Information on Benzie-Leelanau Health Department Water Sample Testing, Acme Township Planning Commission Considering Draft ADU Ordinance, and NAR and Partners Urge Fed to Address Long-term Issues in Mortgage Market
This week, we kick off the GAD Top 3 with some best practices for water sample testing of septic systems thanks to information from Eric Johnston, the Director of Environmental Health for the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. Then the Acme Township Planning Commission is now considering a draft zoning ordinance changes to allow Accessory Dwelling Units, and NAR keeps working with partner organizations to access the sharp increases in interest rates.
1. Information on Benzie-Leelanau Health Department Water Sample Testing
Since the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department Sanitary Code went into effect earlier this year (January 27th), this is the top real estate policy change that I have heard questions and concerns from Aspire North members on this year. We kicked off our inaugural GAD Top 3 announcing the Benzie-Leelanau Sanitary Code had taken effect on January 27th and we have covered the Leelanau County Health Department Education Session hosted at Aspire North on June 27th, updates made to the Benzie-Leelanau Sanitary Code thanks to an Aspire North member, as well as water testing concerns claimed by the Michigan Ground Water Association (MGWA). As I have continued to hear from Aspire North members concerns about their water testing results, I recently reached out to Eric Johnston, the Director of Environmental Health for the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, to get some information on some best practices to assist our members in obtaining the best outcomes for their water testing of water wells.
For reference, all Michigan water sample testing practices practiced by Benzie-Leelanau Health Department inspectors for coliform bacteria are outlined in Michigan’s Water Well Disinfection Manual (pages 40 to 45). Noted in Michigan’s Water Well Disinfection Manual “Outdoor faucets are not the best sampling location. They are exposed to contamination by insects, rain, snow, and dust. They do not get routine, frequent use and most are threaded.” (page 41). Eric did note that out of the Benzie-Leelanau Health Department's almost 1,300 water samples since October 1st, 2020, the rate of water samples that tested positive for coliform bacteria (a failing water test) was 10.5% of outside faucets and almost 13% for inside faucets. In accordance with Michigan’s Water Well Disinfection Manual's desirable sampling tap characteristics (page 41), consider giving health department officials access to a sampling tap in a clean location that is in frequent use, such as a kitchen sink. Eric also shared that if water sampling is done right after a chlorination to remove bacteria, it is possible testing can miss some bacteria. The exact time frame in which to wait for testing varies quite a bit based on the source, however, the CDC recommends waiting “at least 7 to 10 days to test” after disinfecting a system “to ensure that the chlorine has been thoroughly flushed from the system.”
Thank you to all our members for keeping us (Aspire North) informed of your experiences working under the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department Sanitary Code. Your feedback and experience are invaluable to members across our association and to the Benzie-Leelanau Health Department as we all continue to preserve this beautiful place we all call home for current and future generations!
2. Acme Township Planning Commission Considering Draft ADU Ordinance
Acme Township’s consideration of a draft zoning ordinance to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) continues with the Acme Township Planning Commission’s consideration of a zoning ordinance at their Monday, Nov. 13th meeting (pages 19 to 21). Some key standards that would be required of ADUs under this draft zoning ordinance include:
- ADUs shall be limited to permitted districts and properties that have municipal sewer or the ability to connect to municipal sewer.
- ADUs shall be limited to permitted districts and properties where single-family dwelling units are the principal use.
- The owner of the property shall live on site, either in the principal dwelling unit or the accessory dwelling unit.
- ADUs shall have a separate entrance, kitchen, sleeping area, and full bathroom facilities.
- Building materials and designs used on detached ADUs or additions to the principal dwelling for an attached ADU shall be of a similar architectural style as that of the principal dwelling.
- The minimum size of the ADU shall be three hundred and fifty (350) square feet and the maximum size shall not exceed nine hundred and fifty (950) square feet, or the size of the principal dwelling unit, whichever is less.
- Manufactured homes or mobile homes shall not be used as an ADU.
- An ADU shall not be used as a Short-Term Rental.
- The term for tenancy of the ADU shall be for a period of six (6) months or more.
3. NAR and Partners Urge Fed to Address Long-term Issues in Mortgage Market
The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) joined Community Home Lenders of America (CHLA) and Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) in urging the National Economic Council (NEC) and Treasury along with the Fed and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to address short-term issues that have led to unnecessarily high rates. NAR also urged action to support long-term liquidity in the Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) market. This effort is the second this week to address the sharp increase in mortgage rates. The gap between the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and the 10-year Treasury is normally about 1.5%. Currently, it is now closer to 3%. This 1.5% extra gap reflects inefficiencies in the market, but in particular, the Fed's attempt to reduce its holding of MBS when there are few/no buyers to replace it. This decline in demand causes rates to go up relative to Treasuries. Find more information on these efforts here.