Chula Vista Taking Steps To Be 'Greenest' City In U.S.

Chula Vista is beginning to take bold steps in becoming the greenest city in the nation.

Solar panels and native plants are just some of the things Chula Vista residents could be seeing more of in the coming years.

"The plants aren't going to require a lot of water," said Leo Miras of the Environmental Health Coalition. "This is where we want to go."

Where that is could make Chula Vista the most environmentally friendly city in the nation.

"I think this is a combination of alternatives that will put us right in the lead of the pack, if you will," said Assistant City Manager Scott Tulloch.

The Chula Vista City Council adopted seven new standards Tuesday that could have residents seeing green.

The standards include:

  • Buying alternative-fuel vehicles when the current gas-powered city fleet needs to be replaced
  • Encouraging city contractors, like garbage collectors, to do the same
  • Creating a green building standard for all future construction

    Some of the initiatives would cost the city up front, but could save money down the road.

    "If the city doesn't act now, it's just going to get even more expensive," said Miras.

    The list also includes:

  • Mandatory energy audits for businesses
  • Encouraging water-conserving landscaping instead of grass -- making it easier to install solar panels
  • Encouraging smart growth, like mixed-use developments

    The changes won't affect existing homes and buildings, but the cash-strapped city could be forced to decide between paying for these changes or losing another city service.

    "And the council would make up its mind as to which was the highest priority," said Tulloch.

    If these changes stand, environmentalists said the nation would be looking up to Chula Vista.

    "We definitely deserve a rightful place in terms of the pantheon of the greenest cities," said Miras.

    Some developers told 10News off-camera they didn't like the way these initiatives were forwarded to the city council.

    They said they should have been reviewed by other city commissions and boards before being approved.

    The standards were approved and now city staff has 90 days to develop a plan to implement the changes.

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