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Garvey Schubert Barer is proud to sponsor the 2016 Housing Land Advocates Conference: Seeking Prosperity: The Role of Housing in Local Economies held on Friday, November 4, 2016 at David Evans & Associates in Portland, Oregon.

HLA+logo+design+finalHousing Land Advocates (HLA) recently filed an appeal in the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) against the City of Happy Valley in opposition to a comprehensive plan amendment and zone change. The application requested a downzone from multi-family to a single-family residential zone and approval of a 31-lot subdivision. The substantive issue in the case is whether the City made adequate Goal 10 findings related to the availability of land for affordable housing with the City (no such findings were made by the Planning Commission). The City of Happy Valley filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming that HLA did not exhaust its local appeal remedies prior to filing the appeal. However, HLA had submitted a detailed letter explaining that no local appeal was required for a comprehensive plan amendment because state law requires the local governing body – in this case the City Council – to make a final decision. HLA declined the City’s offer to pay a $1000 appeal fee and $2500 deposit for the City’s attorney’s fees to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council. The City Council did not respond to HLA’s letter and the LUBA appeal followed.

Paris streetOver the last two years, I have been speaking locally and around the country about affordable housing. My focus has been on the exploration of affirmatively furthering fair housing and disparate impact, through analysis of case law development. One of the themes that has become clear is the need to look at housing as part of our infrastructure. The way to plan for equitable neighborhoods is to plan for affordable housing in neighborhoods with access to good schools, grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables, quality public transit, and job opportunities.

housing land advocatesAs the current President of Housing Land Advocates, I am pleased to announce HLA’s 2015 Conference – “At the Intersection of Housing and Health.”  Garvey Schubert Barer is a proud sponsor of the event and its contribution last year resulted in scholarships for more than 20 law and planning students interested in advocating for smart land use planning to build equitable neighborhoods.

Steven Fischbach, Community Lawyer at Rhode Island Legal Services will be the keynote speaker.

Panelists and speakers include:

Rachel Banks, Program Director, Chronic Health Prevention Program, Multnomah County Health Department

Dr. Vivek Shandas, Portland State University, Toulan School or Urban Studies and Planning, Institute for Sustainable Solutions

Justin Buri, Executive Director, Community Alliance of Tenants

Dr. Lisa Bates, Portland State University, Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning

Jim Long, Affordable Housing Manager, City of Bend, OR

Erin Skaar, Executive Director, Community Action Resource Enterprises (CARE), Inc., Tillamook County, OR

Jes Larson, Director, Welcome Home Coalition

Please find the registration details here.

We hope you can join us this year for a stimulating conversation about housing and public health.

 

HousingAs President of Housing Land Advocates (HLA), I am pleased to announce that HLA and the American Planning Association have filed a joint amicus brief in the latest case to challenge the Fair Housing Act’s (FHA) disparate impact standard.  The Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs case questions whether state administrators of federal low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) programs must consider the location of the housing and whether the location has a disparate impact on protected classes.  Ed Sullivan, HLA Board Member and APA Amicus Committee member submitted the brief on behalf of the amici.

Here is an excerpt of the summary of the argument:

From the perspective of professional planners engaged in development efforts across the United States, the benefits of continued recognition of a disparate impact-standard under the FHA substantially outweigh the minimal costs that the standard imposes.  Decades of operation under a legal framework that has uniformly recognized disparate-impact claims has taught the institutions and professionals engaged in development to work within the standard’s requirements.  Those requirements have proven to be fully consistent with efficient project planning and execution efforts.  Reversing course at this point would be disruptive to established practices and, ultimately, would thwart just and effective planning efforts.

The benefits that flow from compliance with the FHA’s disparate-impact standard have been substantial.  The legitimacy of public institutions depends, in significant part, on transparent decision making.  In the context of urban and rural development efforts, it is inevitable that certain projects will affect some groups of persons more than others.  Responsible planners consider the unintended consequences of development projects, explain to the public why a project is necessary and beneficial notwithstanding its disadvantages, and engage in dialogue with affected community members to minimize a project’s drawbacks.  Institutions that properly explain the reasoning behind their decisions enjoy greater public support for and participation in their long-term objectives.

The FHA’s disparate-impact framework furthers transparency and legitimacy by committing planning professionals and public institutions to a dialogue with those affected by their actions.  Under the most pervasive articulation of the standard, housing plans must serve legitimate, nondiscriminatory interests through the least discriminatory means available.  This includes development efforts that are part of the federal low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program.  Over the course of decades, that norm has become an accepted component of the planning process.  Today, responsible developers share their objectives with potentially disadvantaged persons and groups and together develop plans to minimize projects’ adverse effects.  This kind of transparency makes affected groups more apt to lend their support to projects, view such projects as fair, and regard planners and public institutions as legitimate actors in the public space.

The costs, meanwhile, of the disparate-impact framework have proven to be minimal.  Over the course of four decades, complying with the existing legal regime has not thwarted economically beneficial development efforts, including those made as part of the LIHTC program.  That is because, properly understood, the possibility of a disparate impact does not make a development project unlawful—it simply requires that institutions provide and articulate nondiscriminatory justifications for projects that adversely affect protected groups.

In sum, the FHA’s disparate-impact standard has promoted just and efficient planning and development efforts for decades.  Overturning that standard now would decrease the legitimacy of public institutions and the planning profession, disrupt practices that have advanced under the standard, and ultimately disadvantage the public interests that development projects are designed to serve.

You can read the entirety of the brief here.

Jennifer Baragar, Garvey Schubert Barer

Garvey Schubert Barer is pleased to sponsor Housing Land Advocates’ Conference - Equity in Form and Function: Recent Trends in Housing Policy on November 7, 2014. Ed Sullivan and Jennifer Bragar will be featured speakers, and will be joined by other experts from across the nation. Join us for a 10th Anniversary Celebration of Housing Land Advocates’ work!

November 7, 2014, Ed Sullivan and Jennifer Bragar, will present during the Housing Land Advocates Conference on at David Evans and Associates, 2100 Southwest River Parkway, Portland, OR 97201.

See below for more details and links to conference registration, or learn more at www.housinglandadvocates.org.

Housing Land Advocates

Equity in Form and Function: Recent Trends in Housing Policy

Cosponsored by: Housing Land Advocates, Garvey Schubert Barer, and David Evans and Associates

Housing features prominently in the public discourse of 2014. The tiny house movement is gaining popularity with DIY builders, private developers are racing to complete micro-apartments, and democratically run self-help homeless communities are are seeking recognition along the West Coast. This year's Housing Land Advocates (HLA) conference continues these conversations but with a focus on the geography of equity. It asks how emerging housing forms can be used to further affordable and fair housing. It emphasizes the function of housing as a means of accessing opportunity. To this end, the conference offers an analysis of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's new regulations around affirmatively furthering fair housing and updates participants on the legal landscape of inclusionary zoning that is being tested by California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose. HLA is bringing together national, regional and local experts to explore these concepts and issues and to consider ways to support a community vision that does not leave anyone behind.

Keynote Speaker: Marc Brenman

Teacher, author and policy expert on issues of diversity, equal opportunity employment and social justice, Mr. Brenman previously worked as the Executive Director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Division Director for the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

Conference Schedule

9:00am Welcome from HLA President Jennifer Bragar

9:15am Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Proposed Regulations and Actions to Consider

9:45am Inclusionary Zoning: Legal Developments

10:30am Morning Panel - Housing Affordability & Neighborhood Change

12:00pm Lunch and Keynote Speaker: Marc Brenman - Title VI Transportation Planning and Fair Housing

1:00pm Organized Networking Opportunities

1:30pm Gentrification: A Talk about N/NE Portland

2:00pm Afternoon Panel - There Goes the Neighborhood: Emerging Housing Alternatives

3:30pm Afternoon Panel - Inclusionary Zoning: Threats and Opportunities

AICP and Oregon State Bar CLE credit pending

Conference Location:

David Evans and Associates

2100 Southwest River Parkway, Portland, Oregon 97201

Who We Are:

Housing Land Advocates was formed in 2004. We are a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, and pursue our work as an entirely volunteer-run and -operated organization. We advocate for land use policies and practices that ensure an adequate and appropriate supply of affordable housing for all Oregonians.

Online Registration

Paper Registration Form & Instructions available on Housing Land Advocates website

Visit the website: http://housinglandadvocates.org/ for updates on conference speakers and registration information.  Contact HLA at info@housinglandadvocates.org for conference sponsorship opportunities.

 

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We regularly update clients about changes in real estate law and on industry trends. This includes briefing clients on legislative proposals in the federal tax, housing and other legal areas affecting their businesses. Staying current enables you to anticipate and prevent legal problems as well as capitalize on new developments.
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