February 2019 Government Affairs Update
Revised Draft Statewide & Stretch Energy Code: Industry Review and Feedback Needed
Last week the Board of Building Regulations & Standards (BBRS) released a significantly revised version of the new statewide energy code and stretch energy code. This version is very different from the public comment version (which was drafted in August) that NAIOP commented on. While Massachusetts is required to comply with the most recent edition of the International Energy Conservation Code within one year of its publication, the proposed code changes go beyond IECC 2018. Given that this new code will affect every new and renovated commercial and residential building, NAIOP members and their consultants are strongly encouraged to review the revised draft code (starting on page 4) and let Tamara know your thoughts by end of day on Friday, February 8.
What would the impact on projects be? Note the rooftop solar readiness changes – construction documents would need to be amended to comply. Is the 20% requirement for all parking spaces to be EV ready in R-2 buildings feasible? What about the percentage of spaces for other buildings? Lighting controls, passive house, stretch code and more are also included. A vote had been scheduled for February 5, but it will be delayed. A new energy code is expected to take effect this year so now is the time to provide feedback.
Transfer Taxes: Baker Proposal to Fund Climate Change; City Council Proposal to Fund Affordable Housing
In the past month two transfer taxes have been proposed. The first, filed by Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, would require a 6% transfer tax on all properties over $2 million and a 25% tax on all properties sold twice within a two-year period. The money would be used to fund affordable housing. The second, filed by Governor Baker, would increase the existing transfer tax by 50% on all residential and commercial properties. The money generated would be used to fund public infrastructure upgrades associated with climate change. NAIOP is opposed to both proposals. While affordable housing and climate change are top policy concerns for NAIOP, the proposals are not the best approach. We will be working with state and city elected officials to share our concerns as the legislative session progresses.
National Grid: Feedback Needed
National Grid workers are back to work and connections resumed on January 28. National Grid is committed to responding to 40-60 projects/week. The contractors who were brought on board during the lockout will be retained to address the backlog. According to National Grid, priority will be given to projects that are past their occupancy date. More complex commercial projects will have longer response times than simpler meter connections. We need to hear from you. If you have not already contacted Tamara Small and have a project that was affected by the National Grid moratorium/lockout please email her with an update. Your information will remain confidential unless you would like it to be shared. Have you heard from National Grid? Have timelines for connections been provided? Are occupancy dates at risk as a result of this? NAIOP will continue to serve as the voice of the industry on this matter and your continued feedback on this issue is critical.
Revised Boston Wetlands Ordinance Filed
Last week, Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu filed a Boston Wetlands Ordinance. This version is different from what she filed last fall. NAIOP opposed the 2018 language because we believed the proposed language created a barrier to the City’s design plans for a more resilient Boston. NAIOP’s Government Affairs Committee will be reviewing the revised language and meeting with Councilor Wu in the coming weeks to provide our feedback.