HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—The City of Huntington Beach approved spending up to $300,000 on April 5 on hiring a consulting firm that will help determine how the city can make its operations more environmentally sustainable.
During the April 5 city council meeting, the councilors approved with a 6–1 vote a principal amount of $250,000—with up to $300,000 for changes in scope that could occur later on—for hiring Buro Happold, a consulting company “with extensive experience developing Sustainability Master Plans” for public agencies, according to a staff report. Councilman Erik Peterson was the only dissenting vote.
“[This proposal] indicates that we’re prioritizing sustainability and we’re doing so through a very forward-thinking holistic approach,” said Councilwoman Natalie Moser, who brought the proposal forward, at the meeting. “We’re trying to move forward by using local control, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make life better for our community, and to make this a richer, more prosperous, healthier city and community for all of our residents.”
The council requested city staff to develop a citywide sustainability master plan in July 2021, with this funding approval representing one of the first major steps in the plan development process.
Huntington Beach’s sustainability master plan aims for more environmentally sustainable city operations, policing, services, and programs.
In practice, this includes protecting and restoring natural habitats in the city, reducing environmental hazards, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using more renewable energy sources, promoting community well-being through programs that improve residents’ living and working conditions, and supporting the local economy and small businesses.
“The time is now, as a community resident and also just as a mom, as a parent, I want to make sure that we’re doing the right things for our kids,” Moser added. “It’s important to start here with the data so we can leverage all the grants and funding mechanisms that might come down the road later on with this plan.”
The estimated time of completion for the master plan is approximately 12 to 18 months.
Councilman Erik Petersen was not immediately available for comment.