The Coast News Group

Escondido City Council hears status update on Climate Action Plan

ESCONDIDO – The Escondido City Council met on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and heard a status update on the city’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) and provided feedback to staff to finalize the new CAP.

The updated comprehensive plan, once completed, will outline strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stay consistent with state requirements.

The city, which was one of the first group of cities to prepare and adopt a CAP in the San Diego region, adopted its CAP in 2013 as was required by Assembly Bill (AB) 32, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

“At a local level, acting on climate change means both reducing GHG emissions from activities within the city and helping the community adapt to climate change and improve its resilience over the long term,” the staff report said. “In general, CAPs can also help achieve multiple community goals in the long term such as lowering energy costs, reducing air pollution, supporting local economic development, and improving public health and quality of life.”

Councilmembers gave direction to staff regarding specific items in the plan that should address things like affordable housing, outreach to diverse communities, plastic waste, public transportation, bike paths and more.

Approaches to climate action differed among some of the councilmembers.

“I try to do whatever I can to participate, but I really support individual choice and individual accountability. I don’t support heavy-handed government mandates and restrictions and eliminations of items… whether they are plastic straws or single-use plastics… because people need to be responsible,” said Councilmember Mike Morasco. “I don’t want as a city to be in a position where we’re making these demands on individuals, on businesses, on restaurants.”

Morasco added that he doesn’t support the idea of creating a climate commission.

Mayor Paul McNamara said that there should be a balance when it comes to approaching climate action.

“I’m kind of a choice guy as well, but I also feel that there’s a balance there… there is some room for ‘hey, guide us down the path if we want to go down to zero plastics, have that program to guide us down the path to zero plastics,’” said McNamara.

Staff will return with more information and options for further discussion.

The council also gave final approval to the Palomar Heights project, and also to change the council meeting times to 4 p.m. for closed sessions and 5 p.m. for regular sessions.

They also heard a report on the Grand Avenue Vision Plan project.