Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - Tavares, FL (Lake County)
The Lake County Board's agenda for today's Tuesday, August 4th 9am meeting includes a "consent" agenda (meaning it will not be discussed in the meeting and is approved automatically) item Tab 3 for the annual plan for CDBG Federal grants received by the County. The value of the federal HUD grant is $1.1-million.
Buried in the new CDBG grant "plan" is a "certifications" section that requires the County comply with a new Obama regulation from HUD called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).
The Lake County Board should PULL this agenda item tab 3 and schedule it for a separate workshop and public hearing to understand the negative implications on housing and property values.
AFFH was just passed as a HUD rule in June and requires:
- Jurisdictions (the county) conduct surveys to identify disparities in economic and other factor percentages by COMMUNITY.
- Develop a plan to correct ethnic/economic disparities by over-riding local zoning laws and mandating, for example, low income housing within wealthy and/or white neighborhoods.
- A pilot AFFH plan was conducted in Westchester County, NY and caused a rebellion of existing homeowners. Many lawsuits have been filed.
I have been following this AFFH HUD rule for three years, so have numerous article links on it. Quite a few (listed in attachment below) were published in June, 2015 when the final AFFH rule was passed. Property values will plummet in wealthier neighborhoods if this AFFH rule is enforced in Lake County.
The Board should refuse acceptance of the CDBG funds until they understand the effect on local neighborhoods and property values. (Just imagine how it would affect the Villages and the new Lady Lake development).
Here are just two links to give you background on the damage that AFFH will
create. More are in the attachment below:
"At this point, municipalities across the country need to seriously consider refraining from applying for Community Development Block Grants and other grant programs sponsored by HUD. Take one dollar of HUD money and you will be forced to submit to its demands, which can reach far beyond housing."
Attached is a document I created with the text of the Tab 3 CDBG grant plan Certification that requires AFFH compliance as a condition for accepting the CDBG grant, plus it includes links to several stories on the rule. I have many more links if anyone wants them. More articles to follow.
Download CDBG Certifications AFFH para
This document includes links to various articles and even Fox News videos from June when the HUD AFFH rule was approved.
This AFFH compliance to get the CDBG grant is a BAD requirement and will create a rebellion among property owners once they find out about it.
- The Board should pull this item from the agenda and not approve it until they have a public hearing and workshops on the issue. This should be done even if there is some HUD deadline which seems to always be the reason to approve something "without reading it" and right away.
- The Board should ask why staff never (I assume) told them of the AFFH requirements and implications on property owners.
- The Board needs to devise a more transparent process for public hearings than a single newspaper ad.
PS: I didn't find out about this earlier because the BCC email containing the agenda was not sent until Friday afternoon. Additionally, the county had a stealth public hearing for the CDBG grant, but unless you saw the single advertisement, you did not know it was this morning (Monday) at 9am. It was all (to me) very secretive and designed to avoid transparency and controversy.
- Contact your local County Commissioner and ask why they would ever consider accepting a Federal grant with the AFFH requirement.
- Ask your Board member did they even read or understand the implications of the "Certification" to comply with AFFH.
- Demand that staff give a detailed public hearing with public input on the AFFH requirement before approving the CDBG grant.
Note: City officials in Lake County receiving this email should review how the same issue will affect them if they receive HUD or CDBG grants. This should be discussed at the League of Cities also, as well as Chambers of Commerce and realtor associations. If your staff did not warn you about the implications of the AFFH requirement, ask them why.