Davis City Council Wants to “Hit the Ground Running” on CAAP
At the Council meeting held April 18, the Davis City Council approved the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) update documents, including the CEQA Negative Declaration and Greenhouse Gas Thresholds of Significance. During the discussion, Council Member Vaitla proposed several motions that were approved as resolutions by the full council showing “general alignment” among the members (per Mayor Arnold) and a desire to “hit the ground running” in the words of Council Member Vaitla.
Council Member Vaitla said “we should be planning for a city built for people not cars” explaining that “cities around the world have done this” and “cars can become a resource of last resort.” He added that “housing density is the most powerful step we can take” in terms of sustainable housing.
Vaitla proposed a motion to pursue an “aggresive voluntary electrification plan,” including addressing bottlenecks with PG&E and SACOG and fast tracking permits, which was approved unanimously. Specifically related to the move to make home electrification voluntary, Mayor Arnold stated, “We’re not there yet but it doesn’t have to be a binary choice.”
Vaitla also proposed a motion for staff to consider cost exemptions for low income residents if Council should decide to mandate building electrification. The motion was not accepted initially but was accepted with slightly different wording related to taking into consideration potential future legislative actions at the state or local level.
Council Member Partida stated that “Everything hangs on the carbon mitigation fund,” in reference to the approved motion to establish a fund. “Money is a big barrier. People are willing. If we help people, we can get where we want to be.” Partida added that “We are at a moment that is a threat to everyone’s survival.”
Finally, a Council Subcommittee on CAAP implementation was formed consisting of Council Members Partida and Vaitla to take the lead role on all future actions; the subcommittee may seek input from the Natural Resources Commission, but the NRC “should not schedule agendized discussion items or undertake subcommittee work unless they are specifically requested to do so by the Council Subcommittee.”
View the meeting online
Download the meeting video from this City of Davis webpage (also look for future or archived council meetings)
Recipients of this year’s Environmental Recognition Awards were present and acknowledged at the meeting as well. Learn more about the winners here.
City Staff Report
DATE: April 24, 2023
TO: Natural Resources Commission
FROM: Dianna Jensen, CAAP Project Director, Acting Director, Public Works Engineering and Transportation / City Engineer and Kerry Daane Loux, CAAP Project Manager, Sustainability Coordinator
SUBJECT: 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
City Council Actions, April 18, 2023
The CAAP documents required to meet California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Negative Declaration and the Greenhouse Gas Thresholds of Significance, along with the updated Final CAAP document, dated April 18, 2023, were presented to City Council for approval on April 18, 2023. The City Council agenda and materials are available here: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-council/city-council-meetings/agendas.
City Council approved both and provided additional guidance with motions as follows:
Negative Declaration and Greenhouse Gas Thresholds of Significance
Chapman moved, seconded by G. Partida, to Approve Resolution No. 23-049 – Adopting a CEQA Negative Declaration and Greenhouse Gas Thresholds of Significance for the Davis 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Motion passed unanimously.
2020-2040 Final Climate Action and Adaptation Plan
Vaitla moved, seconded by J. Chapman, to Approve Resolution No. 23-050 – Adopting the 2020-2040 Final Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Motion passed unanimously.
Carbon Mitigation Fund
Vaitla moved, seconded by J. Chapman, to direct staff to prioritize researching steps necessary to create a carbon mitigation fund. Motion passed unanimously.
Vaitla moved, seconded by G. Partida, to create a Council Subcommittee consisting of B. Vaitla and G. Partida to advise staff on implementation of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Motion passed unanimously.
Residential Carbon Emissions Assessment
Vaitla moved, seconded by W. Arnold, to direct staff to work with relevant commissions and community groups to assess impact of different forms of housing on carbon emissions.
Further explanation provided: Perform analysis of housing density and housing development in general as it relates to carbon emissions. Quantitative measures: Consider scale, height, proximity to transit and services. Review data from other jurisdictions relating to zoning codes and carbon emissions. Motion passed unanimously.
Voluntary Electrification Approach
Vaitla moved, seconded by J. Chapman, to direct staff to work with relevant commissions and community groups to develop voluntary electrification plan that considers incentives and disincentives, with the goal of reaching interim targets by 2030. Consider fast track permitting for electrification projects. Discuss infrastructure bottlenecks with PG&E and labor market issues with SACOG and consider possible solutions. Motion passed unanimously.
Options for Low Income and Other Cost Exemptions
Vaitla moved to direct staff to consider options for low income and other cost exemptions if Council should decide to mandate building electrification. No second to motion. W. Arnold suggest: Explore income based and other cost exemptions related to increased voluntary electrification. Not accepted.
Vaitla moved, seconded by W. Arnold, to direct staff to consider options for low income and other cost exemptions with an eye toward potential future legislative actions at the state or local level. Motion passed unanimously.
The City of Davis CAAP website has been updated to include adoption of the CAAP CEQA documents and Final 2020 – 2040 CAAP, April 18, 2023. [Access the final CAAP document here.]
Significance of City Council Motion Forming the CAAP Subcommittee
The impact of formation of a City Council Subcommittee for CAAP Implementation is that the NRC will not be asked to the lead advisory body for CAAP implementation, except as requested. As per the City Clerk’s Office on April 20, 2023:
“When a Council Subcommittee is established on a matter, it will take the lead role on all future actions in order to coordinate resources and efforts. If the Council Subcommittee is interested in seeking commission input, they will coordinate such activities via the commission staff liaison. Commissions should not schedule agendized discussion items or undertake subcommittee work unless they are specifically requested to do so by the Council Subcommittee. This will ensure that council and commissions are not working at cross-purposes and in the most efficient manner.”
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