Home Builderes Association of Virginia Legislative Bulletin February 13, 2015

 

 

"CROSSOVER DATE ATTRACTS DEBATE
ON MAJOR ISSUES"

 

The 5th full week of the 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly ends today.  It was Crossover week, which always starts at a very hectic pace, and then slows for the state legislators and others involved to catch their breath.  It is also the week House and Senate leaders march out their versions of amendments to the state budget, and those many other issues that have dominated much of the news of the current session.

 

CROSSOVER is the date or deadline that is established by both houses of the state legislature that requires legislative bills to be advanced from their house of origin to the other body.  In other words, House bills have to be advanced to the State Senate, and Senate bills have to be advanced to the House of Delegates.  Measures that fail to advance from their house of origin by the CROSSOVER will be declared "DEAD" for the 2015 session of the state legislature.

 

CROSSOVER DAY was on Tuesday of this week.  On Monday and on Crossover Day, House Delegates and State Senators pushed and scrambled to get their favorite legislation to the opposite house.  Committee and Subcommittee meetings were held with very little notice in the mad dash leading to Crossover Day. 

 

Other than their amendments to the State Budget that passed both houses on Thursdayof this week, House and Senate Leaders debated and passed their versions of the high-profile issues of the 2015 legislative session.  Among those measures was state legislation that would stiffen Virginia's ethics laws, require mandatory reporting of campus sexual attacks and impose new requirements on unlicensed day-care facilities.  Each measure passed their respective house on Tuesday of this week and House and Senate negotiators will soon begin reconciling the differences in their versions of the legislation.

 

The major provision of the Ethics Legislation in both houses would remove the distinction between tangible and intangible gifts and prohibits any state or local officer or employee, member of the General Assembly, and certain candidates from soliciting, accepting, or receiving a single gift with a value exceeding $100 from lobbyist or persons with business before the state or local governments.  The $100 gift limit does not apply to campaign contributions to the same. The bills also require State Legislators and local government officials, that are subject to the Conflict of Interest Acts to request and receive approval from the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council, prior to accepting or receiving any travel-related transportation, lodging, meal, hospitality, or other thing of value provided by certain third parties that has a value exceeding $100.

 

The House version of ethics reform is House Bill 2070 by Delegate Todd Gilbert.  The Senate Version of ethics reform is Senate Bill 1424, by Senator Tommy Norment.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATER PAYMENT REQUIREMENTS OF PER-LOT

CASH PROFFERS CLEARS HOUSE CC&T COMMITTEE

 

On Friday morning of this week, the Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 1257, by Senators Ralph Smith, Roanoke, John Cosgrove, Chesapeake and Mark Obenshain, Harrisonburg cleared the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee.  The measure now advances to the full-100 member House of Delegates for their consideration.  Senate Bill 1257 is the top priority for HBAV during the 2015 session of the General Assembly. 
 

 

 

SB 1257 would remove the July 1, 2017, expiration of a current law that delays the payment of per lot cash proffers until after the final inspection of the single family home and prior to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.   The measure alsorepeals the July 1, 2017 expiration date of the 2009 legislation that lowered the cap on the administrative costs a locality could charge a developer for the dedication of a public right-of-way from 25 percent to 10 percent of the estimated construction cost.

 

If advanced by the House of Delegates next week without amendment, SB 1257 would proceed to the desk of Governor McAuliffe for his consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW HOME INSPECTOR QUALIFICATION

ENHANCEMENT CLEARS HOUSE

 

Among the measures to pass the House of Delegates during the final week of consideration of House Bills, was HOUSE BILL 2103, by House Delegate Chris Peace, R, Mechanicsville.  The measure cleared the 100-member House of Delegateson Monday of this week.  HB 2103 has now been assigned to the Senate Committee on General Laws for consideration in the upper chamber of the state legislature

 

House Bill 2103 would make it unlawful for any person who is not a "Certified" home inspector to perform a home inspection on any new residential structure.  The bill also requires the Board for Asbestos, Lead and Home Inspectors to require "Certified" home inspectors of new homes to submit evidence that they have successfully completed a training module developed by the Board in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Community Development based on the International Residential Code component of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code before conducting such a home inspection.

 

 

 

More and more home builders across Virginia have become concerned by the recommendations or suggestions of Certified and Non-Certified Home Inspectors following their inspections of new homes.  In some cases, the home inspectors have made recommendations for changes to new homes that would violate the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC).
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 BZA REFORM MEASURE
APPROVED BY 
THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES

   

 

 

Also clearing the House of Delegates this week was House Bill 1849 by Delegate Danny Marshall of Danville.  HB 1849 is a major reform of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) process burden of proof requirements to obtain a local variance from a local zoning ordinance. The measure now goes to the Senate Committee Local Government for the beginning of review by the Senate of Virginia.
 

House Bill 1849 would:

  • Balance, what any property owner who has ever tried to obtain a variance from a Board of Zoning Appeals (commonly called a BZA) knows, is an uphill fight, against "City Hall".  Under the existing law and case decisions, it is almost impossible for a private property owner to obtain a variance from a BZA.
     
  • Require that the property owner be given the equal time to present their case at the BZA hearing with whatever time is given to the local government.  This is basic fair play and simply gives the private property owner the same opportunity to present his case as the local government.  
  • Change the burden of proof from existing law and would specify, in a BZA hearing, the property owner has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence in a request for a variance.
     
  • Eliminate vague and uncertain criteria from the requirements to obtain a variance and would give the property owner a reasonable opportunity to prove they are entitled to a variance.
     
  • Establish a statewide standard for hearing of a variance request from a private property owner and would supersede any local ordinances to the contrary.
     
  • Finally, if the case is appealed to a circuit court by the party that loses at the BZA, this legislation simply says any party may introduce evidence in the court proceedings and the burden of proof on appeal is by a preponderance of the evidence, just like it is in most other civil court cases

While negotiations between advocates for House Bill 1849 and representatives of local government's have continued this week, the principles of the legislation outlined above remain solidly intact. 

 

House Bill 1849 is supported by the Virginia Apartment and Office Building Association, HBAV, the Virginia Association of Realtors, the Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association and the Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAHB CHIEF ECONOMIST, DR. DAVID CROWE,

ADDRESSES HBAR HOUSING OUTLOOK CONFERENCE


Early this morning, Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), addressed over 370 HBA of Richmond members who attended the HBAR Economic and Housing Outlook Breakfast.  Among the market information Dr. Crowe shared with those in attendance was a Virginia (statewide) Metro Areas Proximity to "Normal" Market Index, as of 2014.   Please see below.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST OR CONCERN

FOR 2015 GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

 

 

 

 

HB 1451 Landlord and tenant laws; notice to terminate tenancy; by Delegate Jackson Miller – Provides that in cases of a change in use, the 120-day termination notice shall not be waived, except in the case of a tenancy from month to month, which may be terminated by the landlord by giving the tenant 30 days' written notice prior to the next rent due date of the landlord's intention to terminate the tenancy. The bill, among other things, (i) allows an owner, manager, or operator of a commercial or residential building or campground to include water, sewer, electrical, natural gas, or other utilities in the amount of rent or additional rent as specified in the rental agreement or lease; (ii) prohibits a landlord from photocopying a U.S. government-issued identification under certain circumstances; (iii) allows a landlord to offer a tenant a rental agreement that includes payment of prepaid rent by the tenant if the tenant does not otherwise meet the financial qualifications to be a tenant for the dwelling unit; and (iv) allows a landlord or managing agent to enter into an agreement with a third-party service provider to maintain tenant records in electronic form or other medium. In such case, the landlord and managing agent shall not be liable in the event of a breach of the electronic data of such third-party service provider, except in the case of gross negligence or intentional act. The bill also provides that nothing shall be construed to require a landlord or managing agent to indemnify such third-party service provider. The bill also provides that the landlord and tenant may enter into a written waiver of certain rights of a service member as accordance with § 517 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Such written waiver may include (i) a requirement that the rent be paid by allotment in accordance with § 531 (d) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, (ii) a waiver of the 90-day stay in accordance with § 531 (b) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or (iii) a requirement that the tenant service member comply with the early termination of the rental agreement provisions of the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The bill contains technical amendments.

 

 

 

STATUS:  Senate: Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
HBAV POSITION: Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HB 1642 Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; representations related to special flood hazard zones; by Delegate Chris Stolle – Representations related to special flood hazard zones. Requires the seller's representation to a prospective purchaser of residential property under the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act to state that the seller makes no representations as to whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard zones. 

 

STATUS:  Senate: Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
HBAV POSITION: Support

 

HB 1870 Ground water management area; withdrawal permits; by Delegate David Bulova – Requires the developer of any subdivision in a ground water management area to obtain a withdrawal permit if the total volume projected to be withdrawn by all of the individual wells in the subdivision equals or exceeds 300,000 gallons per month. The bill requires a withdrawal permit for any subdivision that receives plat approval on or afterJanuary 1, 2016, and requires that the permit be amended for the construction of any additional well. The bill also specifies the procedure by which a developer may transfer the subdivision's withdrawal permit.

 

STATUS:  House: Left in Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources

HBAV POSITION: Oppose

 

HB 1924 Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee; established, report; by Delegate Keith Hodges – Establishes the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee (the Committee) to assist the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for ground water in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area. The bill prohibits the State Water Control Board and the DEQ from taking any actions that require reductions in the volume of permitted ground water withdrawals until the report of the Committee is presented to the State Water Commission. The bill has a sunset date ofJanuary 1, 2018.

 

STATUS: Senate: Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HB 2103 Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors, Virginia Board for; new home inspections, penalty; by Delegate Chris Peace (HBAV-backed legislation) – Makes it unlawful for any person who is not a certified home inspector to perform (i) a home inspection on any new residential structure or (ii) any inspection on any new residential structure unless the seller of the property or his agent is given the opportunity to accompany the home inspector during the inspection. The bill also authorizes the Board to issue a certificate to practice as a certified home inspector to any applicant who has submitted satisfactory evidence that he has successfully completed a training module developed by the Board in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Community Development based on the International Residential Code component of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. The bill requires the Virginia Board for Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors to develop, in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Community Development, this training module and to make it available for use prior to July 1, 2016. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2016.

 

STATUS:  Senate: Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

HJ 587 Stormwater regulations; impact on high water table area, report; by Delegate Bill DeSteph – Requests the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a two-year study of the application of the post development stormwater management technical criteria, as established in the Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations, in areas with a seasonal high groundwater table.

 

STATUS:  Senate: Referred to Committee on Rules
HBAV POSITION: Support

 

HJ 623 Study; JLARC to study groundwater resources; report by Delegate Keith Hodges – Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study Virginia's water resource planning and management, particularly with regard to groundwater. This study is a recommendation of the Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations to Address Recurrent Flooding.

 

STATUS:  Senate: Referred to Committee on Rules 
HBAV POSITION: Support
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

SB 726 Cash proffer for residential construction; sunset date; by Senator John Cosgrove – Removes the July 1, 2017, expiration of a Code section that delays the payment of certain per-dwelling-unit cash proffers until after the final inspection of the subject property and prior to the issuance of any certificate of occupancy. The removal of the sunset date also extends existing provisions barring the assertion of a cause of action to enforce a right to delayed payment of cash proffers and allowing a court to award fees and costs to a party that prevails in a legal challenge to a conflicting ordinance. 

 

STATUS:  Senate: Incorporated by Local Government (SB1257-Smith) (12-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

SB 751 Leesburg, Town of; amending charter, unmanned aerial vehicles, preservation of trees; by Senator Richard Black – Authorizes the town council to limit the use of unmanned aerial vehicles within town boundaries and, by ordinance, to require private construction projects to preserve existing trees.

 

STATUS:  Senate: Stricken at request of Patron in Local Government (15-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Oppose

 

SB 775 Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; representations related to special flood hazard zones; by Senator Mamie Locke – Representations related to special flood hazard zones. Requires the seller's representation to a prospective purchaser of residential property under the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act to state that the seller makes no representations as to whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard zones.

 

STATUS:  House: VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (99-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

SB 891 Mechanics' liens; subcontractor's waiver of lien rights; by Senator Chap Petersen – Protects a subcontractor from waiving his lien rights, bond claims, claims for additional costs, or any other rights unless the subcontractor has been compensated for the work or materials related to the waiver.

 

STATUS:  House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (9-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Monitor as amended 

 

 

 

 

 

SB 994 Single-family dwellings; locality required to set standards for clustering; by Senator Richard Stuart – Requires that where a locality sets standards for the clustering of single-family dwellings and the preservation of open space, the standards may prohibit the division of a development's open space into discontiguous areas, require certain open space to be accessible to all dwellings in the development, and require certain open space to be usable by residents. The bill contains technical amendments.

 

STATUS:  Senate: Passed by indefinitely in Local Government (13-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Oppose

 

SB 999 Deeds of trust or mortgages; clarifies calculation of tax; by Senator Richard Stuart – Clarifies the calculation of the tax on supplemental or modified deeds of trust or mortgages, such that the tax is based on the difference between the maximum obligation secured, regardless of whether such amount is actually owed or outstanding, and the maximum amount of debt secured at the time the original instrument was recorded.

 

STATUS:  House: Passed House with substitute BLOCK VOTE (97-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

SB 1011 Cash proffers; purchase of development rights by locality; by Senator Richard Stuart – Allows a locality to use a cash payment voluntarily proffered by a landowner to purchase development rights within the locality in accordance with the comprehensive plan and local ordinances allowing for the transfer of development rights. The bill provides that the locality seeking to purchase such rights must first notify the proffering landowner and conduct a public hearing. Following the hearing, the locality is required to find that the purchase is in accordance with the local ordinance allowing the transfer of development rights, the rights to be purchased are within the areas identified in the comprehensive plan for land conservation, and the purchase is in the public interest. The bill contains technical amendments.

 

STATUS:  Senate: Passed by indefinitely in Local Government (13-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Oppose


SB 1065 Cash proffer for residential construction; sunset date; by Senator Mark Obenshain (HBAV-backed legislation) – Removes the July 1, 2017, expiration of a current law that delays the payment of certain per-dwelling-unit cash proffers until after the final inspection of the subject property and prior to the issuance of any certificate of occupancy. The removal of the sunset date also extends existing provisions protecting a right to delayed payment of cash proffers and allowing a court to award fees and costs to a party that prevails in a legal challenge to a conflicting ordinance. In addition, the bill repeals the July 1, 2017, expiration of a 2009 act of assembly that lowered the cap on the administrative costs a locality could charge a developer for the dedication of a public right-of-way from 25 percent to 10 percent of the estimated construction cost.

 

STATUS: Senate: Incorporated by Local Government (SB1257-Smith) (12-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Support 

 

 

 

 

 

SB 1257 Cash proffers; acceptance by localities; by Senator Ralph Smith – Repeals theJuly 1, 2017, expiration of a 2010 Act of Assembly that delays collection or acceptance of a cash proffer by a locality until the completion of the final inspection of the subject property and prior to the time of the issuance of any certificate of occupancy.

 

STATUS:  House: Reported from Counties, Cities and Towns (21-Y 0-N)

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

SB 1341 Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee established; by Senator Tommy Norment – Establishes the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee (the Committee) to assist the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for ground water in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area. The bill prohibits the State Water Control Board and the DEQ from taking any actions that require reductions in the volume of permitted ground water withdrawals until the report of the Committee is presented to the State Water Commission. The bill has a sunset date ofJanuary 1, 2018.

 

STATUS:  House: Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources

HBAV POSITION: Support

 

SJ 272 Study; JLARC to study groundwater resources; report; by Senator Tommy Norment – Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study Virginia's water resource planning and management, particularly with regard to groundwater. This study is a recommendation of the Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations to Address Recurrent Flooding.

 

STATUS:  House: Referred to Committee on Rules

HBAV POSITION: Support