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Monday, July 14, 2008

What is happening with Arizona State Legislation

ARIZONA

 

State Legislative Calendar: The two-year session starts the second Monday in January and normally lasts until close to the end of April of the following year. The Legislative rules provide that the Legislature adjourn no later than Saturday of the week in which the 100th day of the session falls. However, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate may extend the session for an extra seven days.

The Second Regular Session of the 48th Legislature convened on January 14, 2008 and is expected to adjourn on  June 22, 2008. 

State Level Activity:

The following bills pertaining to land use and growth management are being considered by the legislature.

HB 2141 - Home Sales Water Adequacy Disclosure: This bill would require real estate brokers or sales persons to provide a notice of the water supply status when advertising, promoting or selling a residential real property.  The notice must indicate whether the water supply is: assured,  adequate water supply, inadequate or unknown.  Status: Passed House 3/26/08; second read in Senate and referred to committees 3/31/08; no further action. 

History:  Currently, according to the Water Adequacy Program as established in A.R.S. §45-108, subdivision developers are required to obtain a determination from the state regarding the availability and quality of water supplies before marketing lots.  This law applies to new subdivisions located outside of Active Management Areas (AMAs).  Subdivision developers may obtain a determination by applying to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) for a water adequacy report.  If the water supply is of adequate quality and satisfies the proposed demands for at least 100 years, the water supply is deemed “adequate.”  Groundwater must meet depth limitations currently set at 1,200 feet after 100 years in communities serviced by a water company and 400 feet in dry lot subdivisions.  If the water supply fails to meet these standards, it is deemed “inadequate” and must be noted on all promotional material.  Properties that are located within an AMA must adhere to a stricter Assured Water Supply Program.  As contained in §45-576, assured water supply entails a sufficient water supply of adequate quality that will be continuously available to satisfy the demands of the proposed use for a minimum of 100 years.  Groundwater use must be consistent with the management plan of the AMA to be considered “assured.”  Furthermore, assured water means that there is a demonstrated financial capability to construct the necessary infrastructure to supply water for the proposed uses including a delivery system and any storage facilities or treatment works. Currently, real estate brokers are not required to disclose the water supply status for residential properties, a requirement established by HB 2141. (Source: Arizona Legislature House Summary). 

AAR is opposed to HB 2141 as Arizona did not have an adequacy or an assured water supply requirement for anything developed prior to 1973 and 1980 (Urban Area Water Management Requirements) respectively. State laws were not set up for a real estate licensee to disclose water adequacy or an assured water supply for sales that occur decades after the initial sale of the home or property.  (Source: Tom Farley, AAR Government Affairs Director)

HB 2155 - Transfer of Development Rights: This bill would allow counties to transfer development rights from unincorporated areas of a county to a municipality through an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). It allows: municipalities to enter into an IGA with another municipality or a county for the transfer of development rights between jurisdictions; the BOS to authorize the transfer of development rights from unincorporated areas of a county to a municipality pursuant to an IGA;  removes the December 31, 2009 repeal date of sections of statute related to county transfers of development rights; and, makes technical and conforming changes. Status: Passed 4/28/08; signed by the Governor 5/1/08.

History:  A.R.S. Section 9-462.01 allows the legislative body of any municipality through ordinance to establish procedures, methods and standards for the transfer of development rights within its jurisdiction.  Such transfers are subject to notice and hearing requirements prescribed by statute and are additionally subject to the approval and consent of the property owners.  Laws 2005, Chapter 273 allows the board of supervisors (BOS) of a county to establish procedures, methods and standards for the transfer of development rights within its jurisdiction, pending the written approval of both the property owners of both the sending and receiving properties. Development rights are defined in statute as the maximum development allowed on a transferred property under the growth plans or zoning ordinances of a county or municipality.  (Source: Arizona Legislature House Summary)

HB 2221 (formerly Subdivision Notice) Strike Everything Amendment - Green Building Codes: This amendment, supported by AAR, includes the following provisions:

1.      Requires any municipality that establishes a mandatory green building program for any new development to prepare a green building impact analysis study that includes:

(a)     documentation showing that the municipality examined a range of alternative green building 
         guidelines.

(b)     an explanation of the basis and purpose by which the municipality selected its preferred
         alternative.

(c)     the estimated material and installation costs for each proposed green building component.

(d)     any projected reduction in energy, water, sewer capacity and project material use, including
         the annual cost savings associated with each component.

(e)     any estimated time needed to recover the material and installation costs for each component.

(f)     the impact on new home prices and low income home buyers.

2.      Prohibits a municipality or any other political subdivision from:

(a)     requiring, as a condition of any land use or approval, that a landowner participate in any
         green building program.

(b)    denying any land use approval for not participating or installing any green building 
        measure that has not been adopted in statute.

3.      Prohibits a city or town from adopting a land use regulation or imposing any condition for issuance of a building or use permit or other approval that violates this legislation.

4.      Specifies that this legislation does not affect any green building program adopted before January 1, 2008.

Status: Passed House; Senate Government Committee voted do pass 4/7/08; in Senate Rules Committee. 

Background:  The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) consists of more than 7,500 organizations from every sector of the building industry with the purpose of transforming the building marketplace to sustainability. Members of the USGBC developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings by recognizing five key areas of human and environmental health: (1) sustainable site development; (2) water savings; (3) energy efficiency; (4) materials selection and (5) indoor environmental quality. A number of municipalities have adopted ordinances through their building codes that address and encourage energy efficiency. For example, the City of Scottsdale, through its Green Buildings Program (Program), rates building projects in the following six environmental impact areas: (1) site use; (2) energy; (3) indoor air quality; (4) building materials; (5) solid waste and (6) water. A green building point rating system is used to qualify projects into the Program. Design flexibility is achieved by offering more than 150 green building options, while maintaining a whole building systems approach. A builder, designer or developer may enter any given number of projects into the Program. The Program is voluntary and open to builders in the Scottsdale area. Incentives offered by the city include: (1) development process assistance (expedited plans); (2) construction job site signs; (3) directory of participating builders and designers; (4) certification (green building inspections); (5) lecture series, workshops and special events; (6) homeowner’s manual (explanation of features); and (7) recognition of builders and designers on city website. (Source: Arizona Legislature website, legislative analysis prepared for Government Committee 4/8/08)

Implications for the Real Estate Industry: An incentive-based approach rather than mandatory green building requirements is preferable.  By requiring a municipality to analyze the costs, explain the process for choosing its green guidelines, and by prohibiting a mandate of green building at the land use approval stage, this bill addresses some of the concerns with costs and mandating building practices.  The bill does not appear to go so far as to prohibit mandatory building codes.

Local Activity:

Pinal County: Planner’s Report Offers a Vision for Pinal County and Southeast Valley.  Nationally renowned planner John Fregonese released his study of future growth in Pinal County to the East Valley Partnership on May 1.  The report envisions a planned community for the 275 square mile area known as Superstition Vistas, a parcel surrounded by Queen Creek, Florence, Apache Junction and the Superstition Mountains.  The plan proposes an environmentally responsible region with strong employment centers, diverse housing, quality schools and adequate public facilities.  One of the primary goals is making the area a community that is self contained, rather than the typical bedroom communities that surround Phoenix and Tucson.  Contemplated improvements include two or three hospitals, a college or university and major freeways.   The area is expected to see more than a million new occupants by 2060.  (Source: The Arizona Republic, “Study: Planning will Determine Future of SE Valley, Pinal,” 05/01/2008).

Lake Havasu City: New Zoning District for Bridgewater Channel.  City officials have approved a new zoning district for the area along Lake Havasu’s Bridgewater Channel.  The new district will allow for taller buildings and more residential development in an effort to revitalize an area that has declined in recent years.  Opponents of the “Riverwalk District” feared that the increase in development would gentrify the area’s character, but proponents are confident that the districts regulations, including architectural review provisions, will keep the riverwalk’s culture intact.  (Source: The Associated Press State and Local Wire, “Havasu Officials Back Riverwalk Development,” 04/28/2008).

Cave Creek: Annexation to Protect Conservation Areas.  Cave Creek has proposed annexing 8.8 square miles of land which contain the trails of Go John Canyon and the summit of Apache Peak.  Most of the land is owned by the state trust, but Cave Creek residents feared it would be developed in the future according to the terms of the trust.  If developed, the land could have been the site for more than 4,000 houses that would abut the spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.  In exchange for the annexation, Cave Creek proposes allowing denser development  on 240 acres of land north of Carefree Highway, near 32nd Street.  The State Selection Board is expected to consider the proposal in June.  (Source: The Arizona Republic, “Cave Creek Pushes Annexation,” 04/14/2008).

Tucson: City Could Back Solar Power for Residents.   City officials are looking into ways to finance a program to build solar power infrastructure for its residents.  A preliminary proposal involved creating a city-wide district that would offer financing for residents to install photovoltaic panels and necessary conversion equipment.  Financing would have been funded by municipal bonds.  But City Attorneys have determined that the city lacks the authority to create such a district under Arizona law.  Tucson officials are seeking alternative means of financing solar infrastructure and are planning several future meetings to address the issue.  (Source: Arizona Daily Star, “City Eyes Plans to Back Solar Power for Residents,” 05/10/2008).

Groups: 

 

 

Brad Bergamini

GRI, CBR, ABR, REALTOR

 

 

Realty Executives Northern Arizona

503 East Gurley Street

Prescott, Arizona 86301

Email: Brad@WelcomeToPrescott.com 

Web: WelcomeToPrescott.com 

Main: 928.777.0257 ext 43

Cell: 928.533.1633

Fax: 928-441-1631

"Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it." --Warren Buffett

 

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