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AGLO 1978 No. 15 - May 04, 1978
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- PLANNING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS AGENCY ‑- QUALIFICATION AS PUBLIC HOUSING AGENCY

The Washington State Planning and Community Affairs Agency, under chapter 43.63A RCW, is in possession of such powers and functions as are necessary to allow it to serve as a "public housing agency" for the limited purpose of receiving and distributing federal funds under Title II, § 8(b)(2) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (PL 93-383).

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                                                                    May 4, 1978

Honorable Eugene Wiegman
Acting Director
Planning and Community Affairs Agency
400 Capitol Center Building
Olympia, Washington 98504                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1978 No. 15

Dear Sir:

            This is written in response to your recent request for our opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Does the Planning and Community Affairs Agency, under chapter 43.63A RCW, possess such powers and functions as to allow it to serve as a "public housing agency" for the limited purpose of receiving and distributing federal funds under Title II, § 8(b)(2) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (PL 93-383)?

            We answer this question in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Title II, § 8(b)(2) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (PL 93-383), since codified in 42 U.S.C.A. § 1437 f(b)(2), authorities the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enter into annual contribution contracts with "public housing agencies" pursuant to which such agencies may, in turn,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] enter into contracts to make federally funded assistance payments to owners who construct low income housing.  The term "public housing agency" is defined by this 1974 federal act, and specifically in Title II, § 3(6) thereof1/ to mean:

            ". . . any State, county, municipality, or other governmental entity or public body (or agency or instrumentality thereof) which is authorized to engage in or assist in the development or operation of low-income housing."

            In responding to your question we note, significantly, that this definition is couched in disjunctive terms.  Bearing that in mind, we believe that the Washington State Planning and Community Affairs Agency is presently possessed of sufficient statutory authority to enable it to qualify.  Specifically, noting both the expression of purpose which is set forth in RCW 43.63.0102/ and the substantive powers which  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] have been granted to this agency by RCW 43.63A.070-43.63A.0803/ it is our opinion that the Planning and Community Affairs  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] Agency, although not itself authorized either to engage in the development of low income housing or actually to operate such housing, is empowered by its enabling legislation ". . . to assist in the development . . . of low-income housing . . ." as those terms appear to be used in § 3(6),supra.       

 [[Orig. Op. Page 5]]  It is hoped that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General


PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General


THOMAS F. CARR
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/42 U.S.C.A. § 1437 a(6).

2/"The legislature finds that (1) the rapid growth being experienced by many communities within the state presents new and significant problems for governmental unitsin providing the necessary public services and in planning and developing desirable living and working areas; (2) the full and effective use of the many programs of the federal government affecting community development necessitates full cooperation and coordination of existing state and local governmental agencies; (3)the coordination of existing state activities which affect the communites of the state requires the establishment of machinery within the state government to administer new and existing programs to meet these problems; (4) it is the urgent responsibility of the state to assist commmunities in meeting these problems in whatever way possible including technical and financial assistance.  It is therefore the purpose of this chapter to establish a state agency for state planning, to aid in providing financial and technical assistance to the communities of the state and to otherwise assist in such community planning and development in order to promote health and living standards and conditions that the welfare of the people of the state require."  (Emphasis supplied)

3/RCW 43.63A.070 reads, in material part, as follows:

            "The planning and community affairs agency shall have the following planning functions and responsibilities:

            ". . .

            "(2)Prepare a state comprehensive plan as the state's long range public declaration of intent in developmental policy, for programming its facilities and services and for guidance of private activites and public programs at all levels of government.  Plan elements may include but shall not be limited to transportation, scenic highways, public facilities, recreation, open spaces, natural resources,patterns of urban and rural development, and quality of the natural and man-made environment.

            "(3) Provide assistance and coordination to other state agencies for preparation of agency plans and programs.

            "(4)Provide general coordination and review of plans in functional areas of state government as may be necessary for receipt of federal or state funds;

            ". . ."  (Emphasis supplied)

            RCW 43.63A.080 reads, in material part, as follows:

            "The planning and community affairs agency shall have the following community affairs functions and responsibilities:

            "(1)Administration or coordination of state programs and projects relating to community affairs for the planning and carrying out of the acquisition, preservation, use and development of land and provision of public facilities and services for fully carrying out the state's role in related federal grant or loan programs.

            "(a)Where not otherwise authorized by state law, authorize state financial participation with cities, towns, counties, and other municipal corporations in financing public works projects and service programs.  The assisted projects and programs shall be consistent with local, regional and state comprehensive plans and policies.

            ". . .

            "(2)Cooperate with and provide technical and financial assistance to counties, cities, municipal corporations, governmental conferences or councils, regional planning commissions, parks or recreation boards, community development groups, community action agencies, Indian tribes, and similar agencies created for the purposes of aiding and encouraging an orderly productive and coordinated development of the state, and to strengthen local planning and responsibility and capability.

            "(3) Assist the governor in coordinating the activities of state agencies which have an impact on the solution of community development problems and the implementation of community plans.

            "(4)Encourage and, when requested, assist the efforts of local governments to develop mutual and cooperative solutions to their common problems.

            ". . ."

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