The Strategic Growth Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program – the program that will distribute tens of millions of dollars in cap-and-trade funds – with only one minor amendment.

The program now kicks into high gear, with six workshops in a row next week and prospective applicants required to submit "concept proposals" by February 19th.

The only amendment passed yesterday was a strengthening of the program guidelines dealing with agricultural and natural resources land. As presented to the SGC, the program guidelines called for a "no net loss" ag and natural resources policy. The SGC adopted a flat prohibition on using AHSC money to build on ag or natural resources land.

The workshops will be held as follows:

Feb. 4: San Diego

Feb. 5: San Bernardino

Feb. 6: Los Angeles

Feb. 9: Bakersfield

Feb. 10: Stockton

Feb. 11: Oakland

To register, go here.

Most stakeholders who spoke yesterday acknowledged that it was time to move forward with the program even though many of them still had some concerns about it.

The one amendment approved by the SGC yesterday strengthened the language about protecting agricultural and natural resource lands. The staff had proposed a "no net loss" policy but the SGC changed that to a flat prohibition on using cap-and-trade funds to build on agricultural or natural resource lands.

SGC's meeting material can be found here.

Martha Bridegam's comprehensive article covering the program can be found here.

Martha's update based on last-minute tweaks can be found here