More March Madness

In This Issue

April 10 CIRC Monthly Meeting - Register Now!

New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon will address CIRC members and guests about his future plans for the county, his budget, economic development, thoughts about the Unified Development Code and other items of interest to our members. Bring your questions.

Thomas P. Gordon was sworn in November 13, 2012 at County Executive, beginning his second tenure with New Castle County.

A buffet lunch will be served which includes:

Register Online:

www.circdelaware.org/meetings/nextMeeting.cfm

CIRC Welcomes New Members

Jim Manna's Membership Committee held their quarterly meeting in March to review and approve new member applicants. We are pleased to announce that the following new members have been approved. We hope that we will be able to welcome them to our members at the next member lunch meeting on April 10 at the Clarion Hotel:

We are also pleased to welcome back Kimberly Hoffman, Esq. of Morris James, LLC, and Melinda McGuigan, of EDiS Company who has joined as her firm's representative to replace Mike Freda.

As a reminder, CIRC memberships are on an INDIVIDUAL basis, and all membership benefits apply to the member only, not the company or its other emplyees. However, we welcome non-member guests to attend events of interest...registering as a non-member and typically paying about $10 more per event.

Upcoming CIRC Events

SAVE THE DATES and PLAN TO ATTEND

 

www.circdelaware.org/meetings/upcoming.cfm

Economic Forecast Presentation

At our last meeting on March 13, we enjoyed hearing straight forward, visual economic forecast by David B. Hanson, CPA, CFA, Chief Executive Officer of Fulton Financial Advisors.

David Hanson fittingly renamed his presentation "Potomac Paralysis" and gave us a lot of reasons to be hopeful. If you would like to see a copy of his presentation, let Janet know and she'll email it to you. janet@circdelaware.org.

Shown in the picture, from left: Roy Locker of Locker Construction, Janet Dougherty and Coleen Toy of Fulton Bank, and Davin Hanson of Fulton Financial Advisors.

Continuing Education News

Delaware: Remember, Brokers and Sales Associates all need to take ALL seven (7) Core Modules numbered 1 to 7 by April 30, 2014. Here is how CIRC is helping:

New Jersey: It appears that the New Jersey Real Estate Commission has altered the date to April 30, 2013 when Brokers need to have their continuing education complete for the current licensing period that ends on 6/30/13. We at CIRC do not know the details of this requirement, but if you have a NJ Broker's license, you should check with the NJREC to be sure you have what you need and don't risk receiving a costly penalty.

 

www.circdelaware.org/education/schedule.cfm

Mid-Atlantic RE Journal Digital Edition

Our CIRC Page can be found in the DelMarVa section of the Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal each month.

Members who would like a special advertising deal, as a member of CIRC, should contact Linda Christman at lchristman@marejournal.com

Follow the link below to take a look at the March 29, 2013 Digital Edition:

digital.turn-page.com/t/26119

What do You think about the State Planning Office move to DelDOT?

We would like to share an article reprinted from delawareonline.com for your interest and thoughts:

4/2/13 State land-use review office faces  move to DelDOT | The News Journal | delawareonline.com

State land-use review office faces move to DelDOT

Written by Melissa Nann Burke and Molly Murray Apr. 01 delawareonline.com
During the peak of Delaware’s development boom, subdivisions the size of towns – complete with wastewater treatment plants, golf courses, nature trails and shopping centers – were proposed throughout the state.
And through it all, the plans were reviewed by an independent state agency: The Office of State Planning
Coordination. But now the governor’s office wants to shift the agency from the Office of Management and Budget into the state Department of Transportation. Part of the idea behind the State Planning Office was to limit politics from land-use decisions. Placing it within DelDOT, an agency where many say politics has played too big of a role in decision-making, has raised eyebrows. There are also worries that the shift is a precursor to the independent agency disappearing.
From development review to county and municipal master plans, the state office has reviewed them all.
“Does this herald a new influence in DelDOT over what towns do?” asked Frank Kea, a land planner who has represented developers before the state agency. Kea said his first reaction to the shift was “negative.”
Brian Maxwell, deputy director of OMB, said the goal of the move is to increase efficiency. For instance both DelDOT and OSPC rely on geographic information system mapping. Under a single agency, the costs of mapping work would likely go down, he said.
OSPC operations are a drop in the state financial bucket, as the estimated cost of shifting its responsibilities from OMB to DelDOT is $516,700. The planning office is now funded from the General Fund, but the proposal would shift the burden to the state Transportation Trust Fund, Maxwellsaid.
“We believe there are efficiencies” in making the shift and state planning fits in well with DelDot, he said. OSPC coordinates state reviews of major proposals regarding land-use change prior to their submission to local governments for approval. Its staff also supports a Cabinet-level committee on state planning issues that is charged under state law with recommending “the most desirable general pattern of land use within the state,” advising on transportation issues and recommending strategies for where and how to locate major public and private facilities, infrastructure and other development.
In the past, the OSPC has ruled against recommending DelDOT projects, including the Hertrich tract along Del. 1. Critics say that voice would be silenced if the agency is moved into DelDOT.
State Planner Connie Holland said she was told her agency would continue to function independently but it would be housed at DelDOT, whose maps and mapping tools would provide additionalsupport.
“What we’d like to stress is that the Office of State Planning willstill be an independent state agency,” Holland said. “We’ll just be physically housed there.”
Others aren’t so confident. Former state agriculture planner Michael McGrath, who developed Delaware’s farmland preservation program into a nationally recognized program, said the efficiency in government argument may sound good but he worries that ultimately the OSPC will disappear through retirements and attrition and be absorbed into DelDOT.
McGrath agrees that GIS data should be centralized but there are many state agencies – from the state police to the Department of Agriculture – that use geographic data. McGrath’s concern isn’t without precedent. Delaware has a conflicted history with planning, much of it driven by rapid growth and economic development after World War II, the state banking law and more recently during the land development boom.
The first state planning office opened in 1962, but its role changed with the enactment of the FinancialCenter Development Act in 1981 by Gov. Pierre duPont. Under the law, there was a reorganization ofstate agencies.
A new economic development agency was created to replace the Office of Management, Budget and
Planning. The economic development agency focused on capital budget development and attracting business. The planning role shifted to other state agencies, with administration of the Coastal Zone Act moving to the Department of NaturalResources and Environmental Control.
DuPont created a Cabinet committee on State Planning Issues and a panel on Intergovernmental Planning and Coordination. But the two groups, according to most accounts, never met in the first decade or more of their existence.
Dave Hugg, a former state planner who was shifted to DNREC during restructuring in the early 1980s and is town manager in Smyrna, said he believes state planning is most effective when the agency reports to the governor’s office. Hugg,  who served as director of state planning when the office was resurrected by Gov. Tom Carper in 1995, predicted with the shift to DelDOT, “it will loose some of it’s identity.”
Still others worry that the state planning role may dissolve, and others worry that DelDOT lacks the public trust to oversee planning issues. McGrath said that for years he has advocated that state planning be given the status of a Cabinet-level agency.
Peggy Schultz, with the Delaware League of Women Voters, said she, too, thinks that statewide planning is so critical that it deserves Cabinet status. “And now they are downgrading it,” she said.
Maxwell at the OMB said state government has downsized by 500 bodies since March 2009 and wanted to be clear that there were no plans for a new Cabinet position. McGrath said that even though Delaware is a state where ultimately land-use decisions are made on a local level, the state could have a lot more authority. The biggest lever, he said, is that “the state could discipline its spending.
In reality, the state planning director should have the authority to look at all state spending and decide whether it fits with the growth plan, he said.
Even land planners, such as Sussex County-based Kea, suggest that with the centralized planning and project review, developers would get a fair review and assurances that everyone is treated equally. State transportation officials know about roads but they don’t have the comprehensive understanding of other development issues such as watersheds or endangered species that make the state planning review so effective, he said. Kea said state planning goes beyond specific development projects. OSPC also reviews municipal and county land-use plans – the documents that guide future growth in the state.
“I don’t think it’s broken. So let’s not touch it,” said John Flaherty, with the Delaware Coalition for Open Government. “ It’s a lot more accountable and transparent where they are now.”
DelDOT Secretary Shaleen Bhatt outlined the proposal earlier this year at a state Joint Finance committee hearing. In an interview, he noted a distinction between transportation planning at DelDOT and the scope at OSPC.
“We’re going to be very clear that, it’s not like they’re coming to work within the Office of Planning downstairs [in DelDOT],” Bhatt said. “It’s going to be a standalone state agency, the same way it’s set up now, continuing to do that work but housed here.
Larry Tarabicos, a northern Delaware land-use attorney, said he hopes the change is part of a plan to consolidate and streamline operations. He said the review process takes time and the comments offered aren’t that helpful. “Unless the state wants to take over land-use decisions in the entire state, a state planning office like this is never going to be useful because the decisions are going to be made at the local level anyway,” he said.
Contact Melissa Nann Burke at mburke@delawareonline.com or Molly Murray at 463-3334 or mmurray@delawareonline.com.

www.delawareonline.com/article/20130402/NEWS/304020051/State-land-use-review-office-faces-move-to-DelDOT?source=nletter-news