The Lancaster Planning Commission has been reviewing a number of high-profile projects during the past few months. In November, the commission reviewed the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Home Ordinance, subsequently recommending it to the city council for further study and its eventual vote of approval. The decision made Lancaster the first city in the state to mandate ZNE standards for new homes.

The commission is reviewing the Draft Safe Schools Route to School (SRTS) Master Plan which, if approved by the city council, will improve the walking, biking and “rolling” environment around each of the city’s 30 public school campuses. The improvement plan is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to improve the health of the community—particularly students—since studies have demonstrated that walking or cycling to school can improve youth health and also play a role in better academic performances. Officials hope to obtain grant funding for improvements such as sidewalks, bike facilities and traffic reduction.

The SRTS plan was developed around what is known as the “5 E’s” of SRTS (education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation) to build upon the efforts of the city’s Master Plan of trails and bikeways by further identifying improvements and programs to make the neighborhoods around school campuses safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. The Master Plan development effort has been funded by two grants: a Healthy Eating Active Living grant through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and an Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant from the State of California. Lancaster secured another ATP grant to be used for pedestrian safety improvements around five of the school campuses with construction scheduled to begin in 2020.

For more details about these and other city projects being proposed around town, visit www.cityoflancaster.org/about-us/commissions-and-appointments/planning-commission or better yet, attend a meeting of the Planning Commission held on the third Monday of each month at 5 p.m. in the Lancaster City Hall council chambers, 44933 Fern Ave.