Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space, 39356-39359 [2019-17102]

Download as PDF 39356 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 154 / Friday, August 9, 2019 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA–2018–0006; OMB No. 1660–0103] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments concerning the property acquisition and relocation for open space process as part of the administration of FEMA’s mitigation grant programs, and the withdrawal of three previously proposed forms (FEMA Form 086–0– 31a, FEMA Form 086–0–31b, and FEMA Form 086–0–31c) from the Information Collection included in the initial 60-day public comment period regarding the Severe Risk Property Acquisition (SRPA) direct grant to property owners for acquisition and demolition of severe repetitive loss structures. After reviewing all the comments submitted, FEMA has determined there is no need for SRPA direct grant-related forms at this time. At this time, FEMA has decided not to implement the SRPA direct to property owners grant. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before October 8, 2019. ADDRESSES: To avoid duplicate submissions to the docket, please use only one of the following means to submit comments: (1) Online. Submit comments at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID FEMA–2018–0006. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. (2) Mail. Submit written comments to Docket Manager, Office of Chief Counsel, DHS/FEMA, 500 C Street SW, 8NE, Washington, DC 20472–3100. All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket ID. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Aug 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennie Orenstein, Grants Policy Branch Chief, FIMA, FEMA, (202) 212–4071. You may contact the Records Management Division for copies of the proposed collection of information at email address: FEMA-InformationCollections-Management@fema.dhs.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations at 44 CFR part 80 govern property acquisitions for the creation of open space under FEMA’s three hazard mitigation assistance (HMA) grant programs: The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program (PDM) and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), authorized under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121–5207; and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA) authorized under the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq. Acquisition and relocation of property for open space use is a popular mitigation activity eligible under PDM, HMGP, and FMA. These programs require any property acquired with FEMA funds to be deed restricted and maintained as open space in perpetuity to ensure against future risk from hazards to life and property, and to reduce the need for disaster assistance or insurance payments for damages to property. This proposed information collection previously published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2018 at 83 FR 8493 with a 60-day public comment period. The comment period closed on April 30, 2018. FEMA received ninety-two comments in response to Information Collection 1660–0103, including comments that express both support and opposition to different parts of the Collection. Many comments were similar, but they will be recorded as 102 distinct comments since they addressed multiple parts of the Collection. Of the 102 comments received, 67 comments were opposed to language in the three new forms pertaining to the Severe Risk Property Acquisition (SRPA) direct grants to property owners that included an option identified as ‘‘Pathway 2: Demolition of Structure(s) Only, Property Owner(s) Retains Ownership.’’ The Pathway allowed property owners to build new PO 00000 Frm 00098 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 structures on the land after the existing structures were acquired and demolished by FEMA. A commitment to use the property as open space in perpetuity was not required. The new structures were required to meet current community flood management building codes, which presumably would be to a higher standard than the damaged structure was built to. Mitigation would thus be accomplished by reducing the long-term risk to a natural hazard. In comparison, the other Pathway SRPA offered was that the subrecipient (local community) could acquire the property and commit the property to open space use in perpetuity. With either Pathway, the choice was up to the property owner, assuming the community was interested in acquisition if the property owner chose that option. A SRPA grant would only be offered under FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program. Eleven (11) comments were supportive of SRPA and the three new related forms. 3 comments were neutral and recommended changes to provide support to SRPA. 3 comments opposed using the public comment period for discussing the feasibility of SRPA. 6 comments were beyond the scope of the Information Collection and 12 comments were not germane. The 67 comments submitted in opposition to SRPA’s Pathway 2: Demolition of Structure(s) Only, Property Owner(s) Retains Ownership option came from a variety of sources, including State and local government, non-profit organizations, individuals, and anonymous sources. Commenters listed primary reasons for opposition such as: • Inconsistency under the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) of 1968 42 U.S.C. 4104c since the forms only offered property owners one mitigation option, acquisition, and no other mitigation activities such as relocation, structure elevation, or mitigation reconstruction • Inconsistency under 44 CFR part 80 Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space, which restricts postacquisition land use to outdoor recreational activities, wetlands management, nature reserves, farming (i.e., cultivation, grazing), camping and other uses FEMA determines are compatible with open space and limits the type of new structures that can be built on the property • Inconsistency with current Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Guidance for acquisition of properties, and inconsistency with the way FEMA has implemented acquisition projects for the past 30 years, which require the E:\FR\FM\09AUN1.SGM 09AUN1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 154 / Friday, August 9, 2019 / Notices acquired property to be dedicated and maintained in perpetuity as open space for the conservation of natural floodplain functions Several comments cited additional reasons for opposition to the SRPA forms for Pathway 2: Demolition of Structure(s) Only, Property Owner(s) Retains Ownership, including: • New structures would endanger first responders in the flood prone area • Direct grants discourage conversion of developed land to open space • Direct grants fail to reduce the risk posed to property and human lives • Lack of robust codes in many communities would not guarantee a rebuild to a higher standard • Lack of information justifying how Pathway 2 would be cost-effective (an eligibility requirement for all HMA projects), and demonstrate savings over alternative mitigation options • Propose limitation to ensure direct grants would not be abused to spur coastal development Commenters also noted that the new forms were not clear on who would be responsible for monitoring these properties post-acquisition to ensure that new structures and improvements conform to grant requirements. Without clear identification of responsibilities, there was concern that new structures would not be constructed to meet community flood building standards. The 11 comments in support of SRPA also came from a variety of sources, including local government, a non-profit organization and individuals. Commenters in support of SRPA provided the following reasons: • Expedited access to funding that will help survivors recover more quickly • Reduced risk of experiencing another flood at the same property in the short-term • Increase in or maintenance of a community’s tax base • SRPA would result in reconstruction to a higher building code • Provides a good alternative when a state does not prioritize substantially damaged homes, or does not expedite an acquisition project Of the comments that expressed support, several of them had reservations. For example, one commenter expressed strong support for the property owner to retain land after a demolition but expressed concern regarding what would happen if the local government did not want the property owner to do this. Additionally, the commenter was unsure how the property would be maintained in perpetuity and reported every three years. The comment reflects a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Aug 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 misconception about a SRPA direct grant as the property owner who retains ownership would not be required to commit the property to open space in perpetuity. Another commenter supported SRPA but opined that a property owner should only be eligible when neither the local jurisdiction nor state have a flood mitigation plan in place. One association supported SRPA but only if elevation is included in the eligible project list. Three (3) comments neutral to SRPA came from individuals. The commenters offered recommendations that if followed would make SRPA acceptable to them. One commenter wanted the added option of elevation, in addition to the demolition and property owner retention option. According to the commenter, elevations would address the removal of tax bases and provide more flexibility in areas impacted by flooding. One individual recommended that to make NFIP more fiscally secure, individuals should be denied NFIP insurance if they reject the options for a buyout, elevation, and mitigation reconstruction project after flooding multiple times in a set number of years and once flood insurance payments total the value of the house. While FEMA recognizes that denying flood insurance to property owners who reject the option to mitigate may incentivize mitigation, FEMA does not have statutory authority to implement such a measure. Another commenter indicated a spelling error in the header of a form, recommended language change in the Statement of Voluntary Participation form to align more with what is written in the FEMA FORM 086–0–31C and inquired about why the acquisition and demolition process must be done by FEMA and not by the local community. The form with the spelling error is no longer an instrument of this Information Collection. Three (3) comments opposed using the public comment period for discussing the feasibility of SRPA. One commenter expressed concern about making a fundamental change to buyout programs through ‘‘the obscure context and mechanism of reinstating and changing a series of federal forms.’’ The comment reflects a misconception that adding the forms to the Information Collection alone would be enough to implement this new type of grant. Adding the forms was a means of FEMA preparing to implement the SRPA grant if FEMA received an appropriation for it. However, FEMA did not receive an appropriation to implement a SRPA PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39357 grant and has no plans to implement a SRPA grant currently. Another commenter felt the Information Collection lacked ‘‘explanatory material for the assumptions and procedures in which the proposed forms are expected to be used . . .’’ Specifically, the commenter wanted access to the proposed forms. FEMA is not able to publicly post the forms because they have not yet been approved by OMB. However, if the commenter reaches out to HMA’s Point of Contact for this Information Collection (Jennie Orenstein), they will be provided access to the forms. Lastly, one commentator wanted to ‘‘extend and expand the public comment period to allow more knowledgeable evaluation.’’ A standard Paperwork Reduction Act Information Collection requires both a 60-day public comment period, followed by a 30-day public comment period. The program office is responsible for responding to all comments during these two comment periods. The commenter’s remark was part of the 60-day comment period and, thus, there will be another 30-day comment period following adjudication of responses and potential changes to forms. Six (6) comments were beyond the scope of the Information Collection and involved the following topics: • Inquire into specific mechanisms used to compel local governments to participate in SRPA grants • Inquire about funding streams, which do not currently exist for SRPA grants • Inquire about how to determine if a State and/or community would not have the capacity to manage direct grants • Inquire about addressing urban flooding by redefining flood zones and providing a socially equitable solution to low to middle income communities when experiencing flooding • Express a belief that current floodplains are based on best guesses and anecdotal evidence, which leads to inaccuracies Following Hurricane Harvey, to address the dire circumstances of property owners with substantially damaged homes, FEMA explored implementing a statutory provision in the National Flood Insurance Act, 42 U.S.C. 4104c(a)(3), which authorizes FEMA to provide direct grants to property owners with severe repetitive loss (SRL) properties under FMA. After considering the 102 comments submitted mostly in opposition to SRPA but also supporting it, in some cases with reservations, FEMA has decided E:\FR\FM\09AUN1.SGM 09AUN1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 39358 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 154 / Friday, August 9, 2019 / Notices not to implement SRPA and to withdraw the three forms related to the SRPA grant, consisting of FEMA Form 086–0–31a, FEMA Form 086–0–31b, and FEMA Form 086–0–31c from the Information Collection. FEMA appreciated the input provided, and felt the commenters raised many worthy issues for discussion concerning a direct grant to property owners. Consequently, FEMA intends to pursue an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, and other entities or individuals, as appropriate, to address the merits and problems with implementing this type of grant. In response to comments, FEMA has withdrawn three previously proposed forms (FEMA Form 086–0–31a, FEMA Form 086–0–31b, and FEMA Form 086– 0–31c) from the Information Collection included in the initial 60-day public comment period regarding the Severe Risk Property Acquisition (SRPA) direct grant to property owners for acquisition and demolition of severe repetitive loss structures. After reviewing all the comments submitted, FEMA has determined there is no need for SRPA direct grant-related forms at this time. At this time, FEMA has decided not to implement the SRPA direct to property owners grant. With the withdrawal of the three SRPA-related forms, the Information Collection contains only three new forms necessary to obtain information for HMA’s usual grants: Real Property Status Report, SF–429, Declaration and Release (Declaracion Y Autorizacion) (FEMA Form 009–0–3 or 009–0–4 (Spanish)), and FEMA Form 086–035a (Pages 9–10) NFIP Repetitive Loss Update Worksheet. The fourth form, the Property Owners’ Voluntary Participation Statement (FEMA Form 86–0–31) is necessary for FEMA to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements that the property owner’s participation in an acquisition is voluntary. See 44 CFR 80.13. This form was published in previous information collections. The Real Property Status Report, SF– 429 is a standard, OMB-approved form under OMB Collection 4040–0016, with a current expiration date of 02/28/2022. It is used to certify that the subrecipient has inspected properties to ensure consistency with the terms of the deed restrictions committing the properties to open space in perpetuity. The SF–429 is an addition to this collection as part of the 2 CFR 200.311 requirements for property management and disposition. While FEMA has always collected property management reports every three years for acquired properties, the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Aug 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 SF–429 form was not included in previous collections. Historically, some recipients and subrecipients used the SF–429 forms, and others used their own formats. FEMA is now proposing to use the SF–429 to have a uniform and consistent format. FEMA collects Declaration and Release, FEMA Form 009–0–3 or Declaracion Y Autorizacion FEMA Form 009–0–4 (Spanish) (OMB No. 1660– 0002), to certify an individual’s information and eligibility. FEMA will be adding this form to this information collection to obtain necessary information for its eligibility determinations. This form is already approved under OMB Collection 1660– 0002, Disaster Assistance Registration which expires on July 31, 2019 and is currently pending OMB’s approval. FEMA Form 086–0–35a (Pages 9–10) NFIP Repetitive Loss Update Worksheet, is a form used by the State, Tribe or local community when acquiring a property to update the status of properties classified as NFIP repetitive loss to indicate if they have been previously acquired, retrofitted or mitigated through a different eligible project type. These pages are included in an already approved OMB Collection No.1660–0022, Community Rating System (CRS) Program—Application Letter and CRS Quick Check, Community Annual Recertification and Environmental and Historic Preservation Certifications, which expires on March 31, 2020. This form is necessary to keep records for flood insurance purposes, which allows the NFIP to modify their flood insurance policies. This information collection, OMB No. 1660–0103, expired on January 31, 2018. FEMA is requesting a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired. The purpose of this 60-day notice is to notify the public of the changes FEMA has made to the originally proposed Information Collection in the previous 60-day notice and allow for a new 60-day period for comments on the updated Information Collection. Collection of Information Title: Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space. Type of Information Collection: Reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired. OMB Number: 1660–0103. Form Titles and Numbers: FEMA Form 086–0–31, Statement of Voluntary PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Participation for Acquisition of Property for Purpose of Open Space, (OMB No.1660–0103); 009–0–3 (English) and 009–0–4 (Spanish), Declaration and Release, (OMB No. 1660–0002); 086–0– 35a (Pages 9–10), NFIP Repetitive Loss Update Worksheet (OMB No. 1660– 0022); SF–429, Real Property Status Report (OMB No. 4040–0016). Abstract: FEMA and State, Tribal and local recipients of FEMA mitigation grant programs will use the information collected to meet the Property Acquisition requirements to implement acquisition activities under the terms of grant agreements for acquisition and relocation activities. FEMA and State/ local grant recipients will also use the information to monitor and enforce the open space requirements for all properties acquired with FEMA mitigation grants. Affected Public: State, local or Tribal Government; Individuals or Households. Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,773. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 11,528. Estimated Cost: The estimated annual cost to respondents for the hour burden is $520,710. Estimated Respondents’ Operation and Maintenance Costs: There are no annual costs to respondents’ operations and maintenance costs for technical services. Estimated Respondents’ Capital and Start-Up Costs: There is no annual startup or capital costs. Estimated Total Annual Cost to the Federal Government: The cost to the Federal Government is $687,687. Comments: Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, E:\FR\FM\09AUN1.SGM 09AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 154 / Friday, August 9, 2019 / Notices e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Maile Arthur, Acting Records Management Branch Chief, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2019–17102 Filed 8–8–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–47–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [OMB Control Number 1615–0095] Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: Notice of Appeal or Motion U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: 60-Day notice. AGENCY: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment upon this proposed revision of a currently approved collection of information or new collection of information. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the information collection notice is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments regarding the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e. the time, effort, and resources used by the respondents to respond), the estimated cost to the respondent, and the actual information collection instruments. DATES: Comments are encouraged and will be accepted for 60 days until October 8, 2019. ADDRESSES: All submissions received must include the OMB Control Number 1615–0095 in the body of the letter, the agency name and Docket ID USCIS– 2008–0027. To avoid duplicate submissions, please use only one of the following methods to submit comments: (1) Online. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal website at http://www.regulations.gov under eDocket ID number USCIS–2008–0027; (2) Mail. Submit written comments to DHS, USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529–2140. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Aug 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 Regulatory Coordination Division, Samantha Deshommes, Chief, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529–2140, telephone number 202–272–8377 (This is not a toll-free number. Comments are not accepted via telephone message). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS Contact Center at 800–375–5283 (TTY 800–767–1833). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS–2008–0027 in the search box. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary submission you make to DHS. DHS may withhold information provided in comments from public viewing that it determines may impact the privacy of an individual or is offensive. For additional information, please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov. Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other PO 00000 Frm 00101 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39359 technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Overview of This Information Collection (1) Type of Information Collection: Revision of a Currently Approved Collection. (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Notice of Appeal or Motion. (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: I–290B; USCIS. (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Individuals or households. Form I–290B standardizes requests for appeals and motions and ensures that the basic information required to adjudicate appeals and motions is provided by applicants and petitioners, or their attorneys or representatives. USCIS uses the data collected on Form I–290B to determine whether an applicant or petitioner is eligible to file an appeal or motion, whether the requirements of an appeal or motion have been met, and whether the applicant or petitioner is eligible for the requested immigration benefit. Form I–290B can also be filed with ICE by schools appealing decisions on Form I– 17 filings for certification to ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection I–290B is 28,000 and the estimated hour burden per response is 1.5 hours. (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 42,000 hours. (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $8,652,000. Dated: August 5, 2019. Jerry L. Rigdon, Deputy Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2019–17031 Filed 8–8–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–97–P E:\FR\FM\09AUN1.SGM 09AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 154 (Friday, August 9, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39356-39359]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-17102]



[[Page 39356]]

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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Federal Emergency Management Agency

[Docket ID: FEMA-2018-0006; OMB No. 1660-0103]


Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request; Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space

AGENCY: Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its 
continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites 
the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity 
to comment on a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved 
information collection for which approval has expired. In accordance 
with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments 
concerning the property acquisition and relocation for open space 
process as part of the administration of FEMA's mitigation grant 
programs, and the withdrawal of three previously proposed forms (FEMA 
Form 086-0-31a, FEMA Form 086-0-31b, and FEMA Form 086-0-31c) from the 
Information Collection included in the initial 60-day public comment 
period regarding the Severe Risk Property Acquisition (SRPA) direct 
grant to property owners for acquisition and demolition of severe 
repetitive loss structures. After reviewing all the comments submitted, 
FEMA has determined there is no need for SRPA direct grant-related 
forms at this time. At this time, FEMA has decided not to implement the 
SRPA direct to property owners grant.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before October 8, 2019.

ADDRESSES: To avoid duplicate submissions to the docket, please use 
only one of the following means to submit comments:
    (1) Online. Submit comments at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID 
FEMA-2018-0006. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    (2) Mail. Submit written comments to Docket Manager, Office of 
Chief Counsel, DHS/FEMA, 500 C Street SW, 8NE, Washington, DC 20472-
3100.
    All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket 
ID. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, 
all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any 
personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this 
information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act 
notice that is available via the link in the footer of 
www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennie Orenstein, Grants Policy Branch 
Chief, FIMA, FEMA, (202) 212-4071. You may contact the Records 
Management Division for copies of the proposed collection of 
information at email address: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations at 44 CFR part 80 govern 
property acquisitions for the creation of open space under FEMA's three 
hazard mitigation assistance (HMA) grant programs: The Pre-Disaster 
Mitigation program (PDM) and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), 
authorized under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
Assistance Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207; and the Flood 
Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA) authorized under the National Flood 
Insurance Act (NFIA) of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq. 
Acquisition and relocation of property for open space use is a popular 
mitigation activity eligible under PDM, HMGP, and FMA. These programs 
require any property acquired with FEMA funds to be deed restricted and 
maintained as open space in perpetuity to ensure against future risk 
from hazards to life and property, and to reduce the need for disaster 
assistance or insurance payments for damages to property. This proposed 
information collection previously published in the Federal Register on 
February 27, 2018 at 83 FR 8493 with a 60-day public comment period. 
The comment period closed on April 30, 2018. FEMA received ninety-two 
comments in response to Information Collection 1660-0103, including 
comments that express both support and opposition to different parts of 
the Collection. Many comments were similar, but they will be recorded 
as 102 distinct comments since they addressed multiple parts of the 
Collection. Of the 102 comments received, 67 comments were opposed to 
language in the three new forms pertaining to the Severe Risk Property 
Acquisition (SRPA) direct grants to property owners that included an 
option identified as ``Pathway 2: Demolition of Structure(s) Only, 
Property Owner(s) Retains Ownership.'' The Pathway allowed property 
owners to build new structures on the land after the existing 
structures were acquired and demolished by FEMA. A commitment to use 
the property as open space in perpetuity was not required. The new 
structures were required to meet current community flood management 
building codes, which presumably would be to a higher standard than the 
damaged structure was built to. Mitigation would thus be accomplished 
by reducing the long-term risk to a natural hazard. In comparison, the 
other Pathway SRPA offered was that the subrecipient (local community) 
could acquire the property and commit the property to open space use in 
perpetuity. With either Pathway, the choice was up to the property 
owner, assuming the community was interested in acquisition if the 
property owner chose that option. A SRPA grant would only be offered 
under FEMA's Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program.
    Eleven (11) comments were supportive of SRPA and the three new 
related forms. 3 comments were neutral and recommended changes to 
provide support to SRPA. 3 comments opposed using the public comment 
period for discussing the feasibility of SRPA. 6 comments were beyond 
the scope of the Information Collection and 12 comments were not 
germane.
    The 67 comments submitted in opposition to SRPA's Pathway 2: 
Demolition of Structure(s) Only, Property Owner(s) Retains Ownership 
option came from a variety of sources, including State and local 
government, non-profit organizations, individuals, and anonymous 
sources. Commenters listed primary reasons for opposition such as:
     Inconsistency under the National Flood Insurance Act 
(NFIA) of 1968 42 U.S.C. 4104c since the forms only offered property 
owners one mitigation option, acquisition, and no other mitigation 
activities such as relocation, structure elevation, or mitigation 
reconstruction
     Inconsistency under 44 CFR part 80 Property Acquisition 
and Relocation for Open Space, which restricts post-acquisition land 
use to outdoor recreational activities, wetlands management, nature 
reserves, farming (i.e., cultivation, grazing), camping and other uses 
FEMA determines are compatible with open space and limits the type of 
new structures that can be built on the property
     Inconsistency with current Hazard Mitigation Assistance 
(HMA) Guidance for acquisition of properties, and inconsistency with 
the way FEMA has implemented acquisition projects for the past 30 
years, which require the

[[Page 39357]]

acquired property to be dedicated and maintained in perpetuity as open 
space for the conservation of natural floodplain functions
    Several comments cited additional reasons for opposition to the 
SRPA forms for Pathway 2: Demolition of Structure(s) Only, Property 
Owner(s) Retains Ownership, including:

 New structures would endanger first responders in the flood 
prone area
 Direct grants discourage conversion of developed land to open 
space
 Direct grants fail to reduce the risk posed to property and 
human lives
 Lack of robust codes in many communities would not guarantee a 
rebuild to a higher standard
 Lack of information justifying how Pathway 2 would be cost-
effective (an eligibility requirement for all HMA projects), and 
demonstrate savings over alternative mitigation options
 Propose limitation to ensure direct grants would not be abused 
to spur coastal development

    Commenters also noted that the new forms were not clear on who 
would be responsible for monitoring these properties post-acquisition 
to ensure that new structures and improvements conform to grant 
requirements. Without clear identification of responsibilities, there 
was concern that new structures would not be constructed to meet 
community flood building standards.
    The 11 comments in support of SRPA also came from a variety of 
sources, including local government, a non-profit organization and 
individuals. Commenters in support of SRPA provided the following 
reasons:

 Expedited access to funding that will help survivors recover 
more quickly
 Reduced risk of experiencing another flood at the same 
property in the short-term
 Increase in or maintenance of a community's tax base
 SRPA would result in reconstruction to a higher building code
 Provides a good alternative when a state does not prioritize 
substantially damaged homes, or does not expedite an acquisition 
project

    Of the comments that expressed support, several of them had 
reservations. For example, one commenter expressed strong support for 
the property owner to retain land after a demolition but expressed 
concern regarding what would happen if the local government did not 
want the property owner to do this. Additionally, the commenter was 
unsure how the property would be maintained in perpetuity and reported 
every three years. The comment reflects a misconception about a SRPA 
direct grant as the property owner who retains ownership would not be 
required to commit the property to open space in perpetuity. Another 
commenter supported SRPA but opined that a property owner should only 
be eligible when neither the local jurisdiction nor state have a flood 
mitigation plan in place. One association supported SRPA but only if 
elevation is included in the eligible project list.
    Three (3) comments neutral to SRPA came from individuals. The 
commenters offered recommendations that if followed would make SRPA 
acceptable to them. One commenter wanted the added option of elevation, 
in addition to the demolition and property owner retention option. 
According to the commenter, elevations would address the removal of tax 
bases and provide more flexibility in areas impacted by flooding.
    One individual recommended that to make NFIP more fiscally secure, 
individuals should be denied NFIP insurance if they reject the options 
for a buyout, elevation, and mitigation reconstruction project after 
flooding multiple times in a set number of years and once flood 
insurance payments total the value of the house. While FEMA recognizes 
that denying flood insurance to property owners who reject the option 
to mitigate may incentivize mitigation, FEMA does not have statutory 
authority to implement such a measure.
    Another commenter indicated a spelling error in the header of a 
form, recommended language change in the Statement of Voluntary 
Participation form to align more with what is written in the FEMA FORM 
086-0-31C and inquired about why the acquisition and demolition process 
must be done by FEMA and not by the local community. The form with the 
spelling error is no longer an instrument of this Information 
Collection.
    Three (3) comments opposed using the public comment period for 
discussing the feasibility of SRPA. One commenter expressed concern 
about making a fundamental change to buyout programs through ``the 
obscure context and mechanism of reinstating and changing a series of 
federal forms.'' The comment reflects a misconception that adding the 
forms to the Information Collection alone would be enough to implement 
this new type of grant. Adding the forms was a means of FEMA preparing 
to implement the SRPA grant if FEMA received an appropriation for it. 
However, FEMA did not receive an appropriation to implement a SRPA 
grant and has no plans to implement a SRPA grant currently.
    Another commenter felt the Information Collection lacked 
``explanatory material for the assumptions and procedures in which the 
proposed forms are expected to be used . . .'' Specifically, the 
commenter wanted access to the proposed forms. FEMA is not able to 
publicly post the forms because they have not yet been approved by OMB. 
However, if the commenter reaches out to HMA's Point of Contact for 
this Information Collection (Jennie Orenstein), they will be provided 
access to the forms.
    Lastly, one commentator wanted to ``extend and expand the public 
comment period to allow more knowledgeable evaluation.'' A standard 
Paperwork Reduction Act Information Collection requires both a 60-day 
public comment period, followed by a 30-day public comment period. The 
program office is responsible for responding to all comments during 
these two comment periods. The commenter's remark was part of the 60-
day comment period and, thus, there will be another 30-day comment 
period following adjudication of responses and potential changes to 
forms.
    Six (6) comments were beyond the scope of the Information 
Collection and involved the following topics:

 Inquire into specific mechanisms used to compel local 
governments to participate in SRPA grants
 Inquire about funding streams, which do not currently exist 
for SRPA grants
 Inquire about how to determine if a State and/or community 
would not have the capacity to manage direct grants
 Inquire about addressing urban flooding by redefining flood 
zones and providing a socially equitable solution to low to middle 
income communities when experiencing flooding
 Express a belief that current floodplains are based on best 
guesses and anecdotal evidence, which leads to inaccuracies

    Following Hurricane Harvey, to address the dire circumstances of 
property owners with substantially damaged homes, FEMA explored 
implementing a statutory provision in the National Flood Insurance Act, 
42 U.S.C. 4104c(a)(3), which authorizes FEMA to provide direct grants 
to property owners with severe repetitive loss (SRL) properties under 
FMA. After considering the 102 comments submitted mostly in opposition 
to SRPA but also supporting it, in some cases with reservations, FEMA 
has decided

[[Page 39358]]

not to implement SRPA and to withdraw the three forms related to the 
SRPA grant, consisting of FEMA Form 086-0-31a, FEMA Form 086-0-31b, and 
FEMA Form 086-0-31c from the Information Collection.
    FEMA appreciated the input provided, and felt the commenters raised 
many worthy issues for discussion concerning a direct grant to property 
owners. Consequently, FEMA intends to pursue an ongoing dialogue with 
stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, and other entities or 
individuals, as appropriate, to address the merits and problems with 
implementing this type of grant.
    In response to comments, FEMA has withdrawn three previously 
proposed forms (FEMA Form 086-0-31a, FEMA Form 086-0-31b, and FEMA Form 
086-0-31c) from the Information Collection included in the initial 60-
day public comment period regarding the Severe Risk Property 
Acquisition (SRPA) direct grant to property owners for acquisition and 
demolition of severe repetitive loss structures. After reviewing all 
the comments submitted, FEMA has determined there is no need for SRPA 
direct grant-related forms at this time. At this time, FEMA has decided 
not to implement the SRPA direct to property owners grant.
    With the withdrawal of the three SRPA-related forms, the 
Information Collection contains only three new forms necessary to 
obtain information for HMA's usual grants: Real Property Status Report, 
SF-429, Declaration and Release (Declaracion Y Autorizacion) (FEMA Form 
009-0-3 or 009-0-4 (Spanish)), and FEMA Form 086-035a (Pages 9-10) NFIP 
Repetitive Loss Update Worksheet. The fourth form, the Property Owners' 
Voluntary Participation Statement (FEMA Form 86-0-31) is necessary for 
FEMA to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements that the 
property owner's participation in an acquisition is voluntary. See 44 
CFR 80.13. This form was published in previous information collections.
    The Real Property Status Report, SF-429 is a standard, OMB-approved 
form under OMB Collection 4040-0016, with a current expiration date of 
02/28/2022. It is used to certify that the subrecipient has inspected 
properties to ensure consistency with the terms of the deed 
restrictions committing the properties to open space in perpetuity. The 
SF-429 is an addition to this collection as part of the 2 CFR 200.311 
requirements for property management and disposition. While FEMA has 
always collected property management reports every three years for 
acquired properties, the SF-429 form was not included in previous 
collections. Historically, some recipients and subrecipients used the 
SF-429 forms, and others used their own formats. FEMA is now proposing 
to use the SF-429 to have a uniform and consistent format.
    FEMA collects Declaration and Release, FEMA Form 009-0-3 or 
Declaracion Y Autorizacion FEMA Form 009-0-4 (Spanish) (OMB No. 1660-
0002), to certify an individual's information and eligibility. FEMA 
will be adding this form to this information collection to obtain 
necessary information for its eligibility determinations. This form is 
already approved under OMB Collection 1660-0002, Disaster Assistance 
Registration which expires on July 31, 2019 and is currently pending 
OMB's approval.
    FEMA Form 086-0-35a (Pages 9-10) NFIP Repetitive Loss Update 
Worksheet, is a form used by the State, Tribe or local community when 
acquiring a property to update the status of properties classified as 
NFIP repetitive loss to indicate if they have been previously acquired, 
retrofitted or mitigated through a different eligible project type. 
These pages are included in an already approved OMB Collection No.1660-
0022, Community Rating System (CRS) Program--Application Letter and CRS 
Quick Check, Community Annual Recertification and Environmental and 
Historic Preservation Certifications, which expires on March 31, 2020. 
This form is necessary to keep records for flood insurance purposes, 
which allows the NFIP to modify their flood insurance policies.
    This information collection, OMB No. 1660-0103, expired on January 
31, 2018. FEMA is requesting a reinstatement, with change, of a 
previously approved information collection for which approval has 
expired. The purpose of this 60-day notice is to notify the public of 
the changes FEMA has made to the originally proposed Information 
Collection in the previous 60-day notice and allow for a new 60-day 
period for comments on the updated Information Collection.

Collection of Information

    Title: Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space.
    Type of Information Collection: Reinstatement, with change, of a 
previously approved information collection for which approval has 
expired.
    OMB Number: 1660-0103.
    Form Titles and Numbers: FEMA Form 086-0-31, Statement of Voluntary 
Participation for Acquisition of Property for Purpose of Open Space, 
(OMB No.1660-0103); 009-0-3 (English) and 009-0-4 (Spanish), 
Declaration and Release, (OMB No. 1660-0002); 086-0-35a (Pages 9-10), 
NFIP Repetitive Loss Update Worksheet (OMB No. 1660-0022); SF-429, Real 
Property Status Report (OMB No. 4040-0016).
    Abstract: FEMA and State, Tribal and local recipients of FEMA 
mitigation grant programs will use the information collected to meet 
the Property Acquisition requirements to implement acquisition 
activities under the terms of grant agreements for acquisition and 
relocation activities. FEMA and State/local grant recipients will also 
use the information to monitor and enforce the open space requirements 
for all properties acquired with FEMA mitigation grants.
    Affected Public: State, local or Tribal Government; Individuals or 
Households.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,773.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 11,528.
    Estimated Cost: The estimated annual cost to respondents for the 
hour burden is $520,710.
    Estimated Respondents' Operation and Maintenance Costs: There are 
no annual costs to respondents' operations and maintenance costs for 
technical services.
    Estimated Respondents' Capital and Start-Up Costs: There is no 
annual start-up or capital costs.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost to the Federal Government: The cost to 
the Federal Government is $687,687.
    Comments: Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES 
caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the 
proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the 
agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; 
(b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the 
proposed collection of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and 
clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden 
of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including 
through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or 
other technological collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology,

[[Page 39359]]

e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Maile Arthur,
Acting Records Management Branch Chief, Office of the Chief 
Administrative Officer, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management 
Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. 2019-17102 Filed 8-8-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 9111-47-P