Provide planning grants to local governments
Cities and counties exert substantial influence on development patterns through land use regulations, investment decisions, and community plans. States can help local governments improve their planning by developing a state planning grant program, which can be an incentive for local governments to adopt development regulations and capital investment strategies that achieve and reinforce state development goals.
Planning grant programs should support actions that can be replicated across the state and that have the potential to become state or national models. Emphasis should also be placed on funding projects that change development patterns, such as subdivision codes, zoning, capital investment policies, storm-water management requirements, and parking policies. Funding could be used for such activities as community visioning events, policy analysis, plan updates, training of elected and appointed officials, public education, code audits and code revision.
Because recipients often use grant money to hire consultants, the state planning agency should help grant recipients prepare requests for proposals. The state agency also should review proposals to ensure that grant recipients hire the most qualified contractors and that grant funds are used in accordance with the grant program's intent. Additionally, applicants should be allowed to use grants to meet the matching requirements of other state programs, such as the cost of planning activities for open-space acquisition and brownfield redevelopment. Such actions can support and leverage other state investments.
- Colorado’s Heritage Grant Program
The Colorado Office of Smart Growth coordinates the state’s annual planning grant program. Towns, cities, counties, and special districts are all eligible recipients under the program. Since 2000, $1.8 million in grant funds has been provided to over 100 communities in the state, with a suggested $50,000 maximum grant amount per recipient.
— Colorado’s Heritage Grant Program