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or I seek protection on the major items of my existence. I will admit that I carry insurance and fire insurance on my furniture and so on in my home, and if we had the ability to provide a program as broad as that, it certainly deserves study. But primarily, if we got one to protect the home, I would be very happy.
Senator LEHMAX. Well, I mean furniture is part of the home.
Senator LEHMAN. It may have been accumulated at great sacrifice over a long time, of course.
Mr. Mason. I am sure that in the Senator's part of the country and mine we do accumulate furniture over a long time. In our house, everything goes 2 or 3 generations back.
Senator LEHMAN. Well, even the furniture from 4 or 5 years back entailed a sacrifice to acquire. It must be taken into consideration and should be taken into consideration, substantially as much as the structure of the house itself.
I think those are the questions I have. Thank you.
Next we will hear from Mr. Follin. Mr. Follin, do you have a prepared statement?
STATEMENT OF JAMES W. FOLLIN, DIRECTOR, URBAN RENEWAL
ADMINISTRATION Mr. Follin. Senator, I have a prepared statement, but if it pleases you, I would like to file it for the record and only comment on 2 or 3 phases of it.
Senator LEHMAN. That would be very satisfactory, because we still have a number of witnesses and the hour is late.
Mr. Follin. The Urban Renewal Administration, as you know, is a recasting of the Division of Slum Clearance and Urban Redevelopment that has a responsibility for title I of the Housing Act of 1949 and the amendments made in 1954 which broaden the program to where it got the name Urban Renewal. I thought I would explain that so you would understand.
Now, our program, which provides for the clearance of land and its preparation for rebuilding, naturally is a program that is of interest to the communities that have been damaged in these floods. Our programs, of course, are primarily of interest in the rebuilding stage, not in the first stage of the flood. To some extent, as I will explain in a moment, in preventing conditions of this kind.
Now, Mr. Meistrell has already pointed out the applications which we have received and the ones that are in the making, and I will merely file this statement with the reporter in order that you may have the details of it.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF JAMES W. FOLLIN, DIRECTOR, URBAN RENEWAL ADMINISTRATION
URA has approved title 1 financial assistance for Scranton, Pa., and Waterbury. Conn.
Planning advances totaling $145,000 for 2 urban renewal areas in Scranton, Pa., were approved on September 16, 1955. Capital-grant funds totaling $2,01.5,000 were also reserved. One of the Scranton areas known as the Petersburg urban renewal area, consisting of a 41-acre tract for which financial assistance has been granted, was reported to the almost entirely inundated to a depth of some 4 feet above ground level by floodwaters. Many of the 91 homes in the area were demolished. Tentative renewal plans for this area call for the demolition or removal of all structures and the conversion of the area to park purposes.
The second area, known as the South Side Flats urban renewal area, embraces some 170 acres along Roaring Brook and the Lackawanna River. According to present tentative plans, 107 acres in the project area which were completely flooded will be cleared of 600 residential structures and redeveloped primarily for industrial and commercial uses under the Scranton plan for industrial development.
Waterbury, Conn., was granted a planning advance of $60,348 for a 30-acre proposed clearance project on September 24, 1955. The capital grant was estimated at $666,000.
The Naugatuck River overflowed at the site in addition to inundating a large part of the city's business section. The area is to be replaced for park, public highway, and residential uses. Redevelopment will be coordinated with the United States Army Corps of Engineers so as to minimize future flood hazards.
Before the flood there were some 110 dwelling units in the area occupied by about the same number of families. Many of the structures were swept away and only the foundations remain.
The HHFA regional office in New York has received additional applications for financial assistance from the Connecticut towns of Naugatuck, Torrington, and Winsted. In addition the regional office reports applications being prepared with the assistance of the urban renewal technical staff in the following 10 Connecticut communities : Putnam, Windsor, East Granby, Avon, Ansonia, New Hartford, Beacon Falls, Seymour, and Washington. These communities propose to make application for financial assistance on the basis of the flood damage caused by Hurricane Diane on August 18 and 19, 1955. The ability of many of these communities to carry out urban renewal activities may depend on appropriations by the State legislature of funds to meet the city's one-third share of the cost. It is reported that such assistance will be requested when the State legislature meets in November.
The aftermath of the more recent flood conditions in the New England area is also being felt. It is understood that the communities of Norwalk and Stanford, Conn., propose to reactivate dormant urban renewal projects conceived under the Housing Act of 1949 because of recent flood conditions and its effect on these areas.
The HHFA regional office in Philadelphia is currently assisting the communities of Easton and East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania in the preparation of applications for financial assistance as a result of flood damage. AID TO DISASTER AREAS THROUGH URBAN PLANNING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
SECTION 701 OF THE HOUSING ACT OF 1954 Authority
Federal assistance in the replanning of small municipalities, metropolitan areas and urban regions affected by disasters is available through the regular program of urban planning assistance authorized by section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954. This assistance is available in the form of grants to qualified State, metropolitan, and regional planning agencies. A Federal grant may not exceed 50 percent of the estimated cost of the planning work.
The Congress has thus far appropriated $3 million (out of an original authorization of $5 million) for the 701 program. Approximately $324,000 of this amount has been committed and applications are on hand for an additional $426,500.
The law makes no provision for grants directly to municipalities. Grants for planning assistance to small municipalities (under 25,000) may be made to qualified State planning agencies to aid them in providing the desired assistance. The State planning agency must initiate the request for Federal aid and must match the Federal grant. It may provide technical assistance either through its own staff or through contractual arrangements with private consultants or other qualified persons or organizations.
Grants for urban planning in metropolitan areas and urbanized regions (for example, the Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut) may be made either to an official State planning agency or to an official metropolitan or regional planning agency. In each case the agency must match the Federal grant.
Planning assistance to disaster areas
In fiscal 1955 financial assistance was given by the Urban Renewal Adminis. tration to the Rhode Island Development Council under the provisions of section 701 to help in making surveys, studies, and plans for readjustments in land use and building development intended to lessen the danger to human life, damage to property, and disruption of community services from recurring burricanes and other storms in the Rhode Island shore area. This was the first grant approved under the urban planning assistance provision of the Housing Act of 1954. The grant of $16,000 provided to Rhode Island was on a 50-50 matching basis.
To date in fiscal 1956 URA has given assistance to flood-stricken areas in New England and North Carolina under the urban planning assistance program. Immediately following the disastrous floods which followed in the wake of harri. cane Diane on August 18 and 19, 1955, a number of the stricken communities in the State, anxious to redevelop their flood-damaged areas according to carefully prepared plans, sought planning assistance from the State development commission. Since the communities were hard hit financially the development commission agreed to provide technical planning assistance on a temporary basis with an allocation from the governor's contingency fund and to seek financial aid from the Federal Government under section 701 to expand and continue this program. Qualified city planning advisers from Connecticut and neighboring States have been retained by the commission and their services made available at no expense to the communities requesting planning assistance.
In response to the development commission's request for aid we quickly re. oriented the urban planning assistance program to immediately help that agency in providing the needed assistance to the stricken communities with both their immediate and long-range planning problems. Technical personnel from our New York and Atlanta regional offices assisted staff of the development commission in analyzing the planning problems of flooded communities and in preparing applications for urban planning grants under the Federal-aid program. Upon the basis of an application received from the development commission on September 30, an allocation of $87,509 was approved on October 5 to match an equal amount of State funds. These funds will be used to provide assistance to the following 14 flood-stricken communities of less than 25,000 population, in planning their reconstruction and future development. Ansonia Naugatuck
Stafford It is understood that with other State funds the commission is providing planning assistance to larger flood-stricken communities.
Under the State- sponsored federally aided planning assistance program, each of the assisted communities will prepare a comprehensive plan for its future development, including the relocation of commercial, industrial, and residential districts that are vulnerable to flood. The comprehensive plans and codes and ordinances developed in this work will give the communities a sound basis for undertaking urban renewal activities under the Housing Act of 1954. In many cases flood damage was heaviest in blighted areas that are eligible for Federal assistance for urban renewal projects.
The Connecticut Development Commission has also submitted an application for a Federal matching grant of $95,117 to aid in the replanning of the 3 valley regions which were hardest hit by the flood—those of the Naugatuck, Farmington, and Quinebaug Rivers. Planning work in these regions will concentrate on the adoption of flood-control measures, the relocation and improvement of highways and other transport facilities, and general improvement in the pattern of urban settlement and industrial development The regional studies will aid in the development of specific city planning measures for the communities in the respective river valleys.
While to date we have not received requests for assistance from other States in the Northeast in which communities suffered severe floods resulting from the 1955 hurricanes, we have been informed by the directors in charge of planning assistance in the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Department of Commerce that surveys now underway may indicate the need for Federal aid in the replanning work.
In the State of North Carolina, following Hurricane Ione, technical personnel from our Atlanta office assisted the University of North Carolina in preparing for the Governor a prospectus of reconnaissance studies to be undertaken in communities in the eastern part of the State which have been subject to disastrous floods resulting from recurring hurricanes. The purpose of the studies is to identify the major rehabilitation and development problems resulting from recurring hurricanes, and suggest planning and other measures for a long-range defense against the hurricane hazards, It is not expected that assistance under the section 701 program will be necessary in connection with the reconnaissance studies, but it may be requested for later phases of the work.
Mr. FOLLIN. There are two phases of it that I think I should comment on very briefly.
In the first place, answering the question which you raised as to whether the area has to be blighted before the flood, the law says that an area, to be eligible, must be a slum area, a blighted, deteriorated, or deteriorating area. I would assume, therefore, that we would have to consider the condition of the area at the time the Federal aid is applied for. Therefore, it would not make much difference whether the damage had been done by natural causes or the flood. It is the condition at the time they ask for the assistance which would govern it.
In that connection, if it is the desire of the committee, after this investigation, to look to this law for possible aid in other disasters, it very probably could be much simplified from the standpoint of floods by amendment of the act. And I simply throw that out to you, sir, in your consideration of the problem.
Senator LEHMAN. I am not quite sure I follow your suggestion.
Mr. FOLLIN. In order to apply this act, this 1949 act, as amended in 1954, to a flooded area, it is necessary to file certain prerequisites, which might be, in this case, waived because of expediting action for the community.
Senator LEHMAN. You are referring to urban redeveloping.
Mr. FOLLIN. Yes, that is right. So I simply indicate that the act could be made much more useful in conditions of this kind if it were amended to eliminate some of the prerequisites.
The second thing is, of course, that if one of these areas does qualify and is put under Federal aid, you can give some measure of help to this distressed homeowner. In other words, you can pay fair value for what you find on the site at the time the site becomes a project under this law. Now, it is not possible to pay that owner for a house which has been destroyed or a house which has been swept away by the flood. But to the extent that there are improvements on the site, the law requires that the project shall pay fair value. So it does give some aid, and help, to the distressed property owner. And I just wanted to point that out to you, sir.
Senator LEHMAN. That might be helpful for a damaged house.
Mr. FOLLIN. Yes, sir; that might be quite helpful to a damaged house. But if the house is entirely gone, there just is no possible way the appraiser could recognize it as being a part of the improvement on the site.
Now, Senator, as the concluding thing, we have made available under section 701 of the 1954 act assistance to the State of Connecticut in making urban planning assistance available to 14 communities. Now, that is community, or city planning. And that planning of itself may be of great help in preventing future situations of this kind.
Also, there are pending 3 applications for the 3 river valleys in the State of Connecticut where also the effect of the planning may be to prevent use of land in many cases that should not be put, for instance, to residential or even commercial or industrial use. So the planning assistance that is being given in that area may reap some benefits in the future.
Now, it is of interest in the case of 2 projects which are in Scranton, Pa., to find that under 1 project the reuse plan is entirely of parks and playgrounds or parking areas; no buildings to be erected, for the reason that it seems impractical to provide flood protection for that
And in this case, therefore, there will be a considerable markdown in the value of the land from where it has been in residential use to its use for parks.
In the second project in Scranton, however, it is contemplated that the land in its reuse shall be for commercial and industrial purposes, which means an increase in value of the land for future use, because there it is planned to provide this reuse in connection with flood-prevention programs.
So you have a great variety of conditions, both preceding and following the flood, in its reuse—and many valuable benefits can be bestowed on these communities through our program.
I would be glad, Senator, to answer any questions.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you very much, indeed. That has been very helpful.
Senator LEHMAN. Mr. Hazeltine and Mr. Olmstead.
Mr. MEISTRELL. Mr. Hazeltine is not here, sir, but Mr. Seward is here and he will be pleased to testify in his behalf.
Senator LEHMAN. We would be glad, indeed, to hear from him.
STATEMENT OF PERRY F. SEWARD, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER,
COMMUNITY FACILITIES ADMINISTRATION
Mr. SEWARD. Senator Lehman, I am Perry F. Seward, Deputy Commissioner, Community Facilities Administration. In conection with this disaster situation, there are very limited activities which we can get into with respect to aid. The two programs which we have currently under operation, which can be adapted somewhat to this situation, is our advance-planning program and our public facilities-loan program.
Under the advance-planning program, we are authorized to advance money to States and local public bodies for the preparation of plans for needed public works. This is an advance which is repayable at the time the planned project is placed under construction.
In the disaster area, we have currently approved three projects, all of which are in East Stroudsburg, Pa. There are quite a number of additional applications currently in process which we anticipate will be approved within a reasonable length of time.
With respect to the public facility loan end of it, the law requires that those loans be properly secured. We do not have any definite applications yet. There are several which we understand are in the making. When they are filed, they will be given just as prompt consideration as we can possibly give them.
In this disaster operation, I was for many years Commissioner of Community Facilities and directed the disaster operations under the