2016 End of Session Wrap Up: Housing and Community Development

This post summarizes the status of housing and community development bills that MACo took a position on during the 2016 Regular Session.

Residential Property – Foreclosed Property Registry – Notification to Local Jurisdictions: HB 1286 would have allowed counties to receive prompt notification about the ownership of foreclosed properties within their jurisdiction. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) operates an online, password protected, Foreclosed Property Registry in which every residential property purchased at a foreclosure sale must be registered. HB 1286 would require that upon initial registration, DLLR record the county in which the property is located in addition to the property’s street address. It would also require the Department to promptly send an electronic copy of the initial registration to the appropriate official of the county or, upon request, to the municipality.

MACo supported this legislation, as it expedites and streamlines the notification process to ensure that local jurisdictions are in the best position to take action on foreclosed properties that may pose a danger to the community. This “push” rather than “pull” system could prove very helpful to county public safety and code enforcement officials to better understand property transitions.

MACo testimony on HB 1286

Final Status: This bill had a hearing in the House Environment and Transportation Committee and was referred to an interim study.

Arts and Entertainment Districts – Artistic Work – Eligibility: HB 1507 / SB 974 sought to improve Arts & Entertainment Districts (A&E Districts) by expanding the types of artistic work that may qualify for district incentives. Currently, the artistic work must fall into certain categories including books, plays, sculptures, film and musical compositions. SB 974 would add graphic design, urban manufacturing, or architectural design to the list of eligible artistic works. It would also remove the exclusion of the creation or execution of artistic work for industry-oriented or industry-related production.

MACo supported this legislation, as it endeavors to boost economic revitalization and creative enterprises in Maryland counties.

MACo testimony on SB 974

Final Status: HB 1507 was assigned to the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee and SB 974 was heard by the Senate Finance Committee. No further action was taken by either committee.

Economic Development – BRAC Revitalization and Incentive Zones – Extraordinary Development District: HB 1553 / SB 1066 authorized the creation of Extraordinary Development Districts within BRAC Revitalization and Incentive Zones. These districts can serve as a tool to encourage federal law enforcement agencies to locate in Maryland. These agencies can help generate jobs and support local businesses in areas already targeted for focused growth.

MACo supported this bill, as Extraordinary Development Districts will serve as an incentive tool for federal agencies to locate in the state. Local communities would benefit from the economic opportunities the agencies provide.

MACo testimony on SB 1066

Final Status: HB 1553 and SB 1066 were both withdrawn by their sponsors.

Department of Housing and Community Development – Neighborhood and Community Assistance Program – Community Investment Tax Credit: HB 275 expands the Community Investment Tax Credit Program operated by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The bill would increase the maximum sum of eligible tax credits from $3.5 million to $7 million. This tax credit helps incentivize individuals and businesses to make charitable contributions to projects benefiting communities in priority funding areas across the state.

MACo supported the bill with amendments. Counties were concerned with provisions of the bill that would strip local governments of their authority to approve or disapprove of projects occurring within their communities. MACo believes the express local government approval authority should stay intact. To address local government concerns and to help streamline the process for the Department, MACo agreed to support amendments that would retain the local government approval authority but would require a 45-day time period for a local government to notify the Department of their decision. If no action to approve or disapprove is taken after 45 days, the Department may deem the application approved.

MACo testimony on HB 275

Final Status: This bill was heard by the House Ways and Means Committee but no further action was taken.

Housing and Community Development – Business Lending and Neighborhood Revitalization: HB 326 expands and strengthens small business lending and neighborhood support programs operated by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The bill would increase the availability of financing tools and expand their geographic boundaries. Local governments benefit from these changes either directly as eligible applicants, or indirectly through assistance to businesses and community development organizations within targeted locally designated communities.

MACo supported the bill with amendments. Counties were concerned with provisions of the bill that would strip local governments of their authority to approve or disapprove of projects occurring within their communities. MACo believes the express local government approval authority should stay intact. To address local government concerns and to help streamline the process for the Department, MACo agreed to support amendments that would retain the local government approval authority but would require a 45-day time period for a local government to notify the Department of their decision. If no action to approve or disapprove is taken after 45 days, the Department may deem the application approved.

MACo testimony on HB 326

Final Status: This bill passed the General Assembly with the MACo amendments and awaits the Governors Signature.

 

 

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