The Monitor – September 2014

GASTON, SUSAN COLOR 2255 (2)Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®
Monthly Public Policy Report

Local Issues

VPAR members Bill Brown, Sandra Hood, Chandra Patterson, Regina Scott and Peggy Todd, along with CEO Jim Wetzel and Legislative Consultant Susan Gaston, attended the September 3rd “STATE OF THE CITY OF HAMPTON” event. This is one of three in a series of lunch programs featuring the Mayors of Hampton, Newport News and Poquoson that are sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. VPAR members are encouraged to purchase individual tickets. Register for the remaining programs by visiting

In response to outreach from Mayor George Wallace, Vice Mayor Linda Curtis and City Manager Mary Bunting, VPAR’s Public Policy Committee has put forth REALTOR® Peggy Todd to be part of a focus group of REALTORS®, builders and developers that will concentrate on how best to increase the City’s housing stock and how to meet the needs of the housing and development communities. VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, Susan Gaston, has been asked by the City to represent VPAR as well, and former VPAR Presidents Perry Pilgrim and Tommy Thompson also are under consideration. More to come as details emerge on specific tasks and focus group members.

VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, Susan Gaston, continues to work with the City on the matter of the City’s Rental Inspection Program. At its August meeting, the Public Policy Committee reaffirmed its support of the ordinance, and also pledged its support to several proposed amendments to the ordinance that will make the program more favorable to landlords, property owners, REALTORS® and property managers.

Confused about AICUZ? When do property owners disclose that they are in a noise or crash zone association with Langley Air Force Base? Or, when is disclosure NOT required? To better educate VPAR members as well as members from HRRA, who deal with similar issues from Oceana Naval Air Station, we are hosting a forum in conjunction with the September 23rd REALTOR Day event. Scheduled for 10:30 AM at the Marriott, VPAR and HRRA have invited VAR CEO Terrie Suit to speak to this issue given her work on it as a member of the House of Delegates.

The City is set to begin review of the Coliseum Central, Downtown and North King Street Neighborhood Master Plans. VPAR already has reached out to the City’s Community Development Department; the City indicated that they would reach out to the Association for input and involvement.
Newport News
The Comprehensive Plan review process is back on track with the City’s recent hire of a new Director of Comprehensive Planning. VPAR remains intensely engaged on the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CPCAC). VPAR is working with the Planning Department to schedule a member-wide visioning exercise to generate ideas from the membership regarding what they would like to see in Newport News in the coming decade. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, visit for more details on how you and your clients can weigh in on the Comp Plan review.

With the recent kick-off meeting of the Virginia Climate Change and Resiliency Commission on September 10th, almost on cue, the rains came to the Peninsula. But no one knows flooding like Poquoson knows (and handles) flooding. To better understand the details of the greater issue and the implications of policy initiatives, VAR’s Martin Johnson, Chief of Policy and Advocacy, will visit with Poquoson City leaders for a “Flooding 101” briefing Session. Joining Martin will be Susan Gaston. Stay tuned for more details!

VPAR is working to help Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) improve transportation and transit systems on the Peninsula and throughout the region by soliciting feedback from the general public.

CONNECT Hampton Roads is a new initiative just started recently by HRT to kick start a conversation about what regional transportation options the public wants. Does the region want more buses running later, in more cities and longer into the weekends? What is the future role of light rail transit? How do bicycle paths and park and rides fit into the transportation mix? Are we imposing too much of a financial burden on cities under our current system?

Hampton Roads Transit will use the comments as part of an on-going discussion to gather comments, combining them into broad categories such as bus, rail, ferry services, pedestrian pathways and transit funding. The comments will be incorporated into a planned long-range Transportation Vision Plan. Next year, the plan will be shared with the Virginia General Assembly.

Housing and public transit are important elements in our quality of life, and the two are very much aligned… so, REALTOR® input is very important to this process! Give your thoughts as to how to achieve the goal of a more connected community via transportation systems by going to

The VREB regulations have been reviewed and re-drafted but to date remain unsigned, and this not in effect.


The VAR Public Policy Committee met on August 13th to initiate discussions on legislation proposed for the 2015 General Assembly Session. This is only the beginning of a very detailed process, and if VPAR members know of issues that require a legislative remedy, please advise your Legislative Consultant, Susan Gaston, at Additional discussions on the legislative positions will be held during the business meetings of the October VAR REAL SHOW.

VPAR members Dale Chandler and Dot McKelvin, led by Federal Political Coordinator Chandra Patterson, represented VPAR at Congressman Bobby Scott’s (3rd – D, Newport News) Annual Labor Day Picnic. Joined by many elected officials from the Peninsula, the General Assembly and Congress, REALTOR® Patterson presented the Congressman with a check from NAR’s REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC). The event was a great opportunity to show REALTOR® strength and the influence of VPAR. See the fun photos on VPAR’s Facebook page .

Likewise, only a few days later, VPAR again was well-represented when REALTOR® Mary Beth Pauley, a former VPAR member who now is the Vice President of WAAR, and VPAR Public Policy Chairwoman, Sandra Hood, along with Legislative Consultant Susan Gaston, met with Congressman Rob Wittman (1st – R, Westmorland). REALTOR® Pauley, the Federal Political Coordinator for Congressman Wittman, presented the Congressman with a check from the national RPAC as well. It was a great opportunity to spend quality time with the Congressman and to discuss significant issues on the NAR radar screen, most notably, the issue regarding extending the Mortgage Indebtedness Forgiveness Act. Visit VPAR’s Facebook page to see a nice photo of the presentation!

NAR Asks Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor Mortgage Indebtedness Forgiveness Legislation
One of the top NAR priorities upon Congress’s return to Washington is to request co-sponsors for H. R. 2944, the bill to extend the Mortgage Indebtedness Forgiveness legislation. More information can be found here:
NAR Participates in FAA Working Group
NAR has been invited to participate in an on-going Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) working group on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs). NAR will use this opportunity educate FAA officials on how Realtors are interested in utilizing this technology safely and responsibly. Currently, the FAA prohibits the use of UASs for any commercial purpose, such as creating a video to sell property. The FAA is on track to propose regulations in November that will establish a timeframe for integrating small UASs into the national airspace. NAR supports regulations that would allow members to use this technology safely but that are not overly cumbersome or expensive.

NAR Submits Comments to FHFA on G-Fees
On September 8, 2014, NAR submitted comments to FHFA in response to its Request for Input on the guarantee fees (g-fees) that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored enterprises or Enterprises) charge lenders; and to raise concerns about implementation of the proposed increases to both the g-fee and up-front fees charged to borrowers (loan level pricing adjustments or LLPAs).

NAR Submits Comments to FHFA on PMIERs.
On September 8, 2014, NAR submitted comments to FHFA on its proposed draft Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements (PMIERs) for companies that insure mortgage loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The proposed requirements are important to NAR members as private mortgage insurance is often required for borrowers with down payments less than 20 percent.
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