Update on Smart Planning repeal, other land use-related bills

HF 45, the “Taxpayers First Bill” that includes repeal of last year’s Smart Planning Act, passed the Iowa House last Wednesday.  An amendment to remove the Smart Planning repeal was offered by Representative Charles Isenhart (D-Dubuque) but did not pass.  The bill has been transmitted to the State Senate.  

Other bills directly or indirectly related to planning that have been introduced include:

SF 11:  A bill for an Act delegating to counties the permitting and enforcement powers of the department of natural resources in relation to 2 certain sewage disposal systems and authorizing penalties.

SF25:  A bill for an Act relating to open records and public meetings and including effective date provisions.

SF28:  A bill for an Act relating to local and regional planning and establishing a state office of planning and geographic information systems within the department of economic development and making appropriations.

SF 53:   A bill for an Act relating to disaster mitigation and predisaster planning by providing for comprehensive watershed management planning, creating a watershed management grant program, providing floodplain management regulation incentives, creating a predisaster hazard mitigation grant program, and making appropriations.

HF28:  A bill for an Act authorizing counties to adopt county legislation relating to the siting of confinement feeding operations.

HF38:   A bill for an Act relating to the assessment and taxation of platted lots and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions.

HF59:  A bill for an Act providing for the adoption of complete streets policies for certain highway projects. 

HF64:   A bill for an Act relating to eminent domain authority and procedures and including effective date and applicability provisions.

Many bills do not make it past introduction.  We will only be reporting on the progress of these bills if they gain traction over the coming weeks.

Hearing scheduled for bill that includes Smart Planning repeal

The House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a public hearing for HSB 1 the Taxpayers First Act that includes, among MANY other proposals, the language that repeals Smart Planning.  The hearing is set for next Tuesday, January 18 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm in the House Chamber.  There are a few rules on speaking which are stated in the press release announcing the hearing:

“Speaking time is three minutes per individual for all public hearings (written testimony is encouraged but not required).  Persons wishing to speak may sign up at the Legislative Information Office (LIO), Room G16, located in the Iowa State Capitol, or call the LIO at 515-281-5129. If unable to attend, you may e-mail written testimony to the LIO:  lioinfo@legis.state.ia.us Please type ‘Testimony’ in the subject line. The speaking order will be five pro, five con, etc. The first 40 persons to sign-up will speak, after that there will be a waiting list if time allows.”

HSB 1 eliminates from state code the ten Smart Planning Principles, the thirteen comprehensive plan elements, and all other references to Smart Planning added to the code.  The proposal also rescinds any of the $30 million in infrastructure funds awarded last year through I-Jobs II (discussed here) for communities that have not yet entered into a contract for their funds with the Iowa Finance Authority.  The proposal would also close the Rebuild Iowa Office immediately upon passage, rather than on June 30, 2011 which is the scheduled sunset date of the office.

Iowa House Republicans propose rescission of Smart Planning, I-Jobs II infrastructure funding

by Gary Taylor

The Iowa House Republican’s “Taxpayers First Act” proposal, released Monday, proposes to essentially rescind last year’s Smart Planning Act.  The proposal, found here (the relevant Smart Planning provisions begin on page 25) eliminates from state code the ten Smart Planning Principles, the thirteen comprehensive plan elements, and all other references to Smart Planning added to the code. 

The proposal also rescinds any of the $30 million in infrastructure funds awarded last year through I-Jobs II (discussed here) for communities that have not yet entered into a contract for their funds with the Iowa Finance Authority.

The proposal would also close the Rebuild Iowa Office immediately upon passage, rather than wait for the scheduled sunset of the office on June 30, 2011.

Iowa Smart Planning Comprehensive Planning grants now awarded

by Gary Taylor

The Rebuild Iowa Office announced Tuesday the cities and counties receiving grants from the Iowa Smart Planning Comprehensive Planning Grant Program.  My previous blogpost explaining the program in detail is available here.  $1 million is being awarded to 38 cities and counties to develop plans that meaningfully incorporate 10 Iowa’s Smart Planning Principles.

Three city-led plans and five county-led plans (marked with ** below) are multi-jurisdictional plans, which received additional consideration in grant scoring. 

The Iowa Department of Economic Development will be administering the program now that the awards have been made.

Cities receiving grants:

Afton, $9,000 Cumming, $28,000 McGregor, $7,500
Burlington, $50,000 Dow City, $4,000 Missouri Valley, $7,500
Carroll, $12,000 Durant, $15,000 Mount Ayr, $9,375
Cedar Falls, $50,000 Granger, $28,000 Newton**, $18,000
Cedar Rapids, $50,000 Iowa City, $50,000 Palo, $5,500
Cherokee, $14,000 Keota,$16,500 Riverdale, $10,000
Clinton, $30,000 Lewis, $7,500 Stanton $7,500
Clive, $50,000 Lorimor, $4,000 Vinton, $5,682
Columbus Junction**, $3,750 Manchester, $29,680 Washington, $27,033
Council Bluffs, $50,000 Manning, $6,000  
Cresco**, $22,500 Marshalltown, $47,700  

Counties receiving grants:

Delaware County**, $39,000 Hardin County**, $61,250 Winneshiek County**, $60,000
Dubuque County**, $89,000 Jones County, $5,290  
Fayette County**, $31,250 Linn County, $38,490  

Iowa Smart Planning Taskforce issues final report

by Gary Taylor

The Iowa Smart Planning Taskforce submitted its final report to Governor Culver and the General Assembly on November 15, meeting the deadline set forth in SF 2389.  The Taskforce was charged with investigating and making recommendations related to the following subjects:

  • Integrating the Iowa Smart Planning Principles into appropriate state policies and programs.
  • Determining an effective and efficient coordination and information sharing system to support local and regional planning.
  • Suggesting appropriate technical and financial incentives to support local and regional planning.
  • Developing a framework for regional planning.

One-sentence summaries of the Taskforce recommendations follows; however, readers are urged to review the full Final Report of the Smart Planning Taskforce (accessible here) to fully understand each recommendation, and how they work together to propose a framework for state, regional and local comprehensive planning in Iowa. 

1. State Level Coordination
1.1: Establish the Office of Planning and Geographic Information Systems (OPGIS) and OPGIS Coordinating Council.
1.2: Develop an accessible statewide GIS and data system.
1.3: Integrate the Smart Planning Principles into the State’s Enterprise Strategic Planning Process.
1.4: Provide training and technical assistance to state agencies to facilitate integration of Smart Planning Principles into state investment decision-making processes.
1.5: Identify State of Iowa Smart Planning Goals and Benchmarks as measurable goals and benchmarks for the state.

2. Regional Planning Framework
2.1: Identify Councils of Governments as the organizations responsible for comprehensive regional smart planning throughout Iowa.
2.2: Comprehensive regional smart plans should be completed within five years after legislation is enacted.
2.3: Create a sustainable funding source for regional smart planning.
2.4: Councils of Governments should establish a Plan Review Committee in each region for local smart plan review.
2.5: A regional entity or entities should be established or identified in Central Iowa for the purposes of regional planning, implementation, and local smart plan review.

3. Financial Incentives & Technical Assistance
3.1: Create a sustainable funding source for a smart planning grant program at the state level for local smart plan development and implementation.
3.2: Expand the menu of financing options available for local governments to develop and implement smart plans.
3.3: State agencies should give additional consideration for having a qualified smart plan to receive state funding for infrastructure and public facilities projects that affect land use, transportation, stormwater management, and floodplain protection.
3.4: Create a smart planning education program and toolbox for local government staff, officials, and the public.

4. Watershed Planning & Implementation
4.1: Enhance watershed planning, coordination, and implementation by creating goals and strategies referencing land use for each of Iowa’s six major river basins and three major river regions.

5. State Code Consistency
5.1: Make the definition of “local comprehensive plan” uniform through the Iowa Code.

Public input sessions scheduled to discuss Smart Planning Taskforce recommendations

At the September 15 meeting of the Iowa Smart Planning Taskforce, a series of draft recommendations (available here) were approved for public review and comment.  The draft recommendations are the result of the work of four workgroups – Integration of Smart Planning Principles, Information Sharing and Coordination, Regional Comprehensive Planning, and Local Comprehensive Planning – that were each tasked with addressing one or more of the directives given to the Taskforce by SF 2389:

  • Integrating the Iowa Smart Planning Principles into state policies and programs.
  • Determining an effective and efficient coordination and information sharing system to support local and regional planning.
  • Developing a framework for regional planning.
  • Suggesting appropriate technical and financial incentives to support local and regional planning.

The full scope of duties given the Taskforce by the legislature can be found here.

Public input sessions to receive feedback on the draft recommendations have been scheduled for the following dates and locations:

  • September 28 – Spencer – Spencer City Hall, 4:30 – 6:30
  • September 29 – Red Oak – Montgomery County History Center, 4:30 – 6:30
  • September 30 – Waverly – Waverly Civic Center, 4:30 – 6:30
  • October 5 – Coralville – Coralville Public Library, Room A, 4:30 – 6:30
  • October 6 – Webinar broadcast – More information on accessing the webinar will soon be posted on the RIO webpage
  • October 7 – Boone – City Hall Auditorium, 4:30 – 6:30

At each site a short presentation will be made at 4:30, and repeated at 5:30.  Information tables will be set up where attendees can learn the background and rationale for the Taskforce recommendations, and where attendees will be able to provide written and verbal feedback on the recommendations.

$1 million made available to Iowa cities/counties for planning

This information comes from the Iowa Department of Economic Development and the Rebuild Iowa Office:

Applications for the Iowa Smart Planning: Local Comprehensive Planning Grant Program are now available through the Rebuild Iowa Office and Iowa Department of Economic Development.
 
Eligible applicants include any of the 85 counties that were presidentially declared disaster areas as a result of the storms of 2008, as well as any city government within those counties.  Up to $50,000 per participating governmental entity may be requested.  Applicants must provide a one-to-one match.  Multi-jurisdictional plans are encouraged. 
 
These grants are intended to support development and adoption of forward-thinking comprehensive plans that will guide long-term recovery efforts and subsequent decisions that reduce existing or future development in flood-risk areas.  Application guidelines, as well as the application form, can be found at  http://www.rio.iowa.gov/smart_planning/index.html.  The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
 
The Rebuild Iowa Office is coordinating the program’s application process and the Iowa Department of Economic Development is administering the contracting and reimbursement process.
 
The program is based on the Iowa Smart Planning Principles and local comprehensive planning guidance contained in Senate File 2389, which was signed into law on April 26.  Smart Planning is meant to improve community resiliency following the storms of 2008 in ways that increase economic opportunity, protect environmental resources, and improve quality of life.
 
The $1 million program is funded through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds provided to Iowa from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in response to the catastrophic storms and floods of 2008.

Smart Planning resource page up and running

I have started a Smart Planning Resources page on this blog (link is just above) to keep readers informed of the ongoing work of the Smart Planning Taskforce, and to assemble resources that may prove useful as Iowa cities and counties consider moving forward with smart planning.  It will be updated regularly as materials are gathered, so check in on it often.

Iowa Smart Planning Webinars July 7

The Iowa League of Cities, Iowa State Association of Counties, Iowa Association of Regional Councils and ISU Extension are collaborating on a one-hour “Iowa Smart Planning Webinar” for city and county officials and planning and zoning commissioners.  The Iowa Smart Planning Law was passed by the Iowa legislature and signed by the Governor this past April.  Gary Taylor of ISU Extension will discuss the key elements of the law, the implications of the law on planning and zoning in Iowa cities and counties, and lessons we may be able to learn from other states that have adopted similar laws over the past twenty years.  Among other things, the law created a Smart Planning Taskforce to make recommendations for improving local comprehensive planning.  Mr. Taylor, who is also a member of the Taskforce, will provide his insights into the work that the Taskforce must undertake before November 15, when its report is due to the Governor and the legislature.

The webinar will be offered at 1:00 pm, and again at 7:00 pm on July 7.  It is being hosted by the Iowa State Association of Counties.

To register for the 1pm session click here

To register for the 7pm session click here

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP, 2003 Server or 2000

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

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