplus locally owned property for housing development.

The bottom line: CAR lobbyists worked hard to make sure this bill was amended, much to the relief of the Legislative Policy Committee. 

NATION
Court Rules on Eviction Moratorium: On May 5, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia struck down the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) nationwide eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of June, concluding the moratorium exceeds the limits Congress placed on the CDC’s authority. The Department of Justice (DOJ) quickly filed a notice of appeal and a motion for an emergency stay of the order pending its appeal. 

In response, the D.C. District Court issued a temporary administrative stay on its order vacating the moratorium pending resolution of the DOJ’s motion, meaning the CDC eviction moratorium remains in place across the country pending further action by the court. This decision stems from litigation filed by the Alabama and Georgia Associations of REALTORS®, two housing providers, and their property management companies challenging the CDC’s authority to issue the eviction moratorium on a number of statutory and constitutional grounds, namely under the Public Health Services Act (PHSA). 

The plaintiffs filed the case in defense of the millions of small housing providers across the country whose livelihoods have been in danger of financial ruin following months of lost income due to unpaid rent as a result of the moratorium. Housing providers rely on the rental payments to pay the mortgage on the properties, taxes, and general upkeep to maintain the properties’ safety and livability.

Housing providers should continue to monitor the case, as the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect nationwide given the D.C. District Court’s temporary administrative stay. A decision by the D.C. District Court on the DOJ’s emergency motion for a stay pending its appeal is anticipated in the next two weeks. If the D.C. District Court denies the DOJ’s request, the DOJ will likely elevate its request for an emergency stay to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Housing providers should also keep in mind that some state and local governments may have their own eviction moratoria that are not affected by the D.C. District Court’s rulings.

In the meantime, NAR remains focused on ensuring the effective deployment of rental assistance to protect tenants and housing providers alike and ensure all can meet their financial obligations to stabilize the housing market.

DOL Withdraws Independent Contractor Rule: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced withdrawal of the independent contractor rule for determining how workers are classified under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). DOL published the final independent contractor rule in January 2021, but the rule never went into effect. The independent contractor rule would have adopted an economic realities test for classifying workers as employees or independent contractors, and would have provided greater clarity for how independent contractors are classified under the FLSA. 

It was expected that the Department of Labor would withdraw the independent contractor rule, but it is unclear how the Department will proceed with a new rule and potential regulations on this matter. NAR has remained engaged on this issue, and will continue to provide updates. For more information on NAR’s advocacy efforts on worker classification matters, please visit nar.realtor/independent-contractor-status.

FlōPlan News!

Two new things have happened with FlōPlan and we think you’re going to love them: Easier Client Collaboration and Downloadable PDFs!


Collaborator Sign Up Is Getting Simpler

simplified collaborator sign up

Simplified Collaborator Sign Up Process Coming March 6th

We are excited to announce a more simplified collaborator sign-up process. Collaboration is an important feature of FlōPlan that helps you easily fit creating a floor plan into your workflow by delegating the task of scanning. This update makes it quicker and easier for new collaborators to get started scanning with FlōPlan.

What Has Changed?

Previously, an invited collaborator had to work through multiple account set up screens and processes. New collaborators will now have a unique invitation code to use to sign-up with the FlōPlan App. This code will be included in their email invitation and is used when signing up through the “Accept an Invite” button at the app login screen.

Why Did We Make These Changes?

This new feature greatly simplifies the sign-up process for invitees and assists users to take advantage of this valuable collaboration feature. Agents often rely on assistants and photographers to help prepare everything needed for a listing. Having an easy collaboration process is key to facilitating this process.

What else?

  • New collaborators will have a unique invitation code to use to sign-up with FlōPlan. This code will be included in the email invitation and is used when signing up through the “Accept an Invite” button.
  • The invitation email is updated with an accept invite button, which will:
    • Take the user directly to the “Accept an Invite” screen.
    • Pre-fill the user’s email address and pre-fill their unique invitation code in the “Accept an Invite” screen.
    • Once the user has selected their password, they will be logged in to FlōPlan.
  • The user will no longer have a separate step to check their email for the verification link and then return to the app to sign in again.
  • New collaborators will be prompted to download the mobile app once logged in, if they have not already done so.
  • Existing collaborators will be sent a different email invitation when a new agent invites them to collaborate.
  • Invites can now be re-sent.

Floor Plans Can Now Be Downloaded As A PDF

FloPlan PDF-01.png

Available Now in the FlōPlan System! 

You can now download your floor plans in PDF format on the FlōPlan web app! PDF format is ideal if you want to use your floor plan in printed materials or add it to the Documents section of your listing. All of your previous floor plans will also have this option!


Floor Plans by  FlōPlan: Only $12 each


We look forward to helping you get started. The first step is setting up your account. Set up is fast and easy – all you need are your existing MLS credentials! Just download the mobile app to get started!

Learn More About FlōPlan


FlōPlan Prepaid Packages

 $$ Save more when you buy more $$

Regional Government Affairs Update May 3, 2021 🌷

The legislative session will probably end at the end of the month, but legislators are not slowing down. They’re preparing to introduce a 190-page transportation bill that will impact every Coloradoan. To learn more about this bill and how it will affect you, keep reading!

Best Regards, 
Barbara Koelzer
Regional Government Director


Boulder County
Boulder
Council Feedback on CU South Annexation: The City Council provided its thoughts on the general concepts related to the so-called CU South Annexation project recently. The staff said a vote on the annexation is anticipated later this year. The related flood mitigation project will happen quickly to protect properties in the area. CU has volunteered 80 acres for the project. 36 acres will be needed for the mitigation, leaving 44 acres for open space. 

Overall, the Council opined that great progress had been made on the annexation agreement. Some of the concerns brought up included what would happen if the property was sold to a third party. Would the City’s requirements and guidelines be enforced? Yes, said the City attorney. Boulder can legislate restrictions using zoning, he said. 

There were also many questions and comments concerning restrictions to the types of buildings and activities that will be allowed on the parcel. For example, the draft agreement prohibits “large research buildings, large-scale sports facilities, first-year student housing” or fraternity/sorority houses. This precipitated a long discussion about sports facilities and whether capping any such use at 3,000 spectators was adequate. Concerns were also raised about noise and parking related to athletic events. 

Staff explained that the priority for the parcel will be housing for university staff and students. Building heights will be limited to that of single-family homes currently in the area. It was noted that many neighbors have said they don’t want the property developed at all, but the restrictions and prohibitions described during the Council’s discussion are designed to minimize the impact on neighbors.

One of the last Councilmembers to speak was Aaron Brockett. After other councilors voiced their concerns about growth and impacts, Brockett simply said there is “a desperate need for housing… (the annexation plan should) tilt in that direction.”

Larimer County
Fort Collins

Cunniff Pushes Plan to Delay NISP: At the tail end of the April 20 City Council meeting, Councilman Ross Cunniff pushed a suggestion that could have far-ranging ramifications for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). Fort Collins has opposed the project, which if approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, will include a new reservoir (Glade) north of the city.

Cunniff’s idea is that the City should draft new 1041 regulations for city-owned land related to NISP. He explained other jurisdictions had used a similar tactic as justification to “pause” projects while the regulations are drafted, and he had already determined such a strategy is perfectly legal. 

Cunniff argued the evaluation of this possibility should happen “in short order” by the new City Council. A majority of the Council supported his proposal (except Mayor Troxell and Ken Summers) and the City Attorney agreed to add this project to her department’s work list. 

Note: The environmental community often uses lawsuits as a strategy to stall projects and Cunniff’s idea is similar. He and his allies can’t stop NISP but they can make it take longer to build and cost Northern and the communities that need NISP to provide water millions of dollars.

Council Approves Revised Metro District Policy: On April 20 the City Council voted to adopt the revised Metropolitan District Model Service Plan by resolution. The revisions were a year in the making; the City had put a moratorium on considering new metro districts while the plan was being reviewed.

All new metro districts must meet the requirements listed in the City’s model service plan. The moratorium allowed staff to hone in on the public benefits any proposed development would need to include in order to be considered.

New components added to the service plan include a required pre-application conceptual review with the City Council and a point-based evaluation system. The evaluation system clearly defines the Council’s priorities which are energy and water efficiency, affordable housing and neighborhood livability. Applications will receive 10 points for energy and water conservation/efficiency attributes with the maximum given for net-zero homes, but only 5 points for affordable housing (10 percent of residential units don’t exceed 120 percent of the AMI) and neighborhood livability (trails, open space, etc.).

During the question-and-answer period, it became clear early on consumer disclosure is a key concern even though Planner Ryan Mounce said the City’s regulations have included an extensive required disclosure since 2019. Multiple Council members asked the staff to ensure additional disclosures ensure buyers understand the “unique situation” of buying in a metro district. In addition, Councilmember Emily Gorgol suggested Realtors® need “more education” to make sure they present the disclosure clearly to clients. 

The City’s policy requires the following requirements:

  • Publication of metro district annual reports and fiscal statements on the City’s website. 
  • The District must host a minimum of three meetings annually. 
  • The disclosure form must be given to purchasers before they enter into a sale agreement. It must include the following information – the maximum number of mills that can be levied; the maximum property tax that can be collected based on the estimated average assessed value of a property; a chart comparing property taxes in the district to taxes outside the district, and the contact information for the District’s board of directors.

Some Councilors don’t seem to understand basic economics and the effect of additional requirements on the price of new homes. For example, Susan Gutowsky asked staff to explain why developers would only be required to deed-restrict 10 percent of their projects for affordable housing. Staff had to explain that the affordable housing requirements affect the cost of free-market units. Mandating a higher percent of units to affordable housing would further increase the cost of the other units. 

At the end of the discussion, outgoing Mayor Wade Troxell reminded his colleagues that developers don’t “just take,” saying they are one of the reasons Fort Collins is such a nice place to live. He warned that the “market can’t be over-prescribed by seven people on a Tuesday night. I hope there aren’t pitfalls in this (new model service plan).”

Gorgol Elected Mayor Pro Tem The new members of Fort Collins’ City Council were sworn in on April 27 and the retiring members (Wade Troxell, Ken Summers and Ross Cunniff) were thanked for their service. New Mayor Jeni Arndt thanked the outgoing Councilmembers and now former Mayor Troxell in particular. She stressed inclusion and civility moving forward.  
Jeni thanked the Council and Troxell in particular. Inclusion and civility important. 

Councilmember Emily Gorgol had lobbied her colleagues for the right to serve as Mayor Pro Tem and was elected unanimously without discussion.  New Councilors sworn in include Shirley Peel, Tricia Canonico and Kelly Ohlson.

Loveland
City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations Revised: The City Council unanimously adopted changes to its Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) provisions of the Unified Development Code on April 20 without discussion. The changes are designed to encourage the construction of more ADUs in Loveland. 

The key revisions include: 1. Reduction in the minimum lot size required for an ADU from 10,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet; 2. Clarification of design standards; 3. Establishment of limitations for the building footprint size based on the lot size and a maximum floor area of 900 square feet; and4. Allowance for conversion or expansion of an existing structure to an ADU.

Note: For property owners with adequate space, ADUs are a great way to house an aging family member or make additional income by ADU rental.

City Pursing Funding for River Financial Plan: The City of Loveland currently has no money to pay for river maintenance, mitigation, or river channel stability, but the City Council is interested in discussing proposals to fund a Big Thompson River Financial Plan. The goal of the plan is evaluation funding alternatives for strategies to protect life and property in the event of another flood. Many property owners in and around low-lying areas of the City near the Big Thompson don’t have “million-dollar resources” said Chris Carlson of the Public Works Department. 

Staff said Boulder, Longmont and Fort Collins have plans for their rivers following the 2013 flood. The plans are managed and funded through municipal stormwater utilities; the three governments increased their stormwater fees to pay for the plans. Loveland adopted the Thompson River Corridor Master Plan in 2019. The Plan laid out a vision for critical steps to improve resiliency and mitigate flood hazards but has no funding attached to it.

The work session discussion on April 27 was just the initial conversation on this topic, said Public Works Director Mark Jackson. Councilmember Dave Clark described the river corridor as “the jewel of Loveland. If we can start now mitigating it …it is huge.” He said he isn’t opposed to a fee, as long as residents understand it. Mayor Marsh noted that “money less expensive to borrow right now,” and she voiced support to move ahead. Staff will return with recommendations and options regarding how to pay for the plan. 

REGION
Northern Settles Lawsuit with Environmental Groups: The Northern Water Municipal Subdistrict has reached an agreement with a group of environmental organizations to settle federal litigation designed to stop the Windy Gap Firming Project and construction of the Chimney Hollow Reservoir west of Berthoud. The settlement ended nearly two decades of years of fighting and litigation over the project.

In a statement, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District said it will pay $15 million over multiple years to the Grand Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to Colorado River watershed protection in Grand County. In exchange, Save the Colorado, Save the Poudre, WildEarth Guardians, Living Rivers, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Colorado Sierra Club will drop their lawsuit.

The Windy Gap project moves water from the Western Slope as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and has been in operation since 1985. Chimney Hollow will be located west of Carter Lake and would store up to approximately 90,000 acre-feet of water to be divided between 12 water suppliers ranging as far south as Broomfield to as far northeast as Greeley.

The settlement clears the way for Northern Water to begin construction on the $600 million reservoir this summer.

COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Century of Opportunity Bills Move Forward: In honor of the 100th anniversary, CAR sponsored a package of bills designed to incentivize affordable housing known collectively as the Century of Opportunity Legislation Moving Forward:

Century of Opportunity Legislation Moving Forward
HB21-1271: Department Of Local Affairs Innovative Affordable Housing Strategies

  • Supports and incentivizes local governments to remove barriers and adopt best practices for affordable housing development. Bill Status: The bill passed the House Transportation and Local Government Committee Wednesday and is now headed to the Appropriations Committee.

HB21-1200: Revise Student Financial Literacy Standards

  • This bill will strengthen personal financial literacy curriculum standards to ensure Colorado’s students are prepared for a bright future. The new curriculum standards include information regarding costs associated with preparing for homeownership, obtaining a degree or credential, how to choose, manage, and repay student loans, how to apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid, how to save for retirement, and how to manage personal credit card debt. Bill Status: The bill passed the House and is introduced in the Senate where it will be scheduled for its first committee hearing soon.

HB21-1134: Report Tenant Rent Payment Information To Credit Agencies

  • Creates a statewide pilot program enabling residents residing in properties selected by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) to opt to have rent payments reported to consumer credit bureaus. Reporting rental payments allows renters to build credit in much the same way as homeowners build credit through the reporting of mortgage payments. Bill Status: The bill passed the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee and awaits a hearing in the Appropriations Committee.

HB21-1028: Annual Public Report Affordable Housing      

  • Under this bill, the Division of Housing would report on the total amount of money the division or the state housing board received from any federal, state, other public or private source during the prior fiscal year and how they are spending these dollars and report on what type of housing they are supporting (rapid re-housing or supportive, rental, or homeownership) and how many units are being produced or preserved with these dollars. Bill Status: The bill passed third reading in the House and will next go to the Senate for further discussion.

More information is available here: https://coloradocenturyofopportunity.com

STATE
Transportation Bill Draft Finally Drops: Sponsors finally released a draft of the transportation bill that has been discussed in general terms for more than a month. The bill will be introduced on Tuesday, May 4. It will raise a total of approximately $3.8 billion for transportation, which as define includes measures to reduce greenhouse gases and promote the use of electric vehicles. 

The bill includes an array of new fees, including a road use fee on gasoline that will grow from cents a gallon to 8 cents a gallon, as well as other fees on all kinds of “road users,” including delivery vehicles and ride-share providers like Uber. The bill creates 3 new enterprises to manage the revenues. Unfortunately, the general fund contributions are simply stimulus funds from the federal government and not a long-term commitment to transportation funding. Some expert observers saying the bill is “taking from roads to funding electric vehicles and greenhouse gas reduction.”

The 190-page bill is expected to pass because of its powerful supporters, including Governor Polis and leadership in both the House and the Senate — Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg (Boulder), House Speaker Alec Garnett (Denver). The bill was drafted by Senate Transportation Committee chair Faith Winter (Westminster) and House Transportation chair Rep. Matt Gray (Broomfield).

Survey – Government Intervention for Affordable Housing: According to an article in the Colorado Sun, David Flaherty of Magellan Strategies commissioned an affordable housing poll because he was curious as to how the topic ranked now among voters. According to the survey of 508 registered voters, most State voters think Colorado has an affordable housing problem and want the government to intervene to solve it.

The poll indicates voters approve of specific policy solutions like rent control and inclusionary housing to increase affordable housing. 69 percent of the respondents support inclusionary housing. 68 percent support rent control. Flaherty said that although many people polled were unfamiliar with regulatory tools beyond rent control, many backed alternatives that were offered in subsequent questions.
Many people polled described affordable housing as a basic necessity that should be accessible to everyone. 

Seventy-four percent said finding affordable housing in their community was a “big” or “somewhat of a” problem. Another 19 percent said it’s not too much of a problem or said it’s not a problem at all. “The cost of housing has gone through the roof, and I think the survey is picking up a lot of that sentiment,” Flaherty, a veteran Republican pollster said, “That’s a good 10 points higher than what we would normally see.” Flaherty added, “Government intervention in this area is definitely welcome, where before there was apprehension.” Note: How would “government intervention” affect the free market? Would rent control help renters but hurt landlords?

NATION
Treasury Issues Homeowner Assistance Fund Guidance: The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act included $9.9 billion in relief for homeowners to be administered through a new Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). These funds, which will soon be made available to eligible homeowners through their states, may be used for assistance with mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other specified purposes under the law and guidance.

The HAF was created to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. The law and guidance prioritize funds for homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships, limits eligibility based on need, and can only be used for certain qualified expenses.

The statute requires the Department of Treasury to provide a minimum of $50 million for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These allocations will be based on homeowner need determined by reference to (1) the average number of unemployed individuals; and (2) the number of homeowners with late mortgage payments or foreclosures. 

See NAR’s Summary for more information on the HAF and Treasury guidance.



Now On Demand: IRES MLS 2021 Virtual Town Hall

Missed our live event? Want to revisit speaker sessions? Interested in the Q&A? Here it is!

If you weren’t able to attend our 2nd town hall event Apr 27th, not to worry. We’ve recorded it just for you. In addition to the questions that were answered live during the event, we’ve worked with our fabulous speakers to gather answers for those we didn’t have time to answer live. They are included below.

Chapters:

  • 0:00​ Welcome!
  • 1:29​ Lauren Hansen, IRES Update
  • 16:25​ Katie Johnson, NAR Legal Update
  • 48:16​ Patty Silverstein, Colorado Regional Economic Update

Q & A

Katie Johnson Session

NOTE: Katie answered several questions live during her session. You can hear these in the video above. These were the outstanding questions we didn’t have time to answer live.

  • Question: Please explain the exceptions to the Clear cooperation regarding keeping listings in house – since the rule requires MLS listing to be posted within 24 hours of marketing.
    • Answer: There are no exceptions to the Clear Cooperation Policy. Any listing that is “publicly marketed” must be filed with the service and provided to other MLS Participants for cooperation within (1) one business day. Some sellers decide to use an “office exclusive”. In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing is permitted only between the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and is not considered public marketing.
  • Question: Are large brokerages responding the super LOW inventory by finding buyers inside the brokerage before the property is publicly advertised?
    • Answer: As always, real estate is local, marketing strategies vary locally, and REALTORS® must always act in the best interest of their clients. Some sellers decide to use an “office exclusive”. In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing is permitted only between the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and is not considered public marketing.

Patty Silverstein Session

  • Question: When do you forecast price stabilization in the residential detached market
    • Answer: Given the strong demand and still limited supply, home prices are expected to continue to appreciate in 2021. However, as occurred in 2020, the rate of increase in prices in Colorado is expected to be below the national rate of increase.
  • Question: Do you anticipate supply chain and manufacturing capacity increases for construction building materials (plywood, drywall, pvc pipe, appliances, etc)?  If so, when?
    • Answer: As the vaccine becomes widely available across the globe in 2021, factories will resume operations and supply chain disruptions will begin to dissipate. However, it does take time for operations to ramp up and stabilize. Expect continued disruptions in 2021 with more stable product availability in 2022.
  • Question: What are the leading indicators of out-migration due to cost-of-living increases?
    • Answer: As there are no exit surveys when you move out of a state, you generally have to rely on anecdotal information. From a statistical standpoint, examining current trends in apartment vacancies and home sales may provide some level of insight. The IRS compiles a series of state-to-state migration flows, so you can identify what states prior Colorado residents moved to and where new Colorado residents came from. However, the latest detailed data is from 2018 and summary data for 2019.
  • Question: Does Colorado remain a popular remote work destination even with the housing price increases?
    • Answer: Yes, but it is all relative. Individuals from more expensive housing markets, such as those found on the east and west coasts, do not view Colorado housing prices as an issue. However, remote work is allowing an increase in popularity of “second-tier” cities where workers can find more affordable housing options and less population density. Colorado is now competing with parts of the country that may not have been regarded as true competitors previously (think Idaho).
  • Question: What happened in 1990 that 20,000 people left Colorado?
    • Answer: While the nation experienced a recession from July 1990 to March 1991 (8 months), Colorado’s downturn started a couple of years before that due to oil & gas price volatility and an overbuilt commercial real estate market. Therefore, people were leaving Colorado in search of better job opportunities elsewhere in the country.
  • Question: What’s the volume of all the fraudulent unemployment claims?
    • Answer: The latest values that I have seen were released April 16 by the CO Division of Labor & Employment and indicate that they “are dealing with 1.1 million fraudulent claims.” This has resulted in at least $19.4 million in state and federal unemployment benefits paid to scammers.

Lauren Hansen Session

  • Question: Where do I find the info on the land lease for solar/wind?
  • Question: Do we have any more information on Sentrilock’s showing service? Will it be as robust as ShowingTime and will it be in partnership with IRES?

Regional Government Affairs Update April 19, 2021 🌷

Land use decisions, elections and metro districts. This update addresses those topics — and more. 

Best Regards, 
  Barbara Koelzer
Regional Government Director


LOCAL
Boulder County
Longmont

Council Struggles With Sugar Mill Plan: On March 30 the City Council officially accepted a report from a panel of volunteer experts from the Urban Land Institute concerning recommendations on how to revitalize and reuse the historic Sugar Mill and surrounding properties. The panel concluded the Sugar Mill offers unique opportunities, with “many assets that could be leveraged for successful redevelopment and revitalization,” calling the site “unique and iconic.” At the same time, the panel listed issues that would need to be resolved, including environmental hazards but said federal and state grants could probably fund the testing needed to evaluate environmental conditions on the 125-acre parcel.

Mayor Pro Tem Aren Rodriguez suggested the Council should discuss the idea of “brownfield development” of sites like the Sugar Mill at its upcoming retreat. He argued the topic merited further discussion, saying Council did not have “true consensus for the vision on this item.” Mayor Bagley said he didn’t see a reason to spend more time discussing the Sugar Mill since the property owner hasn’t shown any inclination to sell it for a reasonable cost. Councilmember Tim Waters agreed, saying the retreat agenda had already been finalized to focus on the Housing Authority and housing in general, topics which he described as “urgent.” Ultimately, the Council voted 5-2 to support Rodriguez’s suggestion. 

Note: The City Council may not agree on how much time and money the City should spend on the Sugar Mill, but Planning Director Erin Fosdick reminded them a request for proposals has already been published to hire a consultant to do a subarea land use plan for the Sugar Mill as part of the City’s STEAM project.

Larimer County
Fort Collins

Election Results: A majority — 67 percent –of the voters in the Fort Collins municipal election approved a ballot question that directs the City to acquire the Hughes Stadium property for open space. The question is, now what? 

Colorado State University says it respects the will of the voters but insists it has the authority to develop the property. City Manager Darin Atteberry said the City Council will consider rezoning the property as soon as May 4, after its newly elected members are sworn in. It remains to be seen if the impasse can be resolved out of court. 

In the City Council election, Jeni Arndt won a decisive victory in the mayor’s race, easily beating Gerry Horak and Molly Skold. In District 3, Tricia Canonico defeated Gavin Kaszynski. Kelly Ohlson will return for another term representing District 5 after beating Jeff Hansen. 

However, the District 1 and District 4 races were much closer.  In District 1, Susan Gutowsky beat Nick Armstrong by 34 votes. In the District 4 race which featured five candidates, Shirley Peel edged Melanie Potyondy by 43 votes.

Note: FCBR had supported Molly Skold for mayor, Nick Armstrong (District 1), Gavin Kaszynski (District 3) and Melanie Potyondy (District 4). Nonetheless, FCBR is committed to establishing good working relationships with all the new Council members.

Vacancy Committee to Appoint Arndt Successor: Jeni Arndt’s election as mayor creates a vacancy in Colorado House District 53. By law, a replacement will be appointed to fill the seat for the remainder of the two-year term.

Registered Democrats who live in District 53 and are interested in being appointed to the seat will file letters of intent. The Vacancy Committee will vote to appoint the new representative on April 23. 

According to Colorado Politics, three candidates have announced their intentions to succeed Arndt: attorney Dan Sapienza; Andrew Boesenecker, Director of Annual Giving and stewardship for Colorado State University’s Semester at Sea program; and Ethnie Groves Treick, a Fort Collins businesswoman and community volunteer who has served on the board of the BlueFlower Fund, which helps elect Democratic women.

Loveland
Overcash Recall Effort: Troy Krenning announced the creation of a committee to recall City Council member Don Overcash on April 9. Krenning’s recall committee includes the Chair of the Larimer County Democrats, Gil Barela, who is always happy to unseat a Republican. Interestingly, Krenning is a Republican but he has allied himself with (Democrat) Mayor Jacki Marsh and been a vocal critic of the Council for several years. Krenning claims Mr. Overcash, who just happens to be the only announced candidate for mayor in the November election, is guilty of being “the main instigator of problems on Council.”

To mount a successful recall effort, Krenning’s committee will have to get the language for a special election approved by the City Clerk and then gather roughly 1,254 signatures from registered voters in Ward IV. The signatures would require verification, after which the City Council would finalize the date for the special election.

https://www.reporterherald.com/2021/04/09/loveland-group-announces-drive-to-recall-councilor-don-overcash/

Note: LBAR supported Don Overcash in his previous elections. Recalls are divisive, costly and more often than not, unsuccessful political ploys.

Council Asks Experts to Discuss Metro Districts: On April 13 the City Council met with a panel of experts to discuss recommendations on how the City could improve its metropolitan district model service plan. The panel included attorneys, financial advisors, a CPA and David Powell, a Realtor® representing the Loveland-Berthoud Association of REALTORS®. 

Powell was asked to explain how potential homebuyers currently learn about metro districts as well as recommend additional disclosures to ensure people know a home is listed in a metro district prior to closing. He explained that IRES now requires a property listing to indicate if it is located in a metro district and noted the Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate requires buyers to acknowledge that a property could be located in a special district. 

Powell suggested requiring a separate disclosure document for buyers at the time the contract is signed. Later, City Manager Steve Adams and Councilmember John Fogle supported this concept, saying a sales contract addendum would add an additional disclosure for buyers. 

Most of the six-hour study session focused on more technical details related to the formation of metro districts and how municipalities can regulate them. The experts said Loveland already puts a cap on the number of mills a metro district can assess homeowners as well as a cap on the amount of debt it can issue. These two requirements are of utmost importance in ensuring the district doesn’t overburden its residents with debt in the form of additional property taxes.

At the end of the long meeting, Mayor Marsh reiterated her opposition to metro districts, saying “there is little or no oversight. They increase the cost of housing.” Answering a question posed by Councilmember Dave Clark, she said she wants the City to pursue other forms of financing for developments such as short-term bonds. There was no clear consensus among the Council as to how it should move forward with additional metro district regulations, so it will be up to staff to recommend the next steps. 

Weld County
Greeley

Terry Ranch Opponents Fail: The City of Greeley will move forward with the acquisition of the Terry Ranch aquifer for water storage and raw water. Save Greeley’s Water, failed in its attempt to collect 2,192 signatures to require the City Council to reconsider an ordinance change that was required to legalize the project, or turn it over to a Citywide referendum. 

“This is one the most monumental decisions we’ve made in Greeley,” Mayor John Gates said in a city news release. “Terry Ranch will go down as a historic purchase and decision as Colorado communities are confronted with how they service growth that is expected to come their way. With the Terry Ranch water, Greeley leaders, like our early pioneers, have leapt into the future to ensure our community will prosper and grow for generations.”

Save Greeley’s Water has also filed for petitions seeking to hold referenda on changes to Greeley’s home rule charter. One would require the attainment of all groundwater or recycled wastewater to be passed by a citywide vote. The other petition seeks to require the sale or disposal of any water rights to go to a citywide vote. Each petition requires 6,153 valid signatures submitted by April 29 to be added to the agenda for a special election.

Note: GARA opposed the initiative proposed by Save Greeley’s Water. 

Council Reviews Changes to Development Code: The Greeley City Council continued its review of proposed changes to the City’s Develop Code on April 13, focusing this session on the general provisions and procedures by which applicants could receive approval for projects. Staff said the hope is to receive final approval for the revised Development Code on November 1, 2021. 

The Council had little to say about the presentation. Mayor Gates said he didn’t think any of the changes, including those discussed that night, were controversial except occupancy standards. He finished by suggesting as much outreach as possible to publicize the dates for hearings related to the occupancy standards.

STATE
Front Range Rail Bill Introduced: On April 9 a bill was introduced to create a new transportation tax district along I-25 from the Wyoming border to New Mexico with a goal of funding and operating a Front Range passenger trail system. If approved by the legislature, SB-238 would create a district governed by a 14-person board that would have the authority to ask voters to raise sales taxes by a maximum of 8 cents on a $10 purchase.

“Right now is the right time,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat and prime sponsor of the bill. Boulder, Broomfield and Westminster legislators are also sponsoring the bill, including Rep. Matt Gray (Broomfield), Sonia Jaquez Lewis (Boulder County), and Senators Steve Fenberg (Boulder) and Faith Winter (Westminster).

The introduction of the bill also comes after Amtrak identified a Front Range rail system as a funding priority should it get the $80 billion proposed under President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.  RTD won’t have a vote in how the district is run, SB- 238 sweetens the pot by directing the new board to collaborate with the other tax-collecting transit agency and “ensure interconnectivity with any passenger rail system” operated by RTD. RTD has been under pressure from the Governor and local lawmakers in Boulder County to fund the completion of the B-line from Longmont to Westminster.

If Front Range Rail reaches fruition, it won’t be cheap, even if the federal government helps pay for it. The project is estimated to cost roughly $14 billion. Finalizing federal and state contributions will require more intensive talks. And of course, voters in the tax district along I-25 would have to approve additional sales tax as “skin in the game.” 

The bill has been assigned to the Senate’s Transportation and Energy Committee, but no hearings have been scheduled to-date.

NATION
CDC Extends Eviction Moratorium: To no one’s surprise, on March 31 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced it is extending its nationwide eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. The order was put into place Sept. 4, 2020, but has been challenged in court across numerous states and localities in the months since. In addition to the court challenges, the National Association of REALTORS® has fought successfully for federal rental assistance—and will continue to advocate to ensure the moratorium doesn’t lead to a spiraling crisis for housing providers and tenants.

“NAR helped secured $25 billion in 2020 and another $21.55 billion earlier this month in federal rental assistance funding, which can be paid directly to property owners,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer of NAR. “This was critical to averting a multifamily real estate crisis, as many of our nation’s housing providers are mom-and-pop operations. Our focus now turns to ensuring there is not just enough funding but also a smooth implementation of rental assistance while the various challenges to eviction bans work their way through the courts.”

Under the terms of the CDC order, residents must declare that they have pursued all appropriate government assistance; met certain income and employment requirements; and are using best efforts to make timely partial payments, among other qualifications. Today’s announcement expands the order to include people “who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who might have been exposed to COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to spread the disease.”

Covered persons must now provide their housing provider with a copy of a signed declaration form stating that they meet the requirements to be a “covered person.”

As with previous CDC orders, property owners may still evict tenants due to criminal activity, damaging property, or for violating other contractual obligations.

NAR Opposes DOL Independent Contractor Action: NAR submitted a comment opposing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed withdraw of the final rule on independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This regulation, introduced by the previous Administration, never took effect and had no direct impact on real estate professionals’ classification under the Internal Revenue Code for federal tax purposes. However, the final rule provided helpful clarity and certainty for how an employer may classify a worker. It is anticipated DOL will rescind the rule based on this proposal, but has not yet released any replacement suggestions.

Many individuals are attracted to the real estate sales industry because of the ability to classify as an independent contractor, where one enjoys maximized workplace flexibility and autonomy within a dynamic and flourishing field. In light of the ongoing challenges posed to businesses across the country because of the pandemic, NAR encouraged the Department not to withdraw the final rule and also not erode any of the existing classification clarifications already in place at the federal and state levels for real estate professionals in any replacement proposals.

NAR will continue to resist any efforts by federal regulators or legislators that threatens real estate professionals’ ability to classify as an independent contractor, including by incorporating the ABC test. Preserving existing worker classification authority at the federal and state levels to allow real estate professionals to continue to provide excellent service to consumers is key to supporting the American Dream of homeownership and maintaining stability in the housing market.

IRES Matters | Episode 9

Upcoming Virtual Town Hall: The Path Forward

Join Annie and Delana as they discuss the upcoming Virtual Town Hall: The Path Forward happening April 27th. Speakers will include: 

  • Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES with a regional update and brief retrospective
  • Katie Johnson, General Counsel and Chief Member Experience Officer with NAR, for a Legal Update
  • Patty Silverstein, president and chief economist of Development Research Partners, with an overview and forecast of the economic state of the region as it pertains to Real Estate.

Tune in for a sneak peak of the Virtual Town Hall: The Path Forward, and learn everything you need to know to get registered today!

https://ires-net.com/virtual-town-hall-2021/

Search by Sell Score Now Available in Realist Public Records

IRES MLS subscribers are among the first to have the ability to search by Sell Score in Realist Public Records.

The Realist Sell Score is now a searchable attribute available under My Search > Customize Search. The Sell Score is based on the Propensity to List model, now featuring a numerical value (0-1000) that predicts the relative likelihood a property will be listed for sale in the next six months. The user is now able to select the Sell Score attribute (under Customize Search) and add it to their My Search template. Once selected, the user is able to search for properties based on the desired sell score value(s) and ranges, and then proceed with downloading property detail reports, exporting, or creating mailing labels.

Sell Score Ratings and Values:

  • Very High: 831-1000
  • High: 625-830
  • Moderate: 502-624
  • Low: 354-501
  • Very Low: 0-353

To use the Sell Score Search Attribute:

  • In My Search navigate to Customize Search > Sales Information > Sell Score
  • Select Sell Score and add it into search template and click Save or Apply
  • Now navigate to the My Search panel and locate the Sell Score attribute
  • Sell Score attribute can be searched using 1 of 3 search operators:
    • Is= to search for properties with a specific sell score (e.g. Is=750)
    • Is Between=to search for properties with between two values (e.g. Is Between=750 to 800)
    • Is Greater Than= to search for properties greater than a specific value (e.g. Is Greater Than=750)
    • Pro Tip: Remember Search By Sell Score is limited to a single county at a time!

Benefits

The Realist Score is a valuable data point that allows agents to search for properties that are more likely to become listings. Built using CoreLogic’s Propensity to List model, properties with a “high” score can signify having higher chances of being listed, due to market conditions, sales data, valuation, and other proprietary CoreLogic data. This information can be beneficial for agents and real estate professionals looking to build or refine their prospecting & farming lists.