Association News Rochester Chapter

LEGAL ALERT FROM RAC NYSCAR AFFILIATE MEMBER, HARRIS BEACH PLLC: Census Tract Eligibility Using NYS Historic Tax Credits

The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) recently issued Advisory Opinion TSB-A-17(3)I determining that a property listed in the National Register of Historic Places (the building) was located within a qualifying census tract for purposes of the historic tax credit (HTC) based on the determination of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (SHPO) that the building was in a qualifying census tract. 

NYS Tax Law § 606(oo) allows for a HTC against NYS tax equal to 100% of the federal HTC (up to $5 million).  Among other requirements, NYS Tax Law § 606[oo][5]) requires that a property to be rehabilitated must be located within a qualified census tract, defined as a census tract at or below 100% of the state median family income.  The state median family income is computed as of January 1 of each year using the most recent 5-year estimate from the American Community Survey published by the United States Census Bureau.  The determination of eligibility is made by SHPO. Continue Reading

LEGAL ALERT FROM RAC NYSCAR AFFILIATE MEMBER, HARRIS BEACH PLLC: EPA Issues Interim Final Guidance to States on Coal Ash Management Permit Programs

On August 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an interim final guidance document to help states develop and submit permit programs for the safe management of coal ash combustion residuals (CCR), commonly known as coal ash, to EPA for review and approval.  The current version of the guidance describes EPA's statutory authority interpretations and the way in which EPA generally intends to review state programs.  EPA is encouraging states to consult that interim final guidance as they develop and submit programs to EPA for review and approval.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt described the interim final guidance as being "part of EPA's ongoing commitment to cooperative federalism," saying that "we continue to consult with our state partners to find the best management strategy for the safe disposal of coal ash in each of their states."  He characterized the guidance as being designed to make the permit program approval process "easier to navigate." Continue Reading

LEGAL ALERT FROM RAC NYSCAR AFFILIATE MEMBER, HARRIS BEACH PLLC: New DEC Rule Impacts Handling and Storage of Anti-Stain and Grease Agent PFOA

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently promulgated regulations related to the bulk storage of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), specifically PFOA-acid, PFOA-salt, PFOS-acid and PFOS-salt (collectively referred to as PFOA).  PFOA has been commonly used to make products more resistant to stains, grease, and water and can be found in pre-treated carpeting, carpet-care liquids, certain apparel and upholstery, firefighting foam, textiles, industrial floor wax and wax remover, sealants, food contact paper, dental floss and cookware.

Although the manufacture of PFOA has been phased out in New York state, those entities that continue to use it must take heed of the new regulations to ensure compliance with handling and storage requirements.  

The new rule adds PFOA to the list of hazardous substances under 6 NYCRR Section 597.3.  The New York State Department of Health has found that prolonged exposure to significantly elevated levels of PFOA threatens public health and poses a hazard to the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed.  

There are three consequences of listing PFOA as a hazardous substance.  Continue Reading

LEGAL ALERT FROM RAC NYSCAR AFFILIATE MEMBER, HARRIS BEACH PLLC: Cybersecurity-A Plan of Attack Before and After You are Hacked

Ransomware is dominating the news.  We have seen a rise in the rate of infection for our clients.  A sound incident response plan addresses the management of ransomware infections and other data breaches. To pay or not to pay?  Ransom costs vary, averaging $1,000 or more depending upon the size of your organization.  They are typically paid with Bitcoins.  If attacked, you will need to decide if you will capitulate to their demands.

Reasons to Pay:

  • There is usually no easy way to decrypt the files.  Sometimes the attackers make a mistake and it is possible, but most of this software is well packaged on the dark web and runs properly so decrypting without a key is usually not possible.  If you have not recently backed up your infected computers, paying the ransom may be the only hope of getting your files back.
     
  • Paying the ransom and decrypting the files is easier than recreating your information system.  If you do pay the ransom and everything happens as promised, you may also have access to a helpdesk staffed by someone who will help you decrypt the files.  So be sure to keep all the information that comes with your decryption key.

Reasons not to Pay:

  • Do you trust a thief?  The person who caused the ransomware to be installed is a thief and extortionist.  Do you trust them to provide working encryption keys after you pay the ransom?  The ransomware business model is premised upon victims believing that the keys will work and many of the extortionists even provide a help line for those having trouble decrypting their files.  But there are criminals who don't care about protecting the industry and just encrypt, take the money and never provide a working key.  We have seen this numerous times.
     
  • There is a high likelihood that your organization will be identified to others as one willing to pay ransoms and therefore, you could be at a higher risk for future attacks.  Ransomware attacks are a crime of opportunity.  It takes some effort to install the virus  and these criminals want to devote their effort to victims who are likely to pay.  If they can increase their yield ratio by attacking people willing to pay in the past, they will do that. Continue Reading 

The Upstate NY CCIM Chapter and the Rochester Area Chapter of NYSCAR are sponsoring our Fall Education event. "Commercial Real Estate Negotiations" will be a held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Rochester on September 26, 2017. REGISTER HERE  Download Detailed Flyer

CCIM Institute’s Ward Center for Real Estate Studies provides leading education about commercial real estate topics and trends. Negotiation is a vital skill for all business professionals who deal with residential and commercial real estate on a regular basis. CCIM’s three-step interest-based negotiations model prevents the use of tactics that can derail a successful transaction. After completing this course, students will know how to:

  • Satisfy the interests of parties involved in the negotiation (without sacrificing yours)
  • Develop strategies for addressing challenges in a principled, transparent manner
  • Maintain a collaborative approach to negotiations
  • Effectively communicate the consequences of not reaching an agreement

This workshop satisfies the Institute’s eight-hour negotiation education requirement for earning the CCIM designation. This course will provide seven (7) NYS CE Credits.

LEGAL ALERT FROM RAC NYSCAR AFFILIATE MEMBER, HARRIS BEACH PLLC: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Accepting Comments on Proposed Amendments to the State Environmental Quality Review Regulations.
Update:  NYSDEC SEQR Public Comment to Close on May 19, 2017

The Legal Alert below, issued last week, stated the public comment period for the proposed amendments to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) regulations closed on March 19, 2017.  However, the correct date for the close of the public comment period is May 19, 2017.

As an additional reminder, this Friday, March 31, 2017 at 1:00 p.m., the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is hosting a public hearing regarding the proposed SEQR amendments at DEC's Albany office located at 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233 in Assembly Room 129.

Stakeholders from both the commercial and environmental sectors have voiced concerns about the proposed amendments. Developers and other commercial interests have stated that the proposed amendments still do not provide adequate timetables or certainty during the SEQR review process that would provide project sponsors with some needed certainty as to when the SEQR review process is deemed complete. While on the other hand, environmental groups are concerned the changes proposed by the amendments may weaken SEQR  by making numerous additions to the list of Type II actions, thereby exempting additional actions from SEQR review. 

We will keep you apprised of DEC's responses to opinions and comments as formal responses are released.  Continue Reading

 

Because you are an RAC NYSCAR member, you are also a member of NYSAR.  Perks available to NYSAR members include access to cost-effective, comprehensive dental and vision plans designed exclusively for NYSAR members.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

LEGAL ALERT FROM HARRIS BEACH PLLC:  Amendments to New York's Petroleum and Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations

On October 11, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's ("DEC") amended petroleum bulk storage and chemical bulk storage regulations became effective.  Although the amendments are a year old, owners, operators, consultants and contractors, among others, are still struggling with the question of who must report spills of petroleum or hazardous substances.  More recently on September 16, 2016, an emergency rule became effective which added certain chemicals to the list of hazardous substances in 6 NYCRR § 597.3. This Alert addresses the issues which have been raised by owners and operators regarding reporting under the October 2015 amendments, as well as reviewing the latest amendments to bulk storage regulations that have more recently gone into effect. Continue Reading

LEGAL ALERT FROM HARRIS BEACH PLLC:  Department of Environmental Conservation Adopts Sewage Pollution Right To Know Regulations

On November 9, 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") published a new regulation implementing the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act ("SPRK"), which took effect on May 1, 2013.  Before the SPRK was enacted, notification of a discharge by publicly owned treatment works ("POTW") was only provided to DEC and the Department of Health within two hours if the discharge was near a public drinking water in-take, a bathing beach or shellfish beds. All untreated or partially treated sewage discharges from POTWs were required to be reported to DEC within 24 hours. Under the SPRK, notification requirements are ratcheted up, mandating reporting within two hours for all discharges by POTWs as well as publicly owned sewer systems ("POSSs").  Continue Reading

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