Planning Commission approves Climate Action Plan, hears about Housing Element

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The Winters Planning Commission on June 22 unanimously approved the city’s 2021 Climate Action Plan and heard a presentation on the city’s draft housing element update, a state-mandated portion of the general plan that establishes housing goals and objectives over a period of eight years. 

The Climate Action Plan focuses on climate change strategies for the city, local businesses and local residents. According to the staff report, most actions identified by the plan are tied to reducing greenhouse gas emissions because climate change is related to increases in greenhouse gas emissions. 

But the plan also identifies adaptation strategies to increase the resilience of the city to a changing climate, and increased prevalence of threats such as blackouts, extreme heat and air pollution from wildfire smoke. 

The plan is the result of work done virtually by the Winters Climate Action Plan Development Board over roughly the past year and a half. The city was required to adopt the plan in order to meet the requirements of several state laws. 

The plan itself includes six detailed areas: adaptation and resilience; water and waste; urban forest and open space; mobility; building and infrastructure; and municipal operations.

According to the plan, the strategies identified by the document are consistent with Yolo County’s goal to be carbon-neutral by 2030. City manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa said the document will serve as a guidance document whenever the city considers the environmental impact of projects. 

“As a community, we need to meet the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change to reduce carbon emissions, promote readiness for climate impacts and conduct research to provide the best available science to guide our actions,” said Kristine Deguerre, city staff representative on the board. 

Housing element
The board also heard a presentation on the city’s draft housing element update from Beth Thompson, a consultant from the DeNova Planning Group.

Thompson said much of the housing requirements and standards of the element are prescribed by state law, but the community also has a say because. She detailed the results of a survey given out earlier this year, which received 140 responses. 

Around 56 percent of Respondents who don’t own a home in Winters, but who indicated that they wish to have one, indicated that not being able to find a house in their price range was their primary obstacle. The majority of Winters respondents, 54 percent, also believe the range of housing options available in Winters don’t meet their needs. 

And, according to the survey respondents, the types of housing most needed in the city are small single-family detached homes of less that 2,000 square feet (53 percent); condominiums or town homes (51 percent); and duplex, triplex and fourplex units (64 percent).

Top housing priorities of respondents include: providing more housing for all income levels, making housing affordable to working families and ensuring that children who grow up in Winters can afford to live in Winters.

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