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Air Quality, Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities

On December 2, the topic of the final Cleaner Air Partnership quarterly luncheon of 2016 centered on Air Quality, Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities. The event was hosted by the Sacramento Association of REALTORS® and held at their offices on Howe Avenue.

Kate White, deputy secretary of environmental policy and housing coordination with the California State Transportation Agency, gave an overview of California’s climate strategy and highlighted the “Climate Investments” being made from Cap-and-Trade program revenues toward “coordinated investments that further the State’s climate goals and deliver major economic, environmental and public health co-benefits,” including improving air quality. One of these investments is the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program administered by the California Strategic Growth Council. The AHSC program continuously receives 20% of available Cap-and-Trade revenues in the state budget, amounting to $400 million for fiscal year 2016-2017.

Kacey Lizon, planning manager with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), provided an overview of the “sustainable communities strategy” (SCS) prepared as part of the regional long-range transportation plan known as the MTP/SCS. She also highlighted strategies contained in the MTP/SCS to help the region meet the target set by the California Air Resources Board for reducing per capita greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicle travel. These strategies include balancing the development of new land (or “greenfield development”) with putting new developments in existing areas (or “infill development”). Another strategy is locating housing closer to job centers and neighborhood services (a coffee shop or grocery store, for example) to reduce the need for long commutes and frequent car trips.

The program concluded with an informative panel discussion from the local government perspective. The panel included Lucas Frerichs, council member, City of Davis; David Sander, mayor, City of Rancho Cordova; and Katie Yancey, senior program manager, Economic Development and Housing, City of West Sacramento. Mayor Sander and Council Member Frerichs shared how their cities are working toward supporting the implementation of sustainable communities strategies and some of the barriers cities face. Katie Yancey shared what implementing sustainable communities looks like on the ground with an example of a project in the City of West Sacramento that received AHSC grant from SGC in the first round of funding. West Gateway Place is a mixed-use development with affordable apartments. The project is part of the city’s vision for revitalizing the water front and improving quality of life for all residents.

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Tammy Cronin is a Valley Vision Project Leader for the Cleaner Air Partnership and other initiatives of the clean economy portfolio.

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