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Role Model Chula Vista
Shirley King | Avenida Primavera and Anthony Corso | Stratford Court


City of Chula Vista assistant city manager Gary Halbert accepts award from Beth Craig, director of the EPA’s Climate Protection Partnerships division.
Google Images. 
Click on image to enlarge.

As evident from the accompanying article, Global Warming offers a vast number of challenges to communities particularly to those in the Southwest Region of the United States where heat waves are becoming more common, fire seasons seem extended and the threat of drought magnifies. The response has taken two paths: instituting action to reduce carbon emissions and mitigating the impact of global warming upon the man-made and natural environment.

Activities regarding these concerns have come under the title “Climate Action Planning.” It is a planning process that has achieved sponsorship and endorsement under every level of government and which can be seen in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and within the hundreds of climate action plans developed by communities and cities. Unlike past models of planning, Climate Action Planning places an emphasis upon strategic action, finding and implementing solutions and emphasizing collaboration among neighboring communities.

For 15 years Chula Vista has been a nationally recognized leader in addressing the threat of local climate change. Its efforts are second to none amongst the19 local jurisdictions including the City and County of San Diego engaged in designing and implementing climate change initiatives. The secret to its success is its ability to take advantage of its community’s resources – energetic citizens and business owners and an open-minded and progressive City management that welcomes outside input. This highly motivated stakeholder group, the “‘Climate Change Working Group,” is chaired by a representative from the City’s Resource Conservation Commission, has been assembled over the years and derives its purpose from the City’s Strategic Plan, the latest iteration completed in 2014.

Chula Vista’s 2014 City Strategic Plan includes five core goals: operational excellence, economic vitality, healthy community, strong and secure neighborhoods and connected community. Within the goal of ‘Healthy Community’, climate action planning rests snugly - “to protect resources and environmental health for both current residents and future generations; to foster the health of our physical environment through balanced, connected and sustainable land uses.” Its citywide strategy is ‘to develop and implement strategies and programs that restore and protect natural resources and promote sustainability’. Here the City’s CAP is anchored to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission (mitigation) and making the community more resilient to local climate change impacts (adaptation).

Many of its mitigation measures have particular applicability to Del Mar:

• 100% of the replacement vehicles for the municipal fleet must be high efficiency (hybrid) or alternative fuel vehicles
• Businesses with storefronts or offices need to participate in a no-cost energy and water evaluation of their premises when a new business license is issued every 3 to 5 years.
• California Green Building Standards Code in all new development;
• Solar and Energy Conversion program: help facilitate energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits in the community and at municipal facilities.
• Help residents and businesses replace turf lawn areas with “Water Smart landscaping.”
• Collaborate and react to the possibility of rising ocean levels and the impact this would have on beaches and ocean front homes along the waterfront.

No doubt Del Mar will closely examine Chula Vista’s “Best Practices” embodied in its Climate Action Plan and determine what it might emulate as its Plan evolves. We will learn more about Del Mar’s progress in this continuing series on Climate Action.



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