The Monitor – September 2016

Susan Gaston at CapitalVirginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®

Monthly Public Policy Report

“The best way to appreciate our political process is to volunteer for a campaign and support a candidate you believe in.”

Rob McKenna, former Attorney General of the State of Washington

ELECTIONS

Voter Registration Information

The next election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Please be advised that the deadline to register to vote or update an existing voter registration is MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2016. The deadline to request an ABSENTEE BALLOT be mailed to you is 5:00 PM on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 21016.  (Notice to voters using US mail service: The USPS delivery standards changed early last year so that First Class delivery went from 1-3 days to 2-5 days and Standard delivery is now 2-9 days.   Please take this into consideration as you start thinking towards absentee voting for the Presidential election.)

The deadline to request an absentee ballot by appearing in person is 5:00 PM on Saturday, November 5, 2016.

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

Last month, VPAR was awarded a $5,000 Housing Opportunity Program (HOP) grant from NAR. The purpose of our grant application is to work with the City and an economist to identify and assess the City’s current housing stock, and to project, using demographic trends and buyer preferences, what the City’s housing needs may be in the future. This in-depth process has just begun, but our hope is that the City can use the information in its various neighborhood Master Plans and in its review of the Comprehensive Plan.

Also in Hampton:

  • VPAR’s Legislative Consultant recently met with Councilwoman Teresa Schmidt to discuss various flooding issues in the City and its impact on housing.
  • VPAR continues to work with the City to schedule a review of the City’s rental inspection program to assess that it is meeting its intent.
  • VPAR’s Legislative Consultant will be meeting with the new Mayor, Hon. Donnie Tuck, in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
  • VPAR sends a big THANK YOU to VPAR member and Neighborhood Commission Chairwoman Peggy Todd, who rotates out of the Chair’s seat. She has done a fabulous job in this leadership position!

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 soon to outline how VPAR can be a resource to the Administrator and his goals for the County.

Newport News

On September 6, President Andy Cohen, PPC Chairman Carl Burt, CEO Jim Wetzel and Legislative Consultant Susan Gaston met with City Manager Jim Bourey and his staff to outline ongoing opportunities for the City and VPAR to work together on mutual housing goals. The productive discussions lead to potential grant opportunities to market the City, to explore opportunities to create a REALTOR® College program and to work with the City on a variety of issues in the 2017 General Assembly Session.

  • VPAR is working with Newport News Public School on a tour and information session scheduled for September 27th! To register, contact Jo McNamara Daly at jo@vpvar.org.
  • The Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CPCAC) is ramping up for more fall work and discussions to begin earnest work on chapter rewrites and revisions. VPAR’s Legislative Consultant is an appointed member of the CPCAC.
  • The City is taking the lead on the Joint Land Use Study for Ft. Eustis. As with the CPCAC, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant has been appointed to the JLUS.

Poquoson 

As it continues to review its Comprehensive Plan, the City will hold its first public input meeting on October 18th at 7:00 PM in the cafeteria of Poquoson High School, located at 51 Odd Road in Poquoson.  More information about the Plan and the process can be found here: http://www.poquoson-va.gov/346/Comprehensive-Plan-Update.

 York County

Tim Cross, Principal Planner for the County, and VPAR’s Legislative Consultant met in early September to discuss a variety of issues in the County, covering topics ranging from vacant commercial properties to future development potential to the next iteration of the County’s Comprehensive Plan in a few years.

Regional

HRT TOUR!

VPAR members “GOT ON THE BUS” with Hampton Roads Transit in late August! REALTORS® and Affiliate Members learned about the work that HRT is conducting to improve its ridership and services – including rapid bus transit that VPAR supported in the General Assembly — rode on several routes and heard from riders and businesses who rely on bus service. This very informative morning is the first of what we hope will be additional opportunities to connect with this important public partner!

HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN INPUT

Now through September 27, tell the region what you think should be done to decrease the risks of natural disasters and man-made hazards such as flooding or storm damage. Peninsula localities have been working on a planning process and your participation in the final stages of plan review is very important. The purpose of these plans is to identify and assess hazard risks (such as floods, hurricanes, and winter storms), and determine how to best minimize or manage the hazard effects.

There are two ways in which you can provide feedback to the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee:
1. Review The Draft Plan –  The September 2016 working draft of the Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan Update is now posted for your review. Please provide comments or questions to John Sadler who may be reached by email at jsadler@hrpdcva.gov or by phone at 757-420-8300. Please be as specific as possible in your comments and provide page numbers or section numbers pertinent to your remarks.

2. Attend The Feedback Forum – On Tuesday, September 27, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, 20130 University Boulevard, Suffolk, the Committee will host a Feedback Forum. Committee members will be present to provide information on the planning process, and collect feedback from citizens on the plan components.

Please add your voice to the planning and decision-making process.

State

At the time of this writing, the VAR Board of Directors was taking action on the recommendations of the VAR Public Policy Committee regarding the 2017 VAR Legislative Agenda. It is expected that the various issues regarding teams, team advertising and continuing education may be postponed for a period of time so that a VAR work group can be created that will focus on the real-time issues facing practitioners. Also, while a number of 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.

lynn-grimsleyCONGRATULATIONS are extended to VPAR Member Lynn Grimsley on being reappointed by Governor McAuliffe to a second term on the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB)! We are proud to call her one of our members and appreciate the dedication and commitment she gives to the real estate industry.

chandra-patterson-1-09MANY THANKS to VPAR Member Chandra Patterson for her SIX YEARS of service on the RPAC of VIRGINIA TRUSTEES! Chandra just completed two three-year terms on this very important board that implements one of the most critical tasks of your Association membership: endorsing candidates and appropriating campaign contributions to REALTOR®-friendly candidates. She will be missed and her deliberate, thoughtful approach to sound decision making regarding elections and RPAC funding are greatly appreciated!

Federal

THE CALL-TO-ACTION WORKED! H.R. 3700 SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT!

H.R. 3700, sponsored by Reps. Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Cleaver (R-MO) and through companion legislation, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Scott (R-SC), passed the Senate under unanimous consent. On July 29th, the President signed the bill. This legislation previously passed the House by a vote of 427-0.  This legislation:

  • Solves a number of concerns regarding FHA’s condo rules:
    • Reduces the FHA condo owner occupancy ratio to 35%, unless FHA takes alternative action within 90 days.
    • Directs FHA to streamline the condo re-certification process.
    • Provides more flexibility for mixed use buildings.
    • Mirrors the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rules regarding private transfer fees for FHA condo lending.
  • Provides permanent authority for direct endorsement for approved lenders to approve Rural Housing Service (RHS) loans.
  • Makes reforms to federally assisted housing programs to streamline the programs.

Nearly 140,000 REALTORS® participated in the Call-to-Action with a response rate over 15%. This clearly made a difference on Capitol Hill. We expect the President to sign the legislation shortly.

Thank you to all VPAR members who responded to the Call-to-Action!

EXISTING FHA CONDO RULES EXTENDED

On August 24th, HUD extended its existing temporary guidance on condos, without the changes brought about in HR 3700. HUD continues to work on the regulatory guidance to implement the new law, but their existing guidance was set to expire. In notice 2016-13, they simply extend the existing guidance until they can publish the new rules. NAR continues to work with HUD to hasten the publication of the provisions included in the new law.  Those will:

  • Reduce the FHA condo owner occupancy ratio to 35%, unless FHA takes alternative action within 90 days.
  • Direct FHA to streamline the condo re-certification process.
  • Provide more flexibility for mixed use buildings.

Mirror the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rules regarding private transfer fees for FHA condo lending.

Stay tuned for updates, as HUD releases the new guidance.

FHA AUGUST FAQs

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently published the August 2016 – HUD Handbook 4000.1 Frequently Asked Questions Update (FAQs).  The FAQs cover a variety of topics including how to treat income earned by borrowers from state legalized marijuana, unreimbursed business expenses, repossessions and eligibility for borrowers with limited credit histories, among others.

http://hudgov.prod.parature.com/FileManagement/Download/f7a47b01eab0455f8e3089000dc9a1f8?token=fJvc7RzpcT@j1B0bN9qH1DQDsx02dxVW8SmdRQxGf6FQA@SQh5wtyWZe33zMm2swv9uJTLvkTsQvK9t6Yh6MiJCOMay37@R3D1n/@laou5KKFIfRslt0PcR5VUoAAS1G

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.

 

Preparedness Month

emergency-preparedness-month

In recognition of September as National Preparedness Month, Virginia REALTORS® are encouraging people to ready themselves by making plans for how to stay safe and communicate during an emergency. Preparedness Month reminds us all to collect supplies and make and share a plan for the protection of our families, homes, and communities. Since natural disasters and other emergencies can inhibit channels of communication, the first step to safety planning is to inform close contacts about the course of action in case of an emergency. Consider transportation routes and property safeguards, as well as the needs of elderly family members and pets. To assist Virginians with disaster preparedness, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management offers www.ReadyVirginia.gov  as resource that includes checklists of essential supplies, step-by-step guides for staying safe in emergency conditions, and instructions to stay informed of critical updates.