Why ClimatePlan is Opposing SB 50 unless Amended

For the past three years, we’ve all watched Senator Wiener attempt the impossible: passing SB 50, legislation that would allow mid-rise apartments complexes near transit stops (and now job centers!) and fourplexes in most single family communities across the state of California. We’ve been fascinated by Senator Wiener’s boldness—and even made an appearance  in the New York Times as we wrote about the need for bold solutions that work for low-income communities and communities of color. 

And now, ClimatePlan has taken a position—oppose unless amended—on SB 50, a bill that Politifact has called one of California’s most controversial housing bills. We’re sure that many people are asking why ClimatePlan—a network that has spent years trying to build infill near transit through a variety of different means—is taking such a strong stance against a bill that would fulfill a key component of ClimatePlan’s mission? 

Keep reading: we’re ready to share why we’ve taken this position.

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Modesto's General Plan can be a bright green "blueprint" for the region

Over the past few months, ClimatePlan staff have been working with key partners in the city of Modesto - Catholic Charities of Stockton, Tuolumne River Trust and the Sustainable Stanislaus Community Coalition - to help plan for the city’s upcoming General Plan Update.

The General Plan Update is a major milestone for the city of Modesto. Kicking off this process gives Modesto residents an opportunity to provide their feedback and ideas for how they want their communities to evolve in the years to come. A General Plan Update serves as a “blueprint for the city’s future.” The city of 214,000 residents is gradually growing due to increasing growth pressure from nearby San Francisco and San Jose. Modesto is in the 21-county Northern California MegaRegion (Bay Area Council Economic Institute) and it’s housing, land use, jobs, transportation, and environment are all being impacted by nearby growth. Modesto residents and elected officials will be looking to both local and regional dynamics to make crucial decisions for their city.

Below are a few of the ways ClimatePlan is engaging in the General Plan Update process and supporting our partners in lifting up the community’s priorities.

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State Policy: Opportunities and Challenges at the end of 2019

In October, we at ClimatePlan were elated to announce Governor Newsom’s latest effort to tackle climate change – Executive Order N-19-19 – which required the State Transportation Agency will leverage $5 billion in annual state transportation spending to:

  • Align the state’s climate goals with the state’s transportation spending.
  • Reduce driving by strengthening the connection between jobs, housing, and transportation.
  • Reduce congestion by investing in innovative strategies that encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.
  • Invest in transportation options that improve Californians’ health such as walking, bicycling, and other active modes.
  • Mitigate costs for lower-income Californians.

This type of action is critical if California wants to avoid even more destructive wildfires.

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Planning Holistically in the Face of Climate Change

In 2018, Local Government Commission released a report entitled, Bringing Water and Land Use Together. This report focused on identifying the challenges -- as well as the opportunities -- around moving California toward a more holistic approach to managing water and land resources. As noted in ClimatePlan’s Strategic Direction, Californians are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. From wildfires, droughts, and flooding, it is critical that California starts to pursue integrated approaches around water and land use to address the challenges California faces.

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Governor releases ambitious Executive Actions. What’s next for California’s transportation system?

Almost two weeks ago, Governor Gavin Newsom released an ambitious set of executive actions targeted at advancing California’s climate leadership. California continues to set the bar for the nation in its efforts to fight climate change through its innovative policies. With laws like SB 375, which require regions in California to develop plans to show how they will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) from passenger vehicles and light duty trucks—and an ambitious target of reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030—it’s clear that California’s leadership on climate change provides a model with global implications.

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