GA Priorities and Successes
2016/2017 GA Successes
House Bill 409 (Sponsored by Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Westmorland)), amends the Uniform Construction Code Act (RAC Fix it.) Bill fixes the underlying problems with the Department’s interpretation of Act 1 of 2011, which required the RAC to only review the “latest triennial revisions” of the new ICC Model Codes – This change is absolutely necessary to allow the RAC to review and adopt ICC Model Code provisions in the future. Companion Senate Bill 269 pending.
- Fixes the underlying problems with the PA UCC Act which required the RAC to only review the “latest triennial revisions” of the new codes – This change is absolutely necessary to allow the RAC to review and adopt ICC Model Code provisions in the future
- Allows for modifications of code provisions – Pennsylvania should not be required to simple adopt or reject code provisions. Allowing for modifications will enable the RAC to make sensible decisions on code updates while taking Pennsylvania’s unique circumstances into consideration. The ability to modify provisions will move Pennsylvania away from a “take it or leave it” approach to code adoption;
- Requires a 120-day public comment period on code provisions and gives the RAC two years to study and review new model codes prior to adoption. This change ensures the regulated community will be able to have significant input on new code adoptions; and
- Creates a Pennsylvania Specific UCC Book - Builders must stay up-to-date on all adopted code sections in Pennsylvania. Currently, achieving this compliance requires industry professionals to purchase and reference numerous different code books. Providing for the purchase of one single set of Pennsylvania-specific code books, and making all codes publically available online, is a necessary step toward helping builders, contractors and consumers achieve building code compliance in a practical manner.
Senate Resolution 385
Directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study to analyze and identify which environmental laws and regulations of this Commonwealth have more stringent standards than Federal law requires. Adopted 10/18/16 (27-21) - Report is due to the Senate in 18-months.
Senate Bill 1282 (Act 162 of 2016) Clarifies the manner in which a county Recorders of Deeds Office may charge fees for the recording of amendments to declarations of condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities. Counties throughout the state have been charging separate indexing fees for each lot when amendments to a community association governing documents are recorded. Many of our builders see fees totaling thousands of dollars of additional costs. This makes the passage of simple, but necessary, changes to governing documents cost-prohibitive for many planned communities. This legislation will prohibit per lot indexing fees, bringing fees to a reasonable and affordable level.
House Bill 1437 (Act 133 of 2016) Creates “Temporary Access ”certificates that will allow a sale of property to move forward, but require that substantial code violations be corrected prior to the new owner inhabiting the property. It will also require that all other code violations be corrected within a certain time frame, with financial and other penalties left in place for failure to comply.
2015 GA Successes
Act 31 – Permit Extension Clarification – Amended the Development Permit Extension Act to specifically included condominium and planned community Declarations within the tolling provisions. In addition, provisions suspending the expiration dates of certain approvals obtained by developers and property owners have been clarified as to how the period of suspension will be calculated when the extension period terminated.Act 59 – Union Intimidation Act – Successfully closed loop holes in Pennsylvania's criminal code to declare harassment, stalking, and deadly threats to be prohibited activities when perpetrated by a party engaged in a labor dispute. Act 59 ensures that Pennsylvania workers are safer and more secure at the workplace and in their communities.
Act 37 & Act 38 – Clarifies that that the creation of planned communities and condominium associations out of existing land or facilities will not require municipal approval unless and until new structures or buildings are constructed within the association or community. Act 42 – Amended the Municipalities Planning Code to allow municipalities to appoint up to three residents of the municipality as alternate members of the municipality’s planning commission. PA House Bill 635—Providing the RAC with flexibility to make appropriate decisions regarding PA Building Codes Federal, House Bill 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act and Senate Bill, 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, preventing the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act that could result in millions of acres of private property to be regulated as wetlands.
We will continue to work with key members of the local, state and national government to promote our industry’s issues so that the quality housing and renovation construction we perform can continue to benefit our county.
Current GA Priorities
- Defend Against Adverse Implementation of Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy/Defend against Excessive Proposed TMDL Regulations –EPA
- Defend Against Excessive Municipal Construction Codes
- Defend against excessive Erosion/Sediment Control/Storm water Management Regulations
- Defend against proposed legislation to modify the state’s farmland preservation program
- Defend against municipal fee abuse
- Chapter 102 fix-it legislation
- PennDOT Task Force/Pilot Program
- Property Tax Reform
- Code Cycles
GA Successes 2014
House Bill 1565 (Act 162 of 2014):
One of the biggest legislative wins for PBA and its local associations, House bill 1565 will no longer deny landowners and homeowners the right to use their land to its fullest potential, while still affording the same level of protection for water resources that currently exist in the regulatory process. House bill 1565 states that earth disturbance activities that require an NPDES permit for stormwater discharges may use or install: a riparian buffer, a riparian forested buffer, OR other options listed in the Department of Environmental Protection’s Best Management Practices Manual.
House Bill 1543 (HICPA):
House bill 1543 (Act 160 of 2014) allows for time and material contracts; it would require a contractor who has made a change that would affect their active registration to update their registration (change in insurance, etc.) within 30 days of the change. This bill comes after long negotiations over several years with the Attorney General’s office.
GA Successes 2013
As part of the 2012 Fiscal Code, PBA secured a further extension to the 2010 Permit Extension language, carrying permit approvals forward from 2009 to July 2, 2016. The language extends previously approved state and local permits for building projects.
Uniform Planned Communities Act:
PBA also worked with PSATS and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) to pass Act 37 of 2013 (formerly House Bill 1122), which modifies the Uniform Planned Communities Act (UPCA). Act 37 extends the 7-window to convert or withdrawal real estate in planned communities or condominiums to either 10 years (for projects without an approved phasing plan) or the duration of an approved phasing plan.
Draft On-Lot Septic Guidance for Exceptional Value and High Quality Watersheds:
PBA and its local associations in the Northeast Region worked to respond to DEP draft on-lot septic guidance for high quality (HQ) and exceptional value (EV) watersheds, which was published in the March 2 Pennsylvania Bulletin for a 60-day public comment period. PBA and its local associations, spearheaded by the Wayne County Builders Association, mounted a sustained lobbying and public education campaign that has been largely responsible for two major developments. First, in conjunction with the Office of the Governor and the legislature, PBA helped to ensure the passage of Act 41 of 2013 (formerly House Bill 1325), which allowed for the usage of on-lot septic systems as long as those systems complied with Clean Streams Law regulations. Second, DEP has indicated that, with the passage of Act 41, there is no longer a need for the proposed guidance document advertised in the PA Bulletin and as such, efforts to implement the document will be discontinued.