NAIOP Corporate hosted two meetings in Las Vegas last month designed to bring chapters together to highlight common legislative and policy challenges, and to share successful advocacy strategies and approaches. The first meeting was a policy summit for NAIOP chapters located in the western United States, with chapters from New Mexico to Washington state invited to participate. The second meeting brought together Nevada’s two NAIOP chapters and focused primarily on issues faced by the commercial real estate industry in that state.
Kim Snyder, president, western region, for Prologis and 2023 NAIOP Chair, along with Marc Selvitelli, NAIOP’s president and CEO, opened the policy summit for the western chapters that allowed members to have an open dialogue and engage other chapters on the regional, state and local challenges facing commercial real estate. The discussion highlighted the importance of advocacy through active engagement and communication with state and local policymaker. These advocacy efforts also included building coalitions, identifying the right messenger from the industry, and utilizing local media outlets.
Shared policy issues and challenges for the western chapters included:
- Reliable energy generation and transmission.
- State and local greenhouse gas reduction initiatives.
- Homelessness and affordable housing, including rent control.
- Tax and fee increases on commercial real estate.
- Inconsistent permitting processes.
Representatives from the NAIOP chapters of Colorado, Inland Empire, Silicon Valley, Hawaii, New Mexico, Northern Nevada, Southern Nevada, Oregon and Washington State attended and participated in the summit.
Chapter representatives took the opportunity to engage directly with their counterparts from other chapters, sharing information and their individual responses regarding advocacy challenges they had faced, and what they perceived to be the future major issues that would need to be addressed. They also shared ideas about how to improve the effectiveness of communication between chapters and NAIOP Corporate on state, local and regional matters,.
The Western Regional Summit was followed by the NAIOP of Nevada Legislative Retreat. Similar to the summit, the legislative retreat provided an opportunity for members of the state’s two chapters to share and exchange perspectives on the legislative challenges for economic growth and development in Nevada at both the state and local levels.
One of the biggest issues for commercial real estate development in the state of Nevada is the lack of available land. The Nevada Association of Counties reports that nearly 87% of land in the state is controlled by federal government entities, such as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. NAIOP of Nevada supports the responsible release of strategically located public lands and the necessary infrastructure to support commercial development on these lands. The two chapters were disappointed when the “Land Bill” sponsored by Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto failed to move out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Retreat attendees also heard from JC Davis, enterprise conservation manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), on the current water crisis and its impact on commercial development in the southwest region of the country. Davis’ presentation indicated that the inflow to the Colorado River, a major source of available water serving seven states in the western region and Mexico, is expected to be less than two-thirds of normal levels for 2022. The continued decline in the average inflow has required local water authorities to take action to conserve and restrict water usage. In order to address the current and projected water crisis, the SNWA:
- Invested $1.4 billion in new infrastructure.
- Restricted outdoor usage and irrigation on nonfunctional grass.
- Encouraged “building to the conditions.”
- Is considering a moratorium on the use of evaporative cooling in new commercial construction.
- Restricted the size of residential pools to 600 square feet.
Regional issues raised at the state retreat also included sustainable supplies of electricity to meet demand, improved communication and coordination between state and local governing entities, affordable housing and workforce development.
The regional policy summit and the state legislative retreat underscored the continued importance of advocacy on the many issues facing NAIOP members and commercial real estate industry, and the need to prepare for the engagement that will be needed to protect and advance the interests of our industry in 2023.
Toby Burke is the Senior Director of State and Local Affairs for NAIOP.