City Council Meeting: October 24, 2006

Agenda Item: 8-B  

To:                   Mayor and City Council 

From:              Craig Perkins, Director – Environmental and Public Works Management

Subject:          Recommendation to Adopt the Sustainable City Plan Implementation Plan Developed by the Sustainable City Task Force and to Adopt Various Amendments to the Sustainable City Plan 

 

Recommended Action

It is recommended that the City Council:

1)     adopt the Sustainable City Plan Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan) developed by the Sustainable City Task Force;

2)     adopt Task Force on the Environment recommendations to amend the Sustainable City Plan; and

3)     adopt amendments to the Sustainable City Plan and update the indicators and targets, including the adoption of a target for greenhouse gas emission reductions.

 

Executive Summary

On February 11, 2003, City Council unanimously adopted the Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan, which is a comprehensive update and expansion of the Sustainable City Program adopted by Council in 1994.   This report provides recommendations from City staff and the Task Force on the Environment to update the Sustainable City Plan guiding principles, goals, indicators and targets, and recommendations from the Sustainable City Task Force for specific implementation actions to help the City meet its Sustainable City Plan goals. The staff recommendations update the introductory language, targets and indicators in the existing Sustainable City Plan.  The Task Force on the Environment recommendations expand the guiding principles to include the Precautionary Principle and recommend expansion of the solid waste diversion target beyond the current goal of 70% by 2010. The Sustainable City Task Force recommendations are presented in the Sustainable City Plan – Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan) and include the creation of a Community Sustainability Liaison, the production of Expert Forums to address sustainable practices, and the development of an Economic Development Strategy to promote sustainable practices and attract sustainable businesses to Santa Monica.

 

The financial impacts associated with the Sustainable City Task Force’s Implementation Plan recommendations include a one-time funding allocation of $135,000 for the creation of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy and two-year funding in the amount of $100,000 each year for the Community Sustainability Liaison and $10,000 to $20,000 for Expert Forums. These funds were already allocated by Council on June 20, 2006 ($150,000 for FY 2006-07 and $160,000 the following fiscal year) as an enhancement to the FY 2006-07 City budget; however, Council has not formally acted to adopt the Implementation Plan. There are no financial impacts associated with the Task Force on the Environment and staff recommendations.

 

 

Discussion

Background

In September 1994 City Council adopted the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program which set long-term internal and Citywide goals for sustainability.  In February 2003 City Council adopted an updated and expanded version of the program called the Sustainable City Plan.

 

On October 28, 2003, City Council adopted a motion to create a Sustainable City Task Force to provide leadership and guidance for implementation of the Sustainable City Plan.  The Sustainable City Task Force held its first meeting on June 9, 2004.

 

The Sustainable City Task Force was directed by City Council to develop implementation recommendations to help the City better achieve its Sustainable City Plan goals.  Since that time, the Sustainable City Task Force has been working to prepare a Sustainable City Plan - Implementation Plan. The Sustainable City Task Force presented a draft version of the Implementation Plan to Council on June 20, 2006.  The Sustainable City Task Force adopted a final version of the Implementation Plan on July 10, 2006, which is included as Attachment 1 to this report.  In developing the Implementation Plan, the Sustainable City Task Force reviewed an evaluation of current progress towards meeting the goals in each of the eight Sustainable City Plan goal areas based on indicator data.  Based on this evaluation and on discussions with community stakeholders and policy experts, the Sustainable City Task Force chose to focus initial implementation actions in three goal areas – Resource Conservation, Environmental and Public Health, and Economic Development. The Implementation Plan includes three Recommended Implementation Measures that are designed to help the City to better achieve the goals in the priority goal areas. The Implementation Plan recommends: 1) the creation of a Community Sustainability Liaison; 2) the production of Expert Forums to address innovations in sustainability; and 3) the creation of an Economic Development Strategy to promote sustainable practices and attract sustainable businesses to Santa Monica.  A complete discussion of the priority goal areas and the recommended implementation measures can be found in the Implementation Plan in Attachment 1.

 

Since the adoption of the updated Sustainable City Plan in 2003, the Task Force on the Environment has remained involved in monitoring the Resource Conservation and Environmental and Public Health goal areas in the Sustainable City Plan and continues to make recommendations to Council on environmental policy issues.  At their meeting on July 18, 2005, the Task Force on the Environment adopted a motion recommending that a Guiding Principle be added to the Sustainable City Plan that reflects the City’s commitment to the Precautionary Principle.  The Task Force on the Environment recommended text is consistent with existing guiding principles in the Sustainable City Plan and with current City policy.  On March 20, 2006, following a review of the City’s progress towards meeting its Resource Conservation and Environmental and Public Health goals, the Task Force on the Environment adopted a motion requesting that City Council direct staff to review the Sustainable City Plan solid waste diversion target and return with a recommendation for increasing the target beyond the current 70% diversion rate by 2010.  By 2004, the City had achieved a 67% waste diversion rate and the Task Force on the Environment recommendation is intended to set a more aggressive goal for 2010.  The full text of the recommendations can be found in Attachment 2.

 

City Environmental Programs Division staff have overseen Sustainable City Plan monitoring, reporting and implementation since adoption of the Sustainable City Program in 1994.  With the adoption of the updated Sustainable City Plan in 2003, the number of indicators increased from 18 to 120.  Staff has successfully identified data sources and collected data for the majority of these new indicators; however, data for some of the indicators has been difficult, and sometimes impossible, to obtain. Also, at the time the updated Sustainable City Plan was adopted, some of the new indicators and targets had not been completely defined.  Staff is recommending a number of minor changes to the Sustainable City Plan in order to 1) update language to capture changes in the past three years, 2) update the timeline for developing indicators and targets in situations where the indicator and/or target have been difficult to define, and 3) update indicators and targets for which data is not currently available or to reflect new data and community priorities.

 

In addition to these changes, staff is recommending that City Council formally adopt targets for the Greenhouse Gas Emissions indicator which had not previously been set (Table 1).  The targets are based on an analysis of the City’s Greenhouse Gas emissions since 1990, emission reduction efforts since 1990, and planned future efforts, both within City operations and within the community.

 

Table 1.

Indicator

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

§    Total Citywide emissions (also report per capita, by source and by sector)

 

Target

At least 30% reduction below 1990 levels by 2015 for City Operations

 

At least 15% reduction below 1990 levels by 2015 citywide

 

The Kyoto protocol target for the United States is a 7% reduction below 1990 levels. Staff feels that the recommended targets of a 15% reduction in citywide emissions and a 30% reduction in emissions from City operations are realistically achievable by 2015. The full text of staff’s recommended changes to the Sustainable City Plan are included in Attachment 3. 

 

Policy Alternatives

The policy alternatives and implications are unique for each of the recommendations to Council. 

 

1)  Adopt the Recommendations of the Implementation Plan developed by the Sustainable City Task Force - Alternatives to the recommended action include 1) taking no action to adopt the Sustainable City Plan Implementation Plan; and 2) adopting some, but not all, of the recommendations in the Implementation Plan.  Option 1 would avoid the financial impacts of implementing the Implementation Plan, however, this would significantly impair the ability of the City to reach many of its Sustainable City Plan goals.

 

2)  Adopt Task Force on the Environment recommendations to amend the Sustainable City Plan - Alternatives to the recommended action include; 1) taking no action; and 2) adopting one but not both of the Task Force on the Environment recommendations.   Neither of these options would have a significant financial impact nor would they provide cost savings, and the Task Force on the Environment recommendations are consistent with current City policy.

 

3)   Adopt staff recommendations to update the Sustainable City Plan indicators and targets, including the adoption of a target for greenhouse gas emission reductions -  Alternatives to the recommended action include; 1) taking no action to update the text, indicators and targets; and 2) adopting some, but not all, of the recommendations.  Neither of these options would have a significant financial impact or provide cost savings and updating the timeline for developing indicators and targets, and updating the indicators and targets to reflect new data and community priorities are seen as complimentary and necessary endeavors.

 

Previous Council Actions

·        September 20, 1994 - Council adopted the original Sustainable City Program.

·        February 11, 2003 - Council adopted the updated and expanded Sustainable City Plan.

·        October 28, 2003 - Council passed a motion to create the Sustainable City Task Force.

·        March 23, 2004 - Council appointed the 11 members of the Sustainable City Task Force and charged them with developing an implementation program to achieve the goals set forth in the PLAN. 

·        June 20, 2006 - Council allocated $310,000 over two years to the Environmental Programs Division for implementation of the Sustainable City Task Force’s Sustainable City Plan Implementation Plan. 

 

Board and Commission Action

Recent actions taken by the Sustainable City Task Force related to the recommendations presented in this staff report include:

·        January 9, 2006 - Adopted the Sustainable City Plan Implementation Plan in concept and endeavored to work out the details of the implementation measures. 

·        July 10, 2006 - Formally adopted the Sustainable City Plan Implementation Plan.

 

Recent actions taken by the Task Force on the Environment related to the recommendations presented in this staff report include:

·        July 18, 2005 - Recommended that City Council add a Guiding Principle to the Sustainable City Plan based on the Precautionary Principle.

·        March 20, 2006 - Recommended that City Council direct City staff to review the Sustainable City Plan solid waste diversion target and return with a recommendation for increasing the target beyond the current 70% diversion rate.

 

Budget/Financial Impact

The recommendations presented in this report do not have any additional budget impacts for FY 2006-07 as funding has already been included in the Adopted Budget.  Implementation of any future efforts that address the goals of the Sustainable City Plan may have budgetary and financial impacts.  There is no way to assess the entirety of those impacts at this time due to the comprehensive nature of the Sustainable City Plan; however, when individual programs, projects and policies related to the Sustainable City Plan are advanced, Council will be presented with a full assessment of budget and financial impacts of those activities as part of the approval process.


Prepared by:

Dean Kubani, Environmental Programs Manager

 

Approved:

 

Forwarded to Council:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Perkins

Director, Environmental and Public Works Management Department

 

P. Lamont Ewell

City Manager