Last Wednesday Santa Monica’s Planning Commission heard a presentation on the City’s Sustainable City Plan (SCP) and its relevance to the City’s General Plan.
Dean Kubani, a Senior Analyst in the City’s Environmental Programs Division, explained that the plan was “created to enhance the City’s resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and human health and benefit the social and economic well-being of the community for the sake of current and future generations.”
The plan was originally adopted by the City Council in 1994 and was developed by the City’s Task Force on the Environment. Though developed separately from the City’s General Plan, the SCP goals and indicators “inform the City’s Housing, Open Space, Conservation and Land Use and Circulation Elements of the General Plan.” Kubani stressed “You can’t address environmental issues … completely separate from economic issues, community or other social issues because they are all very much inter-related.”
The spine of the plan is goals and the “indicators” to measure those goals. The Sustainable City Task Force is now working on the development of an implementation plan which will be presented to the Council later this year.
The areas covered in the plan are resource conservation, environmental and public health, transportation, economic development, housing, open space and land use, community education and civic participation and human dignity. These goals “represent commitments for both municipal operations and the community as a whole.”
Resource conservation includes the “decreased consumption of non-local, non-renewable, nonrecyclable, energy, water, materials and foods and promoting renewable resource use.” The goals of environmental and public health are “to minimize/eliminate the use of hazardous and toxic materials and the levels of pollutants entering the air, soil and water.” The transportation goals include “maximizing mobility and access and reducing traffic and pollution associated with transportation.” The economic development goal is to “nurture diverse, stable local economy.”
The open space and land use goals are to “develop and maintain a diverse open space system and urban environment that supports the community and the natural environment.” Finally, the housing goals are to “provide a mix of affordable, livable and green housing types for people of all socio-economic, cultural and household groups.”
Kubani said that “sustainable solutions will come from integrated planning.” For example “long range land use and transportation planning should happen concurrent with long-range economic development planning…[and] transportation and traffic problems are closely linked to housing and economic development.” He also stressed that “sustainable design and construction can significantly reduce resource use and waste generation over the long term.”
The SCP’s 120 indicators are designed “as a tool to aid design making at the Council, staff and community level in a very integrated way.”