Our Work

Our Objectives

ECOS operates with 5 overarching objectives:
1. Promote and reinforce Smart Growth principles
2. Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse has emissions to slow climate change
3. Establish a regionally coordinated conservation strategy
4. Establish a sustainable regional water supply for both ecological and municipal needs
5. Achieve equity in housing, public health, and economic opportunity

View our Strategic Plan by clicking here.


Our Approach to Land Use Issues

  • Advocacy … for regionally responsible planning that is cognizant of the need for sustainable development and the impacts of climate change.
  • Oversight … of proposed development projects of regional significance.
  • Action … to support sensible infill projects and oppose greenfield development.

Our Policies Regarding Land Use & Proposed Developments

ECOS supports policies and projects that:

  • promote infill development and take advantage of existing community assets by accommodating additional growth in already developed areas
  • foster walkable, close-knit neighborhoods through a system of fully connected streets, pedestrian paths and bicycle routes
  • promote distinctive, attractive and safe communities with a strong sense of place
  • discourage urban sprawl and the associated infrastructure costs, car dependence, environmental degradation, social isolation, and public transit inefficiency
  • mix land uses either vertically or at the appropriate scale horizontally within projects to create vibrant urban places
  • promote rehabilitation and use of historic buildings
  • promote distinguished design of the public realm
  • emphasize a pedestrian and ecological focus
  • promote social equity in residential, commercial, recreational and transportation usage
  • create a range of housing options and choices, including diverse affordable housing choice
  • provide and strengthen a variety of transportation options promoting walking, biking, and transit
  • support appropriate and safe reuse and redevelopment of brownfields
  • preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas

See Also:
View Land Use Committee Minutes and Agendas
Smart Growth Leadership Recognition Program


Issues & Activities

  • Mather Field Vernal Pool preservation
  • Russell Ranch Draft Environmental Impact Report Comments
  • Cordova Hills Project is classic leapfrog sprawl development with no adjacent development, and lies outside of the recently adopted Sacramento region Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS). ECOS and the Sierra Club recently filed a lawsuit challenging Sacrameno County’s approval of this project.
  • Elk Grove Sphere of Influence. The final EIR for the proposed 8,000 acre expansion of Elk Grove’s SOI has been been issued and hearings by LAFCo were held on November 6, 2013. In a major victory for environmentalists and Elk Grove residents, the Commissioners voted 5-2 to deny the expansion of the SOI.
  • Jackson Road Corridor developments from Watt Avenue eastward — Aspen 1 / New Brighton • West Jackson Master Plan • Jackson Township Specific Plan • NewBridge Master Plan • Mather South Master Plan
  • CEQA Reform
  • Folsom Expansion south of Highway 50.
  • Southeast Connector is a sprawl inducing transportation project which ECOS challenged and obtained an agreement with the Southeast Connector JPA to protect sensitive habitat along the propose route.
  • Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy
  • Sacramento County General Plan
  • View our most recent issues by clicking here.

Smart Growth Leadership Recognition Program

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and the American Institute of Architects Central Valley Chapter (AIA-CV) have developed the Smart Growth Leadership Recognition Program to promote healthier, more equitable, and more environmentally sound developments in our region. Developers submit their project plans to a joint committee for consideration for possible endorsement. The joint ECOS / AIA-CV committee does a comprehensive and holistic review of submitted projects based on criteria outlined in the Program Guidelines document.

Endorsed Projects:


Growing Up Not Out

What is “smart growth”? What is “sprawl”?

Sprawl is inefficient, dispersed development: segregated land uses; car dependence; paved over open space and farms; increased costs for governments, businesses and families; negative impacts on health (respiratory, obesity, stress).

Smart growth is well-planned development: mixed, efficient land uses and transportation options; well-defined and safe communities separated by open space and farms; cost-savings for governments, businesses and families; healthy, active, relaxed people.

The fundamental goal of this program is to reduce the spread of suburban sprawl development by encouraging and supporting developers to do true smart growth. By encouraging walk-able, close-knit neighborhoods in areas that have already experienced development (as opposed to completely undeveloped land), we can preserve our last remaining open spaces, accommodate substantial additional population growth, and actually revitalize and enhance our communities.

If you are a developer, ECOS and AIA-CV strongly encourage you to submit your development proposals to our program for review and potential endorsement and support.

For more information, download our Program Guidelines or contact our office (info [at] ecosacramento [dot] net or 916-444-0022).

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