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Regulatory and Planning Policy Development

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Acting in concert with our clients, Planning Partners develops regulatory and planning policies for local government agencies responding to state and federal mandates and changing community needs. Working with technical specialists, legal counsel, agency staff, the regulated community, and the public, we have developed comprehensive regulations for managing industrial agricultural activities in the San Joaquin Valley. We also work on multi-disciplinary planning teams to develop background information and develop environmentally protective policies for local general plans and other planning documents to meet state mandates and pubic expectations. Planning Partners' president, Robert D. Klousner, additionally provides instruction to local agency staff in the integration of environmental information and policies into the general plan, and methods to unify the general plan and its EIR to streamline subsequent public and private projects.

Project: Merced County Animal Confinement Ordinance´┐╝
Client Type: County

Leading a team of technical specialists working closely with Merced County Division of Environmental Health staff, Planning Partners assisted the County in developing a comprehensive ordinance to regulate confined animal facilities in the County. Acting together with the County's use permit process, the ordinance directs the location, siting, and operation of facilities such as dairies, feedlots, and other concentrated animal facilities. Key factors managed by the ordinance involve surface and groundwater emissions, air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, odors, and nuisance insects and disease vectors. As developed by Planning Partners, the intent of the ordinance is to be consistent with the requirements of US EPA, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District so that an animal facility in compliance with the ordinance would also be in compliance with the requirements of these state and federal agencies. Planning Partners then prepared a program EIR for adoption of the ordinance, which has served since 2002 as the first tier CEQA document for such facilities, thereby focusing the scope of subsequent environmental review and providing consistent county-wide mitigation programs to avoid or reduce potential environmental impacts. Although subject to intense scrutiny by regional environmental advocates, the EIR was not challenged, nor were any subsequent CEQA documents tiered from it.

Project: San Benito County General Plan
Client Type: County

As part of a larger team of multi-disciplinary planners and scientists, Planning Partners is working with San Benito County to update their General Plan. In this effort we have compiled background information regarding the broad physical environment within the county, conducted GIS analysis to develop and assess alternative land use and regulatory scenarios, and prepared policies for the management and protection of environmental resources. We are currently preparing a program EIR for the General Plan. The EIR is intended to serve as a first tier document for subsequent development and public works projects in the county, and is being developed to include a number of CEQA streamlining strategies to focus and guide the review of future projects.