US Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) of the
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    JUN. 1, 2001
US Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) of the House’s Livable Communities Taskforce and Wayne Gilchrist (R-MD) recently reintroduced legislation that would provide $50 million to states, regional programs, and tribal governments to assist in revising out-of-date planning laws. H.R. 1433, the Community Character Act (CCA) would not force states to pursue smart growth strategies, but would provide grants to those that do so. Funds could be used to obtain technical assistance, conduct workshops, or coordinate state and regional plans with federal land-use plans. Grant guidelines require citizen representation and involvement; multi-jurisdictional cooperation; professional standards; and comprehensive planning that coordinates transportation, housing, and education with infrastructure investments and conserves historic, scenic, and natural resources. The bill is currently in committee. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) of the Senate’s Smart Growth Task Force is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate shortly. Meanwhile, Senators Chafee, Harry Reid (D-NV), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), of the Senate’s Smart Growth Task Force, joined by Robert Smith (R-NH), reintroduced S. 350, the Brownfield Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act. The bill has been referred to committee. Both the Senate’s Smart Growth Task Force and the House’s Livable Communities Taskforce were formed in 1999 to explore and promote the role of the federal government in growth management issues, through education and coordination of sustainable growth efforts.