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 firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLIC KICK-OFF MEETING/resource efficiency fair/february 2014
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. Thrity-four local exhibitors shared efforts about water conservation, recycling, energy-efficiency, reduced utility bills, and expanded use in transit and bicycling. 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.
CITIZEN AD-HOC ADVISORY FOCUS GROUP
The Programmatic Climate Action Plan and related implementing ordinances will become tools in the day-to-day state-mandated project review activities of the Planning Division. Thus, a key objective of the project is to achieve community understanding of these documents. Toward this end, the City seeks a high-level of participation on the citizen-based advisory Focus Group. The City seeks 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. To be considered for this group, applications need to be submitted to the Planning Department by March 24, 2014.