September 2018 Government Affairs Update
State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan Approved
Governor Charlie Baker adopted the 2018 Massachusetts State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan on September 17, 2018. The plan, which is supported by NAIOP, has also been approved by FEMA Region I. The first of its kind to comprehensively integrate climate change impacts and adaptation strategies with hazard mitigation planning, the document complies with current federal requirements for state hazard mitigation plans and maintains the Commonwealth's eligibility for federal disaster recovery and hazard mitigation funding under the Stafford Act. Read the full plan here. NAIOP looks forward to working with EEA and state agencies on the implementation of the plan.
BPDA to Develop Flood Resiliency Zoning Overlay District and Guidelines
At its September meeting, the Boston Planning & Development Agency selected a consultant to develop design resiliency guidelines for new and existing buildings and to develop a flood resiliency zoning overlay district. This project will be in coordination with the City of Boston's environmental office and will directly build on the Climate Ready Boston initiative. BPDA reports that it will be contacting NAIOP and other stakeholders on this issue in the coming months. Issues like flood resiliency will continue to be a focus for NAIOP's Climate Change Resiliency Committee.
NAIOP Supports Yes on 3, No on 1
Joining multiple leading business groups across the state, NAIOP has pledged its support for Yes on 3, the November ballot question that upholds anti-discrimination protections in public accommodations for transgender individuals. NAIOP believes discrimination has no place in Massachusetts.
In addition, NAIOP supports No on 1, a ballot question that if approved would mandate rigid nurse to patient staffing ratios. An independent study by two respected research groups, Mass Insight Global Partnerships and BW Research partnership, concluded that the staffing proposal would cost $1.3 billion in the first year and over $1 billion each year after that (including $100 million in additional state spending) - increasing the cost of healthcare in Massachusetts per the No on 1 Coalition to Protect Patient Safety.
NAIOP Proposes Regulatory Fix to Soil Disposal
In September, NAIOP submitted a letter to MassDEP urging the Department to consider adopting a policy that would allow previously closed landfills and some new sites that are properly permitted and supported by their hosting communities to accept soils regulated under COMM 97. NAIOP's support for such a concept is in response to the impending shortage of landfill capacity for contaminated soils from development projects. NAIOP's Brownfields Redevelopment Committee will continue to focus on this issue and we will be scheduling a meeting to further discuss this concept.
MBTA's Focus40 Plan - Comment Period Extended
Recently, MassDOT extended the public comment period for the draft of its Focus40 Plan which will serve as a comprehensive playbook guiding all capital planning initiatives at the MBTA. A final version of Focus40 will be released at a later date, incorporating the feedback received during the public comment period as well as findings from other planning studies. If you would like your comments included in NAIOP's letter, please send them to us by October 15.
State Energy and Building Code Update
On September 11, the Board of Building Regulations & Standards (BBRS) conducted its monthly meeting. The board advanced a proposal to update the code to include NFPA 241 (to coincide with the state's fire code and ensure protections are in place during construction). NAIOP continues to serve on the Construction Fire Safety Partnership that provides feedback to BBRS on fire prevention.
The Board is currently reviewing several amendments to the 9th edition, which will be voted on at a public hearing in November. NAIOP continues to oppose initiatives that conflict with a uniform and clear state code, such as the separate stretch energy code, and electric vehicle parking mandates.
Finally, even though the 9th edition has only been in effect for less than a year, the Board is now planning to issue a 10th edition of the building code (780 CMR) in mid-2019. NAIOP will continue to represent the industry and weigh in on the development of the new code.
Shape NAIOP's Legislative Agenda for 2019-2020
The new legislative session in Massachusetts begins in January 2019 and runs through July 2020. Each session, NAIOP works with legislators to file bills that aim to a) eliminate barriers to growth and b) encourage economic development. This fall we will be meeting with NAIOP members and working with NAIOP's government affairs committee and subcommittees to develop our legislative agenda. We will then work with legislators to file bills by mid-January. Is there an issue that needs a legislative fix? Let us know!
Contribute to New Permitting Resource Website
NAIOP will be launching a permitting resource section of our website. You are invited to submit short articles/client style briefs on select permitting topics. The article must be on a timely permitting topic not covered in the Navigating the Permitting Maze curriculum, a NAIOP Massachusetts University course in partnership with VHB. This is an ongoing opportunity to display your professional expertise - sharing your knowledge of specialized topics, recent changes (regulatory or statutory), or recent court decisions shaping development today. This opportunity is open only to NAIOP members. To submit, please email your article title, your copy (1,000 word ballpark), and your contact information (author(s) name, company, email).