General Plan Element Updates
In addition to the Housing Element Update, the City is also updating the Safety Element and Conservation Element, and preparing a new Environmental Justice Element to align with the updated Housing Element.
Environmental Justice Element Update
Environmental justice is the response to the tendency of low-income and racial minority communities bearing a disproportionate burden of hazardous or degraded environments (e.g., freeways, landfills, hazardous waste facilities, poor working conditions) than the general population. Historically, this is due to a lack of meaningful opportunities for these communities to participate in the planning process, sometimes leading to discriminatory practices, such as redlining, that have segregated communities and pushed low-income and racial minority populations to areas with poor air quality, pollution, and other health hazards. Environmental justice policies and programs work to overcome these trends and undo the effects of discrimination in land use decisions.
Why is the City drafting an Environmental Justice Element now?
State law requires cities and counties with disadvantaged communities to identify environmental justice policies whenever two or more elements are adopted or updated concurrently. Since the City of Lodi is updating its Housing Element, Safety Element, and Conservation Element as part of this Housing Element Update process, the City is also adopting a new Environmental Justice Element to be in compliance with State law.
Environmental justice is defined in the California Government Code as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races, cultures, incomes, and national origins with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”
Environmental Justice Outreach: Thank you!
Thank you for joining us for our community outreach events for the Environmental Justice Element.
Event #1: On Monday, June 5th, the City hosted a community workshop at the LOEL Senior Center that included an overview of environmental justice, how environmental justice relates to the General Plan, and opportunities for community members to provide input.
Event #2: On Thursday, June 8th, the City had a booth at the Lodi Farmer's Market where we asked community members what issues they would address if they were "Mayor for the Day".
Event #3: On Thursday, June 29th, the City had a booth at the Lodi Farmer's Market where we presented information on the initial feedback we received from the first two meetings.
Environmental Justice Element FAQs
State law defines a “disadvantaged community” as “an area that is a low-income area that is disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and other hazards that can lead to negative health effects, exposure, or environmental degradation.” - California Government Code, Section 65302(h)(4)(A)
Cities and counties in California can use the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (“CalEnviroScreen”) to identify disadvantaged communities in their jurisdiction. CalEnviroScreen contains 12 indicators related to pollution burden and 8 indicators that track population characteristics and other vulnerabilities.
In 2016, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 1000 requiring both cities and counties that have disadvantaged communities to incorporate environmental justice goals, policies, and objectives into their general plans. The purpose of this legislation is to address the “unique or compounded health risks” in disadvantaged communities by decreasing pollution exposure, increasing community assets, and improving overall health. State law requires general plans to address the following topics in disadvantaged communities:
- Pollution exposure (including air quality)
- Public facility access
- Food access
- Safe and sanitary housing
- Physical activity and recreational opportunities
- Unique compounded health risks
- Community engagement in the public-decision making process
Cities and counties can incorporate environmental justice policies into their general plans either in a standalone Environmental Justice Element or by including relevant environmental justice policies into existing General Plan Elements. As part of the Housing Element and General Plan Updates, the City of Lodi will be creating a standalone Environmental Justice Element.
The location, quality, and affordability of housing play an important role in addressing environmental justice goals and policies and promoting positive health outcomes for disadvantaged communities. Through the Housing Element Update the City has an opportunity to plan housing near transit, public facilities, and recreation, and work to overcome concentrations of lower income populations in areas with hazardous or degraded environmental conditions. Additionally, the Housing Element can address issues faced by disadvantaged communities, such as substandard housing, displacement, and homelessness, through policies and programs that promote safe, secure, and affordable housing for all residents throughout the community.
Safety Element Update
The Safety Element is one of the required elements of the general plan. The purpose of the Safety Element is to reduce the risk of death, injuries, property damage, and economic and social dislocation resulting from fires, floods, drought, earthquakes, landslides, climate change, and other potential hazards in the community. The Safety Element identifies potential risks to community safety and establishes policies and programs to protect the community from those risks. Topics addressed in the Safety Element include evacuation routes, flood and fire hazards, emergency shelters, emergency response services, and emergency communication programs.
How is the Safety Element connected to the Housing Element Update?
State law requires the Safety Element to be revised each time the Housing Element is updated to address flood and fire hazards and identify any evacuation challenges associated with updated land use designations in the Housing Element. The City is currently updating the Safety Element as part of the Housing Element and General Plan Update.
Conservation Element Update
The Conservation Element establishes goals and policies for the preservation, enhancement, and management of a jurisdiction’s natural resources. Lodi’s Conservation Element addresses agricultural and soil resources, biological resources, cultural and historic resources, hydrology and water quality, energy and climate change, and air quality.
The Conservation Element is being updated in conjunction with the Safety Element to identify rivers, creeks, streams, flood corridors, riparian habitats, and land that may accommodate floodwater for purposes of groundwater recharge and stormwater management, which are covered in the Safety Element.