By Heath Clarkston
HBA OF MISSOURI HOLDS LEGISLATIVE DAY ON MARCH 23RD
For the first time in two years, the Home Builders Association of Missouri held their annual legislative day in person on March 23rd. The HBAM Board of Directors held a meeting in which the HBAs from Jefferson City, Springfield and Kansas City participated. Following the meeting, the HBAM members visited with their respective area legislators. The HBA of Jefferson City held visits with Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, Rep. Rudy Vieth and Rep. David Griffith.
CITY COUNCIL ELECTION TO BE HELD ON APRIL 5TH
On Tuesday, April 5th, the Jefferson City Council elections will be held for five of the ten seats. Only two wards will have competitive races. The Council election will be as follows:
Ward 1 Jack Deeken v. Jacob Robinett
Ward 2 Mike Lester
Ward 3 Erin Wiseman v. Bob Scrivner
Ward 4 Ron Fitzwater
Ward 5 Jon Hensley
SEWER BOND ISSUE ON CITY BALLOT
On Tuesday, April 5th, city residents will vote on a $44 million sewer bond question to cover the costs of numerous sewer issues that have been pending with the City public works department for years. The bond issue would allow the City to avoid raising sewer rates and allow for the bonding of these projects. The HBA has been supportive of the City’s efforts over the years to find a suitable user-fee based approach to fund the stormwater and wastewater needs rather than impact fees placed upon future development. Impact fees generally create excessive costs of new development and home construction and lead to less housing in the communities to which they are placed. The bond issue if passed will allow the city to move forward with much needed improvements across the city.
HBAs JOIN IN EFFORT TO OPPOSE WOTUS PROPOSED RULE
This month, Home Builders Associations from across the state joined a coalition of businesses, farmers, and trade associations in drafting a letter to the entire Missouri Congressional Delegation alerting them to the coalition opposition to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effort to enact a federal rule related to redefining “Waters of the US (WOTUS)”. This proposed rule would dramatically expand the regulation of land considered as part of navigable water and essentially increase the costs and availability to develop and construct housing across our state. The WOTUS rule would define a large amount of land under increased regulation, including areas that are only wet when it rains that may be miles from the nearest navigable waterway. Under these proposed rules, regulations and restrictions would be enhanced for construction activities that require moving dirt. This issue has been a major topic in Washington D.C. over the past two decades and will have a dramatic negative affect on the state of Missouri’s economy in enacted.
EMINENT DOMAIN LEGISLATION MOVES FORWARD, CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC
House Bill 2005 (Haffner, R-Pleasant Hill) modifies eminent domain statutes. Over the past five years condemnation and eminent domain have become a major topic of discussion in the Missouri legislature due to organized opposition in many of Missouri’s northern counties to the construction of an above ground merchant energy line initially prosed as “Clean Line”. This project would connect solar power generated in Kansas with end energy consumers in Indiana and be ran on transmission lines across the states of Illinois and Missouri. Throughout the past five years, farmers and ranchers have objected to the used of condemnation of property and thus have become organized and brought this issue to the state capitol.
On March 28th, HB 2005 was third read and passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 102-41. The bill now moves to the Senate and is set for a public hearing on April 5th. HB 2005 specifies that, unless exercised within two years from the Public Service Commission (PSC) granting permission to a gas, electrical, or water corporation to begin construction, any authority conferred by Sec. 393.170, RSMo, by the PSC is null and void. Any electrical corporation, except for an electrical corporation operating under a cooperative business plan, that proposes building a transmission line must provide a minimum 50 percent of its electrical load to Missouri consumers to be considered a public service and to be allowed to condemn property to construct the transmission. During floor debate, it was noted that the Green Belt Express (formerly Clean Line) transmission line likely would only supply six percent of energy to Missourians.
The bill also specifies that in condemnation proceedings, just compensation for agricultural or horticultural land shall be 150 percent of fair market value, which will be determined by the court. In a condemnation proceeding for agricultural or horticultural land in which a court appoints three disinterested commissioners, at least one of the commissioners must be a farmer who has been farming in the county for at least 10 years. In any condemnation proceeding commenced by an electrical corporation, if the amount awarded is greater than the offer made by the condemning authority, the court may award attorneys’ fees to the property owner.