Regulatory Affairs Roundup

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Preparing for New Codes

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) staff have begun assembling a list of code changes and is working with interested parties to assemble their Technical Advisory Groups
(TAGs). The Construction Code Advisory Council will officially appoint TAG members at an upcoming meeting, with the TAGs beginning their work after the first of the year. The 2018 Residential Building and Energy Codes are expected to go into effect in the first quarter of 2020.

Townhome Maintenance Plans Now Required

The housing industry’s common interest communities reform bill became law on Aug. 1, which
includes a new requirement for developers of townhomes and condos. The new law, part of the Minnesota Homeownership Initiative, requires developers to present the homeowners association (HOA) with a maintenance plan for common areas only when turning the HOA over to residents. The law is in effect for any HOA changing hands on or after Aug. 1, 2017.

New State Minimum Wage Released

On Aug. 17, the Department of Labor and Industry released the updated statewide minimum wages, which go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Large Employer (annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more): $9.65 per hour
Small Employer (annual gross revenue of less than $500,000): $7.87 per hour
90-Day Training and Youth Wages: $7.87 per hour

Controversial Federal Water Rule Rescinded

The Trump administration announced in late June that it will repeal the Waters of the United
States (WOTUS) rule. WOTUS, enacted in 2015, gave the Environmental Protection Agency and
the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to protect “navigable waterways,” the effect of which has been delays and costly federal permits to build or modify lands near covered waterways.

The main criticism of the WOTUS rule is that it expands the definition of federally-regulated waters far beyond what the rule was intended to protect, including canals, collection ponds, ditches and isolated wetlands.

Minnesota Looks to Increase Stormwater Permit Fees

Construction stormwater permit fees could increase under a proposal from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). A proposal to increase water fees comes after a report from the Legislative Auditor recommended the MPCA increase fees to cover the costs of its water quality programs.

MPCA sought public comment on its proposal this summer, however specific details on the increase in these fees was not included in the information provided by the agency. Housing First Minnesota was the only organization to submit comments on behalf of Minnesota’s housing
industry, asking MPCA to consider the additional cost pressures the construction stormwater permit, permanent stormwater management and related fees place on prospective Minnesota homebuyers.

MPCA is currently evaluating and responding to the comments it received.

2018 Construction Stormwater Permit

The MPCA is in the final stages of preparing the 2018 construction stormwater permit, a draft of which is expected to be released in September. MPCA has said that other than a new format to the permit, few changes are in the works that would affect home builders and developers.

Once the draft 2018 permit is available, the MPCA will seek public comment before moving on to the final stages of rulemaking. The 2018 permit will go into effect immediately upon its final adoption, which MPCA is hoping to complete later this year.

Housing Industry News will provide readers with a copy of the proposed 2018 permit and commentary at once a draft is available.

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