Latest information on Iowa Smart Planning legislation

The latest news on SF2265, the Smart Planning bill: 

Legislators are hoping to wrap up their work by March 26th, so decisions will be made very soon regarding movement of the bill in the House.  Several proposed amendments have been filed. Any amendments adopted in the House will require the bill to once again go to the Senate floor, for senators to concur with or reject the amendments.

Amendments filed to date that are expected to be offered during debate are as follows:

H-8341 is the House Local Government Committee amendment. The amendment changes “shall consider and may include” to “may consider and include” the Smart Planning Principles, and makes corresponding changes throughout the bill. The amendment also includes a revised definition of “development,” and makes changes to the composition, goals and tenure of the task force (dissolves on 12/31/12).

H-8364 would amend amendment H-8341 by sunsetting the task force upon submission of the recommendations that are due 11/15/10. (filed by Grassley, R-Butler)

H-8369 would amend amendment H-8341 by striking all of the bill language from SF2265 and insert the bill language from HF2476, which only enacts smart planning principles (in other words, eliminating the comprehensive plan elements and the taskforce); and adds language defining “development” requested by Farm Bureau (filed by Helland, R-Polk and Wagner, R-Linn).

H-8373 would amend the amendment H-8341 by clarifying that of six individuals appointed by the governor, at least one shall have experience in real estate, one in land development and one in residential construction (as previously drafted, it appeared that one from each city or county size listed must have these experiences). The amendment also restores paragraph f to page 16, line 26 of the bill (asks the task force to develop a model for regional comprehensive planning). (filed by D. Olson, D-Boone).

H-8365 would amend the bill by preventing RIO and IDOM from hiring additional employees or contracting to provide staff assistance and administrative support.  It also prohibits the expenditure of moneys related to the duties of the task force. This amendment is filed by Wagner (R-Linn). 

H-8366 would amend the bill (SF2265) by removing RIO from facilitation of the task force and makes the Iowa Department of Management the repository of records. (filed by Wagner, R-Linn).

H-8683 would amend the bill (SF2265) by striking all the language from SF2265 and replacing it with Smart Planning Principles (in other words, eliminating the comprehensive plan elements and the taskforce).  Includes a definition of “development” as requested by Farm Bureau. Requires the Rebuild Iowa Office to email the contents of the act to all state agency directors and governing body of each city and county in the state by 12/31/10. (filed by Deyoe, R-Story).









Smart Planning moves on; Severance/annexation now law

by Gary Taylor

SF 2265, the Smart Planning bill, passed out of the House Local Government Committee by a vote of 11-10, with all Republicans and one Democrat voting “no.” It now moves on to consideration by the full House.

The Governor signed the severance/annexation bill (HF 2376) into law yesterday.

Legislative update: March 3

by Gary Taylor

HF 2318 that eliminates the term limits for City Development Board members, but changes the length of each term from six to four years, passed the Senate 30-19.  Since it already passed the House 88-7 on February 23 it will be sent on to the Governor for his signature.

SF 2316 relating to floodplain management (discussed here) has been referred to the House Rebuild Iowa standing committee.  The subcommittee assigned to the bill is Schueller (D-Maquoketa), Berry (D-Waterloo), Pettengill (R-Mt. Auburn), Running-Marquardt (D-Cedar Rapids), and Sands (R-Wapello).

SF 2265, the Smart Planning bill, has been the subject of significant activity in the House.  It was assigned to the Local Government standing committee.  The  subcommittee assigned to the bill was D. Olson, (D-Boone), Schueller (D-Maquoketa), Huser (D-Altoona), Grassley (R-New Hartford), and Wagner (R-Marion).  Kressig (D-Cedar Falls) was recently substituted for Huser.  A subcommittee meeting was held last Thursday, and the full Local Government committee has met yesterday and today to discuss this bill.  Several changes have been floating around, but so far the main three sections of the bill (Smart Planning goals, comprehensive planning elements, Smart Planning Task Force) remain in place.  Proposed changes have included changes to the makeup of the task force, the drop-dead date of the task force, changing “shall consider” to “may consider” in reference to the role of the Smart Planning goals in developing local comprehensive plans and development regulations. 

All bills must pass out of their respective committees prior to March 10 to be considered by the full body this session.

Smart Planning bill passes Senate

SF 2265 (formerly SSB 3096) – the Smart Planning bill – has passed the Senate 39-7 largely unchanged from its original version, and has been sent over to the House.  You will recall that the House Rebuild Iowa subcommittee gutted much of the companion bill that originated in the house before it was voted out of committee.  Stay tuned!

Update on Iowa Smart Planning Legislation

by Gary Taylor

I blogged about this bill on January 28 (go to that post for links to bills).  The Senate Rebuild Iowa subcommittee approved SSB 3096 with minor amendments only.

This morning the House Rebuild Iowa subcommittee gutted HSB 592 by removing the section describing the contents of a comprehensive plan, and the section providing for an Iowa Smart Planning Taskforce.  Thus the only section left in the version that was approved by the House committee (on an 11-5 vote) was the provision of Smart Planning Principles.

The house version (or the senate version) may still be amended.  We will try to keep up with the activities.

Iowa Smart Planning legislation proposed

by Gary Taylor

It looks to be a busy year at the Iowa capitol.  A bill has been introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives (HSB 592)  in the Rebuild Iowa standing committee by Rep. Tom Schuller (D – Maquoketa) (the companion bill in the Senate is SSB 3096, sponsored by Senator Rob Hogg, D – Cedar Rapids).  Labeled “Iowa Smart Planning,”  the bill is an outcome of the Green Paper developed last fall by the Rebuild Iowa Office.  Officials from RIO circulated the Green Paper to a number of groups and individuals involved in planning and local government to solicit feedback.  In addition, Rep. Schuller and Sen. Hogg hosted meetings to discuss issues related to planning and disaster recovery. 

The legislation sets forth ten Smart Planning Principles to guide “state agencies, local governments, and other public entities” during “deliberation of all appropriate planning, zoning, development and resource management decisions.”  The ten principles address (1) collaboration in development decisions; (2) predictability and fairness in making development decisions; (3) the promotion of clean energy production; (4) increasing job and business opportunities; (5) the revitalization of existing town centers and neighborhoods; (6) encouraging a diversity of housing options; (7) promoting community character; (8) promoting agricultural and natural resource conservation; (9) promoting sustainable design in building and infrastructure; and (10) expanding transportation options for residents.

The legislation states that local governments “shall consider” the smart planning principles when developing and amending comprehensive plans, zoning and other development regulations.

The legislation sets forth guidance as to the contents of comprehensive plans.  Broadly speaking, the legislation states that a comprehensive plan may contain

  • details concerning public participation in the planning process;
  • a detailed description of the existing conditions of the community;
  • objectives, policies and programs relating to land use, neighborhoods, housing, public facilities, services and infrastructure, transportation, economic development, agricultural and natural resources, community character, hazard mitigation, collaboration among governmental units, and implementation actions. 

The current draft of the bill (as of 1/28) does not require comprehensive planning, nor does it require consistency between the comprehensive plan and local zoning regulations.  Again, however, it does say that local governments “shall consider” the smart planning principles when developing and amending comprehensive plans, zoning and other development regulations.

Finally, the legislation would create the “Iowa Smart Planning Taskforce.”  The taskforce, with 27 voting members and 4 non-voting members, would be responsible for a number of objectives related to planning at the state and local levels, including developing recommendations for integrating the smart planning principles into government decision-making, and evaluating and developing “methods to incentivize comprehensive planning, develop a model for regional comprehensive planning within the state, and develop recommendations for administration of a state comprehensive planning program that operates consistently with the Iowa smart planning principles.”

After you’ve read the bill please share your thoughts by posting your comments above.  Several previous attempts at revising (or more precisely, creating) comprehensive planning legislation in Iowa have failed.  Are there provisions in this proposal that you like/do not like?  What changes would you recommend?  Share your ideas with the tens of readers of this blog!