A quick reminder that our office will be closed in observance of Good Friday, on April 6, 2012.
We will reopen for business Monday, April 9, 2012.
Below is the legislative brief for this week.
Storm Water Regulations
The coalition letter that was drafted and signed by a number of business groups, including HBADE, was delivered to Secretary Collin O’Mara and Governor Markell on 3/14. Secretary O’Mara offered to have a small group of the industry experts, including us, sit at the table with Deputy Secretary Dave Small to discuss the specific issues and concerns that we have. He indicated that he would be willing to hold off on promulgating the rules for a few months to sit down with us and work to find common ground. He has asked that we be as specific as we possibly can with our issues. Dave Small is coordinating the meeting.
A small group met with Governor Markell, Deputy Secretary Small and Frank Piorko on 3/20. The governor was receptive to the concerns raised by our group. There were a few specific questions raised that Deputy Secretary Small was going to look into internally. Otherwise, the rest of our specific concerns will be addressed in the upcoming meeting with DNREC. We are drafting a letter as follow up for the Governor.
Senate Bill # 167
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE LEGALITY OF ANY ORDINANCE, CODE, REGULATION OR MAP RELATING TO ZONING.
Primary Sponsor: Peterson
CoSponsors: Sens. Blevins, Ennis, Sokola & Simpson; Reps. Gilligan & Ramone
Introduced on : 03/15/2012
Synopsis: If a municipality or county passes a land-use ordinance that violates state law, an aggrieved party has only 60 days to file a court challenge. After that, the ordinance cannot be challenged, nor can subsequent decisions based on that ordinance be challenged based on its invalidity. This Bill seeks to remove that bar, recognizing that the enactment of an ordinance that violates state law cannot be legitimized by the passage of time.
Update: There are a number of groups that have expressed their opposition to this legislation. Sen. Peterson is working on an amendment to address the concerns raised. We are hoping to have the legislation by Friday (3/30) and will circulate.
House Bill # 166
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 30 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO REALTY TRANSFER TAX. (Homebuyers Incentive)
Primary Sponsor: Brady
Additional Sponsor(s): Rep. Bennett & Sen. McDowell
CoSponsors: Reps. Kenton, Ramone, Scott; Sens. Bonini, Cloutier,
Connor Introduced on : 06/07/2011
Synopsis: This bill exempts the half of the State realty transfer tax for first-time home buyers. This bill also allows the Department of Finance to adopt rules and regulations for an affidavit to state the names and professional license number of the real estate brokers, salespersons, or other licensed professional receiving commission money. This will enhance the ability of the Department of Finance to collect income taxes due on the commission money, particularly from non-residents.
Update: We have been working with Todd Stonesifer, President of DAR and Charlotte Herbert, Executive Director to propose potentially amending their legislation to include our proposal. DAR is doing a study to help support the legislation.
House Bill # 227
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 9, TITLE 22 AND TITLE 31 RELATING TO HOUSING. (Universal Design)
Primary Sponsor: Q. Johnson
Additional Sponsor(s): Rep. Longhurst & Sen. Bushweller
CoSponsors: Rep. Jaques
Introduced on : 06/30/2011
Synopsis: This bill requires that bids for all newly constructed dwelling units using public financial assistance shall indicate the extent of the universal design standards in the proposal. Public financial assistance includes a contract with a state agency, real estate donated by the State, State tax credits, grant assistance from State funds, State loan guarantees, federal funds administered by the State or its agency, and funding from location governments and their agencies. In selecting a bid, the extent of universal designs use may form a basis to award the contract based on the best value, rather than lowest bidder. The bill sets up a 40-point scale covering the key elements of universal design.
Current Status: Out of Committee On 01/25/2012
Update: HBADE sent a formal opposition letter to Quinn on 2/10. Per our request, Quinn met with a small group of HBADE members to discuss his proposed amendment. The amendment includes a clarification on tax credits and a technical change in the point system. We reiterated our concerns on the legislation and cited specific examples. We are researching similar models in other states in an effort to offer an alternative solution. Quinn is planning to release his amendment before break next week.
|March – April 2012|
Reprinted from NAHB Washington Update
The IRS has updated its list of software that is applicable to the New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit (45L), the only federal incentive available for efficiency in new home construction. The 45L credit provides a $2,000 tax credit to builders and developers for the construction and sale of homes that achieve a 50% improvement in energy efficiency over the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code. The credit expired at the end of 2011 and has not yet been renewed for 2012.
The new IRS 45L software programs offer builders additional flexibility in qualifying for the tax credit and is something that NAHB has long been pushing for.
The 45L tax credit and the Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C), which provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products, both expired on Jan. 1.
Both 45L and 25C are traditionally renewed by Congress at the end of each year as part of a package of expiring tax credits. Commonly referred to as “tax extenders,” this package has become more difficult to pass due to the government’s fiscal belt-tightening.
NAHB continues to seek an extension for both the 45L and 25C tax credits, but any congressional action is unlikely to occur until after the 2012 elections.
For more information email J.P. Delmore at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242 x8412.
Something different to do this weekend:
NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
For more information, contact Joanna Wilson, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Competition for 2013 Duck, Trout stamps to be held March 31
GREENWOOD (March 27, 2012) – Wildlife art enthusiasts, stamp and print collectors, waterfowl hunters, anglers, birdwatchers and wetland conservationists will gather beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 31 at the Delaware Ducks Unlimited Greenwings Event at Owens Station near Greenwood for the judging of Delaware’s annual Duck Stamp and Trout Stamp contests.
Sponsored by the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with Delaware Ducks Unlimited, the annual competitions draw entries by renowned and emerging artists from across the country.
Delaware’s 2013 waterfowl stamp will mark the 33rd anniversary of the contest, which began in 1980 to raise funds for waterfowl conservation, including acquiring and improving the wetland habitats that are vital for the survival of migratory waterfowl. To date, more than $2.5 million has been raised. The artwork chosen for the 2013 stamp must include one or more Delaware native species as the dominant feature, and may include any other objects including manufactured objects.
For the trout stamp contest, artists from across the nation submit paintings of rainbow, brown or brook trout for the competition to choose the illustration for the 2013 Delaware Trout Stamp, which must be displayed by all trout anglers. Some 6,500 trout anglers and stamp collectors support this program annually, generating approximately $25,000 in annual revenues to stock trout in six northern New Castle County streams, Tidbury Pond in Kent County and Newton Pond in Sussex County.
A panel of judges consisting of an artist, a waterfowl collector, an art teacher/professor, a biologist and the chair of Delaware Ducks Unlimited will select Best of Show winners for the 2013 Delaware Duck Stamp. A panel of biologists, collectors, anglers and a Trout Unlimited member will select the 2013 Delaware Trout Stamp. Judges will base their decisions on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.
For more information on the Delaware Duck Stamp or Trout Stamp programs, please contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9911, or visit www.fw.delaware.gov.
Delaware Home Show. DIG It
There was plenty to “Dig” at the 20th annual Spring Delaware Home Shows, March 3& 4th at the Chase Center on the Riverfront and March 24&25 Dover Downs Rollins Center. For both show openings, a line waited at the door to receive the free tree for the first 500 attendees. Mike McGrath appeared at both shows- host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show, You Bet your Garden. Each of his topics left standing room only in the seminar areas.
Give aways were a huge draw this year- the Wilmington show offered attendees a chance to win tons of useful items for spring-including lawn clean ups from Kerns Brothers and Lawnscapes, a full property landscape design from Creative Elements, a the grand prize, an 8×8 mini-barn from Capital Buildings and sheds. Other give aways included a $500 gift certificate towards a Tables on the Move table, and $500 landscape lighting credit from Nitelites.
Dover touted 3 yards of mulch from Layaou Landscaping, a leaf blower from Newark Motors, firepit from Primere Hardscapes, a granite vanity from Ancient Art Stone, and the Grand Prize- a Zero turn Dixon mower, compliments of Armigers Auto equipment.
Unsuspecting attendees were delighted during announcements when they were picked from the crowd to win a basket of pansies (compliments of Binkleys Horticulture, Wilmington and Lowes, Dover). In order to win solar and massage door prizes- attendees had to pick out the Wilmington Drama League costume characters. Of course, the Delaware Spring Home Shows would not be official without the appearance of Ms. Spring herself. Parents were able to take the show floor while kids were entertained by the free magic show, face painting, and balloon animals at Wilmington as well as Lowes Kids clinics at Dover.
The success was due in part to the combined 46k admissions handed out at local Lowes, Willeys Farms, and the Delaware Center for Horticulture. As well as the several other admissions tickets handed out by vendors and YOU, our members. As with every HBA/DE event- it would not have been possible had it not been for our Volunteers: John Kildea, Tony Basara, Scott Wilcox, Dottie and Jim Fawcett, Fred Fortunato, Steve Bomberger, Steve Fortunato, Michelle Reavis, Don Yoos, Matt Egan, John Johnson, Kevin Whittaker, Richard Forsten, John Gormley, Dan Martelli, Bob Thornton, Jeff Haggerty, Mary Fields, John Ford, Debbie Finocchiaro, Mark Gandy, Mark Fitzgerald, Rick Banning and son Jaten, Amanda Kaye, Bill Anderson, Jeff Robertson, Jason Harman, Shari Hendley, Mike Riemann, Liz Paul, Lisa Marino, and Leah Marino, Scott Bradley, Joanne Smagala, and Brian Richards.
(This announcement arrived late last night. Further proof of the well-regarded reputation of the National Green Building Program which has been endorsed by HBADE, and many builders in Delaware already build green under the Standard. Green certification from the NGBS is required to obtain a Green for Green homebuyer rebate!)
The International Code Council (ICC) will be releasing the first edition of its International Green Construction Code (IGCC) today. Of special significance to builders is the fact that all residential construction is covered in the IGCC, but scoped in different ways according to the height of the building. Specifically, for the typical one- and two-family home constructed to the International Residential Code (IRC), R-3 residential buildings constructed to the International Building Code (IBC), and multifamily R-2 buildings and R-4 buildings constructed to the IBC that are four or less stories in height (including any accessory structures and the site or lot upon which these buildings are located), the IGCC will not apply unless the adopting jurisdiction specifically states it will regulate these buildings through the IGCC. If a jurisdiction does decide to regulate green construction for low-rise residential buildings, these buildings will be required to comply with the provisions and practices of the ICC 700 (the National Green Building Standard), not the requirements of the IGCC.
All R-2 and R-4 residential buildings that are five or more stories in height, as well as residential portions of mixed-use buildings, are covered under the IGCC. However, these buildings can be constructed using either the IGCC or ICC 700. If the builder chooses to use ICC 700, that project is considered “deemed-to-comply” with the requirements of the IGCC but will need to meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements of the ICC 700 Silver Level or equivalent. As with low-rise residential buildings, if ICC 700 is chosen, any accessory structures and the site or lot upon which these buildings are located will be covered under ICC 700.
Requirements contained in the IGCC are for the most part mandatory, with little room to use alternative methods for compliance. In contrast, the National Green Building Standard is a point-based system that has four levels for green construction, and provides a variety of different green practices from which the builder can choose to reach the specified level.
NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Wetland Restoration Techniques Workshop set for April 12
at the St. Jones Reserve
DOVER (March 23, 2012) – “On the ground” wetland construction techniques will be the primary focus of a Wetland Restoration Techniques Workshop set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, April 12, 2012 at the St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Wetland managers, scientists, contractors and consultants are encouraged to attend the workshop, certified by the American Planning Association to provide credit hours for their members.
The workshop offers participants the opportunity to learn innovative wetland construction techniques and best management practices. Tom Barthelmeh of DNREC’s Drainage and Stormwater Section and Al Rizzo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will highlight successful techniques and present lessons learned from their own experiences developing and implementing wetland and channel restoration projects. Topics of discussion will include effectively working with landowners, wetland planning and project agreements.
In a unique opportunity for hands-on experience, participants will form teams to design and construct a model “wetland-in-a-box” that fulfills the requirements of a restoration scenario. Workshop leaders will coach teams through design and construction, assess their work and lead a discussion on the implications that each wetland model may have in a real world situation.
The workshop was developed by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Training Program, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The cost to attend the workshop is $15, with lunch and refreshments to be provided.
Registration is required by Friday, April 6 by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dewetlandworkshop2012
Crafted by our Associates Council Chair Jim McCulley and endorsed by the Membership Committee, we are assembling a mentor program whereby current members show the newbies “the ropes”, so to speak. It can involve phone contact, accompanying the new member to HBADE functions, explaining the available committee roles and opportunities – all which will help the new member become acclimated. It helps the mentor become more active and thus potentially increase their business. Not to mention numerous awards and recognition ideas being assembled.
We are seeking current members as potential candidates to serve as mentors. All the details are not yet finalized but if you are interested, please email Jim McCulley at email@example.com.
Kudos to builder member Kevin Kelly, having spoken to FED and HUD officials advocating housing – locally and nationally.
Reprinted from NAHB
March 21, 2012 – Long-time local builder and developer Kevin Kelly, president of Leon N. Weiner and Associates, met recently with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to discuss problems affecting the home building industry and policies that will help the housing market recover.
“A strong housing industry not only means more jobs for the local, state and national economies, but more money in our communities,” said Kelly. “Home building increases the property tax base, which generates revenue that supports local schools and communities. My message to HUD Secretary Donovan and Fed Chairman Bernanke is that there can be no long-term economic growth here in Delaware and across the nation until the housing market rebounds.”
In his meeting with Donovan last week in Washington, Kelly and other apartment industry leaders followed up on previous discussions regarding changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s multifamily mortgage insurance programs adopted in Sept. 2010. The updated rules resulted in excessively long processing times for loan applications for HUD programs that are used by for-profit developers for new construction and substantial rehabilitation of market rate and affordable rental housing.
Kelly, who is also the second vice chairman of the board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), pointed out that on average, constructing 100 multifamily rental units generates 116 full-time jobs, $8.7 million in wage and business income and $3.4 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.
“To create jobs and keep the fledgling economic expansion moving forward, HUD and other policymakers need to take steps that will keep housing affordable and ensure that responsible, creditworthy borrowers can obtain home loans. They also must ensure that builders have access to construction loans so that they can build new homes and apartments in Wilmington and other areas of the country where improving job opportunities are renewing demand for new housing.”
Last month in Orlando, Fla., Kelly was able to impart the same message when he and other leaders of NAHB met with Fed Chairman Bernanke prior to his address to the NAHB Board of Directors. Bernanke told the board members that the state of the housing market has been a key impediment to the economic recovery.
“Chairman Bernanke understands that the fate of the housing industry and the economy go hand-in-hand,” said Kelly. “It was heartening to hear that he agreed that Washington insiders must develop and implement policies that will get housing back on its feet.”