City council approves sustainability ordinance 6-1

Published on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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The city of Blaine is one more step closer to being green after passing an ordinance that will require all future projects and policies to be in line with energy conscious design and conservation.

In their regular meeting Monday, council members approved the ordinance 6-1 with council member John Liebert dissenting.
“What it amounts to is an ordinance that mandates sustainability guidelines that we are presently meeting or exceeding but it has to be a formality to get state grants,” Liebert said. “I just really don’t want some bureaucrat in some other jurisdiction telling us what we should be doing to be sustainable.”

Council member Charlie Hawkins called the ordinance a “no-brainer.”

“Why wouldn’t we want our community to be more viable and better over the long-term?” Hawkins asked.

The policy requires the city to establish programs and practices that would encourage the sustainability of natural resources in the community such as conservation, reduction of greenhouse gasses, energy conscious design and public education and outreach. This applies to transportation, public utilities and municipal buildings and facilities.

It also includes public outreach and education programs that encourage employees and residents to consider conservation and more sustainable practices and lifestyles. In short, this means incorporating non-motorized and pedestrian pathways, promoting ride sharing, bicycles and public transit use; use of low-impact development practices such as bioswales, permeable pavement and rain gardens that help treat storm water.

The ordinance was also an effort to meet basic guidelines of state funding sources such as the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) and the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) that require jurisdictions have a sustainability policy in place to be eligible for those funds.