Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I said why don't we get together and call ourselves an institute…

Have you read the draft reports from the Commission on the Environment and Sustainabilty? Is there something you think we're forgetting or don't go far enough promoting? Or, do you think we're going too far or pushing the wrong thing all together?

Well, here's your chance to make your voice heard:

Howard County should consider creating an independent Environment Department — or opt for an office or perhaps a coordinator to tackle environmental issues.

These options are aimed at organizing Howard's green effort, according to a report from the governance committee of the county's Commission on the Environment and Sustainability.

The governance committee that handles providing a structure to address environmental issues is one of six groups that presented suggestions for how Howard can become more environmentally friendly by focusing on education and outreach, air and water quality, energy, green building and development, and open space and land preservation.

"They took stabs at solutions," Commission Executive Director Joshua Feldmark said.

Now residents can offer their thoughts on any environmental issues and feedback on the reports during several public hearings.

The commission is "taking a combination of the draft proposals and what we hear in the dialogue sessions and turning them into full-fledged recommendations," Feldmark said.
As mentioned before on this blog, these are the dates for the dialogue sessions:
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, June 21 at Glenwood Library
  • 10 a.m. Saturday, June 23 at Elkridge Library
  • 7 p.m. Monday, June 25 at East Columbia Library
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28 at Miller Library
  • 7 p.m. Monday, July 2 at Central Library
Somehow (the promise of donuts, perhaps?), I got roped into attending the Saturday morning session, in addition to the two at Columbia's libraries.

7 comments:

David W. Keelan said...

Ian,

What was their mission? Where their any economic components?

I only ask because I still think we should build a bio-diesel or ethanol plant in Howard County. It would be good for our farmers and there is capacity in the market for these products.

I will be following this with interest.

David W. Keelan said...

Thanks for the post again. I am reading the documents. I am on page two of the energy document and will pose a couple questions I hope you can answer. Thanks again

Anonymous said...

I missed how affordable housing connects to green development. There are some really good models for it around the country.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:40- good models for what? Affordable housing? Green development? Green affordable housing? Can you be more specific in your particular gripe with this green legislation?

David W. Keelan said...

Energy Use in Transportation

We are a County comprised of car-oriented communities.

I agree. Proposals and recommendations by County commissioned task forces (Rte 40 and Rte 1) have highlighted this area of concern and made specific recommendation on how to address this issue. The County has not demonstrated the will to implement these recommendations at the level envisioned by the task forces.

Developers do not have any incentive to review them and the Department of Planning and Zoning doesn’t have any authority to enforce them. Look at Rte 40 which will soon be graced by yet another car dealership – Car Max. This is completely contrary to the Rte 40 task forces recommendations.

Lack of availability of biofuels.

Very true. Maryland has one biofuel plant. They have already reached capacity and can not meet demand. Part of the plants success is linked to the State’s commitment to use alternative fuel sources and have become one of the plants largest (if not largest) customers. We have the transportation system to move these fuels around the County.

Additionally, Richard Story is in talks with potential investors who are interested in building an ethanol or bio-diesel plant in Howard County. I think this would be great in that it would help support our struggling farmers, help to preserve Western Howard County, and help the Commission on Environment and Sustainability meet their stated goals for Howard County

Bike paths do not connect for easy bike commuting.

Bike paths? That must be Columbia. Not only are they not connected there are not enough of them.

County Government will commit to purchase 5 percent of its electricity from
local renewable energy sources (including Renewable Energy Credits) by 2010, 10
percent by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020.

Identify sites, partners, and economic impacts of County-owned distributed renewable energy facilities, e.g., Alpha Ridge landfill gas, etc.

Wonderful, but I don’t like Renewable Energy Credits. Just purchase from renewable energy sources. I thing buying credits is an easy excuse not to buy from renewable energy sources. If sources are not available create the incentives and environment to make them available. Our own Economic Development Authority can be a key driver in this area. Develop a long term plan to meet this goal without a credit provision in order to spur innovation and alternative energy source development.

I understand that the money spent on credits will help sustain those companies that are creating renewable energy sources. However, I think it is better to pay them for a product rather than our sins – so to speak.

With the high cost of energy and fuel these types of solutions are often floated. But, when energy and fuel costs drop so goes the enthusiasm for these initiatives. With that said, maybe having a Energy Director is not a bad idea. However, I am concerned about an additional layer of bureaucracy and how effective one person could be.

The only area of government organization identified by this committee is the appointment of an Energy Director. This should be coordinated with discussions on a Department of the Environment, though our strong recommendation is that this position be an independent, cabinet level position to oversee and coordinate with all county departments. Current energy and transportation related functions in county government should be considered for consolidation under the Energy Directors office.

As I stated above, I am not typically in favor of increase bureaucracy. Can this be coordinated another way? Why not hire a consultant(s) to help each department head develop a comprehensive energy policy. Bring all the recommendations together into a policy document. Establish timetables and goals for each recommendation with substantial measurement capabilities. If the goals are met then the department heads are rewarded with a bonus. Just a thought.

County government will reduce non-renewable transportation fuel use 10% by
2010, 25% by 2015 and 50% by 2020.

Further investigate the potential for rail transportation connecting Howard
County and incorporate transit options into long range strategy planning.

Should be done, but unless we have the billions to do this I am skeptical of how large our appetite would be to pay for this. It is a 20 or 30 year initiative. The planning should be long term and we should create a rail transportation fund. Such a fund would pay for the research and provide some funding for the future construction and operation. I would even support a tax equal to $.01 per gallon of gasoline purchased in Howard County to support the fund provided it had a sunset provision eliminating the tax once the idea was scrapped or the plans were implemented.

Require purchase of hybrid and/or alternative fuel vehicles for 100 percent of new and fleet replacement purchases, with the exception of emergency and special-use vehicles.

I heard this before and am in full support.

Change 100 percent of county-diesel fueling stations to diesel fuels with a minimum of 20 percent biodiesel content (B-20 diesel).

I actually helped Chris Merdon with this proposal during his campaign. One caveat, until we are sure of the long term maintenance and viability of biodiesel then emergency response and other public safety vehicles should be exempt. So we can convert 100 percent.

Identify locations for alternative fuel fueling stations and seek cost sharing opportunities with station-owners to install new alternative fuels pumps.

A good idea that we should implement. However, buyers beware. Alternate fuels are not what a lot of people might expect. They will not increase fuel efficiency. In fact they are less fuel efficient. The benefit is lower emissions. Someone who switches to alternate fuels may be surprised to discover they have to fill up more often and they loose the power and zip in their driving experience that they are used to in their vehicles. We should set proper expectations when encouraging people to switch because we may end up loosing them after just one tank full of gas/diesel.

Land Acquisition
Goal: To acquire or preserve through easements (and to encourage private action to preserve) as many lands as necessary or possible to complete the green infrastructure that provides desired ecological services and human health benefits for the County

Chris Merdon was criticized for this recommendation. I think it still has merit.

“We can utilize excess funds in the Ag Pres program to purchase development rights in the Eastern part of Howard County. Currently the County has excess funds in the program because of diminishing interest in the program. However, there exist parcels of land in the County that could be purchased through this program to preserve open space that could be converted to a number of public uses including play grounds, small parks, etc.”

Why not use those funds to meet this goal?

Merdon proposed taping methane gas from Alpha Ridge. I think the County needs to investigate that thoroughly. http://hocomd.wordpress.com/2006/10/07/trash-to-energy/

Merdon had a lot of good ideas in this area:

http://hocomd.wordpress.com/2006/09/18/a-green-howard-county/

Anonymous said...

Hi Hayduke,

It looks like there are public meetings as well as the Dialogue Sessions you listed. One is tonight, June 26th if this is correct... This full list is copied straight from the HoCo site at:

http://www.howardcountymd.gov/CES/CES_MeetingsSchedule.htm

Public Meetings
of the Commission on the Environment and Sustainability

Tuesday, March 13; 7:00 PM
Gateway Bldg., 5th Floor, Executive Conference Room

Tuesday, March 27; 8:00 AM
BCS, Inc., 8920 Stephens Road, Laurel, MD 20723

Tuesday, April 10; 8:00 AM
Glenwood Community Center, 2350 State Route 97, Cooksville, MD 21723

Tuesday, April 24; 7:00 PM
Gateway Bldg., 5th Floor, Executive Conference Room

Tuesday, June 12; 8:00 AM
George Howard Bldg, Tyson Room, 1st Floor.

Tuesday, June 26; 7:00 PM
Gateway Bldg., 5th Floor, Executive Conference Room

Tuesday, July 10; 8:00 AM
location TBD

Tuesday, July 24; 7:00 PM
Gateway Bldg., 5th Floor, Executive Conference Room

Tuesday, August 14; 8:00 AM
location TBD

Tuesday, August 28; 7:00 PM
Gateway Bldg., 5th Floor, Executive Conference Room

Commission Dialogue Sessions

Thursday, June 21; 7:00 PM
Glenwood Library

Saturday, June 23; 10:00 AM
Elkridge Library

Monday, June 25; 7:00 PM
East Columbia Library

Thursday, June 28; 7:00 PM
Miller Library

Monday, July 2; 7:00 PM
Central Library

Please advise if this is inaccurate,
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Report by the Committee on Open Space and Land Preservation to the Commission on the Environment and Sustainability

Per the charge from the commission, this report summarizes the results of our committee’s deliberations over seven meetings on Open Space and Land Preservation. Specifically we (1) reviewed existing Howard County government plans and programs, (What plans and programs were reviewed, listing full names of all documents, plans, and programs?) (2) identified good examples from other governments, and (3) recommended actions to make Howard County a green model. We organized our discussions and recommendations into three categories: Land Acquisition, Land Planning, and Land Management. We also discussed other land issues that we wanted to make sure were dealt with by other committees or the full commission. A record of the detailed discussions on each of these topics will be posted on the Commission Forum site. (Hopefully, reviewed documents, plans, and programs will be listed on this website.)

In general, the committee believes that the County staff are doing a good job within their respective departments addressing environmental issues given the current laws, governmental structure, and funding. The intent of the following recommendations is to help Howard County government do an even better job.

1. Land Acquisition
Goal: To acquire or preserve through easements (and to encourage private action to preserve) as many lands as necessary or possible to complete the green infrastructure that provides desired ecological services and human health benefits for the County

Conclusions: The County already has a green infrastructure map based on state-level geographic information system (GIS) data. The map follows the major stream and river corridors and therefore includes the floodplain (under revision) and steep slope areas. At present the County can identify areas within and outside the green infrastructure hubs and corridors that are forested, National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wetlands, and Sensitive Species Project Review Areas (SSPRAs). (There are numerous errors that exist in these data sources that omit many sensitive areas. Serious efforts should be made to improve the data that exists.) Forest quality, some wetlands, intermittent streams, and specific habitats cannot be identified. (Why not??) Acquiring the data for a fine-scale green infrastructure map of the County is probably not possible in the time frame available to acquire land before projected residential build out in the County (10-15 years). (Why not??) It might be possible, however, to obtain focused, high-priority data with County funds in the next few years to support land acquisition. A conservation plan using existing data could be completed by someone like the Conservation Fund for about $25,000. An ongoing, longer term data acquisition program would support land management and redevelopment priorities.

At present, Howard County is close to the state goal of 30 acres per 1,000 residents. The County will fall below this goal as the population of the County increases to the projected 400,000 (Where did this 400,000 projection come from? By what date?) and opportunities to preserve open space diminish. Meeting this goal is necessary to provide citizens with the passive and active recreational needs for a healthy community.

The committee agrees that the driving force behind land preservation should be the acquisition of land or easements over the short term, prior to build out (10 to 15 years). In particular, it would be beneficial to improve our inventory of ecological values on the remaining uncommitted parcels, as there are still more opportunities than funds (i.e.,
assigning priorities to these opportunities is needed). Identifying uncommitted parcels with substantial forest cover would be the first step. Maryland DNR data on rare species and high-quality streams should also be used (e.g., one of the best streams in the state is privately owned within the Howard County part of the Patuxent greenway)

As an example, at the current rate of spending for land acquisition and preservation ($3.5M per year), it would take about 40 years to acquire half of the remaining parcels. (How much money is currently in the fund that is unspent?)
Assuming that the County wishes to acquire all ecologically or recreationally valuable parcels (and this constitutes about half of the remaining parcels), an annual expenditure of closer to $10M per year would be needed to acquire the land during the 10 to 15 years it will be available, prior to build out.

1.1 Recommended Actions
1.1.1 Find the funds to acquire or preserve the desired approximately 5,000 more acres of open space lands while they are still available. (How much money is currently in the fund that is unspent?)
1.1.2 Partner with the Governor and Maryland DNR on a major initiative to preserve additional parcels along the Patapsco and Patuxent Greenways.
Use State Side POS and Local Side POS funds as well as challenging foundations and the community to contribute to acquiring for the purpose of preservation both (1) infill parcels in existing greenways and (2) lands along the South Branch of the Patapsco River from Sykesville to Interstate 70.
1.1.3 Rank the remaining “uncommitted” parcels of land based on ecological value using existing information (recreational potential can also be added) on a spreadsheet of GIS information such as the amount of forested land and proximity to streams. Have ecologists conduct on-site assessments wherever permission can be obtained to develop more detailed information on relative ecological values. Include proximity to existing parks and study areas in the ranking, but keep ecological and recreational benefits separate.
1.1.4 Conduct a public outreach campaign to encourage land owners toconsider a sale to the County. Owners of “uncommitted” parcels would be notified by a cordial letter from the Executive or Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP) indicating that their land has special value and their voluntary participation would be a benefit to the County (also include a request for permission to assess the site). Work with local land trusts to place easements on the ecologically important lands that landowners do not wish to sell. Stay in the negotiations to acquire or help
preserve all of the grounds associated with Doughoregan.

1.1.5 Partner with Columbia Association (CA) to promote connectivity and value of combined open spaces and green infrastructure in Howard County. Connectivity is crucial to ecological integrity (movement of organisms and ecosystem processes) and to getting people connected to nature. Ensure greenway planning includes provisions for recreational and commuting trails (where ecologically compatible and where access has been granted) with the necessary overpasses or underpasses at major roads. (What about overpasses or underpasses not for recreation or commuting, but specifically for safe wildlife movement across roadways, thereby reversing decades of isolating wildlife populations via multilane roads/fencing along roads/tall sound barrier walls along roads and fulfilling past County General Plan environmental mandates to improve wildlife movement corridors in the County?) Add substantial acreage to Symphony Woods to create a Central Park for Columbia on the Crescent Property with connections to draw people into the other greenways. (Is there an opinion regarding proposals to build structures in Symphony Woods (paths, lighting, plazas, fountains, ice rinks, cultural facilities, parking garages, etc., that would require tree removal, forest floor removal, loss of greenspace, loss of natural day/night light cycles, and loss of natural noise levels?)
1.1.6 Increase the resources and staff expertise within County government to put this land acquisition and preservation on the “fast track.” Hire additional ecologists and real estate experts dedicated to this program.
Institutionalize the interaction with DNR Heritage and the Maryland Biological Stream Survey to improve data exchange (e.g., consider stronghold watersheds for species of greatest conservation need). Explore opportunities to obtain non-County funds for additional surveys (e.g., from the Conservation Fund) and land acquisition (e.g., transportation funds such as TEA-21).
1.1.7 Use the bully pulpit of the County Executive to educate the citizens as to how important it is to preserve a green infrastructure

2. Land Planning
Goal: To implement effective regulations, procedures, and incentives for the conservation of lands that cannot be acquired (or protected by easement) by the County, including ecologically important lands and lands that provide the public with an ever present connection to nature.

Conclusions: As was concluded during the Land Acquisition discussions, the County has good GIS data on the boundaries of floodplains (under revision), steep slopes, streams, some wetlands, forests, and SSPRAs, but not specific habitat or resource quality information. While it is incumbent on the applicant to perform wetland delineations (reviewed by Soil Conservation Service) and forest inventories, it falls to County staff to review and confirm this information. Additional staff resources (and coordination with information sources) are needed to obtain additional information on ecological values for this review. (The GIS data has errors, including omissions, locations, and classifications. Field surveys are needed to verify the data. Staff also need training on regulations and enforcement of regulations, too.)

There are many options for strengthening the sensitive area protections during development, some of which would require the County Council to approve a bill amending the subdivision regulations. The development review process should be provided with additional staff and resources to ensure full interdepartmental involvement and use of all available data. Conflicts with the design manual and other requirements should be identified and resolved by providing flexibility in the process. At the same

time, the use of waivers should include an assessment of the benefits and impacts of each waiver with full documentation and transparency to the public. (Environmental studies - wetland, soil, etc. - required during development should be arranged via the developer paying a fee to the County and the County having a pool of qualified experts to do the studies. Currently, these experts' fiduciary interests lie with their direct customers - the developers.)

The County should convene a Builders for the Bay Site Planning Roundtable comparable to the Baltimore County Roundtable (June 2006) to improve the overall development process (such roundtables review a jurisdiction’s existing regulations and develop recommendations for improving them). Wherever possible, smart growth principles
should be incorporated into regulations and considered for major zoning or planning changes.

2.1 Recommended Actions
2.1.1 Create staff responsibilities and resources to identify specific habitat features present on all parcels in development review.

2.1.2 Strengthen protection of sensitive resources by mandating 100 ft or wider buffers on all perennial and non-perennial streams (50 ft or wider on wetlands depending on wetland size and quality). Ensure that the sensitive resource protections are equal or better than protections offered by nearby counties.

2.1.3 Review the County Design Manual to identify provisions that conflict with sensitive resource protections and recommend changes to the manual. (Publish links on the DPZ website that point to the County Design Manual on the County DPW website. It is too inaccessible otherwise. It provides numerous loopholes that defeat what the public can read and assumes is required by the better-published DPZ regulations.)

2.1.4 Strengthen implementation of the Forest Conservation Act to retain 67% of all forest and provide a fee-in-lieu or mitigation banking structure that limits the use of this option and provides for 2:1 or greater replacement
on ecologically valuable lands. (This starts with the word "Strenghten", but still offers numerous loopholes to avoid retaining forest onsite. These loopholes result in loss of greenspace onsite and in exisitng communities, fees-in-lieu that are paltry compared to the additional forested land being developed resulting in less forested land being acquired than is sacrificed, swapping mature trees multi-species-habitat-providing canopies and covered areas with saplings providing no such cover, and reduction of forested space as these replantings often occur in already protected County lands. Only about $720,000 per year for the past five years was accumulated via these paltry fee-in-lieus. The fee-in-lieus should be adjusted to reflect 2:1 what market prices are for such land. Since they're currently around less than 10% of market price, fees-in-lieu would increase to twenty-fold current rates or about $14M/yr if current fee-in-lieu waivers continue.. That would provide much more rapid funding of land acquisition before buildout.)

It seems, since only $350,000 was spent from those accumulated forest conservation fee-in-lieu funds each year for the past five years, that the County granted fee-in-lieu waivers that lost about 150 acres (at $23,000/acre fee-in-liue) while only spending enough to acquire perhaps ten acres of replacement forest lands (at $250,000/acre market rate). That seems more like forest consumption than forest conservation. A lot more attention needs to be paid to the Forest Conservation regulations, their implementation in the past and how to truly make them actually have the effect they should in the future. Requiring an annual report of total acres involved in forest conservation - onsite retention, offsite acquisition, fees-in-lieu acquired, fees-in-lieu spent, etc. should be mandatory and published on the website. The same type of reports should be done for other sensitive lands: wetlands, streams, slopes, etc.)


2.1.5 Amend the development review process to include written assessments of the impacts of all waivers for inclusion in the record and availability to the public. (Clarify this to state that written assessments of impacts of all waivers are required both from the developer and from the reviewing County staff. Also, regulations need to be added that detail such assessments' required-to-be-included justifications, calculations, mitigation plans, and analyses.)

2.1.6 Strengthen County procedures as necessary to ensure that all existing easements are enforced.

2.1.7 Work with other organizations to ensure continuity of land use, for example encourage passive use of county lands where they are adjacent to greenways or land trust holdings.

2.1.8 Convene a Builders for the Bay or comparable forum to build a culture change and political mandate for environmental design in the County.
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2.1.9 Work regionally to incorporate smart growth principles in all new developments associated with BRAC and transportation initiatives

3. Land Management
Goal: Manage County-owned lands and encourage the management of other publicly and privately owned lands to support environmental goals as well as recreation and other missions.

Conclusions: Howard County faces strong pressure for athletic fields but the protection of ecological values is also a priority in their Integrated Natural Resource Management
Plans (INRMPs) and for other open space. At the same time, the aging of the population in the County is creating a need for more passive recreation. Lack of funding and training for staff is the primary barrier to accomplishing the ecological goals in the INRMPs.

Deer control ("Control" implies deer are a problem. Other nearby counties use the term "Animal Services" instead of "Animal Control". The methods used to date for this "control" have been gruesome. The deer and the community deserve better. Instead, selective field sterilization is both economical and effective. Better yet, cross-breed the invasive species with deer-tasty vegetation and let the deer "control" the invasive species.) is important for the health of County parks and open space, and invasive plant species is fast becoming even a bigger problem. The fragmentation of habitats and creation of forest edge contribute to the spread of these invasives. Substantial staff and resources are needed to manage these lands effectively. Additional funding is also needed to monitor encroachment into open space by the public.

The best management practices of DRP as well as other industry standards should be documented and transmitted to other agencies, organizations, and the public.

Implementation should be assured through more funding for agencies and incentives for the public.

While the majority of Howard County does not posses the large forested tracts needed for some species (e.g., forest interior dwelling birds), many places in the County do have valuable small-scale ecosystems (e.g., vernal pools, rocky outcrops, intact vegetative communities). Special management practices (e.g., wider disturbance exclusion zones
around rare mud salamander habitat) should be mandated for these areas.

3.1 Recommended Actions
3.1.1 Develop a Howard County Green Infrastructure Plan to provide a comprehensive framework for managing (and acquiring) lands that support ecological values and services.

3.1.2 Conduct a review of the Robinson Nature Center and Blandair Park planning processes to ensure that the appropriate facilities are constructed in each. (What facilities are being constructed in these parks? Shouldn't a minimum of structures be built, thereby keeping the parks' greenspace green?)

3.1.3 Review of the existing Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMPs) and other Department of Recreation and Parks plans and compile them into a model document for disseminating best management practices for managing for ecological values to DPW, HCPSS, CA, HOAs, private landowners, and general public.
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3.1.4 Develop a process for ensuring implementation of these best management practices through increased agency funding and incentives for the public.

Use the bully pulpit of the County Executive to change our culture to one that takes good care of the land.

3.1.5 Identify funding priorities (e.g., Cooperative Extension Service), non-County sources (such as CBF and EPA), and the feasibility of including a line item for open space management, operations, and staff in County budget.

3.1.6 Establish a regular (annual) inspection program for all County easements, including additional staff or resources as needed.

3.1.7 Create an invasive species task force to develop priorities (including triage) for County open space and to develop a public outreach program to address invasives on private property (including best management
practices for developers).

3.1.8 Consider using management guidelines (e.g., wildlife tunnels) from the Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation document to target special management or restoration to preserve/create ecological gems within the County. (Also consider wildlife overpasses.)

3.1.9 Pursue a concerted partnership with HCPSS to institute best management practices and selected demonstration projects (e.g., greenhouses) on school lands (Include greenroofs and thorough review of pesticides and herbicides in such a partnership.)

3.1.10 Pursue concerted partnership with CA and other HOAs to institute best management practices and selected demonstration projects (e.g., a Columbia Central Park combining Symphony Woods with Crescent Property open space). (This "Central Park" idea will sacrifice significant natural, maturely forested space including huge trees and their canopies with New York City park features like bricked plazas, fountains, a dead concrete-surface ice rink that is only used part of the year, asphalt-paved paths/roads/parking, and a parking garage to provide additional draw to Town Center to promote denser commercial development and denser residential development. Symphony Woods should remain natural woodlands. It does adjoin the Little Patuxent River Greenway, serving as part of its interconnected habitat and wildlife movement corridor.)

4. Land Issues for Other Committees
4.1 Connection to Nature – This issue relates to how parks and trails are managed, but may be more germane to the Education and Outreach Committee. We commend that committee to include these recommendations:

4.1.1 Ensure that the Robinson Nature Center adjacent to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (MPEA) is a world class facility promoting the “connection to nature” through demonstrations of green site design that provides access to open space at work and play (to reach adults as well as children). The Center should be right-sized to fit into the natural setting of the site.
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4.1.2 Ensure that parks and other County facilities take advantage of opportunities for demonstrating the connection to nature in our daily lives, including stormwater management.

4.1.3 Consider revisions to the design manual (or other requirements or incentives) that would facilitate commercial properties adopting green sites design to provide a connection to nature through access to open space (with attendant increases in worker productivity and quality of life).

4.2 Watershed Planning and Restoration – We believe that the Air and Water Quality committee is dealing with this land development and stormwater control issue. We commend that committee to include these recommendations:

4.2.1 Research the most effective means of introducing LID and better site design practices into County and private lands, while minimizing the inspection and maintenance burden. Include education initiative for landowners on how to maintain LID.

4.2.2 Study creation of a major restoration initiative involving all stakeholders around one of the CA or County lakes to jump start public and political will for restoration. It would be tied with specific benefits such as better local streams (not just the Bay) and less lake dredging in the future.

4.3 Smart Growth – Smart growth is another topic that crosses committees. We recommend that it get full treatment in the Green Building and Development committee or full commission.

4.3.1 Research the political and public will for downzoning or upzoning within the County where it would meet our environmental goals. In addition, consider streamlining regulatory review for developments that meet green
standards. (Does streamlining mean expediting which may reduce the opportunity for public scrutiny of development projects? Clarify what "streamlining" means.)

4.3.2 Participate in regional smart growth planning to help BRAC revitalize Baltimore City.

4.3.3 Review the relevant strategic initiatives of the Columbia Association (CA) and influence the new CA Board to join in an integrated effort would meet our environmental goals (e.g., coordination of CA master plans for lakes and pathway system).

(A few missing items:

Accurately enforce all local, state, and federal environmental regulations during development review, construction, and follow up inspections.

Require wildlife surveys of lands proposed for development to properly protect wildlife found therein from inhumane treatment resulting from development, funding the surveys by fees paid by the developer to the County and the County in turn providing inhouse or contracted qualified persons to execute the surveys.

Avoid both public and private light transgression into open space areas via proper light enclosures that illuminate solely their intended areas but fully prevent emission to nearby open space areas.)