Natural Resources Element (Public Hearing Draft, 5/1/13)
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Air Quality

The City of San Clemente lies in the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB), which includes all of Orange County as well as the non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. The Basin is located in a coastal plain with connecting broad valleys and low hills, and is bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the southwest quadrant, with high mountains forming the remainder of its perimeter. Due to its coastal location and prevailing wind patterns, San Clemente enjoys good to excellent air quality. Local air pollutants are blown by prevailing winds from much of the basin toward inland areas.

Air pollution generated by mobile and stationary sources in the City of San Clemente is subject to the rules and regulations imposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Emissions criteria are governed by the California Ambient Air Quality Standards (AAQS) as well as the National AAQS. These standards are designed to protect “sensitive receptors”, or those most susceptible to respiratory distress, such as persons with asthma, the elderly, very young children, people already weakened by other disease or illness, and persons engaged in strenuous work or exercise.

In addition to air pollutants, state law requires cities to address future impacts on climate change. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 was the first legislation recognizing the link between global warming and air pollution. This legislation requires cities to reduce cumulative Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions due to public and private development projects.

Other goals and policies addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are included in the Land Use, Urban Design and Mobility and Complete Streets Elements. These policies address mixed uses, urban forestry, and alternative modes of transportation, among others. Furthermore, the City implements many of these goals and policies through implementation of its Climate Action Plan and Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.


Reduce levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions so that the City meets or exceeds regional, State, and Federal mandates.


NR-5.01. New Development. We require new development to utilize appropriate SCAQMD air quality mitigation measures.
NR-5.02. Sensitive Land Uses. We prohibit the future siting of sensitive land uses, within distances defined by the California Air Resources Board for specific source categories, unless such uses include sufficient mitigation.
NR-5.03. Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Emissions Reductions. We will reduce GHG emissions in accordance with regional, State and Federal regulations*, consistent with the adopted Climate Action Plan.
NR-5.04. Indoor Air Quality. We comply with State Green Building Codes relative to indoor air quality.
NR-5.05. Transportation. We provide non-motorized, multi-modal mobility options (e.g. pedestrian and bicycle facilities) and work with other agencies and organizations to provide transit opportunities to reduce air pollutant emissions.*
NR-5.06. Alternative Fueling Stations. We encourage the siting and installation of alternative fueling (non-fossil fuel) stations.
NR-5.07. Particulate Matter. We support efforts to reduce particulate matter to meet State and Federal Clean Air Standards.
NR-5.08. Street Trees. We maintain a healthy stock of public area and street trees and encourage the planting of trees with significant canopies that provide numerous benefits, including reduced urban heat gain, natural shading and wind screening, air filtration, and oxygen production.


*Note: Numerous policies are provided throughout the General Plan that address greenhouse gases emissions, including sections on mixed use, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and urban forestry, among others. Implementation programs such as those in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and Climate Action Plan provide specific measures and actions that improve air quality for the region and reduce impacts on climate change.

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City of San Clemente
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