SF 2389 – Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Funding/I-Jobs/Smart Planning bill signing Monday

Governor Culver will be signing SF 2389, the bill containing Smart Planning and the new comprehensive planning elements, Monday April 26. The bill signing will take place in three locations:

9:00 a.m. – Cedar Rapids
Linn County Public Service Center- 930 First Street SW.

11:15 a.m. – Waterloo
City Council Chambers- 715 Mulberry Street

1:15 p.m. – Mason City
Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center- Room 224
NIACC Campus-500 College Drive

The final enrolled version that the Governor will be signing can be found here.

Iowa Smart Planning Legislation Summary Part IV: The Carrots

by Gary Taylor

During the legislative debate over the Smart Planning bill there was considerable discussion about, but no real movement toward making comprehensive planning mandatory for cities and counties.  It probably would not make sense to require all Iowa cities to adopt comprehensive plans.  669 of Iowa’s 947 cities have a population of less than 1,000, and unless they are in commuting distance of a major metropolitan area they are not experiencing growth.  While it is true that comprehensive planning addresses more than just the issues faced by growing communities, a comprehensive plan that conforms to the 13 elements in the legislation may be overkill for some. 

The “stick” of mandated planning was not placed in the bill; however, the legislature directed a portion of the funds from the Revenue Bonds Capitals II Fund (the final monies from the I-JOBS bonding) for use as “carrots” to entice cities and counties to move forward with smart planning.   The bill makes $30 million available to the Iowa jobs board “for a disaster prevention program created in section 16.194A for grants for cities and counties that apply smart planning principles and guidelines pursuant to sections 18B.1 and 18B.2, as enacted in this Act.”  The bill later provides the specifics about the disaster prevention program envisioned:

16.194A  Iowa jobs II program – disaster prevention.
1.  An Iowa jobs II program is created to assist in the development and completion of public construction projects relating to disaster prevention.
2.  A city or county in this state that applies the smart planning principles and guidelines pursuant to sections 18B.1 and 18B.2, as enacted in this Act, may submit an application to the Iowa jobs board for financial assistance for a local infrastructure competitive grant for an eligible project under the program, notwithstanding any limitation on the state’s percentage in funding as contained in section 29C.6, subsection 17.
3.  Financial assistance under the program shall be awarded in the form of grants.
4.  The board shall consider the following criteria in evaluating eligible projects to receive financial assistance under the program:
   a.  The total number and quality of jobs to be created and the benefits likely to accrue to areas distressed by high unemployment.
   b.  Financial feasibility, including the ability of projects to fund depreciation costs or replacement reserves, and the availability of other federal, state, local, and private sources of funds.
   c.  Sustainability and energy efficiency.
   d.  Benefits for disaster prevention.
   e.  The project’s readiness to proceed.
…………
7.  In order for a project to be eligible to receive financial assistance from the board, the project must be a public construction project…with a demonstrated substanial local, regional, or statewide economic impact. 

Administrative rules will need to be created that set criteria for determining whether a community is, indeed, applying smart planning principles.  The rulemaking process will be an interesting to watch in and of itself.

Addendum to Part II Summary

In Tuesday’s post regarding the comprehensive planning provisions of the smart planning bill I neglected to point out the important new notice provisions that will apply to cities and counties adopting comprehensive plans.  Following a county’s adoption of a comprehensive plan, copies of the plan shall be sent or made available to neighboring counties, cities within the county, the council of governments or regional planning commission where the county is located, and public libraries within the county.  After a city adopts a comprehensive plan, copies of the plan shall be sent or made available to the county in which the city is located, neighboring counties and cities, the council of governments or regional planning commission where the city is located, and public libraries within the city.

Iowa Smart Planning Legislation Summary Part III: The Smart Planning Taskforce

by Gary Taylor and Allison Arends

Section three of the Smart Planning legislation creates the Iowa Smart Planning Task Force.  The task force provision was targeted for elimination through amendments to the original bills by Republican House and Senate members on the grounds that it represented an expansion of government.  The final version inserted into the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure appropriations bill kept the task force, modified somewhat its membership, and provided a sunset date for the taskforce of December 2012.  It is required to meet at least four times before November 15th, 2010 and prepare a report with recommendations consistent with the Iowa smart planning principles for the governor and general assembly by that date.  Considering this is a little over 7 months away, and the task force has yet to be convened, it should prove a challenge to develop a set of recommendations that reflect careful deliberation by a diverse membership.

The task force consists of twenty-nine voting members and four ex-officio non-voting members. The task force is heavy with state agency representation.  Fourteen state agencies are represented:  (1) the department on aging (2) the department of economic development  (3) the secretary of agriculture and land stewardship (4) the department of cultural affairs (5) the department of public health (6) the department of management (7) the department of natural resources (8) the department of workforce development (9) the office of energy independence (10) the department of transportation (11) Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Department of Public Defense (12) Rebuild Iowa Office (13) the state building code commissioner, and (14) the utilities division of the department of commerce.  The other 15 voting members consist of experts in areas of real-estate, land development and residential construction, and representatives of local and regional governments, including the planning departments of Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, the League of Cities, the State Association of Counties, the American Planning Association, American Institute of Architects, Iowa Association of Regional Councils, school administrators, and representatives of small cities and counties and large cities and counties.  The four ex officio non-voting members will be one Democrat and one Republican from the House of Representatives, and one Democrat and one Republican from the Iowa Senate.

The task force will be staffed by the department of management, which may seek assistance from the Iowa Association of Regional Councils.  In addition, the department of management is required to “seek funding to support municipal comprehensive planning in this state.”  We will have to monitor progress on this directive.

As they appear in the bill, the duties of the task force are to:

a.  Consult land use experts, representatives of cities and counties, agricultural and environmental interests, urban and regional planning experts, reports or information from the local government innovation commission, and all other
information deemed relevant by task force members.
  b.  Solicit information from the general public on matters related to comprehensive planning.
  c.  Evaluate state policies, programs, statutes, and rules to determine whether any state policies, programs, statutes, or rules should be revised to integrate the Iowa smart planning principles under section 18B.1.
  d.  Develop statewide goals for comprehensive planning that utilize the Iowa smart planning principles under section 18B.1, and develop recommendations for a process to measure progress toward achieving those goals.
  e.  Evaluate and develop incentives to conduct local and regional comprehensive planning, including but not limited to state financial and technical assistance.
  f.  Develop a model for regional comprehensive planning within the state and recommend partnerships between state agencies, local governments, educational institutions, and research facilities.
  g.  Review municipal comprehensive plans to determine the number of such plans that address the hazards identified in section 18B.2, subsection 2, paragraph “k”, and the adequacy of such plans in addressing those hazards.
  h.  Develop a set of recommendations that is consistent with the Iowa smart planning principles under section 18B.1 and that does all of the following:
  (1)  Coordinates, facilitates, and centralizes the exchange of information related to state and local planning, zoning, and development between state agencies and the general assembly.
  (2)  Coordinates discussions concerning a proposed geographic information system between the producers and the users of such systems.
  (3)  Allows the efficient production and dissemination of population and other demographic statistical forecasts.
  (4)  Creates a centralized electronic storage location for all comprehensive plans adopted under chapter 335 or chapter 414.
  (5)  Facilitates the cooperation of state and local governments with comprehensive planning, educational, and research programs.
  (6)  Provides and administers technical and financial assistance for state and local comprehensive planning.
  (7)  Provides information to local governments relating to state and federal resources and other resources for comprehensive planning.

These duties seem to fall into two broad categories, (1) facilitate and promote comprehensive planning and smart planning at the state, regional and local levels, and (2) streamline the gathering and dissemination of planning information (both the information used in developing plans, and information about the plans themselves).  Only one duty directly addresses hazard mitigation (see g. above), but these two broad themes clearly reflect many the recommendations of the Governor’s Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission and the Water Resources Coordinating Council.  Common themes in the discussions following the 2008 floods included the need for better information about flood hazards and risks, the need for information on the development taking place throughout the watershed, and the need for better watershed-based planning models.  In many states that have moved toward smart planning, information centralization – including land information systems, demographics, and economic data – has been an important component of the process.

Iowa Smart Planning Legislation Summary Part II: Comprehensive Planning

by Gary Taylor

The second major section of the smart planning legislation addresses city and county comprehensive planning.  For the first time we will have state legislative guidance on the elements that should be contained in a comprehensive plan, and the detail to which these elements should be addressed.  Iowa was one of the few states in the nation neither to adopt the Standard City Planning Enabling Act (SCPEA) promulgated by the U.S. Department of Commerce in the 1920s, nor any other planning enabling legislation.  The SCPEA was meant to be a companion piece to the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act (SSZEA), also put forth in the 1920s.  The state of Iowa did adopt the SSZEA for cities in 1923, for counties over 60,000 population in 1947, and for the remaining counties in 1955. 

The failure of the state to adopt comprehensive planning legislation up to this point has been significant from the perspective of the Iowa courts.  The zoning enabling acts for both cities and counties require that zoning regulations “be in accordance with a comprehensive plan.”  Absent any enabling legislation for comprehensive planning, or definition of a comprehensive plan, the Iowa courts have been reluctant to give the comprehensive plan any meaningful legal standing when zoning decisions are challenged.  The Iowa Supreme Court has stated that a separate document called a “comprehensive plan” is not required for a city or county to adopt zoning regulations (See Montgomery v. Bremer County, 299 NW2d 687; Wolf v. City of Ely, 493 NW2d 846).  In recent years the courts have recognized that the policies in the plan should be a consideration when making zoning decisions; but as recently as last fall the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a board of supervisors decision that essentially disregarded the comprehensive plan.   

The legislation makes it clear that it is not now mandatory for cities or counties to develop comprehensive plans.  It says that cities and counties “shall consider the smart planning principles under section 18B.1 [see previous blogpost] and may include the following information, if applicable when developing or amending a comprehensive plan under Chapter 335 or chapter 414 or when developing or amending other local land development regulations.”  The bill then presents a list of thirteen comprehensive plan elements which are set forth below.  What will be the legal status of the comprehensive plan if and when the Smart Planning legislation is signed into law by the Governor?  In my opinion it is unlikely that the Iowa courts will change course and now state that a comprehensive plan is a necessary prerequisite for a city or county to adopt a zoning ordinance.  I believe it would take a clear legislative statement of that intent for the courts to overturn 25+ years of caselaw to the contrary, and I don’t read that in this bill.  I do think, however, it gives the courts an opportunity to draw a stronger link between the comprehensive plan and zoning decisions.  In other states, zoning decisions that are consistent with the community’s comprehensive plan are given a “presumption of validity,” which is firmer legal ground than being a “consideration” in the decision-making process.  Of course, the reverse is also true in those states – a local government zoning decision that is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan is subject to greater scrutiny when challenged in court.

The section of the legislation includes two other items worth mention.  First, it requires metropolitan and regional planning commissions under Chapter 28I of the Iowa Code to consider the smart planning principles when preparing metropolitan and regional plans.  This could have a significant influence on metropolitan planning because the principles do incorporate many of the tenets of Smart Growth as it has come to be understood.  Second, it explicitly sets forth a process whereby city and county planning commissions may recommend the comprehensive plan to the elected local officials (city councils and county boards of supervisors), and then gives the elected officials the option of adopting the comprehensive plan.  This is the process that historically has been followed in many communities.  Enacting it into law simply solidifies the practice.     

18B.2  Local comprehensive planning and development guidelines.
1.  For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
  a.  (1)  “Development” means any of the following:
 (a)  Construction, reconstruction, renovation, mining, extraction, dredging, filling, excavation, or drilling activity or operation.
 (b)  Man-made changes in the use or appearance of any structure or in the land itself.
 (c)  The division or subdivision of land.
 (d)  Any change in the intensity of use or the use of land.
      (2)  “Development” does not include any of the following:
 (a)  Activities on or uses of agricultural land, farm houses,  or agricultural buildings or structures, unless such buildings or structures are located in the flood plain of a river or stream.
 (b)  Installation, operation, and maintenance of soil and water conservation practices.
 (c)  The choice of crops or a change in the choice of crops on agricultural land.
  b.  “Land development regulations” means zoning, subdivision, site plan, corridor map, floodplain or storm water ordinances, rules, or regulations, or other governmental controls that affect the use of property.
  c.  “Municipality” means a city or a county.

2.  A municipality shall consider the smart planning principles under section 18B.1 and may include the following information, if applicable, when developing or amending a comprehensive plan under chapter 335 or chapter 414 or when developing or amending other local land development regulations:
  a.  Information relating to public participation during the creation of the comprehensive plan or land development regulations, including documentation of the public participation process, a compilation of objectives, policies, and goals identified in the public comment received, and identification of the groups or individuals comprising any work groups or committees that were created to assist the planning and zoning commission or other appropriate decision=making body of the municipality.
  b.  Information relating to the primary characteristics of the municipality and a description of how each of those characteristics impacts future development of the municipality. Such information may include historical information about the municipality, the municipality’s geography, natural resources, natural hazards, population, demographics, types of employers and industry, labor force, political and community institutions, housing, transportation, educational resources, and cultural and recreational resources.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may also identify characteristics and community aesthetics that are important to future development of the municipality.
  c.  Objectives, information, and programs that identify current land uses within the municipality and that guide the future development and redevelopment of property, consistent with the municipality’s characteristics identified under paragraph “b”.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may include information on the amount, type, intensity, and density of existing land use, trends in the market price of land used for specific purposes, and plans for future land use throughout the municipality.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may identify and include information on property that has the possibility for redevelopment, a map of existing and potential land use and land use conflicts, information and maps relating to the current and future provision of utilities within the municipality, information and maps that identify the current and future boundaries for areas reserved for soil conservation, water supply conservation, flood control, and surface water drainage and removal.  Information provided under this paragraph may also include an analysis of the current and potential impacts on local watersheds and air quality.
  d.  Objectives, policies, and programs to further the vitality and character of established residential neighborhoods and new residential neighborhoods and plans to ensure an adequate housing supply that meets both the existing and forecasted housing demand.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may include an inventory and analysis of the local housing stock and may include specific information such as age, condition, type, market value, occupancy, and historical characteristics of all the housing within the municipality.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may identify specific policies and programs that promote the development of new housing and maintenance or rehabilitation of existing housing and that provide a range of housing choices that meet the needs of the residents of the municipality.
  e.  Objectives, policies, and programs to guide future development of sanitary sewer service, storm water management, water supply, solid waste disposal, wastewater treatment technologies, recycling facilities, and telecommunications facilities. The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may include estimates regarding future demand for such utility services.
  f.  Objectives, policies, and programs to guide the future development of a safe, convenient, efficient, and economical transportation system.  Plans for such a transportation system may be coordinated with state and regional transportation plans and take into consideration the need for diverse modes of transportation, accessibility, improved air quality, and interconnectivity of the various modes of transportation.
  g.  Objectives, policies, and programs to promote the stabilization, retention, or expansion of economic development and employment opportunities.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may include an analysis of current industries and economic activity and identify economic growth goals for the municipality.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may also identify locations for future brownfield or grayfield development.
  h.  Objectives, policies, and programs addressing preservation and protection of agricultural and natural resources.
  i.  Objectives, policies, and programs to assist future development of educational facilities, cemeteries, health care facilities, child care facilities, law enforcement and fire protection facilities, libraries, and other governmental facilities that are necessary or desirable to meet the projected needs of the municipality.
  j.  Objectives, policies, and programs to identify characteristics and qualities that make the municipality unique and that are important to the municipality’s heritage and quality of life.
  k.  Objectives, policies, and programs that identify the natural and other hazards that have the greatest likelihood of impacting the municipality or that pose a risk of catastrophic damage as such hazards relate to land use and development decisions, as well as the steps necessary to mitigate risk after considering the local hazard mitigation plan approved by the federal emergency management agency.
  l.  Objectives, policies, and programs for joint planning and joint decision making with other municipalities or governmental entities, including school districts and drainage districts, for siting and constructing public facilities and sharing public services.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may identify existing or potential conflicts between the municipality and other local governments related to future development of the municipality and may include recommendations for resolving such conflicts.  The comprehensive plan or land development regulations may also identify opportunities to collaborate and partner with neighboring jurisdictions and other entities in the region for projects of mutual interest.
  m.  A compilation of programs and specific actions necessary to implement any provision of the comprehensive plan, including changes to any applicable land development regulations, official maps, or subdivision ordinances.

3.  A municipality’s comprehensive plan developed using the guidelines under this section shall address prevention and mitigation of, response to, and recovery from a catastrophic flood.

Iowa Smart Planning Legislation Summary Part I: Smart Planning Principles

by Gary Taylor

As of this morning the final enrolled version of the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure appropriations bill – SF 2389 – which contains the final outcome of the legislative effort on smart planning, has not been made available on-line.  It still awaits transmittal to the Governor who could sign it, veto it, or line item veto parts of it and sign the remainder.  This summary, therefore, may be premature; however, I think it is worthwhile to begin to examine in more detail the major components of the bill related to smart planning. 

Some important changes were made to the legislation after my post on March 29, but before the final version passed the House and Senate.  The eminent domain language that was added near the last minute was modified to provide that the eminent domain authority of state agencies, local governments, and other public entities planning according to smart planning principles does not change; i.e., they receive neither expanded nor reduced authority to exercise eminent domain. 

Also, the amendment that gave the smart planning taskforce the job of developing a model 0.2% floodplain ordinance was stripped out of the bill.  Presumably, then, the taskforce could still make a recommendation that such a model ordinance be developed, but they are not required to develop one. 

Finally, (and this is a very important addition) the final version makes $30 million in grant funds available to cities and counties for public construction projects relating to disaster prevention, but limits eligibility for those funds to cities and counties “that [apply] the smart planning principles and guidelines” during the deliberation and development of planning, zoning, development, and resource management decisions.   

Over the next week or two I will summarize the major sections of the bill starting here, with the section concerning smart planning principles.  The section reads as follows:

18B.1  Iowa smart planning principles.
State agencies, local governments, and other public entities shall consider and may apply the following principles during deliberation of all appropriate planning, zoning, development, and resource management decisions, except that nothing in this section shall be construed to expand the eminent domain authority of a state agency, local government, or other public entity beyond that which is authorized under chapter 6A or 6B:
   1.  Collaboration.  Governmental, community, and individual stakeholders, including those outside the jurisdiction of the entity, are encouraged to be involved and provide comment during deliberation of planning, zoning, development, and resource management decisions and during implementation of such decisions. The state agency, local government, or other public entity is encouraged to develop and implement a strategy to facilitate such participation.
   2.  Efficiency, transparency, and consistency.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should be undertaken to provide efficient, transparent, and consistent outcomes.  Individuals, communities, regions, and governmental entities should share in the responsibility to promote the equitable distribution of development benefits and costs.
   3.  Clean, renewable, and efficient energy.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should be undertaken to promote clean and renewable energy use and increased energy efficiency.
   4.  Occupational diversity.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should promote increased diversity of employment and business opportunities, promote access to education and training, expand entrepreneurial opportunities, and promote the establishment of businesses in locations near existing housing, infrastructure, and transportation.
   5.  Revitalization.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should facilitate the revitalization of established town centers and neighborhoods by promoting development that conserves land, protects historic resources, promotes pedestrian accessibility, and integrates different uses of property.  Remediation and reuse of existing sites, structures, and infrastructure is preferred over new construction in undeveloped areas.
   6.  Housing diversity.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should encourage diversity in the types of available housing, support the rehabilitation of existing housing, and promote the location of housing near public transportation and employment centers.
   7.  Community character.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should promote activities and development that are consistent with the character and architectural style of the community and should respond to local values regarding the physical character of the community.
   8.  Natural resources and agricultural protection. Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should emphasize protection, preservation, and restoration of natural resources, agricultural land, and cultural and historic landscapes, and should increase the availability of open spaces and recreational facilities.
   9.  Sustainable design.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should promote developments, buildings, and infrastructure that utilize sustainable design and construction standards and conserve natural resources by reducing waste and pollution through efficient use of land, energy, water, air, and materials.
  10.  Transportation diversity.  Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should promote expanded transportation options for residents of the community. Consideration should be given to transportation options that maximize mobility, reduce congestion, conserve fuel, and improve air quality.

The first iteration of these principles can be found in the Green Paper developed by the Rebuild Iowa Office last summer, as a follow up to the work of the Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission and its various subcommittees.  At first blush it is easy to draw comparisons to the ten Smart Growth principles advanced by the Smart Growth Network since the 1990s; The Iowa Smart Planning principles, however, are directed at broader concerns.  While the SGN principles focus on development outcomes and processes, and the relationship of the land to the built environment, Iowa’s Smart Planning principles have currency with issues of employment, energy efficiency, and green building, in addition to those issues commonly associated with smart growth.  In this way the Iowa Smart Planning principles reflect the three-legged stool of economic growth, environmental protection and social equity. 

It would also be easy to draw parallels to states such as Oregon and Washington that have put in place statewide planning goals, but again the smart planning principles address broader concerns.  In fact, one of the charges to the Smart Planning Taskforce is to develop statewide goals for comprehensive planning that incorporate the smart planning principles. 

Of course, the real influence of Iowa’s Smart Planning principles remains to be seen.  How will state agencies respond to these principles?  Will administrative rules be amended to incorporate the principles into agency decision-making?  Presumably the recommendations of the task force will be critical to this issue.

Making eligibility for $30 million in infrastructure funds contingent on following the smart planning principles will certainly advance their adoption at the local government level; however, other states that have advanced statewide planning goals also have put into place some level of state oversight over local comprehensive planning.  This bill does not do that.  Absent state oversight, and on the chance that funding “carrots” may not always be present, will smart planning be a high priority of Iowa cities and counties?

Same Smart Planning proposal, new bill number

A lot has happened since my last post on the Smart Planning legislation.  What seemed in doubt on Thursday came back to life on Friday, only to be fed poison that same day.  The bill was resuscitated on Saturday and, under a new identity, is being taken up by the House as this post is being written.  This is a brief summary, leaving out many of the amendments that have inserted/deleted various provisions of less importance.

SF 2265 passed the House by a 51-41 vote on Friday, but only after a number of amendments were proposed.  One of the amendments proposed by the Republicans that was adopted on an 89-2 vote and made part of 2265 before its passage essentially read that any state agency, local government or other entity planning according to the included smart planning principles:

“shall not implement or undertake a planning, zoning, development, or resources managment decision that involves the use of eminent domain authority under Chapters 6A or 6B [of the Iowa Code].”

In other words, if a community practices smart planning, it would lose its ability to exercise eminent domain authority under virtually any circumstances. 

 

Another amendment included in the House version brought back language from the Water Resources Coordinating Council bill that died 3 weeks ago.  It gave the Smart Planning Taskforce the responsibility to develop a model floodplain ordinance for local governments to consider that would regulate development in the 0.2% (500-year) floodplain. 

 

The bill was messaged back to the Senate.  Rather than reconsider SF 2265 with the amendments included by the House, however, the original language, minus the eminent domain amendment but including the model floodplain ordinance amendment, was attached to the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund appropriations bill – SF 2389.  (Don’t ask me how it works.  I’m convinced that parliamentarians must hold advanced degrees in physics).  If you want to find the Smart Planning language in SF 2389 it begins on page 23.  An important addition places $30 million in a fund for disaster prevention programs, and links city and county eligibility for the funds to following  the smart planning and comprehensive planning provisions of the bill.

 

SF 2389, with the Smart Planning language, passed out of the Senate 29-16 on Saturday.  At this time (5:20pm Monday), the bill is being considered on the floor of the House.   

 

Nearing week’s end, Smart Planning bill in doubt

From Aaron Todd at RIO this morning (Thursday):

“As you may be aware, SF2265 (Iowa Smart Planning Bill) was not debated in the House yesterday – most of the day was taken up by the standings bill.  While SF2265 is on the tentative House calendar today, there is concern that we are running out of time and that some legislators may view the Watershed Planning Advisory Council and Watershed Management Authorities bill (see links below) that was passed this morning by the House as somehow negating the need for the planning bill.  While we support HF2459, we believe SF2265 is also needed.

If you feel so inclined, please call, email, and/or visit Representative McCarthy (515-281-3054) to express your support for SF2265, in particular Section 2 that outlines the comprehensive planning definition, and encourage others to do the same.  Please call Susan Judkins (515-242-5503 or 515-729-2837) or me (515-242-5299) with questions.”

Link to Watershed Planning Advisory Council and Watershed Management Authorities Bill:  HF 2459

Smart Planning Bill coming up for vote in Iowa House

The latest information from Aaron Todd at the Rebuild Iowa Office:

SF2265 is on the tentative House calendar for Wednesday (note: as of 3:00 it has not come up for debate or vote).  An amendment is being offered with the bill.  It includes:

The amendment replaces the amendment that was adopted in the House Local Government Committee. It contains some of the provisions that were in that amendment, but not all. For example, it includes a definition of “development” that was suggested by Farm Bureau, and adds some realtor and business representation on the task force as suggested by the Iowa Association of Realtors, but it does NOT change some of the “shall” language regarding smart planning principles to “may.”  In other words, the “shalls” in the original bill (link to discussion of original bill, SSB 3096, here) are still included.

The task force will now be led by the Iowa Department of Management or their designee instead of the Rebuild Iowa Office, but RIO will help in any way needed.

The comprehensive planning guidance language in Section 2 of the bill will include a few more ties to flood mitigation in the plan.

Regarding funding, the amendment says “The director of the department of management, or the director’s designee, shall seek funding to support municipal comprehensive planning in this state.”

The amendment places more focus on local and regional planning, and less on state coordination.

The task force is asked to develop a model ordinance for regulation of a .2% floodplain of political subdivisions, and requires definition of the term “two-tenths percent floodplain” as applicable to the ordinance’s provisions. Provisions to be considered in the model ordinance are the same as were previously required in SF2316 to be considered by the DNR, RIO, League of Cities, et al. in developing a model ordinance:

• Requirements for flood insurance for property
• Requirements for new development or modification or improvement of existing development to mitigate the effects of future flooding
• The effect of flood control levees
• The use of fill and offsets required for the use of fill
• Categories of development that should be prohibited
• Interaction with regulations by FEMA
• Any other issues the taskforce finds should be addressed in the model ordinance

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