IRES MLS and “Coming Soon”

ComingSoonblogWith the passing of NAR MLS Clear Cooperation Policy (Statement 8.0),  IRES MLS has been busy creating a solution to make this a smooth transition for our subscribers.  We will be creating a new status:  Coming Soon.  Here you’ll find a collection of useful resources to help you adopt this new status into your daily business routine.

What: A new “Coming Soon” status will be added.

When? April 9, 2020. [Fines are effective June 1, 2020]

What else?  Coming Soon will be available to your clients via MySite and ColoProperty.com, if you so choose.  More details below…


Coming Soon-What You Need To Know

What’s New with Homesnap Pro?

BIG Changes have come to Homesnap Pro!

 

 


 

Our Biggest Update Ever: Say Hello to the All-New Homesnap Pro

We’re excited to announce the All-New Homesnap Pro is now LIVE across all 200+ of our partner MLSs nationwide! 

More than 1 million agents already have free access to Homesnap Pro as an MLS benefit. Now, we’ve released the biggest update in Homesnap history so it’s the only real estate search app you — and your clients — will need.

We’ve been conducting extensive research for the past year on what technology real estate agents actually want, and now we’re providing it in one easy-to-use app that’s deeply integrated with your MLS.

Make sure you update and log into your Homesnap Pro agent account to access these incredible new features!

With the All-New Homesnap Pro, agents can now:

Find seller leads before the competition

An essential part of being a listing agent is finding seller leads. That’s easier than ever with new property heatmaps and filters for your priority zips. With heatmaps, you can better visualize your off-market search based on key factors like mortgage age, ownership time, and Likelihood to List.

Use our new Likelihood to List scores to identify the homes most likely to list in the next 12 months to improve your prospecting with Homesnap’s predictive algorithms.

You can also see deeper insights on every off-market property in your area, from mortgage history and net equity to detailed historic property records.

Additionally, you have free access to unlimited homeowner contact information so you can instantly reach out to homeowners by phone, text or email.

Help buyers find homes that aren’t even on the market yet

With Likelihood to List scores, you can identify properties that match your buyers’ search criteria but aren’t on the market yet. Pair their existing search filters with homes that are Most Likely to List soon to expand their home search in a snap.

With the homeowner contact info from Homesnap, you can strike up a conversation with the homeowner and see if they’d be interesting in selling.

Seamlessly collaborate with clients

Make the homebuying process a harmonic one. Invite your buyers onto Homesnap so you can exchange in-app messages and get alerts when they favorite properties.

Homesnap is a safe haven for your clients, because they can get the same search experience as sites like Zillow and Redfin, without seeing any third-party advertising. Instead, they just get a seamless home search powered directly by your MLS. 

This technology is an absolute game-changer for agents and brokers across the country, and it’s all FREE as an included MLS subscription benefit. Start accessing data-backed prospecting tools, unparalleled client collaboration features, and a direct connection to your MLS’s real-time data in one place with the All-New Homesnap Pro.

If you don’t have the Homesnap app yet, download it in the App Store and Google Play Store. Or, click here to check out our website.

 

Regional Government Affairs Update February 6, 2020 🐦

 

 

In this issue…

LOCAL
Boulder County
Boulder
ADU Changes Approved
Erie 
Steady Growth in New Homes
Competitive Election in Erie
Lafayette
City Updates Comp Plan
Longmont
Christensen Calls for Radon Disclosure
Council to Consider Repeal of Residential Metro Districts
Louisville
Council’s 2020 Work Plan
Broomfield City/County
Broomfield Poised to Consider Inclusionary Housing Ordinance
Larimer County
Larimer County Offers Class
Land Use Code Update
Berthoud
Town Board Approves Rec Center Financing
Trustee Resigns
Loveland
Three Mile Plan
Wellington
Town Updating Plans
Weld County
Greeley

City to Proceed with School Fee-in-Lieu Discussions
REGION
NISP Secures State Approval
COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Legislative Update
NATION
Top Ten Issues Affecting the Industry
EPA Finalizes WOTUS Rule
Coalition Requests Delay from Regulators

LOCAL
Boulder County
Boulder

ADU Changes Approved: The Boulder City Council approved changes to the ADU regulations on third reading without any discussion. Modifications to the roof-pitch ratio standards for legally existing accessory structures that are converted to ADUs can be administratively approved. The architectural consistency requirement for detached ADUs has been removed. Co-ops and ADUs are now allowed on the same parcel. The last provision expressly prohibits the sale of an ADU separate from the principal dwelling unit.

Erie 
Steady Growth in New Homes: Fred Starr, Erie’s Planning and Development Director recently released a building permit report. Over the past five years, the Town’s single-family building permits have trended steadily upwards.  In 2015 Erie issued 426 single-family permits. By 2019 this number had grown to 601 permits for a five-year average of 523 per year.

Competitive Election in Erie: Like many statutory towns, Erie’s municipal election is April 7. There are three candidates for mayor – Jennifer Carroll (incumbent), Barry Luginbill and Cristiaan van Woudenberg (trustee). There are nine Trustee candidates for three seats, include Bryon Bednar, Brandon Bell, Ari Harrison, Dan Hoback, James Lee, Sara Loflin, Jim Luthi, Todd Sargent and Andrew Sawusch.

Van Woudenberg has two years remaining in his trustee term. One assumes that if he is unsuccessful in his mayoral run, he may continue to serve as a trustee. An email to the Town Clerk regarding this topic did not receive a response. If he is elected mayor, his trustee seat will be vacant.

Erie’s Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum on Thursday, March 12 at 6:00 pm at Vista Ridge Academy, 3100 Ridge View Drive.

Lafayette
City Updates Comp Plan: The City of Lafayette’s current Comprehensive Plan (“Comp Plan”) was originally developed in 1987, updated in 1997 and went through a major review and update in 2003. The City is currently going through the process, working with all of the stakeholder groups and the residents of Lafayette, to complete a new, overhauled Comprehensive Plan that will guide the City’s evolution through 2040.

This planning process, known as Legacy Lafayette, will create a roadmap for the future of the community.  The Comp Plan is important because it is the foundation for other important plans, such as Future Land Use and Potential Redevelopment, and Housing and Economic Development Strategies.

Legacy Lafayette will include a number of ways to get involved and provide input on the future of the community, including workshops, online discussion forums and input via email.

Participation by members of our industry is important because input from residents will contribute to the creation of alternatives on key topics. This in turn, will lead to the creation of “preferred” elements of the Comprehensive Plan for various planning topics including transportation, land use, housing, etc.

The final community meeting is scheduled for February 27. Get more information about that meeting, or sign up for email updates here: https://legacylafayette.org/upcoming-events/. Lafayette staff intend to have a final version of the Comp Plan finished by this summer.

Longmont
Christensen Calls for Radon Disclosure: On January 28 After a short presentation by Boulder County staff for Radon Awareness Month, City Councilmember Polly Christensen argued that all real estate transactions in Longmont should include a mandatory radon disclosure document.

Mayor Brian Bagley asked about current building code requirements. Staff said that new homes are already required to be constructed with radon-resistant materials. A representative from Boulder County public health department said that is not the case for multi-family construction and suggested for “social equity reasons “that should be added to Longmont’s building codes.  No other Council members voiced support for Christensen’s proposal or changes to the City’s building codes.

Council to Consider Repeal of Residential Metro Districts: Watching previous discussions about metro districts, it was a foregone conclusion that the City Council would decide to revise its residential metro district policy. On February 4 the Council voted 4-3 with Mayor Bagley and Councilmembers Martin and Water opposed, to consider repealing the existing ordinance, which was passed last year.

Councilmember Polly Christensen made a motion to repeal and replace the ordinance with the previous version. That ordinance only allowed metro districts in mixed-use developments in which the residential units could not consist of more than 50 percent of the project. (No such development has ever been submitted to the planning department for review.) She likened residential metro districts to sub-prime loans, saying there were “good tools and bad tools. This is a bad tool.”

Although the City’s Special Counsel Carolyn White told the Council it was free to restrict and limit the powers of metro districts, Mayor Pro Tem Aren Rodriguez remained skeptical. He seconded Christensen’s motion, saying he was prepared to support metro districts if they offered “exceptional benefits” but changed his mind because he was too worried about the City’s inability to restrict their “excesses” without going to court.

Councilmember Tim Waters made an impassioned plea about the importance of metro districts as a means of offering first-time homebuyers products they could afford, but his arguments made no headway with his colleagues. The first reading of the replacement ordinance is scheduled for February 23.

Louisville
Council’s 2020 Work Plan: One way to predict the types of legislation we might see in any given year is to look at annual goals. For example, Louisville’s 2020 City Council Work Plan gives us ideas about what to expect this year.

The issues listed as “high priority” include the development of a transportation master plan, the development of an economic vitality strategic plan, an update to the 2016 Louisville Sustainability Action Plan, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Noise Mitigation Efforts and a new approach to City budgeting.

Although this list only addresses items the City Council intends to address proactively, it also tells us what the Council thinks is important – or unimportant. Housing appears nowhere on the list at any priority level, which could be good or bad depending on your opinion of local government’s role in addressing housing inventory or affordability.

However, transportation and economic vitality are certainly relevant to our industry and possibly airport noise, depending on how big of a problem that is to consumers looking to buy or sell real estate. To learn more about the City Council’s 2020 Work Plan, click here: https://www.louisvilleco.gov/home/showdocument?id=22360.

Broomfield City/County
Broomfield Poised to Consider Inclusionary Housing Ordinance: Tony Kassel, the Chair of Broomfield’s Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) and a real estate broker, told the City Council that HAC’s analysis showed that only four percent of Broomfield’s housing stock is affordable to families making 80 to 100 percent of Broomfield’s area median income (AMI). The Housing Advisory Commission has been working on recommendations for several years. One of its first recommendations was to legalize ADUs, which the City implemented last year.

On February 4 the HAC presented the inclusionary housing ordinance (number 2100) which the City Council will formally consider next week. It will require that 20 percent of any rental development is affordable for families at 60 percent AMI. 10 percent for a for sale development of at least 25 units will be required to be affordable to families making 80 percent AMI. Deed restrictions will be put in place for both types of developments. 40-year deed restrictions will apply to for rent properties and for sale units will be deed-restricted for 30 years. The ordinance also allows cash-in-lieu fees.

Mayor Patrick Quinn and the City Council were complimentary of the HAC’s work. He said, “I am completely behind it.” Kevin Standbridge, the City/County Manager, said the staff has been budgeting for the positions required to administer the ordinance.

Larimer County
Larimer County Offers Class: Larimer County 101 is a series of classes designed to give the public an inside look at Larimer County’s government and the services it provides. Topics will include county history, land use, the criminal justice system and property taxes.

Applications are due March 1. The class meets Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 19, 2020, to May 28, 2020, at county locations in Fort Collins and Loveland. More information is available here: https://tinyurl.com/uf3elfc

Land Use Code Update: Following the adoption of the updated Comprehensive Plan last year, the County is preparing to update its Land Use Code. The intention is to update the regulations for clarity and enforceability, tailor regulations to the County’s three context areas (mountain and foothill, rural/agriculture, and urban) and implement the Comp Plan as well as other major plans. More information is available here:https://www.larimer.org/planning/luc2020

A public open house is scheduled on February 13 at 5:00 p.m. at The Ranch in the south hall of the First National Bank Building.

Berthoud
Town Board Approves Rec Center Financing: On January 28 the Berthoud Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to approve an ordinance that will allow the Town to proceed with a plan to issue Certificates of Participation (COP) to fund the Waggener Farm Park and Recreation Center.  COPs are commonly used by governments to fund infrastructure. Investors purchase a share of the lease revenues of a program rather than the bond being secured by those revenues. COPs do not require a public vote, unlike bonding or sales tax measures.

A majority of the trustees were positive about the decision, saying the rec center will be a nice addition to the Town. Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Hindman said studies show that towns get a good return on investments in parks and recreation. Even Mayor Will Karspeck who voted against the ordinance admitted the rec center will be a “huge transformational facility for our community.” Town Manager Chris Kirk said staff is working with the Library District and it is possible a new library branch will also be added to the rec center site.

The Rec Center issue has been a thorny one for Berthoud. In 2018 town voters approved a measure to authorize a one percent sales tax to help fund the Rec Center but voted against a measure that would allow the Town to issue $30 million in bonds. Then in 2019, a group led by the mayor’s father pushed a measure to limit the trustees’ ability to take on debt. That ballot measure was aimed at preventing the trustees from using COPs to fund the Rec Center. The measure failed by two votes.

Trustee Resigns: Pete Tomassi, who joined the Berthoud Board of Trustees in 2018, resigned on January 29 in protest of the Board’s vote to approve its agreement to issue COPs to fund a rec center. He looked uncomfortable during the Board’s meeting on the 28th at which he joined Mayor Will Karspeck in voting against the ordinance.  He told the Reporter-Herald, “As far as I’m concerned, using certificates of participation was in direct opposition to the voters in this situation.”

In other election news, Trustee Brian Laak changed his decision, and will not run for re-election. None of the seats in the April 7 election are challenged. Mayor Will Karspeck is running unopposed. With four candidates for four seats, incumbent Jeff Hindman and newcomers Mike Grace, May Soricelli and Lonnie Stevens will win seats on the Board of Trustees.

Loveland
Council Approves Three Mile Plan: The City Council approved a resolution without comment to formally adopt a Three Mile Plan for 2020. The Three Mile Plan consists of the City’s comprehensive plan, other adopted plans covering infrastructure, services and surrounding areas, and procedures and gives proper legal standing for the City of Loveland to annex.

The three-mile plan is a long-range planning opportunity for municipalities to consider where they want to annex, how they will provide service in the newly annexed areas, and how they will sustain adequate levels of service throughout the rest of the municipality. It ensures that the municipality will annex land only when it is consistent with pre-existing plans for the surrounding area.

State statute requires a three-mile plan to generally describe the proposed location, character and extent of future public utilities and infrastructure (e.g., streets, bridges, parks, playgrounds, aviation fields, waterways, open spaces and other public grounds) as well as proposed land uses for the area. The master or comprehensive plan takes into account all land that is functionally related to the growth of the municipality, not just land within three miles of the municipal boundary.

Adoption of the resolution ensured Loveland in good legal standing to grow and annex property. The failure to have a plan prior to the completion of an annexation could prevent the annexation from moving forward legally.

Colorado law limits those who have a right to challenge annexations to property owners within the annexed area, the county in which the land is located and neighboring municipalities within one mile. In areas with growth pressures, it is increasingly likely that these three groups will use the lack of a plan as grounds for invalidating the annexation.

Wellington
Town Updating Plans: The Town of Wellington is updating its Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) and its Land Use Development Code. According to the Town’s website, the goal is to “identify and articulate the community vision and objectives that will set the roadmap for the Town’s growth from now into 2040.” Comp Plans routinely address important topics such as housing, so there should be plenty of motivation for REALTORS® to engage.

For more information about opportunities to get involved in the Comp Plan, visit the Town’s website https://www.townofwellington.com/451/Comprehensive-Plan or its FaceBook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/WellingtonCo1905

Weld County
City to Proceed with School Fee-in-Lieu Discussions: Greeley currently has no mechanism to provide land for new schools as the City grows. On February 4 Brad Mueller, the City’s Community Development Director, told the City Council staff has been meeting with representatives from the Eaton, Windsor and Greeley-Evans School Districts to explore the possibility of adopting an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that would require builders to make cash payments to the school districts for land when applying for building permits.

The purpose of the discussion was to get direction from the City Council as to whether staff should continue to work with the school districts on this proposal. The formulas vary by school district, but as an example a consultant said a fee of $2,498 per single-family unit seems “reasonable.” A majority of the City Council present (Brett Payton was not in attendance) said the discussions with the school districts on this topic should continue.

Kristin Zasada was the only Councilmember who wanted to postpone the IGA discussions. She said the City already has a housing challenge. She wants the City to take a look at current impact fees and make sure they’re not onerous before adding any new fees. She said, “I’m not saying no… I just want to bump it to the future for a little bit.” Zasada added that she hopes to discuss her idea of reviewing the impact fees at Council’s retreat this weekend.

Note: The school cash-in-lieu concept is currently utilized by two-thirds of Colorado’s municipalities. Windsor and Severance already require cash-in-lieu.

REGION
NISP Secures State Approval: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued Colorado 401 Water Quality for Northern Integration Supply Project (NISP). Northern Water hopes to get approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by June. Northern Water will also require a 1041 permit from Larimer County. If the final permits are approved, construction could begin in 2023.

NISP would store 170,000 acre-feet of water at Glade Reservoir north of Fort Collins and 45,000 acre-feet at Galeton Reservoir northeast of Ault.  The project would serve 15 towns and water districts, including Windsor, Erie, Evans, Lafayette, Severance and the Tri-Towns (Firestone, Frederick and Dacono). The project has been in the works since 2000. For more information, click here: https://www.northernwater.org/sf/nisp/project-info/project-overview

COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Legislative Update: Here are some of the bills discussed by CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee at its most recent meeting:

SB-138 “Consumer Protection Construction Defect Time Period” CAR Position: Oppose
This bill attempts to roll back some of the construction defects legislation supported by CAR three years ago by making it easier to file lawsuits against builders of condominiums and single-family homes. It would extend from six years to 10 years the time period for homeowners to file legal action based on purported construction defects. It also would require that a homeowner know that a problem was caused specifically by a construction defect before the two-year statute of limitations begins on that particular issue.

Meanwhile, the Home Ownership Alliance coalition (which includes CAR) issued a statement saying that the bill comes at exactly the wrong time, as local leaders are seeing a boost in condo development but continue to look for ways to spur even more of the lower-cost housing. (Denver Business Journal, Jan. 29)
HB-1155 “High Efficiency New Construction Residence” CAR Position: Oppose

CAR’s Vice-president of Public Policy Liz Peetz told the LPC this particular bill is a high priority for the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate. It would require home builders to offer an electric vehicle charging system, or a wiring upgrade to accommodate the future installation of a charging system in new single-family or owner-occupied condominium units. The LPC voted to oppose the bill because its requirements to would add yet another cost to new residential construction.

SB-108 “Landlord Prohibitions Tenant Citizenship Status” CAR Position: Neutral

“The bill creates the “Immigrant Tenant Protection Act” (Act), which prohibits a landlord from demanding, requesting, or collecting information regarding or relating to the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant; disclosing or threatening to disclose information regarding or relating to the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant to any person, entity, or immigration or law enforcement agency…”

This bill was the subject of a long LPC discussion. LPC members said they had no desire to wade into an immigration controversy. They simply want to ensure landlords or property managers can do background or credit checks and there were concerns provisions in SB-108 could interfere with those tasks. CAR lobbyists are working with the bill’s sponsors to request revisions.

SB-133 “Business Fiscal Impact Statements” CAR Position: Support

Sponsored by Senator Rob Woodward (Larimer County), SB-133 would require the preparation of fiscal impact notes to access the potential direct economic effects of a bill on Colorado businesses, including costs related to compliance, impacts on hiring or job losses, savings or cost reductions, and other fiscal impacts.

The LPC supports this will because it would “provide policymakers with the financial analysis to better understand how legislation impacts Colorado businesses.”

NATION
Top Ten Issues Affecting the Industry:
 The Counselors of Real Estate has identified the current and emerging issues expected to have the most significant impact on real estate, with U.S. infrastructure being the leading concern of the 1,100-member organization. The report indicates that “roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, airports, the power grid, water systems, and levees are giving way with greater frequency. While the White House and Congressional leadership have discussed funding of up to $2 trillion, it remains unclear what action government leaders will take.”

The list was released during the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference in December 2019. After infrastructure, the other top issues include housing in America, weather and climate-related risks, the technology effect and end-of-cycle economics. To read more about these issues and why they made the top 10 list, click here: https://www.nar.realtor/commercial-connections/the-top-ten-issues-affecting-the-industry.

EPA Finalizes WOTUS Rule: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced a new, clear definition for “Waters of the United States.” With the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) are delivering on President Trump’s promise to finalize a revised definition for “Waters of the United States” that protects the nation’s navigable waters from pollution and will result in economic growth across the country. NAR supports this new rule because it will allow states to more efficiently manage local waterways while maintaining current environmental protections and encourage economic development.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule ends decades of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. For the first time, EPA and the Army are recognizing the difference between federally protected wetlands and state-protected wetlands. It adheres to the statutory limits of the agencies’ authority. It also ensures that America’s water protections – among the best in the world – remain strong, while giving our states and tribes the certainty to manage their waters in ways that best protect their natural resources and local economies.

Coalition Requests Delay from Regulators: NAR led a coalition of more than 35 associations to send a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FED), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), requesting a delay in their review of the qualified residential mortgage rule.

In the wake of the financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The law affects housing finance in two ways. First, it makes originators liable to prove that a borrower/recipient can afford the mortgage they originate under the ability to repay (ATR) rule and an exemption to the ATR called the qualified mortgage rule (QM).

Second, it forces securitizers of mortgages to maintain sound capital and quality standards for the mortgages they bundled and sell to investors under the qualified residential mortgage rule (QRM). The QRM rule, the focus of this coalition letter, requires securitizers to hold an increased amount of capital if the loans they securitize are of a lower quality. As a result, borrowers who use non-QRM mortgage typically face higher rates and limited access.

To avoid higher costs and market disruptions, regulators created a broad measure of safe loans in the QM rule and then set QRM equal to QRM, so that the majority of mortgages were high quality and could be bundled into QRM-eligible securities. This alignment has maintained low costs and good access for the majority of the market.

Earlier this year the regulators announced their intent to review and update the QRM. However, the CFPB is reviewing the QM rule and announced a delay. Because the QRM rule depends on the QM rule, NAR and the co-signers have asked the regulators to delay their review of the QRM until the CFPB completes its review of the QM and finalizes any changes.

 

 

Regional Government Affairs Update January 27, 2020🌞 🌁 🚗

 

In this issue…

LOCAL
Boulder County
Boulder
Council Discusses Construction, Energy Code Updates
Erie
Trustees Approve Carriage Houses
Larimer County
Oil and Gas Taskforce Submits Draft Rules
Berthoud
Election is April 7
Trustees Give Preliminary Approval to Mountain Avenue Overlay District 
Fort Collins
Preliminary Approval for Montava
Hughes Stadium Rezoning Delayed Again
Loveland
Tentative Approval for Building Codes
Planning Fees to Double
COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
LPC Takes Positions on Bills
STATE
What’s Next for Transportation Funding?
NATION
Administration Streamlines NEPA Reviews
AQB Proposes Update to Appraiser Criteria

LOCAL
Boulder County
Boulder

Council Discusses Construction, Energy Code Updates: On January 21 the City Council unanimously passed a package of updates to municipal building codes on second reading,  including the 2018 International Residential Code and the 2020 City of Boulder Energy Conservation Code. For the first time, the residential code will allow tiny aka micro homes – 400 SF or less.

The tiny home amendment requires these homes to be constructed and inspected on a fixed foundation and hooked to fixed utilities, as is the case in most municipalities. The Council did ask staff to add language for third reading allowing off-site construction of these units, which would then be placed on permanent foundations.

The sprinkler exemption for single-family and duplex dwellings was removed from the residential building code. This means that moving forward new single-family and duplex homes and any single-family or duplex unit undergoing a change of use, including detached ADUs, must include sprinklers for fire safety. Thus, Boulder will join Boulder County, Aspen, Cherry Hills Village, Vail and seven other jurisdictions in Colorado in requiring residential sprinkler systems. The cost to install them is estimated to cost an additional $1.35 per square foot. In addition, the City Council approved a variety of other local amendments, including straw-clay construction for non-load bearing walls and the use of strawbale construction for structural and non-structural walls.

Regarding the approved amendments to Boulder’s energy code, new homes larger than 3,000 SF must meet net-zero energy requirements. It is the City’s goal eventually, to require net-zero construction for all new buildings but it will take several building code cycles to get there. Also, increased recycling and reuse rates are now required for materials during demolitions. During public comment a commercial architect applauded this, but criticized the City’s increasing review times, which is hurting small businesses, he said.

The ordinance to adopt all the code changes will require third reading and possibly a fourth. The effective date was changed to July 1, at Council’s request.

Erie
Trustees Approve Carriage Houses:  Erie’s Board of Trustees approved the fourth phase of development in Erie Highlands, south of Erie Parkway and west of Weld County road 5. The project will include 156 single-family lots on 29.6 acres. The homes are described as “carriage” houses, which range from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet in size and are clustered around a shared driveway. The carriage style house is becoming more common in Northern Colorado as a way to create entry-level homes.

In order to bring the project into compliance with Erie Highland’s PUD (Planned Unit Development), the trustees approved a modification to the PUD to allow carriage houses and increase the density from five to eight dwelling units per acre.

Larimer County
Oil and Gas Taskforce Submits Draft Rules: Larimer County’s Oil and Gas Task Force has finished its draft rules. The rules would require operators to maintain a 1,000 feet setback from any residential lot, 2,000 feet from any hospital, school or other high occupancy buildings and at least 500 feet from a body of water.

Drillers would also have to file multiple reports on how it would minimize emissions, odors, noise and potential discharge into local sources of water before the County would issue a drilling permit. Larimer County is one of several Front Range counties proposing tighter restrictions than the State code in the wake of Senate Bill 181, a sweeping reform on the oil and gas industry that changed the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to prioritize human and environmental health and allowed local governments to enact their own additional rules.

Adams County, Boulder County and the cities of Erie and Louisville put temporary moratoria on all new drilling activity in their jurisdictions. Weld County, by far the state’s largest producer of oil and gas, has formed its own permitting department. There are 36 pending drilling applications in Larimer County, according to COGCC data. The County currently has 206 active oil and gas wells, which produced just over 1.34 million barrels of oil and 7.35 million metric feet of natural gas in 2019. (This is miniscule in comparison with Weld County’s 10,000 active wells producing 13.7 million barrels of gas and oil and 76.8 million metric feet of natural gas according to the latest data. http://www.drillingedge.com/colorado/weld-county)

The County Planning Commission will hear in-person comments on the proposals February 19 and March 23 at the Larimer County Courthouse. Public comments can be submitted via email to Matt Lafferty at laffermn@larimer.org.

Berthoud
Election is April 7: On April 7, 2020, the Town of Berthoud will hold a municipal election via mail-in ballot for mayor and three trustee seats, including current Mayor Will Karspeck and Trustees Paul Alaback, Jeff Hindman and Brain Laak. All four seats will be for a four-year term.  These officials are eligible to run for another term. Candidate petitions are available now and must be returned by January 27.

Note: Statutory towns in Colorado such as Berthoud follow State of Colorado law regarding term limits, which limits elected officials to two consecutive four-year terms in office.

Trustees Give Preliminary Approval to Mountain Avenue Overlay District: Berthoud’s Board of Trustees gave approval on first reading to the Mountain Avenue Overlay District on January 14. The overlay district is important because it illustrates the Town’s vision for itself going forward. Its purpose is to protect and enhance the existing historical districts direct the general character of new development on Mountain Avenue (Highway 56).

The overlay district defines and emphasizes unique character districts along the corridor and sets specific guidelines as to architecture, site planning, parking, urban design and streetscapes. The underlying zoning remains, but specific design, architecture and setback requirements are governed by the overlay district.
The district extends along HWY 56 and is applicable to all properties within 150’ of the centerline of Hwy 56 from CR 19 to I-25. It is divided into six different character districts:

Berthoud West – Highway 287 to 8thstreet. This area is envisioned as a vibrant, walkable commercial district.
Residential Conversion – 8th Street to 5th Street. Characterized by charming older homes occupied by businesses and commercial uses.

Downtown Commercial – 5th Street to 1st Street. A concentration of character and personality that shapes much of the Town’s identity.

Berthoud East – 1st Street to County Line Road 1 (but extends a half mile more to the east on the south side). A transition district from the rural agrarian areas to the downtown core. It’s envisioned as a vibrant walkable residential district with a mixed-use area near County Line Road 1.

Agricultural – County Line Road 1 to one half-mile west of I-25. The goal of this district is to retain the rural and agrarian character and protect the views of the Rocky Mountains.

The Trustees made some minor revisions to the overlay standards on January 14. They added an exemption for existing single-family homes so those will still be required to follow the development standards of the underlying zone district. The second reading and public hearing is scheduled for January 28.

Fort Collins
Preliminary Approval for Montava: On January 14, the Fort Collins City Council passed several ordinances on first reading related to the Montava development, which if approved again on February 18, will allow developer Max Moss to move forward with his project. Montava is an approximately 1,000-acre project south of the Anheuser-Busch plant in the northeast section of Fort Collins. Montava could add 4,000 residential housing units to the City’s inventory — a mix of single-family homes, attached homes, 1200 SF cottages and multi-family apartments.

The City Council had already approved Montava’s metropolitan district service plan, but its approval was also needed for the developer’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) proposal. This is the agreement which the Council passed on first reading January 14 by a 5-2 vote, with Ross Cunniff and Susan Gutowsky opposed. The PUD process is a framework for long-term development. A PUD project must offer public benefits and high-quality design.

Montava’s public benefits include: 1) 15 percent deed-restricted affordable housing; 2) zero-energy energy efficiency; 3) non-potable water for common areas and some private yards; 4) a 47-acre farm; 5) a rec center and New Urbanist design. Staff agreed that Montava met the PUD requirements and recommended approval. During public comment a number of City residents living in the area attended the meeting and complained about current traffic issues, particularly on Country Club Road.

Councilman Ross Cunniff had opposed Montava’s metro district service plan and voted to deny the PUD application. He said, “It’s certainly an attractive plan” but said he wasn’t supportive of the project because the area is already under-served by the City and Larimer County. Susan Gutowsky agreed, saying, “It’s not for want of a beautiful plan. It’s well-planned.” She explained that if the City Council can deliver on the traffic solutions residents are requesting, she might be able to change her vote next month.  The rest of the Council was enthusiastic, describing the project as “the epitome of smart growth” (Julie Pignataro) and “I think it’s great” (Emily Gorgol).

Hughes Stadium Rezoning Delayed Again: Yet another ethics complaint against Mayor Wade Troxell, Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens and Councilmember Ken Summers has delayed the final vote on rezoning the Hughes Stadium property until March 17 at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Stephens. The complaint was filed on January 21, just hours before the scheduled city council meeting.

Loveland
Tentative Approval for Building Codes: The Loveland City Council passed a series of ordinances on first reading January 21 to adopt the 2018 building codes. Chief Building Official Samantha Everett listed the changes in the 2018 codes, most of which are inconsequential. Everett then brought up the issue of permit requirements for water heaters, furnaces and roofs, which became controversial several years ago.

Everett, who was hired last year, said her research showed that the City had never officially exempted the permit requirement for these items. She explained the Construction Advisory Board adamantly believes the permits are needed for resident safety. A homeowner can do the installation, but the permit still requires a City inspection, ensuring the work was done properly. Everett also noted the City routinely gets complaints from citizens about shoddy work but has little enforcement authority if the owner did not get a permit for the work in question.

The Council discussed the idea of charging a reduced permit fee for water heaters in particular, which are easier to install than furnaces, for example. Everett said the State recommends the permitting of water heaters because these appliances connect to potable water. City Manager Steve Adams said the staff will draft a resolution for the Council’s consideration to charge a flat $100 fee for water heater permits. (Currently the permit fee is based on a percentage of the cost of the heater plus staff time). The Council voted 7 to 1 to approve the ordinances, with Mayor Jacki Marsh opposed. Marsh did not explain the reason for her vote.  Second reading of the ordinance will happen on February 4.

Planning Fees to Double: The City Council grudgingly approved an ordinance on first reading to double the fees charged by current planning for application reviews. The fees were recommended during the 2020 budget process but accidently omitted. Current Planning Manager Bob Paulsen said the new fees will simply allow the City to recover the cost of staff time.

Councilman Dave Clark said, “I don’t agree with 100 percent fee hikes.” Councilman Rob Molloy suggested a sliding scale for small development applications since these projects shouldn’t require the amount of time a larger application would require. Mayor Marsh liked this concept. The Council passed the ordinance 7-1 with Molloy opposed. It is unclear if 2nd reading on February 4th will include Molloy’s sliding scale suggestion.

COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
LPC Takes Positions on Bills: CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) spent hours at its first meeting of the session taking positions on real estate-related bills. Here is a sample of the most interesting bills and CAR’s positions:

SB-096 “Remote Notaries Protect Privacy” CAR Position – Support
SB-096 authorizes notaries public to perform a notarial act through use of audio-visual communication, commonly referred to as “remote notarization” and, most importantly, prohibits the use or sale of personal consumer information by a remote notary or the provider of a remote notarization system outside the notary transaction.

CAR supports uses of new technology such as remote notarization; however, data privacy concerns of consumers must be considered. This legislation would protect consumer data privacy in a meaningful way for consumers and it also aligns with NAR and REALTOR® ethics standards.
SB-109 “Short-term Rentals Property Tax” CAR Position – Oppose

SB-109 changes the definition of a residential improvement property tax classification from residential to commercial property when a building, or portion of a building, designed for use predominantly as a place of residency by a person, a family, or families, but that is leased or available to be leased for short-term stays during the property tax year. This would change the property taxes from 7.1% to 29% for those that rent out their property as an investment.

Classifying a short-term rental unit as a nonresidential property interferes with the private property right of a homeowner and excessive regulation could be considered a taking of property under the U.S. Constitution.
HB-1141 “Fees Charged to Tenants by Landlords” CAR Position – Oppose

The bill prohibits a residential property manager or landlord of a mobile home park from charging a tenant a late fee for late payment of rent unless the rent payment is late by at least 14 calendar days or charging a late fee in an amount that exceeds $20 or 3 percent of the tenant’s or home owner’s monthly rent or 3 percent of the amount of the rent that has not been paid. Additionally, the proposed legislation would prevent the initiation of eviction procedures as a result of the tenant’s failure to pay late fees. A landlord could not charge a late fee more than once per late rent violation or charge interest on the late fee imposed. Finally, any amount of the late fee would not be allowed to be taken from a rent payment but instead from a security deposit.

Many of Colorado’s property owners enter the rental market as landlords because they are looking to downsize, are required to relocate due to occupational demands, such as military orders, as a source of income, or to provide retirement stability. Property owners do not have the opportunity to pay their mortgage late if a tenant is late paying their rent and do not have enough savings to cover their mortgage payments when rent is late or does not show up at all. This legislation does not balance the property owner and tenant obligations evenly, it adds litigation procedures and treble damages for not acting in good faith.

STATE
What’s Next for Transportation Funding? Following the failure of multiple transportation measures to gain voter support, the question now is how can Colorado fund highways? CDOT has a $9 billion list of needs and the legislature will need to decide if it is willing to allocate any general fund dollars to supplement the Colorado fuel tax, which is declining in value. The fuel tax has not been increased in our state for nearly 28 years.

The Fix North I-25 Alliance, advocates for a $300 million general fund annual allocation. A fuel tax increase and an increase in the fees paid by electric vehicle owners might be the most equitable and simple solution to augmenting Colorado’s transportation budget, if legislators would support it.

In the meantime, a bill (HB-1151) was just introduced by Representative Matt Gray (Broomfield) and Senator Faith Winter (Westminster) that would allow groups of local governments to create transportation planning organizations and impose various taxes (with voter support) for transportation and transit solutions. Some transportation advocates fear this idea would simply “balkanize” Colorado’s highway system and put rural areas at a disadvantage.

Gray and Winter do not intend to hold hearings on the bill for a while, hoping that a statewide solution will emerge. However, if no bi-partisan agreement is found, Winter said the bill will move forward.

Note: Only seven states (including Colorado) have not increased their fuel tax since 1997.

NATION
Administration Streamlines NEPA Reviews: The National Association of REALTORS® is backing the Trump administration’s proposal to reform the National Environmental Policy Act, which NAR President Vince Malta says could help modernize environmental standards while also helping to alleviate housing shortages. Malta joined President Donald Trump and other officials at a White House event Thursday to announce the proposed NEPA changes, which would be the first in more than 40 years.

The Trump administration says the reforms will help streamline approval of infrastructure and housing projects, highways, and energy pipelines. The plan is still subject to public hearings before it can be approved. Malta says the reforms could reduce regulatory burdens while still retaining strong environmental quality standards. “NAR has long advocated for common-sense reforms to promote infrastructure development and streamline review processes without compromising on critical environmental protections,” Malta said in a statement. “Since NEPA was last updated nearly four decades ago, the housing industry has seen countless infrastructure modernization projects paralyzed by arbitrary delays and unreasonable cost increases.”

In recent months, NAR has intensified its calls for comprehensive reforms to the nation’s infrastructure. “The National Association of REALTORS® is confident that the reforms announced [Thursday] will remove the barriers standing in the way of infrastructure improvements that stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” Malta said. “We look forward to partnering with the White House as it works to implement these changes in the most responsible and effective way possible.”

NAR’s sentiment was echoed by other housing groups, including the National Association of Home Builders, which says the reforms could help spur new home construction. “This proposal to modernize and reform the NEPA review process will streamline the NEPA reforms could help spur new-home construction permitting process and reduce unnecessary costs and delays for vital infrastructure projects that are needed to support residential land development projects,” says NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “For the housing industry, those uncertainties and delays create challenges for communities, businesses, and builders, and further exacerbate the current housing affordability crisis. We welcome the latest action by the administration to remove regulatory barriers that hinder housing and economic growth.”

AQB Proposes Update to Appraiser Criteria: On January 6 the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) released proposed changes to the Appraiser Qualification Criteria that would align with recent changes by the federal banking agencies allowing the use of evaluations for residential properties under $400,000 in lieu of an appraisal in federally related transactions. The proposed changes to the Criteria would allow licensed residential real property appraisers to perform appraisals of complex one-to-four residential unit properties up to $400,000. Currently the limit is $250,000 which reflects the former value used by the federal banking agencies. Comments are due February 6, 2020.

IRES, REcolorado and Pikes Peak REALTOR® Services Corp. enter data-sharing partnership

Enabled by Realtors Property Resource (RPR), data-sharing solution makes real estate listings available to members ahead of busy real estate season

LOVELAND, Colo. — (Jan. 20, 2020) — Information and Real Estate Services (IRES), a Loveland-based regional multiple listing service (MLS) that serves Boulder, Weld, Larimer, Logan and Morgan Counties and also holds partnerships with other regional MLSs to expand access across the state, today announced a data-sharing agreement between IRES and REcolorado utilizing RPR. A similar agreement with Pikes Peak REALTOR® Services Corp. (PPRSC) has been in place since December 2017.

“Increased collaboration is the future of real estate, and we are excited to work with other like-minded MLSs to offer a wide range of benefits to real estate professionals across the Centennial State,” said Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES. “This partnership was designed to bring more value to brokers and consumers by creating a solution that empowers real estate professionals and facilitates seamless transactions.”

Facilitated by Realtors Property Resource (RPR), the partnership provides REALTORS® of all three MLSs with access to more listing data and a larger audience to help clients find and sell their dream homes.

“REcolorado is thrilled to be collaborating with our neighboring MLS organizations,” said Alan Smith, chairman of the board for REcolorado. “This is the first step toward giving Colorado brokers access to a broader set of listing data they can use to serve their clients.”

The three Colorado MLS organizations serve over 35,000 real estate brokers in Colorado. The agreement will give the organizations’ members access to active, pending, withdrawn, expired and closed listings. Beginning today, shared data will be available to the three MLS organizations’ members.

“As a REALTOR® association-owned MLS, we’re excited to provide our MLS listings to other REALTORS® in the state of Colorado via RPR View,” said Patrick Muldoon, president of Pikes Peak REALTOR® Services Corp. “We look forward to future endeavors with our neighboring MLSs.”

Created by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for the sole purpose of providing REALTORS® with the data they need to meet the demands of clients, RPR provides comprehensive data, powerful analytics and client-friendly reports for each of NAR’s constituencies. RPR View is the most widely used MLS data share solution in the country. This platform allows MLSs to display listings to only their own customers or to larger audiences, such as all MLSs in the U.S. or a specific region.

For more information about IRES, visit ires-net.com. For more information about REcolorado, visit recolorado.com. For more information about Pikes Peak RSC, visit ppar.com/.

About IRES MLS
Information and Real Estate Services, LLC (IRES) was formed in 1996 as the regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for northern Colorado by five Boards and Associations of REALTORS® in Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont and Loveland/Berthoud. In addition to these five Boards and Associations, IRES is the MLS provider for the Estes Park Board of REALTORS® and Logan County Board of REALTORS®. ColoProperty.com® for consumers is owned and operated by IRES. Its office is centrally located in Loveland, Colo.

About REcolorado
Since 1984, REcolorado has been focused on providing the most accurate and up-to-date real estate information for professionals and consumers. REcolorado is the largest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Colorado with more than 25,000 professional subscribers who operate throughout the state. It is REALTOR® owned and serves Aurora Association of REALTORS®, Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, Mountain Metro Association of REALTORS®, REALTORS® of Central Colorado, South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association, and Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS®.

About Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS® (PPAR)
PPAR, the Voice for Real Estate, was founded in 1902 and currently represents 3,997 REALTORS® and affiliates in the Pikes Peak Region. For more information about PPAR, visit PPAR.com.

About Pikes Peak REALTOR® Services Corp (PPRSC)
A subsidiary of the Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS® (PPAR), PPRSC is the provider of the Pikes Peak Multiple Listing Service™ (PPMLS), which powers PPAR.com and is committed to providing the best MLS services for REALTOR® participants throughout the Pikes Peak region and surrounding areas.

 

 

What’s in the News? Lauren Hansen, IRES CEO, Featured as BizWest’s January Executive Profile

When Lauren Hansen of Niwot gives new real estate brokers orientations of the IRES database she helped create, she compares her presentation to the quick barking of a Pomeranian.

“It’s a lot to cover,” Hansen said. “I’m a motor mouth at everything we offer. I want them to be excited about everything available to them and what the subscription covers.”

Hansen is chief executive officer of IRES LLC, the regional Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, headquartered in Loveland, and CEO of RealGo Inc., the tech development company owned by IRES. RealGo manages the MLS database and inputs any changes or updates to IRES, acting as “our MLS system wizards” and “the programmers that make the magic happen,” she said… read more

SentriLock 2020: Let’s Keep the Momentum Going!

The New Year brings resolutions to break bad habits and start new ones.  Let’s not forget to celebrate our good habits we practice now and keep that momentum going in 2020!

SentriLock is a technology-forward electronic lockbox manufacturer.  Brokers, like you, are the focus of their development.  SentriLock lockboxes help make your showings safer, smarter, and more professional.

Safer

spy graphicSafety is important when it comes to accessing a home.  Lockboxes are your last line of defense for showings security; electronic lockboxes are more secure than mechanical ones.  SentriLock has many safety features focusing on clients, agents, and lockboxes, below are just a few of these features.

  • View the Lockbox Access Log to know who has accessed the property, when & for how long
  • Instant Showing Notifications will inform you when a lockbox has been accessed via text message
  • Agent Safety feature on the SentriSmart™ app automatically alerts your designated emergency contacts when you cannot confirm you are safe

Smarter

sentrilock

Technology and real estate strategies have advanced and SentriLock has kept pace. Selling a home using strategies from the era around the first moon landing are long gone.

  • Use your smartphone or tablet to open lockboxes using the FREE SentriSmart™ app
  • Access the SentriLock Bluetooth® REALTOR® Lockbox using the app, even out of cell range
  • You can use Touch ID and facial recognition in place of your PIN
  • Homeowners can add “Do Not Disturb” times to avoid inconvenient time frames

Professional

professionalYou want to put your best foot forward in your business. With SentriLock, you can do just that, presenting a professional image that lets your clients know that protecting their home, is your #1 priority.

  • Manage your lockboxes using the SentriSmart™ app
  • Create One Day Codes for non-SentriLock users including: appraisers, contractors, and the homeowner
  • Differentiate yourself during listing presentations by telling clients about SentriLock’s safe and secure system (They will never go back to mechanical boxes!)

 

 

2020 Contracts Now Available through IRESis.com

IRES MLS Colorado Contracts Real Estate All Division of Real Estate Contracts and Forms for 2020 have been uploaded to IRESis.com and are available for you now!  You can find them through the Contract Module just like any other existing contract.

Please note that on January 2, 2020 all obsolete forms will be removed from the IRES Contracts module. Existing templates and clauses have been updated.

Below is a summary list of changes and additions From the DORA website:

Regional Government Affairs Update December 12, 2019 ❄🎉🎊

 

 

In this issue…

LOCAL
Boulder County
Highway 119 Update
Longmont
Council to Consider Metro District Policy Change
Larimer County
Septic Transfer of Title Inspections
Fort Collins
Council Moves Forward with Plan to Preserve Mobile Home Parks 
Loveland
Samson Joins City Council
Weld County
Greeley

Zasada Wins!
Hall Elected Mayor Pro Tem
STATE
New Transportation Funding Strategies Uncertain
NATION
New FHA and GSE Loan Limits
Carson on Affordability

LOCAL
Boulder County
Highway 119 Update: The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has had Colorado Highway 119 on its priority list of projects but previously lacked the funding to do anything. The passage of the Republican’s priority bill, Senate Bill 1 in 2018, allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for transportation projects and CDOT is finally ready to begin work on 119.

It has been estimated the total cost to implement the total package of multi-modal improvements for the corridor is $250 million; CDOT’s Transportation Commission didn’t allocate that much for 119. Instead, the Commission approved $30 million. So CDOT will have to “piece meal” corridor improvements, just as it has done for other critical projects in the State. Engineers identified the intersection of Highways 119 and 52 as the culprit in major traffic backups on 119 so the goal of the $30 million project is to improve traffic flow.

As part of the initial phase of the project, the intersection will be redesigned and CDOT will install adaptive traffic lights, which adjust the timing of green light cycles to match traffic conditions, along Colo. 119 from U.S. 287 to 47th Street. CDOT is working with Longmont, Boulder and Boulder County to determine new designs for the intersection.

Longmont
Council to Consider Metro District Policy Change: On December 3 City Council member Polly Christensen tried to get support for an ordinance to prohibit residential metro districts. She didn’t explain why the policy change was needed or urgent. Tim Waters described Christensen’s motion as “ill-advised” and “rash.” Joan Peck suggested a study session as a first step, creating enough support to approve the revised motion 4-3, with Christensen, Rodriguez, Peck and Hidalgo-Fanning voting in favor.

The Council was scheduled to discuss metro districts the following week on December 10, but the discussion was postponed after over 60 minutes of public comments on the topic. Mayor Pro Tem Aren Rodriguez suggested the delay, saying that it would be better to wait until January 7 for a special City Council “pre-session.” Rodriguez argued that such a venue would allow for more discussion without “the constraints of Roberts’ Rules of Order.” He said, “this Council has been fractured since the election. We need to come to consensus as a new Council…”

After prolonged discussion the Council voted 5 to 2 to support Rodriguez’ motion. Polly Christensen voted against the motion, saying it was unfair to the public since people expected the discussion that night. Joan Peck also opposed the motion. Earlier stated she didn’t want to allow public comment on January 7, especially from developers. The details on the location and time of the “pre-session” will not be available until December 13.

Larimer County
Septic Transfer of Title Inspections: Larimer County is planning to implement new septic regulations in the Fall of 2020. Properties with on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) will require an inspection by a certified third-party inspector to identify any conditions requiring repair. The inspection will also verify the design of the system is consistent with its current use (meaning it is appropriately sized for the home’s number of bedrooms). Inspection reports will be submitted to the County’s Department of Health and the Environment prior to closing.

Chris Manley, Environmental Health Officer for the Department’s Environmental Health Services Division, said transfer of title inspections are not currently required by Colorado law but will likely be mandatory in the future. Manley, and Environmental Health Director Shaun May, said their intent is not to delay closings. Once the inspection has been done the responsible party (either the owner or buyer) will have 180 days to complete any necessary repairs. The “Acceptance Document” issued by the Department if the inspection meets the regulations in effect when the OWTS was permitted will be valid for 12 months.

County staff is very aware that the success of the program will hinge on getting septic professionals certified. Hanley and Mays said if there aren’t enough certified inspectors, the County will delay the launch the program if needed. It is the County’s intent to work with all three local associations to get feedback, as well as conduct outreach to septic professionals. More information will be available in the coming months. 250 listings in IRES have sold or are on the market as of December 6, 2019.

Fort Collins
Council Moves Forward with Plan to Preserve Mobile Home Parks: The City Council gave staff approval to create specialized zoning for mobile home parks. In addition, the Council wants to see more information about two other concepts:  licensing parks as businesses for more effective regulation and initiating a City purchase of a park.

Mobile homes are seen as an important form of affordable housing. Within Fort Collins there are 10 manufactured housing communities and approximately 1,400 home sites. An additional 14 communities and an additional 2,100 home sites exist within the Fort Collins Growth Management Area (GMA). Several of the largest communities are also immediately adjacent to City limits. The City will consult and collaborate with Larimer County in considering in strategies for the mobile home parks outside City limits.

Staff told the Council that mobile home residents face specific difficulties because it’s expensive and sometimes impossible to move a mobile home out of a park. Older homes aren’t always movable and might not be new enough to meet the requirements of other parks. At least one park in Fort Collins doesn’t allow owners to remove their homes from the property.

Creating a manufactured housing zone district is the most effective strategy to preserve mobile home parks, according to staff. Specialized zoning could insulate parks from the risk of closures because redevelopment approval would require a public review process and the approval of City Council.

However, specialized zoning presents a challenge because it is downzoning and impacts the property rights of the owners. Owners of manufactured housing communities in other towns have opposed this tactic. According to a staff memo, there have been legal challenges to manufactured home zoning across the country, either as examples of a takings or spot rezoning. In many circumstances, the zone districts have been upheld, especially if it can be demonstrated a reasonable economic use of the property remains.

The Council implemented a one-year moratorium on mobile home park redevelopment in August, but that could will end sooner if policy changes are put into place before August 2020. It is expected the new mobile home park zone regulation will be considered by Council in April. If it is approved the moratorium would end.

Loveland
Samson Joins City Council: After a recount Andrea Samson was declared the winner of Loveland’s Ward 2 seat by three votes. She was sworn into office on December 10. Before leaving the dais that evening, Leah Johnson said she is proud of the collaboration she had with her colleagues. That collaboration isn’t “always agreement but it’s part of the push and pull … that makes Loveland amazing.” The Council will elect a mayor pro tem on December 17.

Weld County
Greeley

Zasada Wins! After a recount, Realtor® Kristin Zasada was declared the victor in a close race with Stacy Suniga for the two-year, at-large seat on Greeley’s City Council. Zasada won by 15 votes. Zasada and Ed Clark were sworn in on December 10.

Ed Clark offered a prepared speech and said, “the economy, public safety and thoughtful planning for growth are my priorities.” He added that the city needs housing for all income levels, and more water and water storage.

Hall Elected Mayor Pro Tem: The new City Council unanimously elected Dale Hall as mayor pro tem without discussion on December 10. There were no other candidates.

In addition, Mayor Gates announced Council liaison appointments to boards and commissions. The mayor will serve on the Greeley Water and Sewer Board. Brett Payton will serve as Greeley’s representative on the regional metropolitan (transportation) planning organization (NFRMPO). Kristen Zasada will serve on the Downtown Development Authority and the City’s Historic Preservation Commission. Dale Hall will serve on Upstate, the Weld County economic development organization.

STATE
New Transportation Funding Strategies Uncertain: Governor Jared Polis told the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance last month that the region would see benefits from the extra $625 million he hopes the Legislature will budget for the Colorado Department of Transportation next year, on top of the $300 million he approved in the current state budget.

In 2017, Senate Bill 267 authorized $1.8 billion in long-term bonds for transportation backed by leases on government buildings. On top of that, the state budget is required to pitch in $50 million a year. Last year Senate Bill 1  put $495 million into roads, bridges and alternative transportation in 2018, and $150 million this year.

The Metro Mayors Association are considering regional taxing strategies, effectively giving up on a statewide solution, given recent history. The idea isn’t widely supported yet, but the call gets louder every time a statewide ballot measure fails.

However, that strategy has opponents, too. Fix Colorado Roads, a coalition of business groups, takes a dim view of a piecemeal strategy saying it would “balkanize” the state. Rural areas wouldn’t be able to raise enough funding through that approach.

It remains to be seen whether the Legislature will consider new long-range funding in 2020 or focus on cleaner, greener vehicles and transit.

NATION
New FHA and GSE Loan Limits: As expected, FHA just published its 2020 loan limits. The FHA high-cost limit is the same as the GSE limit – $765,000. The FHA floor (the lowest FHA limit) also rose to $331,760. Nearly every county in the country saw an increase in their loan limits.

The way that loan limits are calculated, all counties within the same Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) benefit from the highest limit in that MSA. Over the last year, the government changed some definitions of MSAs. The result is that 11 counties, who were removed from their nearest MSA, will see decreases in their loan limits, but none of these counties are located in Colorado.

The 2020 loan limits are available here. These limits are effective from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

Limits for MSAs in Northern Colorado:
Boulder County – $626,750
Fort Collins/Loveland – $437,000
Greeley (Weld County) – $385,250

Carson on Affordability:  Speaking at the first-ever Real Estate Forecast Summit, U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson called affordable housing “one of the real challenges of our time.” Carson said the Trump administration’s White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing is looking at a range of solutions, including the elimination of regulatory barriers—such as zoning restrictions, density restrictions, and wetlands rules—that add to the cost of construction.

Carson said the council is looking at what can be done at the federal level to incentivize change, but private industry, he said, will bring the best answers to the housing inventory and affordability challenges. “Real answers don’t come from the federal government,” he said. “They come from the people with boots on the ground, who are actually the stakeholders who are involved with the issues we are dealing with.”

 

 

Regional Government Affairs Update November 26, 2019 🦃 🍂❄

November 26, 2019


In this issue…

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

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

LOCAL

Boulder County
Longmont

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.

Loveland
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.

NATION
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.