Morgan Hill, CA Environmental Agenda
Status: Adopted on 9/19/07
The mission of this Environmental Agenda is to enhance the long-term sustainability of Morgan Hill by developing a framework for reducing environmental impacts, increasing community health, and protecting the community’s environmental resources for future generations.
Morgan Hill Environmental Vision
The Environmental Agenda envisions an active, vibrant community growing in concert with its natural surroundings. Residents, local businesses, and community institutions will seek out opportunities to protect and preserve natural resources while improving the community’s quality of life, health, and overall well-being. Native flora and fauna will flourish in both developed and undeveloped areas of the community.
1. The Concept of Sustainability Guides City Policy - Morgan Hill is committed to meeting its existing needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The long-term impacts of policy choices will be considered to ensure a sustainable legacy.
2. Protection, Preservation, and Restoration of the Natural Environment is a High Priority of the City – Morgan Hill is committed to protecting, preserving and restoring the natural environment. City decision-making will be guided by a mandate to maximize environmental benefits and reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts. The City will lead by example and encourage other community stakeholders to make a similar commitment to the environment.
3. Environmental Quality, Economic Health and Social Equity are Mutually Dependent - Sustainability requires that our collective decisions as a city allow our economy and community members to continue to thrive without destroying the natural environment upon which we all depend. A healthy environment is integral to the city’s long-term economic and societal interests. In achieving a healthy environment, we must ensure that inequitable burdens are not placed on any one geographic or socioeconomic sector of the population and that the benefits of a sustainable community are accessible to all members of the community.
4. All Decisions Have Implications to the Long-term Sustainability of Morgan Hill - The City will ensure that each of its policy decisions and programs are interconnected through the common bond of sustainability as expressed in these guiding principles. The policy and decision-making processes of the City will reflect our sustainability objectives. The City will lead by example and encourage other community stakeholders to use sustainability principles to guide their decisions and actions.
5. Community Awareness, Responsibility, Participation and Education are Key Elements of a Sustainable Community - All community members, including individual citizens, community-based groups, businesses, schools and other institutions must be aware of their impacts on the environmental, economic and social health of Morgan Hill, must take responsibility for reducing or eliminating those impacts, and must take an active part in community efforts to address sustainability concerns. The City will therefore be a leader in the creation and sponsorship of education opportunities to support community awareness, responsibility and participation in cooperation with schools, colleges and other organizations in the community.
6. Morgan Hill Recognizes Its Linkage with the Regional, National, and Global Community - Local environmental, economic and social issues cannot be separated from their broader context. This relationship between local issues and regional, national and global issues will be recognized and acted upon in the City's programs and policies. The City's programs and policies should therefore be developed as models that can be emulated by other communities. The City will also act as a strong advocate for the development and implementation of model programs and innovative approaches by regional, state and federal government that embody the goals of sustainability.
7. Those Sustainability Issues Most Important to the Community Will be Addressed First, and the Most Cost-Effective Programs and Policies Will be Selected - The financial and human resources which are available to the City are limited. The City and the community will reevaluate its priorities and its programs and policies annually to ensure that the best possible investments in the future are being made. The evaluation of a program's cost-effectiveness will be based on a complete analysis of the associated costs and benefits, including environmental and social costs and benefits.
8. The City is Committed to Procurement Decisions which Minimize Negative Environmental and Social Impacts - The procurement of products and services by the City and Morgan Hill residents, businesses and institutions results in environmental, social and economic impacts both in this country and in other areas of the world. The City will develop and abide by an environmentally and socially responsible procurement policy that emphasizes long-term values and will become a model for other public as well as private organizations. In recognizing that the transport of goods from long distances can have significant environmental impacts, locally-grown foods and locally manufactured goods will be preferred. The City will advocate for and assist other local agencies, businesses and residents in adopting sustainable purchasing practices.
9. Cross-sector Partnerships Are Necessary to Achieve Sustainable Goals - Threats to the long-term sustainability of Morgan Hill are multi-sector in their causes and require multi-sector solutions. Partnerships among the City government, businesses, residents and all community stakeholders are necessary to achieve a sustainable community.
10. The Precautionary Principle Provides a Complementary Framework to Help Guide City Decision-Makers in the Pursuit of Sustainability - The Precautionary Principle requires a thorough exploration and careful analysis of a wide range of alternatives, and a full cost accounting beyond short-term and monetary transaction costs. Based on the best available science, the Precautionary Principle requires the selection of alternatives that present the least potential threat to human health and the City’s natural systems. Where threats of serious or irreversible damage to people or nature exist, lack of full scientific certainty about cause and effect shall not be viewed as sufficient reason for the City to not adopt mitigating measures to prevent the degradation of the environment or protect the health of its citizens. In recognizing that prevention is more effective that mitigation, the City will seek out preventative approaches. Public participation and an open and transparent decision making process are critical to finding and selecting alternatives.
Note: Guiding Principles adapted from the exemplary principles incorporated in the Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan
Primary Subject Goals
While it is recognized that nearly all environmental issues are highly interrelated, it is useful to develop Primary Subject Goals for each major policy area to further clarify and define the Environmental Agenda. It is the intention of the City Council to achieve the following Goals, presented in alphabetical order, for each primary area:
Air Quality: Improve Morgan Hill’s ambient air quality and reduce pollutant exposure to local residents, plants, and animals.
Climate Protection: Identify, inventory, monitor, reduce, and mitigate local greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the community’s carbon footprint in cooperation with the State’s efforts to implement AB 32.
Community Health: Educate, encourage, and assist local residents, institutions, and businesses in improving the overall health and wellbeing of the community.
Energy: Develop a local energy system that maximizes opportunities for locally-developed clean energy generation and supports the use and development of cleaner energy generation sources nationwide.
Green Buildings: Use incentives, regulations, and laws to improve the environmental performance of new and existing buildings, roads, landscapes, and facilities in the community.
Habitat Conservation and Enhancement: Identify and preserve important wildlife habitat in the community and encourage the growth and wellbeing of native plant and animal species.
Land and Open Space Preservation: Continue to preserve hillsides, greenbelts, and open spaces and encourage new development in the City’s core.
Local Resources and Products: Establish educational and assistance programs that identify and encourage the consumption of food and other products grown and produced locally. Municipal Government: Continue to improve the environmental performance of all City buildings, operations and procurements in order to lead by example on all of the goals listed in the City’s Environmental Agenda.
Pollution Prevention: Reduce the generation of all waste products and the release of waste and pollution into the local environment.
Solid Waste Reduction and Resource Conservation: Develop a materials-based local economy that minimizes the use of natural resources through efficient design, waste reduction, materials reuse and recycling, and the incorporation of recycled materials into new products.
Transportation: Work with local, regional, and state agencies and developers to improve the City’s multi-modal transportation network, minimize automobile dependency, and encourage walking and biking within the community.
Water Supply: Maximize the efficient use of water and the development of alternative water supplies.
Environmental Agenda Implementation, Maintenance, and Development
This Environmental Agenda is intended to be a dynamic document that shall be reviewed biennially by the City Council or a designated Council Committee. City staff shall prepare an annual workplan, in conjunction with the City’s annual budget preparation, designed to accomplish the Primary Subject Goals of the Agenda.
Within three months after the initial adoption of the Agenda, staff shall prepare an initial list of specific actions the City will take, a list of performance measures or indicators for each of the Primary Subject Goals, and an implementation workplan for the first six months.