Sustainable Communities & Climate Protection Program
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) supports the State's climate goals by helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions through coordinated transportation, housing, and land use planning.
Under the Sustainable Communities Act, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) sets regional targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions from passenger vehicle use. CARB set targets for 2020 and 2035 for each of the 18 metropolitan planning organization regions in 2010, and updated them in 2018.
Each of the regions must prepare a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), as an integral part of its regional transportation plan, that contains land use, housing, and transportation strategies that, if implemented, would allow the region to meet CARB’s targets. Once the SCS is adopted by the MPO, CARB must review the adopted SCS to accept or reject the MPO's determination that the SCS, if implemented, would meet the targets. If the SCS would not meet the regional targets, the MPO must prepare an alternative planning strategy (APS) that shows how it could meet the targets.
The Sustainable Communities Act establishes some incentives to encourage implementation of the development patterns and strategies included in an SCS or APS. Developers can get relief from certain environmental review requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) if their new residential and mixed-use projects are consistent with a regions SCS (or APS) that meets the targets (see Cal. Public Resources Code §§ 21155, 21155.1, 21155.2, 21159.28.).