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File #: 2019-7045   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 7/16/2019
Title: Hold Preliminary Public Hearing on Draft Climate Action and Resiliency Plan and Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration and Schedule Final Council Action for September 3, 2019. (Public Works 310)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's), 2. Exhibit 2 - Draft Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, 3. Exhibit 3 - Draft Plan Appendices, 4. Exhibit 4 - Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration, 5. Presentation, 6. Correspondence - Updated 7-16, 7. REVISED Presentation, 8. Submittals


Hold Preliminary Public Hearing on Draft Climate Action and Resiliency Plan and Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration and Schedule Final Council Action for September 3, 2019.  (Public Works 310)



To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council




The purpose of this preliminary public hearing is to provide the City Council and the public with the opportunity to review and comment upon the draft Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP) and draft Mitigated Negative Declaration.  Based on the comments received at this July 16, 2019 public meeting, staff will prepare any revisions to the CARP and/or Mitigated Negative Declaration, if necessary, and return with resolutions of approval September 3, 2019. 


The CARP’s development involved hundreds of Alamedans and numerous community and stakeholder groups who shaped the plan’s direction and content. This plan’s ultimate adoption will conclude a process initiated by the City Council’s May 2017 referral <|&Search=climate> to update the 2008 Local Action Plan for Climate Protection. The urgency to adopt a plan and move to implementation was more recently underlined in the City Council’s unanimous March 2019 approval <|&Search=climate+emergency> of a climate emergency declaration.




The City of Alameda (City) is expected to face significant challenges in the coming years due to a changing climate. This means preparing for more frequent episodes of unhealthy air quality from wildfires, rising sea levels, more intense winter rain/wind storms, a rise in groundwater levels and longer, deeper droughts with impacts to transportation, power, communications, health, personal property, housing supply, and the economy, among others.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that human behavior, particularly burning fossil fuels, is inducing climate change by releasing harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The severity of predicted climate change scenarios is explicitly linked to global trajectories of GHG emissions. If emissions do not decrease, and if the City does not prepare for sea level rise and more intense storms, many parts of the City will see frequent flooding in the near future, and some parts could be permanently underwater by mid-century.


Building on prior efforts, the CARP provides a roadmap for reducing the City’s GHG emissions and becoming more resilient through a number of strategies. The CARP updates and expands the scope of the City’s 2008 Local Action Plan for Climate Protection by adopting an integrated approach consisting of both adaptation and GHG emissions reduction.


The 2008 Local Action Plan set a goal of reducing the City’s GHG emissions 25% below 2005 levels by 2020. Current emissions projections indicate that the City will have reduced GHG emissions by an estimated 23% by 2020.  This is mostly the result of Alameda Municipal Power’s (AMP’s) shift to 100% clean electricity, which effectively eliminates the City’s GHG emissions from electricity consumption.  In addition, the City’s GHG emissions from waste were cut almost in half due to the success of the Zero Waste Implementation Plan and its Update, and there was a steady downtick in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from passenger cars. The City’s investment, with AMP’s help, in the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses also played an important role.


Beginning in 2020, with AMP’s delivery of 100% clean electricity, almost 70% of the City’s annual GHG emissions will come from the transportation sector, with the remaining 30% largely coming from natural gas use in buildings. To reduce emissions from transportation, Alamedans need to shift from cars to biking and transit, and from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electricity-powered vehicles. Land use and housing can play an important role in reducing car use, and development requirements can facilitate adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by increasing the availability of EV chargers. Codes and requirements related to buildings can also catalyze a shift from natural gas to electricity use in buildings, reducing emissions from the building sector.


To develop the City’s draft CARP, the Public Works Department contracted with Eastern Research Group, Inc.  The development process took more than one year and included significant collaboration among City staff, community members, and outside subject matter experts. To date, Alamedans provided input on the CARP through a 2018 community survey, multiple community events, three public input sessions, and many sessions at local middle and high schools.


The draft proposed for adoption tonight has been improved by more than 140 suggested changes from members of the public made through an online portal, comments from various Boards and Commissions, and input from many organizations, including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Bike Walk Alameda, Building Decarbonization Coalition, Building Industry Association of the Bay Area, California Department of Transportation (District IV), Climate Readiness Institute, Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda, Earth Justice, East Bay Regional Park District, Port of Oakland, Rocky Mountain Institute, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Sierra Club, and StopWaste.


Exhibit 1 includes frequently asked questions (and answers) that have come from Alamedans, the City’s boards and commissions, and various state, regional, and local community groups and public agencies.



The vision of the Draft CARP (Exhibits 2 & 3) is to achieve net zero emissions and community resilience as soon as possible. The CARP suggests a path to achieve eight targeted goals:


1.                     Reduce GHG emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

2.                     Protect assets from sea level rise and storm surges, plan future land use to avoid impacts and enhance shoreline habitat to mitigate impacts.

3.                     Increase resiliency and capacity of the stormwater system to prevent flooding of assets during extreme precipitation events.

4.                     Reduce water consumption and increase drought-resistant landscaping.

5.                     Reduce heat island effect and protect vulnerable populations from heat impacts during heat waves.

6.                     Protect public health from smoke impacts during wildfire events, especially vulnerable populations.

7.                     Ensure that building and infrastructure retrofits and new design standards impacted by a high risk of liquefaction consider both seismic risk and sea level rise.

8.                     Develop financial and human resources and increase transparency, community engagement, social resilience and support for effective CARP implementation.


The CARP recommends specific GHG emissions reduction and adaption strategies. Below, the emissions reductions strategies in transportation, buildings, land use, and housing are described, followed by various adaptation strategies. The recommended actions in the CARP are in addition to already committed actions in AMP’s Strategic Plan, Alameda Point Master Infrastructure Plan, Transportation Choices Plan, Zero Waste Implementation Plan, among others.




There are two ways to reduce emissions from the transportation sector: mode shift and alternative fuel use. The CARP prioritizes mode shift first, given its multitude of benefits (GHG reduction, reduced traffic congestion, expanded mobility for underserved populations, health benefits, etc.). The CARP’s secondary transportation priority is increasing EV use among Alamedans who continue to drive.


The new GHG emissions reduction actions in the CARP that are intended to catalyze mode shift beyond that from the Transportation Choices Plan are detailed in Table 3-4 of the plan and summarized below:


T1.                     Reduce commute VMTs. Encourage employee and employer participation in commute trip reduction through telecommuting. Make land use decisions that increase work-live and mixed zoning.

T2.                     Build additional bike lanes. Expand TCP project/programs by adding more dedicated and protected bike lanes and making pedestrian/bicycle improvements that increase safety, make it easier for people to use these modes, and connect residential neighborhoods with commercial centers and work places.

T3.                     Traffic signal synchronization. Improve synchronized timing of 25 traffic lights to improve traffic flow by slowing vehicle speeds and reducing idling.

T4.                     Expand EasyPass program. Provide 5,000 additional passes by 2030. Consider additional expansion for net zero emissions.

T5.                     Ban gas-powered leaf blowers.


To move to net zero emissions as soon as possible, CARP considers peak-hour congestion pricing and an Alameda BART station served by a possible second transbay tube. Both projects are long-range ones with significant advantages in shifting Alamedans out of solo driving, but both also would face a variety of regulatory, political, and logistical hurdles.


The new GHG emissions reduction actions to encourage vehicle electrification (i.e., replacing fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electricity-powered vehicles) are detailed in Table 3-5 of the plan and summarized below:


T6.                     Increase availability of EV charging stations citywide.

T7.                     Promote purchase of low emission and zero emission vehicles.

T8.                     Continue programs to encourage new EV purchases and facilitate private charging.

T9.                     Continue to encourage businesses to install EV charging stations.

T10.                     Electrify City’s fleet. Convert the light-duty portion of the City’s vehicle fleet to EVs.


AMP has developed an Electric Vehicle Plan to further EV adoption in the City.


In addition to the importance of transportation from a GHG perspective, the transportation sector also contains a vast network of assets that are critical to social, economic, and physical well-being, as well as emergency response. These transportation assets connect the City to other services regionally and beyond, and they support vehicular movement (roads, bridges, tunnels), public transit (bus and passenger ferries), boats, and bicycle/pedestrian paths. The transportation sector’s vulnerability to sea level rise and flooding from intensifying storm events not only puts these assets at risk, but also affects other sectors, amplifying socioeconomic and public health risks. Some of the vulnerability of Alameda’s transportation system stems from its lack of redundancy. With limited connections on and off the island of Alameda, the community may experience very negative impacts any time there are disruptions to tunnels, bridges, or transit service.


Transit dependence can make it harder for economically strained households to respond in times of emergency, and insufficient transit options then make transportation an accessibility issue. Lack of mobility inhibits one’s quality of life and productivity, and also makes it harder to respond in emergency situations.  When the individuals who are transit-dependent are children, seniors, disabled residents, and low-income residents, these impacts can be more extreme. Transportation resilience would ensure services are accessible and reliable under all circumstances, particularly for the vulnerable populations mentioned above.



Buildings/Land Use/Housing


The City’s GHG emissions from the building sector come primarily from natural gas consumption. Accordingly, the CARP’s recommended new actions for the building sector focus on reducing GHG emissions related to natural gas use in buildings. The new GHG emissions reduction actions in the CARP that are intended to reduce buildings emissions are detailed in Table 3-6 of the plan and summarized below:


E1.                     “Fuel switch” in existing buildings. Convert natural gas consumption to electricity use in residential and commercial buildings. The City will support programs that encourage homeowners/commercial building owners to implement electrification retrofits.

E2.                     Electrification of new residential construction. Prepare ordinances requiring all new residential construction to be 100% electric-powered with no gas hookups.

E3.                     Programs to encourage fuel switching in certain appliances. Encourage the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to continue implementing AMP rebate programs encouraging residential customers to install ENERGY STAR-labeled electric clothes dryers and electric heat pump water heaters.

E4.                     Green roof installations on new developments at Alameda Point. Requires at least 10% of roof areas on new development in Alameda Point to be installed as green roofs. This action aligns with the Alameda Point Stormwater Management Plan requirements.


With research supporting the fact that dense housing and affordable housing contributes to lower GHG emissions by reducing vehicle miles traveled, future land use, and housing policy decisions should focus on:


1.                     Changing zoning to allow more multi-family use, reduced parking requirements, and increased allowable density while shortening overly lengthy permitting timelines.

2.                     Implementing anti-displacement policies, such as preservation of affordable housing, tenant protection, and guarantee of lease renewal. These would build on the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

3.                     Direct more funds to rail and bus rapid transit investments. Additionally, improve bus and other connections to rail and bus rapid transit, including increasing walking/bike infrastructure.

4.                     Addressing future regional housing needs, providing housing on fewer sites that support higher-density development versus providing housing at more sites with lower densities.

5.                     Multi-family housing configurations versus single-family configurations.

6.                     Eliminating minimum parking requirements and establishing maximum parking requirements, similar to the standards adopted for Alameda Point in 2014.







The CARP provides site specific adaptation planning for eleven priority locations subject to flooding, see Table 4-4 of the CARP. Three of the eleven locations are specific to transportation; however, flooding from the overtopping of shoreline segments and insufficient storm drain system capacity, if left unaddressed, impact the transportation network.  The eleven high priority flooding areas are noted below:


Asset Category


Table in CARP

Shoreline and Natural Areas

Crown Beach and Bird Sanctuary



Eastshore Drive



Shoreline Adjacent to Webster and Posey Tubes



Bay Farm Island Touch Down Area (Alameda Island side)



Veteran’s Court Seawall



Bay Farm Island Lagoon System 1 Outlet Gate and Seawall



SR260 and Posey/Webster Tubes



SR61/Doolittle Drive



Critical and High-Use Roadways (used by AC Transit)



Storm Drain Pipes and Pump Stations



Bayview Weir and Outfall



Addressing the risks posed to buildings in the City is possible through a combination of policy or code changes, and implementation of flood protection and other hazard reduction actions. In terms of flood protection, the strategies in Table 4-18 are intended to help buildings and communities withstand and/or avoid temporary flood events. Some of the strategies described in Table 4-18 and below (e.g., composting, solar panels, green/cool roofs) have co-benefits in terms of GHG mitigation, such as:


1.                     Encouraging implementation of flood-proofing.

2.                     Engaging the community in climate adaptation efforts and build grassroots support.

3.                     Managing costs associated with growing flood risk.

4.                     Investigating and adopting requirements for managing runoff from impervious surfaces using green infrastructure.

5.                     Implementing requirements for managing runoff from impervious surfaces using green infrastructure.

6.                     Studying groundwater to better understand current groundwater conditions and the impact of sea level rise.

7.                     Promoting retrofit efforts to reduce the impact of earthquakes and liquefaction.

8.                     Encouraging installation of solar panels and storage.

9.                     Modifying building codes to encourage implementation of heat reduction techniques.


The CARP contains several strategies to integrate with these new plans and protect existing City neighborhoods from sea level rise. Some of these strategies are specifically focused on shorelines and protecting the many homes, businesses, infrastructure public services, and natural resources close to the shoreline. As sea level rises over the decades, it will take more resources to continue keeping all shoreline neighborhoods dry especially if the 11 high priority locations listed above are not addressed. Table 4-21 presents a series of strategies to build resiliency for shoreline, natural, and recreation areas, such as:


1.                     Implement a maintenance and repair plan for existing shoreline structures.

2.                     Get involved in BCDC’s Bay Fill Policy Working Group to advocate for easier permitting of habitat and resilience projects.

3.                     Collaborate with Port of Oakland, CalTrans, and East Bay Regional Park District on planning for the future of Doolittle Drive, which impacts flood risk on Bay Farm Island.


Regional collaboration and governance


Climate mitigation and adaptation, by their nature, require solutions that extend beyond city boundaries. The City must continue to partner on adaptation with key stakeholders, including, but not limited to, Caltrans, East Bay Regional Park District, Port of Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Pacific Gas & Electric, AT&T, and other telecommunication firms.


It is also in the City’s interest to track the evolving landscape of state, regional, and county governance structures around GHG reduction and climate adaptation and to seek leadership opportunities to help shape those structures and policies. For example, creation of a regional sea level rise governing body could influence the direction of local shoreline adaptation projects.




Staff recommends City Council schedule final action to adopt the CARP at the September 3, 2019 meeting. If the City Council’s comments on July 16, 2019 suggest significant plan revisions, final action to adopt the CARP would be delayed until late fall or early winter in order to allow enough time to incorporate revisions into the plan.




The CARP does not authorize expenditure of any City funds. The FY 2019-21 budget included more than $300,000 annually in a Climate Action Contingency and more than $3,000,000 allocated to various projects and programs consistent with the CARP.  The CARP suggests that, if fully implemented, the City would likely require an additional 11+ full time employees and would impact future costs. Once the CARP is adopted, City staff will return to City Council with recommendations for how to implement the strategies laid out in the CARP, and at that time will ask for funds to be allocated for the implementation.


The economic analysis in the CARP suggests that adapting is a good investment. Even when using conservative assumptions and quantifying the value of only buildings, property and infrastructure, the benefit to cost ratio is at least 3.5 to 1 in all scenarios assessed, suggesting that every dollar spent on prevention avoids at least $3.50 in economic losses to the community. Other benefits to consider, which make the benefit-cost ratio even higher (more favorable), are commerce disruption and loss of non-market benefits associated with Crown Beach and other parks, as well as other non-monetized benefits such as improved safety for people within the city.




The purpose of this preliminary public hearing is to provide the City Council and the public with the opportunity to review and comment upon the draft Mitigated Negative Declaration.  Based on the comments received at this July 16, 2019 public meeting, staff will prepare any revisions to the Mitigated Negative Declaration (Exhibit 4), if necessary, and return with a resolution of approval September 3, 2019. 




By adopting this plan, there will be little to no impact on climate change. By implementing this plan, the City will reduce its emissions by 50% below 2005 levels no later than 2030, set a course to reach zero net emissions as soon as possible, and protect the City and its residents from inevitable climate change hazards such as sea level rise.




Hold preliminary public hearing on draft Climate Action and Resiliency Plan and draft Mitigated Negative Declaration and schedule final Council action for September 3, 2019. 




                     We seek City Council input on any possible changes to the plan during the study session.  I anticipate that the City Council will approve the plan at its September meeting.  If that occurs, I plan to initiate elements of the plan including Creating a dashboard using data visualization capabilities to highlight Alameda’s efforts in addressing Climate change.

                     Work on first-year milestones

                     Work on elements of climate change outlined in the adopted budget.


Respectfully submitted,

Liam Garland, Public Works Director



Erin Smith, Public Works Deputy Director


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director



1.                     Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) 

2.                     Draft Climate Action and Resiliency Plan

3.                     Draft Plan Appendices

4.                     Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration


cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager