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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of July 24, 2014

Title 24: Housing and Urban Development


PART 55—FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION OF WETLANDS


Contents

Subpart A—General

§55.1   Purpose and basic responsibility.
§55.2   Terminology.
§55.3   Assignment of responsibilities.

Subpart B—Application of Executive Orders on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands

§55.10   Environmental review procedures under 24 CFR parts 50 and 58.
§55.11   Applicability of Subpart C decisionmaking process.
§55.12   Inapplicability of 24 CFR part 55 to certain categories of proposed actions.

Subpart C—Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands

§55.20   Decision making process.
§55.21   Notification of floodplain hazard.
§55.22   Conveyance restrictions for the disposition of multifamily real property.
§55.23   [Reserved]
§55.24   Aggregation.
§55.25   Areawide compliance.
§55.26   Adoption of another agency's review under the executive orders.
§55.27   Documentation.
§55.28   Use of individual permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act for HUD Executive Order 11990 processing where all wetlands are covered by the permit.

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 3535(d), 4001-4128 and 5154a; E.O. 11988, 42 FR 26951, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 117; E.O. 11990, 42 FR 26961, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p 121.

Source: 59 FR 19107, Apr. 21, 1994, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General

§55.1   Purpose and basic responsibility.

(a)(1) The purpose of Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, is “to avoid to the extent possible the long and short-term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative.”

(2) The purpose of Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands, is “to avoid to the extent possible the long- and short-term adverse impacts associated with the destruction or modification of wetlands and to avoid direct or indirect support of new construction in wetlands wherever there is a practicable alternative.”

(3) This part implements the requirements of Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, and Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands, and employs the principles of the Unified National Program for Floodplain Management. These regulations apply to all HUD (or responsible entity) actions that are subject to potential harm by location in floodplains or wetlands. Covered actions include the proposed acquisition, construction, demolition, improvement, disposition, financing, and use of properties located in floodplains or wetlands for which approval is required either from HUD, under any applicable HUD program, or from a responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58.

(4) This part does not prohibit approval of such actions (except for certain actions in Coastal High Hazard Areas), but provides a consistent means for implementing the Department's interpretation of the Executive Orders in the project approval decisionmaking processes of HUD and of responsible entities subject to 24 CFR part 58. The implementation of Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 under this part shall be conducted by HUD for Department-administered programs subject to environmental review under 24 CFR part 50 and by authorized responsible entities that are responsible for environmental review under 24 CFR part 58.

(5) Nonstructural alternatives to floodplain development and the destruction of wetlands are both favored and encouraged to reduce the loss of life and property caused by floods, and to restore the natural resources and functions of floodplains and wetlands. Nonstructural alternatives should be discussed in the decisionmaking process where practicable.

(b)(1) Under section 202(a) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4106(a), proposed HUD financial assistance (including mortgage insurance) for acquisition or construction purposes in any “area having special flood hazards” (a flood zone designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)) shall not be approved in communities identified by FEMA as eligible for flood insurance but which are not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. This prohibition only applies to proposed HUD financial assistance in a FEMA-designated area of special flood hazard one year after the community has been formally notified by FEMA of the designation of the affected area. This prohibition is not applicable to HUD financial assistance in the form of formula grants to states, including financial assistance under the State-administered CDBG Program (24 CFR part 570, subpart I) and the State-administered Rental Rehabilitation Program (24 CFR 511.51), Emergency Shelter Grant amounts allocated to States (24 CFR parts 575 and 576), and HOME funds provided to a state under Title II of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 12701-12839).

(2) Under section 582 of the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 5154a), HUD disaster assistance that is made available in a special flood hazard area may not be used to make a payment (including any loan assistance payment) to a person for repair, replacement, or restoration of damage to any personal, residential, or commercial property if:

(i) The person had previously received Federal flood disaster assistance conditioned on obtaining and maintaining flood insurance; and

(ii) The person failed to obtain and maintain the flood insurance.

(c) Except with respect to actions listed in §55.12(c), no HUD financial assistance (including mortgage insurance) may be approved after May 23, 1994 with respect to:

(1) Any action other than a functionally dependent use or floodplain function restoration activity, located in a floodway;

(2) Any critical action located in a coastal high hazard area; or

(3) Any noncritical action located in a Coastal High Hazard Area, unless the action is a functionally dependent use, existing construction (including improvements), or reconstruction following destruction caused by a disaster. If the action is not a functionally dependent use, the action must be designed for location in a Coastal High Hazard Area. An action will be considered designed for a Coastal High Hazard Area if:

(i) In the case of reconstruction following destruction caused by a disaster or substantial improvement, the work meets the current standards for V zones in FEMA regulations (44 CFR 60.3(e)) and, if applicable, the Minimum Property Standards for such construction in 24 CFR 200.926d(c)(4)(iii); or

(ii) In the case of existing construction (including any minor improvements):

(A) The work met FEMA elevation and construction standards for a coastal high hazard area (or if such a zone or such standards were not designated, the 100-year floodplain) applicable at the time the original improvements were constructed; or

(B) If the original improvements were constructed before FEMA standards for the 100-year floodplain became effective or before FEMA designated the location of the action as within the 100-year floodplain, the work would meet at least the earliest FEMA standards for construction in the 100-year floodplain.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 68728, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.2   Terminology.

(a) With the exception of those terms defined in paragraph (b) of this section, the terms used in this part shall follow the definitions contained in section 6 of Executive Order 11988, section 7 of Executive Order 11990, and the Floodplain Management Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order 11988 (43 FR 6030, February 10, 1978), issued by the Water Resources Council; the terms “special flood hazard area,” “criteria,” and “Regular Program” shall follow the definitions contained in FEMA regulations at 44 CFR 59.1; and the terms “Letter of Map Revision” and “Letter of Map Amendment” shall refer to letters issued by FEMA, as provided in 44 CFR part 65 and 44 CFR part 70, respectively.

(b) For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:

(1) Coastal high hazard area means the area subject to high velocity waters, including but not limited to hurricane wave wash or tsunamis. The area is designated on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Insurance Study (FIS) under FEMA regulations. FIRMs and FISs are also relied upon for the designation of “100-year floodplains” (§55.2(b)(9)), “500-year floodplains” (§55.2(b)(4)), and “floodways” (§55.2(b)(5)). When FEMA provides interim flood hazard data, such as Advisory Base Flood Elevations (ABFE) or preliminary maps and studies, HUD or the responsible entity shall use the latest of these sources. If FEMA information is unavailable or insufficiently detailed, other Federal, state, or local data may be used as “best available information” in accordance with Executive Order 11988. However, a base flood elevation from an interim or preliminary or non-FEMA source cannot be used if it is lower than the current FIRM and FIS.

(2) Compensatory mitigation means the restoration (reestablishment or rehabilitation), establishment (creation), enhancement, and/or, in certain circumstances, preservation of aquatic resources for the purposes of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts that remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization have been achieved.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

(i) Permittee-responsible mitigation: On-site or off-site mitigation undertaken by the holder of a wetlands permit under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (or an authorized agent or contractor), for which the permittee retains full responsibility;

(ii) Mitigation banking: A permittee's purchase of credits from a wetlands mitigation bank, comprising wetlands that have been set aside to compensate for conversions of other wetlands; the mitigation obligation is transferred to the sponsor of the mitigation bank; and

(iii) In-lieu fee mitigation: A permittee's provision of funds to an in-lieu fee sponsor (public agency or nonprofit organization) that builds and maintains a mitigation site, often after the permitted adverse wetland impacts have occurred; the mitigation obligation is transferred to the in-lieu fee sponsor.

(3)(i) Critical action means any activity for which even a slight chance of flooding would be too great, because such flooding might result in loss of life, injury to persons, or damage to property. Critical actions include activities that create, maintain or extend the useful life of those structures or facilities that:

(A) Produce, use or store highly volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic or water-reactive materials;

(B) Provide essential and irreplaceable records or utility or emergency services that may become lost or inoperative during flood and storm events (e.g., data storage centers, generating plants, principal utility lines, emergency operations centers including fire and police stations, and roadways providing sole egress from flood-prone areas); or

(C) Are likely to contain occupants who may not be sufficiently mobile to avoid loss of life or injury during flood or storm events, e.g., persons who reside in hospitals, nursing homes, convalescent homes, intermediate care facilities, board and care facilities, and retirement service centers. Housing for independent living for the elderly is not considered a critical action.

(ii) Critical actions shall not be approved in floodways or coastal high hazard areas.

(4) 500-year floodplain means the minimum floodplain of concern for Critical Actions and is the area subject to inundation from a flood having a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in any given year. (See §55.2(b)(1) for appropriate data sources.)

(5) Floodway means that portion of the floodplain which is effective in carrying flow, where the flood hazard is generally the greatest, and where water depths and velocities are the highest. The term “floodway” as used here is consistent with “regulatory floodways” as identified by FEMA. (See §55.2(b)(1) for appropriate data sources.)

(6) Functionally dependent use means a land use that must necessarily be conducted in close proximity to water (e.g., a dam, marina, port facility, water-front park, and many types of bridges).

(7) High hazard area means a floodway or a coastal high hazard area.

(8) New construction includes draining, dredging, channelizing, filling, diking, impounding, and related activities and any structures or facilities begun after the effective date of Executive Order 11990. (See section 7(b) of Executive Order 11990.)

(9) 100-year floodplain means the floodplain of concern for this part and is the area subject to inundation from a flood having a one percent or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. (See §55.2(b)(1) for appropriate data sources.)

(10)(i) Substantial improvement means either:

(A) Any repair, reconstruction, modernization or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure either:

(1) Before the improvement or repair is started; or

(2) If the structure has been damaged, and is being restored, before the damage occurred; or

(B) Any repair, reconstruction, modernization or improvement of a structure that results in an increase of more than twenty percent in the number of dwelling units in a residential project or in the average peak number of customers and employees likely to be on-site at any one time for a commercial or industrial project.

(ii) Substantial improvement may not be defined to include either:

(A) Any project for improvement of a structure to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications that is solely necessary to assure safe living conditions, or

(B) Any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historical Places or on a State Inventory of Historic Places.

(iii) Structural repairs, reconstruction, or improvements not meeting this definition are considered “minor improvements”.

(11) Wetlands means those areas that are inundated by surface or ground water with a frequency sufficient to support, and under normal circumstances does or would support, a prevalence of vegetative or aquatic life that requires saturated or seasonally saturated soil conditions for growth and reproduction. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas such as sloughs, potholes, wet meadows, river overflows, mud flats, and natural ponds. This definition includes those wetland areas separated from their natural supply of water as a result of activities such as the construction of structural flood protection methods or solid-fill road beds and activities such as mineral extraction and navigation improvements. This definition includes both wetlands subject to and those not subject to section 404 of the Clean Water Act as well as constructed wetlands. The following process shall be followed in making the wetlands determination:

(i) HUD or, for programs subject to 24 CFR part 58, the responsible entity, shall make a determination whether the action is new construction that is located in a wetland. These actions are subject to processing under the §55.20 decisionmaking process for the protection of wetlands.

(ii) As primary screening, HUD or the responsible entity shall verify whether the project area is located in proximity to wetlands identified on the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI). If so, HUD or the responsible entity should make a reasonable attempt to consult with the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), for information concerning the location, boundaries, scale, and classification of wetlands within the area. If an NWI map indicates the presence of wetlands, FWS staff, if available, must find that no wetland is present in order for the action to proceed without further processing. Where FWS staff is unavailable to resolve any NWI map ambiguity or controversy, an appropriate wetlands professional must find that no wetland is present in order for the action to proceed without §55.20 processing.

(iii) As secondary screening used in conjunction with NWI maps, HUD or the responsible entity is encouraged to use the Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Soil Survey (NSS) and any state and local information concerning the location, boundaries, scale, and classification of wetlands within the action area.

(iv) Any challenges from the public or other interested parties to the wetlands determinations made under this part must be made in writing to HUD (or the responsible entity authorized under 24 CFR part 58) during the commenting period and must be substantiated with verifiable scientific information. Commenters may request a reasonable extension of the time for the commenting period for the purpose of substantiating any objections with verifiable scientific information. HUD or the responsible entity shall consult FWS staff, if available, on the validity of the challenger's scientific information prior to making a final wetlands determination.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 68729, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.3   Assignment of responsibilities.

(a)(1) The Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development (CPD) shall oversee:

(i) The Department's implementation of Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 and this part in all HUD programs; and

(ii) The implementation activities of HUD program managers and, for HUD financial assistance subject to 24 CFR part 58, of grant recipients and responsible entities.

(2) In performing these responsibilities, the Assistant Secretary for CPD shall make pertinent policy determinations in cooperation with appropriate program offices and provide necessary assistance, training, publications, and procedural guidance.

(b) Other HUD Assistant Secretaries, the General Counsel, and the President of the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) shall:

(1) Ensure compliance with this part for all actions under their jurisdiction that are proposed to be conducted, supported, or permitted in a floodplain or wetland;

(2) Ensure that actions approved by HUD or responsible entities are monitored and that any prescribed mitigation is implemented;

(3) Ensure that the offices under their jurisdiction have the technical resources to implement the requirements of this part; and

(4) Incorporate in departmental regulations, handbooks, and project and site standards those criteria, standards, and procedures necessary to comply with the requirements of this part.

(c) Responsible Entity Certifying Officer. Certifying Officers of responsible entities administering or reviewing activities subject to 24 CFR part 58 shall comply with this part in carrying out HUD-assisted programs. Certifying Officers of responsible entities subject to 24 CFR part 58 shall monitor approved actions and ensure that any prescribed mitigation is implemented.

(d) Recipient. Recipients subject to 24 CFR part 58 shall monitor approved actions and ensure that any prescribed mitigation is implemented. Recipients shall:

(1) Supply HUD (or the responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58) with all available, relevant information necessary for HUD (or the responsible entity) to perform the compliance required by this part; and

(2) Implement mitigating measures required by HUD (or the responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58) under this part or select alternate eligible property.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at78 FR 68730, Nov. 15, 2013]

Subpart B—Application of Executive Orders on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands

§55.10   Environmental review procedures under 24 CFR parts 50 and 58.

(a) Where an environmental review is required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and 24 CFR part 50 or part 58, compliance with this part shall be completed before the completion of an environmental assessment (EA), including a finding of no significant impact (FONSI), or an environmental impact statement (EIS), in accordance with the decision points listed in 24 CFR 50.17(a) through (h), or before the preparation of an EA under 24 CFR 58.40 or an EIS under 24 CFR 58.37. For types of proposed actions that are categorically excluded from NEPA requirements under 24 CFR part 50 (or part 58), compliance with this part shall be completed before the Department's initial approval (or approval by a responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58) of proposed actions in a floodplain or wetland.

(b) The categorical exclusion of certain proposed actions from environmental review requirements under NEPA and 24 CFR parts 50 and 58 (see 24 CFR 50.20 and 58.35(a)) does not exclude those actions from compliance with this part.

[78 FR 68730, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.11   Applicability of Subpart C decisionmaking process.

(a) Before reaching the decision points described in §55.10(a), HUD (for Department-administered programs) or the responsible entity (for HUD financial assistance subject to 24 CFR part 58) shall determine whether Executive Order 11988, Executive Order 11990, and this part apply to the proposed action.

(b) If Executive Order 11988 or Executive Order 11990 and this part apply, the approval of a proposed action or initial commitment shall be made in accordance with this part. The primary purpose of Executive Order 11988 is “to avoid to the extent possible the long and short term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practicable alternative.” The primary purpose of Executive Order 11990 is “to avoid to the extent possible the long and short-term adverse impacts associated with the destruction or modification of wetlands and to avoid direct or indirect support of new construction in wetlands wherever there is a practicable alternative.”

(c) The following table indicates the applicability, by location and type of action, of the decisionmaking process for implementing Executive Order 11988 and Executive Order 11990 under subpart C of this part.

TABLE 1

Type of proposed action (new reviewable action or an amendment)1Type of proposed action
FloodwaysCoastal high hazard areasWetlands or 100-year floodplain outside coastal high hazard area and floodwaysNonwetlands area outside of the 100-year and within the 500-year floodplain
Critical Actions as defined in §55.12(b)(2)Critical actions not allowed.Critical actions not allowed.Allowed if the proposed critical action is processed under §55.20.2Allowed if the proposed critical action is processed under §55.20.2
Noncritical actions not excluded under §55.12(b) or (c)Allowed only if the proposed non-critical action is a functionally dependent use and processed under §55.20.2Allowed only if the proposed noncritical action is processed under §55.202 and is (1) a functionally dependent use, (2) existing construction (including improvements), or (3) reconstruction following destruction caused by a disaster. If the action is not a functionally dependent use, the action must be designed for location in a Coastal High Hazard Area under §55.1(c)(3)Allowed if proposed noncritical action is processed under §55.20.2Any noncritical action is allowed without processing under this part.

1Under Executive Order 11990, the decisionmaking process in §55.20 only applies to Federal assistance for new construction in wetlands locations.

2Or those paragraphs of §55.20 that are applicable to an action listed in §55.12(a).

[78 FR 68730, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.12   Inapplicability of 24 CFR part 55 to certain categories of proposed actions.

(a) The decisionmaking steps in §55.20(b), (c), and (g) (steps 2, 3, and 7) do not apply to the following categories of proposed actions:

(1) HUD's or the recipient's actions involving the disposition of acquired multifamily housing projects or “bulk sales” of HUD-acquired (or under part 58 of recipients') one- to four-family properties in communities that are in the Regular Program of National Flood Insurance Program and in good standing (i.e., not suspended from program eligibility or placed on probation under 44 CFR 59.24). For programs subject to part 58, this paragraph applies only to recipients' disposition activities that are subject to review under part 58.

(2) HUD's actions under the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1701) for the purchase or refinancing of existing multifamily housing projects, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care facilities, and intermediate care facilities, in communities that are in good standing under the NFIP.

(3) HUD's or the recipient's actions under any HUD program involving the repair, rehabilitation, modernization, weatherization, or improvement of existing multifamily housing projects, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care facilities, intermediate care facilities, and one- to four-family properties, in communities that are in the Regular Program of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and are in good standing, provided that the number of units is not increased more than 20 percent, the action does not involve a conversion from nonresidential to residential land use, the action does not meet the thresholds for “substantial improvement” under §55.2(b)(10), and the footprint of the structure and paved areas is not significantly increased.

(4) HUD's or the recipient's actions under any HUD program involving the repair, rehabilitation, modernization, weatherization, or improvement of existing nonresidential buildings and structures, in communities that are in the Regular Program of the NFIP and are in good standing, provided that the action does not meet the thresholds for “substantial improvement” under §55.2(b)(10) and that the footprint of the structure and paved areas is not significantly increased.

(b) The decisionmaking process in §55.20 shall not apply to the following categories of proposed actions:

(1) HUD's mortgage insurance actions and other financial assistance for the purchasing, mortgaging or refinancing of existing one- to four-family properties in communities that are in the Regular Program of the NFIP and in good standing (i.e., not suspended from program eligibility or placed on probation under 44 CFR 59.24), where the action is not a critical action and the property is not located in a floodway or Coastal High Hazard Area;

(2) Financial assistance for minor repairs or improvements on one- to four-family properties that do not meet the thresholds for “substantial improvement” under §55.2(b)(10);

(3) HUD or a recipient's actions involving the disposition of individual HUD-acquired, one- to four-family properties;

(4) HUD guarantees under the Loan Guarantee Recovery Fund Program (24 CFR part 573) of loans that refinance existing loans and mortgages, where any new construction or rehabilitation financed by the existing loan or mortgage has been completed prior to the filing of an application under the program, and the refinancing will not allow further construction or rehabilitation, nor result in any physical impacts or changes except for routine maintenance; and

(5) The approval of financial assistance to lease an existing structure located within the floodplain, but only if;

(i) The structure is located outside the floodway or Coastal High Hazard Area, and is in a community that is in the Regular Program of the NFIP and in good standing (i.e., not suspended from program eligibility or placed on probation under 44 CFR 59.24);

(ii) The project is not a critical action; and

(iii) The entire structure is or will be fully insured or insured to the maximum under the NFIP for at least the term of the lease.

(c) This part shall not apply to the following categories of proposed HUD actions:

(1) HUD-assisted activities described in 24 CFR 58.34 and 58.35(b);

(2) HUD-assisted activities described in 24 CFR 50.19, except as otherwise indicated in §50.19;

(3) The approval of financial assistance for restoring and preserving the natural and beneficial functions and values of floodplains and wetlands, including through acquisition of such floodplain and wetland property, but only if:

(i) The property is cleared of all existing structures and related improvements;

(ii) The property is dedicated for permanent use for flood control, wetland protection, park land, or open space; and

(iii) A permanent covenant or comparable restriction is placed on the property's continued use to preserve the floodplain or wetland from future development.

(4) An action involving a repossession, receivership, foreclosure, or similar acquisition of property to protect or enforce HUD's financial interests under previously approved loans, grants, mortgage insurance, or other HUD assistance;

(5) Policy-level actions described at 24 CFR 50.16 that do not involve site-based decisions;

(6) A minor amendment to a previously approved action with no additional adverse impact on or from a floodplain or wetland;

(7) HUD's or the responsible entity's approval of a project site, an incidental portion of which is situated in an adjacent floodplain, including the floodway or Coastal High Hazard Area, or wetland, but only if:

(i) The proposed construction and landscaping activities (except for minor grubbing, clearing of debris, pruning, sodding, seeding, or other similar activities) do not occupy or modify the 100-year floodplain (or the 500-year floodplain for critical actions) or the wetland;

(ii) Appropriate provision is made for site drainage that would not have an adverse effect on the wetland; and

(iii) A permanent covenant or comparable restriction is placed on the property's continued use to preserve the floodplain or wetland;

(8) HUD's or the responsible entity's approval of financial assistance for a project on any nonwetland site in a floodplain for which FEMA has issued:

(i) A final Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), final Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), or final Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F) that removed the property from a FEMA-designated floodplain location; or

(ii) A conditional LOMA, conditional LOMR, or conditional LOMR-F if HUD or the responsible entity's approval is subject to the requirements and conditions of the conditional LOMA or conditional LOMR;

(9) Issuance or use of Housing Vouchers, Certificates under the Section 8 Existing Housing Program, or other forms of rental subsidy where HUD, the awarding community, or the public housing agency that administers the contract awards rental subsidies that are not project-based (i.e., do not involve site-specific subsidies);

(10) Special projects directed to the removal of material and architectural barriers that restrict the mobility of and accessibility to elderly and persons with disabilities;

(11) The approval of financial assistance for acquisition, leasing, construction, rehabilitation, repair, maintenance, or operation of ships and other waterborne vessels that will be used for transportation or cruises and will not be permanently moored.

[78 FR 68731, Nov. 15, 2013; 78 FR 74009, Dec. 10, 2013]

Subpart C—Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands

§55.20   Decision making process.

Except for actions covered by §55.12(a), the decisionmaking process for compliance with this part contains eight steps, including public notices and an examination of practicable alternatives when addressing floodplains and wetlands. The steps to be followed in the decisionmaking process are as follows:

(a) Step 1. Determine whether the proposed action is located in the 100-year floodplain (500-year floodplain for critical actions) or results in new construction in a wetland. If the action does not occur in a floodplain or result in new construction in a wetland, then no further compliance with this part is required. The following process shall be followed by HUD (or the responsible entity) in making wetland determinations.

(1) Refer to §55.28(a) where an applicant has submitted with its application to HUD (or to the recipient under programs subject to 24 CFR part 58) an individual Section 404 permit (including approval conditions and related environmental review).

(2) Refer to §55.2(b)(11) for making wetland determinations under this part.

(3) For proposed actions occurring in both a wetland and a floodplain, completion of the decisionmaking process under §55.20 is required regardless of the issuance of a Section 404 permit. In such a case, the wetland will be considered among the primary natural and beneficial functions and values of the floodplain.

(b) Step 2. Notify the public and agencies responsible for floodplain management or wetlands protection at the earliest possible time of a proposal to consider an action in a 100-year floodplain (or a 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) or wetland and involve the affected and interested public and agencies in the decisionmaking process.

(1) The public notices required by paragraphs (b) and (g) of this section may be combined with other project notices wherever appropriate. Notices required under this part must be bilingual if the affected public is largely non-English speaking. In addition, all notices must be published in an appropriate local printed news medium, and must be sent to federal, state, and local public agencies, organizations, and, where not otherwise covered, individuals known to be interested in the proposed action.

(2) A minimum of 15 calendar days shall be allowed for comment on the public notice.

(3) A notice under this paragraph shall state: The name, proposed location, and description of the activity; the total number of acres of floodplain or wetland involved; the related natural and beneficial functions and values of the floodplain or wetland that may be adversely affected by the proposed activity; the HUD approving official (or the Certifying Officer of the responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58); and the phone number to call for information. The notice shall indicate the hours of HUD or the responsible entity's office, and any Web site at which a full description of the proposed action may be reviewed.

(c) Step 3. Identify and evaluate practicable alternatives to locating the proposed action in a 100-year floodplain (or a 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) or wetland.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, HUD's or the responsible entity's consideration of practicable alternatives to the proposed site selected for a project should include:

(i) Locations outside and not affecting the 100-year floodplain (or the 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) or wetland;

(ii) Alternative methods to serve the identical project objective, including feasible technological alternatives; and

(iii) A determination not to approve any action proposing the occupancy or modification of a floodplain or wetland.

(2) Practicability of alternative sites should be addressed in light of the following:

(i) Natural values such as topography, habitat, and hazards;

(ii) Social values such as aesthetics, historic and cultural values, land use patterns, and environmental justice; and

(iii) Economic values such as the cost of space, construction, services, and relocation.

(3) For multifamily projects involving HUD mortgage insurance that are initiated by third parties, HUD's consideration of practicable alternatives should include a determination not to approve the request.

(d) Step 4. Identify and evaluate the potential direct and indirect impacts associated with the occupancy or modification of the 100-year floodplain (or the 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) or the wetland and the potential direct and indirect support of floodplain and wetland development that could result from the proposed action.

(1) Floodplain evaluation: The focus of the floodplain evaluation should be on adverse impacts to lives and property, and on natural and beneficial floodplain values. Natural and beneficial values include:

(i) Water resources such as natural moderation of floods, water quality maintenance, and groundwater recharge;

(ii) Living resources such as flora and fauna;

(iii) Cultural resources such as archaeological, historic, and recreational aspects; and

(iv) Agricultural, aquacultural, and forestry resources.

(2) Wetland evaluation: In accordance with Section 5 of Executive Order 11990, the decisionmaker shall consider factors relevant to a proposal's effect on the survival and quality of the wetland. Among these factors that should be evaluated are:

(i) Public health, safety, and welfare, including water supply, quality, recharge, and discharge; pollution; flood and storm hazards and hazard protection; and sediment and erosion;

(ii) Maintenance of natural systems, including conservation and long-term productivity of existing flora and fauna; species and habitat diversity and stability; natural hydrologic function; wetland type; fish; wildlife; timber; and food and fiber resources;

(iii) Cost increases attributed to wetland-required new construction and mitigation measures to minimize harm to wetlands that may result from such use; and

(iv) Other uses of wetlands in the public interest, including recreational, scientific, and cultural uses.

(e) Step 5. Where practicable, design or modify the proposed action to minimize the potential adverse impacts to and from the 100-year floodplain (or the 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) or the wetland and to restore and preserve its natural and beneficial functions and values.

(1) Minimization techniques for floodplain and wetland purposes include, but are not limited to: the use of permeable surfaces, natural landscape enhancements that maintain or restore natural hydrology through infiltration, native plant species, bioswales, evapotranspiration, stormwater capture and reuse, green or vegetative roofs with drainage provisions, and Natural Resource Conservation Service conservation easements. Floodproofing and elevating structures, including freeboard above the required base flood elevations, are also minimization techniques for floodplain purposes.

(2) Appropriate and practicable compensatory mitigation is recommended for unavoidable adverse impacts to more than one acre of wetland. Compensatory mitigation includes, but is not limited to: permitee-responsible mitigation, mitigation banking, in-lieu fee mitigation, the use of preservation easements or protective covenants, and any form of mitigation promoted by state or Federal agencies. The use of compensatory mitigation may not substitute for the requirement to avoid and minimize impacts to the maximum extent practicable.

(3) Actions covered by §55.12(a) must be rejected if the proposed minimization is financially or physically unworkable. All critical actions in the 500-year floodplain shall be designed and built at or above the 100-year floodplain (in the case of new construction) and modified to include:

(i) Preparation of and participation in an early warning system;

(ii) An emergency evacuation and relocation plan;

(iii) Identification of evacuation route(s) out of the 500-year floodplain; and

(iv) Identification marks of past or estimated flood levels on all structures.

(f) Step 6. Reevaluate the proposed action to determine:

(1) Whether the action is still practicable in light of exposure to flood hazards in the floodplain or wetland, possible adverse impacts on the floodplain or wetland, the extent to which it will aggravate the current hazards to other floodplains or wetlands, and the potential to disrupt the natural and beneficial functions and values of floodplains or wetlands; and

(2) Whether alternatives preliminarily rejected at Step 3 (paragraph (c)) of this section are practicable in light of information gained in Steps 4 and 5 (paragraphs (d) and (e)) of this section.

(i) The reevaluation of alternatives shall include the potential impacts avoided or caused inside and outside the floodplain or wetland area. The impacts should include the protection of human life, real property, and the natural and beneficial functions and values served by the floodplain or wetland.

(ii) A reevaluation of alternatives under this step should include a discussion of economic costs. For floodplains, the cost estimates should include savings or the costs of flood insurance, where applicable; flood proofing; replacement of services or functions of critical actions that might be lost; and elevation to at least the base flood elevation for sites located in floodplains, as appropriate on the applicable source under §55.2(b)(1). For wetlands, the cost estimates should include the cost of filling the wetlands and mitigation.

(g) Step 7. (1) If the reevaluation results in a determination that there is no practicable alternative to locating the proposal in the 100-year floodplain (or the 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) or the wetland, publish a final notice that includes:

(i) The reasons why the proposal must be located in the floodplain or wetland;

(ii) A list of the alternatives considered in accordance with paragraphs(c)(1) and (c)(2) of this section; and

(iii) All mitigation measures to be taken to minimize adverse impacts and to restore and preserve natural and beneficial functions and values.

(2) In addition, the public notice procedures of §55.20(b)(1) shall be followed, and a minimum of 7 calendar days for public comment before approval of the proposed action shall be provided.

(h) Step 8. Upon completion of the decisionmaking process in Steps 1 through 7, implement the proposed action. There is a continuing responsibility on HUD (or on the responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58) and the recipient (if other than the responsible entity) to ensure that the mitigating measures identified in Step 7 are implemented.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 68732, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.21   Notification of floodplain hazard.

For HUD programs under which a financial transaction for a property located in a floodplain (a 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action) is guaranteed, approved, regulated or insured, any private party participating in the transaction and any current or prospective tenant shall be informed by HUD (or by HUD's designee, e.g., a mortgagor) or a responsible entity subject to 24 CFR part 58 of the hazards of the floodplain location before the execution of documents completing the transaction.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 68734, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.22   Conveyance restrictions for the disposition of multifamily real property.

(a) In the disposition (including leasing) of multifamily properties acquired by HUD that are located in a floodplain (a 500-year floodplain for a Critical Action), the documents used for the conveyance must: (1) Refer to those uses that are restricted under identified federal, state, or local floodplain regulations; and

(2) Include any land use restrictions limiting the use of the property by a grantee or purchaser and any successors under state or local laws.

(b)(1) For disposition of multifamily properties acquired by HUD that are located in a 500-year floodplain and contain Critical Actions, HUD shall, as a condition of approval of the disposition, require by covenant or comparable restriction on the property's use that the property owner and successive owners provide written notification to each current and prospective tenant concerning: (i) The hazards to life and to property for those persons who reside or work in a structure located within the 500-year floodplain, and

(ii) The availability of flood insurance on the contents of their dwelling unit or business.

(2) The notice shall also be posted in the building so that it will be legible at all times and easily visible to all persons entering or using the building.

[59 FR 19107, Apr. 21, 1994, as amended at 59 FR 33199, June 28, 1994]

§55.23   [Reserved]

§55.24   Aggregation.

Where two or more actions have been proposed, require compliance with subpart C of this part, affect the same floodplain or wetland, and are currently under review by HUD (or by a responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58), individual or aggregated approvals may be issued. A single compliance review and approval under this section is subject to compliance with the decisionmaking process in §55.20.

[78 FR 68734, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.25   Areawide compliance.

(a) A HUD-approved areawide compliance process may be substituted for individual compliance or aggregated compliance under §55.24 where a series of individual actions is proposed or contemplated in a pertinent area for HUD's examination of floodplain hazards. In areawide compliances, the area for examination may include a sector of, or the entire, floodplain—as relevant to the proposed or anticipated actions. The areawide compliance process shall be in accord with the decision making process under §55.20.

(b) The areawide compliance process shall address the relevant executive orders and shall consider local land use planning and development controls (e.g., those enforced by the community for purposes of floodplain management under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)) and applicable state programs for floodplain management. The process shall include the development and publication of a strategy that identifies the range of development and mitigation measures under which the proposed HUD assistance may be approved and that indicates the types of actions that will not be approved in the floodplain.

(c) Individual actions that fit within the types of proposed HUD actions specifically addressed under the areawide compliance do not require further compliance with §55.20 except that a determination by the Department or a responsible entitysubject to 24 CFR part 58 shall be made concerning whether the individual action accords with the areawide strategy. Where the individual action does not accord with the areawide strategy, specific development and mitigation measures shall be prescribed as a condition of HUD's approval of the individual action.

(d) Areawide compliance under the procedures of this section is subject to the following provisions:

(1) It shall be initiated by HUD through a formal agreement of understanding with affected local governments concerning mutual responsibilities governing the preparation, issuance, implementation, and enforcement of the areawide strategy;

(2) It may be performed jointly with one or more Federal departments or agencies, or responsible entities subject to 24 CFR part 58 that serve as the responsible Federal official;

(3) It shall establish mechanisms to ensure that:

(i) The terms of approval of individual actions (e.g., concerning structures and facilities) will be consistent with the areawide strategy;

(ii) The controls set forth in the areawide strategy are implemented and enforced in a timely manner; and

(iii) Where necessary, mitigation for individual actions will be established as a condition of approval.

(4) An open scoping process (in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7) shall be used for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying significant issues related to housing and community development for the floodplain;

(5) Federal, state and local agencies with expertise in floodplain management, flood evacuation preparedness, land use planning and building regulation, or soil and natural resource conservation shall be invited to participate in the scoping process and to provide advice and comments; and

(6) Eligibility for participation in and the use of the areawide compliance must be limited to communities that are in the Regular Program of the National Flood Insurance Program and in good standing (i.e., not suspended from program eligibility or placed on probation under 44 CFR 59.24), thereby demonstrating a capacity for and commitment to floodplain management standards sufficient to perform responsibilities under this part.

(7) An expiration date (not to exceed ten years from the date of the formal adoption by the local governments) for HUD approval of areawide compliance under this part must be stated in the agreement between the local governments and HUD. In conjunction with the setting of an expiration date, a mechanism for HUD's reevaluation of the appropriateness of areawide compliance must be provided in the agreement.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 68734, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.26   Adoption of another agency's review under the executive orders.

If a proposed action covered under this part is already covered in a prior review performed under either or both of the Executive Orders by another agency, including HUD or a different responsible entity, that review may be adopted by HUD or by a responsible entity authorized under 24 CFR part 58, provided that:

(a) There is no pending litigation relating to the other agency's review for floodplain management or wetland protection;

(b) The adopting agency makes a finding that:

(1) The type of action currently proposed is comparable to the type of action previously reviewed by the other agency; and

(2) There has been no material change in circumstances since the previous review was conducted; and

(c) As a condition of approval, mitigation measures similar to those prescribed in the previous review shall be required of the current proposed action.

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at78 FR 68734, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.27   Documentation.

(a) For purposes of compliance with §55.20, the responsible HUD official who would approve the proposed action (or Certifying Officer for a responsible entity authorized by 24 CFR part 58) shall require that the following actions be documented:

(1) When required by §55.20(c), practicable alternative sites have been considered outside the floodplain or wetland, but within the local housing market area, the local public utility service area, or the jurisdictional boundaries of a recipient unit of general local government, whichever geographic area is most appropriate to the proposed action. Actual sites under review must be identified and the reasons for the nonselection of those sites as practicable alternatives must be described; and

(2) Under §55.20(e)(2), measures to minimize the potential adverse impacts of the proposed action on the affected floodplain or wetland as identified in §55.20(d) have been applied to the design for the proposed action.

(b) For purposes of compliance with §55.24, §55.25, or §55.26 (as appropriate), the responsible HUD official (or the Certifying Officer for a responsible entitysubject to 24 CFR part 58) who would approve the proposed action shall require documentation of compliance with the required conditions.

(c) Documentation of compliance with this part (including copies of public notices) must be attached to the environmental assessment, the environmental impact statement or the compliance record and be maintained as a part of the project file. In addition, for environmental impact statements, documentation of compliance with this part must be included as a part of the record of decision (or environmental review record for responsible entitiessubject to 24 CFR part 58).

[61 FR 50916, Sept. 27, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 68734, Nov. 15, 2013]

§55.28   Use of individual permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act for HUD Executive Order 11990 processing where all wetlands are covered by the permit.

(a) Processing requirements. HUD (or the responsible entity subject to 24 CFR part 58) shall not be required to perform the steps at §55.20(a) through (e) upon adoption by HUD (or the responsible entity) of the terms and conditions of a Section 404 permit so long as:

(1) The project involves new construction on a property located outside of the 100-year floodplain (or the 500-year floodplain for critical actions);

(2) The applicant has submitted, with its application to HUD (or to the recipient under programs subject to 24 CFR part 58), an individual Section 404 permit (including approval conditions) issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (or by a State or Tribal government under Section 404(h) of the Clean Water Act) for the proposed project; and

(3) All wetlands adversely affected by the action are covered by the permit.

(b) Unless a project is excluded under §55.12, processing under all of §55.20 is required for new construction in wetlands that are not subject to section 404 of the Clean Water Act and for new construction for which the USACE (or a State or Tribal government under section 404(h) of the Clean Water Act) issues a general permit under Section 404.

[78 FR 68734, Nov. 15, 2013]



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