Land Use Committee
April 14, 2010
7:00 – 8:40 a.m.
Chair, Cynthia Pratt, Virgil Clarkson, Tom Nelson
Greg Cuoio, Scott Spence, Troy Woo, Rick Walk, Carol Litten, Heidi Behrends-Cerniwey, Alexandria Teague
Heidi Behrends-Cerniwey, Management Analyst, reported the City of Lacey recently received a $164,000 Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) to create or retain jobs, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions.
Heidi stated that the City has developed five activities/strategies to meet EECBG goals:
1. Develop an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (EECS) aligned with ICLEI”s five milestones:
- Conduct emissions inventory
- Establish reduction targets
- Develop an action plan to meet reduction target
- Implement action plan
- Monitor and report on progress
2. Designate a Resource Conservation Manager to conduct an energy audit of City facilities.
3. Apply Energy Efficient Building Codes for new commercial and residential construction.
4. Identify ways to handle Solid Waste more efficiently.
5. Allocated $5,000 sub-grant to Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) for weatherization of older homes.
Heidi stated the first milestone under Activity 1 is to conduct an emissions inventory. She noted that 2005 has been selected as the baseline year, because it is the earliest year that the City has viable emissions data. In 2005, municipal emissions accounted for 6,821 tons of CO2 with 70% of the emissions generated by electricity. Community emissions accounted for 380,520 tons of CO2 with 36% of the emissions generated by electricity and 42% from gasoline. Data was collected from PSE, LeMay Waste, Thurston County Solid Waste, Thurston Regional Planning Council, and City departments. The forecast of municipal emissions in 2030 is projected to be 12,473 tons of CO2. The community forecast is projected at 581,779 tons.
Heidi remarked that the second milestone under Activity 1 is to establish reduction targets. Emissions can be reduced by using alternative fuels, conserving energy, mitigating emissions impacts and developing a plan. Reduction targets have been set by the Kyoto Protocol (7% below 1990 by 2012), the Western Climate Initiative (15% below 2005 levels by 2020), and by Washington State (1990 levels by 2020; 25% below 1990 by 2020; 50% below 1990 by 2050).
Heidi stated the third milestone under Activity 1 is to develop a plan to meet reduction targets by quantifying measures.
Municipal measures for the City of Lacey include:
- Becoming 100% green power in 2007
- Recruiting a Resource Conservation Manager in 2009
- Converting City fleet vehicles to biodiesel fuels in 2008
- Installing LED traffic signals and street signs in 2002
- Implementing water conservation measures in 1992
- Initiating solid waste reduction in 1993
Community measures include:
- Receiving EPA designation in 2007 as a Green Power Community
- Implementing the 2009 State Energy Codes
- Initiating a Building Code Review in 2010
- Sponsoring the Alternative Energy Fair since 1998
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations in 2008
- Partnering with WSDOT, FHA and ARRA to create a trail plan, resulting in a reduction of vehicles
- Implementing Smart Planning in 1992 to create Mixed Use Districts in City zoning
- Initiating energy audits and retrofits in 2010
- Implementing Urban Forestry Standards in 1992
Heidi noted that state and local impacts of climate change include sea level rise, water supply reduction, stream habitat at risk, higher summer temperatures, peak energy demand, air pollution, extreme weather, warmer temperatures, reduced snow pack, and water quality. Sources of greenhouse gases include burning fossil fuels, industrial processes and mining, landfills, sewer/septic systems, agricultural practices, and land use practices.
Economic impacts include increased energy costs, increased health-related costs, increased storm and coastal damage, reduced food production, and use of less energy efficient technologies.
Heidi commented that there are no policy impacts set by the federal government – no reduction targets have been set. State law requires state agencies to consider whether the receiving jurisdiction has a climate change policy when distributing capital funds. SEPA requires a climate policy to identify impact of greenhouse gases in order to compete for funds.
Heidi stated that current municipal and community measures will be incorporated into the City’s Climate Action Plan. Staff will continue to identify additional measures and present options to Council for reducing the City’s carbon footprint. She asked for Council direction on whether the City should set aggressive or achievable goals as reduction targets.
Councilmember Cynthia Pratt responded that climate change is significant and critical for the City of Lacey in relation to livability, sustainability and health issues. She supports striving for higher expectations even if they are not completely achievable, and suggested implementing measures in increments to achieve milestones.
Scott Spence, Assistant City Manager, remarked that before selecting a percentage as a reduction target, the City should consider how changes will be implemented to achieve that goal.
Cynthia remarked she would support a menu of options, especially concentrated at the community level with a wide range of cost-effective incentives, a broad range of possibilities, and what is attainable. Mayor Nelson and Deputy Mayor Clarkson agreed.
The Committee agreed the City should use 2005 as its baseline year and supported setting an aggressive reduction target.
Staff will continue to explore options for greater reduction of greenhouse gases and report back to Committee.
Truck Idling and Noise Ordinance
Rick Walk, Community Development Director, briefed the Committee on truck idling and backup beeper restrictions.
Rick reported the City has received numerous complaints about truck idling and backup beeper noise from residents in the Christa Heights neighborhood which is adjacent to the Commerce Place Light Industrial Park. Washington Insulation is a business in the industrial park that delivers materials to construction sites. Its loading dock is directly adjacent to the back of the Christa Heights neighborhood. The hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a 25 foot vegetated buffer between the properties. Recently, the property owner constructed an 8 foot block wall in an effort to reduce the impacts on neighboring properties.
Rick reported that staff has researched the potential to regulate backup beepers and truck idling to address the ongoing issue. Backup warning measures are required by the State for safety purposes. The most common used by the industry is the horn-style backup beeper. State administrative codes exempt backup beepers from maximum decibel requirements. The City of Seattle’s noise ordinance restricts the noise level of backup beepers to no more than 85 decibels at 200 feet. Rick noted this restriction would not alleviate the noise issue in the Christa Heights neighborhood.
Rick remarked that except for the City of Spokane, no other Washington city has been identified that regulates truck idling. Spokane limits truck idling to 60 seconds in their downtown non-attainment area in order to address air quality issues. Enforcement is an issue and infractions must be observed. To date, no citations have been issued. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency developed model idling regulations that could be adopted by states to provide consistency to the trucking industry. Washington State has not adopted the model regulations.
Rick stated that over the last two years, staff has worked with residents in Christa Heights who have been impacted by the noise and Washington Insulation to resolve the issue. He noted that recently, residents of Christa Heights have sent a letter to Washington Insulation requesting the business consider purchasing white noise backup alarms. It is hoped there will be dialog between the residents and the business.
Rick asked for further guidance from Committee members on what direction, if any, should be taken.
Council and staff discussed several options:
- Initiate an incentive program to distribute white noise beepers at reduced costs.
- Change site orientation of buildings to locate loading docks where they will have the least noise impact on adjoining properties.
- Develop a uniform policy to restrict residential development adjacent to industrial area; give notification when industrial and residential development is going to co-locate.
- Include notice on plats of undeveloped properties as an alert that adjacent property is industrial.
- Create equity by expanding buffers equally on both sides of property.
- Designate tree tracts to provide buffers.
- Pursue state legislation through AWC to create incentives for businesses to reduce noise, i.e. changing backup beepers, based on commercial license renewals.
- Direct Planning Commission to consider language in zoning standards to require loading docks to be located away from residential areas, and to require larger buildings to accommodate indoor loading/unloading. Create performance standards to include separate provisions for all buildings, regardless of size.
- Facilitate discussion between Washington Insulation and Christa Heights residents.
Committee members requested staff to continue to research options for improving the City’s noise ordinance.