City Commission to Vote on Community Sustainability Plan on June 21

Published on June 16, 2022

The Kalamazoo Community Sustainability Plan (CSP) will be considered by the City Commission for adoption at its regular business meeting on Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall (241 W South St). The final draft Plan is available at www.imaginekalamazoo.com/projects/sustainability.

Public comments can be provided for the City Commission meeting in person or over the phone. Details on how to provide a public comment for the meeting by phone can be found here and City Commission agendas can be found here. Comments can also be emailed before the meeting to Nolan Bergstrom, at bergstromn@kalamazoocity.org. Emailed comments will be compiled and shared with the City Commission.

The first draft of the plan was released to the public in early April. Throughout April and May it was presented to boards and commissions, community organizations, and at community meetings while community input and feedback was collected on the draft plan and priorities. No significant changes to the draft plan or priorities were identified during community review. The final draft includes minor corrections and reference updates. The plan was presented to the City Commission on Monday, June 6 at its Regular Business Meeting. A recording of the presentation is available here.  

The CSP is a 10-year guiding document focused on the role city government can play in partnership with the broader community to create a more sustainable, resilient Kalamazoo. The plan is a starting point and call to action to bring people and partners together on sustainability topics.

The Community Sustainability Plan includes four key themes:

  • Accessible Complete Network includes best practices in sustainable land use and greener transportation systems, including things like increasing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, ensuring the non-motorized network is accessible year-round, and piloting green stormwater infrastructure.
  • Affordable Efficient City includes actions for cleaner, safer, and more affordable buildings and energy, including things like piloting a community solar project, promoting all electric incentives and rooftop solar for new construction, and electrifying the City’s fleet vehicles.
  • Healthy Prepared Community includes protecting community health and the natural environment, including things like flood mitigation projects, planting more trees, and managing city-owned natural areas for better ecosystem health.
  • Green Circular Economy includes ways to support local food systems and reduce and recover waste, including things like supporting local food production, expanding recycling and reuse opportunities, and ensuring small-scale composting is allowed in appropriate zoning districts.

Each theme includes goals, strategies, and actions. In total, the plan includes 10 community goals, 29 strategies, and 81 actions. The plan’s action table will serve as a work plan for City departments. It identifies the City’s role, timeline, cost range, lead department, and potential collaborators.

The plan’s strategies have been prioritized based on feasibility (calculated by cost, implementation timeline, and the City’s level of influence on the project) and the level of impact it would have on mitigating climate change. Six strategies were prioritized through this process and represent opportunities to jump start implementation in 2022. The prioritized strategies also align well with community input from the sustainability survey, steering committee, and other plans.

A key initial step in the implementation of the CSP is the creation of an interdepartmental working group of City staff. This working group will provide ongoing leadership and coordination for the implementation of both the CSP and other initiatives related to sustainability.

The working group will track progress toward the plan’s goals by measuring targets for environmental and community metrics including items like number of trees planted or electric vehicle charging stations installed. The plan also calls for inventorying carbon emissions at regular intervals to track progress.

The CSP was informed by a multi-year community engagement and planning process involving environmental professionals, content and context experts, residents, regional stakeholders, and City staff from multiple departments. The community engagement process included surveys, focus groups, and advisory and review committees to consult and collaborate on the plan.

Sustainability was highlighted by residents as a priority during Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, with Environmental Responsibility as one of ten goal areas. The draft CSP aligns with the City’s Master Plan, Strategic Vision, and many neighborhood plans.

 

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