Saturday, July 17, 2010

Metro Watch: HEADS UP--Metro Technical Advisory Committee Materials Show Major Planned Changes in Local Compliance Procedures.

MTAC's Wednesday July 21st meeting materials (HERE) include a discussion and draft of proposed changes in Title 8 (Compliance procedures) of the Regional Functional Plan. 

Metro's summary says these are the major changes:
1. Eliminate the process for MPAC review of non-compliance. This process was intended to seek MPAC’s advice on issues of non-compliance that are widespread, rather than single instances of non-compliance. The process has not been used. Should issues of general non-compliance arise the Council can seek MPAC’s advice at any time, without a Title 8 process.
2. Authorize the COO to grant extensions of time for compliance and exceptions from compliance, with appeal to the Metro Council. Currently, local requests go directly to the Council for hearing. The criteria for an extension or an exception would be unchanged.The COO would issue an order that could be appealed to the Council.
3. Eliminate the annual hearing before the Council to consider the annual compliance report from the COO. The COO would simply file the report. Anyone who disagreed with a determination in the report could seek Council review of it.
4. Conform the enforcement remedies to 2009 legislation that clarifies enforcement actions the Council can take in the face of non-compliance by a city or county.
HOWEVER, I think the BIG news is that the proposal would grant the Chief Operating Officer (not the Metro Council) the authority to grant locally requested EXCEPTIONS to ANY functional plan requirement (including the Affordable Housing/Housing Choice Functional Plan requirements of Title 7), without ANY Metro Council action or input.  The draft language that leads me to this conclusion starts near the bottom of PDF page 12 of the MTAC July 21st meeting materials:

3.07.840 Exception from Compliance
B. Except as provided in subsection C, the COO may grant an
exception if :
1. it is not possible to achieve the requirement due to topographic or other physical constraints or an existing development pattern;
2. this exception and likely similar exceptions will not render the objective of the requirement unachievable region-wide;
3. the exception will not reduce the ability of another city or county to comply with the requirement; and
4. the city or county has adopted other measures more appropriate for the city or county to achieve
The COO may grant an exception to the housing capacity requirements in sections 3.07.120, or 3.07.130 if:
a. the city or county has completed the analysis of capacity for dwelling units required by section 3.07.120;
b. it is not possible to comply with the requirements due to topographic or other physical constraints, an existing development pattern, or protection of natural resources pursuant to Titles 3 or 13 of this chapter; and
c. this exception and other similar exceptions will not render the targets unachievable region-wide.
D. The COO may establish terms and conditions for the exception in order to ensure that it does not undermine the ability of the region to achieve the purposes of the requirement. A term or condition must relate to the requirement of the functional plan to which the COO grants the exception. The COO shall incorporate the terms and conditions into the order on the exception.
Bottom Line: Metro is proposing the Chief Operating Officer be given the ability to waive ANY Functional Plan requirement if requested by local government.

For affordable housing this could mean that LOCAL goals and reporting could be wiped out, so long as the COO found that this did not render REGIONAL targets unachievable. Affordable housing functional plan exceptions granted by the COO could render moot the STILL currently required voluntary LOCAL affordable housing targets and LOCAL reports on affordable housing supply as well as render meaningless the key regional outcome that "The benefits and burdens of growth and change are distributed equitably".

Transparency Also Would Take a Hit
It is NOT clear to me how the public is supposed to be noticed about the receipt or action taken by the COO on such local requests for Functional Plan exceptions; it IS clear that ONLY those who object to an exception action taken by the COO are entitled to a subsequent appeal hearing before the Metro Council.

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment