CPE Executive Council: Legislation to Keep an Eye On

The election isn't the only thing to watch out for.

CPE Executive Council

It’s an election year, but that isn’t the only thing coming out of D.C. those in commercial real estate should be watching out for. The CPE Executive shares the initiatives effecting the industry that they’re keeping an eye on.

Josh Poag
Josh Poag

Shopping Around

The most important legislative issue for the shopping center industry is Organized Retail Crime (Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023″ (S. 140/H.R. 895)). There are many more bills working their way through state legislatures.

Retail has been hit hard by organized crime as there has been a push not to endanger employees over theft and for courts not to prosecute thefts under certain dollar amounts. Criminals are smart enough to stay under these thresholds and avoid prosecution.

ORC increases theft, lawlessness and chaos, which has hit retailers hard, with some closing stores that are being hit especially hard by the crime wave.

Our industry is encouraging legislation to increase penalties, allowing law enforcement to aggregate the amount of stolen goods, creating a criminal code for ORC in some states currently without the criminal code, and establishing statewide ORC task forces. —Joshua Poag, CEO, Poag Development Group

Jeff Hamman
Jeff Hamann

Keeping it Broad

I’m not following any specific bill in any specific jurisdiction at this point. There are so many different, often conflicting bills moving at the local, state and federal levels that any investment strategy overly based on legislative progress (or stalling) is like reading tea leaves.

What’s important and a better return on investment is simply understanding local needs wherever you’re investing. It’s much easier (and often far more fulfilling and impactful) to work with the Kenosha City Council instead of the opaque sausage-making machine of Washington, for example.

Washington politics are important, but I’d rather wait until there’s something to actually focus on. There’s no need to dedicate too many waking hours to bills that may in all likelihood die in committee. —Jeff Hamann, Editorial Director, Janover

Doug Ressler
Doug Ressler, Manager, Yardi

Multiple Options

MassHousing and the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corp. are starting a new fund aimed at diversifying the state’s housing industry.

The partnership will launch the Equitable Developers Fund with $50M in public funding to provide financing to developers from “socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and communities,” according to a press release Wednesday. It plans to raise an additional $25M from private investors.

Georgia’s annual legislative session kicked off on Jan. 8, and a number of housing-related proposals from Democrats are up for consideration.

House Bill 404 would codify a minimum, but undefined standard of “habitability” for rental complexes; Senate Bill 125 would repeal Georgia’s decades-old ban on rent regulation; and Senate Bill 29 would limit powerful homeowner’s associations’ ability to place liens against property when residents fall behind on dues and fines.

State Sen. Sean M. Ryan is pushing a five-year plan that calls for housing reform in Buffalo and other upstate cities that would create hundreds of starter homes, provide incentives for landlords to fix substandard rental properties, help homeowners save on energy costs and ease homelessness.

Ryan believes his “holistic” four-part plan will help address Buffalo’s generational shortage of high-quality, affordable homes and rental units in Buffalo, bolstering the city’s economy and growing its population.

In 2019, the state of Oregon passed a bipartisan law that required cities of 10,000 or more to ban exclusionary single-family zoning.

Other states are considering similar actions. Having passed and signed into law Senate Bills 9 and 10 in September 2021, California is now the second state to act on a form of upzoning.

And AB2011 and AB2243 increasing residential density.

Florida lawmakers have passed a bill updating last year’s Live Local Act, offering some concessions to single-family neighborhoods while ultimately expanding the law’s purview even further.

The original Live Local Act was designed to increase workforce housing development, and its main provision allowed developers to bypass local zoning restrictions on projects where at least 40 percent of units are priced as workforce housing. The law requires local administrative approval, pre-empting community review. —Doug Ressler, Manager, Business Intelligence, Yardi

Interested in joining the CPE Executive Council and being featured in future articles? Email Jessica Fiur.

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