Upon the written request of the governments that designated and approved an area that has been designated as an enterprise zone under section 11501 of this title, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (or, with respect to any rule issued under title V of the Housing Act of 1949 [42 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.], the Secretary of Agriculture) may, in order to further the job creation, community development, or economic revitalization objectives of the zone, waive or modify all or part of any rule that the Secretary has authority to promulgate, as such rule pertains to the carrying out of projects, activities, or undertakings within the zone.
No provision of this section may be construed to authorize the Secretary to waive or modify any rule adopted to carry out a statute or Executive order that prohibits, or the purpose of which is to protect persons against, discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, age, or handicap.
A request under subsection (a) shall specify the rule or rules to be waived or modified and the change proposed, and shall briefly describe why the change would promote the achievement of the job creation, community development, or economic revitalization objectives of the enterprise zone. If a request is made to the Secretary of Agriculture, the requesting governments shall send a copy of the request to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development at the time the request is made.
If a request is disapproved, the Secretary shall inform the requesting governments in writing of the reasons therefor and shall, to the maximum extent possible, work with such governments to develop an alternative, consistent with the standards contained in subsection (d).
A waiver or modification of a rule under subsection (a) shall not be considered to be a rule, rulemaking, or regulation under chapter 5 of title 5. To facilitate reaching a decision on any requested waiver or modification, the Secretary may seek the views of interested parties and, if the views are to be sought, determine how they should be obtained and to what extent, if any, they should be taken into account in considering the request. The Secretary shall publish a notice in the Federal Register stating any waiver or modification of a rule under this section.
In the event that the Secretary proposes to amend a rule for which a waiver or modification under this section is in effect, the Secretary shall not change the waiver or modification to impose additional requirements unless the Secretary determines, consistent with standards contained in subsection (d), that such action is necessary.
No waiver or modification of a rule under this section shall remain in effect for a longer period than the period for which the enterprise zone designation remains in effect for the area in which the waiver or modification applies.