Climate Action Plan update discussed at workshop

Residents want to see limits on drive-thru restaurants, coordination of traffic lights, electric school buses and options for plug-in electric vehicle charging stations – those opinions were expressed at a draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) update workshop on July 11 at Encinitas City Hall.

The meeting — presented by city staff and consultants and led by CAP Program Administrator Crystal Najera — was held so residents could be informed about the latest CAP draft, which was released last month. Attendees were invited to provide ideas of what they would like to see in Encinitas.

The last time Encinitas updated its CAP was in 2011. Since then, new methods for calculating emissions have been developed, according to the city. There have also been advances in technology and public policy.

"The city’s new Climate Action Plan will differ from the 2011 plan in that it will be a goal-oriented plan," according to the city website. "In the new plan, the city will commit to implementing specific programs and projects aimed at reducing and mitigating the impacts of GHG emitting activities by targeted dates. The new plan will be California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) qualified and will satisfy the CEQA requirements for greenhouse gas impact analysis for new development."

The plan is to update the CAP every five years and produce monitoring reports and emissions inventory every two years.

Adaptations will be made to prepare for sea level rise and erosion; increased temperature and more extreme heat events; increased precipitation and water supply uncertainty; and increased wildfire and flood risk.

Encinitas previously held three workshops and put out online surveys earlier this year. Some suggestions from those meetings made it into the recent update, Najera said.

The city's CAP focuses on proposed reduction strategies, such as building efficiency; renewable energy; clean and efficient transportation; water efficiency; zero waste; reducing off-road equipment; and carbon sequestration. Each strategy is broken up into its own list of goals.

One resident at the July 11 meeting, which was attended by about 30 people, said that she would like to see future drive-thru restaurants prohibited. Cars at such establishments line up and keep the motors going, she said.

Najera said while prohibiting the restaurants has not been considered, bus and car idling have been on the city's radar.

The same resident was also concerned about the coordination of traffic lights, and Najera said signal re-timing is part of the CAP.

"It is one of the top three actions," she said.

Others expressed desires for electric school and city buses, as well as plug-in electric vehicle charging stations. Those ideas, however, have other factors such as working with the school district for the buses and figuring out who would pay for the stations, Najera said.

Zero waste was also discussed, and Najera said that is one of the city’s top priorities. Encinitas is aiming to implement a zero waste program by 2030.

Encinitas Environmental Commissioner Jim Wang, who has reviewed CAPs in other cities, said he considers Encinitas to be “pretty outstanding” because it is working to be CEQA qualified and it plans to be 100 percent clean energy-based five years ahead of the City of San Diego.

The current public comment period is the last before the final CAP is adopted in the fall. Residents are invited to submit ideas through July 18 at climateaction@encinitasca.gov.

A current draft of the CAP can be viewed at www.encinitasenvironment.org or www.encinitasca.gov/climate.

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