FAQ’s

What is the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership?

The Southeast Florida Regional Partnership (Partnership) is a partnership of more than 200 public, private, non-profit organizations and supporters from the region consisting ofMonroe, Miami-Dade, Broward,Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. The Partnership was established as a voluntary membership organization separate from, but supported by, theSouth Floridaand Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils. The Partnership is committed to working together to ensure that the Southeast Florida region enjoys a prosperous economy, livable and affordable communities, and a sustainable environment through their individual actions and the development of the “Seven50,” a seven county, 50 year Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan.

Why was the Partnership created?

In January 2010, regional leaders came together and began to build upon existing working relationships and partnerships to establish the Partnership and develop an application to the HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants Program.   At that time, Partnership members signed “Memorandums of Understanding” adopting the Livability Principles and committing to work collaboratively to support the sustainable development and redevelopment of Southeast Florida:

Livability Principles

  1. Provide more transportation choices;
  2. Promote affordable housing;
  3. Enhance economic competitiveness;
  4. Support existing communities;
  5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment;
  6. Value communities and neighborhoods; and
  7. Enhance community resiliency to the impacts of climate change.

Additionally, HUD identified a subset of Partnership member categories as especially critical to successful implementation of the grant if awarded.  These “Consortium Members” include the region’s metropolitan planning organizations, counties, educational institutions and non-profit organizations.  Partnership members from these categories formed the initial Partnership Consortium which continues to expand today.

In October 2010, the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership secured a $4.25 million regional planning (Category 1) grant from HUD. HUD’s grants under this program support metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that better integrate housing, land use, economic development, community development, social development, water / environmental protection, transportation, energy conservation, and infrastructure.   These resources are being used to develop the region’s Seven50 Plan by February 2013.  Significant in-kind and other match has also been pledged by members of the Partnership to augment these resources.

What is the Seven50 Plan?

The Partnership is developing  Seven50, a seven county, 50-year Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan that will reflect regional agreement around priority investments in key areas of importance toSoutheast Florida’s future.  When considered together, these issues will coalesce into a coherent strategy and investment plan in support of the future sustainability and economic prosperity of our communities and region.  Seven initial work groups have been identified along issue areas:

  • Education, Workforce & Economic Development
  • Development Patterns (Housing, Transportation, Healthy Communities)
  • Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture
  • Climate Resiliency
  • Community Assets and Culture
  • Inclusive Regional Leadership

Outcomes

The HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative is the region’s best opportunity to develop consensus around a strategic vision and investment plan that will chart the course to a brighter and more prosperous future for Southeast Florida’s residents and in turn, Florida.  It is expected that this strategic vision and the Seven 50 will:

  1. Serve as the framework for future federal, state and local investment;
  2. Support and advance the efforts of individual counties, municipalities and other regional partners whose plans and projects further the implementation of the Seven50 Plan; and
  3. Enhance the ability of the Southeast Florida Region to secure resources needed for critical infrastructure projects that further regional sustainability and economic prosperity.

“Preferred Sustainability Status” for certain federal grant programs has already resulted in millions of dollars in additional investment inSoutheast Floridathrough its Partnership member organizations.

What are the roles of the South Florida Regional Planning Council and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council in this Initiative?

The Governing Boards of the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils have directed their respective staff members to spearhead the formal organization of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership, and prepare a regional application to the U.S. HUD’s Sustainable Communities Planning  Grants Program.  The South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils are also members of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership.

The word “sustainable” is used a lot.  What does it mean?

The concept of sustainability holds that the  demands of today must not supersede the needs of the future.  Sustainability is often narrowly associated with natural systems but in reality applies to the entire living environment.  This environment includes social and economic systems that are also demanding on finite resources. Sustainable development of the Region requires balance between the resource requirements of the environment, the economy, and society.

What is the Sustainable Communities Initiative and Sustainable Communities Planning Grants Program?

On June 16 2009, the U.S. HUD, DOT, and EPA announced an Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  The goal of this interagency partnership is to regionally coordinate federal housing, environmental protection, and transportation planning and investment.  Federal funding to support this effort is being provided under HUD’s Sustainable Communities Planning Grants Program. The Fiscal Year 2010-11 Federal Budget includes $150 million in start-up funding for the HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grants Program.  A fund of $100 million has been created to encourage metropolitan regions to  articulate a vision for growth tailored to specific metropolitan markets that federal housing, transportation, and other federal investments can support. A fund of $40 million is earmarked to support the update of local land use and zoning rules and assist states and localities in the design and implementation of planning reforms at the local and regional levels that will support the creation of “affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities.” The remaining $10 million will support research and evaluation efforts.  Second-year funding (FY2011-12) for the Program is currently being discussed in Washington.

Does the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership exist only for the purpose of applying for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grants Program?

The opportunity presented by the HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants Program provided renewed impetus for bringing together and expanding existing local and regional partnerships under the umbrella of a new “Southeast Florida Regional Partnership.”   Just as other regions in the state and country have proactively organized themselves to effectively address the opportunities and challenges facing their regions, the Partnership has the opportunity to mature and evolve into a long lasting collaboration where discussion and consensus building on issues of regional importance and action can occur.   The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant and the development of the Seven50 Plan are an important focus for the Partnership, but it is anticipated that the Partnership’s scope and work program will evolve over time.Two funding categories have been established:

  1. Category 1 – Funding to support the preparation of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development that address housing, economic development, transportation, and environmental quality in an integrated fashion where such plans do not currently exist.
  2. Category 2 – Funding to support the preparation of more detailed execution plans and programs to implement existing regional  sustainable development plans (that address housing, economic development, transportation, and environmental quality in an integrated fashion.

Criteria: “Livability Principles”

HUD, EPA, and DOT have adopted the following six “Livability Principles” to guide their strategic activities and investments. The Southeast Florida Regional Partnership has adopted the six principles and added a seventh: “Enhance community resiliency to the impacts of climate change.”

1. Provide more transportation choices;
2. Promote affordable housing;
3. Enhance economic competitiveness;
4. Support existing communities;
5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment;
6. Value communities and neighborhoods; and
7. Enhance community resiliency to the impacts of climate change.

Where does Southeast Florida fit in?

Southeast Florida clearly fits into Category 1 – development of a “Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.”A key component of the Sustainable Communities Planning Grants Program is the development of a “Regional Plan for Sustainable Development” for regions that lack a cohesive, integrated regional “vision” across issue areas and jurisdictional boundaries. In Southeast Florida, significant resources, time and effort have been invested in planning through the years.  There are existing regional relationships and partnerships that can be strengthened and expanded.  The challenge is to integrate  these partnerships and efforts across issue areas and jurisdictional lines and reach agreement on a preferred future for the region and critical infrastructure investments needed to move the region forward.

Why is it important to develop the “Regional Plan for Sustainable Development?”

The HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative is the region’s best opportunity to access up to $5 million to articulate and develop  consensus around a “Regional Vision” and “Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.”  It is expected that this Plan will: 1) serve as the framework for future federal investment; 2) support the efforts of individual counties, municipalities and other regional partners whose plans and projects further the implementation of the regional Vision and Plan; and 3) put the Southeast Florida Region in the best position possible to capture future federal funds for critical infrastructure projects designed to improve the region’s sustainability. The absence of a regional, collaborative  partnership and shared vision for Southeast Florida has left our region at a competitive disadvantage when we seek to access needed state and federal resources. Envision Utah, One Bay (Tampa), Portland Metro 2040, Denver Metro Vision 2040, Sacramento Area Blueprint (2004), and Myregion.org (Orlando) are examples of regions that have well-established, multi-sector partnerships and regional strategies for quality communities and growth. While Southeast Florida has made progress in many issue areas, including transportation, water supply, and climate change planning with the recent signing of the four-county Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, these examples are the exception rather than the rule.

How much funding is available?

In Fiscal Year 2010-11, $98 million was made available for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grants Program for the two categories  of funding discussed above. An additional $2 million is reserved for “capacity support grants” to be distributed through a future NOFA. According to the HUD NOFA, the grant amount awarded under the Program to an eligible entity that represents a large metropolitan area with a population of 500,000 or more ranges from $500,000 to $5,000,000.

What is the grant match requirement?

Matching funds are not required. However, to be eligible for funding, applicants must provide 20 percent of the requested funding amount in leveraged resources in the form of cash and/or verified in-kind contributions or a combination of these sources.  Successful applicants must have the required amount of leveraged resources (20 percent) at the time of signing the cooperative agreement.  Applicants will receive credit for leveraging resources greater than 20 percent of the requested amount.

Who applied for the grant on behalf of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership?

The South Florida Regional Planning Council, in partnership with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, applied for the grant.

How will the grant funds be used?

The grant funds will be used to support the development of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership, and development and implementation of a work plan which will lead to the creation and adoption of the Seven50 plan.

Why should my organization participate or support this effort?

Seven50 will be a long-term vision and plan extending out to 50 years.  A primary goal of the application to the HUD Sustainable Communities Planning  Grants Program is to access funding to develop the long-term vision and infrastructure investment plan for the sustainable development and redevelopment of the region. The development of the plan will require broad input and collaboration from stakeholders and communities throughout the region.   A key component of Seven50 will be a statement of key infrastructure investments that are needed to support implementation of the Plan and enhance the sustainability of the region and its existing communities over time.

How will this benefit my community?

To the extent that your organization’s priority projects contribute to a more sustainable region – enhancing communities, economy, and the environment – and are articulated in the adopted plan, it is expected that your project will be ranked higher by federal and state reviewers than projects that are not identified in Seven50.  In  other words, grant applications for projects identified as contributing to the overall sustainability of the region by virtue of being referenced in the plan should be more competitive than they would be otherwise.

How can you and/or your organization support this regional effort?

Everyone can contribute to this regional initiative.
1. Join the South Florida Regional Partnership!
2. Execute the Partnership Memorandum of Understanding
3. Write a Letter of Support for the grant application
4. Pass a Resolution in support of this regional initiative
5. Help grow the Partnership by reaching out to potential partner organizations
6. Become a member of the application development teamThe Memorandum of Understanding, sample letter of support, and sample resolution can be accessed via  www.sfrpc.com or  www.tcrpc.org by clicking on the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership logo.

Will signing a Memorandum of Understanding obligate me in any way?

The MOU is not a legal document.  It does not obligate the signatory to provide anything, including financial or staff resources.  Participation in the work of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership is voluntary.

How is the Partnership organized?

The Executive Committee has developed and adopted a “Statement of Organization” that provides greater detail about the Partnership and its organization.

The core elements of the organization include the following:

Southeast Florida Regional Partnership:  Provides a regional forum for discussion and consensus building on issues of importance toSoutheast Florida. The Partnership will develop and approve the Seven50 Plan and support its implementation through individual and collective action.  The Partnership will conduct its work through issue-specific Work Groups augmented by summits of the entire Partnership during the visioning and plan development process.   In parallel with the visioning process, the Partnership will explore options for a long-term optimal structure to assist with implementation, progress review, and future updates.  The intent is for the Partnership to develop a long-term structure for its ongoing operations by the conclusion of the visioning process.

Partnership Work Groups:  These work groups will frame and shape the issues and policy conversation around the Seven50 Plan.  Members serve as regional subject matter experts in identified issue areas, and develop technical and policy recommendations and draft products for review by the Partnership.  Participation in the Work Groups is voluntary, and open to everyone. The SCI Executive Committee will ensure that the membership of each Work Group reflects a mix of perspectives among the public, private, and civic sectors; among subareas and types of communities in the region (coastal, urban, suburban, and rural); and among socioeconomic/ethnic groups including traditionally underrepresented groups.

Sustainable Communities Grant Consortium:  Serves as the core team within the Partnership for meeting HUD requirements and carrying out activities to develop the Seven50 Plan.  Consortium participants agree to the basic commitments and responsibilities outlined for Partnership members above, as well as the additional commitment of leveraged resources in terms of staff, financial investment, or other resources.

Executive Committee:  The Executive Committee provides oversight of the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant; approves the overall work plan; recommends the selection of staff and consultants to the Regional Planning Council boards for action; provides guidance to the Project Director and Project Team; provides policy direction for the Seven50 Plan; ensures that all constituencies have meaningful opportunities to engage and shape the process; identifies and resolves significant issues arising during the process; and recommends the final regional vision, Seven50 Plan, and implementation plan. The Executive Committee currently has two subcommittees to guide its initial work: an Operations Subcommittee and an Organization and  Subcommittee.

Project Team:  The Project Team consists of the Sustainable Communities Initiative Project Director, the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership Coordinator who also serves as HUD’s Designated Point of Contact, the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council Partnership Coordinator, Dover Kohl & Partners and selected subconsultants, the Executive Directors of the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and other team members as identified. 

Regional Planning Councils:  The Partnership is supported by the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils.  Both Councils are part of the Project Team and Consortium Partners. The South Florida Regional Planning Council is the fiscally responsible grantee entity who will ensure that grant requirements are met. 

Do these seven counties really have that much in common?

The Southeast Florida region is comprised of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.  Together, this region represents the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the country.  These seven counties, though diverse, have much in common, including a shared history, environment and watershed, economic interdependence, transportation system, and recreational, social and cultural activities. This seven-county area is classified as “Southeast Florida” by Enterprise Florida, and defined as the “Southeast Region” in the  Strategic Intermodal Plan of the Florida Department of Transportation.