July 23, 2012

RVOICE scored a significant win July 19 in Will County as REALTORS® worked to helped local officials shape a Green Building Initiative in such a way that property rights were protected.

Members of the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® began working with Will County officials in 2010 when the county received a U.S. Department of Energy grant to rewrite zoning ordinances with an eye to adopting conservation-friendly policies. Over the course of 18 months, 12 hearings and countless one-on-one lobbying efforts, all 11 of the policy areas TRAR was concerned about were addressed.

The effort involved the Illinois Association of REALTORS® RVOICE program, TRAR’s members and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Said IAR governmental affairs director Tom Joseph:  “In baseball, when you are batting 11 for 11, that's a pretty good average, and that is what we were able to accomplish with amendments and multiple recommendations. This is Ted Williams-like.”

Among topics that were addressed were the scope of green development requirements and shortening the time frame for a “completeness review” from 14 business days to seven business days.

REALTORS® worked to finesse the policy rewrite to provide tiered incentives for developers who adopt high-density, environmentally-friendly building plans. While the construction might cost more to implement the guidelines, developers would get breaks on some permit and impact fees under the plan.

The end result of months of work was an overwhelming vote for the revised zoning plan. Nineteen board members voted for the measure and one voted against it.

The successful effort will be used as a model under a My REALTOR® Party initiative that will bring together stakeholders in the zoning rewrite for a forum organized under NAR and TRAR sponsorship. .

To learn more, see the website established to provide information to the public.

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