Greenprint Projects

Santa Barbara Greenprint


Man fishing along a beach.
CA Beach Scene Man fishing off of Jalama Beach in Santa Barbara County. © Richard Herrmann

The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) developed a greenprint as part of their Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Community Strategy (RTP/SCS), mandated by California law SB 375. SBCAG developed the greenprint to illustrate areas within the county which encompass public lands, open space, habitat, 100-year floodplains, and farmland to inform their growth patterns and to discourage development in the areas identified with these values. The RTP/SCS is mandated to be updated every four years; the greenprint will be updated on the same schedule.

Year Published: 2012

State: California

Landscape Context: Coastal

Housing Density: Urban, Rural

Funding Type: Public

Habitat Focus: Developed, Herbaceous, Planted/Cultivated

Organizations Involved: Santa Barbara County Association of Governments

Values: Open Space/Habitat, Working Land

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were involved; There was an involved public outreach process for the RTP/SCS process as mandated under SB 375. SB 375 requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) to develop a public outreach plan for the RTP/SCS process which included the Santa Barbara Greenprint. The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) created a three-tiered outreach plan to stakeholders across the region, including over forty local organizations, state and federal landowners, UC Santa Barbara, and the Chumash Tribe. The final scenario was approved by the policy board.

Planning Process:

The Santa Barbara Greenprint was developed as part of SBCAG's RTP/SCS process, so it largely followed the requirements of SB 375. The greenprint itself was developed using existing data sources overlayed in GIS.

Desired Outcomes:

The greenprint aims to ensure that open space/habitat and agriculture are recognized and respected in plans for future growth in the county by embedding the greenprint in the state-mandated RTP/SCS. The goal of the RTP/SCS is to tie land use and transportation planning with the intent to reduce greenhouse gases. The greenprint helps to constrain growth to areas that will have the least impact on values that are important to the region.

What It Accomplished:

The greenprint coincided with the regional housing needs allocation. The RTP/SCS process required SBCAG to project out thirty years to ensure that wherever growth was contemplated, the resulting transportation patterns would change in such a way that greenhouse gas emissions increased. Through planning process, SBCAG was able to achieve substantial reductions per captita through land use measures that focused on infill and Transit Oriented Development. .

The regional greenprint was presented as a basic constraint on where growth could go and was ultimately successful in that it did constrain growth in the RTP/SCS that was adopted and avoidance encroachment on open space and agricultural land. The greenprint has also been employed to provide more science and data on proposals for greenfield development in the county. These decisions are ultimately up to the cities to approve, but the greenprint shows what values are at risk if developed.


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