Mayor Chris Beutler has announced that the City of Lincoln is among 32 communities in 26 states that will receive federal assistance under the Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program. Lincoln requested assistance with reviewing its zoning code to help determine any barriers or gaps facing the development community.
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a workshop in Lincoln in the next few months to educate the community on smart growth and to solicit input from the development community," Mayor Beutler said. "This will help us develop meaningful and consistent revision of development codes and to gain buy-in with codes inspection. The workshop also will help refine and expand the new sections being added to our Comprehensive Plan."
The EPA received 354 letters of interest requesting assistance through the Building Blocks program. The agency, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), selected the 32 communities through a competitive process. Each community chose a specific development challenge to be the focus of the assistance. During the EPA workshop, private-sector experts and participants will explore the selected issue as well as general strategies for environmentally responsible, economically healthy development.
"This award will help us provide public information and solicit public feedback on building code issues that may limit sustainable development patterns and growth," said Fred Hoke, Manager of the City Development Services Center (DSC). "It's more productive to establish code revision priorities with public input. That guidance will help us design and implement our plans."
The Building Blocks program is part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort among EPA, HUD and DOT to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation and environmental protection. The primary goal of the interagency collaboration is to invest federal funding more efficiently in infrastructure, facilities and services that meet multiple economic, environmental and community objectives.
"The public-private partnerships in the Building Blocks program give communities new and proven tools to maximize the health and economic benefits of brownfields revitalization," said EPA Administrator Lisa P.Jackson. "This is another great example of how a targeted investment in protecting public health can create jobs and strengthen the economic future of our communities."
More information on the Building Blocks program can be found at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm
More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities can be found at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html