In November the NEC and allies at CRTP, EPIC and Humboldt Baykeeper submitted comments to Humboldt County suggesting substantial changes to the proposed 81-acre North McKay Ranch subdivision EIR. Our suggestions would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled, and promoted more walking, biking and transit use. Unfortunately, those changes have not been incorporated into the final EIR, which will come before the Board of Supervisors on March 22.
Given the high rate of relative sea level rise in the Humboldt Bay area and the many environmental, social, and economic impacts that Humboldt County residents will face as a result, it is paramount that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are within the County’s jurisdiction to the greatest extent feasible. Though we desperately need more housing in Humboldt county, this is not the right way to do it. We must not continue to expand auto-centric development locally if we expect to slow the rate of climate change impacts such as sea level rise.
Suggested changes include:
- Requiring electrification of buildings. No gas hook-ups. The project must be consistent with the RePower Humboldt target of a 20% reduction in building greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with a trajectory to achieve a 90% reduction by 2050. This will require all-electric construction.
- Requiring EV charging for all residents.
- Requiring charging for solar.
- Requiring transportation and transit improvements (such as those suggested by RCEA and HCAOG) to reduce use of cars. The project needs to show a major reduction in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) to be consistent with the RePower Humboldt target of a 25% reduction in countywide VMT by 2030, and a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 2030.
- Much higher residential density. Infill is preferable to a new subdivision, but if there is going to be a subdivision, density should be higher and it should be linked to transit.
- More commercial services such that they would reduce vehicle miles traveled and therefore greenhouse gas emissions
- The project must meet transportation greenhouse gas emissions goals in line with the Regional Transportation Plan, the General Plan and the RCEA RePower Humboldt plan.
Tell the Supervisors not to approve this project without requiring significant changes!
Email them today or attend the meeting on 3/22 – either virtually or in person at the County Courthouse. (To comment virtually, watch the streaming video which will be posted here and follow the instructions provided at the bottom of the screen.)
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