Issues Of The Environment: The Ann Arbor Mayor's 2016 Environmental Reflections And 2017 Goals

Dec 21, 2016

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor
Credit City of Ann Arbor / a2gov.org

In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor about environmental accomplishments in 2016 and the goals and objectives for 2017.


Here is a list of environmental accomplishments and goals, as written by Mayor Taylor 

   *   Gelman standard change and intervention

   *   Idling ordinance enacted

   *   Coal tar ban enacted

   *   As part of our capital improvements process, we score each project on how well it furthers the city sustainability goals and other metrics

   *   Allen Creek Greenway project continues

   *   Recommended improvements from the Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project (completed in 2015) for specific neighborhood areas are being included in the FY2018-2023 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) that is being developed

   *   Continue to use Brownfield program to support remediation at development sites - recent examples include Packard Square (old dry cleaner), Arbor Hills (Gasoline), and Aldi (multiple underground storage tanks)

   *   AAATA Sustainability Plan 

   *   The Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC) is working to retrofit its properties to meet Enterprise Green Communities' standards of energy efficiency.  To date, 281 apartments have been renovated top-to-bottom to include everything from instant hot water heaters to LED lighting.  Energy costs have been reduced by over 20% across AAHC properties.  A 42Kw solar array was installed at Miller Manor.  Permeable pavers and/or rain gardens are being installed at three locations.

   *   We are exploring how to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfills.  The City is currently drafting a comprehensive Organics Management Plan looking at how much organic waste is in the community and how we might collect and process it.   A biodigester feasibility study is underway looking at how we might take organics and turn it into renewable natural gas or electricity.

   *   The Energy Commission has been working closely with staff and the Clean Energy Coalition to develop and manage Ann Arbor's first solar group buy for residents and businesses.  The City has developed a new streamlined residential Solar Permit.  Opportunities for community solar projects continue to be explored.

   *   Municipal GHG emissions down 20% - Community wide GHG emissions unchanged

   *   Continue to run two hydro facilities and a landfill gas to energy system.

   *   Exploring a pilot project with DTE this spring to increase use of the DTE Insight App and increase home consultation on energy efficiency upgrades.

   *   Continue to explore opportunities for a large solar installation - possibly at the old city landfill (city property)

   *   The Greenbelt program is an innovative land preservation program that has protected over 4,644 acres of farmland and open space surrounding the City of Ann Arbor and has leveraged over $21 million through grants, landowner donations, and other locally funded programs.

   *   Plant 1000 street trees in Fiscal Year 2017

   *   Finish addressing the backlog in tree maintenance and move towards a proactive tree maintenance program with the goal of developing a 7- year routine pruning cycle.

   *   Training new Citizen Pruner volunteers.  Citizen Pruner volunteers help maintain newly planted street and park trees through city-sponsored work days.  Program started in 2011, and over 100 volunteers have been trained.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu