Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program Advance Notice and Request for Comment, 6689-6693 [2010-2979]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Notices sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES residence’’ and ‘‘fuels and utilities’’.1 The CPI inflation index for rent of primary residence measures the inflation of all surveyed units regardless of whether utilities are included in the rent of the unit or not. In other words, it measures the inflation of the ‘‘contract rent’’ which includes units with all utilities included in the rent, units with some utilities included in the rent and units with no utilities included in the rent. In producing a gross rent inflation factor, HUD decomposes the contract rent CPI inflation factor into parts to represent the gross rent change and the shelter rent change. This is done by applying the percentage of renters who pay for heat (a proxy for the percentage of renters who pay shelter rent) from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) and American Community Survey (ACS) data on the ratio of utilities to rents.2 The CEX data used to decompose the contract rent inflation factor into gross rent and shelter rent inflation factors come from a special tabulation of 2007 CEX survey data produced for HUD for the purpose of computing Renewal Funding AAFs. The utility-torent ratio used in the formula comes from 2007 ACS median rent and utility costs. In this publication, the rent and utility inflation factors for large metropolitan areas and Census regions are based on changes in the rent of primary residence and fuels and utilities CPI indices from the first half of 2008 to the first half of 2009, the most recent data available at the time of the development of final budget projections for fiscal year (FY) 2010. Typically, CPI indexes averaged over a 12-month period have been used to measure the change in gross rents from year to year. The semi-annual indexes used for Renewal Funding AAFs average data over six months as opposed to 12 months; the Renewal Funding AAFs use change over the course of two semiannual index cycles to derive a 12month adjustment. II. The Use of Renewal Funding AAFs The Renewal Funding AAFs differ from past AAFs and the FY2010 Contract Rent AAFs in that they make use of more recent semi-annual CPI indexes in place of average annual CPI indexes. The Renewal Funding AAFs have been developed to account for relative differences in the recent inflation of rents among different areas 1 CPI indexes CUUSA103SEHA and CUSR0000SAH2 respectively. 2 The formulas used to produce these factors can be found in the Annual Adjustment Factors overview and in the FMR documentation at http://www.HUDUSER.org. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:21 Feb 09, 2010 Jkt 220001 and are used to allocate HCV funds among PHAs. HUD is reviewing and updating the methodologies for all program parameters, including Fair Market Rents (FMRs), AAFs and other inflation indices. The publication of these separate Renewal Funding AAFs for allocation of voucher funds is an interim step toward more complete reforms including using more recent data in HUD’s estimations for various program parameters, including FMRs, as published in the Federal Register on September 30, 2009 (74 FR 50552). III. Geographic Areas Renewal Funding AAFs are produced for all Class A CPI cities (CPI cities with a population of 1.5 million or more) and for the four Census Regions. They are applied to core-based statistical areas (CBSAs), as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), according to how much of the CBSA is covered by the CPI city-survey. If more than 75 percent of the CBSA is covered by the CPI city-survey, the Renewal Funding AAF that is based on that CPI survey is applied to the whole CBSA and to any HUD-defined metropolitan area, called ‘‘HUD Metro FMR Area’’ (HMFA), within that CBSA. If the CBSA is not covered by a CPI city-survey, the CBSA is assigned the relevant regional CPI factor. Almost all non-metropolitan counties are assigned regional CPI factors. For areas assigned the Census Region CPI factor, both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas receive the same factor. The Renewal Funding AAF tables list the four Census Regions first, followed by an alphabetical listing of each metropolitan area, beginning with Akron, OH, MSA. Renewal Funding AAFs are provided: • For separate metropolitan areas, including HMFAs and counties that are currently designated as nonmetropolitan, but are part of the metropolitan area defined in the local CPI survey, and • For the four Census Regions for those metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas that are not covered by a CPI city-survey. Renewal Funding AAFs use the same OMB metropolitan area definitions, as revised by HUD, that are used in the FY 2010 FMRs. IV. Area Definitions To make certain that they are referencing the correct Renewal Funding AAFs, PHAs should refer to the Area Definitions Table at http:// www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/ aaf.html/FY2010_AreaDef.pdf. For units located in metropolitan areas with a PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 6689 local CPI survey, Renewal Funding AAFs are listed separately. For units located in areas without a local CPI survey, the metropolitan or nonmetropolitan counties receive the regional CPI for that Census Region. The Area Definitions Table for Renewal Funding AAFs, shown at http://www.huduser.org/portal/ datasets/aaf.html/FY2010_AreaDef.pdf, lists areas in alphabetical order by state. The associated CPI region is shown next to each state name. Areas whose Renewal Funding AAFs are determined by local CPI surveys are listed first. All metropolitan areas with local CPI surveys have separate Renewal Funding AAF schedules and are shown with their corresponding county definitions or as metropolitan counties. In the six New England states, the listings are for counties or parts of counties as defined by towns or cities. The remaining counties use the CPI for the Census Region and are not specifically listed on the Area Definitions Table. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands use the South Region Renewal Funding AAFs. All areas in Hawaii use the Renewal Funding AAFs identified in the Table as ‘‘STATE: Hawaii,’’ which are based on the CPI survey for the Honolulu metropolitan area. The Pacific Islands use the West Region Renewal Funding AAFs. Accordingly, HUD publishes these Renewal Funding Annual Adjustment Factors as set forth in the Renewal Funding AAF Table posted at http:// www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/ aaf.html/FY2010_RF_table.pdf. Dated: February 4, 2010. Raphael W. Bostic, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. [FR Doc. 2010–2990 Filed 2–9–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5396–N–01] Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program Advance Notice and Request for Comment AGENCY: Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, Office of the Deputy Secretary, HUD. ACTION: Advance notice and request for comments. SUMMARY: This notice announces HUD’s intention to offer funding through a competition made available as a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) under its Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program (Program). E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES 6690 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Notices As part of the Administration’s efforts to increase transparency in government operations and to expand opportunities for stakeholders to engage in decisionmaking, HUD is seeking comments on the Program through this Advance Notice. Feedback received through this process will permit HUD and its partners to better understand how this Program can support cooperative regional planning efforts that integrate housing, transportation, environmental impact, and economic development. HUD is seeking input from State and local governments, regional bodies, community development entities, and a broad range of other stakeholders on how the Program should be structured in order to have the most meaningful impact on regional planning for sustainable development. The goal of the Program is to support multi-jurisdictional regional planning efforts that integrate housing, economic development, and transportation decision-making in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of economic growth, social equity and environmental impact simultaneously. Three funding categories are being considered: (1) Funding to support the preparation of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development that address housing, economic development, transportation, and environmental quality in an integrated fashion where such plans do not currently exist; (2) Funding to support the preparation of more detailed execution plans and programs to implement existing regional sustainable development plans (that address housing, economic development, transportation, and environmental quality in an integrated fashion); and (3) Implementation funding to support regions that have regional sustainable development plans and implementation strategies in place and need support for a catalytic project or program that demonstrates commitment to and implementation of the broader plan. This Program is being initiated in close coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DATES: All comments, to be considered in response to this Advance Notice, must be received no later than midnight Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 12, 2010. Comments will not be accepted after that date. ADDRESSES: Electronic responses are preferred and should be addressed to: sustainablecommunities@hud.gov or VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:21 Feb 09, 2010 Jkt 220001 may be submitted through the http:// www.hud.gov/sustainability Web site. Written comments may also be submitted and post-marked by the deadline and addressed to Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 10180, Washington, DC 20410. HUD is expanding the opportunity for comment by establishing a Wiki to encourage public dialogue at the following link: http://www.hud.gov/ OSHCwiki. Outreach Sessions: HUD and its partner agencies will conduct a series of listening sessions and webcasts to ensure the broadest possible dissemination of information about the Program and to receive feedback from interested parties. Further information will be available at http://www.hud.gov/ sustainability shortly after the publication of this Advance Notice, and through such interactive forums that will be described on http:// www.hud.gov/sustainability. Availability of Funding and Timelines: This notice invites comments on the proposed award of funding for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program. This notice is not a solicitation of proposals for the Program. The Program was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111–117) (the Appropriations Act, approved December 16, 2009). For the Program, $100,000,000 will be made available, through the NOFA that will follow this Advance Notice, to support the integration of housing, transportation and land use planning. The following maximum funding levels are proposed: • Small metropolitan or rural areas. The grant amount awarded under the Program to an eligible entity that represents a small metropolitan or rural area with a population of not more than 499,999 may not exceed $2,000,000. • Large metropolitan areas. The grant amount awarded under the Program to an eligible entity that represents a large metropolitan area with a population of 500,000 or more may not exceed $5,000,000. HUD will expect that at least 20 percent of the overall costs of the projects awarded under this grant will include leveraged funding from other public, philanthropic and private sources including in-kind contributions. Pursuant to the Appropriations Act, not less than $25,000,000 shall be awarded in the Small Metropolitan Area category. HUD will award funding by soliciting proposals through a final NOFA for the PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Program that will be developed after consideration of comments obtained through this Advance Notice and in outreach sessions. The final NOFA will be broadly announced through appropriate and familiar means and will provide further details on the finalized requirements and application process, pursuant to and in compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). HUD will set aside approximately $2,000,000 for technical assistance services to assist the awardees in implementing their proposals. A separate NOFA will be released describing the process for obtaining these technical assistance funds. The Appropriations Act also appropriates $40,000,000 for a Community Planning Challenge (CPC) Grants Program. HUD will publish a separate NOFA for the CPC program. It is HUD’s intent to meet the following schedule in developing the NOFA for the Program: February 16–March 1, 2010—Regional Listening Sessions (locations and dates to be posted at http://www.hud.gov/ sustainability); Week of March 1, 2010—Web cast Briefings; March 12, 2010—Comments on Draft Description due C.O.B. to HUD; Week of April 12, 2010—NOFA published; Approx. June 5, 2010—Applications due to HUD; Approx. August 2, 2010— Announcement of Awardees. I. Background A top priority of the Administration is to build economically competitive, healthy, opportunity-rich communities. In the Appropriations Act, Congress provided a total of $150,000,000 to HUD for a Sustainable Communities Initiative to improve regional planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and increase State, regional and local capacity to incorporate livability, sustainability, and social equity principles into land use and zoning. Of that total, $100,000,000 is available for regional integrated planning initiatives, which is the subject of this Advance Notice. The Sustainable Communities Initiative was conceived to advance development patterns that achieve improved economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social equity in metropolitan regions and rural communities. Recognizing the fundamental role that public investment plays in achieving these outcomes, the E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Notices Administration charged three agencies whose programs impact the physical form of communities—HUD, DOT, and EPA—to lead the way in reshaping the role of the Federal government in helping communities obtain the capacity to embrace a more sustainable future. As a result, HUD, DOT, and EPA have formed the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (the Partnership). HUD will take the lead in funding, evaluating and otherwise supporting integrative regional planning for sustainable development. DOT will focus on (a) building the capacity of transportation agencies to integrate their planning and investments into broader plans and action to promote sustainable development; and (b) investing in transportation infrastructure that directly supports sustainable development and livability principles, as discussed below. EPA will enhance its role as a provider of technical assistance and developer of environmental sustainability metrics and practices. The three agencies have made a commitment to coordinate activities, integrate funding requirements and adopt a common set of performance metrics for use by grantees. The Partnership is a commitment by these three Federal agencies to work together to coordinate policies and programs in support of six Livability Principles: 1. Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health. 2. Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energyefficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility, and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation. 3. Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services, and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets. 4. Support existing communities. Target Federal funding toward existing communities—through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling—to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes. 5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment. Align Federal policies and VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:21 Feb 09, 2010 Jkt 220001 funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy. 6. Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods—rural, urban, or suburban. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities has observed that regions that have already adopted a more integrated approach to regional planning tend to exhibit a variety of desirable qualities including: More diversified and resilient economies; improved employer attraction and retention; more opportunities to lead healthier and more affordable lifestyles; lower per capita public infrastructure costs; lower vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita and, thus, reduced air pollution; and lower rates of concentrated poverty. These regions have built a shared vision for the future that allows greater and more broadbased support of community development and investment decisions. However, these effects are not guaranteed, and communities face a number of competing objectives in these areas. In addition, the best ways to measure progress are rightly debated as policy goals and methodologies evolve. While the benefits of integrated regional planning are numerous, the incentives, institutions, and funding for such efforts are not widely available. Decisions made by local jurisdictions about the locations of housing, shopping, and employment are often disjointed both within and across jurisdictions and are, therefore, unable to incorporate either the impact on accessibility to different types of destinations or the broader impact on mobility and livability in a region. This fragmented approach results in a host of unintended consequences including: Spatial mismatch between affordable housing and opportunities for employment and education; long and expensive commutes; permanent loss of agricultural land; reduced water quality in streams, lakes, and other water bodies; higher emissions of greenhouse gasses and other damaging pollutants. Despite the presence of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Councils of Governments, and other regional planning entities, there is too often a misalignment of transportation, housing, and infrastructure systems due in part to the lack of coordination when plans by different agencies are prepared PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 6691 separately. While separate resources may be available for housing, economic development, water infrastructure, and transportation planning, few funding sources help communities address challenges and opportunities in an integrated fashion. II. Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program The Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program (the Program) is intended to help build the capacity of communities to address the complex challenges of growth and revitalization in the 21st century in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary way. Funding from this Program will support the development and implementation of Sustainable Regional Development Plans. A priority will be placed on supporting regions that demonstrate a commitment to take well-developed plans and move them into implementation. The Appropriations Act directs the Secretary of HUD to establish a regional planning grant program that provides grants to assist regional entities and consortia of local governments with integrated housing, transportation, economic development, water infrastructure, and environmental planning. HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities is working in partnership with DOT and EPA to define all aspects of this Program. HUD will serve as the lead agency for all grants and will consult with its agency partners throughout the Program. The final product of a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant will be a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development and/or implementation strategy that meet the requirements of existing HUD, DOT, and EPA programs, such as Consolidated Plans, Long Range Transportation Plans and Stormwater Master Plans. Building on these requirements, a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development would be a plan that: (A) Identifies housing, transportation, economic development, land use, environmental, energy, green space and water infrastructure priorities and goals in a region; (B) Establishes locally appropriate performance goals and measures the future outcomes of baseline and alternative growth and reinvestment scenarios against those goals, and includes standardized metrics developed by the Partnership; (C) Provides strategies for meeting those priorities and goals; (D) Prioritizes projects that facilitate the implementation of the regional plan; and identifies responsible implementing E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 6692 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Notices entities (public or private) and funding sources; and (E) Engages residents and stakeholders substantively in the development of the shared vision and its implementation plan early and throughout the process. sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES III. Solicitation of Comments on Proposed Program Structure As noted above, HUD and its partners are soliciting comments through this Advance Notice on how the Program should be structured, what funding categories and activities are most appropriate to support, which entities should be eligible grantees, and how best to evaluate regional needs, so that the Program has the most meaningful impact on regional planning for sustainable development. The discussion below outlines in general terms the key questions HUD is considering in preparing the final NOFA for the Program and identifies some specific issues for comment. HUD encourages meaningful input on the Program more generally as well. HUD has provided the avenues for input in the ADDRESSES section of this notice and highlights that it has established a Wiki site to allow additional comment and dialogue regarding addressing these issues. A. Proposed Funding Categories and Eligible Activities HUD and its partner agencies recognize that regions are at different stages of readiness and capacity to engage in efforts to plan for a sustainable future. Some regions have formed multi-jurisdictional and multisector coalitions that are ready to embark on an effort to envision a future to help direct growth or stimulate investment sustainably. Other regions have already adopted a sustainable vision, but lack the resources to put in place the specific strategies that ensure follow-through and implementation of that vision. A few regions are on the cutting edge and have demonstrated the capacity to plan for the long-term, build broad-based coalitions in support of sustainable communities and use an array of tools to incent investment in development, land preservation, and infrastructure that implements their sustainable vision. Given this broad spectrum, the Partnership is considering supporting activities to meet the needs of each of these three categories of regions. In this comment period, HUD specifically seeks feedback on the extent to which these categories are of benefit to potential applicants, the types of activities that should be allowed in each category, and VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:21 Feb 09, 2010 Jkt 220001 the extent to which the Program should support project-level implementation investments. HUD is also soliciting feedback on appropriate common performance metrics for each funding category. Category 1: Regional Plans for Sustainable Development. Funds would support stakeholder-driven visioning and scenario planning exercises that will address and harmonize plans for the location, scale and type of housing, education and job centers; identify appropriate transportation and water infrastructure; and proactively consider risks from disasters and climate change. Applicants would be expected to identify a set of locally-appropriate performance metrics that are consistent with the Partnership’s Livability Principles, as well as the Partnership’s own metrics, and then measure the outcomes of proposed growth/ reinvestment scenarios against those metrics. Funding in this category would support data analysis, urban design and outreach efforts to achieve broad consensus among groups, citizens, and decisionmakers for a single vision/ scenario and to have that plan adopted by all appropriate regional governmental bodies. HUD seeks comments on the following questions: —What specific types of eligible activities would support this effort and which parties should be part of the regional planning process? —What elements should be part of the plan, such as a region-wide vision and statement of goals, long-term development and infrastructure investment map, implementation strategy and/or funding plan? —How can citizens best participate, such as through a requirement for participation in a minimum number of public meetings to ensure broad regional consensus? —Should Regional Plans for Sustainable Development be expected to harmonize and be consistent with HUD, DOT, and EPA-required plans and, if so, how? Should Regional Plans for Sustainable Development show a linkage to local formula-based programs supported by HUD, DOT, and EPA; and, if so, to what extent should such linkage be required? Category 2: Detailed Execution Plans and Programs. Funds in this category would support the preparation and adoption of detailed plans and programs to implement an adopted integrated regional sustainable vision. Because implementation needs will vary significantly from region to region depending on the goals of a sustainable PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 plan and the gaps that exist, the funds from this category would likely support a wide range of implementation activities but still be measured against the common and consistent metrics and outcome goals highlighted in the previous section. For example, interjurisdictional affordable and fair housing strategies, regional transportation investment programs, corridor transit-oriented development plans, sector or area plans, land banking and acquisition strategies, revenue sharing strategies, economic development strategies, plans to improve access to community amenities, and other specific activities that help ensure that the goals of the regional vision are implemented. Regional coalitions would be eligible to apply for this category on the basis of demonstrating the adoption of a regional vision that is substantially consistent with the Livability Principles, program goals and metrics identified in the published NOFA. HUD seeks comments on the following questions: —What specific types of activities should be eligible for funding in this category? —What criteria should be used to evaluate whether a previously adopted regional vision is consistent with the Livability Principles discussed above? —Should the amount of local and contributed resources to support, expand, and enhance the development of implementation strategies be rewarded in application scoring or are there other means to leverage other funds and resources? Category 3: Implementation Incentives. Recognizing that those regions that have already fully embraced sustainable regional planning provide important models to the nation, the Partnership is considering ways in which the Program can reward and incent further action by cutting edge regions. First, HUD is evaluating the extent to which applicants that have an adopted Regional Sustainable Development Plan and appropriate implementation programs in place could be pre-certified as having met HUD, DOT, and EPA’s criteria for sustainability and livability factors in other discretionary federal funding programs. Second, HUD is considering providing a limited number of grants to complete a financing package for projects that would accelerate the implementation of a Regional Sustainable Development Plan. As envisioned, this category would support E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Notices sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES pre-development costs, capital costs for a regionally significant development or infrastructure investment, or land acquisition investments. We are considering how to make best use of new federal dollars in the context of existing programs and their requirements—and also in the context of innovative practices in the field. Applicants would need to demonstrate that they have in place an adopted regional vision that is substantially consistent with the Livability Principles, metrics identified in the published NOFA to measure performance, and have commitments from affected participating partners to initiate implementation efforts, but have funding gaps that could be closed within the grant limits for this program. HUD seeks comments on the following questions: —Would ‘‘pre-certification’’ be an added value and, if so, what programs should this approach apply to? What criteria should be considered for meeting the ‘‘pre-certification’’ status? —Is the direct support of implementation activities appropriate within this Program given the limited amount of resources and the expected modest size of grants? —What criteria should be used to judge that an applicant successfully demonstrates that it has an adopted regional vision and that the project for funding under this category is truly catalytic? —Specifically, what criteria should be considered for a project to be catalytic? —What types of activities might be included, the timeframe by what time the project should be completed, and how much leveraging should be considered appropriate for demonstrating that the proposed investment will serve as a region’s commitment to a sustainable future? B. Entities Eligible for Funding In the Program, HUD is considering as an eligible entity a multi-jurisdictional and multi-sector partnership consisting of a consortium of units of general local government and all government, civic, philanthropic and business entities with a responsibility for implementing a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. HUD seeks input on the following questions: —Should certain entities be required partners in multi-jurisdictional regions such as a metropolitan planning organization as defined in 23 CFR 450.104, or a rural planning organization or network of rural planning organizations in a rural area? VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:21 Feb 09, 2010 Jkt 220001 —What definitions should HUD use to define a rural multi-jurisdictional region eligible for funding? —What units of government should be allowed to serve as a lead agency for funding purposes? —What should demonstrate commitment on the part of each member organization, and whether there should be a minimum number of member organizations? C. Selection Criteria In evaluating an application for a grant, HUD, in partnership with DOT and EPA, will evaluate whether the application furthers the creation of livable communities by advancing regional planning that integrates housing, transportation, and environmental decisions and the extent to which the applicant represents a strong collaboration effort for the region in question. HUD seeks input on how to judge the capacity of the regional entity to carry out the proposed Program, including the extent of technical and organizational capacity to conduct the project in the proposed timeframe, past experience in implementing a planning process, and/ or an implementation project as proposed, and the extent to which the consortium has developed partnerships throughout an entire metropolitan or rural area, including, as appropriate, partnerships with the entities described above. Specifically, should a needs assessment be required as an application submission requirement, and, if so, what data elements should be mandatory in judging need and the scope of the needs assessment to ensure that it addresses the comprehensive needs of the region? While HUD specifically seeks comment on the foregoing questions, HUD welcomes additional information that will help inform the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program. Dated: February 4, 2010. Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2010–2979 Filed 2–9–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Notice of Proposed Information Collection for 1029–0057 AGENCY: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 6693 ACTION: Notice and request for comments. SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is announcing that the information collection request for 30 CFR part 882, Reclamation on Private Land, has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This information collection request describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden and cost. DATES: OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove the information collection requests but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, public comments should be submitted to OMB by March 12, 2010, in order to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Submit comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Department of the Interior Desk Officer, via e-mail at OIRA_Docket@omb.eop.gov, or by facsimile to (202) 395–5806. Also, please send a copy of your comments to John Trelease, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1951 Constitution Aye, NW., Room 202–SIB, Washington, DC 20240, or electronically to jtrelease@osmre.gov. Please reference 1029–0057 in your correspondence. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To receive a copy of the information collection request, contact John Trelease at (202) 208–2783. You may also contact Mr. Trelease at jtrelease@osmre.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13), require that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities [see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)]. OSM has submitted the request to OMB to renew its approval for the collection of information found at 30 CFR part 882. OSM is requesting a 3-year term of approval for this information collection activity. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection of information is 1029–0057, and may be found in OSM’s regulations at 30 CFR 882.10. States and Tribes are required to respond to obtain a benefit. As required under 5 CFR 1320.8(d), a Federal Register notice soliciting E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 27 (Wednesday, February 10, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6689-6693]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-2979]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. FR-5396-N-01]


Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program Advance Notice and 
Request for Comment

AGENCY: Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, Office of the 
Deputy Secretary, HUD.

ACTION: Advance notice and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces HUD's intention to offer funding through 
a competition made available as a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) 
under its Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program (Program).

[[Page 6690]]

    As part of the Administration's efforts to increase transparency in 
government operations and to expand opportunities for stakeholders to 
engage in decision-making, HUD is seeking comments on the Program 
through this Advance Notice. Feedback received through this process 
will permit HUD and its partners to better understand how this Program 
can support cooperative regional planning efforts that integrate 
housing, transportation, environmental impact, and economic 
development. HUD is seeking input from State and local governments, 
regional bodies, community development entities, and a broad range of 
other stakeholders on how the Program should be structured in order to 
have the most meaningful impact on regional planning for sustainable 
development.
    The goal of the Program is to support multi-jurisdictional regional 
planning efforts that integrate housing, economic development, and 
transportation decision-making in a manner that empowers jurisdictions 
to consider the interdependent challenges of economic growth, social 
equity and environmental impact simultaneously. Three funding 
categories are being considered:
    (1) Funding to support the preparation of Regional Plans for 
Sustainable Development that address housing, economic development, 
transportation, and environmental quality in an integrated fashion 
where such plans do not currently exist;
    (2) Funding to support the preparation of more detailed execution 
plans and programs to implement existing regional sustainable 
development plans (that address housing, economic development, 
transportation, and environmental quality in an integrated fashion); 
and
    (3) Implementation funding to support regions that have regional 
sustainable development plans and implementation strategies in place 
and need support for a catalytic project or program that demonstrates 
commitment to and implementation of the broader plan.
    This Program is being initiated in close coordination with the U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA).

DATES: All comments, to be considered in response to this Advance 
Notice, must be received no later than midnight Eastern Standard Time 
on Friday, March 12, 2010. Comments will not be accepted after that 
date.

ADDRESSES: Electronic responses are preferred and should be addressed 
to: sustainablecommunities@hud.gov or may be submitted through the 
http://www.hud.gov/sustainability Web site. Written comments may also 
be submitted and post-marked by the deadline and addressed to Office of 
Sustainable Housing and Communities, Department of Housing and Urban 
Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 10180, Washington, DC 20410. HUD 
is expanding the opportunity for comment by establishing a Wiki to 
encourage public dialogue at the following link: http://www.hud.gov/OSHCwiki.
    Outreach Sessions: HUD and its partner agencies will conduct a 
series of listening sessions and webcasts to ensure the broadest 
possible dissemination of information about the Program and to receive 
feedback from interested parties. Further information will be available 
at http://www.hud.gov/sustainability shortly after the publication of 
this Advance Notice, and through such interactive forums that will be 
described on http://www.hud.gov/sustainability.
    Availability of Funding and Timelines: This notice invites comments 
on the proposed award of funding for the Sustainable Communities 
Planning Grant Program. This notice is not a solicitation of proposals 
for the Program.
    The Program was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2010 (Pub. L. 111-117) (the Appropriations Act, approved December 16, 
2009). For the Program, $100,000,000 will be made available, through 
the NOFA that will follow this Advance Notice, to support the 
integration of housing, transportation and land use planning.
    The following maximum funding levels are proposed:
     Small metropolitan or rural areas. The grant amount 
awarded under the Program to an eligible entity that represents a small 
metropolitan or rural area with a population of not more than 499,999 
may not exceed $2,000,000.
     Large metropolitan areas. The grant amount awarded under 
the Program to an eligible entity that represents a large metropolitan 
area with a population of 500,000 or more may not exceed $5,000,000.
    HUD will expect that at least 20 percent of the overall costs of 
the projects awarded under this grant will include leveraged funding 
from other public, philanthropic and private sources including in-kind 
contributions.
    Pursuant to the Appropriations Act, not less than $25,000,000 shall 
be awarded in the Small Metropolitan Area category.
    HUD will award funding by soliciting proposals through a final NOFA 
for the Program that will be developed after consideration of comments 
obtained through this Advance Notice and in outreach sessions. The 
final NOFA will be broadly announced through appropriate and familiar 
means and will provide further details on the finalized requirements 
and application process, pursuant to and in compliance with all 
applicable statutes and regulations, including, but not limited to, the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).
    HUD will set aside approximately $2,000,000 for technical 
assistance services to assist the awardees in implementing their 
proposals. A separate NOFA will be released describing the process for 
obtaining these technical assistance funds. The Appropriations Act also 
appropriates $40,000,000 for a Community Planning Challenge (CPC) 
Grants Program. HUD will publish a separate NOFA for the CPC program.
    It is HUD's intent to meet the following schedule in developing the 
NOFA for the Program:
    February 16-March 1, 2010--Regional Listening Sessions (locations 
and dates to be posted at http://www.hud.gov/sustainability);
    Week of March 1, 2010--Web cast Briefings;
    March 12, 2010--Comments on Draft Description due C.O.B. to HUD;
    Week of April 12, 2010--NOFA published;
    Approx. June 5, 2010--Applications due to HUD;
    Approx. August 2, 2010--Announcement of Awardees.

I. Background

    A top priority of the Administration is to build economically 
competitive, healthy, opportunity-rich communities. In the 
Appropriations Act, Congress provided a total of $150,000,000 to HUD 
for a Sustainable Communities Initiative to improve regional planning 
efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and 
increase State, regional and local capacity to incorporate livability, 
sustainability, and social equity principles into land use and zoning. 
Of that total, $100,000,000 is available for regional integrated 
planning initiatives, which is the subject of this Advance Notice.
    The Sustainable Communities Initiative was conceived to advance 
development patterns that achieve improved economic prosperity, 
environmental sustainability, and social equity in metropolitan regions 
and rural communities. Recognizing the fundamental role that public 
investment plays in achieving these outcomes, the

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Administration charged three agencies whose programs impact the 
physical form of communities--HUD, DOT, and EPA--to lead the way in 
reshaping the role of the Federal government in helping communities 
obtain the capacity to embrace a more sustainable future. As a result, 
HUD, DOT, and EPA have formed the Partnership for Sustainable 
Communities (the Partnership). HUD will take the lead in funding, 
evaluating and otherwise supporting integrative regional planning for 
sustainable development. DOT will focus on (a) building the capacity of 
transportation agencies to integrate their planning and investments 
into broader plans and action to promote sustainable development; and 
(b) investing in transportation infrastructure that directly supports 
sustainable development and livability principles, as discussed below. 
EPA will enhance its role as a provider of technical assistance and 
developer of environmental sustainability metrics and practices. The 
three agencies have made a commitment to coordinate activities, 
integrate funding requirements and adopt a common set of performance 
metrics for use by grantees. The Partnership is a commitment by these 
three Federal agencies to work together to coordinate policies and 
programs in support of six Livability Principles:
    1. Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable and 
economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation 
costs, reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve air 
quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.
    2. Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and 
energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races 
and ethnicities to increase mobility, and lower the combined cost of 
housing and transportation.
    3. Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic 
competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment 
centers, educational opportunities, services, and other basic needs by 
workers as well as expanded business access to markets.
    4. Support existing communities. Target Federal funding toward 
existing communities--through such strategies as transit-oriented, 
mixed-use development and land recycling--to increase community 
revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and 
safeguard rural landscapes.
    5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment. Align Federal 
policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage 
funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all 
levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart 
energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.
    6. Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique 
characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and 
walkable neighborhoods--rural, urban, or suburban.
    The Partnership for Sustainable Communities has observed that 
regions that have already adopted a more integrated approach to 
regional planning tend to exhibit a variety of desirable qualities 
including: More diversified and resilient economies; improved employer 
attraction and retention; more opportunities to lead healthier and more 
affordable lifestyles; lower per capita public infrastructure costs; 
lower vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita and, thus, reduced air 
pollution; and lower rates of concentrated poverty. These regions have 
built a shared vision for the future that allows greater and more 
broad-based support of community development and investment decisions. 
However, these effects are not guaranteed, and communities face a 
number of competing objectives in these areas. In addition, the best 
ways to measure progress are rightly debated as policy goals and 
methodologies evolve.
    While the benefits of integrated regional planning are numerous, 
the incentives, institutions, and funding for such efforts are not 
widely available. Decisions made by local jurisdictions about the 
locations of housing, shopping, and employment are often disjointed 
both within and across jurisdictions and are, therefore, unable to 
incorporate either the impact on accessibility to different types of 
destinations or the broader impact on mobility and livability in a 
region. This fragmented approach results in a host of unintended 
consequences including: Spatial mismatch between affordable housing and 
opportunities for employment and education; long and expensive 
commutes; permanent loss of agricultural land; reduced water quality in 
streams, lakes, and other water bodies; higher emissions of greenhouse 
gasses and other damaging pollutants.
    Despite the presence of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, 
Councils of Governments, and other regional planning entities, there is 
too often a misalignment of transportation, housing, and infrastructure 
systems due in part to the lack of coordination when plans by different 
agencies are prepared separately. While separate resources may be 
available for housing, economic development, water infrastructure, and 
transportation planning, few funding sources help communities address 
challenges and opportunities in an integrated fashion.

II. Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program

    The Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program (the Program) is 
intended to help build the capacity of communities to address the 
complex challenges of growth and revitalization in the 21st century in 
a comprehensive, multidisciplinary way. Funding from this Program will 
support the development and implementation of Sustainable Regional 
Development Plans. A priority will be placed on supporting regions that 
demonstrate a commitment to take well-developed plans and move them 
into implementation. The Appropriations Act directs the Secretary of 
HUD to establish a regional planning grant program that provides grants 
to assist regional entities and consortia of local governments with 
integrated housing, transportation, economic development, water 
infrastructure, and environmental planning. HUD's Office of Sustainable 
Housing and Communities is working in partnership with DOT and EPA to 
define all aspects of this Program. HUD will serve as the lead agency 
for all grants and will consult with its agency partners throughout the 
Program.
    The final product of a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant will 
be a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development and/or implementation 
strategy that meet the requirements of existing HUD, DOT, and EPA 
programs, such as Consolidated Plans, Long Range Transportation Plans 
and Stormwater Master Plans. Building on these requirements, a Regional 
Plan for Sustainable Development would be a plan that:
    (A) Identifies housing, transportation, economic development, land 
use, environmental, energy, green space and water infrastructure 
priorities and goals in a region;
    (B) Establishes locally appropriate performance goals and measures 
the future outcomes of baseline and alternative growth and reinvestment 
scenarios against those goals, and includes standardized metrics 
developed by the Partnership;
    (C) Provides strategies for meeting those priorities and goals;
    (D) Prioritizes projects that facilitate the implementation of the 
regional plan; and identifies responsible implementing

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entities (public or private) and funding sources; and
    (E) Engages residents and stakeholders substantively in the 
development of the shared vision and its implementation plan early and 
throughout the process.

III. Solicitation of Comments on Proposed Program Structure

    As noted above, HUD and its partners are soliciting comments 
through this Advance Notice on how the Program should be structured, 
what funding categories and activities are most appropriate to support, 
which entities should be eligible grantees, and how best to evaluate 
regional needs, so that the Program has the most meaningful impact on 
regional planning for sustainable development. The discussion below 
outlines in general terms the key questions HUD is considering in 
preparing the final NOFA for the Program and identifies some specific 
issues for comment. HUD encourages meaningful input on the Program more 
generally as well. HUD has provided the avenues for input in the 
ADDRESSES section of this notice and highlights that it has established 
a Wiki site to allow additional comment and dialogue regarding 
addressing these issues.

A. Proposed Funding Categories and Eligible Activities

    HUD and its partner agencies recognize that regions are at 
different stages of readiness and capacity to engage in efforts to plan 
for a sustainable future. Some regions have formed multi-jurisdictional 
and multi-sector coalitions that are ready to embark on an effort to 
envision a future to help direct growth or stimulate investment 
sustainably. Other regions have already adopted a sustainable vision, 
but lack the resources to put in place the specific strategies that 
ensure follow-through and implementation of that vision. A few regions 
are on the cutting edge and have demonstrated the capacity to plan for 
the long-term, build broad-based coalitions in support of sustainable 
communities and use an array of tools to incent investment in 
development, land preservation, and infrastructure that implements 
their sustainable vision.
    Given this broad spectrum, the Partnership is considering 
supporting activities to meet the needs of each of these three 
categories of regions. In this comment period, HUD specifically seeks 
feedback on the extent to which these categories are of benefit to 
potential applicants, the types of activities that should be allowed in 
each category, and the extent to which the Program should support 
project-level implementation investments. HUD is also soliciting 
feedback on appropriate common performance metrics for each funding 
category.
    Category 1: Regional Plans for Sustainable Development. Funds would 
support stakeholder-driven visioning and scenario planning exercises 
that will address and harmonize plans for the location, scale and type 
of housing, education and job centers; identify appropriate 
transportation and water infrastructure; and proactively consider risks 
from disasters and climate change. Applicants would be expected to 
identify a set of locally-appropriate performance metrics that are 
consistent with the Partnership's Livability Principles, as well as the 
Partnership's own metrics, and then measure the outcomes of proposed 
growth/reinvestment scenarios against those metrics. Funding in this 
category would support data analysis, urban design and outreach efforts 
to achieve broad consensus among groups, citizens, and decisionmakers 
for a single vision/scenario and to have that plan adopted by all 
appropriate regional governmental bodies.
    HUD seeks comments on the following questions:

--What specific types of eligible activities would support this effort 
and which parties should be part of the regional planning process?
--What elements should be part of the plan, such as a region-wide 
vision and statement of goals, long-term development and infrastructure 
investment map, implementation strategy and/or funding plan?
--How can citizens best participate, such as through a requirement for 
participation in a minimum number of public meetings to ensure broad 
regional consensus?
--Should Regional Plans for Sustainable Development be expected to 
harmonize and be consistent with HUD, DOT, and EPA-required plans and, 
if so, how? Should Regional Plans for Sustainable Development show a 
linkage to local formula-based programs supported by HUD, DOT, and EPA; 
and, if so, to what extent should such linkage be required?

    Category 2: Detailed Execution Plans and Programs. Funds in this 
category would support the preparation and adoption of detailed plans 
and programs to implement an adopted integrated regional sustainable 
vision. Because implementation needs will vary significantly from 
region to region depending on the goals of a sustainable plan and the 
gaps that exist, the funds from this category would likely support a 
wide range of implementation activities but still be measured against 
the common and consistent metrics and outcome goals highlighted in the 
previous section. For example, inter-jurisdictional affordable and fair 
housing strategies, regional transportation investment programs, 
corridor transit-oriented development plans, sector or area plans, land 
banking and acquisition strategies, revenue sharing strategies, 
economic development strategies, plans to improve access to community 
amenities, and other specific activities that help ensure that the 
goals of the regional vision are implemented. Regional coalitions would 
be eligible to apply for this category on the basis of demonstrating 
the adoption of a regional vision that is substantially consistent with 
the Livability Principles, program goals and metrics identified in the 
published NOFA.
    HUD seeks comments on the following questions:

--What specific types of activities should be eligible for funding in 
this category?
--What criteria should be used to evaluate whether a previously adopted 
regional vision is consistent with the Livability Principles discussed 
above?
--Should the amount of local and contributed resources to support, 
expand, and enhance the development of implementation strategies be 
rewarded in application scoring or are there other means to leverage 
other funds and resources?

    Category 3: Implementation Incentives. Recognizing that those 
regions that have already fully embraced sustainable regional planning 
provide important models to the nation, the Partnership is considering 
ways in which the Program can reward and incent further action by 
cutting edge regions.
    First, HUD is evaluating the extent to which applicants that have 
an adopted Regional Sustainable Development Plan and appropriate 
implementation programs in place could be pre-certified as having met 
HUD, DOT, and EPA's criteria for sustainability and livability factors 
in other discretionary federal funding programs.
    Second, HUD is considering providing a limited number of grants to 
complete a financing package for projects that would accelerate the 
implementation of a Regional Sustainable Development Plan. As 
envisioned, this category would support

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pre-development costs, capital costs for a regionally significant 
development or infrastructure investment, or land acquisition 
investments. We are considering how to make best use of new federal 
dollars in the context of existing programs and their requirements--and 
also in the context of innovative practices in the field. Applicants 
would need to demonstrate that they have in place an adopted regional 
vision that is substantially consistent with the Livability Principles, 
metrics identified in the published NOFA to measure performance, and 
have commitments from affected participating partners to initiate 
implementation efforts, but have funding gaps that could be closed 
within the grant limits for this program.
    HUD seeks comments on the following questions:

--Would ``pre-certification'' be an added value and, if so, what 
programs should this approach apply to? What criteria should be 
considered for meeting the ``pre-certification'' status?
--Is the direct support of implementation activities appropriate within 
this Program given the limited amount of resources and the expected 
modest size of grants?
--What criteria should be used to judge that an applicant successfully 
demonstrates that it has an adopted regional vision and that the 
project for funding under this category is truly catalytic?
--Specifically, what criteria should be considered for a project to be 
catalytic?
--What types of activities might be included, the timeframe by what 
time the project should be completed, and how much leveraging should be 
considered appropriate for demonstrating that the proposed investment 
will serve as a region's commitment to a sustainable future?

B. Entities Eligible for Funding

    In the Program, HUD is considering as an eligible entity a multi-
jurisdictional and multi-sector partnership consisting of a consortium 
of units of general local government and all government, civic, 
philanthropic and business entities with a responsibility for 
implementing a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.
    HUD seeks input on the following questions:

--Should certain entities be required partners in multi-jurisdictional 
regions such as a metropolitan planning organization as defined in 23 
CFR 450.104, or a rural planning organization or network of rural 
planning organizations in a rural area?
--What definitions should HUD use to define a rural multi-
jurisdictional region eligible for funding?
--What units of government should be allowed to serve as a lead agency 
for funding purposes?
--What should demonstrate commitment on the part of each member 
organization, and whether there should be a minimum number of member 
organizations?

C. Selection Criteria

    In evaluating an application for a grant, HUD, in partnership with 
DOT and EPA, will evaluate whether the application furthers the 
creation of livable communities by advancing regional planning that 
integrates housing, transportation, and environmental decisions and the 
extent to which the applicant represents a strong collaboration effort 
for the region in question.
    HUD seeks input on how to judge the capacity of the regional entity 
to carry out the proposed Program, including the extent of technical 
and organizational capacity to conduct the project in the proposed 
timeframe, past experience in implementing a planning process, and/or 
an implementation project as proposed, and the extent to which the 
consortium has developed partnerships throughout an entire metropolitan 
or rural area, including, as appropriate, partnerships with the 
entities described above. Specifically, should a needs assessment be 
required as an application submission requirement, and, if so, what 
data elements should be mandatory in judging need and the scope of the 
needs assessment to ensure that it addresses the comprehensive needs of 
the region?
    While HUD specifically seeks comment on the foregoing questions, 
HUD welcomes additional information that will help inform the 
Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program.

    Dated: February 4, 2010.
Ron Sims,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2010-2979 Filed 2-9-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P