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Up, Up, and Away?

The Case-Shiller report issued today indicates that while housing values had been declining year over year in the Northwest, prices seem to have stabilized and made a moderate increase over the summer in Portland. The question remains whether we have hit bottom and will now see moderate increases over the coming months. Watch this interview with Robert … Continue Reading

Are They In or Out? Washington Supreme Court to Decide whether Annexed Lands Should Remain in Urban Growth Areas

In 2007, Clark County expanded the urban growth areas of the Cities of Ridgefield and Camas, among other areas. Environmental groups challenged those expansions, arguing that the land still qualified as viable agricultural land. Under the Growth Management Act, agricultural land meeting statutory and regulatory definitions cannot be included in UGAs. The challengers first filed … Continue Reading

Case-Shiller September Numbers

The latest numbers from the Case-Shiller report indicate improvement in housing values for Portland and Seattle in July. While it may be a little too early to say with certainty that home prices are now recovering, the data suggests that the trend of declining home values over the past 12 months began to reverse with an increase … Continue Reading

New Environmental Bills

The 2010-2011 Oregon legislatures closed the session with a handful of new bills relating to environmental protection, natural resource management, and energy development passed into law. The articles linked above provide summaries of the newly enacted legislation that may affect your business or operation.… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide whether a Person Can Sue a Title Insurance Company under the Anti-Kickback Provisions of RESPA

The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of First American Title Corp. v. Edwards. At the heart of the case is a claim that First American violated the anti-kickback provisions of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 by buying a minority interest in escrow agencies and then establishing an exclusive agency … Continue Reading

The Washington Supreme Court Limits an Important Tool to Challenge Local Shoreline Regulations

A Washington statute, RCW 82.02.020, allows property owners to challenge local land use regulations if those regulations are the equivalent of a tax, fee, or charge, imposed on the development of land and if the fee is not reasonably necessary to remedy a direct impact of the development. For instance, if a property owner wishes … Continue Reading

New NPDES Permit Draft Language

The Washington Department of Ecology issued new draft permit language here for the 2012 forthcoming new NPDES permits. And while the new permits go at great length to include the Pollution Control Hearings Board’s mandated low impact development techniques the new permit wades into additional waters traditionally not under the purview of the Department of … Continue Reading

Case-Shiller Numbers for July

Waiting for the bounce in housing prices? The country is not there yet according the Case Shiller review of 20 major US Cities. Although Portland shows a small 1.2% price increase from April to May, the change since May of 2010 is still a dreary -9.1%. The houses that are selling at entry level are … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Review Wetlands Enforcement Decision

On June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted for review a 2010 decision in a wetlands case out of Idaho. The issue in the case is whether an alleged violator may seek review of an EPA administrative order before the agency enforces the order. Because there are penalties associated with failing to comply with administrative orders, recipients … Continue Reading

New Bill Protects Homeowners From Foreclosure

Washington homeowners will have more opportunities to avoid foreclosure under the new Foreclosure Fairness Act (SHB 1362). The law aims to curb residential foreclosures. Effective July 22, 2011, under the new law a lender must make additional efforts to contact the homeowner before issuing a notice of default, which is the technical “start” of the … Continue Reading

Bill Allows Deferring Impact Fee Payment Until Sale of a Lot Rather than at Final Plat Approval

The 2011 Washington Legislature is still considering a measure that could benefit residential lot developers and homebuilders by passing on the obligation to pay impact fees to the buyers of the new lots. Engrossed Bill 1702 permits counties and cities to adopt local ordinances establishing this deferral program. Through adoption of a new ordinance, a … Continue Reading

County Extends Land Use Approvals

Today the Clark County Board of Commissioners extended platting and other land use approvals for another year plus a few months until the end of December 31, 2012, depending on the approval date of your project. As noted earlier in a previous post, the County did include qualifying language related to stormwater in response to … Continue Reading

Washington Court of Appeals Shocks Clark and Clallam County With Controversial GMA Decisions

In the past two weeks the Division II Washington Court of Appeals handed down two controversial Growth Management Act decisions. One decision involved a challenge by Futurewise of Clallam County’s urban growth areas and potential use of new zoning designations that would allow developments on lots smaller than five acres. First Futurewise challenged the Clallam … Continue Reading

Affordable Housing Conference Coming May 12th

Miller Nash’s Affordable Housing Conference is a one-day educational seminar featuring regional and national leaders who will share insight on financing, developing, and building low-income housing projects. Conference topics include, tax-credit basics, legislative updates, update from Oregon Housing and Community Services, and updates from syndicators, lenders, and investors. For more information on the conference or to register … Continue Reading

Clark County Commissioners to Extend Plats and Other Land Use Approvals Another Year

On Tuesday May 10, 2011, the Clark County Commissioners will hold a hearing to decide whether or not to extend the vesting on development projects for another year. It is interesting in response to the Rosemere case, that they place a caveat that it will not extend stormwater vesting unless the Court of Appeals overturns the Pollution … Continue Reading