End of September, MCAR 2017 Legislative update

Source: California Association of REALTORS® (CAR)

The Legislature has passed and forwarded a package of bills to Governor Jerry Brown. The legislation is designed to attempt to streamline the construction of new housing in the state. The bills are:

AB 72 (Santiago and Chiu) Enforcement of California Housing Laws – The Housing Accountability Act (HAA) only permits a local government to deny a proposed housing development that complies with general plan and zoning standards if the project would adversely impact public health or safety.

AB 73 (Chiu) Housing Sustainability Districts – AB 73 would permit developers to voluntarily use an alternate project approval process in a housing sustainability district.

AB 678 (Bocanegra) and SB 167 (Skinner) Housing Accountability Act (HAA) Expansion and Enforcement – These bills would ensure that local agencies cannot disapprove housing projects without a preponderance of evidence proving that the project adversely impacts public health or safety.

AB 879 (Grayson) Housing Element: Developers – The Planning and Zoning Law requires a city or county to adopt a general plan for land use development within its boundaries that includes, among other things, a housing element.

SB 2 (Atkins) Recording Tax – SB 2 seeks to fund affordable housing by imposing a flat $75 per document recording fee on every real estate instrument not part of a sales transaction.

SB 35 (Wiener) Streamlining Affordable Housing Production – SB 35 would create a streamlined “by-right” approval process for infill projects with two or more residential units or Accessory Dwelling Units in localities that have failed to produce sufficient housing to meet their Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals

SB 540 (Roth) Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones – This bill would authorize local governments to establish Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones by preparing an Environmental Impact Report pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act. SB 540 would prohibit local governments from denying developments proposed within that zone for 5 years.

SB 173 (Dodd) This bill reestablishes the Department of Real Estate as a separate entity. Last week the bill moved forward as the C.A.R.-sponsored legislation passed the legislature with unanimous floor votes in both houses (in 2012, the Department of Real Estate was moved to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency in an attempt to save money).

Septic systems, Sewer Laterals, Short-term Rentals and Legislation Day

March 28, 2017

Septic Systems

Public policy is easier to shape than it is to fix. In that regard multiple members of MCAR are volunteering their time to help shape policy in Monterey County and our local cities.

One member is involved with Monterey County’s Local Agency Management Program (LAMP). The LAMP is responsible for updating the County’s Department of Health regulations that will become ordinances covering onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) – also known as septic systems. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has mandated that every county update local regulations covering OWTS. The State continues to seek improvements in water quality both for surface water and groundwater and the Department of Health anticipates providing the draft language to the County Supervisors to approve as ordinances as early as 2018.

Under the new guidelines it is proposed that each time an OWTS servicer pumps out a septic tank, the servicer must provide a written report to the Department of Health regarding the efficiency of the system and whether the system should be repaired or replaced. This report alone may be enough to trigger a review of the system and possibly generate the expensive installation of a new type of OWTS that may be two-to-three times as expensive as a traditional septic tank, pit or drain-field repair or replacement. The new ordinances may significantly alter the OWTS’ method and cost of replacing failed or failing septic systems so don’t wait if you or your client has a troublesome septic system.

Sewer Laterals

Another team of members is working with the City of Monterey to rewrite the sewer lateral regulations that are currently in effect for both Pacific Grove and Monterey. The team met with the chief inspector to develop proposed language on when and under what circumstances homeowners, either sellers or buyers, are responsible for repairing sewer laterals.  The team has met once with the inspector and as the process unfolds MCAR will continue to participate and monitor the drafting of the proposed regulations.

Short-term Rentals

Another team of members are working with Monterey County to draft fair and reasonable ordinances regarding short-term rentals in the inland areas of Monterey County. The team has met over the last two years with numerous officials and participated in outreach and working sessions to help craft the language. The process has been slow and the county now anticipates the release of the new language sometime in 2017.

Legislative Day Sacramento May 3, 2017

The first quarter of 2017 has been busy for advocacy and outreach (A&O) and as the State Legislature continues to meet more proposed legislation will need our attention. As such, members of the Local Government Relations committee are planning participation in the annual California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Legislative Day in Sacramento. Last year MCAR volunteer leadership met personally with Senate Majority Leader – Bill Monning, Senator Anthony Canella, Assemblymember Luis Alejo and Assemblymember Mark Stone.

The Legislative Day is held during the Spring Meetings in Sacramento and our volunteer leadership will participate both in CAR committee meetings and in visits with our senators and assembly members during the week of May 1-5, 2017.

Dr. Scott Dick

Why RAF Matters – by Scott Dick

One of the most important services to you as an MCAR member is organized real estate representation at the local, state and federal level. Your contribution to the REALTOR® Action Fund (RAF) ensures that you a have all the tools you need to protect yourself, your business and your clients from policy makers and local government staff who may not understand all the issues related to professional real estate.

Last year CAR saved REALTORS® $9,905 each; a pretty good return on the investment of an additional voluntary contribution of $49. We estimate the true cost of doing business at the local, state and federal level is $148 per year, but we are only asking for a voluntary additional contribution of $49. If you would like to discuss this further please email me Scott Dick Government Affairs Director (GAD) at scott@mcar.com or call 831-393-8677.