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Bill Watch, Jan. 17, 2017: Current Real Estate & Land Use Law of Note - Real Estate and Land Use News

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Real Estate and Land Use News

Posted on: Jan 17, 2017

The IndyBar Legislative Committee is currently monitoring the following real estate and land use related legislation. IndyBar members can request that the Legislative Committee track specific legislation by contacting committee chair Lawren Mills at

Click here to view the full Bill Watch reports.

HB1021    RETALIATORY LAWSUITS AGAINST ZONING REMONSTRATORS. (PRYOR C) Specifies, for purposes of Indiana's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute, that an "act in furtherance of a person's right of petition or free speech under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Indiana in connection with a public issue" includes conduct by remonstrators who express an opinion relating to planning, zoning, land use, eminent domain, and similar matters, even if the eventual determination of the matter affects only private interests.

HB1037    CONSTRUCTION OR DESIGN CONTRACTS. (TORR J) For purposes of the statute providing for the invalidity of an indemnity agreement related to negligence or willful misconduct in connection with a construction or design contract, removes the word "sole" as a descriptor of the negligence or willful misconduct at issue. Makes a technical correction.

HB1101    ADJUSTMENT OR MOVEMENT OF ADVERTISING SIGNS. (CHERRY R) Provides that the owner or operator of an outdoor advertising sign may adjust the height of the sign or relocate the sign due to changes that would obstruct the sign's visibility. Provides that a height adjustment does not alter a nonconforming sign's status. Provides that a county or municipality must (if necessary) provide for the height adjustment or relocation by ordinance for a special exception to its zoning ordinance. Establishes guidelines for the size and viewing angle of a height adjusted or relocated sign.

HB1117    PERFORMANCE BOND REQUIREMENTS. (MILLER D) Provides that a local governmental unit and a land developer may agree to the partial release of a performance bond or other surety required of the land developer to ensure the completion of certain unfinished improvements and installations in a subdivision on a more frequent basis than an annual basis. (Under current law, a performance bond or other surety may be partially released on an annual basis, which would continue to be permitted.) Makes a technical change to make language in the statute uniform.

HB1121    PROTECTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY. (MILLER D) Allows an owner of real property or a person with a vested right to a specific use of real property to seek compensation from a governmental entity if a specific action taken by the governmental entity inordinately burdened an existing use of the real property or a vested right to a specific use of the real property. Provides that statutes: (1) providing immunity from tort liability for governmental entities and employees when the loss occurs under certain circumstances; and (2) prohibiting the award of punitive damages against governmental entities and employees acting within the scope of their employment; do not apply to claims for inordinately burdening use of real property. Requires a property owner, before filing an action, to submit to the governmental entity the property owner's claim and an appraisal that supports the claim and demonstrates the loss in fair market value to the real property. Requires a governmental entity to which a property owner's claim is submitted to make a written settlement offer to the property owner and to issue a written statement identifying the property's allowable uses. Authorizes the property owner to file a civil action for compensation in the circuit or superior court of the county in which the real property is located, if the property owner rejects the settlement offer. Requires the court to determine whether an existing use of the real property or a vested right to a specific use of the real property existed and, if so, whether the governmental entity inordinately burdened that use or vested right. Specifies that if the court's determination is in the property owner's favor, the court shall impanel a jury to determine the total amount of compensation to the property owner for the loss in value due to the inordinate burden. Provides for an award of reasonable costs and attorney's fees under certain circumstances.

HB1132    PLANNING AND ZONING. (ELLINGTON J) Changes the definition of "urban area" for purposes of a land use provision regarding the use and alienation of mineral resources or forests to include any lands or lots used for residential purposes where there are at least 50 residences (instead of eight residences) within any quarter mile square area.

HB1295 DISPOSAL OF REAL PROPERTY (PRYOR C) Allows the fiscal body of a unit (a county, municipality, or township) to
adopt an ordinance (in the case of a county or municipality) or a resolution (in the case of a township) to increase the
minimum appraised value of real property for which the fiscal body must approve a sale of the property. (Current law
requires the fiscal body to approve a sale of real property if the appraised value is $50,000 or more.) Allows the fiscal
body of a political subdivision to adopt an ordinance (in the case of a county or municipality) or a resolution (in the
case of other political subdivisions) to increase the maximum assessed value of real property for which the political
subdivision may negotiate a sale of the real property to an abutting landowner instead of having the property
appraised and sold by public bidding. (Current law allows a political subdivision to negotiate with the abutting
property owner if the assessed value of the real property is less than $15,000.)

SB121    ADVERSE POSSESSION. (KOCH E) Permits a person or other entity exempt from the payment of property taxation to claim property by adverse possession.

SB129    CONSTRUCTION PERMITS AND PLAN REVIEW. (MESSMER M) Amends the definition of "project" for purposes of construction permits and plan review.

SB353 REAL PROPERTY IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTS (HEAD R) Amends the statute concerning home improvement
contracts to do the following: (1) Expand the scope of the statute to cover improvements made to commercial real
property in addition to residential real property. (2) Specify that for purposes of the statute, improvements include
interior improvements made to real property, including improvements made to a basement. (3) Expand a consumer's
right to cancel a contract to include canceling a contract before midnight on the third business day after the later of
the following: (A) The date the contract is signed by the consumer and the real property improvement supplier. (B) If
applicable, the date the consumer receives written notice from the consumer's insurance company of a final
determination as to whether the consumer's claim or the contract is a covered loss under an insurance policy.
(Current law allows an insured consumer to cancel a contract only before midnight on the third business day after the
insured consumer has received written notice from the consumer's insurance company that any part of the claim or
contract is not a covered loss under the insurance policy.) (4) Require that a real property improvement contract
include an electronic mail address for the real property improvement supplier and each owner, officer, employee, or
agent to whom consumer problems and inquiries can be directed. (5) Allow a consumer to submit a notice of contract
cancellation by electronic mail. (6) Prohibit a third party subcontractor or vendor from initiating or pursuing a claim
with an insured consumer's insurance company without the express consent of the insured consumer, as evidenced
by a separate written authorization signed by the insured consumer. (7) Provide that a claim initiated or pursued by a
third party subcontractor or vendor, or any legal cause of action filed in connection with such a claim, shall, at the
request of the insured consumer's insurance company, be resolved through binding arbitration. (8) Make conforming




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