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Climate Action Plan: Needs an "All Hands on Deck" Approahc

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2019 10:35:02 -0800

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Dear Council,
I’m writing with comments for two of your agenda topics at tomorrow’s Council meeting. I’m traveling so I cannot appear in person.
SS1: Climate Action Plan Comments

• Entire Staff Organization needs alignment on strategies to help the City achieve its carbon neutral goals, not just the Sustainability Division.

• Please see the EPA’s 2017 publication: Smart Growth Fixes for Climate Adaptation and Resilience.<https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/smart-growth-fixes-climate-adaptation-and-resilience> The Executive Summary section (i-vi) gives an overview of recommended strategies, which include:

o Mainstream climate change and smart growth into comprehensive, master, capital improvement and hazard mitigation plans;

o Update land use maps to identify vulnerable lands. Designate less-vulnerable areas and encourage development there.

o Align land use, hazard mitigation transportation, capital improvement, and other plans so all plans are working toward the same goals;

o Create a list of desired development elements in more vulnerable areas, and encourage or require developers to implement a certain number of them;

o Create a list of development incentives to see if they encourage development in particularly vulnerable areas;

o Conduct a safe growth audit

o Incorporate fiscal impact analysis into development review and make sure it includes costs related to climate change impacts.


• Development needs addressing as part of a Climate Action Plan.

o Development is the “elephant in the room” that needs addressing. The City’s zoning ordinances encourage development in District 1, a major flood zone.

o Development growth is largely responsible for the increase in transportation emissions and solid waste emissions since 2017. This is documented in the Sustainability Division’s Nov 21, 2019 Memorandum (page 1). This memo is towards the end of the Climate Action Plan document. <https://www.menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/23614/SS1-20191210-CC-Climate-Action-Plan-Update-Direction>

o District 1 lies mostly in a flood zone. In a major disaster, the people living there would be at serious risk due to few roads in/out.

o Development-related fees (and money coming in via Developer Agreements) pays for a significant portion of the staff organization. Adding staff, fuels the development because development is needed to pay for the increased staff. The Staff Organization takes up roughly 70% of the City’s annual operating budget.

o Adding Staff only perpetuates the development that fuels the increase in transportation and solid waste emissions. With fewer staff to support, the City could reduce its over reliance on the development-related revenue stream. Staff Report 19-266-CC suggests the idea of adding staff. However, by embedding more climate action strategies throughout the City's staff organization, faster and better results would be achieved than by increasing the size of the Sustainability Division.

• Suggest Climate Action Plan strategies that focus initially on District 1.

  * Rapid development there requires a concerted focus. For example, the massive Willows "Village" EIR is on Council's Dec 16 Agenda.
  * Strategies in the EPAs Smart Growth publication <https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-01/documents/smart_growth_fixes_climate_adaptation_resilience.pdf> could be incorporated sooner than later.
Please also see the Climate Ready San Mateo County collaborative effort. <https://climatereadysmc.org/climate-ready-collaborative> As you probably know, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors declared a climate change emergency on Sep 17, 2019.
Lynne Bramlett
Received on Mon Dec 09 2019 - 10:26:26 PST

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