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May 28, 2008

You're Invited to our GRAND OPENING!

  LOFTS 305

You're Invited to our GRAND OPENING!
Sunday, June 1st, 1-4pm

305 McGuinness Boulevard between India and Huron Streets.
Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  NY 11222
Brand new modern loft building | Open spaces bathed in sunlight |
Floor to ceiling windows | Soaring ceilings up to 17' high |
Versatile layouts offer many options | Fully equipped kitchens & bathrooms |
Central air & W/D hook-ups | Indoor on-site parking for sale |
Common roof deck and 2nd floor terrace | Gym and Recreation space

1 BRS fr $440K  |  1 BRS + BONUS fr $570K  |  2BRS / 2BATHS fr $775K
Please contact an agent for an exclusive viewing prior to the grand opening:
718.222.1545 x305    
Co-broke agents please contact Jeanine Castellano at 718-222-1545 x163


Exclusive sales and marketing:
The Developers Group 
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Design Differentiator: Discover How To Incorporate Custom Products Into Your Next Project Without Adding Cost and Complexity

Design Differentiator: Discover How To Incorporate Custom Products Into Your Next Project Without Adding Cost and Complexity
Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:00PM EST

Register Now

Design and décor are taking center stage in the hospitality arena and becoming critical facets of any hotel property.  Today’s guests value the total hotel experience – from the lobby to the guestroom and even into the shower.  They expect to find luxuries that transcend the comforts of home and choose their hotels based on amenities, technologies and design schemes

In this increasingly competitive world of hospitality, hotel owners and developers are pushing their architects and designers to create strikingly unique properties.  As a result, architects and designers are more likely to embrace customized products not only to create an exclusive setting but also to differentiate themselves within their profession through proprietary design.

A certain level of customization is inevitably needed in order to deliver a hotel environment that is truly extraordinary. This is especially true in the bathroom, one of the most scrutinized elements of a guest’s stay, where the customer is looking for a spa-like environment to retreat and to escape.

But for many, when they think of customization projects, they immediately think it would be more expensive, time-consuming and have a greater degree of difficulty. But that doesn’t have to be at all the case.

Join Hospitality Design magazine for this live, interactive Web Seminar, sponsored by Symmons, and hear from industry experts regarding where today’s hotel bath design is heading. Attend this online-only event and learn how to embrace custom products and incorporate them into your design schemes to truly create memorable and unique settings.


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May 22, 2008

Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor

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May 21, 2008

Beazer E., Inc. v. Mead Corp., No. 06-4993
In an on-going contribution claim against defendant under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), wherein the district court denied defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and certified the question of whether certain caselaw precedent limited subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's contribution claims under section 113(f)(1), the circuit court finds that: 1) the "civil action" requirement in section 113(f) is an element of the claim, and is not jurisdictional; 2) the district court retained its original jurisdiction to adjudicate the issues in this case; and 3) defendant waived its challenge to the applicability of section 113(f)(1). Read more...

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Rey, No. 07-16892
In a suit challenging a decision by the United States Forest Service to permit logging in accordance with certain changes made in 2004 by the USFS in the relevant forest, denial of a preliminary injunction against the USFS is reversed and three projects preliminarily enjoined where the district court abused its discretion in: 1) concluding that the USFS complied with NEPA's requirement to "[r]igorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives" with regard to a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS); and 2) in its balancing of equities. Read more...

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Conservation Easements

Conservation Easements



Background - Abusive Transactions Involving Charitable Contributions of Easements

In recognition of our need to preserve our heritage, Congress allowed an income tax deduction for owners of significant property who give up certain rights of ownership to preserve their land or buildings for future generations.

The IRS has seen abuses of this tax provision that compromise the policy Congress intended to promote. We have seen taxpayers, often encouraged by promoters and armed with questionable appraisals, take inappropriately large deductions for easements. In some cases, taxpayers claim deductions when they are not entitled to any deduction at all (for example, when taxpayers fail to comply with the law and regulations governing deductions for contributions of conservation easements). Also, taxpayers have sometimes used or developed these properties in manner inconsistent with section 501(c)(3). In other cases, the charity has allowed property owners to modify the easement or develop the land in a manner inconsistent with the easement’s restrictions.

Another problem arises in connection with historic easements, particularly façade easements. Here again, some taxpayers are taking improperly large deductions. They agree not to modify the façade of their historic house and they give an easement to this effect to a charity. However, if the façade was already subject to restrictions under local zoning ordinances, the taxpayers may, in fact, be giving up nothing, or very little.  A taxpayer cannot give up a right that he or she does not have.

Additional Information

Updated:  May 12, 2008

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May 20, 2008

City of Santa Monica v. Gonzalez, No. S145571

City of Santa Monica v. Gonzalez, No. S145571
An appointment of a receiver and a decision by the plaintiff to demolish the defendant's house and sell the property as authorized under sections 17980.6 and 17980.7 is affirmed where: 1) the defendant was statutorily entitled to notice that failure to correct the substandard condition of his property might result in the appointment of a receiver and the plaintiff duly afforded that notice; 2) there was no violation of due process since the defendant had been on notice for years regarding the uninhabitable condition of his property and the various code violations and had been given ample opportunity for a hearing and to correct the violations; 3) the court adopts a standard of review for orders authorizing the receiver to contract for demolition requiring the courtÂ’s sound discretion exercised in view of all the surrounding facts and circumstances and in the interest of fairness, justice and the rights of the respective parties; and 4) the plaintiff did not abuse its discretion when it chose to demolish the house. Read more...   
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May 11, 2008





Each year the Branch awards outstanding Civil Engineers and projects for their contributions to ASCE, the civil engineering community, and the public.  If you or a colleague is aware of an outstanding Civil Engineer or project we encourage that you nominate them for an award. Nominations are now welcome for the 2006-07 Fiscal Year in the following categories:

*       Outstanding Civil Engineer in Government
*       Outstanding Civil Engineer in Private Sector
*       Outstanding Civil Engineer in Community Service
*       Outstanding Younger Civil Engineer
*       Student Chapter Practitioner Advisor Award
*       Student Chapter Faculty Advisor Award
*       Awards for Technical Excellence
*       Outstanding Government Civil Engineering Project
*       Outstanding Private Sector Civil Engineering Project
*       Outstanding Public/Private Sector Civil Engineering Project

Please note that nominees must be members of the Branch and that projects need to be located within Los Angeles County.  You may submit your nominations along with the nomination form to:

Hector J. Bordas

Chair, Awards Committee

LA County Dept. of Public Works

Watershed Management Division, 11th Floor

900 S. Fremont Ave.

Alhambra, CA 91803

Or by email to hbordas@dpw.lacounty.gov (PDF files please).

Nominations will be accepted through June 30, 2007.  For information regarding the awards, including the nomination form, please visit the Branch website at http://www.ascemlab.org/ or you may contact me directly at 626/458-5947 or hbordas@dpw.lacounty.gov.

We look forward to your nominations.


Hector J. Bordas

Chair, Awards Committee

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May 10, 2008

creating a sustainable Los Angeles


Over the next five years, the City of Los Angeles will invest more than $1 billion in the design,
renovation, and construction of public libraries, fire stations, animal shelters, recreational facilities,
and other municipal buildings. This capital investment presents incalculable opportunities for the
City to shape the physical landscape in a manner that is environmentally sensitive, resource and
energy efficient, and that optimizes occupant health and comfort. As well, it represents a challenge
for the City to demonstrate its environmental and business leadership, and to establish a firm
foundation for creating a sustainable Los Angeles.
Through a variety of innovative programs, the City has earned a reputation as an environmental
leader, promoting water and energy conservation, waste reduction and pollution prevention, and
global climate protection. From the Low-Flow Toilet Ordinance, to the Department of Water and
Power’s Green Power Program, to the recent adoption of the City’s Climate Action Plan, Los Angeles
has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship with progressive, costeffective
initiatives. In fact, the City has taken steps to introduce resource-efficient building practices
in the Library Bond Program, and has required specific standards be met in the Animal Shelter and
Fire Facilities Bond Programs. However, the City’s efforts to encourage these types of sustainable
design measures on a citywide basis have fallen far short of their mark.
Currently, certain regulatory, financial and institutional barriers exist that retard efforts to entrench
these types of building practices within the City. Some of these barriers are real, others merely
perception, but the rationale for pursuing a comprehensive building strategy for the City’s
extraordinary capital commitment is compelling. And the economic, environmental and social
benefits that such a strategy will yield are extensive. The course Los Angeles charts for its future
building campaigns will have a profound effect on the direction the region, even the nation, takes in
years to come.
At this critical moment, it is essential to develop a
process that maximizes the value of every taxpayer
dollar spent on the design and construction of
municipal facilities. We must take a proactive
approach to making our city facilities more costefficient
and environmentally responsible, and not
squander the opportunity to take a leadership role for
the rest of the country. Building smart now will
enable the City to reap the dividends for future years. Green building, with its focus on highperforming
facilities and a systematic accounting of the environmental and societal impacts of design
and construction, is the strategy to meet the City’s growing building and infrastructure needs.
“We shape our buildings,
and afterwards our
buildings shape us.”
Winston Churchill, 1943

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May 08, 2008

May 01, 2008 - May 07, 2008
Provided by Commercial Real Estate Direct

Apartment Rentals Rates Climb in New Orleans
Rental rates for apartment units in
New Orleans have reached some significant highs, according to a report by Larry G. Shedler & Associates. The research firm found that rents have increased as much as 20 to 30% since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The survey, which focused primarily on larger apartment communities, said that apartments in the historic district of New Orleans had the highest rates, commanding $1,300/unit. The report also says that about 1,775 units are under construction in the region.
NYC Council Endorses Rezoning in Harlem
The New York City Council has endorsed a controversial rezoning of dozens of blocks in
Harlem's main business district. The new zoning would allow much denser development, including a 19-story office tower and 2,000 market-rate apartments in Harlem's 125th Street Corridor. Residents have complained that the change will erase the neighborhood's character.
Real Estate CDO Delinquency Level Dips
The delinquency rate of collateralized debt obligations backed by commercial real estate continued to drop, falling to 0.69% last month from 0.74% in March, according to Fitch Ratings. The company warned that the CDO delinquency rate would be more volatile than that for the CMBS market, which has been inching up over the past few months, but remains at historically low levels because most CDOs are backed by loans on properties that are in transition.

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May 05, 2008


From: HUD USER News
In partnership with the American Planning Association
(APA), HUD announced the winner of the Opportunity
and Empowerment Award at APA's National Planning
Conference in April. Clara White Mission in
Jacksonville, Florida was honored as a community
project that improves the quality of life for low-
and moderate-income families. The Clara White Mission
works to eradicate chronic homelessness in blighted
areas by offering up to 24 months of housing and
supportive services in its 36-unit development. It
also supports workforce development by providing
members of the community - especially veterans and
ex-offenders - with marketable job skills tailored to
meet the needs of the local market.
Additional information on this award, as well as its
previous winners, is available at
 www.huduser.org/research/apa.html. Information on the
Secretary's Awards program can be found at
Please contact us at:
P.O. Box 23268
Washington, DC 20026-3268
1-800-927-7589 (TDD)
202-708-9981 (fax)
The HUD USER News eList keeps busy professionals in the
fields of housing and community development informed of
new research and resources available from the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of
Policy Development and Research (PD&R). Periodically,
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You can search the eList archives
at http://listserv.huduser.org/.
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a colleague? Forward this email to associates who may be
interested in the housing research and data sets we have
to offer. Thanks!
To keep up with the latest HUD research and related
resources, you can also sign up for a free subscription
to our ResearchWorks newsletter (in either electronic or
print-based formats) by visiting http://www.huduser.org/emaillists/subscr.html.
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you expressed interest in receiving a weekly email to
stay informed of new HUD research and resources. If you
no longer wish to receive this email, please send an
email to hudusernews@huduser.org with "unsubscribe"
as the SUBJECT.
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Mastering Swiftestimator - Commercial


Mastering Swiftestimator - Commercial

Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT


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Eminent Domain Insurance

America's Foreclosure Epidemic

Eminent Domain Insurance
by Robert Franco

Reprinted with permission March 27, 2008


I read an article today about a company that is offering an insurance property to protect property owners against losses incurred as a result of the state's power of eminent domain. I had to check my calendar to see if it was April Fool's Day. I think this is probably the most useless type of insurance I have ever seen... and its not cheap! (see Underwriter Launches Policy to Protect Against Eminent Domain).
For less than $300 per year, the policy provides up to $200,000 loss of market value when the home is sold, plus up to $50,000 to relieve the expense of moving as a result of eminent domain...

The company claims that this was developed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London. In that case, the Supreme Court held that a state could use its eminent domain power to take property from a homeowner and give it to a private developer for economic redevelopment. The decision was so alarming that state legislators across the country began working on legislation that would protect their constituents from such takings. Some have been more successful than others, but the backlash from the Kelo decision likely means that this type of taking will be more difficult in the future.

What exactly does this insurance cover? When the state exercises its eminent domain power, they are required by the constitution to compensate the homeowner. That usually means they must pay fair market value. The policy provides up to $200,000 for loss of market value, but how is that measured? Presumably, the loss of market value would have to be attributable to the eminent domain action which will result in a payment of fair market value to the homeowner. Plus the policy will pay up to $50,000 for moving expenses.

The odds of losing your home to eminent domain seem very slight and the payout on such a policy will likely be very limited. Yet, the premium seems fairly expensive at about $300 per year. Of course, the company offering the coverage has exactly the opposite opinion.

[The Ward Group LLC] said the policy offers more than real protection, it provides “peace of mind.”

“When you consider the value and limits of coverage provide and the relatively low premium amount, we are confident a high percentage of homeowners will elect to purchase the coverage,” said Ward.

My advice would be to buy a lottery ticket - your odds of winning the lottery are probably better than having your home seized by eminent domain and it will only cost you $1.00.


Comment or vote on this article
 Read or Post Comments on This Article   Send this article to a friend

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Wild Bill Milenski

KUSA – A real estate appraiser accused of overvaluing land has lost his license and now William Milenski may face charges.

The Colorado Attorney General's office is investigating whether Milenski over appraised conservation easements. The easements are used to stop development on private lands.

In exchange, landowners are given state income tax credits that can be sold for cash.

The program has come under fire because of concerns that appraisals have been improperly inflated and lands with questionable public value have been protected.

"What we've seen with our investigation is that upwards of $100 million in state tax credits are suspect. That's money that is coming directly out of state coffers," said Erin Toll with the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to establish a commission to help police the conservation easement program. House Bill 1353 will also give the Department of Revenue and the Division of Real Estate more staff to review transactions.

(Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)
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May 02, 2008

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Second Appraisal Requirements
Mortgagee Letter 08-09 sets the requirement for a second appraisal in high-cost areas…read more…

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Content updated April 17, 2008 Back to top

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May 01, 2008

Appraisal Standards Board

TO: All Interested Parties
FROM: Appraisal Standards Board
Appraiser Qualifications Board
RE: Follow-up: Invitation to Comment on USPAP and USPAP Education
DATE: April 25, 2008
The Appraisal Standards Board and Appraiser Qualifications Board published an Invitation to Comment
on December 17, 2007. Since that time we have received hundreds of written comments as well as oral
testimony at a public hearing of the ASB and AQB on March 3rd in Los Angeles.
We have been very pleased with the number and quality of the responses and look forward to additional
feedback in the coming months. The purpose of this document is to provide a general summary of the
comments received to date (which will form a basis for the work plans of the ASB and the AQB) and to
solicit additional feedback.
All interested parties are encouraged to comment in writing before the deadline of May 30, 2008.
Comments are also invited at the ASB and AQB Public Meetings on June 6, 2008, in Atlanta, Georgia.
You may submit written comments by mail, e-mail or facsimile.
IMPORTANT NOTE: All written comments will be posted for public viewing, exactly as
submitted, on the website of The Appraisal Foundation.
Mail: ASB/AQB ‘2008’ Invitation to Comment Follow-up
c/o The Appraisal Foundation
1155 15th Street, NW, Suite 1111
Washington, DC 20005
E-mail: comments@appraisalfoundation.org
Facsimile: (202) 347-7727
Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact The Appraisal Foundation at (202) 347-

The opinions received on nearly every issue were very diverse. Such is the nature of our profession and
USPAP’s perceived relevance to each of us. There were, however, some regularly occurring themes and
opinions about the makeup of the document.
We have divided the major themes into two sections: 1) Those related to the USPAP document and
falling under the ASB umbrella; and 2) Those items related to USPAP education and qualifications,
falling under the AQB’s jurisdiction.
Regarding USPAP (ASB):
It is not the ASB’s objective to expand USPAP, but rather to clarify and simplify the requirements and
to give practical guidance on proper application.
Based on the comments received to date, the ASB is considering addressing the following areas of
concern and is seeking additional feedback on these or any other topics.
One common theme was that the length and complexity of USPAP is an impediment to understanding
for many appraisers and users of appraisal services. There were comments that the recent changes have
been an improvement, particularly the removal of the DEPARTURE RULE and the creation of the
SCOPE OF WORK RULE. However, the ongoing challenge to the ASB is to continue to clarify vague
or ambiguous portions of USPAP.
Another common sentiment was a frustration that no matter how clear and direct Standards become,
unethical individuals will continue to flaunt the basic precepts of professional conduct. Many stated that
improved enforcement is needed to reduce unethical and incompetent practice. To paraphrase a
recurring comment: USPAP is helpful for appraisers seeking to do a good job, but too many appraisers
fail to follow USPAP. While this state of affairs may be disheartening, it demonstrates the need for the
ASB to improve USPAP to facilitate better enforcement.
Promotion of USPAP
Many comments were received regarding the lack of awareness of USPAP among appraisers and users
of appraisal services across all the disciplines. Several responses suggested two common concerns: (1)
appraisers who fail to observe standards of professional conduct put those who do at a disadvantage; and
(2) it is difficult for ethical appraisers to counter attempts to improperly influence assignment results
when clients do not recognize that appraisers have standards of professional conduct. Many responses
suggested a need for greater public awareness of the fact that there are professional standards for
Respondents cited numerous concerns related to communication of assignment results. There were
requests for clarification of the reporting requirements. It was noted that after the addition of the
SCOPE OF WORK RULE in 2006, it would be appropriate to now address the concept of reporting.
Comments received, as well as current events, suggest that USPAP requirements for ethical conduct
need to be reviewed to make sure they clearly and directly address contemporary issues facing

appraisers. Other comments tied recent valuation failures to competent performance, suggesting that the
COMPETENCY RULE should be reviewed for clarity and adequacy.
Comments received suggest that appraisers are unclear on when or how the JURISDICTIONAL
EXCEPTION RULE applies, necessitating clarification by the ASB.
STANDARD 3: Appraisal Review, Development and Reporting
Comments were received regarding STANDARD 3, including development, reporting, and scope of
work requirements as well as overall understandability. These comments served to reinforce comments
received by the ASB in other exposure periods regarding STANDARD 3. Both appraisers who perform
reviews and users of review appraisal services are requesting the ASB to address the existing structure
and language of this Standard. Comments reflected a need for greater clarity of the requirements when a
reviewer develops his or her own opinion of value.
STANDARDS 7 and 8: Personal Property Appraisal, Development and Reporting
Comments received made it clear that the personal property standards should more specifically address
relevant concepts in those disciplines. Some comments suggest that these standards are currently more
aligned with real property practices and terminology than with those of personal property.
STANDARDS 9 and 10: Business Appraisal, Development and Reporting
Comments received reflected that the business valuation standards have improved, and future revisions
should be based on appropriate representation from the discipline.
Application Examples for Personal Property and Business Appraisal
Respondents from the personal property and business valuation disciplines voiced their desire for more
practical application illustrations and examples related to their practices.
Regarding USPAP Education and Qualifications (AQB):
Many responses suggested that individuals wishing to enter the appraisal profession have a lack of
context when taking the required 15-hour National USPAP Course. Several comments suggested that a
short “Introduction to USPAP” course be required prior to taking the 15-hour course. In addition,
several comments suggested that the AQB consider establishing criteria that dictates the sequence of the
initial education (Basic Appraisal Principles, Basic Appraisal Procedures, 15-hour National USPAP
Course). Therefore, the AQB is seeking feedback on the following two specific issues:
1) Requiring a short (4-hour to 7-hour) “Introduction to USPAP” course prior to the initial
qualifying education courses; and
2) Requiring the initial qualifying education to be completed in the following sequence:
a. Introduction to USPAP (if adopted)
b. Basic Appraisal Principles
c. Basic Appraisal Procedures
d. 15-hour National USPAP Course

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