Valley sustainable planning helped with $1M grant

The Fresno Council of Governments announced it has received a $1 million grant from the California Strategic Growth Council to continue pursuing a plan to reduce pollution and prepare for population growth in the San Joaquin Valley.

Fresno COG, which is receiving the grant on behalf of eight Valley councils of government, is one of 93 statewide getting a portion of the $45.3 million in local assistance grants from Proposition 84.

The new funding is on top of a $1 million grant Fresno COG received from the first round of Proposition 84 funding last September.

That money was used primarily to educate and receive input from local governments on the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), a set of principles designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with California legislation.

With the second round of funding in hand, Fresno COG will now include the input and data both into the SCG as well as into transportation plans and housing elements throughout the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley.

Strategies include creating bicycle plans, improving public transportation, favoring more compact building designs, setting aside space for parks and allowing for mixed land uses with a variety of commerce located in high-dense city cores.

The funding will also help the Fresno COG work together with the other councils of governments to guide local governments as they update their general plans to reflect more efficient development and land use planning as laid out in the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint adopted in 2009.

Extending out from that is the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint project, which Fresno COG is currently developing with public input on ways to conserve the Valley's land, water and living resources while also taking into account population growth.

Proposition 84 was approved by California voters in 2006, which included $5.4 billion in bonds that support urban greening projects and sustainable community planning.

Much of the resulting projects and policies are being designed to achieve the state's climate goals spelled out in legislation like SB 375 and AB 32.