2010 State of the Region
Matthew Dalbey, EPA Senior Analyst
Sacramento at forefront of sustainable communities initiative, says federal analyst
The Sacramento region’s planning efforts--namely SACOG’s Blueprint--are considered a model in communities across the country, so proclaimed Environmental Protection Administration Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Dalbey, who was the guest speaker during the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s State of the Region forum on Aug. 27 at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. He spoke to more than 300 business and civic leaders meeting at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, where the sustainable communities initiative
(SCI) the topic for the forum.
But other regions are watching. "Your competition is learning from you," Dalbey said. “You have to start thinking what the work your are doing means to rural communities and small towns.”
This would include how to leverage public investment to bring in private capital to build a competitive advantage for the region. He noted, for instance, that the federal Department of Agriculture is “really interested” in seeing how the SCI can help increase economic development in rural communities.
The federal government has finally realized that the community development policies and programs that its various departments launches should be connected and based upon what individual communities need, Dalbey said.
“We recognize there is a better way to grow,” Dalbey said. “We are working to make sure our investments are being driven by what community needs are.”
Some of those needs include meeting the demand for 90 million new homes needed by 2050 and creating compact, walkable communties wanted by 20- to-30-year-olds, the so-called “millennial” generation. Plus there’s increasing concern by Americans about disappearing ag land, open space and wildlife habitat.
Dalbey said that the partnership agencies in SCI—Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, EPA and others are seeking “better outcomes” from its regulatory and future legislative actions.
“We feel the stars and sun and moon are suddenly aligned,” Dalbey said. “Your region has grabbed onto something special. It’s the future of your communities…and a lot of people have noticed and expect a lot of your all.”
Meanwhile, the forum also include a panel of business and civic leaders who had messages for Washington: Make federal funds more easily available and send us the money!
With the Sacramento region at a competitive advantage to use its five years of advance work in creating sustainable communities, there’s an “incredible opportunity to connect to federal funding,” said panel moderator David Lowe, president and general manager of KVIE Public Television.
Panelists were Mayor Christopher, Cabaldon, City of West Sacramento; Councilmember Kevin McCarty, City of Sacramento; Aimee Rutledge, executive director, Sacramento Valley Conservancy; Scott Syphax, president & CEO, Nehemiah Corporation of America; and Stan Van Vleck, rancher and principal, DiMare, Van Vleck & Brown LLC.
Among the points made by the panelists:
• The region has a long history of collaboration across communities, jurisdictions and agencies on urban and rural SCI-like projects, like Township 9, wildlife, open space and ag preservation.
• Local residents are very interested in local agriculture—local wines, local foods—and this attracts visitors.
• There’s a “capital crisis” currently and inflows of capital are needed to make sustainability “truly happen.” The federal sustainable communities interest “hasn’t translated into resources flowing this way.” Federal credit enhancements are needed to get private banks to loan more money. If there’s no private investment, there won’t be sustainable projects.
2009 State of the Region