The Monitor – November 2016

Susan Gaston at CapitalVirginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®

Monthly Public Policy Report

“THE MONITOR”

November 2016

“People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.”

Walter H. Judd, American Politician and Physician

 

ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8th!

GET OUT THE VOTE, VPAR MEMBERS!

RPAC of Virginia and the National RPAC Trustees have endorsed Delegate Scott Taylor for the 2nd Congressional District seat left open with the retirement of Congressman Scott Rigell. A current member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 85th District that covers a portion of Virginia Beach, Taylor, a Republican, and his opponent, Democrat Shaun Brown, both were interviewed in September by a panel of REALTORS® from the various associations that the 2nd District covers. Representing VPAR on that interview panel were President Andy Cohen and PPC Member Peggy Todd.

 

Delegate Taylor, a real estate investor and former Navy Seal, has been a REALTOR® Champion in the state House, and sits on two House Committees in Richmond that are extremely important to the housing industry: The Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns; and the Transportation Committee. We are confident that he will continue to be an advocate for us in Washington!

 

If you live in the 2nd District, RPAC of Virginia encourages you to support Delegate Taylor!

 

Local Issues

 

 

VPAR’s Legislative Consultant maintains strong relationships with local government decision makers!

 

Regular one-on-one meetings and frequent discussions with County Administrators, Planners, Zoning Administrators, Economic Development Directors and other municipal officials take place each and every day to put VPAR front and center as a trusted resource and engaged community stakeholder.

 

See details below for the latest details on current issues in the VPAR localities.

 

 

Hampton

VPAR’s Legislative Consultant met recently with Councilwoman Teresa Schmidt, at the request of the Councilwoman, to discuss flooding issues in the City. Specific discussions focused on FEMA’s requirement that property owners in the City who upgrade their property at a cost that is equal to or greater than 50% of the value of the property register the property with FEMA. The concern is that this will have a chilling effect on owners who want to make improvements. The Legislative Consultant has advised NAR staff of this issue and is waiting feedback and counsel on any NAR positions or advice.

Other Hampton issues include:

  • VPAR continues toward efforts to set a meeting with the Mayor, Council, City Manager and relevant department heads to have a “check-up” meeting on the rental inspection program.
  • The City has reached out to your Legislative Consultant requesting assistance in disaggregating and analyzing rental data in the City. VPAR will be asking Dr. Tom Hall to include this in his housing needs study and market analysis that will be conducted for VPAR.
  • CEO Wetzel and your Legislative Consultant met on October 26th with Dr. Hall to outline his scope of work for the Hampton housing study that will be funded by an NAR Housing Opportunity Program grant that was awarded to the Association.
  • VPAR’s Legislative Consultant continues to reach out to the Circuit Court Clerk to arrange for a VPAR member tour of the new Courthouse, along with a tutorial on the role of the Court and the Clerk’s office in real estate transactions.
  • The Neighborhood Office has asked that VPAR work with them to host a Hampton Neighborhood Tour in the Spring of 2017. More details to come.

 

Isle of Wight County

The County has appointed Randy Keaton as its new County Administrator. Formerly with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Keaton brings 26 years of experience as the County Administrator in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. VPAR’s Legislative Consultant and Mr. Keaton, joined by Deputy County Administrator Don Robertson, will be meeting on November 7th to outline how VPAR can be a resource to the Administrator and his goals for the County.

 

Newport News

Piggybacking on the very positive meeting that VPAR held with City Manager Bourey, Assistant City Manager Cynthia Rohlf, Planning Director Sheila McAllister and Assistant Planning Director Claudia Cotton, along with President Cohen, Chairman Burt, CEO Wetzel and the VPAR Legislative Consultant back in September, VPAR will be moving forward on the following issues as a result of a follow-up meeting with your Consultant, the Assistant City Manager and the City’s Communications Director held on October 11th:

  1. Marketing Opportunity/Grant for a video production on the City
  2. REALTOR® 101 Class (It will be designed to mirror the Hampton 101 Class!)

 

Other Newport News issues include:

 

  • WHAT A SPECIAL DAY! If you missed the September 27th visit with Newport News Pubic Schools, you missed out on a wonderful opportunity! See the photos below that show what a special connection VPAR has with our schools. Schools and housing and quality of life all are connected! We hope to repeat this in the Spring at the request of the school division!
  • In late October, the City designated the Southeast community a rental inspection district. The Legislative Consultant has reached out to the City to ask that the Association be part of a stakeholders group, if one is formed, so that we can provide significant input into the development of the guidelines and processes that will be needed to implement the program and follow state Code. Program guidelines and details have not been developed at this point.
  • The City is making a push to implement workforce housing opportunities, particularly in the Southeast community, as part of a greater investment focusing on enhanced development and redevelopment as well as improved economic development. The City would like to have an incentive-based program to attract builders; VPAR has suggested the workforce housing/affordable dwelling unit (ADU) program to the City and has provided them with the language from the Code of Virginia that outlines that program at the local level.
  • VPAR continues to work with Councilwoman Tina Vick to outline a VPAR tour of the Southeast community, aiming for the Spring.
  • VPAR had a great showing at the recent STATE OF THE CITY OF NEWPORT NEWS Event! Check out these photos!

 

Poquoson 

The City held its first public input meeting on the Comprehensive Plan on October 18th at 7:00 PM.  More information about the Plan and the process can be found here: http://www.poquoson-va.gov/346/Comprehensive-Plan-Update.

 

Regional

  • The Ft. Eustis JLUS Update stakeholders group has not yet met and is waiting on information from the City of Newport News, which is taking the lead on the study. Hampton has asked that, given the joint base status with Langley Air Force Base, the study also include a review of the current flooding issues associated with Langley. VPAR has been asked to participate via your Legislative Consultant.
  • The October 18th General Membership Meeting with the Peninsula’s local school division Superintendents was extremely informative, enjoyable and beneficial. All of the area school leaders attended and provided a wealth of knowledge regarding many ongoing issues in public education – from SOL tests to the budget to new schools and programs to student success. What a fun morning!
  • The Hampton Roads Third Crossing options recently were revised at the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC). Historically, VPAR has taken a position to support greater regional transportation improvements without specifically supporting a single route or funding methodology while making it clear that the funding to support such projects cannot be borne on the backs of homeowners in the form of increased recordation or grantors taxes. Your Consultant is reaching out to each locality in the VPAR footprint to assess their position and insight.

 

State

The VAR Public Policy Committee continues to put final touches on the 2017 VAR Legislative Agenda. It is expected that the various issues regarding teams, team advertising and continuing education may be postponed until 2018 so that a VAR work group can be formed that will focus on the real-time issues facing practitioners. Also, several POA/COA issues likely will go forward in 2017, many of the ongoing and perennial concerns that members and your clients express also will be remanded to a special work group next year so that a comprehensive review of the POA/COA statutes can be reviewed. Stay tuned for details in the next edition of THE MONITOR for a full report on the 2017 Legislative Agenda.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW for the 2017 REALTOR® Day event! Scheduled for February 8th, the room is reserved, approval is in from the House Clerk’s office to allow us to have food and beverages, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore is confirmed as a guest speaker, the bus has been confirmed and more details are coming together!  Plus, the VAR Luncheon Speaker has been announced: UVA’s DR. LARRY SABATO!  Look for registration details and more to come soon.

Federal

FEDERAL CONDO OWNER-OCCUPANCY UPDATE

On October 26th, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a mortgagee letter making changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) owner-occupancy requirement for condominiums in accordance with the requirements of H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). Under the new provisions, FHA approved condominium projects require at least 50% of the units to be owner-occupied, but will allow for the owner-occupancy requirement to be lowered down to 35% if:

  • The project has replacement reserves of at least 20% of the budget,
  • No more than 10% of the units are in arrears (more than 60 days past due), and
  • The condo has three years of acceptable financial documents.

 

 

Should you have questions on these or other issues, or for additional details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445 or at susan@gastongroup.com.