The City of Blue Lake was awarded a $134,385 grant from the California Strategic Growth Council through the Sustainable Communities Planning and Incentives Grant Program to incorporate climate action and sustainability policies as part of a General Plan and Zoning Ordinance update. The Strategic Growth Council is a cabinet level committee that coordinates the activities of state agencies and partners with stakeholders to promote sustainability, economic prosperity, and quality of life for all Californians.
The grant is being administered by the California Department of Conservation – Division of Land Resource Protection.
“These important planning grants are local and regional in scale, but the outcomes and economic impacts of sustainable communities are truly statewide, benefiting all Californians,” “These projects will go a long way to help create cleaner water, more open space, and smarter growth in California.”
John Laird, Secretary for Natural Resources and SGC Member
Streamline Planning Consultants, the contract City Planner for Blue Lake, submitted the grant application on behalf of the City.
“These activities are required as part of AB 32, which addresses statewide reduction of greenhouse gasses. The emphasis of funding by the state has been on larger communities; it is rewarding that the State recognizes the needs of the smaller communities in California. Our hope is that the City of Blue Lake can provide a template for smaller communities to follow”.
Bob Brown, Principal and Owner of Streamline Planning Consultants
The grant team includes City Staff, Streamline Planning Consultants, and Redwood Coast Energy Authority.
Work proposed under the grant is broken up into two main tasks:
Task 1: Climate Action Plan
- Development of a Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
- Development of Climate Action Plan
- Stakeholder Collaboration and Public Outreach
Task 2: General Plan / Ordinance Update
- Targeted revisions of the Land Use, Circulation, and Housing Elements of the General Plan
- Addition of an Energy Element to the General Plan
- Targeted revisions of the Zoning Ordinance
- Addition of a Grading, Erosion, and Sediment Control Ordinance
- Public Outreach
Work conducted under the grant so far has included:
- The development of a Greenhouse (GHG) Inventory which determined that 12,900 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were generated by the City of Blue Lake in the baseline year of 2005.
- Based on the results of the GHG Inventory, a Climate Action Plan was developed which contains an emission reduction target of reducing emissions by 16% below 2005 baseline levels by 2030.
- As part of the grant activities a variety of meetings have been held including several Town Hall meetings and numerous presentations to the Planning Commission and City Council which have provided the opportunity for public comment.
In addition, the grant team has collaborated with various stakeholders including, but not limited to:
- Redwood Coast Energy Authority
- Humboldt County Association of Governments
- Blue Lake Rancheria
- Redwood Community Action Agency
- Pacific Gas & Electric
- Strategic Energy Innovations
- Local Government Commission
An unexpected and exciting outcome of this process has been the formation of an informal committee referred to as the Blue Lake Climate Action Team whose focus is to help the City to implement its Climate Action Plan as well as developing other ideas for making Blue Lake a more sustainable community.
Currently, the grant team is working on targeted updates of the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance to include climate action and sustainable development policies derived from the Climate Action Plan as well as community visioning meetings conducted over the last 15 years. Over the next year, work will continue on the targeted updates of the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Additional opportunities for the public to participate in the process will continue to occur. The grant team encourages anyone interested in participating in the process to attend and provide input at upcoming Planning Commission and City Council meetings.