NAIOP-WI’s Subdivision Streamlining Bill Goes to the Floor in Both Houses
On Tuesday, February 18th, NAIOP-WI’s legislation to expedite the approval process for commercial and industrial subdivisions and business parks will go to the floor in both houses. This legislation, SB 502 and AB 663, provides local units of government with more flexibility to approve changes to lots for commercial, industrial and mixed-use development without having to go through a more expensive and time consuming process required for “subdivisions” under Ch. 236 of the Wisconsin Statutes. In addition, this expedited approval process will save developers thousands of dollars and reduce the approval process for by several months for new and amended commercial development proposals.
NAIOP-WI has been working on this legislation, along with the City of Milwaukee and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, for several months to provide local units of government with more flexibility to attract economic development. Specifically, SB 502/AB 663 does the following:
- Authorizes local governments to determine when a more extensive “subdivision” review is required at the local level. Under SB 502/AB 663, a municipality is authorized (not required) to change the definition of “subdivision” by ordinance or resolution. This authority will allow local governments to decide how many new lots must be created in order to trigger a more extensive “subdivision” review at the local level. Rather than requiring a “subdivision” review after the creation of 5 lots within 5 years, a local government could decide to increase that number if they wished.
Depending on the time of the year, the subdivision process has the potential to cause development projects to miss a pivotal construction commencement date due to the layers of approval and length of time for approval. Having the ability to use CSM’s would instead provide the local government with additional flexibilities and time savings to accommodate the needs of potential site developers.
- Maintains state DOA review for the creation of new plats meeting the definition of “subdivision.” To ensure that new plats continue to be reviewed by DOA for compliance with Ch. 236 requirements, SB 502/AB 663 requires local governments to continue to submit plats meeting the definition of “subdivision” to DOA for review.
- Requires only local review of the reconfiguration of lot lines. To expedite the approval process of the reconfiguration of existing lot lines, SB 502/AB 663 authorizes local governments to approve lot line reconfigurations, without first requiring state review and approval.
- Limits this authority to only local governments with professional planning departments. To ensure that an adequate review of the land division is conducted at the local level, SB 502/AB 663 limits this authority to only local governments with professional planning departments. If a local government does not have a professional planning department, any plats creating 5 lots in 5 years would still require a more extensive “subdivision” review.
- Limits the scope to only commercial, industrial and mixed-use development. Under SB 502/AB 663, a local unit of government may change the definition of “subdivision” for only commercial, industrial and mixed-use development. This recognizes the need for flexibility in those types of development to accommodate the different needs of businesses wishing to locate within the community.
Legislation Would Exempt Routine Building Maintenance Activities From New Electrician Licensing Requirements
Legislation was recently introduced that would exempt various routine building maintenance activities from the new electrician licensing requirements.
NAIOP-WI has been working with the authors of this legislation, Sen. Glen Grothman (R- West Bend) and Rep. Tom Larson (R – Colfax), to address industry concerns about new electrician licensing requirements that are scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014.
Under these new requirements, significant restrictions will be placed on the ability of building owners and property managers to perform routine electrical maintenance work on commercial and multi-family buildings without hiring a licensed electrician. These new licensing requirements will require a licensed electrician to perform all routine repairs, replacement and maintenance to most electrical existing items including ballasts, outlets and switches. Because most property management companies are not licensed as electrical contractors, commercial property owners will have to hire separate electrical contractors to perform routine electrical maintenance activities, which will add significant costs and delays to these activities.
AB 683/SB 545
To address concerns raised by commercial building owners and property management companies, AB 683/SB 545 creates numerous exemptions to the new electrician licensing requirements. Under this legislation, commercial building owners, their employees and property management companies will continue to be able to perform the following routine maintenance and electrical repairs without hiring an electrical contractor:
- Installing electrical wiring within an existing industrial manufacturing facility
- Maintaining or repairing electrical wiring within an existing building
- Installing, repairing and maintaining lights, ballasts and electrical signs
- Installing a replacement for an existing switch or outlet if the switch or outlet has a rating of not more than 20 amperes.
NAIOP-WI will continue to work with lawmakers to pass this legislation prior to the April 1st implementation date of the new electrician licensing requirements.