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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Watching Out for Hidden Mandates By Regional Boards

One of the less glamorous but most important jobs as a City Councilmember is to keep an eye on the numerous regional and state oversight boards that require permits and licenses for communities to operate.

Over the past week I have been watching the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.  As part of the five-year renewal process for the the City of San Mateo's wastewater treatment plant (which treats all sewage before it is discharged into the Bay), the Regional Water Quality Control Board is introducing language that could require homeowners selling and buying homes to replace their sewer lateral pipes at the time of sale.  Known as a "point-of-sale" contract, this requirement could add up to $15,000 in the cost of buying or selling a home.

Such a requirement could hamper the ability of many members in our community from becoming homeowners.  Young couples, folks with low-to-moderate income, single parents.  A whole host of individuals could be priced out of our community with this requirement, diluting the diversity of our neighborhoods. 

However, after much work with our Public Works staff and other outside organizations, we managed to ascertain that a point of sale contract is not required . . . yet.  As your Councilmember, I will continue to watch this situation closely and advocate aggressively on your behalf. 

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