04 NCAC 19L .1002          CITIZEN PARTICIPATION

(a)  Each applicant and recipient shall provide citizens with an opportunity for meaningful involvement on a continuing basis and for participation in the planning, implementation and assessment of the program.  Each applicant and recipient shall provide information to citizens, hold public hearings, provide for timely responses to citizens' complaints, and certify that it is following a detailed Citizen Participation Plan as in (b) through (h) of this Rule.  All public hearings shall be held by the governing board of the applicant or recipient.

(b)  Citizen participation in the application process.

(1)           Each applicant for CDBG funds shall:

(A)          Solicit and respond in a timely manner to views and proposals of citizens, particularly low‑ and moderate‑income persons, members of minority groups, and residents of blighted areas where activities are proposed.  Applicants shall respond in writing to written citizen comments.  Responses shall be made within 10 calendar days of receipt of the citizen comment, when practicable.

(B)          Provide technical assistance to facilitate citizen participation, where requested.  The technical assistance shall be provided to groups representative of persons of low‑ and moderate‑income that request such assistance in developing proposals.  The level and type shall be determined by the applicant.

(C)          Provide notices of public hearings in a timely manner to all citizens and in such a way as to make them understandable to non‑English speaking persons.  Hearings must be held at times and locations convenient to potential or actual beneficiaries and with accommodations for persons with disabilities.  A notice of the public hearing shall be published at least once in the nonlegal section of a newspaper having general circulation in the area.  The notice shall be published not less than ten days nor more than 25 days before the date fixed for the hearing.  The notice of public hearing to obtain citizens' views after the application has been prepared, but prior to the submission of the application to the Division, shall contain a description of the proposed project(s) including the proposed project location, activities to be carried out, and the total costs of activities.  The notice of the public hearing shall also contain the language for submitting objections contained in the Part (b)(2)(A) of this Rule.

(D)          Schedule hearings to obtain citizens' views and to respond to citizen proposals at times and locations which permit broad participation, particularly by low‑ and moderate‑income persons, members of minority groups, handicapped persons, and residents of blighted neighborhoods and project areas.

(E)           Conduct one public hearing during the planning process to allow citizens the opportunity to express views and proposals prior to formulation of the application, except that applicants in the Urgent Needs category are exempt from holding this public hearing.

(F)           Conduct one public hearing after the application has been prepared but prior to submission of the application to the Division.

(2)           Submitting objections to the Division.

(A)          Persons wishing to object to the approval of an application by the Division shall submit to the Division their objections in writing.  The Division shall consider objections made only on the following grounds:

(i)            The applicant's description of the needs and objectives is plainly inconsistent with available facts and data,

(ii)           The activities to be undertaken are plainly inappropriate to meeting the needs and objectives identified by the applicant, and

(iii)          The application does not comply with the requirements of this Subchapter or other applicable laws.

(B)          All objections shall include an identification of the requirements not met.  In the case of objections made on the grounds that the description of needs and objectives is plainly inconsistent with available facts and data, the objection shall include the facts and data upon which the objection is based.

(c)  Citizen Participation Plan.  Recipients shall develop and adopt, by resolution of their governing board, a written citizen participation plan developed in accordance with all provisions of this Rule and which:

(1)           provides for and encourages citizen participation with particular emphasis on participation by persons of low‑ and moderate‑income who are residents of slum and blight areas and of areas in which CDBG funds are proposed to be used;

(2)           provides citizens with reasonable and timely access to local meetings, information, and records relating to the recipient's proposed and actual use of funds;

(3)           provides for technical assistance to groups representative of persons of low‑ and moderate‑income that request such assistance in accordance with Part (b)(1)(B) of this Rule;

(4)           provides for public hearings to obtain citizen views and to respond to proposals and questions at all stages of the community development program in accordance with Paragraphs (b), (f), and (g) of this Rule;

(5)           provides a procedure for developing written responses to written complaints and grievances within ten calendar days of receipt of the complaint.  The procedure shall include all provisions of Paragraph (d) of this Rule; and

(6)           identifies how the needs of non‑English speaking residents will be met in the case of public hearings where a significant number of non‑English speaking residents can be reasonably expected to participate.

(d)  The recipient shall develop and adopt a written complaint procedure to respond to citizen complaints involving the CDBG program.  The complaint procedure shall be applicable through the life of the grant and available to the general public.  It shall specify that the recipient will respond in writing to written citizen complaints within 10 calendar days of receipt of the complaint.  The procedure shall include a phone number for further information or clarification on the complaint procedure and shall identify any local procedures or appeals process that would normally be used by the recipient to address citizen complaints.  The complaint procedure shall also state that if a citizen lodging a complaint is dissatisfied with the local response, then that person may direct the complaint to the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance.

(e)  Citizen participation during program implementation.  Citizens shall have the opportunity to comment on the implementation of a Community Development Program throughout the term of the program.  Recipients shall solicit and respond to the views and proposals of citizens in the same manner as in Part (b)(1)(A) of this Rule.

(f)  Citizen participation in the program amendment process.

(1)           Recipient procedures.

(A)          Recipients proposing amendments which require prior Division approval in accordance with Rule .0910 of this Subchapter shall to conduct one public hearing prior to submission of the amendment to the Division in the same manner as in Part (b)(1)(C) of this Rule.

(B)          Each recipient shall respond to citizen objections and comments in the same manner as in Part (b)(1)(A) of this Rule.

(2)           Submitting Objections to the Division.

(A)          Persons wishing to object to the approval of an amendment by the Division shall make such objection in writing.  The Division shall consider objections made only on the following grounds:

(i)            The recipient's description of needs and objectives is plainly inconsistent with available facts and data,

(ii)           The activities to be undertaken are plainly inappropriate to meeting the needs and objectives identified by the recipient, and

(iii)          The amendment does not comply with the requirements of this Section or other applicable laws and regulations.

(B)          All objections shall include an identification of the requirements not met.  In the case of objections made on the grounds that the description of needs and objectives is plainly inconsistent with available facts and data, the objection shall include the facts and data upon which the objection is based.

(g)  Citizen participation in the program closeout process.

(1)           Recipients shall conduct one public hearing to assess program performance during the grant closeout process and prior to the actual closeout of the grant in the same manner as in Part (b)(1)(C) of this Rule.

(2)           Recipients shall continue to solicit and respond to citizen comment in the same manner as in Part (b)(1)(A) of this Rule until such time as the grant program is closed.

(h)  Persons may submit written comments to the Division at any time concerning the applicant's or recipient's failure to comply with the requirements contained in this Subchapter.

(i)  All records of public hearings, citizens' comments, responses to comments and other relevant documents and papers shall be kept in accordance with Rule .0911 of this Subchapter.  All program records shall be accessible to citizens in accordance with Rule .0911(b) of this Subchapter.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 143B‑10; 143B‑431; 42 U.S.C.A. 5304(a)(2); 24 C.F.R. 570.486;

Eff. July 1, 1982;

Amended Eff. August 1, 1998; June 1, 1993; September 1, 1990; May 1, 1988; March 1, 1984;

Temporary Amendment Eff. January 1, 2001;

Amended Eff. August 1, 2002.