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Government Affairs Monthly Report


Survey to Ask Citizens for Input on Howelsen Hill and Parks

Steamboat Springs is again seeking public input from home owners on the future of Howelsen Hill and future desires for the area parks system. The city this week mailed out 3,000 surveys which ask residents to weigh in on specific conceptual plans for Howelsen that call for changes ranging from a new performing stage to the removal of softball fields to make way for a tubing hill. Residents can also weigh in on potential funding mechanisms for park improvements.

The survey includes four concepts for Howelsen:

  • Upgrade the ski lifts, lodge and concession areas while leaving the rest of the park the same as it is now
  • Leave Howelsen as it is while adding improvements to the rodeo arenas
  • Remove two of the softball fields to create a multi-purpose grass area for free play, festivals and concerts while also building a covered performance stage
  • Construct an outdoor basketball court, a tubing hill and an upgrade playground that would serve as a "community-scale adventure play area."

The survey includes a section dedicated to gauging the pulse of the community about how they’d feel about new taxes to help pay for Howelsen improvements and other parks-related updates. These options would include possibly a property tax or sales tax as funding solutions.

If you haven’t received a survey, you can find it at www.engagesteamboat.net. Residents have until April 20th to return the survey.

Tiny Home Project may be Headed to Milner

In an effort to demonstrate the use of tiny homes as a successful affordable housing solution, a project of six tiny homes smaller than 400 square feet may be headed for unincorporated Milner, just off of U.S. Highway 40, 10 miles west of Steamboat Springs.

The regional of the American Tiny House Association Michael Buccino, who also serves on Steamboat’s Planning Commission is pushing for the commission to adopt a pathway to developing tiny homes, and his idea for Milner could demonstrate their usefulness.

While speaking at a community meeting on tiny homes hosted by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council in December 2017, Routt County Planning Director Chad Phillips invited people to submit tiny home projects for review. On March 29, Phillips said projects like Buccino's, which call for placing the tiny homes on concrete foundations, are the key that allows them to be accepted under county regulations.

Buccino submitted conceptual plans March 18 to the Routt County Planning Department for review through a form of development permit that would allow him to build the tiny homes on a 12,500-square-foot (.287-acre) lot on Main Street in Milner. It is likely that a public hearing will be scheduled in April on the idea.

State News – Transportation Infrastructure Compromise Reached

Last week, Democrats and Republicans came to compromise on a bill that would allow voters to approve funding of the state’s transportation needs during the 2019 election while still allowing Colorado’s citizens to weigh in on ballot measure in November of this year first.

SB18-001, sponsored by Senator Baumgardner (R-Grandby), Senator Cooke (R-Greeley), and Representative Buck (R-Windsor) is the major transportation funding vehicle this legislative session. Last week a major compromise was reached that would allow for annual funding of transportation up to $250 million a year and it delays this referred measure to the 2019 ballot for Colorado voters. This would allow voters to make their own decisions at the ballot in 2018 on any existing transportation ballot initiatives, but should all of them fail at the ballot box this year, the legislative compromise would be referred to the voters for the 2019 ballot.

SB18-001, the legislative compromise, would divert 10 percent of state sales and use tax revenue from the General Fund to the State Highway fund and offer CDOT the ability to issue 3.5 Billion in trans-bonds with one-third of the issuance occurring in FY 2018-2019, FY2019-2020, and FY2020-2021. The bill would also require the money to be spent in counties with populations of 50,000 or less (at least 25%), highways (no more than 90%), and transit (at least 10%).

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) supports this compromise legislation. And CAR will continue to watch Senate Bill18-001 as it evolves with budget negotiations.

Real Estate License Renewal Flexibility

HB18-1227, sponsored by Representative Wist (R-Centennial), Representative Herod (D-Denver), and Senator Cooke (R-Greeley) is a clean-up bill for the 2017 real estate sunset bill. In the sunset bill, the expiration date of real estate licenses changed from an anniversary date to a calendar renewal on December 31st of the third year after issuance. However, the legislative legal services committee had a few concerns about some rules promulgated to effect this change and therefore a clean-up bill this year will address those concerns to ensure that real estate licenses can be renewed on the calendar date instead of the anniversary date. CAR's LPC and the Division of Real Estate support this legislation.

Several of our rural members and local boards previously did not have the same access to a quality transition course. Some do not have offerings because only one type of education service provider can offer the course, and this would mean members would have to travel long distances to meet their requirements. Additionally, depending on the timing of their renewal date during that transition period, some transitioning licensees could be closer to a more current annual update course offering and the transition course would be dated since it is only updated once in 5 years. The number of continuing education requirements will remain the same under the amendments, but in the transition license period two annual update courses will be required and the rest of the requirements can be met with elective courses. As amended in the House and Senate committees the bill now will allow for calendar renewals of licenses and clear up some of the confusion around the transition period. On Tuesday, HB18-1227 passed unanimously on third reading in the Senate.

National News – NAR Testifies on Association Health Plans

On Tuesday, March 20th, NAR testified before the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions in support of current regulatory efforts to expand association health plans (AHPs). At the hearing, which focused on U.S. Department of Labor’s recently proposed AHP rule, Mike McGrew, a REALTOR® for more than 30 years in Lawrence, Kansas, and former NAR treasurer, expressed NAR’s strong support for the rule’s provisions to allow self-employed individuals with no employees to participate in association health plans. You can watch the hearing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWcuzwm2kYQ&feature=youtu.be

NAR Involved in Anti-Money Laundering Event

Last week, NAR participated in an all-day conference hosted by George Mason University's Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center on "Money Laundering in Real Estate." NAR staff presented the industry perspective on a panel along with Nick D' Ambrosia, a REALTOR® broker and SVP of Education and Licensing for Long & Foster Real Estate Companies. Also on the panel were representatives from the American Land Title Association and the American Escrow Association. The conference provided valuable insight in the vulnerabilities of the real estate industry as a target for money laundering schemes. As a result, many in attendance were in favor of increased regulations on the industry as a means to gain more intelligence on buyers and sellers in an attempt to crack down on illicit financing schemes. However, such regulations would prove burdensome and unnecessary given the existing anti-money laundering regulations that already apply to U.S. financial institutions