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September 30, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

September 30, 2011

 

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

KEYT: Colonial House property to become affordale housing

An affordable housing project will be built on the site of a former landmark. Oxnard City Council members voted three to two in favor of an affordable housing project that would be built on the same site where the late developer Bud Smith opened the Colonial House Restaurant back in 1941.

VENTURA COUNTY STAR: Camarillo moves forward with plans for Springville development
By Marjorie Hernandez // The Camarillo City Council on Wednesday voted to move forward with a housing development plan that would bring more affordable units to the future Springville project. The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund also plans to request Proposition 1C funds for affordable housing projects throughout the county. The trust fund has already received funding commitments from the cities of Ventura, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Santa Paula and the county totaling to $950,000.

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES: Lafayette sees boom in downtown housing

By Blanca Torres // In Lafayette, the small city in the center of Contra Costa County, a building boom of apartments and condos is in the works. Developers have proposed adding 677 housing units in eight projects.

 

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

THE REPORTER: Vacaville officials, residents discuss city's general plan

By Melissa Murphy // It's unclear what Vacaville will look like in the next 20 years, but leaders are trying to predict future growth in the city to develop an update to its general plan. The existing general plan is more than two decades old and Vacaville needs a new blueprint for its future.

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA TODAY: Mortgage applications increased 9.3% last week

By Stephanie Brown // Mortgage applications increased 9.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 23, 2011.

 

  

LOANSAFE.ORG: Apartment rents climb as house market stagnates

By Alex Ferreras // Average apartment rents climbed to the highest level since 2006 in North San Diego County, and the highest in two years in the Inland Empire, two rent-tracking firms said this week.

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Foreclosure bubble could last 5 more years

By Jeff Collins // It will take three to five years for the California housing market to clear its backlog of defaulting homes that continue to be a drag on housing prices, the chief economist of the California Association of Realtors has said during a recent conference call. "It depends on the area, but I would say three to five years," CAR economist Leslie Appleton-Young said.

 

LODI NEWS SENTINEL: Mortgage help at downtown Lodi Farmers Market

By Maggie Creamer // Residents struggling to pay their mortgage will be able to talk with representatives from a statewide program who will be at the Downtown Lodi Farmers Market tonight. Steve Gallagher, a representative from the Keep Your Home California program, will be available to answer questions at The Nines Team Realty booth located on Pine Street in front of Tillie’s Coffee, Tea, Etc.The state program is focused on helping low and moderate income residents who are unemployed or facing financial hardships, and have fallen behind on their mortgages and owe significantly more than the value of their homes.

 

HOMELESSNESS

BURBANK LEADER: Agency seeks money to house Burbank homeless

Ascencia, an organization based in Glendale that assists the homeless, could bring a program to Burbank for 20 housing units for homeless adults and families, its executive director said. The nonprofit, formerly known as PATH Achieve before striking out on its own, recently applied for about $84,450 to subsidize housing for 15 chronically homeless adults and five homeless families in Burbank, said Executive Director Natalie Profant Komuro.

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

PEW HISPANIC CENTER: The Toll of the Great Recession

By Mark Hugo Lopez & Gabriel Velasco // The spread of poverty across the United States that began at the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and accelerated last year hit one fast-growing demographic group especially hard: Latino children. …Prior to the Great Recession, more white children lived in poverty than Hispanic children. However, since 2007, that pattern has reversed.

Full Report: Toll of the Great Recession (Sept. 2011)

 

TRANSPORTATION

PASADENA STAR-NEWS: L.A.-area commute times are bad, but not the worst

By Cynthia Kurtz // If you are sitting in traffic, it probably doesn't matter to you where your region ranks in congestion. Certainly, the reputation of L.A. is that there is no place worse to drive. The data says that image isn't deserved, however. The Los Angeles metropolitan area doesn't have the worst traffic in the country. We aren't even in the top five ... or the top 10. According to the American Communities Survey released last week by the U.S. Census, we rank 17th in the nation with an average 28.1-minute commute each way.

Commuting in the United States, 2009 / American Community Survey (US Census)

 

TEXAS TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE: Traffic problems tied to the economy, study says

[Press Release: 9/27/11] // While traffic problems have stagnated along with the economy, an annual study suggests that too little progress is being made toward ensuring that the nation’s transportation system will be able to keep up with job growth when the economy does return. …The economic recession has only provided a temporary respite from the growing congestion problem. When the economic growth returns, the average commuter is estimated to see an additional 3 hours of delay by 2015 and 7 hours by 2020. By 2015, the cost of gridlock will rise from $101 billion to $133 billion

Urban Mobility Report, 2011

 

REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Redevelopment critical to affordable housing

By Tony Young & Jerry Groomes // The Legislature’s recent decision to dissolve local redevelopment agencies throughout the state is currently being considered by the California Supreme Court, leaving local governments in limbo as we wait to learn the fate of the program. Critics claim that redevelopment agencies are not serving as the engines of local economic and job growth that they were intended to be, and that their funds could be better utilized for local services. However, in many low-income communities throughout San Diego, redevelopment is successfully forming public/private partnerships …

 

ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE

CARE2: Habitat for Humanity: Building good green homes

By Ronnie Citron-Fink // Habitat for Humanity is addressing a global housing crisis one home at a time. According to the non-profit, Habitat for Humanity: “About 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless, according to the United Nations.” In the United States, one third of the nation – about 95 million people have housing problems.



 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 100 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

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September 29, 2011

Just Released - Fall Issue of "In the Zone: Current Trends in Land Use Law"

Just Released - Fall Issue of "In the Zone: Current Trends in Land Use Law"

Posted: 29 Sep 2011 08:49 AM PDT

Check out the fall issue of Ancel Glink's e-newsletter, In the Zone:  Current Trends in Land Use Law, for updates on new laws and recent cases in the land use and economic development area.  This edition also includes an in-depth analysis and commentary on land use topics of interest to government officials, as well as property owners and developers, including the following:

 

All in the "Family":  Changing Times and Changes to Local Zoning Ordinances

 

Most municipalities define "family" in regulating single and multiple family housing districts.  Many of these definitions track the language in the Illinois Municipal Code, which allows municipalities "to classify, to regulate and restrict the use of property on the basis of family relationship, which family relationship may be defined as one or more persons each related to the other by blood, marriage or adoption and maintaining a common household." 

 

Beginning June 1, 2011, Illinois recognized its first civil unions under the recently adopted Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.  (P.A. 96-1513).  A civil union is a legal relationship between two persons of the same or opposite sex established under the Act.  Municipalities should recognize that their zoning code's definition of "family" will now include civil unions because the Act provides that a party to a civil union will be included in "any definition or use of the term . . .  family . . .  and other terms that denote the spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law."  For more about how this new law affects municipalities, consult the fall issue of In the Zone.

 

The RCRA Ultimatum:  How an Inexpensive Letter can Clean Up Contaminated Lots

 

RCRA is a long-standing federal law setting standards for handling, transporting, and disposing of "waste."  However, there is more than meets the eye.  RCRA requires owners and operators to take all necessary steps to abate any "imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment" caused by their waste. Most importantly, RCRA authorizes citizens and local governments to take direct action against owners or operators of facilities to clean up their waste, including gas stations, dry cleaners and other local sources of contamination.  The tool: the RCRA citizen suit. Upon closer look, you will find that the RCRA citizen suit offers three unique and remarkable powers, which are detailed in the fall issue of In the Zone.


For a full copy of the fall edition of In the Zone, visit Ancel Glink's website at http://www.ancelglink.com/.

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More on Debacle III

More on Debacle III IN RE LOFTON

In Re: Harry and Crystal Lofton.

Case No. 10-37223.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. New Jersey.

Evidentiary Hearing June 28, 2011.

August 22, 2011.

 

Ryan Lamb, Esquire, Law Offices of Georgette Miller, Trenton, New Jersey.
William M.E. Powers III, Esquire, Powers Kirn, LLC, Lawnside, New Jersey.
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KATHRYN C. FERGUSON, Bankruptcy Judge.
Dear Counsel:
Harry and Crystal Lofton ("Debtors") filed a Chapter 13 petition on September 1, 2010. On Schedule A, the Debtors list the current value of 14 Owen Lane, Willingboro, NJ as $147,000. In the plan, the Debtors list the amount of the first mortgage on the property as $163,796, and the second mortgage held by Wells Fargo Bank as $23,325. Based on those numbers, the Debtors propose to cram down Wells Fargo's second mortgage and treat it as an unsecured claim.
On June 28, 2011, the court held an evidentiary hearing for the purpose of determining the value of 14 Owen Lane, Willingboro, NJ for confirmation purposes. The Debtors and Wells Fargo each presented appraisals of the property. The parties stipulated to the admissibility of the appraisals. Wells Fargo submitted an appraisal prepared by Donald A. Schulte. Mr. Schulte opined that the fair market value of the property as of September 1, 2010 was $195,000. The Debtors submitted an appraisal prepared by Walter A. Kirk. Mr. Kirk opined that the fair market value of the property as of February 22, 2011 was $125,000.
The five comparables in Wells Fargo's report range in price from $183,580 to $243,000 and were sold during the period of October 2009 through July 2010. The six comparables in the Debtors' report range in price from $101,000 to $157,000 and were sold during the period from April 2010 through October 2010. The primary difference between the two appraisal reports was that Wells Fargo's report excluded distressed properties and the Debtors' report included them.
During cross-examination, Wells Fargo's appraiser, Mr. Schulte, was asked why all but one of comparables he chose were in excess of $200,000 when there had been lower value sales in the same time period. Mr. Schulte responded that he had excluded all "short sales" or bank owned properties. When pressed as to why he had done so, Mr. Schulte stated that the REO sales (foreclosures) simply were not good indicators of value. He made that statement despite the fact that in his report he checked "yes" next to the question: "Are foreclosure sales (REO sales) a factor in the market?" Mr. Schulte then noted that "Approximately 25% of the sales over the last 12 months were REO properties. They are a factor in the subject's market place." Wells Fargo Appraisal Report at 19. Mr. Schulte also testified that REI properties have an effect on value. At the hearing, Mr. Schulte never satisfactory explained why excluding a quarter of the subject market results in a more accurate estimation of fair market value. It is notable that in the month of October 2010 (one month from the date of the Wells Fargo report) three houses1 in the immediate neighborhood of the subject property were sold and not one of them was sold for in excess of $200,000.
By contrast, the Debtors' appraiser, Mr. Kirk, persuasively testified that it is appropriate to use foreclosure sales as comparables because that is the reality of this market and a buyer will be comparing the price of the subject house with those in the neighborhood. He explained that given the principal of substitution, a buyer will not pay more for a product when a similar, lower-priced product is readily available. In cross-examination, Wells Fargo's counsel pressed Mr. Kirk about the propriety of using foreclosed properties as comparable sales. Mr. Kirk responded that the comparable sales he chose best illustrated the market in that neighborhood at that time and if the sales are non-traditional it indicates by the sheer number that foreclosures are a significant portion of the market. Mr. Kirk said that his educated guess would be that at least 20% of the properties in Willingboro are distressed sales at this time. 
The court concurs with Mr. Kirk's decision to include distressed sales in his valuation. The general rule of not including foreclosure sales when determining fair market value simply does not stand up in the current market. To exclude a quarter of the market would result in a skewed estimate of value. The Debtors' appraiser reasonably pointed out that the primary motivation for people to sell at the current time is to avoid foreclosure; homeowners in good financial shape are not putting their houses on the market because the market is so depressed.
The court also found the Debtors' appraisal to be more reliable because the comparables their expert relied upon required little to no adjustments. Willingboro, being a Levittown, presents a unique opportunity to compare numerous nearly identical houses. Mr. Kirk testified that for the comparables he chose only the exact same model home as the Debtors' home and only those located in the Debtors' neighborhood of Garfield East. Wells Fargo's expert, because he chose to exclude distressed sales, had to use comparables that were different models and some of the them were outside the Garfield East neighborhood. As a result, adjustments had to be made for homes that were larger than the Debtors' home and in far superior condition. Logically, the fewer adjustments that need to be made, the more accurate the comparison.
In addition to finding that the Debtors' appraiser chose more accurate comparables, the court is disinclined to rely on the valuation in the Wells Fargo appraisal because of internal inconsistencies in the report itself. On the first page of the report it states: "Market conditions in subject's neighborhood indicate a relatively stable value trend." But on the following page it states: "According to TrendMLS data the median sales prices decreased 10.7% from September 2009 to September 2010". In the sales comparison analysis section it states that only two of the five comparables have been sold in the last twelve months but the "Date of Sale/Time" entry for all five comparables indicates that they all sold within twelve months of the date of the report. Such inconsistences, even if mere typos, seriously undermine the reliability of the appraisal.
Overall, the court finds the appraisal report and the testimony of the Debtors' appraiser to be the most persuasive and will use the value of $125,000 as the starting point. The Debtors' appraisal report was not a retrospective analysis and gave a value as of February 22, 2011. When Mr. Kirk was asked at the hearing what the value would have been on September 1, 2010 (the date of filing) he estimated 5% more. Based on that, the court will assign a value of $131,250 to the property for confirmation purposes.
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September 28, 2011

mai appraiser

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TODAY'S NEWS

September 28, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

VENTURA COUNTY STAR: Oxnard approves bonds for affordable apartments
By Gretchen Wenner // On a 3-2 vote, the Oxnard City Council on Tuesday night approved tax-exempt bonds for an affordable housing project on property previously involved in a controversial land deal. Up to $11 million in bonds will be issued through a state housing program for the Colonial House Apartments, which will put 43 rental units on about 2 acres in the 700 block of North Oxnard Boulevard. The city won't issue the bonds or have any financial liability, but had to conduct a required public hearing.



HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Apartments push O.C. homebuilding up 74%

By Jeff Collins // Homebuilders have received permits to build 3,901 housing units in Orange County this year so far, up 73.7% from the same period in 2010, Construction Industry Research Board figures show. In dollar terms, the estimated value of proposed homebuilding this year totaled $694 million through August, a 38.3% jump from 2010 levels for that period.

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

DESERT: Distress moves, foreclosures fall for fifth month

By Mike Perrault // Mortgage default notices, bank repossessions and foreclosure auctions fell 16.3 percent in August compared to the same month a year ago across the Coachella Valley, marking the fifth consecutive month with significant declines.

 

HOMELESSNESS

Without enough help, homeless lie in the cold

By Vanderburgh Johnstone // A night on the town is not a fun experience for someone who is disabled and looking for a place to sleep. Homelessness is a major problem in America that has been largely ignored for many years. Many Cal State Fullerton students have noticed the homeless problem in their everyday lives. “I know when I was coming to school today I saw a homeless guy sitting on the street with a sign asking for money,” said Ron Ortiz, an advertising major at CSUF. “He had lost his job and had three kids to feed. I felt pretty bad for him.”

 

REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL: Santa Cruz County supervisors approve $51 million 'ransom'

By Jason Hoppin // The county agreed Tuesday to spend $51 million over the next 16 years to keep its redevelopment agency open, becoming the latest among California's local governments to pay what some have called a "ransom" demanded by the state as part of a package of redevelopment reforms. The unanimous Board of Supervisors vote keeps the agency's doors open, even though most of its employees have already departed. The county hopes Tuesday's vote not only ensures that existing projects such as a planned $44 million sheriff's center gets built, but also that redevelopment continues to help build affordable housing.

 

PRESS ENTERPRISE: City will pay to keep redevelopment alive

By Jeff Horseman // A frustrated Temecula City Council on Tuesday evening agreed to pay the state government nearly $5 million to keep their city's Redevelopment Agency alive. "Redevelopment has played a major, major role" in Temecula's development, said Councilman Jeff Comerchero. "I'm going to support paying this extortion. But that's exactly what it is."

 

PRESS DEMOCRAT: Sonoma County fast-tracks redevelopment projects

By Brett Wilkison // The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors took further action Tuesday to protect redevelopment funding, approving projects worth more than $3.1 million in the county's three designated zones. The action, which board members acknowledged they fast-tracked, was intended to beat an Oct. 1 state deadline expected to make subsequent contracts more expensive. After that date, as part of budget legislation approved earlier this year, the county would have to tack on a sum equal to 40 percent of any contract, to be paid to school and transit districts in the same redevelopment area, officials said.

 

PUBLIC CEO: Split decision may end redevelopment

By Josh Rosa  // Redevelopment has taken a serious beating over the last several years, but it appears the knockout punch may be accidental. In June, the Legislature enacted two measures, AB X1 26 and AB X1 27, as part of a solution to the state's gaping budget deficit. The first measure eliminates redevelopment in California. The second measure creates a way to reinstate redevelopment agencies by agreeing to make "voluntary" payments to school districts and local governments.

 

 

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 100 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

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September 26, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

September 26, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

GLENDALE NEWS-PRESS: Council may ditch affordable housing for park

By Brittany Levine // City officials this week tabled plans to use 1.5 acres in Northwest Glendale for affordable housing, choosing instead to explore turning the land into a park. During a meeting Tuesday, City Council members, acting in their dual role as the Housing Authority, said the parcel at Sonora Avenue and Fifth Street would be a prime location for a park. … “There are just so many multifamily units in this neighborhood that it calls out for green space,” said Councilman Frank Quintero, adding that he’d be open to building an affordable housing unit in another area of the city.

 

THE DESERT SUN: Developer puts Dream Homes affordable housing project, Cimarron Heights, on hold in Cathedral City

CATHEDRAL CITY — An affordable housing project for the Dream Homes neighborhood has been put on hold, despite being considered for a funding boost by Riverside County supervisors and the Economic Development Agency. The plans for Cimarron Heights, consisting of 84 apartments, were shelved by the developer until the ongoing battle over redevelopment funds between the state and California cities is resolved, Cathedral City leaders said. …

 

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

STOCKTON RECORD: In-fill proposal looks to give Stockton a greener image

By Zachary K. Johnson // STOCKTON - With the right kind of development, downtown Stockton could become the kind of place where people live in apartments or condominiums, commute by train to Silicon Valley jobs before returning home, where they can bike or walk to do their shopping or run other errands. It could be the kind of place where residents don't need to own a car, said planning consultant David Early. "That's the kind of vision you might start to see in downtown Stockton over time," Early said at a planning workshop…

 

SAN BENITO PINNACLE: County growth laws facing likely demise

By Adam Breen [9/23/11] // Supervisors are set to consider rescinding rules limiting new development -- A decade-old growth management ordinance designed to slow population growth in what was then one of the fastest-growing counties in California could be rescinded as soon as next week by the San Benito County Board of Supervisors. … Since its adoption as an urgency ordinance in October 2000, the Growth Management Ordinance (GMO), which limits the approval of new lots from subdivisions, has been amended several times.

 

MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD: Marina rent-control measure wins approval

By Larry Parsons // By a bare majority late Tuesday, the Marina City Council gave a long-sought victory to activists seeking rent control in the city's five mobile home parks. A majority made up of Mayor Bruce Delgado and Councilmen Frank O'Connell and David Brown voted to give a preliminary OK to the "Mobile Home Rental Stabilization Ordinance" after a two-hour hearing. … Mobile home residents offered divided testimony in earlier hearings. Many argued that mobile home owners, many of them seniors and others living on fixed incomes, are at the mercy of park owners. Others contend the measure would only affect about 100 of the 399 spaces in Marina mobile home parks because the majority of residents now have separate leases setting rental rates.

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: New-home sales fell in August for 4th straight month

By Derek Kravitz // WASHINGTON -- Sales of new homes fell to a six-month low in August. The fourth straight monthly decline during the peak buying season suggests the housing market is years away from a recovery.  The Commerce Department said Monday that new-home sales fell 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295,000. That's less than half the roughly 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market. New-homes sales are on pace for the worst year since the government began keeping records a half century ago. …

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

SACRAMENTO BEE: New wave of foreclosures due to hit Sacramento area

By Rick Daysog // A monster wave of new foreclosures threatens to engulf Sacramento's already battered real estate market as major banks move to slash their backlog of delinquent loans. Nearly one out of every seven mortgages in the Sacramento region is somewhere in the foreclosure pipeline, a grim reality that could hold back any near-term recovery in the local housing market, according to a Bee analysis of local foreclosure data. …

 

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL: Keep Your Home California: 40 Santa Cruz County homeowners get help

By Jondi Gumz [9/25/22] // SANTA CRUZ -- Keep Your Home California, a state program started in January to help borrowers struggling with payments, has helped 7,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure including 40 in Santa Cruz County. Plenty more are in trouble. In Santa Cruz County, nearly 1,000 homeowners have received a default notice this year for falling behind on payments, according to the Santa Cruz Record. Keep Your Home California is free and run by the California Housing Finance Agency …

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Federal agencies' 20% down payment plan faces political hurdles

By Kenneth R. Harney // Remember the proposed requirement from six federal agencies that home buyers make minimum 20% down payments if they want the lowest interest rates? … Half a year has passed since all that bubbled up, so here's an update on the issue: The 20% proposal is still alive, but it's temporarily bogged down in agency reviews of the roughly 12,000 comments filed by interest groups and individuals. Almost certainly it will not be ready for final adoption until the first quarter of 2012.

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kamala Harris a key player in settlement over mortgage crisis

By Nathaniel Popper & Alejandro Lazo // Reporting from New York & Los Angeles— California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has emerged as a key player in pursuing a nationwide settlement with major U.S. banks accused of wrongful foreclosures and is facing increased pressure from consumer groups seeking help for homeowners devastated by the mortgage crisis. Harris, who was in closed-door talks with banks Friday, has been negotiating with the five largest mortgage servicers for months …

 

FAIR HOUSING / PREDATORY LENDING

HUFFINGTON POST: Mortgage Relief Scams Proliferate After Recession

By Janell Ross // In fact, state and federal regulators say that some of the same people who sold risky, even predatory loans to consumers have moved on to the business of for-profit loan modifications. … “I think it is fair to say that there has been a real proliferation (of scams) within the last couple of years,” said Reilly Dolan, the assistant director for the FTC’s financial practices division. The FTC has created a pair of consumer advisories for people facing mortgage difficulties or other debt problems. Several sources also suggested that consumers are often better off attempting to directly negotiate a mortgage modification or other debt settlements with lenders. Those who need help should work with a HUD-certified counselor or a nonprofit debt counseling agency, Dolan said.

 

HOMELESSNESS

HEALTHY CAL.ORG: Homeless for Years, Older Women in Los Angeles find a good home

By Jessica Portner // On Skid Row, the downtown hub of the homeless population in Los Angeles, transients ask passersby for change, slump against concrete buildings, and mumble obscenities at bus stops. The Downtown Women’s Center’s beautiful new building, sitting in the middle of the mayhem, is a standout. The DWC’s Day Center serves hundreds of homeless women in its facilities every day and 71 lucky ones live in permanent residences, or efficiency apartments….

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

CENTRAL VALLEY BUSINESS TIMES: Economy is top problem in central San Joaquin Valley says survey

Central San Joaquin Valley residents believe the economy – and particularly the lack of available jobs – is the most pressing problem affecting quality of life in the region today, according to a new survey conducted by California State University, Fresno. Residents of Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties responding to a “Quality of Life” telephone survey reported they are much less satisfied with their current financial situation than a year ago and they are less confident of the ability of government at all levels to solve problems. …

 

NEW YORK TIMES: Slump Alters Jobless Map in U.S., With South Hit Hard

By Michael Cooper // When the unemployment rate rose in most states last month, it underscored the extent to which the deep recession, the anemic recovery and the lingering crisis of joblessness are beginning to reshape the nation’s economic map. … Now, with the concentration of the highest unemployment rates in the South and the West, some economists and researchers wonder if it is an anomaly of the uneven recovery or a harbinger of things to come.

 

TRANSPORTATION

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: More rail service could spring from new agency

By Robert J. Hawkins // A plan is in the works that could lead to a significant expansion of rail service between San Diego and Los Angeles. Regional transportation agencies are considering joining forces for a super authority that would oversee 351 miles of coastal rail between San Diego and San Luis Obisbo. Among the many changes forged by that authority could be as many as 27 additional daily train trips …

 

PRESERVATION / CONSERVATION

GRASS VALLEY UNION: Conservation groups celebrate the purchase of Sierra Buttes for public ownership

By Laura Brown // A favorite run of hardcore mountain bicyclists and a spectacular backdrop for hundreds of thousands of hikers, campers and cross country skiers, the Sierra Buttes and surrounding landscape will remain open to the public and protected from development for years to come thanks to a series of land acquisitions totaling nearly $7 million. … Protecting the raw beauty of the chiseled peaks, helps guarantee economic security for the isolated communities of Sierra County that are heavily dependent on tourist traffic and dollars. The Sierra Buttes and Lakes Basin are the largest tourist draws for the county.

 

NATIONAL HOUSING NEWS

HUD.GOV: HUD's New Edition of Evidence Matters, A Quarterly Publication on Research-Based Policy, Focuses on Sustainability

[Press Release: 9/23/11] // WASHINGTON – The summer edition of Evidence Matters, HUD's quarterly publication that informs the public on issues related to housing and community development, is available today. This issue focuses on strengthening the evidence behind sustainability, a concept that while embraced by many businesses, government and families, still faces some skeptics. … Reducing home energy consumption, which accounts for 22 percent of U.S. energy consumption, is key. The magazine’s lead article, Quantifying Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Rental Housing, focuses on the sluggish pace of energy-efficiency improvements in the multifamily rental housing sector, an issue that continues to vex advocates of sustainability.

EVIDENCE MATTERS: SUMMER 2011


 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont11.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 120 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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6th Circuit Upholds Ohio Adult Business Use Statute

New post on LAW OF THE LAND


 


6th Circuit Upholds Ohio Adult Business Use Statute

In 2007, to address secondary effects of adult business uses, the Ohio legislature imposed restrictions on sexually oriented businesses, limiting the hours of operation of such business and instituting a “no touch” rule, disallowing nude or semi nude workers from touching other employees or patrons.  Covered by the definition of sexually oriented businesses are adult book stores and adult video stores, if a substantial of significant amount of these businesses concern sexually oriented materials. 

The plaintiffs challenged the legislation on numerous grounds including: that it violated the First Amendment as it was not based on sufficient evidence; that the definitions of adult book stores, adult video stores and cabaret are unconstitutionally over-broad; that the no touching prohibition violates the First Amendment; and that the plain letter of the law actually excludes adult book stores and adult video stores from the regulation.

With respect to the First Amendment claim, the Sixth Circuit in applying O’Brien (and Alameda Books ) noted that a law will be adjudged constitutional only where the legislature acted within its constitutional authority, furthered a substantial governmental interest, this interest being unrelated to the suppression of free speech, and the imposition upon First Amendment rights is no greater than necessary.  Alameda Books adds a three step burden shifting analysis concerning secondary effects cases, as applied in the second prong (governmental interest).  Under Alameda Books, to shift the initial burden, the government “may rely on any evidence that is ‘reasonably believed to be relevant’ for demonstrating a connection between speech and a substantial, independent government interest.”  Next, it is the plaintiff’s burden to cast doubt upon the government’s rational, by providing contrary evidence or demonstrating the government’s evidence does not support their rational.  If the plaintiff succeeds, the government must provide additional evidence, “renewing support for a theory that justifies its ordinance.”

Upon completion of this analysis, the court found the legislature did not violate the constitutional standards embodied in O’Brian and Alameda Books.  The court found that regulating sexually oriented businesses is an act the Legislature was permitted to undertake.  The court also held that there is a substantial governmental interest in regulating such uses.  In applying Alameda Books, the court found the evidence relied upon by the legislature demonstrated a connection between the land use and the effects, and that the plaintiffs’ experts and evidence failed to cast the requisite doubt, thus the burden was not re-shifted to the defendants.  In addition, the court found that the evidence relied upon by the Legislature was sufficient to restrict the hours of operation.  The court then briefly dispensed with the third prong of O’Brien, as the plaintiffs did not contest that the regulation targeted the secondary effects, and not the First Amendment rights.  Lastly, the court found the business hours restriction satisfied the narrowness requirement.  In finding the regulation was narrow enough, the court rejected the plaintiffs proportionality argument, that it precluded business when business was best, reasoning that the restriction was intended to limit the secondary effects when these effects are the most prevalent, all the while only precluding the operation of business during 42 hours of a week. 

The Sixth Circuit then moved the plaintiffs’ over-breadth argument, finding the definitions of adult book store, adult video store and adult cabaret where not overbroad.  The Court noted that the definitions limited their scope to establishments that devoted a ‘significant’ or ‘substantial’ segment of their business to adult oriented materials.  Thus, the limiting language ensured the definition covered uses exhibiting the targeted secondary effects, and precluded those which deal in sexually oriented materials, but not to a large extent.  Similarly, the court rejected the argument that the definition of adult cabarets was overboard, as the limiting language in the statute, requiring the establishment regularly feature such acts, was sufficient to preclude coverage over uses which do not exhibit the secondary effects. 

The court then addressed the plaintiffs’ First Amendment argument that the no touching provision was over broad.  Relying on precedent, the court found that the plaintiffs did not show the provision violated the First Amendment, as the plaintiff did not demonstrate a “‘substantial number of unconstitutional applications’ of the restriction.”

Lastly, the court addressed the plaintiffs’ assertion that the definition of sexually oriented businesses excluded adult book stores and adult video stores.  This language states that the definition of sexually oriented businesses “‘does not include a business solely by reason of its showing, selling, or renting materials that may depict sex.’”(italics in decision).  This is in conflict, the plaintiffs asserted, with the language that sexually oriented businesses include adult book stores and adult video stores.  The court found no conflict because of the limiting language in the definitions of these stores, which instituted the ‘substantial’ or ‘significant’ threshold requirement, as discussed earlier. 

84 Video/Newsstand, Inc. v. Sartini, 2011 WL 3904097 (6th Cir. 7/7/2011)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/11a0655n-06.pdf

Patty Salkin | September 26, 2011 at 1:16 am | Categories: Adult Entertainment Facilities, Current Caselaw | URL: http://wp.me/p64kE-1sv

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September 24, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

September 23, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

REAL ESTATE.RAMA: Michaels Development, LINC Housing Break Ground on Red Star Apartments

OAKLAND, CA – Sept. 21, 2011 // Wearing hardhats and donning shovels, city and county officials today joined executives from The Michaels Development Company and LINC Housing Corporation to celebrate the coming transformation of a long-vacant lot on the city’s west side into a new mixed-used, transit-oriented affordable housing community. Red Star Apartments, which will offer affordable one- and two-bedroom apartment homes to income-eligible seniors, is being built on the former site of the Red Star yeast factory and is expected to generate hundreds of high quality jobs for local residents and businesses.

 

CALABASAS PATCH: Affordable Housing Project for Seniors to Open in October

By Arin Mikailian // Future tenants of Canyon Creek Calabasas, a 75-unit affordable housing complex for seniors, at 4803 El Canon Ave., will begin moving in as early as Oct. 17, a housing official said. The 52,825-square-foot Thomas Safran & Associates-owned property has been under construction since May 2010, and finishing touches are under way, said Steve Frandsen, a supervisor with the development firm

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

PALO ALTO ONLINE NEWS: East Palo Alto seeks to halt apartment sale

By Gennady Sheyner // Still reeling from the recent financial implosion of the city's largest landlord, East Palo Alto city officials, tenants and community activists are calling on Wells Fargo to halt its pending sale of 1,800 housing units to a single buyer -- a sale that they believe could lead to displacement of thousands of low-income residents. The East Palo Alto City Council voted Tuesday night (Sept. 20) to send the bank a letter urging it to reconsider its sale of the 1,800 units formerly owned by Page Mill Properties to one company.

 

THE SIGNAL: Residential building permits up more than 36 percent

Residential building rebounded in August, the Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California reported Thursday.
According to records, 203 single-family permits were pulled in Los Angeles County in August, up more than 36 percent from the previous month. The numbers were compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board.

 

 

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

PETALUMA PATCH: Development Near Station Needs to Be SMARTer, Says Real Estate Brokers

By Kevin King // The SMART Area station development will likely need high-density housing and buildings as high as six stories in order for the project to be economically feasible, according to a local commercial real estate expert and the site’s planners. “What mix makes economic sense?” said Daniel Parolek, an architect with Opticos, the Berkeley design firm that is developing the site plan, at a Sept. 7 workshop with the Community Advisory Committee. … Others agree that high-density housing is the way to go, but caution about the higher upfront costs, which may or may not be recouped through higher revenue from rents.

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

LOAN SAFE.ORG: Home Prices Will Increase Slightly Next Year, Analysts Say

By Alex Ferreras // Home sales and median prices in the state are expected to climb slightly next year, according to the housing forecast released Tuesday by the California Association of Realtors. California home sales next year will see a 1 percent increase to 496,200 units, compared to 491,500 homes sold in 2010. … “My real concern about Ventura County and many of these other markets that tend to be in the higher median price range is the reduction in high cost loan limits,” [Robert] Kleinhenz said.

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

DAILY BREEZE: Set reasonable value if you want to sell your home

By Suzanne Grace // Real estate agents today are often put into a position of being the bearer of bad news and, as such, seem to be the "fall guy" for what is pure economics in the housing market. I find it difficult to convince my clients that although the market rose unreasonably from 2004 through 2007 in some parts of the country, it was never based on economics; it was based on the availability of cheap money.

 

THE SIGNAL: Homeownership still part of the 'American dream'

Seventy percent of Americans still said homeownership is part of the “American dream,” according to Trulia, the online residential real estate search engine. “I fully expect that the demand for owning a home, and obtaining that part of the American dream, won’t be going away anytime soon,” said Robert Mickalson with Realty Executives Valencia.

 

HOMELESSNESS

SACRAMENTO BEE: County takes heat for closing winter homeless shelters

By Cynthia Hubert // For as long as anyone can remember, Sacramento County has funded a seasonal shelter program to house the homeless during cold and rainy winter nights. Funding for that program has been shrinking year by year as the county has struggled with budget deficits. This year, it disappeared altogether. On Thursday, homeless advocates lashed out at county leaders, arguing that shelter beds are as important as public safety and other programs that have remained a priority for county funding.

 

SIMI VALLEY ACORN: Grant to help local homeless overcome 'nancial barriers

By Carissa Marsh // A startup program aimed at helping local homeless people get housed is ready to put the federal grant funds it won earlier this year to good use. In May, the City Council awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $11,051 to the Simi Valley Emergency Assistance Fund, which is administered by Thousand Oaks- based Many Mansions, an affordable housing developer, in collaboration with the Simi Valley Task Force on Homelessness and the Alliance to House the Homeless.

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Bay Area income beats state, U.S., census shows

By Kevin Fagan // More grim economic news rolled out of the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, but amid the numbers showing rising local poverty rates and a sinking California household income came one sliver of cheer for the Bay Area. This region didn't suffer as much as the rest of the state. Or even the nation as a whole. California's median household income plunged 6 percent to $57,708 between 2006, before the recession and housing implosion hit, and last year, according to the Census Bureau

 

OC REGISTER: Census: Median income down, poverty up in O.C.

By Ronald Campbell // The Great Recession has forced most Orange County families to live on less. It also has left one in eight local residents – including one of every six children – in poverty. These are among the findings in new U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday. Since the height of the real estate boom in 2007, median household income in Orange County has declined by 8 percent, to $70,880. Adjusted for inflation, the typical household earned less in 2010 than it did a decade ago.

 

NATIONAL HOUSING NEWS

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Mortgage rates hold steady, Freddie Mac survey says

(AP) [9/22/11] // The interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage held steady this week at a 60-year low while the 15-year fixed loan edged down to a new record low, mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said in its weekly rate snapshot. Freddie's survey, out Thursday morning, showed that the rate lenders were offering to solid borrowers for a 15-year loan fell from 3.30% to 3.29% -- a statistically immaterial amount.

 

LOANSAFE.ORG: NMHC reports there is a growing need and desire for rental housing

By Alex Ferreras // As our population changes and more Americans choose to rent their homes, there is a growing disconnect between our national housing policy and our changing housing needs.  A visually powerful PowerPoint presentation from the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) aims to close that gap.“The coming boom in construction gives us a golden opportunity to get from where we are to where we need to be: creating thriving, healthy and sustainable communities,” said NMHC President Doug Bibby.  “We call this presentation A New Housing Policy: Imagine the Possibilities because we have a tremendous opportunity to create thriving and sustainable communities—but only if we change our thinking about rental housing and renters.”

 

LOMPOC RECORD: Fannie Mae cited for failing to stop robo-signing

By Derek Kravitz // Fannie Mae missed chances to catch law firms illegally signing foreclosure documents and its government overseer did not take the right steps to ensure Fannie was doing its job, according to a federal watchdog.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency's inspector general said in a report Friday that Fannie failed to establish an "acceptable and effective" way to monitor foreclosure proceedings between 2006 and early 2011. FHFA then failed to ensure it was complying with demands that it clean up its programs.

 

ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE

SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE: How California's new non-smoking law will affect renters

By Lily Leung // A new California law gives landlords the authority to ban smoking tobacco in apartment buildings, expanding the availability of smoke-free housing in the state. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima,) earlier this month and goes into effect Jan. 1.

 

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 100 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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High Performance Green Building: What’s it worth? Theddi Wright Chappell, MAI, Appraisal Institut, "CANNOT BE QUANTIFIED."

High Performance Green Building:

What’s it worth?

 

"Though the exact impact of the green strategies employed at Alley24 East on the project’s market value cannot be quantigied. . . "  http://cascadiagbc.org/news/GBValueStudy.pdf

Theddi Wright Chappell, MAI, Appraisal Institute

 

 

,

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September 22, 2011

Fla App: What Is The "First Written Offer?"

Fla App: What Is The "First Written Offer?"

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 12:01 AM PDT

Under Florida eminent domain law the property owner whose property is taken is entitled to attorney's fees "based solely on the benefits achieved for the client." The statute defines what "benefits" means:

As used in this section, the term "benefits" means the difference, exclusive of interest, between the final judgment or settlement and the last written offer made by the condemning authority before the defendant hires an attorney. If no written offer is made by the condemning authority before the defendant hires an attorney, benefits must be measured from the first written offer after the attorney is hired.

Fla. Stat. § 73.092.

In Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency v. Holland, No. 4D10-291 (Sep. 14, 2011), the District Court of Appeal (Fourth District) interpreted the phrase "first written offer" to exclude an unexecuted contract in which the condemnor offered to pay $31,250 for the property. However, "[t]he contract contained contingencies and was never executed." The offer was not accepted.

The next year, the condemnor made an offer of $62,500, and informed the owner that if it did not sell, the property would be taken by eminent domain. The owner did not agree, and after trial, the court determined the compensation owed and awarded attorneys fees of $15,000, based on the unexecuted contract as the "first written offer." The condemnor appealed.

The court of appeals reversed, and held the first written offer did not obligate the condemnor to take the property, "[t]he government only became obligated if the commission subsequently approved the acquisition and appropriated the necessary funds. Because the government did not become obligated upon acceptance by the owner, the unexecuted contract was not the first written offer for the purpose of calculating attorney’s fees."



This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

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September 21, 2011

Energy Education Center, Irwindale

Dear Valued Customer,

SCE's Energy Education Center - Irwindale is offering FREE On-Location Seminars in an area near you. Reservations are required to attend the seminars listed below. Please note there are different dates and locations for each event.


EVENT DETAILS

October
Event Name: Energy Management Systems
Event Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Event Number: 29483
Event Location: SCE’s South Bay Energy Center, Torrance
Event Time: Registration 8:00am
Seminar 8:30am – 12:30pm

Event Name: Air Handling System Efficiency
Event Date: Friday, October 7, 2011
Event Number: 29484
Event Location: Frontier Project, Rancho Cucamonga
Event Time: Registration 8:00am
Seminar 8:30am – 12:30pm

Event Name: Overcoming Objections to Energy Efficiency Investments
Event Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Event Number: 29485
Event Location: SCE’s Wildomar Service Center, Wildomar
Event Time: Registration 8:00am
Seminar 8:30am – 3:30pm with lunch

Event Name: How to Conduct an Energy Efficient Site Survey
Event Date: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Event Number: 29486
Event Location: Robobank Regional Business Center, Palm Springs
Event Time: Registration 8:00am
Seminar 8:30am – 3:30pm with lunch

Event Name: Getting Energy Efficiency Projects Approved
Event Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011
Event Number: 29488
Event Location: Irvine City Hall, Irvine
Event Time: Registration 8:00am
Seminar 8:30am – 12:30pm

Event Name: Save Energy, Save Money: An Introduction to Energy Efficiency and Rebates
Event Date: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Event Number: 29837
Event Location: Stater Bros. Stadium, Adelanto
Event Time: Registration 8:00am
Seminar 8:30am – 12:30pm

Reservations can be made by calling (626) 812-7537 or (800) 336- 2822- ext 42537 or by registering online at www.sce.com/workshops


Privacy Disclaimer: Southern California Edison will not share, sell or otherwise disseminate information collected from our customers to any third party. We may however, use information in our database to send customers additional information that will assist them with making informed decisions about energy efficiency and training. If you would like to unsubscribe, please return this message and state unsubscribe also include your email address, first name, last name, and telephone number to be reached at incase of questions.

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TODAY'S NEWS

 

September 21, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

SAN FRANCISCO APPEAL: Showdown over marina district affordable housing brews

A drive down Lombard Street in the Marina District reveals plenty places to live on a limited basis: hotels and motels (the Holiday Inn is further up US Highway 101 on Van Ness Avenue) proliferate, and there's even some city-subsidized housing for poor folks, such as the infamous Bridge Motel. Still lacking in the Marina, however, is affordable housing, and in particular city-subsidized affordable housing for at-risk populations, the kind for which the Tenderloin is well-known.

 

SACRAMENTO BEE: Affordable seniors housing effort wins $5.6 million boost in Elk Grove

By Loretta Kalb // The Elk Grove City Council has given its blessing to $5.6 million in gap financing to USA Properties Fund Inc. to build Phase II of Vintage at Laguna, affordable rentals for people 55 and older and on limited income.

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

LOS ANGELES TIMES: August home building fell 5%, slide continues

(AP) 9/20/11 // Builders broke ground on fewer homes in August, evidence that the housing market remains depressed. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 571,000 homes last month, a 5 percent decline from July and a three-month low. That's less than half the 1.2 million that economists say is consistent with healthy housing markets. Single-family homes, which represent roughly two-thirds of home construction, fell 1.4 percent. Apartment building plunged 12.4 percent.

 

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Downtown plans in Lafayette, Orinda spark debate about future

By Jonathan Morales [9/20/11] // The small, wealthy cities in the hills between Oakland and Walnut Creek are looking to the future of their downtowns, and some residents don't like what they see. All cities plan ahead, but in Lafayette and Orinda -- where growth has been slow by design and semirural values are sacrosanct -- a debate has risen between those who welcome new ideas and others who worry changes could ruin everything they cherish about their communities: peace and quiet, views of the hills and small-town charm.

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

CNN MONEY: The Newest Threat to Home Prices

By Janice Revell // FORTUNE -- The rancorous debate about how to address our escalating national debt has dominated the conversation in Washington lately. What isn't getting much attention inside the Beltway -- but should -- is a looming event that could have major consequences not only for your home's value but also for the overall economic recovery. Barring last-minute action by Congress, upscale housing is about to take another punch to the solar plexus -- just as it's struggling to stabilize. At issue are the limits for so-called conforming mortgage loans that can be bought or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration

 

MARKET WATCH.COM: C.A.R. Releases Its California Housing Market Forecast for 2012

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 20, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) // California home sales and median price are predicted to improve only slightly in 2012, as the continuation of the tepid economic recovery, uncertainty about the future, and funding challenges for residential mortgages are expected to keep the market moving sideways, with little foreseeable momentum in either direction, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R)' (C.A.R.) "2012 California Housing Market Forecast" released today. The forecast for California home sales next year is for a slight 1 percent increase to 496,200 units, following essentially flat sales of 491,100 homes this year…

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Home sales jump 7.7 pct. as foreclosures rise

By Derek Kravitz // The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose in August. But sales were driven by an increase in foreclosures, a sign that home prices could fall further next year and slow a housing recovery.



HOMELESSNESS

CHICO ENTERPRISE-RECORD: Agencies gather to put an end to homeless problem

By Mary Weston [9/20/11] // OROVILLE — A consortium of agency representatives gathered in Oroville on Monday to start an effort to end homelessness. Representatives from numerous agencies, nonprofits and faith-based organizations that provide services to people who do not have permanent homes met at the Butte County Veterans Memorial Hall for the first Butte Countywide Summit on Homelessness. The two-hour summit sponsored by the Butte Countywide Continuum of Care kicked off two new efforts to address homelessness

 

SACRAMENTO BEE: Salvation army opens housing complex for Sacramento's homeless families

By Cynthia Hubert // A kitchen stove where she cooks dinner for her family. A bedroom where her daughter keeps a platoon of stuffed bears. A stoop where she can sit and watch children play in the courtyard. Sunny Drummond is basking in the simplicity of it all.



ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

REUTERS.COM: Housing starts drop underscores economic woes

By Jason Lange // New construction of homes fell more than expected in August, dragging on economic growth and keeping pressure on President Barack Obama to do more to help the sputtering economy. Housing starts dropped 5 percent, the most since April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast groundbreaking activity would fall to only a 590,000-unit rate in August.

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: California won't slip back into recession, UCLA study predicts

By Walter Hamilton // The national economy is in "far worse" shape than it was just three months ago, but neither the U.S. nor California is expected to slip back into recession, according to UCLA researchers. … The outlook for inland parts of the state is clouded by the threat of a population decline in those areas, which would exacerbate the slump in housing. Construction employment accounts for about 7% to 9% of all jobs in the Inland Empire and San Joaquin Valley, according to the report. But a combination of economic and demographic factors means the demand for new housing in those areas will remain weak for years.

 

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Fed has few tools to fix economy weakened by housing market

By Steve Matthews and John Gittelsohn // U.S. mortgage rates are the lowest in at least four decades, with a 30-year fixed loan available at 4.09 percent. That didn't help Alexis Wolf buy a townhome in Beaverton, Oregon. "Unless you have family help, you're stuck renting," said Wolf, 26, a real estate broker who turned to relatives for a loan because she didn't have the credit and employment history needed to qualify for a mortgage.

 

NATIONAL HOUSING NEWS

U.S. to have tough time in suits against 17 banks over mortgage bonds

Federal regulators allege the banks misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the safety of the bonds. But analysts say the two mortgage giants should have known that the loans behind the bonds were toxic. Reporting from Washington— The government's latest attempt to hold large banks accountable for helping trigger the Great Recession could fall as flat as earlier efforts to punish Wall Street villains and compensate taxpayers for bailing out the financial industry.

 

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 100 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

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September 20, 2011

Debacle III

Debacle III 

Sale or Financing Concessions

Note: This field, comprised of two lines, is used to capture sale type, financing type,

and any concessions. The information must be entered on line 1 and line 2 as

indicated.

 

Line 1

The appraiser must indicate the sale type for each comparable property. If more than

one sale type applies to the comparable property, the appraiser must start at the top of

the list and identify the first sale type that applies. The valid values are:

 

ABBREVIATED

ENTRY

 

SALE TYPE

REO REO sale

Short Short sale

CrtOrd Court ordered sale

Estate Estate sale

Relo Relocation sale

NonArm Non-arms length sale

ArmLth Arms length sale

Listing Listing

 

Note, The appraiser may report any other relevant information regarding the sale type,

including whether more than one sale type applies, elsewhere in the appraisal report.

 

Thanks!
Curtis D. Harris, BS, CGREA, REB
Bachelor of Science in Real Estate, CSULA
State Certified General Appraiser
Real Estate Broker
ASTM E-2018 Commercial Real Estate Inspector
HUD 203k Consultant
HUD/FHA Real Estate Appraiser/Reviewer
FannieMae REO Consultant

CTAC LEED Certification

The Harris Company, Forensic Appraisers and Real Estate Consultants
*PIRS/Harris Company and the Science of Real Estate-Partners*

1910 East Mariposa Avenue, Suite 115
El Segundo, CA. 90245
310-337-1973 Office
310-251-3959 Cell

WebSite: http://www.harriscompanyrec.com

Resume: http://www.harriscompanyrec.com/CURRICULUMVITAENAME2011a.pdf

Commercial Appraiser Blog: http://harriscompanyrec.com/blog/

 

We Make a Simple Pledge to

Communicate, in a timely Fashion, each appraisal, analysis, and opinion without bias or partiality

Abstain from behavior that is deleterious to our clients, the appraisal profession, and the public

Hold paramount the confidential nature of the appraiser/consultant - client relationship

and

Comply with the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the
Code of Professional Ethics of the National Society of Real Estate Appraisers

 

IT'S THE LAW-Designation Discrimination is Illegal [FIRREA, Sec. 564.6]: Professional Association Membership http://www.orea.ca.gov/html/fed_regs.shtml#Statement7 Membership in an appraisal organization: A State Certified General Appraiser may not be excluded from consideration for an assignment for a federally related transaction by virtue of membership or lack of membership in any particular appraisal organization, including the appraisal institute.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY/PRIVILEGE NOTICE: This transmission and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee. The information contained in this transmission is confidential in nature and protected from further use or disclosure under U.S. Pub. L. 106-102, 113 U.S. Stat. 1338 (1999), and may be subject to consultant/appraiser-client or other legal privilege. Your use or disclosure of this information for any purpose other than that intended by its transmittal is strictly prohibited and may subject you to fines and/or penalties under federal and state law. If you are not the intended recipient of this transmission, please destroy all copies received and confirm destruction to the sender via return transmittal

 

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Help Is at Hand

Help Is at Hand
Q. Who should I contact if I have questions about the Uniform Mortgage Data ProgramSM (UMDPSM) and its components?

A: We would recommend first visiting eFannieMae.com to view resources posted on our UMDP and related pages. You can also contact your Fannie Mae representative for assistance. But don't wait. If you have challenges with understanding and implementing these requirements, the sooner you reach out for help the better.


TECHNOLOGY
DU for Government Loans September Release Implemented
Fannie Mae successfully implemented the Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) for government loans September 2011 release. This release included a new field for the FHA TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard, FHA loan limit changes and message updates, and updates for HUD Mortgagee Letter 2011-11.
New B2B File Transfer Solution Coming Soon
Fannie Mae's National Underwriting Center (NUC) is introducing a new business-to-business (B2B) file transfer solution. Users will be able to transfer documents to NUC electronically, helping to reduce paper handling and shortening the time required to fulfill requests. B2B provides secure file transmission and delivery, and enables bulk transfers of files. Select lenders will begin onboarding around September 26, 2011. For details, review the Quality Assurance System page and access the B2B Reference Materials.


 
September 20, 2011


Underwriter's Puzzler
Risky Business?
Jane Youngbuyer has applied for a mortgage loan. You must underwrite the loan manually. How can you determine the overall risk of this loan and determine if it is eligible for sale to Fannie Mae? What's the answer?

 


Economic Insight
Fannie Mae Releases August Consumer Indicators
Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy, home prices, and household finances, according to Fannie Mae's August National Housing Survey. Information from the August 2011 survey can help focus our collective efforts on stabilizing the housing market.

 

TRAINING
Certificate of Completion Available for Using the Uniform Appraisal Dataset Tutorial
Using the Uniform Appraisal Dataset is a self-paced tutorial that reviews how to apply the new UAD requirements and guidelines when completing appraisal data files. Underwriters can use the information in the tutorial to interpret appraisal data files completed using the UAD standards. We have now added a Certificate of Completion to the tutorial, which participants can print out after completing the tutorial and its accompanying course evaluation.
REMINDERS
Temporary High-Balance Loan Limits Set to Expire September 30
The High-Cost Area (HCA) loan limits for high-balance mortgage loans (HBLs) will change for loans originated after September 30, 2011. Barring congressional action, the "temporary" loan limits now in place will expire on that date, and loans with mortgage note dates on or after October 1, 2011, will be subject to the "permanent" limits.

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TX Appeals Court Finds Moratorium Improperly Issued as applied to Already Approved Development

TX Appeals Court Finds Moratorium Improperly Issued as applied to Already Approved Development

After plaintiff developer’s preliminary plat including infrastructure details was approved by the city Council, plaintiff began constructing infrastructure within the subdivision. The final plat was approved by the City Council, signifying that the sewer taps on each lot were connected to the City’s sewer system and the subdivision was ready for residential construction. However, after the infrastructure was fully completed, the City determined that it was operating above its sewer capacity and imposed a moratorium on the connection of any new residential and commercial buildings to its sewer system until a new plant could be constructed. Although the City exempted several of plaintiff’s lots from the moratorium, plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that the moratorium did not apply to its subdivision and that the City could not deny building permits for any of the lots based on the moratorium. Plaintiff also sued for inverse condemnation of the property resulting from the moratorium. At issue was whether the plaintiff’s property was “approved for development” such that a moratorium could not be imposed upon it and summary judgment in favor of the City was improper. The Texas appeals court held that it was, and reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the city regarding the applicability of the moratorium to plaintiff’s property and granted plaintiff summary judgment instead. The court also reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the City regarding the inverse condemnation claim and remanded for further proceedings to determine whether a taking of plaintiff’s property occurred.

Under the Texas statute, a moratorium imposed to prevent a shortage of essential public facilities must be accompanied by evidence that the moratorium is limited to property that has not been “approved for development.” The City claimed that it only granted plaintiff approval to complete the subdivision and infrastructure, not connections between buildings and the sewer system, and could therefore impose a moratorium on such additional development. The court found “absurd” the City’s reading of the statute, which allowed it to approve the construction of infrastructure in a subdivision and later prevent plaintiff from building homes due to inadequate sewage facilities-particularly since adequacy of sewage facilities was a factor in the City approving the subdivision in the first place. Thus, plaintiff was entitled to a declaration that the moratorium was inapplicable to the previously approved subdivision, and that the City could not deny building permits for the lots based on the moratorium.

As a result, the court held that summary judgment in favor of the City of plaintiff’s inverse ondemnation claim was improved. Because the City’s motion for summary judgment on this claim was premised upon the applicability of the moratorium to plaintiff’s property, the court reversed judgment on the issue and remanded for further proceedings. Though the court did not cite Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, it indicated that an analysis of the Penn Central factors should be conducted under Texas law to determine whether a compensable taking occurred.

BMTP Holdings v. City of Lorena, No. 10-09-00146-CV, 2011 Tex. App. Lexis 4207 (Tex. App. 6/1/2011)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.10thcoa.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/htmlopinion.asp?OpinionID=10654

Special thanks to Gus B. Bauman & Aron H. Schnur of Beveridge and Diamond for providing this summary for the 2011 ALI-ABA Land Use Institute.

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CLTA NEWS

CLTA NEWS

New CLTA Executive Committee

CLTA Board of Governors elected the following officers to serve from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. ...

 

CLTA Meets with Insurance Commissioner Jones

The CLTA recently met with the new California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones. The meeting was ...

 

Update on Statistical Plan

A new statistical reporting plan for insurers will be implemented in 2012. Industry expert, Don Partington, stated the regulations have ...

 

Update on CLTA Education Committee

The CLTA Education Committee has re-grouped and is looking forward to presenting educational webinars on current issues ...

 

CLTA Attends Large State Association Meeting

As part of on-going state/national title industry relations, several large-state association representatives met ...

 

SACRAMENTO REPORT

NEWS EXPRESS: Legislature Imposes Questionable Emergency Fee for Fire Zones

Bulletin 11/12-24 - August 30, 2011
As part of a last-minute budget fix, the California Democratic Leadership passed ...

 

Restrictive Covenant Modification Expanded to Genetic Restrictions

The Governor has signed into law SB 559 (Padilla), expanding prohibited ...

 

Governor Brown Signs Bill Targeting Reverse Mortgage Scams

Governor Brown has signed AB 793 (Eng), a bill that prohibits ...

 

Recent Legislative and Supreme Court Actions Affect Redevelopment Real Estate Transactions

By: JoAnne Dunec and Bill Shiber

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

Property Records Education Partners (PREP) Holding Breakfast in San Rafael October 26, 2011

PREP has announced the Northern California PREP Regional Conference to be held on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011, at the ...

 

NEWS EXPRESS: EBMUD Responds to Title & Escrow Comments on PSL Ordinance by Revising Guidelines

Bulletin 11/12-20 - August 23, 2011
CLTA is happy to announce that the ...

 

Energy Disclosure Requirement Regulations

Energy disclosure requirements to tenants, buyers, and lenders on commercial properties are the subject of ...

 

CLTA Response to CFPB Forms

The CLTA sent a letter to Elizabeth Warren, a special advisor to the President and to the Secretary of the Treasury ...

 

HUD Issues Mortgage Letter on FHA Loan Limits

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced changes to the loan amounts for ...

 

Backlog Reduced by Secretary of State

Existing fees already collected from businesses were used by the Secretary of State to pay for overtime and temporary help to reduce ...

 

State Lands Commission Audited

An audit of the State Lands Commission by the state auditor claims the commission’s ineffectiveness cost the state ...

 

COURT CASES

Adverse Possession

Hacienda Ranch Homes v. Superior Court (Elissagaray) - (C065978)
Plaintiffs (real parties in interest) acquired a ...

 

Antideficiency

Gramercy Investment Trust v. Lakemont Homes Nevada, Inc. (E051384)
After a judicial foreclosure, the lender obtained a deficiency judgment ...

 

Easements

Hill v. San Jose Family Housing Partners (H034931)
Plaintiff, who had entered into an easement agreement ...

 

Foreclosure/MERS

Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank (A130478)
Plaintiff alleged a foreclosure was unlawful because MERS made ...

 

Loan Disclosure

Boschma v. Home Loan Center (G043716)
Borrowers stated a cause of action that survived a demurrer where ...

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Lorman Education Services Offers New Courses

Check out the upcoming industry related classes being offered by Lorman Education Services. Sign up now!
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SCOTUS Reviewing State Court's Land Grab In Navigability Case

SCOTUS Reviewing State Court's Land Grab In Navigability Case

Posted: 20 Sep 2011 12:01 AM PDT

The top-side brief and supporting amicus briefs have been filed in a case we've been following, PPL Montana v. Montana, No. 10-218 (cert. granted June 20, 2011).

In PPL Montana, LLC v. State of Montana, 229 P.3d 421 (Mont. Mar. 30, 2010), the Montana Supreme Court disregarded 100 years of private or federal ownership of the riverbeds under more than 500 miles of river, and held that the state owned them.* The net result of the Montana court's ruling was that the state was owed millions in back and future rent from the owners of hydropower facilities located on those riverbeds.Sound familiar?

In June, the Supreme Court agreed to review this question:

Does the constitutional test for determining whether a section of a river is navigable for title purposes require a trial court to determine, based on evidence, whether the relevant stretch of the river was navigable at the time the State joined the Union as directed by United States v. Utah, 283 U.S. 64 (1931), or may the court simply deem the river as a whole generally navigable based on evidence of present-day recreational use, with the question "very liberally construed" in the State’s favor?

Here are the briefs so far:

§ Brief for Petitioner, PPL Montana, LLC

§ Brief for Freeport-McMoran Corporation, Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, and the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association in Support of Petitioner

§ Brief for the United States of America in Support of Petitioner

§ Brief for the Creekside Coalition, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, And Dude Ranchers’ Association

§ Brief for Professors John L. Allen, David M. Emmons, Gary E. Moulton, Thomas J. Noel, Charles E. Rankin, Carlos A. Schwantes, and David M. Wrobel in Support of Petitioner

§ Brief for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, American Farm Bureau Federation, CATO Institute, and the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center in Support of Petitioner

§ Brief for the Mountain States Legal Foundation and the Utah Farm Bureau Federation in Support of Petitioner

§ Brief for Montana Water Resources Association, the National Water Resources Association, Heidi Gildred, Patrick Byrne, Clinton Irrigation Disrict, Boyd Standley, Frank Sommer and Jeffrey Carlisle

§ Brief for Edison Electric Institute, National Hydropower Association, Northwest Hydroelectric Association, Electric Power Supply Association, and Public Utility District No. 1 of Washington in Support of Petitioner

§ Brief for American Petroelum Institutue, et al.

§ Brief for Wilbur and Kathryn Hardy, et al.

We will keep following the case and have a complete summary once all the briefs are filed. We have a keen interest in the case because it involves (a) navigability, an issue we have a long history litigating, and (b) the case has judicial takings overtones. More on the case here from the Missoulian.

The Court's docket report is here.

Oral argument is scheduled for December 7, 2011.

--------------------
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Models for Estimating Depreciation in Used Machines and Equipment

New Appraisal Research: 

Models for Estimating Depreciation in Used Machines and Equipment

HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 20, 2011) In a new research project funded by The Appraisers Research Foundation (TARF), a novel application of the Discounted Cash Flow Method for assessing Percent Good Factors for used machines and equipment has been suggested by Prof. S.A. Smolyak of the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute (CEMI) of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS).
 
The suggested application is grounded in the principle of highest and best use and accounts for such factors as the salvage value of equipment, and associated property and profit taxes without requiring cash flow forecasts of the income obtainable from using the equipment. The latter feature makes it possible to apply the method to intermediate-stage technological equipment, for which the monetary benefits that arise can’t be assessed in an immediate manner.    
 
This research has been prepared under the sponsorship of a grant from TARF and is under the review process for possible publication with The Appraisal Journal. The full report is available on the TARF website:  www.appraiserresearch.org.
 
When applied, Prof. Smolyak’s approach for machinery and equipment valuation offers these solutions:

  1. Eliciting and formalizing general patterns of change in the value of aging equipment
  2. Revealing some inconsistencies in a number of tabular and analytical methods for determining Percent Good Factors
  3. Developing new and practical analytical models which consistently describe the dependency of Percent Good Factors on the age of equipment
  4. Suggesting a method for determining Percent Good Factors for equipment aged beyond its useful economic life
The most pertinent results may be achieved from this method when the equipment depreciation process is treated in a continuous time formulation.
 
Prof. Smolyak received editorial assistance for this research from Dr. Michael Milgrim, for many years the editor of the International Valuation Standards, and from Andrey Artemenkov, MRICS. He also received assistance in developing ideas in this research from Prof. Georgiy Mikerin, from the State University of Management, Department of Economic Measurements, in Moscow, and Igor Artemenkov, FRICS, Russian Society of Appraisers.
 
The Appraisers Research Foundation, a non-profit located in Houston, Texas, funds research projects that will benefit the appraiser community and is actively seeking proposals. For information on the Foundation, go to http://www.appraiserresearch.org and click on Research Results. For information on applying for a research grant, click on the Grants tab.
 
For more information on this research, contact the author of this study at: smolyak1@yandex.ru 
 
# # #
 

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September 19, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

September 19, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL: Panel OKs condo project for downtown Santa Cruz: 70-unit building would fill last hole left by earthquake

By J.M. Brown [9/16/11] // SANTA CRUZ -- The Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously endorsed a 70-unit condominium project to be built on the last vacant lot downtown since the Loma Prieta earthquake nearly 22 years ago. Developers of the five-floor Park Pacific, which would sit on 25,000 square feet between Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street, redesigned the brick and stucco sided building to break up its 312-foot length with trellises, decks and other architectural elements. They also added four more units, and will be required to outfit for solar power. …

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: 'Seal of approval' created for local 'smart growth' projects

By Robert J. Hawkins // Product endorsement rose to a new level on Friday as a local coalition of transit-oriented advocates announced the launch of their own version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, for residential and retail projects. … Lowe has pulled together a panel of nearly a dozen local planners, developers, architects, transportation experts and advocates who will be charged with reviewing proposed residential, retail, commercial and mix use developments under a lengthy checklist of “smart growth” criteria.

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

DATAQUICK NEWS: California August Home Sales

[9/16/11] // An estimated 37,734 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was up 8.8 percent from 34,695 in July, and up 10.2 percent from 34,239 for August 2010. An increase from July to August is normal for the season. California sales for the month of August have varied from a low of 29,764 in 1992 to a high of 73,285 in 2005, while the average is 48,344. DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988. …

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

HOUSING WIRE.COM: California foreclosures set to surge

By Jon Prior // California default notices spiked 55% in August, and the number may keep rising in the coming months as mortgage servicers shake off the robo-signing freeze, according to RealtyTrac Senior Vice President Rick Sharga. In August, servicers filed 28,961 default notices in California, the first stage of the foreclosure process in the state, RealtyTrac showed. Another filing tracker ForeclosureRadar found a similar boost in foreclosure starts along the West Coast …

VISALIA TIMES-DELTA: Foreclosure help available; state agency offers $2B in aid for homeowners

By Donna-Maria Sonnichsen // The state is holding out a helping hand to low- and moderate-income homeowners facing foreclosure. The federal government has awarded the state $2 billion to help homeowners avoid foreclosure through a program called the Keep Your Home California. Administered by the California Housing Finance Agency, it offers four ways to spend the money in hopes of preventing foreclosure. … In Tulare County, 108 homeowners and statewide, 7,000 homeowners have already been assisted or are in the final stages of eligibility, said [Diane] Richardson.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose: Community group urges residents to fight foreclosure

By Linda Goldston // As part of a statewide effort to help people keep their homes, a group of community activists urged residents in San Jose's Tropicana neighborhood Thursday to get angry about the housing crisis -- and then do something about it. "We have to stand up," said Louise Vaughn, a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. "It's time for us to start talking to each other, writing letters, making phone calls." A coalition of community groups kicked off their "Refund and Rebuild California" campaign by releasing a report …

FAIR HOUSING

CONTRA COSTA TIMES: Farmworkers sue Pescadero farmer over unsafe living conditions

By Julia Scott // … Despite the contaminated water, most of Marchi's tenants refused to leave because the county provided no shelter to house them. "One of the things this case highlights is a much larger issue, which is a lack of adequate, safe and healthy housing options in San Mateo County," said Lisel Holdenried, an attorney representing the plaintiffs who works for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. The county, one of California's wealthiest, doesn't build enough housing for its poorest residents. Extremely low-income residents -- those who can afford to pay only $627 a month -- represent the largest housing supply shortfall in the county…

HOMELESSNESS

SACRAMENTO BEE: 350 homeless vets in Sacramento attend Stand Down 2011

By Stephen Magagnini // A ragtag army of about 350 homeless vets broke camp along the Garden Highway on Sunday, carrying with them the spoils of war: sleeping bags, coats, underwear, shoes and socks. Many had arrived at Camp Pollock on Friday with little more than the clothes on their backs and maybe a crate or shopping cart. … One homeless Army vet known as "Syphy" Dean said he enjoyed the Stand Down light shows, music and dancing and the connection with others facing similar challenges. "The camaraderie and acceptance was unbelievable," he said.

VOICE OF OC.ORG: Hundreds of Needy Vets Served at Orange County's First 'Stand Down'

By Tracy Wood // …At a compound of precisely aligned, baggy, green military tents on the grounds of Santa Ana College, homeless and generally needy military veterans were offered basic dental, eye and medical care, help with a variety of government forms, and job and housing information. In the gray dawn of a cool, overcast, drizzly day, the aroma of coffee filled the compound. Former military personnel from the 1950s through the Iraq-Afghanistan years lined up for a buffet of freshly scrambled eggs, warm tortillas with cheese, sausage and orange juice. The purpose of Stand Down, organized and run by Veterans First and other nonprofits, is to both provide immediate care to needy veterans and increase awareness of their difficulties. …

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

MARKETWATCH.COM: Movement Empowering Older Americans to Age in their Communities Gets $1.3M to Expand in California

PR Newswire // NCB Capital Impact, Nine "Villages," and University of California Berkeley Receive Grants from Archstone Foundation to Develop and Sustain Aging Friendly Communities through the Expansion of Villages. Thousands of older adults in nine California counties will now have more choice and control to remain in their homes and communities as they age. The Archstone Foundation announced grants totaling $1.3 million under their initiative to expand and strengthen "Villages" throughout the state so that older adults may age in place with maximum independence and dignity. …

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD: State jobless rate rises - Monterey worse than in 2010

By Alana Semuels [9/17/11] // Unsettled by signs that the recovery is stumbling, California employers in August cut jobs for the second month in a row, helping push the unemployment rate to 12.1 percent from 12 percent in July. Payrolls fell by 8,400 positions last month, according to figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department. Monterey County's rate was 10.7 percent in August, down from 11 percent in July but above the 10.2 percent figure for August 2010. …

SANTA MARIA TIMES: Bernanke is tolerating dissent but pushing past it

(AP) Martin Crutsinger contributed // For someone known as a consensus builder, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sure generates -- and shrugs off -- a lot of dissent. Bernanke last month pushed ahead with a plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero through mid-2013 despite three dissenting votes on the Fed's policy-making committee. For decades, the Fed's culture and sometimes its strong-willed chiefs, have normally capped dissents at two.

TRANSPORTATION

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: High-speed rail: Lawsuits could delay, kill plans

By Stephanie Rice // Even if state officials can scrape together the billions of dollars needed to fund California's ambitious high-speed rail plans, lawsuits from cities and opposition groups could delay, divert or derail the project. In the Bay Area, cities and nonprofits are suing over issues with the route and environmental studies. In Southern California, the city of Palmdale (Los Angeles County) has gone to court over fears that rail officials will abandon a planned Antelope Valley line through the city …

NATIONAL HOUSING NEWS

FORBES.COM: US home builder outlook worsens in September

By Derek Kravitz // WASHINGTON -- The U.S. homebuilders' outlook worsened in September, as foreclosures and anxious buyers hurt construction and sales activity. The National Association of Home Builders said Monday that its index of builder sentiment in September fell to 14 from 15. The index has been below 20 for all but one month during the past two years. Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. It hasn't reached 50 since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

HUFFINGTON POST.COM: Is There a New Bipartisan Consensus on Housing Support?

By Barry Zigas // …After two years of intensely partisan and polarizing positioning around the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two bi-partisan proposals have created a new front that could signal a more hopeful future for the debate. The two bills are HR 2143 sponsored by California Republican Gary Miller and New York Democrat Carolyn McCarthy and HR 1859 by California Republican John Campbell and Michigan Democrat Gary Peters are very different in key respects. …

DEMOGRAPHICS / QUALITY OF LIFE

CONTRA COSTA TIMES: Behind the poverty numbers: real lives, real pain

By David Crary (AP) // … Some were outraged by the statistics. Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund called the surging child poverty rate "a national disgrace." Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., cited evidence that poverty shortens life spans, calling it "a death sentence for tens and tens of thousands of our people." Overall, though, the figures seemed to be greeted with resignation, and political leaders in Washington pressed ahead with efforts to cut federal spending. The Pew Research Center said its recent polling shows that a majority of Americans—for the first time in 15 years of being surveyed on the question—oppose more government spending to help the poor. …

ENVIRONMENT / SOLAR POWER

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD.COM: Planet Solar completes Largest Govt. Housing Installation in US

By John Toews [9/18/11] // Santa Barbara -- More than 1,000 families in low-income and multifamily homes in Santa Barbara County, Calif., will now experience lower electric bills thanks to solar. On Aug. 18, HACSB and developer Planet Solar were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the nearly 2-megawatt distributed generation project. Solarworld modules were used exclusively on the project, which began last November, according to SolarWorld spokesperson Devon Cichoski. …

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont11.html

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 120 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

OR PUBLICATION

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

I

NTERMOUNTAIN FAIR HOUSING ü

C

OUNCIL; JANENE COWLES; and No. 10-35519 RICHARD CHINN,

Plaintiffs-Appellants,

 

D.C. No.

ý

 

1:08-cv-00205- v. EJL-CWD

B

OISE RESCUE MISSION MINISTRIES; OPINION and BOISE RESCUE MISSION, INC.,

Defendants-Appellees.

 

þ

Appeal from the United States District Court

for the District of Idaho

Edward J. Lodge, District Judge, Presiding

Argued and Submitted

July 12, 2011—San Francisco, California

Filed September 19, 2011

Before: Sidney R. Thomas and Susan P. Graber,

Circuit Judges, and James V. Selna, District Judge.*

Opinion by Judge Graber

*The Honorable James V. Selna, United States District Judge for the

Central District of California, sitting by designation.

17755

COUNSEL

Ken Nagy, Lewiston, Idaho, for the plaintiffs-appellants.

Luke W. Goodrich, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty,

Washington, D.C., for the defendants-appellees.

Linda F. Thome, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington,

D.C.; Ayesha N. Khan, Washington, D.C.; Darryl P. Rains,

Morrison & Foerster LLP, Palo Alto, California; Eric S. Baxter,

Arent Fox LLP, Washington, D.C.; Steven W. Fitschen,

The National Legal Foundation, Virginia Beach, Virginia; and

Joseph Cascio, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, D.C., for

the amici curiae.

OPINION

GRABER, Circuit Judge:

We consider the extent of the protection afforded by the

Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631, against

religious discrimination. Defendant Boise Rescue Mission

Ministries, a non-profit Christian organization, operates a residential

drug treatment program and, at the time relevant to

this appeal, two homeless shelters in Boise, Idaho. Plaintiffs

Janene Cowles, Richard Chinn, and Intermountain Fair Housing

Council allege that Defendant engages in religious discrimination

in providing shelter and residential recovery

services, in violation of the FHA. The district court granted

summary judgment to Defendant, and we affirm.

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8th Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Ordinance Requiring Racing Vehicles be Enclosed When Two or More are Present on the Property did Not Constitute a Compensable Regulatory Taking.


8th Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Ordinance Requiring Racing Vehicles be Enclosed When Two or More are Present on the Property did Not Constitute a Compensable Regulatory Taking.

Patty Salkin | September 19, 2011 at 1:11 am | Categories: Current Caselaw, Takings | URL: http://wp.me/p64kE-1s6

The Indianola City Council passed a vehicle enclosure ordinance in response to complaints from neighbors about several “figure eight” cars on Vinton Watson’s property. Watson, who raced the cars, stored and maintained them at a shop and adjacent parking lot zoned for commercial use. Neighbors complained on numerous occasions about the appearance and noise of Watson’s cars and his repair activities on the property. The city council responded by passing a law which required Watson to install a fence in order to continue storing cars there. Watson filed an initial challenge to the city ordinance, arguing that it created an uncompensated regulatory taking because it required him to build a fence in order to continue his existing use of his property. He also argued that the ordinance decreased the overall property value. When the city council subsequently passed a new version of the ordinance, clarifying the height and type of fence required,

Watson filed a supplemental complaint alleging the new ordinance also constituted an uncompensated regulatory taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Following a bench trial, the district court dismissed Watson’s claim. Watson appealed.

On appeal, Watson argued that the district court had improperly applied the regulatory takings test from Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978). Instead of applying the Penn Central test, Watson argued the court should have applied the physical invasion of private property test from Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419 (1982), or, alternatively, the test developed in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 U.S. 825 (1987) for land use exactions.

The court rejected both of Watson’s arguments. The court noted that the Loretto test was developed to deal with cases involving a permanent physical occupation of property. Watson argued that the ordinance did affect a permanent invasion of his property because it required him to erect a permanent fence. However, the court held that the ordinance did not permit the City or any other third party to enter Watson’s property and install the fence, nor did the ordinance inhibit Watson’s ability to exclude others from his property. Therefore, Loretto did not apply.

Also inapplicable was the Nollan test, according to the court. Watson had argued Nollan was controlling because it conditioned the use of his property on building a fence. However, the court noted that Nollan applies only in case of land use exaction – situations where the government demands an easement for the public across the property as a condition for obtaining a development permit. In this case, since the ordinance does not require Watson to dedicate any portion of his property to public use, the court rejected the argument that Nollan applied.

The circuit court upheld the dismissal of Watson’s claims.

Iowa Assurance Corporation v. City of Indianola, Iowa, 2011 WL 3568922 (8th Cir. (Iowa) 8/16/11)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opns/opFrame.html

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September 16, 2011

Redevelopment: Supreme Court Denies Request for Clarification and Other Random Thoughts

Redevelopment: Supreme Court Denies Request for Clarification and Other Random Thoughts

As probably everyone following this blog already knows, redevelopment is under attack in California. While some might assume the attack flows from continued outrage over the Supreme Court's Kelo decision, the reality is actually quite different. Here in California, the driving force is not moral outrage, but budgetary crisis.

As I learned earlier this week at the IRWA Chapter 67 lunch meeting, Governor Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment is not part of some long-planned effort. According to a presentation by one of my partners, Gale Connor, when now Governor Brown was Mayor Brown of Oakland in recent years, he actually benefited from and backed several redevelopment efforts. It is only now, when facing nearly impossible budget shortfalls, that Governor Brown has taken this path.

So where do things stand?

Status of the Lawsuit: The lawsuit over ABX1 26 and ABX1 27 continues in the Supreme Court. The respondents (those supporting the laws) filed their brief on September 9; the responsive brief from the California Redevelopment Association is due September 24. (By the way, I've seen these bills referred in several iterations including "X1 26," 1x 26," "26 1X," and various other combinations. According to the official bill on the legislature's website, the correct designations are ABX1 26 and ABX1 27. I'll try to use that designation consistently from now on, but I make no promises.)

Earlier this week, the Court also denied the CRA's request for clarification/modification of the partial stay entered last month.

Other Recent Developments: In an effort to avoid the new legislation and the murkiness of the lawsuit and the Supreme Court's partial stay, a few agencies have adopted a different tactic, seeking a legislative end run around the whole mess. Whittier reportedly took the first crack at it, seeking a legislative exemption from the new law regarding the sale of the site of the former Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility.

While initial press reports suggested this tactic might succeed, it ultimately failed in the legislature. A September 12 article in the Whittier Daily News, "Defeat of Nelles development bill likely to delay project, Whittier officials say," describes the effort and its ultimate failure in more detail. If Whittier had managed to garner legislative support, one must wonder whether Governor Brown would have signed the law.

Other agencies are reportedly trying similar tactics, including an effort by Monrovia related to the Gold Line Extension Project, which is described in a September 7 article in the Altadena Patch, "Gold Line Extension Could be Delayed by Redevelopment Lawsuit." According to an article in today's Arcadia Patch, the Monrovia City Council has hired a lobbying firm to help with those efforts, but the legislative session has now ended, so it seems unlikely anything will happen on this front in the immediate future.

Finally, one "clean up" bill was passed before the legislative session ended. SBX1 8 passed in both the Senate and Assembly on September 8, but it has not yet been signed by the Governor. If signed, it would make several changes to ABX1 26 and ABX1 27. We'll provide additional details about those changes when and if the Governor signs the bill.

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Grants Available for Multifamily Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

Grants Available for Multifamily Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Preservation is issuing a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Multifamily Energy Innovation Fund. This fund provides a total of $25 million in grants to be used for energy-efficiency upgrades at multifamily properties. The goals of this NOFA are to:

1.      Demonstrate solutions to the primary and longstanding challenges of implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in existing affordable multifamily properties.

2.      Leverage private capital and additional public funding to demonstrate “proof of concept” relative to specific models.

3.      Conduct applied research to document and disseminate mainstream, scalable approaches to retrofitting affordable multifamily properties.

The overall objective of the Energy Innovation Fund is to help catalyze a home energy retrofit market in the United States by accelerating private investment in cost-saving, energy-efficient retrofits in the residential sector. Innovative and replicable strategies to improve the usefulness of existing HUD programs — as well as developing new financing tools — will lead to significant reductions in energy consumption, operating costs, and the carbon footprint of both affordable and market-rate housing.

You can view the full Energy Innovation NOFA on our website. Please join us for a webcast on September 19, 2011 from 11:00am-12:30pm, when we’ll present the highlights of the NOFA and answer your questions. The webcast can be viewed at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/webcasts/schedule. In advance of the webcast, please send your questions to EIFApplication@hud.gov.

Applications for Energy Innovation Funds grants must be received by HUD no later than October 20, 2011. Detailed application instructions are included in the General Section of HUD’s FY2010 NOFAs for Discretionary Programs and in the Energy Innovation Fund NOFA. Applicants are reminded that when applying for funding through Grants.Gov, a multistep registration process is required. For information, visit http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp and click on “Organization Registration.” Upon registration, you’ll automatically receive updates on the progress of the NOFA, along with additional relevant information as it becomes available.
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September 14, 2011

Financial Analysis Techniques for Owner-Occupied & Income Producing Properties

SCE SEMINAR REMINDER ? YOU MAY BRING YOUR LAPTOP for the 9/23/2011_Financial Analysis Techniques for Owner-Occupied & Income Producing Properties_29006

------------

From:                                             Mary.Higuera@sce.com on behalf of CTACSEMS@sce.com

Sent:                                               Wednesday, September 14, 2011 1:35 PM

Subject:                                         SCE SEMINAR REMINDER ? YOU MAY BRING YOUR LAPTOP for the 9/23/2011_Financial Analysis Techniques for Owner-Occupied & Income Producing Properties_29006

 

REMINDER

Dear Customer:

We are holding a reservation for YOU on 9/23/2011 for the above named seminar at the Energy Education Center in Irwindale.

Check-in time begins at 8:00 AM.
Seminar hours are from  8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Please Note: Bring your own laptop for the convenience of downloading the materials and performing your own analyses.

We remind students that not honoring their reservation is costly.  Cancelling with a minimum of 72 hours gives other students an opportunity to attend.  “No-Shows” compromise our ability to offer training to those on our waitlists.  Your consideration is appreciated.

If unable to attend, please notify us by phone, at 626-812-7537, or reply to email.

Thank you,

The Registration Team

 Bill, China, Jody, Lety and Mary


Tel (626) 812-7537
Fax (626) 812-7548  
PAX 42537  
ctacsems@sce.com
www.sce.com/ctac
6090 N Irwindale Ave

Irwindale, CA 91702

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TODAY'S NEWS

 

September 14, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

PASADENA STAR-NEWS: WISH program helps first-time buyers get a home 

By Kevin Smith // There was a time when the gap between renting an apartment and being able to buy a home looked as vast as the Grand Canyon. Many renters figured they'd never be in a position to purchase a house. But in the current housing downturn prices have fallen dramatically, and so have interest rates. As a result, renting a two- or three-bedroom apartment in Southern California will now cost you about the same each month as buying an affordable home. …

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

U.C. BERKELEY NEWS CENTER: With streamlined regulations, in-law units could boost East Bay affordable housing stock and economy, study finds

By Kathleen Maclay [9/13/11] // Streamlined regulations are needed to pave the way for homeowners interested in building in-law/secondary units on their property around five Berkeley, Oakland and El Cerrito BART stations and in nearby flatlands, according to a University of California, Berkeley, feasibility study. …  In-law units could accommodate a small, but significant, share of the region’s expected population growth, while providing affordable housing and boosting the local economy, according to Karen Chapple…

Report: YES IN MY BACKYARD (September 2011)


 

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: S.F. agency to pay Chinatown group in subway deal

By Phillip Matier & Andrew Ross // As part of the Central Subway deal, San Francisco's cash-strapped Municipal Transportation Agency will give $8 million to the politically connected Chinatown Community Development Corp. to help build an apartment complex. The agreement, which is sitting on Mayor Ed Lee's desk, is part of an $11.6 million package of local and federal funds to relocate 56 residents of low-income housing on the 900 block of Stockton Street that will be demolished to make room for the Chinatown subway station. …

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: So Cal home sales rose in August but prices declined

By Alejandro Lazo // Southern California’s housing market showed some signs of life in August, with sales increasing (though that was mostly because of the calendar), but prices continued to fall. Sales were up 8.6% from the month before and 6.0% from August 2010 with a total of 19,654 properties selling across the six-county Southland in August, according to DataQuick of San Diego. The jump in sales was driven by the fact that the month had more business days than are typical for an August, the real estate information firm reported.

 

DATAQUICK NEWS: Southland August Home Sales Climb, Median Price Falls Again

La Jolla, CA // Southern California home sales rose last month above the July and year-earlier level, the result of seasonal forces, a relatively high number of business days this August and continued robust bottom-feeding. Prices appeared to be trending sideways to downward, with the region’s overall median sale price dipping below a year earlier for the sixth consecutive month, a real estate information service reported. A total of 19,654 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in August. That was up 8.6 percent …

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Many underwater homeowners hampered by high interest rates

By Alejandro Lazo // The vast majority of Americans with mortgages worth more than their homes are also stuck with high-interest-rate loans, putting them in precarious financial situations, according to data released Tuesday. A total of 10.9 million homes with a mortgage were in a negative equity position at the end of the second quarter, constituting 22.5% of all residential properties with a mortgage, according to Santa Ana research firm CoreLogic. That was only a slight decline from 22.7% during the first three months of the year. …

 

VENTURA COUNTY STAR: Nearly quarter of county homeowners owe more than their homes are worth

By Jim McLain [9/13/11] // About 41,590 Ventura County homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth in the second quarter, an "underwater" share slightly above the national average but well below California's percentage, a real estate analytics firm said Tuesday. The analysis indicated 24.1 percent of local homeowners with mortgages were upside-down on their loans between April and June. An additional 4.8 percent, or 8,326 homeowners, were in "near negative equity," meaning their homes were worth at most 5 percent more than they owed. …

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

FRESNO BUSINESS JOURNAL: Sanger gets $540K grant for home program

[9/13/11] // The City of Sanger will continue to help put people in new homes with a $540,000 extension on its BEGIN homebuyer grant. The new infusion from the California Department of Housing & Community Development will allow the city to continue offering low-interest loans until June 30, 2012 to first-time homebuyers in the Monterey Homes subdivision at 10th and K Street. The city's BEGIN program kicked off in 2006 with $450,000 in down payment assistance for low- to moderate-income homebuyers in the subdivision. …

 

KSEE24.COM: Sanger Granted Extension in Down Payment Assistance Program

[Sept. 13, 2011 Press Release] // The California Department of Housing & Community Development has notified Sanger that its 1st-time home buyer grant has been extended to June 30, 2012. This grant extension makes $540,000.00 in down payment assistance funds available for buyers of new homes in the Monterey Homes subdivision at 10th and K Street in Sanger. …

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

CONTRA COSTA TIMES: Young people hit hard as U.S. poverty rate increases to 15.1 percent

By Matt O’Brien // Joblessness pushed an additional 2.6 million people into poverty last year as 15.1 percent of Americans and 16.3 percent of Californians were living under the poverty line -- the highest rate since 1993, according to 2010 U.S. census statistics released Tuesday. "I never thought it was going to be this bad," said Celina Lopez, a single mother of two young children who has moved in with her grandmother in El Sobrante. "My situation is pretty scary, in terms of housing, kids and being able to provide for them. I didn't think it would be this hard to find a job." …

 

FORBES.COM: U.S. Consumers Have Miserable Outlook on Housing and Growth, With Good Reason

By Steve Schaefer [9/12/11] // …For three straight months, the consumers surveyed by the government-sponsored mortgage firm have expected home prices to decline over the next 12 months, most recently by a margin of 0.5%, compared to 0.3% in July. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed (69%) say it is a good time to buy a home. That seems incongruous, but with affordability at record levels and mortgage rates at enticing lows the logic holds.

 

SACRAMENTO BEE: Job plan would aid high-speed rail, other California programs

By Michael Doyle [9/13/11] // The Obama administration on Monday rolled out its specific American Jobs Act, a 155-page wish list that includes $4 billion for high-speed rail. The proposed legislation states that at least 85 percent of the funds "shall be for cooperative agreements that lead to the development of entire segments or phases of intercity or high-speed rail corridors." In theory, this could benefit California …

 

TRANSPORTATION

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: S.F. taking small steps to unclog Market Street

By Rachel Gordon // Market Street has been a favorite target for city officials to try to limit private automobiles. For years, there were discussions about an outright ban, but that gave way to business concerns. … San Francisco transportation chief Ed Reiskin said Tuesday there's "an eagerness to move forward" with more experiments to make Market Street more in sync with the city's Transit First policy, which favors transit, biking and walking over the private automobile.

 

REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION

VENTURA COUNTY STAR: Thousand Oaks votes to keep redevelopment agency

By Theresa Rochester // The Thousand Oaks City Council agreed Tuesday night to turn over $5.1 million in payments to the state to keep its redevelopment agency in business, but not before calling it ransom and extortion. … At Tuesday night's meeting, Rick Schroeder, who heads affordable housing provider Many Mansions, urged the council to vote for the payments. "The redevelopment agency is essential for the development of new affordable housing," he said. Thousand Oaks' agency has helped fund $17 million in projects since 1998, which translates into 326 units of affordable housing.

 

GLOBE ST.COM: AREA Pays $60M for 422-Unit Portfolio

By Natalie Dolce // SAN FRANCISCO-AREA Property Partners has acquired a 422-unit multifamily portfolio here for $59.6 million. “Plans for the properties include AREA’s proven strategy of revitalization, rehabilitation and repositioning of this formerly distressed portfolio,” says AREA partner James H. Simmons. … “We are committed to providing safe and reasonably-priced work force housing for local families,” Simmons says.  “This acquisition fits squarely within our strategy of investing in and creating high-quality living alternatives in major metropolitan cities with significant demand for quality affordable housing.”

 

SAN DIEGO READER: Affordable Housing Project Delayed by CA Supreme Court

By David Batterson // …The parking lot project includes revenue sharing between the parking operator and the Redevelopment Agency. The parking lot would remain until a planned low-income apartment complex (“Atmosphere”) begins construction. The affordable-housing developer, Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation, has, according to Graham, “taken the proposed project through the design-review process but staff is unable to [proceed] under the current Supreme Court stay order."

 

POPULATION / CENSUS

SACRAMENTO BEE: California's poverty rate highest in more than a decade

By Phillip Reese // California's poor now outnumber the populations of 33 states and 90 nations – and counting. The state's poverty rate last year rose to its highest level in more than a decade – 16.3 percent – as household incomes plunged by 5 percent, according to census figures released Tuesday. The state lost ground much faster than the rest of the nation, which saw a roughly 2 percent decline in household income …

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: California poverty rate rises in 2010 for fourth year in a row

By Alana Semuels & Duke Helfand // The number of Californians living in poverty grew for the fourth straight year in 2010, more evidence that continued high unemployment and a struggling economy are weighing on the state's families. About 6 million Californians had incomes below the federal poverty line of $22,113 for a family of four in 2010, census data released Tuesday show. …

 

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUN: Number in poverty sets record as income, health coverage fall

By Wes Woods II [9/13/11] // …Although the economic recovery officially began in June 2009, 46.2 million people had annual earnings below the poverty line last year, up from 43.6 million the previous year. That's the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published. California's poverty rate jumped to its highest level in 13 years during 2010, and state household income dropped by almost 5 percent. About 16.3 percent of Californians lived in poverty last year, up a full percentage point from the previous year. Unfortunately, all of these figures are no surprise to several people in the region who help people in need.

CENSUS Current Population Report Series (September 2011)

 

DEMOGRAPHICS / QUALITY OF LIFE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Census poverty report: In tough times Americans 'double up'

By Deborah Netburn [Opinion] // …It is difficult to precisely assess the impact of doubling up on overall poverty rates. Young adults ages 25 to 34 and living with their parents had an official poverty rate of 8.4%, but if their poverty status was determined using their own income, 45.3% had an income below the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65. But one wonders if the doubling-up phenomenon is not all doom and gloom. Perhaps there are some unexpected pleasures that come with living with extended family members? Some would argue it is a return to our tribal roots.

 

ENVIRONMENT / GREEN BUILDING

FORBES.COM: California's Struggle to Add Solar to New Homes

By Ucilia Wang // California is known for providing generous incentives that have successfully promoted solar energy production. But one program hasn’t been so popular, and it may remain so for some time. The program is called New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP), and it aims to encourage homebuilders to install solar electric systems by offering rebates. Since the program’s launch in 2007, just over 12 megawatts were added or approved for installation as of May this year, according to data by the California Energy Commission. …

 

GREEN BUILDING PRO: Sustainability Defines the Next Generation of Affordable Housing

By Laura Archuleta [Opinion] // More and more, affordable housing developers such as Jamboree Housing are finding that the first two questions city officials ask about our communities are: how much will it cost, and is it sustainable? It’s quite possible that an affordable project that would otherwise be opposed in a community, might find support and ultimate approval if the developer has a compelling sustainability story to tell. Powerful voices and inexorable forces are pushing forward the importance and value of sustainability as a critical element in the development of affordable housing …

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont11.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 120 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Court Sustains Demurrer Finding Borrower Cannot Allege Lender Caused Damage Where All Home Values Declined

Court Sustains Demurrer Finding Borrower Cannot Allege Lender Caused Damage Where All Home Values Declined

09 | 13 | 2011 Legal e-Update

We are several years past the burst of the housing bubble, and homeowner borrowers have launched assault after assault against lenders for their alleged participation in the housing bust and continuing decline in the housing market. While these legal battles rage on, the California Second District Court of Appeals issued a decision on August 24, 2011, making it more difficult for borrowers to allege claims against lenders.

In Bank of America Corporation v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, the Second District Court of Appeal granted the lender defendants’ petition for writ of mandate. In so doing, the Appellate Court concluded that the homeowner borrowers could not even allege, much less prevail upon, a cause of action for fraudulent concealment against a lender premised on alleged misrepresentations to investors in loan pools. The fraudulent concealment was allegedly to “bilk investors by selling collateralized mortgage pools at an inflated value, the demise of which led to a generalized decline in California residential property values.” The Appellate Court held: (1) the lender defendants owed no duty to disclose to the borrowers their alleged intent to defraud third party investors, and (2) there was no nexus or logical connection between the alleged fraudulent concealment and the economic harm allegedly suffered.

By way of background, 246 plaintiffs obtained home loans and filed suit against the lender defendants for, among other things, a purported scheme to “systematically create false and inflated property appraisals throughout California” which were then used “to induce [p]laintiffs and other borrowers into ever-larger loans on increasingly risky terms.” The lender defendants allegedly schemed to pool together these larger and riskier mortgages and sold the pools to investors at an inflated value. Plaintiffs alleged that lender defendants owed each borrower a duty to disclose that their respective mortgages were part of a fraudulent scheme that destroyed home values, thereby materially reducing the value of plaintiffs’ properties.

The Court of Appeal rejected plaintiffs’ arguments and concluded that “while [lender] had a duty to refrain from committing fraud, it had no independent duty to disclose to its borrowers its alleged intent to defraud its investors by selling them mortgage pools at inflated values.” The Court further concluded that because all homeowners, including those who obtained their loans from [lender], or obtained their loans through another lender, or those who own their homes free and clear, have suffered a loss of home equity due to the generalized decline in home values, there was “no nexus” between the alleged fraudulent concealment and the economic harm borrowers suffered.

Putting aside the holding that a lender has no duty to disclose an intent to defraud, the importance of the case is the recognition that borrowers suffered no harm as a result of the lender’s conduct, but rather from the housing bust itself. Accordingly, the ruling is important in all borrower litigation where there is an allegation that some misconduct on the part of the lender caused the borrower some economic damage. The Appellate Court recognized at the pleading stage that the damage was caused by the generalized housing bust, not the pooled loans. Because it was decided on demurrer, the case represents an important defense weapon to use against borrowers at the pleading stage before expensive litigation gets underway.

 

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September 13, 2011

Overview of the 50% AEDG for Small to Medium Office Buildings webcast

Thank you for registering for the Overview of the 50% AEDG for Small to Medium Office Buildings webcast.

QUESTIONS FOR PRESENTERS DURING THE BROADCAST: You will be able to ask questions ONLY over the computer. Please submit your questions DURING the broadcast; do not wait until the end or your questions may not get answered. Questions will be answered by the presenters at the end of the broadcast.

HANDOUTS: If you would like to print a copy of the handout in advance of the seminar, please go to: http://www.energycodes.gov/events/doe/aedg_small_medium_bldgs.stm.

AUDIO: You must use your phone to receive audio for this broadcast, so you will need to dial into the phone number below.

PLEASE NOTE: Please be prepared to call in and join the event 15 minutes prior to the seminar start time.

1.    You will need BOTH a computer with an Internet connection AND a phone to participate.

2.    You must turn OFF popup blockers before attempting to join the event!!

3.    Please call in first and then log in on the computer, that way if you have trouble logging in, you can dial *0 on your touchtone phone for assistance.


Seminar Information:

Date: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET, 9:00 a.m. PT
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September 12, 2011

ESTATE TAX UNDERPAYMENT PENALTY WAIVED IN GIUSTINA CASE

ESTATE TAX UNDERPAYMENT PENALTY WAIVED IN GIUSTINA CASE

Introduction

Estate of Giustina v. Commissioner, T. C. Memo. 2011-141 (June 22, 2011), is a US Tax Court case involving the value, for estate tax purposes, of a 41.128 % limited partner interest in Giustina Land & Timber Co. LP ("GLT") owned by Natale Guistina at his death on August 13, 2005.  GLT owned and operated 48,000 acres of timberland in the area of Eugene, Oregon.

The estate valued the holding at $12,995,000 for estate tax purposes.  The IRS contended that the value was $33,515,000.  The IRS issued a notice of deficiency determining a $12,657,506 deficiency in estate tax and a $2,531,501 accuracy-related penalty under section 6662 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Taxpayer's Approach to Value

Both the taxpayer and the IRS employed experts to determine the value of the GLT holding. The estate's expert employed four methods, two that were based on the expected cash flow of GLT as an operating entity, one method based on the asset value of the timber holdings, and one method based on the price of shares of publicly-traded timber companies. These values were used to calculate a weighted average value of $12,995,000.

IRS Approach to Value

The IRS's appraiser also calculated a cash flow value, an asset based value, and a value based on the price of shares of publicly-traded companies.  His approach produced a weighted-average value of $33,515,000. 

The stark difference between the value conclusions of the two appraisers was primarily attributable to two factors.  First, the IRS appraiser assigned considerably more weight to the asset value approach, as compared to the cash flow approach.  The asset value was considerably higher than the cash flow value.  By comparison, the estate's appraiser gave more weight to the cash flow approach than to the asset approach.  Furthermore, the estate's appraiser applied a 25% haircut to the cash flow approach value to reflect the fact that the limited partners of GLT would have to pay income taxes on the partnership's income.

[Read More]

IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction(s) or tax-related matter(s) addressed herein.


 



Hempstead & Co. is an independent financial consulting firm specializing in the valuation of businesses and corporate securities. During our 30 years in the profession, we have prided ourselves on the high quality of our work. We would welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you.



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TODAY'S NEWS

September 12, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

EDHAT SANTA BARBARA: Braddock House Opening

Surf Development Company and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara are pleased to announce the completion of the newly constructed Braddock House in Goleta, California. The Braddock House provides a much needed affordable housing opportunity for persons with developmental disabilities in one of the most desirable but expensive areas of California. The Braddock House is considered a Special Care Facility and provides semi-independent living …

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

1888 PRESS RELEASE: KTGY Group Architecture + Planning Earns National Recognition for Design Excellence & Innovation

KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning is pleased to announce that KTGY's wide range of capabilities, excellence and innovation in addressing complex design/build issues in attached, sustainable communities, mixed-use, transit-oriented developments, and campus housing has been recognized in several recent awards programs. Univ. of California, Irvine (UCI) East Campus Apartments Phase III has been selected as a finalist for Project of the Year in the Student category by Multifamily Executive. … The Crossing at Anaheim in Anaheim, Calif., is also a Multifamily Executive Award finalist earning recognition as the Project of the Year in the Low Rise (1 - 4 Stories) category.

 

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

REDWOOD CITY PATCH: Apartment Complex May Come to Marshall and Arguello

By Stacie Chan // A Southern California developer has proposed a seven-story 116-unit apartment complex at 201 Marshall Avenue. The Planning Commission will examine the proposal in November, according to Dan Zack of the city’s Planning Department. A dearth of housing has been an issue up and down the Peninsula for the past few years, and Redwood City has been committed to providing affordable housing to its residents. The number of below market rate units will be discussed in the near future, Zack said. …

 

SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT: Petaluma City Council considers lowering developer fees

By Lori A. Carter // Petaluma may try to shed some of its “anti-business” reputation tonight when the City Council considers reducing some developer fees. Petaluma currently requires about $1.5 million in various impact fees for construction of a retail building of 50,000 square feet or less, and about the same for office uses larger than 50,000 square feet. Developers must pay $60,000 for each single-family dwelling built, with another $9,000 per home for major subdivisions. … City planning staff made recommendations that could reduce fees for residential projects by as much as 15 percent and non-residential uses by 20 percent, putting Petaluma in the middle of the pack.

 

AROUND DUBLIN: All-American City of Dublin, CA to expand East Dublin by 50%

By Jimmy Huang // Dublin, CA recently took a big step forward to annex the controversial 1,450-acre Doolan Canyon parcel just outside of its current eastern city limits. To put the 1,450 acres in perspective, the Eastern Dublin Specific Plan covers roughly 3,300 acres from Dougherty Road all the way to Fallon Village. If the City of Dublin succeeds in this huge land grab, it will increase the size of East Dublin by almost 50%. Dublin City Manager Joni Pattillo will negotiate an agreement with environmental consulting firm Circlepoint to prepare California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documents …

 

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Lawmakers OK bill to soften environmental reviews

By Marisa Lagos & Peter Fimrite // Sacramento -- California lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that would soften parts of a landmark, 4-decade-old environmental law and could pave the way for the quick approval of large developments across the state. In the final hours of the year's legislative session, Democrats pushed through a measure that would give the governor the power to speed up the environmental review process on some large construction projects, including sports stadiums and green manufacturing plants. …

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Bay Area property tax decline seems to be ending

By Carolyn Said // The beleaguered housing market may finally be bumping along the bottom, according to Bay Area county assessors, whose jobs rest on gauging the state of real estate. After two years during which tax rolls in most of the nine Bay Area counties shrank, often by large margins, this year property tax rolls are fairly flat compared with last year, the assessors said. Admittedly, they're being compared with a lower base. … San Francisco, which has been the most bulletproof county during the downturn, was the only one where the roll rose last year (by 4 percent). This year, it was up by 1.3 percent, the biggest increase of any county.

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

SACRAMENTO BEE: Housing bust hit blacks, Latinos hardest

By Phillip Reese & Stephen Magagnini // Their homes are gone, their credit is shot and their rent is often more expensive than a mortgage payment. The housing bust affected people of all races, but it hit the region's black and Latino populations hardest of all, causing minority homeownership rates to fall to their lowest level in decades, new Census 2010 data show. About 36 percent of the region's blacks own their homes, down from 40 percent in 2000. … Without cash for a healthy down payment, blacks and Latinos turned to the subprime lending market, which overlooked such deficiencies in exchange for higher fees and interest rates. These loans were heavily marketed to low-income residents.

 

MODESTO BEE: Stanislaus County's stabilization program faring better

By J.N Sbranti // At the depths of the foreclosure crisis two years ago, federal stimulus funds began pouring into Stanislaus County to supposedly stabilize neighborhoods. Modesto received more than $33 million in 2009 and 2010. An additional $9.7 million went to a coalition serving Oakdale, Ceres, Patterson, Newman, Waterford and unincorporated parts of the county. … In Modesto, most of the 111 foreclosed properties purchased with public funds now are owned by private investors and nonpublic agencies that rent them out to tenants.

 

HOMELESSNESS

REDDING RECORD SEARCHLIGHT: Veterans find new battle; challenges await as they return home

By Sean Longoria // … These veterans are unemployed in higher-than-average numbers locally and statewide, with more than 20 percent of veterans younger than 35 without jobs. The lack of jobs puts veterans at risk of becoming homeless quicker than veterans of any other era. The state Department of Veterans Affairs estimates Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who wind up homeless do so in three years, compared with 13 years for Vietnam-era veterans. … Unemployment leaves veterans at risk of homelessness. The problem isn't as bad in Shasta County, which has about 30 homeless veterans, compared with other areas. Nearly 30,000 veterans live on the street statewide, with 7,000 of those north of Fresno, said Anthony Zamarron, spokesman for the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

CONTRA COSTA TIMES: Homeless shelter director spends 5 nights in car to promote fundraiser

By Jeanine Benca // LIVERMORE -- When Jennifer Harp, marketing director for Shepherd's Gate women and children's shelter, told her co-workers she planned to start sleeping in her car, she got more than a couple of concerned looks. … In Alameda County, the overall size of the homeless population may be on the decline, according to recently released findings of an annual survey that measures the number of homeless on a given day. According to the study conducted by EveryOne Home, an arm of the county that works to end homelessness, there were 4,178 homeless people in the county on a single day in January 2011 -- 13.6 percent fewer since January 2007.

 

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Design student creates coat for homeless people

By Kevin Fagan // "It's a coat for the homeless that turns into a sleeping bag at night," 22-year-old Veronika Scott said brightly. …The goal is to sell one type of the coat to non-homeless people for a profit, and to use the proceeds to produce others to give free to folks on the street. In between appearances at Fort Mason, Scott showed her coat around the Tenderloin to Quinnine and others waiting for the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church soup kitchen to open. The coat was an early prototype, and not as sleek or stylish as her latest version, [Scott] said by way of apology - but it went over big anyway. …

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Job-creation plan largely ignores housing woes

By Don Lee // Reporting from Washington - President Obama's new jobs-creation plan all but ignores what many economists see as the single biggest problem in the stalling economy: the continuing depression in the housing market. Home sales, prices and construction have been bad and have been getting worse for so long that Washington and many Americans have grown numb to the problem. But dig below the surface and housing turns out to be a root cause of many of the other problems that are getting more attention — including the high level of unemployment …

 

REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUN: Colton envisions downtown revitalization

By Ryan Hagan // COLTON - What began as a committee to plan a new senior housing center might end up as a whole new Colton. The city's Senior Housing Committee, which consists of three City Council members, traveled in August to study apartment complexes in Palm Springs and Cathedral City, and it also toured developments in South Pasadena. … "What I really like is that we're going to embrace what this city's all about - we're not going to try to reinvent the wheel," said Gary Grossich, a business owner and activist in the city. "I think a lot of the city's previous redevelopment projects got off the track because a lot of the public felt locked out."

 

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE: Redevelopment limbo halts Azusa's effort to revitalize troubled community

By Daniel Tedford // AZUSA - A Supreme Court stay and a battle over community redevelopment agencies has put an affordable housing project in Azusa in limbo. Mercy Housing, a non-profit affordable housing developer, was in the midst of negotiations with Azusa to build a veteran-focused complex in the area known as Atlantis Gardens. … Azusa and Mercy were negotiating the details of a 193-unit, 31,000 square-foot housing project near Rockvale and Alosta Avenue. The $74.7 million project would replace the rundown 39 fourplexes that make up the area now. …

 

INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN: La Verne pays to keep its redevelopment agency

By Wes Woods II // LA VERNE - City officials have decided to pay the state in order to keep alive their redevelopment agency.  "A theft program," said Mayor Don Kendrick before the council unanimously adopted the ordinance last week at City Hall. The redevelopment agency will pay $2.5 million the first year and $600,000 every year thereafter with the ordinance's passage, City Manager Bob Russi said. …La Verne formally determined the future of its redevelopment agency by deciding to pay off the state on Monday.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE / BONDS

SAN JOSE MERCURY: OPINION: Put pension funds to work creating jobs

By Dave Cortese // …Street-fueled bubbles and busts of the last decade collapsed our national economy and left millions languishing in unemployment lines. While California corporations are raking in record profits, they are expanding their foreign work forces at a faster rate than California's. Unlike the corporations, domestic pension funds are motivated to invest in American jobs. By doing this, CalPERS would have a golden opportunity to play a significant role in improving the state's economy. California's infrastructure desperately needs an overhaul, from the electric grid to transportation. CalPERS's investments in clean energy, transportation or health care would create a significant number of jobs.

 

NATIONAL HOUSING NEWS

WALL STREET JOURNAL: An Apple Tree Grows in Suburbia

By Stephanie Simon // Used to be, developers built high-end suburban communities around golf greens. The hot amenity now? Salad greens. In a movement propelled by environmental concern, nostalgia for a simpler life and a dollop of marketing savvy, developers are increasingly laying out their cul-de-sacs around organic farms, cattle ranches, vineyards and other agricultural ventures. … And even true believers acknowledge that some potential buyers may be put off by a landscape more squash than sod. "There's a visual component to an edible landscape that hasn't been embraced fully by the public," says David Nelson, senior vice president of A.G. Spanos Cos., developer of the Preserve, the 1,800-acre farm-centered community in [Stockton] California.

 

ENVIRONMENT / GREEN BUILDING

TRIPLE PUNDIT.COM: Habitat for Humanity's Impact on Green Home Market

By Heather King // Habitat for Humanity is one of the world’s leading builders; in 2010, they built and sold over 38,000 homes. Build 100 ranked them the sixth largest builder in the U.S. Habitat’s primary charter is ‘safe, affordable, decent housing for the poor.’ Yet, the celebrated non-profit is an increasingly important player in the green building market.

… They are concerned about the impact on the environment and the impact on homeowner’s health. They are also working to be sure these new homes are located near public transportation, so the daily lives of residents are lower impact and more cost efficient. For instance, a new project comprising 36 homes in South San Francisco is purposefully situated near BART, the Bay Area’s Rapid Transit network.

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont11.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 120 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

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September 11, 2011

Fed. Dist. Court Upholds Restriction on Size of Commercial Sign Finding No Constitutional Violation for Prohibition of Dog Mural

Fed. Dist. Court Upholds Restriction on Size of Commercial Sign Finding No Constitutional Violation for Prohibition of Dog Mural

A federal district court held that a 960-square-foot mural containing a business’ logo and related images, overlooking a dog park frequented by many of the business’ customers, was a form of sign advertising and commercial speech, and could therefore be regulated by the county’s content-neutral sign ordinances without implicating the First Amendment.

Plaintiff, Kim Houghton, was the owner of a dog grooming and boarding business called Wag More Dogs, located in a light industrial district in Arlington, Virginia. After undertaking substantial renovations to the building where her business was located, plaintiff commissioned a local artist to paint a mural depicting dogs, dog bones, and paw prints, on an exterior wall overlooking Shirlington Dog Park. Plaintiff admitted that one of the purposes of commissioning the 960-square-foot mural was “to create goodwill with the people who frequented the [Shirlington] dog park, many of whom were potential Wag More Dogs customers.” The mural included the Wag More Dogs logo and depictions of “cartoon dogs” that were very similar to cartoon dogs depicted on the Wag More Dogs website.

Shortly after unveiling the mural, plaintiff received word from the Arlington County Zoning Administrator that the mural violated a zoning ordinance on business signage, which could not exceed 60 square feet in total. Because of the violation, the zoning official “put a lock” on plaintiff’s building permit and prevented final building inspection of the renovated facility until the violation was addressed. Plaintiff was given several options: covering the mural with a tarp, altering the mural to display images other than dogs, applying for a special exception permit, adding lettering to make the mural a “public information sign,” or painting over the artwork. Plaintiff opted to cover the artwork with a tarp, and the building permit process was allowed to proceed.

When plaintiff received her temporary certificate of occupancy in September 2010, it contained a provision which stated that the permit was valid “so long as the tarp covering a mural that also meets the definition of a sign” remained in place. Plaintiff opened for business, and the tarp remained over the mural. In December 2010, plaintiff filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief and a motion for preliminary injunction, all alleging that the Arlington County zoning restrictions – as drafted and as applied – violated plaintiff’s First Amendment rights. Defendants filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that plaintiff had not “alleged any plausible constitutional violation.” The court disagreed with defendants as to subject matter jurisdiction, ruling that it did have jurisdiction over the case, but sided with the defendants on all other matters.

In a lengthy decision, the court held that the county zoning regulation was constitutional because it was content neutral, restricted only to commercial speech, and capable of passing the intermediate scrutiny test. The ordinance was deemed to be content-neutral because the regulation was applicable to all commercial signs, regardless of their contents, on the basis of their size. Because the ordinance identified speech for regulation “based upon its general category” of business signs, regardless of the government’s views on any given sign’s content, the court held that the ordinance was “clearly content-neutral” on its face, and that intermediate, rather than strict scrutiny, should be applied. So long as a business complied with the restrictions on the total space devoted to advertising signage – which could not exceed 60-square feet –that business’ signage was allowed. Further, because the plaintiff admitted the purpose of the mural was, at least in part, to “engender goodwill with potential . . . customers,” the court held the mural was purely commercial speech, and subject to lesser forms of scrutiny than individual speech, as established in Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of N.Y., 447 U.S. 557 (1980).

The court further held that the country signage ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad, that the “any relationship” test developed by the County Zoning Administrator for determining whether an image was a sign was not unconstitutional, and that the alternatives offered by county officials to the plaintiff were not First Amendment violations. On the vagueness challenge, the court found that the ordinance gave persons of ordinary intelligence sufficient notice about what types of signs were forbidden, and was very similar to other sign ordinances that had been previously challenged and upheld in the Fourth Circuit.

When plaintiff asked the County Zoning Administrator to further define what actions would be necessary to change the sign to an allowable mural, the Administrator responded that a mural could depict anything except images that showed “any relationship” to plaintiff’s business, such as dogs, bones, paw prints, pets, or people walking their dogs. Plaintiff asserted this test was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. However, the test was not included in the ordinance itself and was an “informal response” offered by the Administrator, not a “binding interpretation of the ordinance,” according to the court. Even if the stated test was included in the ordinance, the court felt that it would still pass a vagueness test, since it drew the distinction between signs that “bear a relationship to” a business, which constitute commercial speech, and those that are unrelated to business, which are noncommercial speech entitled to greater protection.

Finally, plaintiff claimed that the county’s comprehensive sign plan, which requires businesses to apply for a special exemption permit before installing commercial advertisements which fall outside the confines of the existing law, was not an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech because it had adequate standards for reviewing permit applications and an opportunity for judicial review by aggrieved applicants. Further, plaintiff claimed that the county’s proposal to allow the mural to stay if the plaintiff added the phrase “Welcome to Shirlington Park’s Community Canine Area,” effectively making the mural a “public information sign” under county ordinance, was unconstitutionally compelled speech. The court also rejected this claim, because the addition of the phrase was one of several alternatives suggested to the plaintiff, not a requirement that the plaintiff actually engage in the speech if she did not wish to do so.

Rejecting as “implausible” all of plaintiff’s First Amendment claims related to the county signage ordinance, the court granted the county’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court further dismissed plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice and denied as moot plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction to prevent the county from enforcing the ordinance.

Wag More Dogs v. Artman, 2011 WL 652473 (E.D. Va. 2/10/11)

The Institute for Justice took on the case for Wag More Dogs, and they have posted information, including a copy of the mural and a video here: http://www.ij.org/firstamendment/3595

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Hiring Experts in Land Use Cases

Hiring Experts in Land Use Cases

Retaining a specialist to testify in a land use case can make the difference between winning or losing a case. Land use cases are often “expert heavy” cases, requiring the testimony of land planners, appraisers, traffic engineers, and noise and lighting consultants. Prior to hiring an expert, you should review as much as possible of the expert’s publications, presented papers, and other written materials and to explore the expert’s history as a testifying witness either in depositions or at trial. An expert who has published peer review profession journal articles, chapters in texts, or books will have a strong working knowledge of all published opinions and counter opinions on the area in question. An expert witness who has published in peer reviewed publications gets the benefit of the jury understands that her research and opinions have been deemed worthy to publish.

Equally important is the expert’s ability to communicate clearly, and the expert’s personality and demeanor. An expert’s appearance and general demeanor, age, personality, honesty, intelligence, and speaking ability should be weighed. In a jury trial, it is often the personality rather than the testimony of the expert that the jury remembers. If a jury has the impression that an expert is being patronizing, they may completely disregard his opinion. Similarly, the selection of an overly shy person as an expert should be avoided, as the jury may not credit his authority. Do not discount the “personality factor,” particularly in a jury trial.
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September 09, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

 

September 9, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL: Marin affordable housing group receives $2.1 million

A San Rafael-based group formed to create more workforce housing will expand its scope with the help of $2.1 million in new funding, the group said Thursday. The Marin Workforce Housing Trust was formed in 2004 to help develop and rehabilitate housing for low- and moderate-income workers in Marin. The group has already issued more than $500,000 in loans to help finance two projects — the refurbishment of the 75-unit Shelter Hill apartment complex in Mill Valley and the planned 60-unit Warner Creek senior housing project in Novato.

 

IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS: $9.6 million in bonds for affordable housing

By Alejandro Davila // Some $9.6 million in bonds for the financing of a 72-unit affordable rental housing project was approved by the El Centro City Council on Tuesday. “The city is not the issuer of the bonds,” Redevelopment Agency director Marcela Piedra said. California Municipal Finance Authority, a state agency entitled to issue bonds, is creating the bonds, Piedra said. … Some 8,000 individuals in the county are on the wait list for affordable housing and most of them are looking for housing in El Centro, Piedra said.

 

HERCULES PATCH: City moves forward with market rate plan for Sycamore North

By Laila Kearney // Hercules has received news that it may be able to open the door to rework or eliminate affordable housing in its controversial Sycamore North project. … CalHFA loaned the city about $5 million on the promise that the funds would be used towards an affordable housing project. Plans for the building currently require 73 of the building’s 96 residential units to be "affordable." The plans also include 40,000 square feet of retail below the housing.

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

HOUSING FINANCE.COM: AHF Announces 7th Annual Readers' Choice Winners

The first phase of housing of New Orleans’ St. Bernard public housing development, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has been selected the overall winner in Affordable Housing Finance’s Readers’ Choice Awards. … The magazine received more than 140 nominations this year for the top developments of 2010 and 2011. Affordable Housing Finance magazine and e-newsletter subscribers then selected the winners from 35 finalists in nine categories. … Other Winners: Urban: Ten Fifty B in San Diego developed by Affirmed Housing Group.


 

  

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

SAN MATEO DAILY NEWS: Foster City weighs options for 15-acre site

By Michelle Durand // A 15-acre site abutting Foster City Hall would turn into a mix of senior and affordable housing, rising up to seven stories at some points and connected through a maze of outdoor spaces and a national organic grocer, under one plan proposed last night. Or, the land which was once slated for a high school could become a mix of separate components like a specialty retail town center with a restaurant and stage, pedestrian crossings to an existing park, housing up to four stories and semi-public space if the City Council prefers a different plan. Both development proposals were presented last night before a packed chambers …

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

Housing market still in distress

Distressed home sales continue to make up a significant share of all home sales in San Luis Obispo County, according to the latest foreclosure sales report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties. Homes that were bank-owned or in the pre-foreclosure process, which means they were short sales or sold before the homeowner foreclosed, made up nearly 44 percent of all home sales in the second quarter of this year, down from about half of all sales in the previous quarter.

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

GILROY DISPATCH: South County fraught with foreclosures

By Mark Powell // It's a dreary game of foreclosure leapfrog. Morgan Hill is worse than San Jose. San Martin is worse than Morgan Hill. Gilroy is worse than San Martin. Hollister is worse than Gilroy.

 

Fannie Mae Opens Homeowner Help Center in Sacramento

Fannie Mae announced the opening of its tenth help center in Sacramento, California. The new Sacramento Mortgage Help Center will provide free education and counseling services to struggling homeowners in the Sacramento area. The Center was developed in partnership with NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center Sacramento Region, local community and elected officials, and area mortgage servicers.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

SAN JOSE MERCURY: Redwood City seeks developers to build 'last great downtown on the Peninsula'

By Bonnie Eslinger // Despite a vacancy rate of 25 percent and an economic recession that shows signs of lingering, this is a good time for Redwood City to push ahead with a major downtown redevelopment, city officials and builders say. And to show how bullish they are, city officials have invited developers to submit proposals to build large-scale projects with office space, market-rate housing or even an upscale hotel on a long strip of city-owned land now used for downtown parking near the Caltrain station. … "The project should take advantage of its prime location by placing a mix of uses on the site that will result in a surge of additional pedestrian activity in downtown and will bring new amenities to the area," the request states.

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

INLAND NEWS TODAY: Obama announces $447 billion plan to boost economy

President Obama made an impassioned appeal on Thursday night for $447 billion in tax cuts and government spending to boost the nation’s lagging economic recovery, calling on lawmakers to put politics aside and work together to solve the jobs crisis.

 

HUD.GOV: HUD Awards $13.3 Million to bring jobs, revitalize 'brownfields' in six cities

[Press release – 9/8/11] // WASHINGTON – In six cities across the country, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $13.3 million to stimulate job growth and revitalize unproductive industrial areas known as ‘brownfields.’ The grants announced today, combined with an addition $35 million in federal loan guarantees, will generate total public and private investment in these areas to more than $166 million. Philadelphia; Cleveland; Toledo, Ohio; Santa Rosa, California; Taunton, Massachusetts; and Ranson; West Virginia will each receive grants under HUD's Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) and expect to create nearly 2,000 jobs as part of their redevelopment strategies.

 

TRANSPORTATION

VALLEY SUN: California bullet train funding slashed by House panel

The fortunes of California's high-speed rail project, which would connect Southern California to the Bay Area with a 220mph train, took a big financial hit Thursday afternoon, when a congressional panel slashed the Federal Railroad Administration budget.

 

THE COAST NEWS: Parking improvements slated for train station

By Bianca Kaplanek // SOLANA BEACH — If all goes as planned, $25 million in parking improvements at the Solana Beach train station could be implemented by the end of the decade, a move that many consider a springboard for a long-planned mixed-use development at the site. … The parking structure in Solana Beach is the second most expensive project, with double tracking from San Onofre to Pulgas expected to cost about $61 million. NCTD has already signed a cooperative agreement with Solana Beach and is evaluating parking, pricing and options for a transit-oriented development at the site, [Matt] Tucker said.

 

REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION

SAN LUIS OBISPO NEW TIMES: Redevelopment blues

By Robert A. McDaniel // The new state budget legislation has given cities a choice: Eliminate their redevelopment agencies or pay the state government for the privilege of keeping them. Most cities have decided to pay the state millions to keep their agencies and to also pay the state a large chunk of their redevelopment money. City staffers have been throwing around a lot of ugly words behind the scenes to describe this process. Grover Beach would have to cough up $380,000 to keep its agency. Arroyo Grande would have to pay around $500,000; Paso Robles $1.7 million; Atascadero $1.5 million. Pismo Beach has announced it will likely eliminate its program.

 

ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE

ENERGY BIZ.COM: Solar Gardens: Sprouting Soon in a Community Near You

By Lee Barkin // In March 2007, Community Housing Works, a non-profit developer/owner of low income housing projects, unveiled a 56-unit multi-tenant unit (MTU) apartment complex called Solara in Poway, California, in San Diego county. Solara was designed from the ground up to incorporate green and sustainability features, including a net-zero energy footprint goal. Building owners in California can now offer cost-effective renewable energy solutions to tenants, allowing them to enjoy lower energy costs and hedge against future escalations in utility rates. Don't be surprised if you begin to see apartment buildings and commercial office buildings advertising the availability of low cost solar energy bundled into the cost of rent, or included with the building as an amenity.

 

  

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 100 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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TODAY'S NEWS

 

September 9, 2011

TODAY'S NEWS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL: Marin affordable housing group receives $2.1 million

A San Rafael-based group formed to create more workforce housing will expand its scope with the help of $2.1 million in new funding, the group said Thursday. The Marin Workforce Housing Trust was formed in 2004 to help develop and rehabilitate housing for low- and moderate-income workers in Marin. The group has already issued more than $500,000 in loans to help finance two projects — the refurbishment of the 75-unit Shelter Hill apartment complex in Mill Valley and the planned 60-unit Warner Creek senior housing project in Novato.

 

IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS: $9.6 million in bonds for affordable housing

By Alejandro Davila // Some $9.6 million in bonds for the financing of a 72-unit affordable rental housing project was approved by the El Centro City Council on Tuesday. “The city is not the issuer of the bonds,” Redevelopment Agency director Marcela Piedra said. California Municipal Finance Authority, a state agency entitled to issue bonds, is creating the bonds, Piedra said. … Some 8,000 individuals in the county are on the wait list for affordable housing and most of them are looking for housing in El Centro, Piedra said.

 

HERCULES PATCH: City moves forward with market rate plan for Sycamore North

By Laila Kearney // Hercules has received news that it may be able to open the door to rework or eliminate affordable housing in its controversial Sycamore North project. … CalHFA loaned the city about $5 million on the promise that the funds would be used towards an affordable housing project. Plans for the building currently require 73 of the building’s 96 residential units to be "affordable." The plans also include 40,000 square feet of retail below the housing.

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

HOUSING FINANCE.COM: AHF Announces 7th Annual Readers' Choice Winners

The first phase of housing of New Orleans’ St. Bernard public housing development, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has been selected the overall winner in Affordable Housing Finance’s Readers’ Choice Awards. … The magazine received more than 140 nominations this year for the top developments of 2010 and 2011. Affordable Housing Finance magazine and e-newsletter subscribers then selected the winners from 35 finalists in nine categories. … Other Winners: Urban: Ten Fifty B in San Diego developed by Affirmed Housing Group.


 

  

LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION

SAN MATEO DAILY NEWS: Foster City weighs options for 15-acre site

By Michelle Durand // A 15-acre site abutting Foster City Hall would turn into a mix of senior and affordable housing, rising up to seven stories at some points and connected through a maze of outdoor spaces and a national organic grocer, under one plan proposed last night. Or, the land which was once slated for a high school could become a mix of separate components like a specialty retail town center with a restaurant and stage, pedestrian crossings to an existing park, housing up to four stories and semi-public space if the City Council prefers a different plan. Both development proposals were presented last night before a packed chambers …

 

HOUSING MARKETS / REAL ESTATE

Housing market still in distress

Distressed home sales continue to make up a significant share of all home sales in San Luis Obispo County, according to the latest foreclosure sales report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties. Homes that were bank-owned or in the pre-foreclosure process, which means they were short sales or sold before the homeowner foreclosed, made up nearly 44 percent of all home sales in the second quarter of this year, down from about half of all sales in the previous quarter.

 

MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES

GILROY DISPATCH: South County fraught with foreclosures

By Mark Powell // It's a dreary game of foreclosure leapfrog. Morgan Hill is worse than San Jose. San Martin is worse than Morgan Hill. Gilroy is worse than San Martin. Hollister is worse than Gilroy.

 

Fannie Mae Opens Homeowner Help Center in Sacramento

Fannie Mae announced the opening of its tenth help center in Sacramento, California. The new Sacramento Mortgage Help Center will provide free education and counseling services to struggling homeowners in the Sacramento area. The Center was developed in partnership with NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center Sacramento Region, local community and elected officials, and area mortgage servicers.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

SAN JOSE MERCURY: Redwood City seeks developers to build 'last great downtown on the Peninsula'

By Bonnie Eslinger // Despite a vacancy rate of 25 percent and an economic recession that shows signs of lingering, this is a good time for Redwood City to push ahead with a major downtown redevelopment, city officials and builders say. And to show how bullish they are, city officials have invited developers to submit proposals to build large-scale projects with office space, market-rate housing or even an upscale hotel on a long strip of city-owned land now used for downtown parking near the Caltrain station. … "The project should take advantage of its prime location by placing a mix of uses on the site that will result in a surge of additional pedestrian activity in downtown and will bring new amenities to the area," the request states.

 

ECONOMY / EMPLOYMENT

INLAND NEWS TODAY: Obama announces $447 billion plan to boost economy

President Obama made an impassioned appeal on Thursday night for $447 billion in tax cuts and government spending to boost the nation’s lagging economic recovery, calling on lawmakers to put politics aside and work together to solve the jobs crisis.

 

HUD.GOV: HUD Awards $13.3 Million to bring jobs, revitalize 'brownfields' in six cities

[Press release – 9/8/11] // WASHINGTON – In six cities across the country, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $13.3 million to stimulate job growth and revitalize unproductive industrial areas known as ‘brownfields.’ The grants announced today, combined with an addition $35 million in federal loan guarantees, will generate total public and private investment in these areas to more than $166 million. Philadelphia; Cleveland; Toledo, Ohio; Santa Rosa, California; Taunton, Massachusetts; and Ranson; West Virginia will each receive grants under HUD's Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) and expect to create nearly 2,000 jobs as part of their redevelopment strategies.

 

TRANSPORTATION

VALLEY SUN: California bullet train funding slashed by House panel

The fortunes of California's high-speed rail project, which would connect Southern California to the Bay Area with a 220mph train, took a big financial hit Thursday afternoon, when a congressional panel slashed the Federal Railroad Administration budget.

 

THE COAST NEWS: Parking improvements slated for train station

By Bianca Kaplanek // SOLANA BEACH — If all goes as planned, $25 million in parking improvements at the Solana Beach train station could be implemented by the end of the decade, a move that many consider a springboard for a long-planned mixed-use development at the site. … The parking structure in Solana Beach is the second most expensive project, with double tracking from San Onofre to Pulgas expected to cost about $61 million. NCTD has already signed a cooperative agreement with Solana Beach and is evaluating parking, pricing and options for a transit-oriented development at the site, [Matt] Tucker said.

 

REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION

SAN LUIS OBISPO NEW TIMES: Redevelopment blues

By Robert A. McDaniel // The new state budget legislation has given cities a choice: Eliminate their redevelopment agencies or pay the state government for the privilege of keeping them. Most cities have decided to pay the state millions to keep their agencies and to also pay the state a large chunk of their redevelopment money. City staffers have been throwing around a lot of ugly words behind the scenes to describe this process. Grover Beach would have to cough up $380,000 to keep its agency. Arroyo Grande would have to pay around $500,000; Paso Robles $1.7 million; Atascadero $1.5 million. Pismo Beach has announced it will likely eliminate its program.

 

ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE

ENERGY BIZ.COM: Solar Gardens: Sprouting Soon in a Community Near You

By Lee Barkin // In March 2007, Community Housing Works, a non-profit developer/owner of low income housing projects, unveiled a 56-unit multi-tenant unit (MTU) apartment complex called Solara in Poway, California, in San Diego county. Solara was designed from the ground up to incorporate green and sustainability features, including a net-zero energy footprint goal. Building owners in California can now offer cost-effective renewable energy solutions to tenants, allowing them to enjoy lower energy costs and hedge against future escalations in utility rates. Don't be surprised if you begin to see apartment buildings and commercial office buildings advertising the availability of low cost solar energy bundled into the cost of rent, or included with the building as an amenity.

 

  

 

GOVERNMENT SITES:

California Dept. of Finance – Governor’s Budget

http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/Historical_Documents.asp

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development - Press Releases

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/news/release/

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – Housing Policy Development Bibliographies

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/biblio.html

 

California Dept. of Housing & Community Development – HCD Web News

http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/news/index.html

 

California Housing Financing Agency

http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/

 

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/

 

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac/

 

HUD Newsroom

http://www.hud.gov/news/

 

Fannie Mae Foundation- KnowledgePlex

http://www.knowledgeplex.org/

 

Federal Register, Table of Contents

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont10.html

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/main/

 

California Supreme Court Decisions / California Courts of Appeal Decisions (last 100 days are posted in full text)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/

 

COVERAGE INFORMATION:

California Department of Housing & Community Development WEB NEWS service coverage:

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week includes electronic format articles retrieved from newspapers or news services that report housing and community development news in California and some national services. Coverage is for California newspapers that are available electronically via the Internet – and any significant related breaking news.

 

(C) Copyright 2011, California Department of Housing & Community Development, Division of Housing Policy Development

Links to web sites do not constitute an endorsement from The California Department of Housing and Community Development. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from these sites.  HCD does not provide full text articles – user must access expired articles via newspaper archives online or local public library.

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From: American Housing Survey (AHS) ListServ

From: American Housing Survey (AHS) ListServ <ahs@huduser.org>

The HUD USER web site has a number of updates related to the American Housing Survey:

2011 AHS Page
The 2011 survey is still in the field, of course (69,702 cases checked in!), but we have started a web page for it. You can download the instrument items booklet in English and Spanish. This is a human-readable (more or less) version of the survey instrument. You can see the wording of the questions and responses. You can also download a copy of the instrument software that you can install and run on a Windows-based computer. It won't save any results, but you can step through an interview and follow how the program branches as it gathers information from the respondent. http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/ahs/ahsdata11.html

2009 Metropolitan Survey Report
We've done something different with the metropolitan surveys this year. Instead of printing separate reports for each metropolitan area, we've put them all into a single volume. It covers all seven metropolitan areas surveyed in 2009: Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York, Northern New Jersey, and Seattle. You can download a PDF version of the volume from the Census Bureau web site at http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/h170-09.pdf , or you can order a paper copy from the HUD USER web store (http://webstore.huduser.org/catalog/index.php). This will probably be the very last time we print a metropolitan report. When we finish collecting the data for the 29 metropolitan areas in the 2011 survey, the data will be available on American Factfinder.

2009 Replicate Weights Dataset
Because the AHS does not use a simple random sample, variances of AHS-based estimates are difficult to calculate. Standard statistical software, which assume simple random samples, will tend to underestimate variances. For the first time, we have produced a replicate weight dataset for the AHS national survey. These replicate weights can be used to calculate correct variances, using software such as SAS PROC SURVEYMEANS. The dataset is available for download in SAS and ASCII formats from http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/ahs/ahsdata09.html . Be sure to download the documentation file from the same page. If anyone has instructions on how to use these weights with software other than SAS, I would appreciate having a copy for our user-supplied software library.

2009 CINCH Datasets
The Components of Inventory Change (CINCH) program uses the longitudinal features of the AHS to trace the sources and disposition of the housing stock. The CINCH (and Rental Dynamics) reports have been available for some time. Now you can also download datasets containing the special CINCH weights and recodes, so that you can do your own tabulations on changes in the housing stock. There are datasets for the National, Seattle, and New Orleans surveys. You can download these by following the links from http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/cinch.html.

AHS Research Conference
You've seen this last one before, but another reminder:
In Spring 2012, the Office of Policy Development & Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development, will host the 2nd Annual American Housing Survey User Conference. The purpose of the user conference is to highlight recent research results based on American Housing Survey (AHS) data. To inform this conference, we invite scholars to propose research papers that apply the special features of the AHS datasets to issues of current interest.

The deadline for submission has been extended to September 16, 2011. For details about how to submit an abstract, go to http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/ahs/academicpapers_2011.html.

Dav Vandenbroucke
Senior Economist
U.S. Dept. HUD
david.a.vandenbroucke@hud.gov
202-402-5890

I disclaim any disclaimers.

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September 07, 2011

The "Bad Old Days" - Feds Sue City For Eminent Domain Abuse

The "Bad Old Days" - Feds Sue City For Eminent Domain Abuse

Posted: 07 Sep 2011 12:08 AM PDT

"Property rights" often are portrayed as belonging only to the rich and powerful and protecting only the politically connected. But as we recently were reminded, this is a very inaccurate picture because property rights -- as the "guardian of every other right" -- form the foundation on which all other rights rest.

If we needed any more reminding, the U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a Complaint in the Northern District of Ilinois against the City of Joliet under the Fair Housing Act after the City condemned an apartment complex in which 96% of the residents are African-American. The City claims it needed to take the property for "redevelopment" to alleviate blight. According to the DOJ's press release:

The complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that the city of Joliet violated the Fair Housing Act when it took actions to condemn the Evergreen Terrace apartment complex, which provides 356 units of affordable housing in Joliet. Due to the lack of affordable housing in and around Joliet, and because the city has failed to produce a meaningful plan to counteract the effect of eliminating 356 units of affordable housing, many of the residents would be left with nowhere in the city to live if the condemnation action is successful.

The complaint alleges the city's eminent domain action came on the heels of HUD's approval of refinancing sought by the complexes owners that would have preserved the affordable housing. The city declared the complex blighted, relying in part on code violations. The complaint specifically alleges:

Nevertheless, the City continues to try to condemn Evergreen Terrace while neglecting to propose any realistic plan to provide sufficient adequate and affordable housing to those who would be displaced from Evergreen Terrace and knowing that there will be few, if any, opportunities for displaced families to remain in or near Joliet.

Complaint at 12, ¶ 45. The city filed the action in state court, but "[b]ecause the action affects property on which the United States may have an interest," the suit was removed to federal court. The DOJ will seek to consolidate the eminent domain action with the Fair Housing Act lawsuit.

The City’s actions described herein were taken because of the race or color and of the current and prospective tenants of Evergreen Terrace. The purpose and effect of the City’s actions and proposed actions are to limit or reduce the number of Black or African-American residents residing within the City of Joliet.

Complaint at 14, ¶ 54. This sure seems to harken back to what Gideon Kanner calls the "bad old days" when "urban renewal" was often a code word for "Negro removal," and the racial element apparently got the feds interested enough to prosecute a civil lawsuit. But it bears noting that in the absence of that element and the accompanying cause of action under federal statutes, the city's use of eminent domain likely would not result in a ripple of judicial interest, especially in federal court.

Complaint, United States v City of Joliet (filed Aug 4 2011)  
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Indiana Supreme Court Holds Ordinance Forbids Rentals in Residential District Based on Definition of Single Family Dwelling

Indiana Supreme Court Holds Ordinance Forbids Rentals in Residential District Based on Definition of Single Family Dwelling

The Supreme Court of Indiana upheld a permanent injunction against a couple who rented their lakefront home to summer vacationers on five occasions, earning $16,559 from rents that averaged more than $479 per night. The Town of Ogden, a community on Lake Michigan that is surrounded by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, filed suit to stop the rentals and levy fines against Steven and Lauren Siwinski, arguing that short-term rentals violated a town ordinance that prohibits commercial use of property in a residential district.

The dispute revolved around the plain meaning of the ordinance, which defines a single-family dwelling as “a separate detached building designed for and occupied exclusively as a residence by one family.” The Siwinskis argued that short-term rentals comply with the zoning ordinance, because their home was used by only one family at a time. The town argued that the ordinance allows a dwelling to be used by only one family as a residence, and does not permit rentals.

The trial court granted summary judgment and injunctive relief to the town, and entered a $40,000 judgment against the Siwinski’s. The Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling, but held that the fine could be no more than $32,500.

Pointing to the plain meaning of the statute, the high court held that the ordinance forbids rentals in a residential district because it defines single family dwellings as dwellings that are occupied exclusively as a residence by one family. The court further noted that the town has authority to forbid such summer rentals, to ensure that renters don’t overwhelm the residential district during the summer season.

However, the high court reduced the fine, which was based on the Siwinski’s profit and the town’s legal fees, holding that the town had no statutory right to attorney’s fees. A state statute permits maximum fines of $2,500 for a first violation of a local ordinance, and $7,500 for a second or subsequent violation, so the court remanded the case with the instruction that the Siwinski’s may be fined no more than $32,500.

Siwinski v. Town of Ogden Dunes, 949 N.E.2d 825 (Ind., 6/29/2011)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06291102shd.pdf

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September 05, 2011

Fannie Mae’s Definition of Market Value

Fannie Mae’s Definition of Market Value

As an FYI for any readers, this is Fannie Mae’s definition of market value, which is contained in the Fannie Mae appriasal form (1004) that is used for most conventional loans:

imagesMarket value is the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: (1) buyer and seller are typically motivated; (2) both parties are well informed or well advised, and each acting in what he considers his own best interest; (3) a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; (4) payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and (5) the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.

Examples: If you sell your house and include your red corvette in the garage as part of the sale, it probably wouldn’t fit the definition above because the buyer very likely paid a higher price for the house because of the machine parked in the garage (#5). Or if there are $50,000 of concessions contained in the purchase price, chances are that the buyer paid more for the house to get the benefit of money back, right? (#5) Or if a property is listed on the market for 1 day only, it may have been under-priced and not reflective of the market, right? (#3) (not always the case if a property goes quickly, but often so). Or consider when a family member sells to another family member and how the sales price is often much lower than it would have been if a non-family member purchased the house. This would very likely not be an arms-length transaction where each party is acting in his own best interest (#4). Or imagine a couple is getting divorced and they need to sell their house quickly. The house sells $30,000 below other recent sales in the neighborhood and so it does not fit the definition of market value (# 2 & # 3). These are the types of issues that appraisers must consider constantly (and these are the reasons why speaking with local Realtors is a crucial part of our job. Having reliable and accurate information leads to better appraisals).

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September 02, 2011

IV. FREQUENTLY COMMITTED SINS (by MAI-Appraisal Institute- AI appraisers) IN VALUING CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

IV. FREQUENTLY COMMITTED SINS IN VALUING IV. FREQUENTLY COMMITTED SINS (by MAI-Appraisal Institute- AI appraisers)

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

Below is a short list of

some common problems found in limited scope reviews of more than 80 purported “qualified

appraisals” of conservation easements at the end of 2003.

Many, while not fatal, highlight appraisers’ lack of familiarity with the Treasury Regulations;

these are easy to correct. Others are considered to be more serious technical flaws. These "sins"

can be informative when completing or reviewing easement appraisals.

1. Serious Technical Issues

A. Appraising the wrong property. Care should be taken that the appraisal's legal description

reflects the area covered by the easement. In addition, there are instances in which the

appraiser does not value all of the donor’s and their family’s property before and after

imposition of the easement (thus it doesn't reflect "enhancement" value as described

above).

B. Relying entirely on the Subdivision Development Analysis technique (which bases the

easement's "before" value on revenues generated by the development of the property). In

order to be valid, the subdivision development plan must be a permitted use according to

local zoning codes, must be technically feasible, and must be a likely form of

development given the local market. Many Subdivision Development Analyses are

frequently supported by:

inadequate land use plan without engineering input and lacking substantiated

development costs.

poorly supported forecasts of lot sale prices,

poorly supported lot absorption forecasts,

poorly supported discount rates,

inadequate profit allocation

C. Appraisals of second- or third-phase easements where the impact of the earlier easements

was improperly accounted for. This is one of the common problems associated with the

phasing of easements (placing an easement on only a portion of the property, with the

intention of doing additional easements in the coming years).

D. Ignoring or omitting existing zoning or property restrictions, such as covenants, deed

restrictions, rights-of-way, or other pre-existing limitations on use of the property.

A Conservation Easement Appraisal Guide Page 34

2. Lack of Familiarity with the Treasury Regulations

A. Using the wrong definition of market value

B. Failure to state that the appraisal was prepared for the income tax purposes of the donor

C. Easements with effective dates beyond the 60-day shelf life of their appraisal's effective

dates of value

3. Other More Serious Issues Not Directly Related to Appraisals

A. Appraisals of conservation easements without evident conservation purpose. Easements

without obvious conservation values and purpose risk not qualifying under Internal

Revenue Code 170(h) and as such, risk not qualifying for Colorado's state income tax

credit.

B. Clever division of family-owned lands intended to maximize donors’ tax credits and to

avoid the issue of "enhancement" values. The phasing of easements is not uncommon and

should only be considered by a land trust if each phased easement can stand alone on

conservation values and purpose. However, it is not acceptable to shelter properties

through various names or other methods in order to skirt the constraints of the tax credit

rules or to avoid the enhancement value.

 

IV. FREQUENTLY COMMITTED SINS (by MAI-Appraisal Institute- AI appraisers)

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September 01, 2011

California Eminent Domain Report

California Eminent Domain Report

California Court of Appeal Confirms Valuation Method for Private Utilities in Public Rights-of-Way

A new published California court of appeal decision may be important for private utility companies with respect to the valuation of their possessory interests in public rights-of-way for property tax assessment purposes. The case, Charter Communications Properties v. County of San Luis Obispo, provides that when assessing the fair market value of a utility's possessory interest, the County tax assessor will likely be able to disregard the utility's agreed-upon remaining term of possession and instead assume a much longer anticipated term of possession to match reality. This, in turn, means private utility companies should expect to see higher property tax assessments.

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