CONTINUED ITEM – GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT – CLIMATE ACTION PLAN – SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT – Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program which includes the Draft Climate Action Plan, General Plan Amendment and the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report to the General Plan EIR – File Number ST09-030
City Planner, Gillian Hayes presented the staff report and led the commission through discussion by sections. The first section for discussion was the following: General Plan Amendments and Targets.
Commissioners discussion ensued:
Commissioner Poulsen – stated that there are no consequences for not meeting the local target and doesn’t see why we are overburdening our businesses in the current economy and that the State is going far enough; would like to keep realistic with something that can be achieved.
Commissioner Duggan – feels that the General Plan Amendments are all supportive of the Climate Action Plan and has no issues with any of those; with regard to the State and local targets, feels we should shoot for the higher numbers and commented it may burden all of us at some point but we all need to share in that burden; supports keeping the local target as is.
Commissioner Byrd – favors the General Plan Amendments; is concerned with the targets and the costs and burdens to businesses; would like more discussion about what those costs actually will be.
Commissioner Faber – stated the some of the terminology seems vague for the General Plan Amendment but supports the spirit of the General Plan; he also has some concerns with State and local targets stating that this may not be the time and would like more discussion about the difference between State requirements and the local push for the extra 10% and wonders if some of it can be voluntary.
Commissioner Bañuelos – favors the General Plan Amendments and supports the plan; she also has concerns with the local versus State requirements and associated costs with the current economy stating that if the community does not support it then it won’t happen.
Commissioner Stanley – Also feels the General Plan Amendment is okay but agrees that some of it seems vague and the implementation of the policies can get complicated and doesn’t feel we are quite prepared for the unintended consequences; doesn’t want to set unachievable goals; with regards to the targets is concerned that 25% may not be achievable.
Chair Cisco – also stated she is okay with the General Plan Amendments; she is concerned with the local targets and stated we are the first ones that are measuring what has occurred since 2005; she stated we will be looking at the cap on a 5-year basis and wonders what the impact is or what options there are.
The next section Gillian Hayes led the commission through was on the following: Energy Efficiency (net zero electricity and retrofits).
Commissioners discussion ensued:
Commissioner Faber – stated that he prefers the retrofit strategy and if the city wants to set targets to do more than it should be on a voluntary basis and feels the city could do more so that the average citizen can have a one-stop-shop with all the information and possibly a list of auditors and where the refunds and rebates are, etc; wouldn’t go beyond the State requirements.
Commissioner Stanley – commented there is symmetry in bringing State policy and regional and local policy into alignment which is why he favors the 15% target stating it is a more realistic approach; does not support a point of sale and that putting incentives and rebates in place is a better way to do things and to not mandate it.
Commissioner Poulsen – thinks we should follow the State and doesn’t feel this is a good time to begin to mandate higher goals than what the State is doing; also disagrees with the point of sale and would like to offer programs as an incentives versus making it mandatory.
Commissioner Duggan – is comfortable with staff recommendations of monitoring for now and likes the States aggressive programs for commercial buildings; likes the energy star rating information when selling a home; doesn’t feel the point of sale is necessary right now.
Commissioner Byrd – is comfortable with staff recommendation with regard to the net zero energy with the exception of the retrofit goal, he would like to see that number reduced to a more achievable number; does not favor the point of sale requirement at this time.
Commissioner Bañuelos – favors the staff recommendation on the retrofit strategy and is comfortable with the CalGreen requirements but is concerned about the 80% number not being realistic; feels that making the point of sale voluntary and then phasing in a mandatory piece seems more feasible; feels that removing the requirements for retrofit on the 1940 homes is a good idea.
Chair Cisco – also agrees that point of sale is not going to work in the current economy and likes the energy star rating; likes keeping it voluntary; is concerned with keeping numbers realistic; she also commented on staffs recommended language for historic structures to be more in alignment with the Cultural Heritage Board recommendations.
There was some discussion amongst the commissioners with regards to using the term ‘mandatory requirements’ with Gillian Hayes and Chuck Regalia explaining what was intended was to evaluate progress and if standards are not being met then a future review could be done to make sure necessary measures would be done in order to meet those requirements.
Gillian Hayes led the commission through discussion on the following: Parking and Land Use (unbundling); Improved Transport Options (subsidized transit passes).
Commissioners discussion ensued:
Commissioner Stanley – stated his only concern is making it mandatory for businesses and feels incentives are a better solution.
Commissioner Bañuelos – stated expanding complete streets and making sure there are safe ways for everyone and to add language to encourage walking; she also commented that expanding the methodology of the transit system. i.e., more trips, longer hours, more routes, etc. needs to be looked at to encourage people to use public transit; supports Commissioner Duggan’s suggestion about training motorists.
Commissioner Faber – reiterated his concerns about making it non-mandatory and feels it would be difficult for building and zoning to enforce fewer parking spaces.
Commissioner Byrd – regarding 4.2.6, would like stronger language for innovation and the city participating more so that our bus routes become more effective; to look at more incentives regarding 4.3.5 that can be applied with regards to new construction and supporting innovation; in 4.3.8, subsidizing transit passes that we should look at some kind of innovative way to encourage, rather then it be a hindrance i.e., grant funds or participating in some kind of city program.
Gillian asked for Commissioner Byrd to clarify his comments regarding 4.2.4 and 4.2.6 about implementation of high frequency and rapid bus routes and evaluating the transportation system performance with Commissioner Byrd responding that it would be about bus routes becoming more efficient and to look at some of the innovative measures that are applied to automated vehicle location that we may be able to transfer some of that to our buses.
Commissioner Duggan – also agreed with other comments; would like to add motorists to safety training; identifying locations for car-share lots; and extending bus hours and routes.
Commissioner Poulsen – agreed with other comments about not making mandatory requirements and supporting incentives; would like to reword language in 4.3.5 to subsidize with matching funds with employers, etc.
Chair Cisco also agrees to use language for incentives versus mandatory; she is also comfortable with adding motorists to safety training.
Gillian Hayes led the discussion through Optimized Vehicle Travel (EV network, alternative fuel requirement, drive-throughs, and neighborhood EV’s); Waste Reduction (plastic bags and Styrofoam containers), Agriculture and Local Food; Off Road Vehicles and Equipment (electric powered lawn equipment and leaf blowers).
Commissioner discussion ensued:
Commissioner Faber – doesn’t want to ban leaf blowers stating it can hurt a lot of people and doesn’t want to take advantage of small businesses.
Commissioner Bañuelos – also stated concerns with banning leaf blowers.
Commissioner Stanley – also is concerned with banning leaf blowers especially for commercial properties and if there is really no negligible benefit then why.
Commissioner Byrd – is concerned also about imposing hardships on businesses and would not favor a ban for leaf blowers.
Commissioner Duggan – favors a ban stating they contribute to air pollution and there are tools available for small landscapers, i.e. rakes and brooms.
Commissioner Byrd – asked Gillian to comment on action 9.1.4 with Gillian stating that there are incentives and rebate programs to exchange lawn equipment for electrical for residential properties.
Commissioner Poulsen – would like to change the wording in 5.2.1 that say’s ‘require’ new refueling stations to ‘encourage’; disagrees with the prohibition on drive-through facilities stating it sends a bad message that Santa Rosa is not open to new business; does not support banning the use of styrofoam and plastic bags in 6.2.1; does not favor the ban of leaf blowers.
Chair Cisco – does not favor banning leaf blowers, or language as the way it is on drive-throughs; would rather see ‘encourage’ versus ‘require’ for electric vehicles; also the language banning the use of plastic and styrofoam, would rather see the word ‘consider’ and feels it would be helpful for the business community to weigh in on that topic.
A straw poll was taken:
Commissioner Stanley – no for banning leaf blowers; no on banning drive-throughs; ban on styrofoam/plastic needs to look at possibly more incentives but not ‘ban’; is okay with fuel stations.
Commissioner Bañuelos – is okay with banning drive-throughs; yes to banning Styrofoam; change language to encourage incentives for electric would be better rather than a complete ban on leaf blowers; yes on fuel stations requirement of electric for new gas stations.
Commissioner Faber – does not support banning drive-throughs; fine with leaf blower; regarding styrofoam/plastic bags stated the free market should dictate; feels the market will also dictate when charging stations need to go in.
Commissioner Poulsen – would like to change the wording in 5.2.1 that says ‘require’ new refueling stations to ‘encourage’; disagrees with the prohibition for drive-throughs facilities that it sends a bad message that Santa Rosa is not open to new business; does not like banning the use of styrofoam and plastic bags in 6.2.1; does not favor the ban of leaf blowers.
Commissioner Duggan – is okay with fuel stations language; supports the ban on drive-throughs; likes the language as is for plastic and styrofoam; supports the language to ban leaf blowers.
Commissioner Byrd – agrees to the language for fuel stations; agrees on language to ban drive-through; also supports the language as is to banning the use of styrofoam and plastic bags; would like to see a more of a progression for new development regarding leaf blowers but does see it is a necessary.
Chair Cisco – agrees with language on fuel station; does not support the language to ban leaf blowers or drive-throughs or styrofoam would be more in favor of ‘consider’ versus ‘ban’.
Gillian Hayes summarized the consensus items below:
- Overall consensus that the General Plan Amendments are okay unless there are changes to the Climate Action Plan that require changes to the General Plan amendments.
- Revise Action 1.2.9 – the Retrofits to be a voluntary program and to be evaluated and revised as necessary to include measures to meet the state target. She will work on language to bring to the next meeting.
- Clarify 3.5.1 to specify only new development as related to parking and bundling.
- Education to pedestrian and cyclists in 4.1.3 to include motorists.
- Action 4.3.5 – Transit Passes, the consensus is to head more toward an incentive program and not mandate and to look for grant funding to incentivize transit pass subsidies.
- Remove the leaf blower ban in 9.1.4
Chuck Regalia commented that the goal of the April 12, meeting will be to go over all of their recommendations and present them in a way to that the commission will feel confident, and then to make a final decision at the April 26, meeting.