Albert Lopez
Planning Director

Environmental Justice Element of the General Plan

a collection of photos taken outside around alameda county.


What is Environmental Justice (EJ)?

Communities and governments have defined environmental justice in many ways. The County has been using this definition developed by the California Environmental Justice Alliance, which may be refined during the County's community engagement process:

Environmental Justice is "the basic right of people to live, work, go to school, and pray in a healthy and clean environment-regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, ability, nationality, or income."


In 2016, the State of California passed Senate Bill 1000 (Levya) (SB 1000), which requires all cities and counties in California to consider the need to prepare an Environmental Justice Element (EJ Element) for their General Plan. The Alameda County Community Development Agency (CDA) and Public Health Department (PHD) have determined that an EJ Element should be prepared for the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland, Hayward Acres, Castro Valley, and San Lorenzo.

For background information about environmental justice, SB 1000 and the State requirements for preparation of an EJ Element, State Office of Planning & Research guidance is available here.

In December 2015, the Board of Supervisors approved the Community Health and Wellness Element for Ashland and Cherryland (CHWE). The CHWE was prepared through a partnership between CDA and PHD and involved substantial community outreach and engagement. The County is updating the existing CHWE to become an EJ Element. The geographic area of the element will be expanded to include low-income census tracts in Hayward Acres, Castro Valley and San Lorenzo (as well as Ashland and Cherryland), and the policy work will build on the goals, policies and actions in the existing CHWE, fill any gaps to ensure that all EJ Element requirements are addressed, and identify any additional topics based on community input through a robust community engagement process.