Sustainable Communities Year-In-Review 2016

The Valley Legislative Affairs Committee (VLAC), established at the staff level at each regional planning agency (RPA), is responsible for tracking legislation and exchanging information crucial in developing a support/oppose/amend position for each RPA. VLAC coordinates annual Valley Voice advocacy trips to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento. During 2015-2016, Valley Voice went to Washington, D.C. in September and Sacramento in April.

The Merced County Association of Governments hosted the annual RPC Fall Policy Conference in October 2015 at Fish Camp. Each year, the conference offers an opportunity for agency staff, elected officials, and other leaders to network and share information about state and federal activities.

The annual Blueprint Awards are presented at the Fall Policy Conference. The purpose of the awards program is to encourage quality in planning and development by recognizing outstanding achievements and practices that embrace blueprint smart growth principles in the built environment. 2015 awardees include:

  1. 1612 City Lofts, the City of Bakersfield (Mixed Use – Award of Excellence)
  2. Avena Bella, City of Turlock and EAH Housing (Residential – Award of Excellence)
  3. CSU Bakersfield Student Housing, CSU Bakersfield (Residential – Award of Merit)
  4. Brio on Broadway, Granville Homes (Downtown Revitalization – Award of Excellence)
  5. The Newberry Building, Ten|Space Development (Downtown Revitalization – Award of Merit)
  6. Dry Creek Trailhead, City of Clovis (Transportation Enhancement – Award of Excellence)
  7. Bradley Overhead on Highway 140, Caltrans (Transportation Enhancement – Award of Merit)
  8. San Joaquin Sustainable Communities Coalition (Darrel Hildebrand Blueprint Leadership Award)

San Joaquin Valley Greenprint Phase II activities continued with lead from consultant Mintier-Harnish and support from the Fresno Council of Governments. Phase II includes demonstration pilot projects to show how agencies can use Phase I mapping tools and information in local and regional planning, and the development of a resource management guide with tools and strategies.

A final report that prioritizes the issues/tools, and provided context to the use of spatial maps was completed in January 2016. A Request for Proposals soliciting demonstration pilot projects was released in March, with a deadline for April. Projects and applicants will be identified as those who can lead these efforts in the Valley.

Jurisdictional outreach to Valley cities and counties is ongoing and will continue for the next several months for the Sustainable Energy Roadmap for the San Joaquin Valley, sponsored by the Strategic Growth Council. To date, the cities of Visalia, Avenal, Mendota, Kingsburg, Kerman, Firebaugh, Corcoran, San Joaquin, Orange Cove, Huron, Fresno, Sanger, and McFarland have executed a program agreement. Participating jurisdictions will develop a customized policy roadmap containing guidance to set and pursue goals related to smart growth, transportation, land use, climate and energy.

The San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council (RPC) was established to discuss and build regional consensus on issues of importance to the San Joaquin Valley (Valley) eight-county region. RPC includes eight regional planning agencies, two elected officials from the boards of each regional planning agency (RPA) and the executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. RPC works on transportation, air quality, and other Valley-wide issues to improve the quality of life for Valley residents.