Barnstable County Tornado - Emergency Declaration Issued

On July 24, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued an Emergency Declaration to facilitate speedy recovery in the Towns of Harwich and Yarmouth from damage caused by the tornado that occurred on July 23, 2019. To facilitate recovery, the Emergency Declaration authorizes the removal of downed trees, downed utility poles, downed power lines, and repair of buildings damaged by the storm, when located in wetland resource areas. The Emergency Declaration temporarily suspends the normal application process to facilitate recovery by requiring only notice be provided to the Conservation Commissions and the MassDEP Southeast Regional Office . See the Emergency Declaration here .

HBRAMA Meets With New Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary

On July 23, members of the HBRAMA met with new EOEEA Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides, and Undersecretary Patrick Woodcock, to discuss both priorities of the Administration as well as code and building issues. HBRAMA was informed that the Baker Administration is exploring more aggressive carbon reduction targets for Massachusetts, including what it would take to go net-zero by 2050, and exploring the possibility of setting an interim target for emission reductions by 2030. Of concern is the emphasis on the targeting of more aggressive emissions reductions from transportation, electric, building and land use and, in particular, the possibility of imposing requirements for a Zero Net Energy Stretch Code for residential and commercial buildings by 2030. HBRAMA representatives stressed the importance of ensuring that ambitious energy code efforts do not conflict with the Administration’s housing production and affordability goals. The need for Title 5 regulatory reform was also discussed. The HBRAMA will be watching these developments closely. We thank John Smolak, Jeff Brem, Emerson Clauss, and well as our lobbyists, Ben Fierro and Patricia Lynch, for participating in this important discussion.

HBRAMA Opposes H. 3260 and S. 835, An Act Relative to Construction Defect Claims by Condominium Owners

On July 16, both Mark Kablack and Ben Fierro attended a hearing of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in connection with HBRAMA’s opposition to H. 3260 / S. 835 , An Act Relative to Construction Defect Claims by Condominium Owners. The legislation, if enacted, would significantly alter the long-established standards regarding the statute of limitations and statute of repose as they apply to condominiums. For example, the legislation would drastically expand the time period of the statute of limitations by tolling the date that an action accrues until such date as a declarant (builder) relinquishes control of the condominium. Also, the six (6) year statute of repose applicable to a defect claim in the construction of the first phase of a large condominium project would not run until six years after the last unit in the last phase of the condominium is completed, significantly impacting predictability of construction defect claims. A detailed summary of these proposed changes can be found in HBRAMA’s letter of opposition found here . Thank you to both Mark Kablack and Ben Fierro for their efforts on this matter.

MassDEP Promulgates Amendments to Asbestos Regulations; Amends Guidance

On July 12, the MassDEP promulgated amendments to 310 CMR 7.15 : Asbestos. These amendments streamline requirements for repairing and replacing underground asbestos-cement pipe and make various technical corrections to the asbestos regulations. MassDEP has also updated its Asbestos Cement Pipe Guidance Document to reflect the amendments. A link to the regulations can be found here . The updated Asbestos Cement Pipe Guidance Document, July 2019, which explains how to safely remove, repair and dispose of asbestos cement pipes that are repaired or replaced in underground system networks (e.g. water, sewer, electricity and gas) can be found here

HBRAMA Testifies At State House on Zoning Reform