Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program Releases Updated Draft Guidelines

The Strategic Growth Council has released draft guidelines for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentives Program, which offers grants to cities, counties, and designated regional agencies to promote sustainable community planning and natural resource conservation. This draft includes substantial changes to how applications are assessed.


Below is a summary of the proposed changes. For more details on these explanations, please see the Workshop Draft.


  • Strongly prioritize greenhouse gas emission reduction projects.
  • Measure progress with actionable and valuable indicators based on reliable quantifiable or qualitative data.
  • Prioritize project implementation by focusing on projects likely to be implemented in the near future, or implementation projects themselves.
  • Allow communities to conduct focused activities that significantly increase sustainability. Applicants can self-select a set of Primary Objectives and measure the success of their own work against these objectives.
  • Use the more holistic methodology of CalEnviroScreen to identify Environmental Justice Communities. Up to 25% of the available funds will be set-aside specifically for these communities.


The Strategic Growth Council has proposed changes to the project Focus Areas. Proposals must apply to one of the Focus Areas listed below. More details on these Focus Areas can be found beginning on page three of the draft guidelines.


1. Innovative Incentives for Sustainable Development Implementation

2. Sustainable Community Planning in Transit Priority Planning Areas

3. Collaborative Community Planning in Preparation for High Speed Rail


These draft program guidelines will be discussed during four public workshops taking place July 15-23, 2013. Feedback received prior to July 26th will be considered when creating the next draft of guidelines. Final guidelines are expected to be adopted at the Strategic Growth Council meeting on November 5, 2013.


Feedback may be submitted to

Notice for public workshops from July 15-23, 2013 here.