Government Affairs Corner
By Nick Bokone
Government Affairs Director for the Greater
Metro Denver REALTOR® Associations
Index of all Government Affairs Columns
Real estate issues update
Aurora Library question to appear on November ballot
After hearing testimony from more than 20 residents, local employees and state representatives, the Aurora City Council voted in July to move forward with a plan to ask voters to create a new General Improvement District (GID) to fund Aurora’s at-risk library system. The GID option, which would see residents of the proposed district pay more taxes, would require the approval of voters this November. The proposed levy would be an added 4.29 mills, which would translate into an extra $5.69 a month (approximately $68 per year) on a $200,000 home. The Aurora Association of REALTORS® has been closely monitoring this issue. AAR has not taken a position on the measure, but will continue to monitor based on real estate and property tax ramifications.
Incentive-based approaches in support of green buildings
Representatives from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) testified before a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee in late July on the significance of its green building and reinforced the organization’s support of energy efficiency tax credits, block grants and weatherization assistance investment. NAR research shows that there is a considerable and growing market for green buildings, and that voluntary incentive-based approaches will do more to spur demand for energy efficiency than government mandates.
“NAR has taken a number of important steps to raise public awareness about green buildings and their benefits in the marketplace,” said Jim Helsel, NAR treasurer and a REALTOR® from Pennsylvania. Helsel served as chairman of NAR’s Real Property Operations Committee in 2002-2003; that Committee oversaw the creation and development of the REALTOR® building that was certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and was awarded the Silver LEED rating by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2004 when the building opened.
Aurora impact fee increase could be headed for November ballot
A citizens’ petition currently circulating in Aurora could drastically impact the cost of housing in the city. This petition would increase the city’s current development impact fee for new single family detached homes from $1,204 to $4,041.
Advocates of this measure argue that development has a greater impact on the city than the current impact fee covers, citing a 2008 study that shows a capital impact of $5,100 from each new home constructed. That survey did not compare the revenue generated by new home construction or the economic impact of new families in Aurora on the sales tax base. This measure, if approved, would have a negative impact on the price of housing and cost of living in Aurora. The Aurora Association of REALTORS® opposes this proposal and will be heavily involved in this discussion should it advance to the November ballot.
Centennial continues work on sign code
Many thanks to the REALTORS® who came to the sign code meeting in Centennial in late July. Participants in this informal meeting were asked to share their preference among different types of sign conditions such as size, setbacks, amount of information/content, height, and character/design. Centennial is moving towards making its sign code content neutral, ensuring that the city does not endure legal liability by regulating signs on content or specific business type. REALTORS® continue to monitor this discussion and are working to try and ease the city’s current setback requirements for temporary signs. For more information on the city’s work for a new land use code and information on the possibilities being discussed for signage, visit www.centennialcodeupdate.com/.
NMDRA participates in Commerce City comprehensive plan discussion
Commerce City is engaging in an aggressive project to update its 30-year comprehensive plan. As in any comp plan, many elements are being considered, and the city is working to ensure smooth cooperation among its transportation, economic development and land use components. To that end, the North Metro Denver REALTOR® Association (NMDRA) participated in a July stakeholders meeting with the city, and will continue to provide input on future needs throughout the life of the project.
Specifically, Commerce City is looking for input on land use objectives in the E-470 corridor. Ideas range from heavy industrial to mixed use to heavy residential, and they’re open to all possibilities. More information on this discussion can be found at www.cccvision.com/.