Colorado Association of REALTORS | Capitol Connection: April 19, 2013
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Capitol Connection: April 19, 2013

Capitol Connection: April 19, 2013

CAR Neutral on Bill Regarding Permit Process

SB13-258, Concerning Stages in Development Permit Approval Process, by Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) and Representative Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) was reviewed by LPC last week in Vail.

Under current law, a local government may not approve an application for a development permit unless it determines that the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed water supply will be adequate. The term “adequate” is defined to mean a water supply that will be sufficient for build-out of the proposed development in terms of quality, quantity, dependability and availability to provide a supply of water for the type of proposed development. A local government is permitted to make the adequacy determination only once during the development permit approval process.

The bill modifies the definition of the term “development permit” to clarify both that it is the local government that may determine the adequacy of water supply, and that the local government can determine at what stage of the development permit process to require evidence of adequate water.

SB-258 is a response to a district court ruling that CAR believes erred in its interpretation of HB08-1141.  CAR worked tirelessly on HB-1141 to ensure proof of adequate water for new residential developments, while confirming a local government’s purview to determine that their standard is met.  Further, CAR fought diligently against attempts from some stakeholders to add language that we believe was designed to stop most future developments.  The erroneous ruling, if left to stand, could reopen the efforts of “no-growth” advocates to use the judicial system to severely limit future development , possibly putting an end to planned unit developments.

The LPC initially took a neutral position on the bill but will most likely support it now that our concerns have been met.   We will continue to update you as the process moves forward.

Bill Introduced on Changes to Property Tax Valuing

SB13-256, Concerning Expanding Alternate Property Tax Protest and Appeal Process, by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Representative Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs), was recently discussed by LPC.

This bill authorizes a county or a city and county (collectively, “county”), at the request of the county assessor and if approved by the governing body of the county (i.e., the board of county commissioners or, in Broomfield and Denver, the city council), to implement a pilot alternate appeal process for disputes concerning the valuation of taxable property. As a preliminary step, the governing body must hold a vote, notify the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) and the district court for that county, and publish notice in a local newspaper and on the county’s website.

Under current law, taxpayers may dispute an assessor’s valuation by filing a protest with the county board of equalization (BOE) in May of each year. Currently, taxpayers that do not file a protest may dispute a property tax bill by filing an abatement petition with the board of county commissioners (BOCC).

The bill defines a pilot alternate protest procedure that:

• Replaces the BOE with the BOCC as the decision-maker in protest cases;

• Extends the filing period for taxpayer protests to November 15 of the year in which a notice of valuation is sent to the taxpayer;

• Allows the assessor to settle cases if authorized to do so by the BOCC; and

• Automatically converts a protest not decided by the BOCC as of December 1 into an abatement petition.

Under this procedure, the governing body of the county (as the BOCC) may require a party formally disputing property taxes to attend (or be represented at) the formal hearing held on the matter. If a party fails to appear, absent good cause, the bill requires the BOCC to dismiss the taxpayer appeal without the right of further appeal.

After electing to proceed with the pilot alternate appeal process, the pilot process continues unless the governing body votes to end the pilot process before March 1 and again notifies the BAA and district court. The pilot alternate protest procedure is repealed on December 31, 2018.

If this bill seems familiar, it is because it is.  This bill would broaden the Denver pilot program authorized by HB13-1113, which was only signed into law earlier this year.  In fact, Denver has not even begun its program.  CAR argued in committee that SB-258 effectively puts the cart before the horse and that the legislature should wisely wait to study the results of Denver’s pilot program before deciding whether to broaden the program to every other Colorado county.

CAR worked meticulously with the Denver assessor’s office to craft a thoughtful program.  However, even in doing so some concerns remain, and we believe Denver should demonstrate that our concerns, and the concerns of other industry partners (including many county assessors), can be satisfied before other counties are permitted to overhaul their tax protest and appeals processes.

Unfortunately, the bill, as introduced, passed out of the Senate Finance committee.  We will be monitoring it closely in the coming weeks, along with our industry friends.

NAR President on Tax Incentives

The April 15 tax deadline is just behind us. Every day of the year, NAR works on behalf of REALTORS® and American families to preserve and protect long-standing tax incentives for home and property ownership. Read more from NAR President Gary Thomas.

CAR Mid-Session Legislative Update
Webcast recording is available for the CAR Mid-Session Legislative Update featuring Rachel Nance, VP Public Policy.  Special guests include representatives from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.  The one hour presentation can be viewed HERE.  Thank you to Metro Brokers and First American Title for supporting the seminar.

Colorado Hill Visits at 2013 MidYear Meeting Coming Up!
Registration for NAR’s annual MidYear Meeting is OPEN. Please make sure you register right away and get your hotel room arranged, as hotels go quite quickly. Click here for more information, or to register now! Just a reminder, as well, that new this year, NAR will no longer send registration badges by mail in advance of the Midyear Meetings. Just bring a printed copy of your confirmation email to the onsite registration desk in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel to print out your badge.  In addition, here is the link for the congressional district activity reports supplied by NAR based off the new congressional redistricting.  For those of you going to DC, Colorado will be hosting a reception for the delegation from 5-7PM on Thursday, May 16th.  We will be asking for RSVPs as we get closer to the event.  NAR is posting talking points and lobbyist videos specific to our state on realtor.org May 1st.  In addition, town halls with the NAR lobbyists will be hosted May 7-9 regarding talking points with Congressmen.

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