County environmental meetings look for Spring Valley feedback

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The County Board of Supervisors decided to hold off on approving the county’s 2018 Climate Action Plan on Sept. 30, 2020, as the Final Environmental Impact Report was found out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

County staff is preparing an action plan update to revise the 2018 plan, correcting noncompliant items identified by the court in the Climate Action Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Report in partnerships with residents, businesses and environmental groups.

In implementing 2018 CAP measures in 2020, so far, the county reduced 160,743 metric tons of carbon dioxide, made a 19% reduction in county fleet emissions below 2014 measures, distributed 1,033 rain barrels through the County Watershed Protection Program, planted 4,689 trees, permitted 8.315 homes with solar installation permits, and conserved 662 acres of open space through the Multiple Species Conservation Program.

As part of the public involvement for the Climate Action Plan Update, the County has held meetings within Environmental Justice Communities.

At a Jan. 24 Spring Valley community meeting, Sustainability Planning Division Land Use/Environmental Planner Claire Moss said the object of the meeting was to find out about the Spring Valley community, climate change, the CAP update, and strategies to consider reducing the effect of climate change.

She said this was a first of multiple meeting in Spring Valley to ensure that CAP updates result in a plan that serves the community.

Moss said the CAP team wanted to hear from the community about their everyday experience, how climate change is impacting the community, what solutions are most important, and how the county can implement solutions that can serve everyone.

“At workshops like this [it] is an opportunity to get to know people who work in the neighborhood, play in the neighborhood, and live in the neighborhood,” she said. “Often times we will have a different perspective if we work in a community versus living in one.”

In asking what people liked about their community, responses included the diversity of residents, climate, rural feel, working in the community, the people, open space, neighborhoods, parks, proximity to San Diego, and a culture of different perspectives and unique backgrounds.

Underserved, bus transit, sidewalks, better transportation access, zoning issues regarding factory zonings near homes, affordable housing, more trees and urban canopy, community landscape, cleaning junkyards, homeless outreach resources, more after school tutoring options, walking and biking lanes, air quality, more cool zones, flood control, and more covered bus stops were top concerns when asked about the current needs of the city.

When asked about what sustainability or climate initiatives the community and members have worked on, participants replied with highway and litter cleanup, school gardens, community trash cans, advocating for more parks, maintaining homeless encampments and trash, homeless resources, and asking parks for more trees.

Moss said this is a good sign of community engagement and possible partnerships.

“While some of these items might fall out of the scope of the CAP, we will keep that feedback in mind as we begin to craft the plan and look for opportunities to advance what we can,” she said.

Moss said when she talks about climate change, she is referring to long-term changes in average weather patterns for the local, regional and global climate, like increases in frequencies and severity of extreme events. She said climate change is primarily caused by human activities.

The County has broken up emission sources into five categories: Built Environment & Transportation, Energy, Solid Waste, Water & Wastewater, and Agriculture & Conservation.

When asked how the community was experiencing climate change, participants stated that their largest concerns were restrictions on water usage, spiking prices for utilities, droughts, crumbling streets after rainstorms, excessive heat, wildfire danger, dying vegetation, air quality, ineffective drainage, nothing to catch litter from storm drains, and fire and insurance costs.

There will be a follow up Spring Valley Community Meeting in the spring. To sign up for CAP updates, and meetings in your community visit https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/CASAND/subscriber/new?topic_id=CASAND_309.

County environmental meetings look for Spring Valley feedback