info@franklinblvddistrict.com   |   5383 Franklin Blvd. Ste #C, Sacramento, CA 95820

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE

CalEnviroscreen 3.0 ranks the Franklin District in the 90th percentile of Disadvantaged Communities. Data from the Sacramento Air Quality Management District also shows that the Franklin District is among the communities in the Sacramento area with the highest heat levels, posing climate risks for residents and businesses. In addition to the Transportation Strategies in the prior section, our strategies include a variety of approaches that can improve the local environment and air quality, reduce heat islands, and increase the District’s livability and resiliency in the face of climate change:

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I. Residential and business energy efficiency improvements II. Solar energy installations
III. Water-related improvements
IV. Greening the District

V. Property contamination assessment and remediation

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These are described in more detail in the following sections.

Residential and Business Energy Efficiency Improvements

Background and Findings 

Energy efficiency improvements can help reduce pollution and demand on utilities during extreme weather events. SMUD and PG&E offer energy efficiency assistance and rebate programs for single and multifamily residences and businesses. SMUD is also assessing utility bills to develop a pilot for encouraging all-electric homes and has a $1 million commitment over three years to residential improvements.

Our community engagement asked whether people had done any work on their home to lower their utility bills. Overall 47% of survey respondents (72% of homeowners, 37% of renters) reported that they or their landlord had done some work of this type. Of those who had not, 78% did not know that there are programs to help cover the costs.

Considerations for implementing strategies

  • 30% of District residents do not speak English well but website information on utility rebate programs is primarily in English
     

  • Over two-thirds of District residents are renters. Community Resource Project has helped weatherize and improve the energy efficiency of numerous homes in the District. However, while agreements with landlords state that they may not raise the rent, tenants still fear that improvements might lead to rent increases and potential displacement

Solar Energy Installations

Background and Findings 

Another way besides trees to provide shade for buildings and parking lots is through solar installations, which can also help provide electricity for charging, home or business energy, or SMUD’s electrical grid. Installations can include solar panels, solar canopies, solar sails, and solar trees.

Considerations for implementing strategies

  • City codes differ from County codes for solar installations
     

  • The County has been in the process of revising its codes to address setback and other requirements including how solar installations may impact existing trees and landscaping
     

  • Many homeowners and businesses in the District may not be able to afford solar installations
     

  • Depending on energy bills, rooftop solar may not necessarily pencil out for homeowners or businesses, or the cost of roof renovation or replacement alone may be too expensive
     

  • Community Resource Project and Grid Alternatives both have workforce development programs for solar installation

Water-Related

Improvements

Background and Findings 

The Franklin District faces several water-related issues. CalEnviroscreen 3.0 shows that in portions of the Franklin District water is of poorer quality than many areas. Those portions are in service area of the Fruitridge Vista Water Company, a small water company with limited resources for improving water treatment. California American Water has been seeking state approval to purchase the Fruitridge Vista Water Company.
 

Many businesses have reported vandalism of their faucets and irrigation systems by homeless individuals looking for access to water.
 

City regulations require stormwater mitigations for new developments because of stormwater drain capacity. Mitigations may include things like stormwater detention basins, bioswales, and permeable pavement to slow stormwater flow to City drains.

Greening the District

Background and Findings 

Trees can provide heat-reducing shade, cool homes and businesses, help reduce air pollution, increase walking and biking, improve public health outcomes, and beautify an area. As part of its complete street improvements to Franklin Blvd., Sacramento County added street trees to medians and some sidewalk areas, although some species such as crepe myrtles will provide less shade than others as they grow. Currently there are three public street trees in the City portion of the Franklin District. Sidewalk trees in the City are all maintained by Urban Forestry. The City’s Complete Street design for Franklin Blvd. includes street trees, which as they mature will provide shade and reduce heat along the corridor.
 

Parks and community gardens also contribute to heat reduction as well as providing green space and healthy recreational and food opportunities for local residents. There is currently no public plaza for events, and there are no community gardens in the District after a site on church property was closed due to ongoing issues. The Franklin District has two public parks in the Avenues area: Rainbow Mini-Park at Martin Luther King and 41st Ave. and Bowling Green Park on 49th Ave. by Hwy 99. Play areas at local schools and the Maple Neighborhood Center are gated and closed to the public outside business hours. La Familia has a project to create a more welcoming entryway from Franklin Blvd. into the Maple Neighborhood Center, which has play structures and recreation areas, and is considering converting the Maple Center soccer field into a park under the purview of Parks and Recreation.

FNDC staff analyzed current walk times in the District to public parks in the area, finding many residents would have to walk 15-20 minutes or more to reach a park. As shown in the map, access is particularly limited in the area between 21st Ave. and Fruitridge.
 

High school surveyors found 67% of respondents felt more parks were very (52%) or somewhat (42%) important improvements in the District. In prioritizing improvements, people said adding parks (28%), community gardens (25%), and trees (18%) were top priorities. In our business outreach, 54% of businesses prioritized improving neighborhood feel (public art, events, public park, street trees) as most important. Of the 68 businesses asked if they were interested in tree planting at their business, 32% said yes and 29% said maybe.

Property Contamination Assessment and Remediation

Background and Findings 

Many commercial properties in the Franklin District, whether currently occupied or vacant, have a history of auto- related or manufacturing uses that date back many decades. As a result, some now-vacant properties may have contamination issues that could affect new uses/users and redevelopment opportunities. Strategies to help understand and address any contamination issues could help speed the reuse of properties and revitalization of the Franklin District.

Considerations for implementing strategies

  • Some public programs are available to help with environmental assessment and remediation planning
     

  • Liability concerns are paramount for current or future property owners