September 2017 Government Affairs Update
WOODFRAME CONSTRUCTION + NFPA 241 - BBRS TO REVIEW
In recent weeks, there has been increased attention by fire and code officials on safety practices at woodframe construction projects. As a result, the Board of Building Regulations & Standards announced at its August meeting that it will be creating “study groups” to work with the International Code Council to examine safety practices at woodframe construction projects with a specific focus on the implementation of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 241, which provides best practices on fire prevention. NAIOP strongly supports the use of woodframe construction with the appropriate safety measures in place. NAIOP will continue to be involved in discussions with regulators on this issue and will be hosting a workshop on NFPA 241 for members later this year. As this issue advances, feedback from members will be extremely helpful.
BROWNFIELDS TAX CREDIT LEGISLATION ADVANCES
At the start of the legislative session, NAIOP filed several bills focused on the brownfields tax credit. We are pleased to report that earlier this summer all three of these bills were combined into one bill, which received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Revenue. The bill (H.3851) extends the Brownfields Tax Credit (which is set to expire in 2018) by 5 years to 2023; increases the percentage of Brownfields Tax Credit available to projects with an Activity and Use Limitation from 25% to 50% if the project includes a certain percentage of affordable housing units; and expands the Brownfields Tax Credit to allow for those who own, operate, lease or are about to acquire a site and have performed cleanup work on that site as part of pre-acquisition process to be eligible for the tax credit. It’s a comprehensive bill and we applaud Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (the new Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee) and Senator Michael Rodrigues for filing the stand-alone bills. NAIOP is also urging the Legislature to include the brownfields tax credit extension in the Housing Bond Bill, which is expected to advance this fall. It is imperative that the tax credit be extended sooner rather than later to provide certainty for investors and developers.
DRAFT GUIDELINES ON PACE PROGRAM OUT FOR COMMENT - FEEDBACK DUE SEPTEMBER 6
MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) have developed draft guidelines for the commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Massachusetts (PACE Massachusetts) program. The draft PACE Massachusetts guidelines are now available for comment. NAIOP supported the PACE program when it was signed into law last summer. If you would like to weigh in on this issue, please provide your feedback to Tamara Small by end of day on Wednesday, September 6.
EPA DELAYS COMPLIANCE WITH MS4
In July, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will postpone the implementation of the Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) General Permit by one year to July 1, 2018. The MS4 permit regulates municipal stormwater discharges under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. When EPA issued the final MS4 General Permit in April 2016, numerous appeals were filed by entities including the Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship, the Town of Franklin, the City of Lowell, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Conservation Law Foundation. The appeals continue to move forward, but the postponement will provide communities with immediate relief from the cost of complying with the permit until the matter is resolved.
NAIOP CONGRATULATES NEW MASSDEVELOPMENT PRESIDENT + CEO LAUREN LISS
MassDevelopment recently announced Lauren Liss will serve as its new President & CEO. Lauren previously served as the MassDEP Commissioner under Governor Cellucci and, since 2003, was a partner at Rubin and Rudman, where she represented clients including large public corporations, higher-education institutions, and developers. NAIOP looks forward to working with her in her new position.
NAIOP GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ADVOCACY: LEARN MORE, GET INVOLVED
Interested in NAIOP’s government affairs agenda? Check out the Member-Only Top Issues section of the NAIOP web site for issue briefs, comment letters, and additional resources. Would you like to get involved in shaping NAIOP’s advocacy efforts? We value your input! NAIOP’s government affairs committees are a great way to stay informed on the important issues affecting the industry. Due to security restrictions, you must RSVP to attend any upcoming meetings. New members are welcome (and encouraged)! Contact Tamara Small, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, at (781) 453-6900 ext. 5 for more information.