CAP Team Seeks Input on Smart Growth Alternatives and Emissions Reduction Measures
As a part of the Climate Action Plan Update (CAP Update), the County is holding a series of public workshops throughout the year to present project updates and solicit feedback.
In June, the County facilitated a Smart Growth Alternatives workshop, followed by an Emissions Reduction Measure workshop on the energy, water and wastewater, and solid waste emissions reduction sectors in July.
For those that were unable to attend these workshops, we’ve provided a quick summary for you below. You can also find recordings and additional information from all of our previous CAP Update workshops here.
Smart Growth Alternatives Workshop
To comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the County is preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (Supplemental EIR) that evaluates the environmental impacts associated with the CAP Update. The Supplemental EIR will include new project alternatives including at least one smart growth alternative to reduce vehicle miles traveled. The smart growth alternative may describe ways to achieve a more compact, efficient, and environmentally sensitive pattern of development in the unincorporated county that focuses future growth away from rural areas and closer to existing and planned job centers and public facilities, while preserving open space and making more efficient use of existing urban infrastructure. At the June workshop, the County presented an overview of the CAP Update, described our goals and objectives related to developing a smart growth alternative for inclusion in the Supplemental EIR, and solicited feedback from attendees to aid in the development of smart growth alternatives for the project.
Attendees provided feedback to three questions:
- What are areas in the unincorporated county that you consider smart growth?
- What incentives would you propose to encourage growth in smart growth areas?
- What dis-incentives would you propose to encourage growth in smart growth areas?
Notably, respondents suggested characteristics of areas they consider smart growth, such as proximity to transit, away from wildfire risk, and in village cores where infill density can be increased. Proposed incentives included increasing density by way of multi-family units, streamlining permitting, and financing options and tax incentives. Proposed Smart Growth dis-incentives included additional compliance, permit restrictions, and fees.
You can view a recording of the June 30th smart growth-focused workshop here (in English).
Energy/Water and Wastewater/Solid Waste Emissions Reduction Measures Workshop
As part of the CAP Update measure development workshop series, this workshop provided an overview of the CAP project components and will act as a foundation for developing vision statements of an equitable, net-zero carbon emissions future for energy, water/wastewater, and solid waste sectors. Public input was solicited through a series of interactive poll questions and discussion forum with the intention of using the public feedback to inform the preparation of vision statements.
County staff described what energy, water/wastewater, and solid waste emissions are, where they come from, and how the County goes from understanding these emissions to building measures that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to the specific sector use.
For example, energy emissions are generated from two sources: electricity consumption and natural gas consumption. Together, these contribute to 33% of the total GHG emissions in the unincorporated area. Electricity and natural gas consumptions are categorized in the emissions inventory by the location or use where they were consumed, known as “consumption sources”. These consumption sources include residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural buildings, and County facilities.
County staff then showed an infographic to indicate on a more residential level, what emissions produced by the energy sector means:
Emissions produced by the energy sector
Our homes and County facilities rely on energy to support our basic needs and comfort. This includes electricity to keep the lights on, power appliances, and to watch our favorite TV shows. While this activity itself isn’t generating emissions in our homes, the County’s inventory accounts for how that electricity is made. Many power generators create GHG emissions to produce the electricity that powers our homes and facilities.
We also generate GHGs in our homes when we use natural gas or propane powered appliances such as hot water heaters, gas-powered stoves, or propane barbeques. These activities create GHGs directly as a result of burning natural gas or propane.
Following the deep dive into energy emissions, County staff led a visioning exercise through a series of poll questions to derive feedback about the sector and possible visionary reduction measures:
- What should be considered for the energy sector to achieve a net-zero emissions future?
- What should NOT be considered for the energy sector?
- How can equity be considered for the energy sector, while still achieving net-zero emissions? What else should be considered related to equity?
- Is there anything else that should be considered for the energy sector?
- The feedback that respondents provided will be used to create vision statements that inform the development of reduction measures.
If you want to find out more about water/wastewater or solid waste emissions or what people had to say about these sectors, you can view a recording of the July 28th energy, water/wastewater, and solid waste emissions reduction measures-focused workshop here (in English) and here (in Spanish).
What is next?
The County invites you to participate in our continuing online CAP Update measure development workshop series. Our next meeting will provide an overview of CAP project components and will act as a foundation for developing vision statements of an equitable, net-zero carbon emissions future as it relates to the built environment/transportation emissions reduction sector. The virtual workshop will take place on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 6:00 PM. Information on how to register for the workshop is available here.
You can also sign up to receive notification of future workshops to keep informed.
We look forward to seeing you there!