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Mr. HOLIFIELD. I may share your hope, but I don't think that is a matter that takes legislation.
Dr. LOHMAN. Let me get to the second point, because it is the one on which I will hope that action can be carried. There are certain responsibilities in connection with Federal installations which are presently carried by the Regional Planning Council that should be preserved. If it is indeed possible under the new legislation, we would like to see that it is mandatory. I'm referring particularly to the item on Public Law 592, page 8: "Additional procedure for consultation on developments and projects in the environs."
This is presently carried out by the NCPC, on the one hand, and the RPC on the other and finally, by the local jurisdictions. We would ask that the legislation guarantee that this function, as now carried out by the RPC, remains mandatory and is not merely expected to be carried out by NCPC.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. You understand what I said before that when a plan comes up to us, we have to vote it up or down. We cannot make mandatory or permissive that which is not included in the plan. Now at some future time, there might be legislation presented through the proper channels. I'm not sure just what that would be. It might be in the nature of a charter which would be approved by all of your entities rather than congressional action.
Dr. LOHMAN. The public law I have before me is, of course, the law under which the RPC was created. I understand that before this subcommittee lies the matter of the abolition of that Council. We are asking that certain of its functions, which we feel are extremely valuable to the region as a whole, be guaranteed to remain.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. But how do we do that when we cannot amend the plan?
Dr. LOHMAN. I'm not talking about a plan in this case, but of a function, of a planning function.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. But you are talking about making it mandatory and the word "mandatory" would indicate legislative mandate of some kind.
Dr. LOHMAN. We saw this material at 10 o'clock or heard of it at that time yesterday. We saw the material last night. We have not had time to write suggested legislation. We would like to see that whatever law, whatever amendment to the law abolishes the Regional Planning Council and replaces it in some fashion with the Council of Governments, which I repeat we are thoroughly in favor of, also safeguards and maintains this liaison function and this ability of involvement of the local governments in the planning of Federal installations within their boundaries.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I think I understand your wish, but I think you are not before the proper forum at the proper time to obtain any kind of action on our part. We must either vote to allow this plan to become effective or oppose it, and we do not have under the Reorganization Act basic authority to amend it, change it or in any way alter it. So regardless of how we might feel personally as to your objectives, we are in a position where we can't do anything about it. Dr. LOHMAN. In that case, sir, we are premature.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Yes, I think you are. Isn't that your opinion? Mr. ERLENBORN. Unless the gentleman suggests that we vote down the plan and handle this by legislation or by a new plan that would include this.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I don't think it would come under our jurisdiction. A plan that would involve the communities around Washington, from a jurisdictional standpoint, this type of legislation is in the District Committee and it is not in this committee. It would seem to me that what you are seeking to obtain is an agreement to pursue functions which might well be taken up with your regional group and obtain it by joint agreement in your regional groups rather than by congres
Dr. LOHMAN. The reason that we come to a congressional committee is that the function we are given here was originally specified by Congress in Public Law 592.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Do you know what committee that came out of? Dr. LOHMAN. I do not, sir. I know the item. I hold it before me, and it is at the top of page 8 of the published law. As I say, I apologize. We had little time to prepare legislation and this appeared to us to be the appropriate place to come.
Chairman DAWSON. You are not voicing opposition to the plan? Dr. LOHMAN. We certainly are not. We hope it can be strengthened. Chairman DAWSON. Any other witnesses?
Colonel GROOм. Could I ask a question?
Dr. LOHMAN. This is Colonel Groom, Arlington County Planning Commission.
Colonel GROOM. I was prepared to make a recommendation but I see it is out of order now according to Mr. Holifield's statement. When would be the proper time and before what committee to take up the matter of amending the National Capital Planning Act?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I would think that would be the District Committee, District of Columbia Committee. Mr. McMillan is head of that.
Colonel GROOM. The remarks I was going to make were along that line. I see that they would be out of order and I do not wish to take up your time.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Yes, I think your adjoining communities, if you have strong feeling, could approach the District Committee and ask them. I think their function would be only to provide an enabling act, which would be dependent upon the proper legislative act of the different political entities that surround the city, parallel acts.
Dr. LOHMAN. May I ask this question, sir? Will the action of this committee result in amendment to Public Law 592?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. No.
Dr. LOHMAN. Well, we are definitely premature.
Mr. ERLENBORN. Gentlemen, I would like to make one comment. The gentleman apologized for the length of the name of his organization. This seems to be typical of planning commissions. In my area, for instance, we have Northeastern Illinois Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, which is a pretty long name. In Mr. Reuss' area, they have the Southeastern Wisconsin Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.
Mr. REUSS. Known as "SEWRPAC."
Mr. ERLENBORN. That is exactly my point. I was going to say I would rather be in an area served by "NIMPAC" than "SEWRPAČ." [Laughter.]
Dr. LOHMAN. I'm familiar at least with the Wisconsin Planning Commission and I think the results are better than the name.
Chairman DAWSON. Does anyone else have anything to contribute to this meeting? If not, I will thank you for your presence. It shows your interest in it.
I have received for insertion in the record a letter from Mrs. James H. Rowe, Jr., Chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, and a letter from Mr. Royce Hanson, associate professor of government, The American University.
(The letters referred to follow :)
NATIONAL CAPITAL PLANNING COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., August 8, 1966.
Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON, Chairman, Executive and Legislative Reorganization Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN DAWSON: I very much appreciate your notification of a hearing to be held by your subcommittee concerning the Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1966 which deals with the National Capital Regional Planning Council. Due to my being absent from the city during this month, I will not be able to be present for the hearing. I have asked Mr. Charles H. Conrad, the Director of the National Capital Planning Commission and Mr. George H. F. Oberlander, the Director of the National Capital Regional Planning Council, to be available at the hearing to answer any questions that your committee might have.
The National Capital Regional Planning Council was established by Congress through the National Capital Planning Act of 1952 (Public Law 592). The Council consists of 10 representatives of planning agencies and local governing bodies in the National Capital region as defined in the act. This act also defined the responsibilities of the National Capital Planning Commission to secure comprehensive planning for the physical development of the National Capital and its environs; to provide for the participation of the appropriate planning agencies of the environs in such planning; and to establish the agency and procedures requisite to the administration of the functions of the Federal and District of Columbia Governments related to such planning.
The statutory responsibilities of the Council fall into three general categories: 1. The preparation and maintenance of a general development plan for the region.
2. The initial review of proposed Federal installations which are to be located outside the District of Columbia's boundaries; and
3. The coordination of the planning efforts and proposals of the official local and subregional planning agencies, and the various special purpose agencies, to insure the relationship conformance of all to the general development plan.
The effect of Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1966 is to eliminate only the first of the above-mentioned statutory responsibilities that being the preparation and maintenance of a general development plan for the region. The National Capital Planning Act of 1952 still requires the Commission to fulfill the other two primary responsibilities currently assigned to the Council; that of review of Federal installations and that of coordination of local planning with Federal planning. President Johnson's message with the reorganization plan clearly indicated that
"The reorganization plan will not alter the basic responsibilities of the National Capital Planning Commission. The Commission will continue to represent the Federal interest in the planning and development of the region. Indeed, its work should increase as comprehensive regional planning by the Council of Governments is accelerated. In accord with the reorganization plan, the Commission will work closely with the Council of Governments in regional planning. The Commission will also deal directly with the suburban jurisdictions and assume the liaison functions now exercised by the National Capital Regional Planning Council."
The Commission fully concurs in this statement and envisions a considerable increase in planning activity relating to the Federal interest in the National Capital region.
Basically the National Capital Planning Act gave the Planning Commission certain responsibilities which, in turn, were fulfilled through the Regional Planning Council. Since the local governmental jurisdictions are now in a better position
to work cooperatively in performing comprehensive regional planning, it seems appropriate that the National Capital Regional Planning Council be eliminated. However, the basic responsibilities of the Planning Commission as defined in the National Capital Planning Act of 1952 require the Commission to continue to represent the Federal interests in the planning and development of the National Capital region.
This letter indicates my thinking on this matter and I hope it will be of help to you, and that it will be made a part of the record.
Mrs. JAMES H. Rowe, Jr., Chairman.
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 8, 1966.
Hon. WILLIAM DAWSON,
Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I am writing in support of Reorganization Plan No. 5, which has been referred to your committee. As the President pointed out in his message to the Congress, the regional planning functions of the National Capital Regional Planning Council can be performed better by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
While I support the reorganization order, I think there are two directly related problems which should be brought to the attention of the committee for concurrent or subsequent action.
First, one of the functions of the Regional Planning Council has been review of plans for the location of government installations in the suburbs. The Reorganization Plan would transfer this function to the National Capital Planning Commission rather than to the Council of Governments. This will require a very close coordination between the NCPC and the Council of Governments, if Federal location policy is not to work at cross purposes to broader objectives of regional development policy. The reorganization plan does nothing to improve communications between NCPC and the Council of Governments, or to provide adequate machinery for reconciliation of local, metropolitan and Federal interests in regional development and Federal location problems.
The second problem is related to the first. We can not assume that the necessary transfer of functions contemplated by abolition of the Regional Planning Council will meet the problem above, or the other fundamental problems of planning organization in the National Capital area. The composition and practices of the NCPC do not inspire confidence in its capacity to perform an adequate role in planning in the National Capital area. Procedures need to be established which will assure the people of the area that the interests of their communities will not be overlooked by the NCPC.
I would urge your committee to consider at the proper time, legislation to reorganize the entire planning function, to create a more effective agency for planning in the District of Columbia, to provide more appropriate means than NCPC for coordinating and expressing Federal interests in planning decisions, and assuring the protection of the interests of the citizens of the entire area in regional development and Federal location policy.
Thus, while ending the life of the Regional Planning Council is an essential piece of housekeeping, it should not obscure the greater problems of improving the quality of planning and the effectiveness of the planning process in the National Capital region.
Associate Professor of Government,
We will now go into executive session.
(Whereupon, at 11:27 a.m., the hearing was adjourned and the subcommittee went into executive session.)