Designing Healthy & Sustainable Communities

Community Meeting:

Designing Sustainable and Healthy Communities


This report summarizes the outcomes from a community meeting entitled “Designing Sustainable and Healthy Communities” co-hosted by Supervisor Jane Parker and Sustainable Seaside on August 2, 2012 from 5:30-8:00 PM at the Chartwell School in Seaside. This report will be posted online at

This Community Meeting brought together over 40 people to hear from local experts on different aspects of sustainable and healthy communities from different County departments and other local organizations. Attendees also had an opportunity to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas about sustainability and health. Supervisor Parker and her staff will be seeking opportunities to implement the many good ideas which were generated by this event.

  • Monterey County District 4 Supervisor Jane Parker’s priorities include responsive, transparent government, increased access to high quality healthcare services, responsible land use, water and mass transit solutions, and an emphasis on preventive policy as it pertains to social and law enforcement issues. (831) 883-7570

  • Sustainable Seaside is a group of concerned local citizens working locally towards solutions to environmental challenges. Their mission is to make the City of Seaside and adjacent areas a model of sustainability through innovative local actions which work to enhance our community. Contact Kay Cline at


The meeting began with a tour of Chartwell School and a talk by Douglas Atkins, Executive Director, about the green design features, cost-savings, and financing involved in its construction and operation. As a result of careful planning and high-efficiency attributes, the building was cheaper to build and continues to be less expensive to run than conventional school buildings.

  • Chartwell provides diagnostic education in a “green” environment for bright K-12 LD and ADD students who return successfully to mainstream schools/colleges. (831) 394-3468


Afterward, Supervisor Parker introduced the rest of the speakers and they spoke for ten to fifteen minutes each:

o Dr. Krista Hanni, a Program Manager, Monterey County Health Department, spoke about the Health in All Policies Initiative, which strives to include health considerations in all county policies, including planning and community design. She pointed to the unintended health benefits of air pollution control, and described other ways in which health can be affected by policies such as those in the Monterey County General Plan that dictate how easy it will be to walk in a community.

The Monterey County Health Department exists to protect and improve the health of the people in Monterey County. The department provides a wide variety of health-related services in the areas of public health, environmental health, behavioural health and clinic services. (831) 755-4500

o Larry Imwalle, the Executive Director of the ACTION Council for Monterey County discussed The Built Environment and Childhood Obesity, and some of the findings of a study produced by the ACTION Council. Some of factors contributing to childhood obesity in Monterey County are proximity to parks and playgrounds and lack access to healthy food.

ACTION Council for Monterey County is an advocate, incubator, facilitator, convener and collaborator in developing the necessary resources to create positive community change. (831) 783-1244

  • Craig Spencer, Assistant Planner for the Monterey County Planning Department gave an overview of Monterey County’s Green Building Ordinance. He discussed how it fit in with State and Federal green building policies and some of the green building rating systems that also exist.
  • The Monterey County Planning Department processes planning permits, provides long-range planning and develops and administers land use policies. (831) 755-5025

  • Gabriel Torres, the Vice President of Operations for CHISPA gave a talk on Green Community Living showed a power-point presentation of the green residential developments that CHISPA builds and discussed how they were built and what life for the residents there is like.
  • CHISPA works to improve people's lives and create healthy neighborhoods by developing, selling, owning and managing affordable homes. (831) 757-6251

  • Chris Sentieri gave a talk entitled “Planning for Climate Change –Pathways to a Resilient Monterey Bay Community.” His talk provided an overview of the effects that climate change will likely have on Monterey County, some of the legislation currently in place to address climate change and related environmental problems, and provided suggestions for moving into the future.
  • Chris Sentieri is a Certified Green Building Professional and holds a Master of Public Policy Degree from the Panetta Institute/CSUMB. Chris has a detailed knowledge of energy efficiency and alternative energy solutions and an extensive background in public and private financing mechanisms and incentives for green energy projects.


There were a range of concerns expressed by the audience, including why, even though the information about sustainability is available, it is not being put to use by developers on projects in Monterey County.

Survey Results

The following questions were asked in a survey to meeting attendees.

What do you feel are the most significant challenges to designing sustainable and healthy communities in Monterey County?

“Getting City leaders to shift from the mindset of ‘“Build, Baby Build”’ to Sustainable, quality of life, SMART development/growth.”

“Public transport”

“Health Care Issues”

“Overcoming the false notion that such strategies are not economically wise.”

“Transportation – more emphasis on walkable/bikeable.

Planning – mixed use, distribution of shopping, eating, leisure.”

“Lack of collaboration/consensus building, lack of regional collaboration between tri-county departments.”

“Preserving open space and water conservation.”

Did you learning anything new about what the County or other Community groups are doing to ensure that Monterey County communities are sustainable and healthy?

“I was pleased to learn about the County has a Health [in All Policies] Initiative”

“Yes. Green Building Ordinance and what AMBAG is working on.”

“That AMBAG and the County are being proactive in addressing climate change and GHG reductions.”

What other issues would you like to make sure that Jane is thinking about in regards to healthy communities and the environment?

“Implementation…How do we get our local real estate agents to realize that green is not surplus value, it establishes value? How to educate the unlikely first line?”

“Education – letting people know what the County is doing. This was a great event.”

“Low-cost, high impact, regional, solar-powered rail system instead of widening highways.”

“Grey water rather than desalinization.”

“Restoration of City Parks.”

“More frequent and smaller buses instead of the larger, empty buses that are wasteful.”

How did you hear about this meeting?

Sustainable Seaside Flyer


Communities for Monterey County


What topics would you like to see addressed at future community meetings?

“Making our communities more walk-able, bicycle-friendly, family safe. Making use of local resources as much as possible.”

“Annual Sustainability Tours to help more people visualize the possibilities.”

“Grey water and cisterns = mandatory”

Information Tables

Save the Whales:

Fort Ord Environmental Justice Network: