Programmatic Climate Action Plan and Environmental Permit Streamlining

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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. View the City's Climate Action Plan.


Climate Action Plan Values and Goals

Community Values Goals
Healthy Communities 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.


PCAP Tools

The Project aims to create draft tools to be considered for adoption by the City Council at the end of the project, and include:

  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. A list of potential development-related code topics grounded in adopted policies, adopted Climate Action Plan strategies, and mitigation measures.
  4. A user-friendly Unified Design Manual (UDM) depicting existing codes, plan policies and best practices for use by City Staff and members of the development community.
  5. 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.
  6. The 2008 GHG Emission Inventory was updated and will be used in the PCAP project to identify GHG reduction goals.

Permit Streamlining Component of the PCAP

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 identifying code amendments that could help to implement CAP strategies, and to create a Unified Design Manual containing development prototypes, making existing regulations 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.


City Council Meetings And Actions

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 the state 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.


Planning Commission Meetings and Actions

On August 19, 2015, a study session about the PCAP project was held with the Planning Commission. View the power point presentation.


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 planningweb@cityofmerced.org The "PCAP Tools" described above will be developed from input of the local community. While comments may be recieved anytime, the PCAP project offers three main avenues for this, and include: Focus Group meetings; 2) Community Workshops; and 3) Stakeholder Meetings.


Focus Group & Associated Public Meeting

The City sought interested and affected individuals and representatives from various groups and industries including builders, engineers and surveyors, local chambers of commerce, real-estate brokers and/or agents, energy utility representatives, transportation, air quality and health advocates, conservation groups, and the local “green-jobs” industry. The PCAP Focus Group membership is:

Sector Member
Builders Adam Cox
Engineers and Surveyors (Rep #1) Dena Traina
Engineers and Surveyors (Rep #2) Des Johnston
Local Chambers of Commerce Jennifer Krumm (or alternate)
Real-Estate Brokers and/or agents Robert Dylina
Transportation, Air quality and Health Advocate Michelle Xiong
Conservation Erin Stacy
Local "green-jobs" Dan Caris (Mr. Ink Pro)
Local "green-jobs" Brent Jerner (APG Solar)
City Council Representative Mayor Stan Thurston
City Planning Commissioner Peter Padilla

The Focus Group meetings were open to the public and held in the Sam Pipes Room at the City of Merced Civic Center, located at 678 W. 18th Street, Merced Ca. 95340. Meetings were held from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. The purpose of these meetings was to share technical background information and to obtain feedback from the Focus Group and Technical Advisors (City Staff) about possible approaches to the "PCAP Tools."

Focus Group Meeting #1: June 19, 2014

Focus Group Meeting #2: Sept. 10, 2014

Focus Group Meeting #3: December 8, 2014

Focus Group Meeting #4: January 22, 2015 CANCELLED.

Focus Group Meeting #5: March 12, 2015

Focus Group Meeting #6: June 11, 2015

Focus Group Meeting #7: September 10, 2015


Public Workshops

  1. Public Kick-off Fair, Led by PMC
  2. Economic Prosperity and Climate Action Plan, Led by Institute for Local Government (ILG)
  3. Clean Energy Resources, Led by Institute for Local Government (ILG)
  4. Community Open House/Draft Plan Presentation, Led by PMC
  5. Climate Action and a Healthy Vital Community, Led by Institute for Local Government (ILG)

Workshop #1: Public Kick-Off Meeting/Resource Efficiency Fair/February 2014 (Event Flyer) - The City of Merced’s first ‘Resource Efficiency Fair’ was held on Thursday, February 27, 2014 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Merced Senior Center, 755 W. 15th Street. Approximately 70 community members and exhibitors attended to learn what conservation-related actions local government agencies, non-profit groups, schools and businesses are engaged in locally. Thirty-four local exhibitors shared efforts about water conservation, recycling, energy-efficiency, reduced utility bills, and expanded use in transit and bicycling. City Manager John Bramble also presented a summary of conservation-related actions by the City. As part of the City's Climate Action Planning efforts, it included general opportunities for citizens to guide local policy and to select future projects. In addition to games, activities and booths, the fair was a great place to connect with local leaders/organizations, share ideas, and learn how to stay involved in the project. Community input was gathered and results summarized.

Workshop #2: Economic Prosperity And Climate Action Plan/December 4, 2014 (Event Flyer) - "Merced on the Move - Partnering for Prosperity" occurred on December 4, 2014, between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 615 W 15th Street in Merced. Merced native Ben Duran, President of the Great Valley Center, and Valley Vision Chief Excecutive Bill Mueller provided speeches to fellow residents of Merced to: 1) hear how businesses, community, and neighborhood leaders throughout the Central Valley are partnering to help grow, divesity and strengthen the local economy in their communities; 2) discover how people in Merced are working to promote economic development, a cleaner environment and a better quality of life for all residents; and 3) learn what the can do to help build a more prosperous future for Merced. Read "Prosperity that Lasts" to learn what other California communities have done. See workshop agenda and presentation here.

Workshop #3: Public Health and Climate Change (Date TBD)

Development Community Stakeholder Meetings

Two stakeholder meetings with the local development community, consisting of engineers, surveyors, architects, planners, and builders were held. These meetings gave stakeholders dedicated time to review and comment on the draft Unified Design Manual and associated information about potential code revisions.

Meeting #1: August 29, 2014. 8AM to 9AM, Sam Pipes Room, Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th Street. The first meeting was generally introductory. Possible code topics were identified. Input helped shape the extent, topics and approach to crafting the Unified Design Manual, and topics of potential code revisions.

Meeting #2: June 18, 2015. 10AM to 11AM, Sam Pipes Room, Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th Street. The second meeting was an opportunity to review and comment on the draft "Development Options Checklist" and "Development Code Index." The development options checklist informs City Staff and development interests how a project can be found to be consistent with the PCAP to enable CEQA permit streamlining. The Development Code Index lists potential future PCAP-related code amendments. NOTE: There are no code amendments proposed with the PCAP project.

Community Meetings

July 30, 2014. Merced/Mariposa County Asthma Coalition. Flyer. Presentation.

Future Meetings

The final draft PCAP document will be readied for City Council review and action, anticipated to occur in late winter/early spring 2016.


PCAP-Related Programs and Projects

California Hero Program

Investment Map

Related Articles


Grant Projects – CEQA-Permit Streamlining