Evanston environmental activists gathered Sunday for the unveiling of a draft climate action plan for the city that many of them have been working on since last fall.

The plan contains nearly 200 recommendations for transportation, land use, renewable energy, recycling and waste reduction.

It is an outgrowth of a pledge aldermen made in 2006 when they signed on to a proposal from the U.S. Conference of Mayors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 to 7 percent below their 1990 levels.

That target is contained in the Kyoto Protocol agreement signed by many nations but spurned by the U.S. federal government.

While many of the goals presented at the new, environmentally-certified Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation building at 303 Dodge Ave., may prove to be non-controversial, others may run into opposition from certain city interest groups.

For example the plan says the city should “continue to support and encourage high-density, mixed-use, green/high-performing, transit-oriented development.”

That could be seen as an endorsement of high-rise proposals for downtown Evanston of the sort that have engendered intense opposition from certain segments of the community in recent years.

And it could also be seen as a rebuff of the recently adopted rezoning for the Central Street corridor which down-zoned much of the district to minimize high-density, transit-oriented development opportunities.

The climate action plan also calls for considering reducing the number of parking spaces required in new developments near transit lines.

And the plan calls for increasing affordable housing in Evanston, claiming that will reduce vehicle travel, and suggests setting housing affordability goals that would mirror the salary levels paid by Evanston-based employers.

Existing affordable housing efforts have proved controversial, with residents of some parts of town concluding they are being forced to accept a disproportionate share of low-income housing, while other parts of town have little or no affordable housing.

The full climate action plan is supposed to be posted on the city website, but it was not available there as of mid-afternoon today.

The plan, developed by the city and the Network for Evanston’s Future, a partnership of community organizations, will require adoption by the City Council to take effect.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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