Land Use InitiativeA
This program provides a comprehensive analysis of proposed land use-related measures at the state or local level to help associations take action that best supports the real estate industry within their community.
Akron Cleveland Association Fights Troubling Rental Housing Proposals Using NAR’s Land Use Initiative
The 5,000-member Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) had taken just about enough. When troubling and overly restrictive rental housing proposals arose in two of this association’s communities, the ACAR took on City Hall. By tapping into NAR’s Land Use Initiative, ACAR was able to get a legal review of the proposed ordinances to help make convincing arguments to city leaders in both cases. The proposal was tabled in one jurisdiction and referred back to committee in the other.
Columbus REALTORS® has also been seeking solutions to how we can become a more open and inclusive Association. In an effort to create that safe space, its Diversity & Inclusion Committee launched a Book Club for members to have open, honest (and sometimes tough) conversations about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion.
Last summer, Mayor Steve Adler issued a challenge to the City of Austin to end homelessness among its U.S. veterans by Veterans Day 2015. The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) answered the call in a big way. With a $15,000 Housing Opportunity Grant, ABoR funded transiting homeless veterans into longer-term housing arrangements. The ABoR Foundation also provided $5,000 to a fund called Housing for Heroes that would mitigate risk for potential landlords.
To prevent an extreme proposition that would curtail development in Los Angeles, the REALTORS® of Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles used the power of the REALTOR® Party's Land Use Initiative and Issues Mobilization Grant programs. These resources and an unlikely partnership helped defeat the measure and secure housing opportunities across the city.
Bridge Association of REALTORS® Defeats Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Legislation with Help from Multiple REALTOR® Party Programs
In Berkeley, California, legislation that would wrest control of a rental property’s destiny from its owner was successfully stalled by the Bridge Association of REALTORS® with a powerful Issues Mobilization campaign and a timely Call For Action. The proposed ordinance, which the REALTORS® called ‘eminent domain in disguise,’ was also analyzed through the Land Use Initiative program.
The city of Charleston, South Carolina has the oldest historic district in the nation, and the area's REALTORS® well understand the importance of historic preservation. But when Charleston County proposed overly restrictive amendments to its Historic Preservation Code early this year, the 4,150-member Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® (CTAR) couldn't support it. The association tapped into NAR’s Land Use Initiative to provide an analysis of what would and wouldn’t work, which prompted the county to appoint a task force, with CTAR’s past president to chair it.
Earlier this year, the REALTOR® Association of Acadiana found itself dropped into the deep end of urgent legislative advocacy. Taking advantage of the Land Use Initiative and Advocacy Everywhere programs, the 1,600-member association was able to combat threats to both short-term rentals and property tax rates, achieving positive results for homeowners in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Antiquated zoning and a mire of case law stands in the way of the development of housing necessary for economic growth in the Boston region. Using the REALTOR® Party's Land Use Initiative, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board is tackling the complexities of zoning reform in City Hall and at the State House.
When a fatal apartment fire triggered a knee-jerk reaction from the City Council to amend the municipal zoning code, the Greensboro Regional Association of REALTORS® used the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative to commission a thorough analysis of the changes. The report informed significant changes to the language, and the REALTORS® continue to work with the lawmakers to refine and improve it.
The REALTORS® of Hawai’i want high quality public education throughout their state, which suffers from extremely high teacher-turnover. This fall, they led the charge against a ballot measure that would allow for the creation of a property tax surcharge on residential investment properties to fund the Department of Education. And then they redoubled their focus on affordable housing.
Hays, Kansas has been updating its existing zoning and subdivision regulations to align with the Comprehensive Plan it adopted in 2012. With its expertise in the field of real estate, and in defense of public property rights, the 80-member Hays Board of REALTORS® used the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative to help bring clarity, vision and fairness to the process.
The 1,000-member Heartland REALTOR® Organization had its work cut out for it when the first draft of the suburban and rural district’s Unified Development Ordinance was first released. Leveraging the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative and its past relationship with the county's Planning & Development Committee Chairman, the association provided an objective review of the ordinance, which was used to draft an ordinance that preserved responsible development rights, streamlined processes and limited regulatory burdens—a win for all parties.
The 3,400-member Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® (KAAR) decided it needed some help when the city began revising its local sign ordinance. The proposal wasn’t looking pretty for the real estate community when they turned to NAR’s Land Use Initiative for valuable legal review and analysis.
The Columbia Board of REALTORS® immediately knew the proposed changes to area’s zoning code would threaten the area’s private housing market, which is shaped by the state universities flagship campus. Information from the Land Use Initiative analysis allowed the 500-member association to create a coalition of local agencies, speaking with one voice, to influence changes to the proposed temporary zoning rules.
In Hawaii, the combined effect of vast acreage of protected natural lands, the high cost of living and a severe shortage of affordable housing brings land use issues into still sharper focus; so do the tents for the homeless that line many city streets. Using the Land Use Initiative, the Hawaii Association of REALTORS® is taking steps toward review and reform of the state’s complex Land Use System to clear road blocks to affordable housing.
When a proposed zoning ordinance threatened to negatively impact property values and marketability in Munster, the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® looked to the REALTOR® Party for help. By presenting the Town Council with a Land Use Initiative memorandum, it was able to neutralize the threat—and demonstrate its desire to enhance and strengthen the community.
When a state Senate bill threatened to seal all eviction records this fall, the Louisiana REALTORS® issued a last-minute Call for Action via Advocacy Everywhere. Despite the timing, and the global pandemic, and the heavy weather plaguing the state, members rallied and contacted their legislators. The response had the desired effect.
Short-term rentals are naturally a major issue in coastal communities. When Worcester County, Maryland proposed severe restrictions in its rental code overhaul, the local REALTOR® association got to work with a Land Use Initiative review and a call for action. The County Commission heard the message loud and clear, and sent its proposal back to the drawing board.
Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® Uses Diversity Grant to Commemorate Historic 50th Anniversaries
In remembering the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in their own city 50 years ago this spring, the REALTORS® of Memphis, Tenn. marched two miles to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. But that was just the beginning of a strategic plan that shines a bright light on cultural diversity, fair housing, and anti-blight initiatives.
In Memphis, Tenn., as in many other American cities, the urban core and older suburban neighborhoods were crisscrossed by high speed multi-lane road networks, facilitating automobile and truck traffic but completely isolating certain areas of the city. The system was contributing to related problems of neighborhood blight, poverty, obesity, and poor air quality. The 3000-member Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR,) decided to do something about it. They used a $15,000 Smart Growth Grant from NAR and worked with Smart Growth America to help Memphis become the 500th city to adopt a Complete Streets policy. Already, in downtown areas where streets have been put on "road diets," slowing the pace of traffic, increasing bike lanes, and making pedestrian activity safer; businesses along these altered roads are reporting higher activity.
With more than 47,000 members spanning roughly 70 different municipalities, the Miami Association of REALTORS® is the nation’s largest – a distinction that can be unwieldy and impractical when it comes to taking advantage of REALTOR® Party resources. A scaled-up program designed for “mega-boards,” piloted by the Miami REALTORS®, has proven to be a mega-success.
When the Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) received an Ira Gribin grant from NAR a few years back, it funded a statewide initiative to study the benefits of placemaking in workforce housing. “As REALTORS®, we have been all about land use planning for a long time, but now we clearly need to focus on placemaking, specifically, as the real key to reversing the fortunes of the housing market here in Michigan.” says 2012 MAR President Beth Foley. Placemaking is a progressive movement that creates improved and distinctive public spaces by involving community input. In February 2012, when Governor Rick Snyder announced his own support for placemaking policies to help spur the state’s flagging economy, state leaders asked MAR to lead the way. Using a $15K Smart Growth Action Grant from NAR as seed money, the association did just that by hosting “MI Great Places,” the state’s first Placemaking Leadership Forum.
When the City Council of Cape Girardeau got serious about implementing an onerous rental inspection program, the 292-member Cape Girardeau County Board of REALTORS® got busy. The board worked with the Missouri Association, which in turn asked for help from NAR. Through NAR’s Land Use Initiative Program, the Cape Girardeau Board got a comprehensive review of the proposal from legal professionals. In the end, the City Council asked the Cape Girardeau Board to help them draft an acceptable ordinance. Along the way, the board combated several unfavorable news articles with letters to the editor, explaining that by commissioning a thorough and unbiased legal review of the proposed ordinance, the REALTORS® were advocating for everyone’s best interests – including those of tenants and homeowners.
The eight neighborhoods comprising Bronx Community Board 9 (BXCB9) are 22% denser in population than the Bronx overall, and have very little vacant land available to develop. Using a series of Smart Growth Action Grants, the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® partnered with BXCB9 to develop a comprehensive plan, and help ensure that growth will benefit existing communities, new residents and businesses.
Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® Leverages Issues Mobilization Grant to Help Struggling Town Shore Up Infrastructure
When a small, incorporated town within the Oklahoma City limits was being left behind by the surrounding competitive real estate market, the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® used an Issues Mobilization Grant from the REALTOR® Party to help secure two new bond packages to improve drainage, streets, sidewalks, and parks.
To help find solutions to the severe housing shortage in San Diego, the REALTORS® of the Pacific Southwest joined forces with a coalition that proposed numerous Transit-Oriented Development strategies to the city. Shortly thereafter, the City Council unanimously adopted five new incentives to encourage in-fill development, especially along transit routes. A Smart Growth Action Grant from the REALTOR® Party helped the cause.
Since school quality plays such a large role in home buying decisions, the Quad Cities Area REALTOR® Association decided to put their marketing and negotiation skills to work to promote their area schools. They began by inviting major employers, mayors and school superintendents in the 23-community area to a conference to have a frank discussion about diversity, inclusion and steering. The conference resulted in plans to build a robust website featuring comprehensive information on each school that will help families make informed decisions about where they want to live.
In the last three years, more than 45 municipalities across Florida have modified their vacation rental ordinances to be more restrictive. In Cape Coral, a seasonal residence for many homeowners, REALTORS® aided by a Land Use Initiative led a successful charge to keep additional restrictions off the books.
When the police department lacked funding to purchase hi-definition security cameras to help combat crime, the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® came to the rescue. Working with the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation, the 4,000-member association used a Game Changer Grant to help increase safety and improve property values in their city.
Santa Fe, like many communities across the country, is experiencing a serious workforce housing crunch. Using two Smart Growth Action Grants over the past ten years, the Santa Fe Association of REALTORS® is helping to spur the redevelopment of a central thoroughfare with an emphasis on form-based zoning and affordable housing.
Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® Uses Land Use Initiative to Champion Property Rights and Allow for Future Development
Using the findings of a Land Use Initiative analysis from the REALTOR® Party, the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® helped dissuade the City Council from adopting the new ‘Desert Rural’ protective category that would have raised significant barriers to high-density development and trounced the rights of private property owners.
When the city of Scottsdale proposed a one-size-fits-all ordinance that lumped signs for real estate listings in together with those advertising yard sales, the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® reacted with a Call for Action that generated nearly 500 letters to City Council members. That got the city's attention; a REALTOR® Party Land Use Initiative review by Robinson & Cole helped it see reason.
In South Carolina’s 2018 legislative session, three separate pieces of legislation raised red flags to the South Carolina REALTORS® as matters requiring close scrutiny. With the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative program, the REALTORS® requested an analysis of all three, and got the answers they needed to act and plan for the future.
South Padre Island REALTORS® Uses Land Use Initiative to Overturn Short-Term Rental Registration Ordinance
South Padre Island, Texas is such a popular resort area that when a new Short-Term Rental Registration Ordinance was adopted, it affected the vast majority of the island's residential properties. Thanks to the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative, the South Padre Island Board of REALTORS® (SPIBOR) was able to overturn several overly restrictive provisions. In doing so, the 120-member board succeeded in protecting the rights of property owners and gained new respect from the city, making SPIBOR the voice of real estate in the community.
Until recently in the sunny City of Melbourne, Florida, canine residents were left out in the cold where public parks were concerned. The local REALTORS® stepped up with elbow grease and Placemaking Grants from the REALTOR® Party to welcome the dogs and the humans who love them; in doing so, they’ve earned the appreciation of grateful communities.
The Taos County Association partnered with NAR and the REALTORS® Association of New Mexico (RANM) to successfully fight two onerous land-use proposals. One would cloud titles of thousands of properties and the REALTOR® effort was able to stall it for now. The other would have placed unfair development restrictions on local property owners, and the measure was defeated. The Taos Association coordinated with the New Mexico Association to use NAR’s Land Use Initiative Program along with consulting support to defeat these proposals. It was the ultimate three-way partnership.
To Defeat Rent Control Ballot Initiative in Asbury Park, New Jersey REALTORS® Target Voters with Issues Mobilization Campaign
When a ballot initiative in Asbury Park, New Jersey threatened to override a recently adopted rent control ordinance supported by the REALTORS®, the state association launched a campaign to rally voters to preserve the original, less restrictive legislation. They prevailed with nearly a two-to-one margin, sparing smaller landlords with buildings of fewer than five units from the burdens of rent control.
Kure Beach, one of North Carolina’s treasured seaside communities, consists largely of investment properties whose owners rent to vacationers for most of the year.
With a Rural Outreach Grant from the REALTOR® Party, Baldwin REALTORS® Help Vulnerable Alabama Region Prepare for Flood Impact
‘Flood Week,’ a proactive training program for members and community stakeholders, positioned Baldwin REALTORS® as leaders sharing access to vital expertise in flood mitigation, insurance, resilience, and more. In addition to a public-facing campaign, the association presented a townhall with NFIP and FEMA, a CE Class, workshops, and a panel discussion on lessons learned from last year’s Hurricane Sally.
With Call for Action and Housing Opportunity Grant, REALTORS® of Central Oregon Keep Housing Issues Front-and-Center
When the initially reluctant City Council of Bend, Oregon finally agreed to set the ball rolling to increase its Urban Growth Boundary, the local REALTOR® association provided positive reinforcement with a supportive Call For Action. Building rapport and relationships, says the Government Affairs Director, is always a good strategy – that extends to leadership within a regional housing coalition that is raising public awareness of a growing housing crisis.