Programmatic Climate Action Plan and Environmental Permit Streamlining
OVERVIEW OF THE PROJECT TO CREATE A PROGRAMMATIC CLIMATE ACTION PLAN
In 2012, the City of Merced adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP). The 2012 CAP identified over 150 ways to achieve community values, outlined in Figure 1 (see below). In pursuing these values, the community will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their influence on global climate change. Click here to view the City's Climate Action Plan.
Figure 1: Climate Action Plan values and goals
Enhance Mobility of all Transportation Modes Sustainable Community Design
Quality Natural Resources
Water Conservation and Technology Protect Air Resources Waste Reduction
Clean Energy Resources
Increase the Use of Renewable Energy Resources Building Energy Conservation
Leaders and Partners
Public Outreach and Involvement
The City of Merced has secured a professional consultant to help City Staff and the community to create a tool to implement the City’s Climate Action Plan; this tool is referred to as the Programmatic Climate Action Plan (PCAP). The PCAP will identify government and community based projects and programs to implement between now and 2020. The PCAP tool will be developed with significant public involvement.
PCAP Tools and Features
1) Selection of feasible and effective projects and programs to achieve the City’s adopted greenhouse gas reduction target. A cost-benefit analysis will be performed to help with the process of selecting these projects and programs.
2) Monitoring protocols and worksheets.
3) New development-related codes grounded in adopted policies, actions, and mitigation measures, together with a user-friendly design manual to clarify these, and resulting in a more predictable development review process.
4) The PCAP will be crafted in such a manner to qualify it as a CEQA-streamline tool, as provided for and encouraged by the State of California. Permit streamlining component of the pcap
The 2012 CAP lacks necessary elements for use as a state-sanctioned CEQA permit streamlining tool, however. To remedy this, in February 2012, City Staff was authorized by the City Council at a public meeting to seek grant funds from California's Strategic Growth Council to prepare a Programmatic CAP. The City was awarded funds, and in January 2013, at a public meeting, the City Council accepted contract following a Staff presentation. In September 2013, the City Council at a public meeting following a Staff presentation, authorized City Staff to hire PMC, Inc as the project consultant, and to begin work to create a Programmatic CAP.
Through the Permit Streamlining Project (otherwise known as a Programmatic or Qualitative CAP), the City seeks to streamline the City’s permitting process, as it applies to CEQA-based greenhouse gas emission assessments. This will be accomplished by quantifying anticipated GHG reductions, and to identify, implement and monitor community actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project also includes converting current development-related City policies to practical codes and ordinances, and to create a Unified Design Manual containing development prototypes, making the associated codes and ordinances easy to understand, thereby ensuring their effectiveness in achieving the goals of the CAP. The creation of these tools in a programmatic fashion is encouraged and supported by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The project does not circumvent CEQA, but rather front-loads the required assessment in a manner that benefits the community, creating efficient government operations, early community member involvement, and an incentive for a variety of businesses, industry, homes and retailers to locate in the City.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
If you have questions, comments or would like to participate in this Project, please send your name and physical mailing address (not just an email address) to email@example.com
PUBLIC KICK-OFF MEETING (February 2014)
The City of Merced invites you to Merced’s first ‘Resource Efficiency Fair’ to take place on Thursday, February 27, 2014 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Merced Senior Center, 755 W. 15th Street. Bring your family and friends to the fair to learn what conservation-related actions local government agencies, non-profit groups, schools and businesses are involved with in your neighborhood. Up to 40 exhibitors about water conservation, recycling efforts, energy-efficiency, reduced utility bills, and expanded use in transit and bicycling will be at the event. The fair is part of the City’s Climate Action Planning efforts, and includes opportunities for citizens to guide local policy and to select future projects. In addition to games, activities and booths, connect with local leaders/organizations, share your ideas, and learn how to stay involved in the project.
The objectives of the kick-off meeting are to:
inform key project partners, stakeholders, government agencies, and members of the community about the PCAP project (purpose, elements, schedule, role of staff, decision-makers, and committees in the process);
learn about local government and community-based efforts to achieve the goals of the City’s 2012 CAP;
to provide networking opportunities; and,
invite the public to consider becoming a member of the project’s temporary ad-hoc committee (to be formed in mid-2014).
The Senior Center is located at 755 W. 15th Street, Merced CA, next to the Boys and Girls Club.