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MIN 03.08.2016 CC-RMinutes of a Meeting of the Governing Body of the City of Georgetown, 'Texas Tuesday, Murch 8, 2016 The Georgetown City Council will meet on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 6:00 PM at the Council Chambers at 101 E. 7'h St., Georgetown, Texas The city of Georgetown is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require assistance in participating at a public meeting due to a disability, as defined under the ADA, reasonable assistance, adaptations, or accommodations will be provided upon request. Please contact the City Secretary's Office, at least four (4) days prior to the scheduled meeting date, at (512) 930-3652 or City Hall at 113 East 8`h Street for additional information; TTY users route through Relay Texas at 711. Mayor Ross called the meeting to order at 6:01 PM. All Councilmembers were in attendance. Regular Session (This Regular session may, at any time, be recessed to convene an Executive Session for any purpose authorized by the Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code 551.) A. Call to Order Invocation Pledge of Allegiance Comments from the Mayor - Welcome and Meeting Procedures City Council Regional Board Reports Gipson said there is a lot going on at Lone Star Rail. He explained that Union Pacific Has discontinued their agreement with Lone Star Rail, based on service demands they anticipate. Gipson said he has met with the Lone Star staff and they are committed to moving forward. They will be looking at alternatives over the next few months. Gipson said that the Campo policy board will be discussing the evaluation of the use of Campo planning money for the study. If Campo cannot fund, TXDOT or another entity will need to provide the study. Gipson said the City would continue to stay engages with Lone Star Rail and will continue to provide updates to the Council. Mayor Ross said that the CAMPO meeting was pushed back to March 27, 2016 because of spring break. Announcements - May 7, 2016 General Election Information - Public Meeting for the Austin Avenue Bridges to be held March 31, 2016 Action from Executive Session Statutory Consent Agenda The Statutory Consent Agenda includes non -controversial and routine items that may be acted upon with one single vote. An item may be pulled from the Consent Agenda in order that it be discussed and acted upon individually as part of the Regular Agenda. B. Consideration and possible action to approve the minutes of the Workshop and Regular Meeting held on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 — Shelley Nowling, City Secretary C. Consideration and possible action to approve the appointment of Gary Leissner as a Commissioner in Training to the Planning & Zoning Commission to fill a vacancy — Mayor Dale Ross D. Consideration and possible action to approve the appointment of Jeff Hillery to the Arts & Culture Advisory Board to fill a vacancy — Mayor Dale Ross E. Consideration and possible action to approve a Resolution pertaining to the cancellation of the May 7, 2016 General Election for District 4 and District 7 due to unopposed candidates — Shelley Nowling, City Secretary F. Forwarded from the General Government and Finance Advisory Board (GGAF): Consideration and possible action to approve the purchase of emergency medical supplies from Life -Assist established through a competitive RFP process at a cost not to exceed $275,000 for the remainder of fiscal year 2015-2016 — John Sullivan, Fire Chief G. Consideration and possible action to approve an application to Williamson County for 2016 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) — Jennifer C. Bills, Housing Coordinator and Wayne Reed, Assistant City Manager Councilmember Brainard asked that Item G be moved to the Legislative Regular Agenda. H. Forwarded from the General Government and Finance Advisory Board (GGAF): Consideration and possible action to accept the independent audit of all accounts of the City reported in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015 - Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager and Leigh Wallace, Finance Director I. Forwarded from the General Government and Finance Advisory Board (GGAF): Consideration and possible action to approve a Resolution giving staff the approval to conduct business with various banking institutions and to appoint "Representatives of the Depositor" - Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager J. Forwarded from the General Government and Finance Advisory Board (GGAF): Consideration and possible action to approve the purchase of vehicles and equipment in the amount of $282,211.92 for Water and Wastewater Plant operations — Stan Hohman, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor and Leigh Wallace, Finance Director K. Forwarded from the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation (GTEC): Consideration and possible action to approve an agreement to dedicate tax increment reinvestment zone revenues to reimburse the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation for costs related to improvements of Oakmont/Mays Street/Rabbit Hill Road within the zone -- Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager Councilmember Brainard asked to move item G to the Legislative Regular Agenda for discussion. Motion by Fought, second by Gonzalez to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of G. Approved: 7-0 Legislative Regular Agenda G. Consideration and possible action to approve an application to Williamson County for 2016 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) — Jennifer C. Bills, Housing Coordinator and Wayne Reed, Assistant City Manager Jennifer Bills, the City's Housing Coordinator, spoke on the item. She said that the City is requesting funds to build a sidewalk along Scenic Drive. Bills explained that the routes were not identified in the original plans. Bills read the caption. Motion by Jonrowe, second by Eby to approve Item G. Brainard read a statement regarding fair housing rules in the performance of a study regarding housing discrimination. He explained the danger of the City accepting HUD funds and losing options and control without knowing it. An article from National Review, shared by Councilmember Brainard, will be attached to the approved minutes of this meeting. Brainard said that he will also share the information with the Williamson County Commissioners Court. Ross asked Bills if the City can submit an application and then reject the grant later. Bills said yes, the agreement would not be signed until October 1s'. Approved: 7-0 L. Second Reading of an Ordinance adopting Chapter 8.40 of the Code of Ordinances relating to establishing minimum standards of care for youth recreation programs, providing a severability clause, repealing conflicting ordinances and resolutions and establishing an effective date — Kimberly Garrett, Parks and Recreation Director and Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager (action required) Kimberly Garrett, Parks & Recreation Director, spoke on the item. Garrett said that there have been no changes since the first reading and then read the ordinance caption. Motion by Jonrowe, second by Brainard to approve Item L. Approved: 7-0 M. Second Reading of an Ordinance on amendments to the Unified Development Code (UDC) to revise Chapters 5, 6, 11, 12, and 16 related to accessory dwelling units, residential accessory structures, and Housing Diversity Development and Workforce Housing Development — Valerie Kreger, AICP, Principal Planner and Sofia Nelson, CNIJ A, Planning Director (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item. She provided a brief presentation on the proposed UDC amendments. Nelson recapped the project timeline and how the item is brought back to Council tonight with changes made from prior Council direction. Nelson showed a slide on the Height of Accessory Structures and the proposed requirements. Nelson announced that Jennifer Bills, the City Housing Coordinator, was also present if the Council had any questions regarding the workforce housing portion of the Item. Nelson then read the caption. Motion by Hesser, second by Gipson to approve Item M. Motion by Fought, second by Gonzalez to amend the motion to strike the 17 foot restriction for accessory dwellings and instead approve the height to not exceed the primary structure height. Jonrowe said there has been much discussion and asked for clarification from Fought. Fought said if heights were the same it would not be a problem so they should not be restricted. Fought said he wanted to mention that Nelson gave a great presentation at a Kiwanis meeting that day. Jonrowe said she would not support the amended motion. Jonrowe said that a lot of planning has already gone into this. She said that accessory dwellings are usually significantly lower. Amended Motion Vote: Approved: 5-2 (Eby, Jonrowe opposed) Jonrowe said she does not know how she will vote after this amendment. She said that short term rentals need to be discussed further. Jonrowe said that there are currently 300 listings on Airbnb in Georgetown. She said that she wants Council to discuss regulations. Fought said this is workforce housing and the financial impact is capped. It is a good program. Brainard said accessory dwellings are a good idea. He said that they provide income for home owners, provide student housing and provide mother in law apartments to help families. Brainard mentioned that they also provide higher density without big apartment complexes. Regular Motion Vote Approved: 6-1 (Jonrowe opposed) N. Second Reading of an Ordinance for Rezoning 17.406 acres of the Berry Survey, from the Residential Single- family District (RS) to the Low Density Multifamily District (MF -1), located at 300 County Road 152 and to be known as Chisholm Park 2 — Mike Elabarger, Senior Planner and Sophia Nelson, CNU-A, Planning Director (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item. She said that the Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval with the exception of the portion of the property within the 100 year flood plain. Nelson read the caption. Motion by Gonzalez, second by Hesser to approve Item N. Approved: 7-0 O. Second Reading of an Ordinance for the voluntary annexation of 17.81 acres in the LJ Dyches Survey, located at 1000 FM 1460 — Jordan J. Maddox, AICP, Principal Planner and Sofia Nelson, CNU-A, Planning Director (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item and read the ordinance caption. Motion by Brainard, second by Hesser to approve Item O. Approved: 7-0 P. Second Reading of an Ordinance to Amend the Wolf Ranch Hillwood Planned Unit Development (PUD) District (Ordinance 2014-102), including 754.22 acres in the Perry, Thompson, Donagan, Pulsifer and Stubblefield Surveys generally located at West University Avenue and Wolf Ranch Parkway, to amend the High Density Multifamily (MF -2) District development standards — Mike Elabarger, Senior Planner (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item. She explained that this is the PUD amendment for the Hillwood development. Nelson said the applicant is seeking development standards permitting more than 24 units. Nelson showed an exhibits explaining the request. She said that it would also establishes minimum masonry standards. Nelson said that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval. She then read the caption. Motion by Brainard, second by Hesser to approve Item P. Approved: 7-0 Q. Second Reading of an Ordinance to Rezone 1.227 acres of the Wright Survey located at 4124 Williams Drive, from the Agriculture (AG) District to the Local Commercial (C-1) District. (REZ-2015-026) Juan Enriquez, Planner and Sofia Nelson, CNU-A, Planning Director (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item. She provided slides of the location map, the future use map and the zoning map. Nelson said that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval. She then read the caption. Motion by Brainard, second by Hesser to approve Item Q. Approved: 7-0 R. Second Reading of an Ordinance to Rezone 1.66 acres of land being Lot 5 of the Georgetown Technology Park subdivision located at 2 Sierra Way from the Agriculture (AG) District to the Industrial (IN) District — Juan Enriquez, Planner and Sofia Nelson, CNU-A, Planning Director (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item. Nelson said that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval. She then read the caption. Motion by Brainard, second by Hesser to approve Item R. Approved: 7-0 S. Second Reading of an Ordinance to Rezone 17.81 acres of the L.J. Dyches Survey, located at 1000 FM 1460, from the Agriculture (AG) District to the Low Density Multifamily (MF -1) District — Juan Enriquez and Sofia Nelson, CNU-A, Planning Director (action required) Sofia Nelson, the City's Planning Director, spoke on the item. She described the property and showed a location map. Nelson explained that this is the same property that had an annexation request earlier in the agenda. She showed the zoning map and showed the 100 year floodplain. Nelson then read the caption. Motion by Brainard, second by Hesser to approve Item S. Approved: 7-0 T. Consideration and possible action to approve a Resolution finding public convenience and necessity and authorizing eminent domain proceedings, if necessary, for acquisition of real property to effectuate certain public road improvements in connection with the Rivery Blvd. Extension Project — Edward G. Polasek, AICP, Transportation Services Director and Terri Glasby Calhoun, Real Estate Services Coordinator Ed Polasek, the City's Transportation Director, spoke on the item. Polasek, the City's Transportation Director, spoke on the item. He explained that staff has every intention to complete the intent and acquisition process for this property. He explained that Council approval would be needed so that possible delays could be avoided. RECORD VOTE TAKEN: Approved: 7-0 Eby: Yes Brainard: Yes Hessen Yes Fought: Yes Gipson: Yes Jonrowe: Yes Gonzalez: Yes U. Forwarded from the General Government and Finance Advisory Board (GGAF): Consideration and possible recommendation on the potential uses of the Council's Excess Revenues Special Revenue Fund/Year End 2015 General Fund excess — Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager Brewer spoke on the item. She provided a presentation and slides on the breakdown of the excess funds. Brewer spoke on the outstanding items that were cleared up during the audit and the clean-up of old Purchase Orders and services. Brewer showed that $1,085,045 is the remaining balance. $500,000 is proposed for the rainy day fund, $250,000 is proposed for personnel transitions and liabilities, and $150,000 is proposed for repairs to the Grace Heritage Center. $185,000 will be at the Council's discretion. Motion by Brainard, second by Hesser to approve Item U. Approved: 7-0 Fought congratulated staff and asked about the recommendations from the General Government and Finance Advisory Board (GGAF) for the Rainy Day Fund. Gonzalez said that the funds should be kept for the unknown. Brainard said staff and GGAF members have been looking at contingency liabilities. He gave the example of the cemetery trust funds. He explained that there would be the need for funding these expenses at some point in the future. Brainard said that the discussion needs to continue. Brainard said he is proud that for the first time in history, the City will have a significant rainy day fund which will unable the City to avoid budget cuts and tax increases in worse times. Project Updates V. Project updates and status reports regarding current and future transportation and traffic project; street, sidewalk, and other infrastructure projects; police, fire and other public safety projects; economic development projects; city facility projects; and downtown projects including parking enhancements and possible direction to city staff – David Morgan, City Manager Mayor Ross asked the City Manager, David Morgan, if he had any project updates to share with the Council. Morgan said that he did not have any updates at this time. Public Wishing to Address Council On a subject that is posted on this agenda: Please fill out a speaker registration form which can be found on the table at the entrance to the Council Chamber. Clearly print your name and the letter of the item on which you wish to speak and present it to the City Secretary on the dais, preferably prior to the start of the meeting. You will be called forward to speak when the Council considers that item. On a subject not posted on the agenda: Persons may add an item to a future City Council agenda by contacting the City Secretary no later than noon on the Wednesday prior to the Tuesday meeting, with the subject matter of the topic they would like to address and their name. The City Secretary can be reached at 512/930-3651. W. - Terrell Chatman would like to address the Council regarding opening temporary housing for displaced men, women, children and families - Brandon Richardson would like to address the Council regarding opening temporary housing for displaced men, women, children and families Mr. Chatman and Mr. Richardson were not in attendance when Mayor Ross called on them. Executive Session In compliance with the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Government Code, Vernon's Texas Codes, Annotated, the items listed below will be discussed in closed session and are subject to action in the regular session. X. Sec. 551.071: Consultation with Attorney - Advice from attorney about pending or contemplated litigation and other matters on which the attorney has a duty to advise the City Council, including agenda items Sec. 551.072: Deliberation Regarding Real Property - Deliberation concerning the acquisition of real property from San Gabriel Storage Systems Venture in connection with the Rivery Blvd. Extension Project Sec. 551.074: Personnel Matters - City Manager, City Attorney, City Secretary and Municipal Judge: Consideration of the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal Sec. 551.087: Deliberation Regarding Economic Development Negotiations - Project Mesa - Project Voyager Motion by Hesser to adjourn the meeting. Second by Fought. Meeting adjourned at 6.45 PM. Approved by the Georgetown City Council on <fA4� Dale Ross, Mayor 3 Date Attest: City Secre . y' dational Review Online I Print http:/"/Www.nationalreview.com/node/421389/prir NATIONAL REVIEW Attention America's Suburbs: You Have Just Been Annexed By Stanley Kurtz — July 20, 2015 It's difficult to say what's more striking about President Obama's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation: its breathtaking radicalism, the refusal of the press to cover it, or its potential political ramifications. The danger AFFH poses to Democrats explains why the press barely mentions it. This lack of curiosity, in turn, explains why the revolutionary nature of the rule has not been properly understood. Ultimately, the regulation amounts to back -door annexation, a way of turning America's suburbs into tributaries of nearby cities. This has been Obama's purpose from the start. In Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, I explain how a young Barack Obama turned against the suburbs and threw in his lot with a group of Alinsky-style community organizers who blamed suburban tax -flight for urban decay. Their bible was Cities Without Suburbs, by former Albuquerque mayor David Rusk. Rusk, who works closely with Obama's Alinskyite mentors and now advises the Obama administration, initially called on cities to annex their surrounding suburbs. When it became clear that outright annexation was a political non-starter, Rusk and his followers settled on a series of measures designed to achieve de facto annexation over time. The plan has three elements: 1) Inhibit suburban growth, and when possible encourage suburban re -migration to cities. This can be achieved, for example, through regional growth boundaries (as in Portland), or by relative neglect of highway -building and repair in favor of public transportation. 2) Force the urban poor into the suburbs through the imposition of low-income housing quotas. 3) Institute "regional tax -base sharing," where a state forces upper -middle-class suburbs to transfer tax revenue to nearby cities and less -well-off inner -ring suburbs (as in Minneapolis/St. Paul). If you press suburbanites into cities, transfer urbanites to the suburbs, and redistribute dational Review Online I Print http://www.nationalreview.com/node/4213 89/pri suburban tax money to cities, you have effectively abolished the suburbs. For all practical purposes, the suburbs would then be co-opted into a single metropolitan region. Advocates of these policy prescriptions call themselves "regionalists." AFFH goes a long way toward achieving the regionalist program of Obama and his organizing mentors. In significant measure, the rule amounts to a de facto regional annexation of America's suburbs. To see why, let's have a look at the rule. AFFH obligates any local jurisdiction that receives HUD funding to conduct a detailed analysis of its housing occupancy by race, ethnicity, national origin, English proficiency, and class (among other categories). Grantees must identify factors (such as zoning laws, public -housing admissions criteria, and "lack of regional collaboration") that account for any imbalance in living patterns. Localities must also list "community assets" (such as quality schools, transportation hubs, parks, and jobs) and explain any disparities in access to such assets by race, ethnicity, national origin, English proficiency, class, and more. Localities must then develop a plan to remedy these imbalances, subject to approval by By itself, this amounts to an extraordinary takeover of America's cities and towns by the federal government. There is more, however. AFFH obligates grantees to conduct all of these analyses at both the local and regional levels. In other words, it's not enough for, say, Philadelphia's "Mainline" Montgomery County suburbs to analyze their own populations by race, ethnicity, and class to determine whether there are any imbalances in where groups live, or in access to schools, parks, transportation, and jobs. Those suburbs are also obligated to compare their own housing situations to the Greater Philadelphia region as a whole. So if some Montgomery County's suburbs are predominantly upper -middle-class, white, and zoned for single-family housing, while the Philadelphia region as a whole is dotted with concentrations of less -well-off African Americans, Hispanics, or Asians, those suburbs could be obligated to nullify their zoning ordinances and build high-density, low-income housing at their own expense. At that point, those suburbs would have to direct advertising to potential minority occupants in the Greater Philadelphia region. Essentially, this is what HUD has imposed on Westchester County, New York, the most famous dry -run for AFFH. 3/2/2016 5:201 lational Review Online I Print http://www.nationalreview.com/node/421389/pri, In other words, by obligating all localities receiving HUD funding to compare their demographics to the region as a whole, AFFH effectively nullifies municipal boundaries. Even with no allegation or evidence of intentional discrimination, the mere existence of a demographic imbalance in the region as a whole must be remedied by a given suburb. Suburbs will literally be forced to import population from elsewhere, at their own expense and in violation of their own laws. In effect, suburbs will have been annexed by a city -dominated region, their laws suspended and their tax money transferred to erstwhile non-residents. And to make sure the new high-density housing developments are close to ``community assets" such as schools, transportation, parks, and jobs, bedroom suburbs will be forced to develop mini -downtowns. In effect, they will become more like the cities their residents chose to leave in the first place. It's easy to miss the de facto absorption of local governments into their surrounding regions by AFFH, because the rule disguises it. AFFH does contain a provision that allows individual jurisdictions to formally join a regional consortium. Yet the rule leaves it up to local authorities to decide whether to enter regional groupings — or at least the rule appears to make participation in regional decision-making voluntary. In truth, however, just by obligating grantees to compare their housing to the demographics of the greater metropolitan area, and remedy any disparities, HUD has effectively turned every suburban jurisdiction into a helpless satellite of its nearby city and region. We can see this, because the final version of AFFH includes much more than just the provisions of the rule itself. The final text of the regulation ation incorporates summaries of the many public comments on the preliminary rule, along with replies to those comments by HUD. This amounts to a running dialogue between leftist housing activists trying to make the rule more controlling, local bureaucrats overwhelmed by paperwork, a public outraged by federal overreach, and HUD itself. Read carefully, the section of the rule on "Regional Collaboration and Regional Analysis" (especially pages 188-203), reveals one of AFFH's key secrets: It doesn't really matter whether a local government decides to formally join a regional consortium or not. HUD can effectively draft any suburb into its surrounding region, just by forcing it to compare its demographics with the metropolitan area as a whole. At one point (pages 189-191), for example, commenters directly note that the obligation to compare local and regional data, and remedy any disparities, amounts to forcing a lational Review Online I Print http://www.nationalreview.com/node/421389/pri jurisdiction to ignore its own boundaries. Without contradicting this assertion, HUD then insists that all jurisdictions will have to engage in exactly such regional analysis. Comments from leftist housing activists repeatedly call on HUD to pressure local jurisdictions into regional planning consortia. At every point, however, HUD declines to demand that local governments formally join such regional collaborations. Yet each time the issue comes up, HUD assures the housing activists that just by compelling local jurisdictions to compare their demographics with the region as a whole, suburbs will effectively be forced to address demographic disparities at the total metropolitan level (e.g., page 196). When housing activists worry that a suburb with few poor or minority residents will argue that it has no need to develop low-income housing, HUD makes it clear that the regulation as written already effectively forces all suburbs to accommodate the needs of non-residents (pages 198-199). Again, HUD stresses that the mere obligation to analyze, compare, and remedy demographic disparities at the local and regional levels amounts to a kind of compulsory regionalism. HUD's language is coy and careful. The Obama administration clearly wants to avoid alarming local governments, so it underplays the extent to which they have been effectively dissolved and regionalized by AFFH. At the same time, HUD wants to tip off its leftist allies that this is exactly what has happened. At one level, then, the apparatus of formal and voluntary collaboration in a regional consortium is a bit of a ruse. AFFH amounts to an annexation of suburbs by cities, whether the suburbs like it or not. Yet the formal, regional groupings enabled by the rule are far from harmless. Comments from housing advocates (pages 194-197), for example, chide HUD for failing to include a mention in AFFH of the hundreds of federally -funded regional plans already being developed by leftist activists across the country (the "Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant" program). These plans entail far more than imposing low-income housing quotas on the suburbs. They embody the regionalist program of densifying housing in suburb and city alike, and they structure transportation spending in such a way as to make suburban living far less convenient and workable. HUD replies that these plans can indeed be used by regional consortia to fulfill their obligations under AFFH. 3/2/2016 5:201 lational Review Online I Print http://www.nationalreview.com/node/421389/prL So a city could formally join with some less -well-off inner -ring suburbs and present one of these comprehensive regionalist dream -plans as the product of its consortium. At that point, HUD could pressure reluctant upper -middle-class suburbs to embrace the entire plan on pain of losing their federal funds. In this way, AFFH could force the full menu of regionalist policies—not just low-income housing quotas—onto the suburbs. There are plenty of ways in which HUD can pressure a suburb to bend to its will. The techniques go far beyond threats to withhold federal funds. The recent Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housinjand Community Affairs a Inclusive Communities Proiect has opened the door to "disparate impact" suits against suburbs by HUD and private groups alike. That is, any demographic imbalance, whether intentional or not, can be treated by the courts as de facto discrimination. Just by completing the obligatory demographic analysis demanded by AFFH—with HUD -provided data, and structured according to HUD requirements—a suburb could be handing the government evidence to be used in such a lawsuit. Worse, AFFH demands that suburbs account for their demographic disparities, and forces them to choose from a menu of HUD -provided explanations. So if a suburb follows HUD's lead and formally attributes demographic "imbalances" to its zoning laws, the federal government has what amounts to a signed confession to present in a disparate -impact suit seeking to nullify local zoning regulations. With a (forced) paper "confession" from nearly every suburb in the country in hand, HUD can use the threat of lawsuits to press reluctant municipalities to buy into a regional consortium's every plan. Regionalists consider the entire city -suburb system bigoted and illegitimate, so there are few local governments that HUD would not be able to slap with a disparate -impact suit on regionalist premises. It's unlikely that any suburb has a perfect demographic and "asset" balance in every category. All HUD has to do is decide which suburban governments it wants to lean on. With every locality vulnerable to a suit, every locality can be made to play the regionalist game. Leftist housing activists worry that AFFH never specifies the penalties a suburb will face for imbalances in its housing patterns. These activists just don't get it. A thoughtful reading of AFFH, including its extraordinary "dialogue" section, makes it clear that HUD can go after any suburb, any time it wants to. The controlling consideration will be politics. HUD has got to boil the frog slowly enough to prevent him from jumping. Jational Review Online I Print http://www.nationalreview.com/node/4213"9/pru It will take time for the truth to emerge. Just by issuing AFFH, the Obama administration has effectively annexed America's suburbs to its cities. The old American practice of local self-rule is gone. We've switched over to a federally controlled regionalist system. Now it's strictly a question of how obvious Obama and the Democrats want to make this change — and when they intend to bring the hammer down. The only thing that can restore local control is joint action by a Republican president and a Republican congress to rescind AFFH and restrict the reach of disparate impact litigation. We'll know after November 8, 2016. — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at comments. kurtzgnationalreview. com GET FREE EXCLUSIVE NR CONTENT Submit 111911A]A s•I)n i