SCV community input sought for county’s sustainability plan

A landscape overlooks Central Park and the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
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From infrastructure to environmental issues, Santa Claritans will have a chance Thursday, May 30, to provide Los Angeles County with localized input for its countywide sustainability plan.

The community meeting, which will be the first held in the Santa Clarita Valley, is set for 6 to 8 p.m. at The Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway.

Three years ago, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors created the Chief Sustainability Office to prepare a comprehensive pathway to sustainability for present and future generations by addressing a wide range of topics including health, economy, climate change, land use, housing and workforce development.

Gary Gero, chief officer for the Chief Sustainability Office, said these efforts existed before its implementation but now work under a single umbrella. The plan, currently in the draft stages, outlines an intersectional approach to reach sustainability through 12 broad goals, 37 long-range strategies and 148 specific actions.

Instead of creating a chapter to address water, for instance, the plan would include “an action to support local water supplies (that) can provide new or improved parks and open space, while also reducing energy from pumping water into Los Angeles from hundreds of miles away,” according to the website, ourcountyla.org.

To best execute this, Gero said staff is working closely with Santa Clarita and 87 other cities in the region to learn about concerns in their areas and create templates local jurisdictions can use to write their own sustainability plans.

“Background data is disaggregated to a city scale so that cities in the region have access to things like their greenhouse gas inventory and their energy usage,” he said. “Coming out of the plan, there will be model policies and ordinances that the cities can choose to pick up and adopt for themselves, or not, as they see fit.”

Some issues already tailored to the SCV for discussion, said Gero, include the vulnerability of the population, infrastructure and wildfires.

“We will talk about strategies to address these,” he said. “We have a number of days and nights, for example, that will be high-heat days. We have that by ZIP code and we’re able to target those for Santa Clarita so that they can develop strategies for shelters, cool pavements, and other methods.”

Kathryn Barger, L.A. County Fifth District supervisor, extended a May 24 public commentary deadline to June 14 to allow for additional feedback, including the May 30 meeting in Santa Clarita.

“Our office is working closely with the CEO’s Chief Sustainability Office to coordinate the meeting, which is designed to gather input from our SCV community members and incorporate their ideas into the sustainability plan,” said Barger spokesman Tony Bell.   

The final revised plan could go out publicly in July and before the Board of Supervisors in August, said Gero.  

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