Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueño visited the Turlock City Council meeting on Tuesday in order to request that Mayor John Lazar and Council Members support an Effective Sustainable Community Strategy for the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG), as required by Senate Bill (SB) 375, and to commit to Leadership for Economically Viable Smart Growth Planning.
Mayor Madueño’s objective is to obtain a broad base of support from the nine incorporated cities of Stanislaus County by asking each city and the county to endorse the resolution.
“We have a county that really does work together,” stated Madueño. “We have all the cities that are discussing and dialoguing and having open communication on how we can all grow together, how we can actually embark on the future of our communities, and making sure that we are taking a look at not just the short term impacts, but the long term impacts, in terms of land use and transportation. And this resolution is just that.”
By signing on to the resolution, each city would be committing to joining StanCOG and the other jurisdictions in Stanislaus County to actively participate in the development of the SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategy and distributing information to the public.
The resolution was drafted by the San Joaquin Valley Network, which was established through ClimatePlan. ClimatePlan is a coalition of non-profit organizations, with a broad spectrum of interests, including the American Farmland Trust, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Local Government Commission, the American Lung Association, the Greenbelt Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, and a host of other partner agencies.
While each organization brings its unique perspective to the coalition, all are committed to improving planning in California to create vibrant, healthy communities and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
The partnership provides research, communications, and venues for public dialogue, as well as advocacy that promote the successful implementation of SB 375.
“The basis for this resolution came from a result from what I started to see in the valley with SB 375,” stated Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueño. “We wanted to broaden the conversation from just StanCOG.”
SB 375 was passed in 2008 as an effort to link local and regional planning to create more convenient and efficient communities, with shorter commutes and more transportation choices, in order to keep the state on track to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, as California is the 15th largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
Smart planning is what enables communities to grow more efficiently by bringing more affordable living options to households, more sustainable tax revenue to cities, and tremendous infrastructure savings to a region as a whole. SB 375 is essential for a fundamental shift in planning to reduce the heavy strain on resources.
“You have a fantastic planner, Debbie Whitmore,” stated Madueño to the Turlock City Council. “We have a very dedicated group of planners throughout the San Joaquin Valley, and I really grew to appreciate that what we have here is really precious, and that what we have here is also very unique.”
The Turlock City Council voted 4-0 (Councilman DeHart was absent due to illness) to support an Effective Sustainable Community Strategy for the Stanislaus Council of Governments as required by SB375 and committing to Leadership for Economically Viable Smart Growth Planning.