We will be posting various updates as we receive them from our Vice President of Government Affairs here, so please check frequently. We are working diligently on your behalf to promote home ownership and protect private property rights in Southern Maryland.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please reach out to our Vice President of Government Affairs, Theresa Kuhns, directly via email.
- Attended Housing for All Development task force panel, featuring several builders and project managers with a focus on addressing both workforce and income restricted housing in Calvert County. Some panel members also want to focus on senior and young adult specific offerings. TDRs were a large part of the discussion as a hindrance as well as fees, comparing 4k in Baltimore to 20k plus to put shovel in ground in Calvert.
- Calvert BOCC has voted to put money into a study on 28 areas with failed septic systems, many within critical zone, therefore required to replace with BAT. This should provide some answers to why failing in specific areas. 17 of the 28 do not have access to treatment centers. The study also plans to provide land treatment which on top of the expense for BAT, may move to homeowners. The enterprise fund for Calvert is typically gone within the first quarter of the year.
- BOCC and delegation public hearing on December 10. The concerning legislation for us would be the request to have sign off on 100 ft. easement from public roads to storm water management facilities, structures, and devices convey by plat to the County upon recordation of a plat of subdivision vs chasing down owners, trustees, etc. after the recordation. Same would hold true for any amended plat.
- Invited to attend Small Business Interest Group. Growth rate, top issues with permitting DPW turn around times, and storm water mgmt. top issues. Zoning rewrite beginning spring. Expected to be one year minimum.
- Shared NAR white paper on rural broadband with BOCC and again shared our interest in serving on county task force.
- USDA granted Charles property owners who are income restricted funds to make home improvements to maintain safety standards. $50k total.
- Op ed to Collins asked for existing Charles residents who choose to build a home to be waived for the excise fees as well as military. Noah Weinberger author.
St. Mary’s County
- Met with the Chairman of the Maryland Real Estate Commission to kick off the potential to increase the FHA limits in St. Mary’s. Next steps will include meeting with Rep. Hoyer.
- Represented SMAR at Del. Morgan’s fundraiser with Lt. Gov. Rutherford in Annapolis. Well attended event.
- DNR meeting on 12/12, 4-6pm, to review oyster lease affecting Golden Beaches. Expect local legislation to again deal with the issue and will be following up with local and state folks to see how we can represent property owners. Del. Morgan and Sen. Bailey did a great job representing property owner rights and confirming this was a submerged lease. We will be creating a one pager for property owners to understand rights.
Government Affairs Committee
- Session begins on January 8.
- Brainstorm meeting with Chair, Vice Chair and President to discuss upcoming year and determine alignment alongside strategic plan, goals of GA for 2020.
- Annual legislative breakfast to be held February 3.
- Trustees meeting held on December 10 to discuss role and tenure, review calendar and discuss moving forward as a new body of SMAR.
- On 11/21, Congress extended NFIP again, to 12/20/19. NAR continues to work with Chair Waters on reform. Privatization seems unlikely for reform given recess deadline and higher priorities.
- SMAR lobbying report submitted mid-November.
- Lobby Day will be January 14, please mark your calendars.
- Attending state advocacy training on 12/17 at MR.
- Many changes at the state leadership level from the expected Miller step down, Ferguson as President, Guzzone chairing Budget and Tax, Zirkin stepping down from JPR and Vice Chair of EEH retiring. Meanwhile many elected have jumped in the open Congress seat and Mayor seat in Baltimore.
- County staff changes have taken place recently with former Director of Planning and Zoning, Mark Willis, moving up to County Administrator; Mary Beth Cook, to Director of DPZ. Both have been great with communication and transparency as it pertains to RE and property owners.
- Thank you to the members who attended the Calvert Legislative Breakfast on 1/6. SMAR sponsored a table at the event.
- Another lawsuit has been brought against the County from 4 residents, including the person claiming to be a real estate broker with no license or Realtor membership on file; based on the comp plan passed in August with ethics questions on the passage.
- Previously reported: Op ed to Collins asked for existing Charles residents who choose to build a home to be waived for the excise fees as well as military. Noah Weinberger author. Update: Collins replied with a letter and will be reviewing the possibility.
- Staff rumors expect local ordinance package on housing affordability Given the recent fall joint delegation/BOCC meeting which killed a SMAR request for tenant protections which would have cut down the cost of living, we are concerned about lack of industry leadership and education. GAC will be discussing.
- SMRT Transit remains at a top of the wish list for the delegation and BOCC, as reported from a tri county BOCC meeting.
- Delegate Wilson’s held a pre session fundraiser, who also serves as the Chair of the SOMD Delegation.
- Charles Co has a quarterly economic development roundtable scheduled for 1/22 for interested members.
St. Mary’s County
- Delegate Crosby held a pre session Annapolis fundraiser with chair and vice chair of GAC.
- Letter to editor on 1/8 in Enterprise re: solar and use of agriculture lands; James Raley. GAC tried to take a position on the solar bills last year and the reasons laid out by Raley are exactly why our association was and remains concerned. A second public hearing on the 300-acre new in priority preservation area site held on 1/9. Current zoning ordinance does not address solar at all.
Government Affairs Committee
- Session begins on January 8. First SMAR meeting is 1/13.
- State legislative members represented on 1/6 at the first state meeting, reviewing 5 bills.
- Annual legislative breakfast to be held February 3. Please purchase your tickets as soon as possible.
- Waiting on official renewals update, but the first data dump shows a 20% higher amount collected than years past as of mid-December. Major Investor Sponsorship program is going strong and Trustees have been working phones to sign up targeted members. For information, please reach out to Chair Tanya Redding.
- On 1/8, NAR adopted a Fair Housing Action Plan and will undertake both education and public campaign to push tenets of FH and how Realtors assist with the efforts of housing affordability.
- Participated in committee teleconference in late December, selecting topics for policy setting include rent control discussions; choosing keynote speakers; and setting policy on charitable giving at conference location to connect with housing related options.
- Lobby Day will be January 14, please mark your calendars, 10am program start.
- First Legislative Committee votes held on 1/6, including a high opposition to an eviction moratorium bill.