Attendees: Councilman Scott Benson, Kathleen Klein, Tom Ouvry, Maryanne Weber, Melissa Damaschke, Phil Hadley, Dan Schechter, Khalil Mogassabi, Ben Duweke, Patrick Smithbauer, Todd Scott, Jeff Fontes, Andrew Bahrou, Kimberly Hill Knott, Patrick Donovan, Erma Leaphart, Margaret Weber, Eric Candela, Peter Benz, Q Johnson, Charles McClean, Andrew Sokoly.
Minutes recorded by Sr. Correspondent/Robert Mattler (www.GreeningDetroit.com)
Meeting not captured on audio-tape or film.
Meeting lead by: Councilman Scott Benson
III. Water Subcommitee Report – Khalil Mogassabi:
• Forming Stormwater Management Policy for the City;
• Last Dec. presented Detroit Water Agenda to City Council which was well received; awaiting resolution of support or questions from Council;
• Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining goals to promote green infrastructure through best management practices (bmp), stormwater management procedures and green infrastructure program is being circulated among various city departments (ie. Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD); Building & Engineering (B&E); Planning & Development Department (P&DD); Legal among others. First time in long time overall strategy being formed among various departments who are talking to one another.
• Low hanging fruit appears to be in zoning ordinance, making changes to mirror green infrastructure goals using bmps, etc.
• Several Green Infrastructure Projects Already Underway in City;
Dan Schechter, Detroit Water Sewerage Department (DWSD)
• Described DWSD efforts to begin enforcing stormwater management fee throughout city to both commercial and residential customers. Present intent to begin in July, but will probably be postponed to further awareness among community that this fee structure, which has long been on the books, is about to be implemented and enforced more vigorously.
• Geographic Information Service (GIS) Survey is presently being conducted to more accurately and uniformly implement the stormwater fee to meet the goal of forwarding to any landowner with impervious surfaces (ie. roof, asphalt, concrete, hardscape).
• Discussion on how DWSD is actively spending money on green infrastructure in the upper Rouge River in northwest Detroit. Plan is to save about 2.5 Million Gallons of Stormwater from system on rain event.
• Further discussion on status of the new hockey arena being influenced to use green infrastructure for stormwater management/other and whether the Neighborhood Advisory Council has had such discussions with Olympia Entertainment. May be too late as most of the package of incentives have been approved and much of the city entitlements procedure have already occurred (Margaret Weber).
• Need more community efforts to move from conversation on using green infrastructure to implementation of these bmps for stormwater management (Andrew Bahrou, MDEQ Detroit Field Office).
• City owns the new stadium so there should be interest in developing green infrastructure for site (Margaret Weber). Also, the water subcommittee is focused on education of the residents and business owners (Melissa Damaschke, Sierra Club).
• When Developers and City was approached with green infrastructure plan for 8 Mile/Woodward Ave. development with Meijers, etc., there was no response of interest in listening to or using green infrastructure for project (Kathleen Klein).
• Councilman Benson commented there’s a balance that must be met between making Detroit a friendly place to do business for developers while incorporating more green infrastructure and best management practices according to Smart Growth initiatives. Must look at zoning to see how it all fits.
• Lower East Side Action Plan (LEAP) has had discussions on using abandoned land to build retention/detention ponds to manage the stormwater more effectively, allowing the water to penetrate slowly back into the ground. There is some conversation on doing bike trails, swales, etc. on W. Outer Drive too.
• Councilman Benson also indicated the Green Task Force can play a large role in how we solve this problem with green infrastructure becoming the solution to many of the problems we’ve discussed in the city. Need creativity, forethought and encourage those who want to help. Must learn to de-incentivize the old way of doing things. A call has been made to the Emergency Manager to look into these policies.
IV. Demolition and Deconstruction, Tom Ouvry, Detroit Building Auth’y
• 1,100 homes are on immediate list to be demolished – Hardest Hit Fund is targeting the Brightmoor area.
• Deconstruction as it currently exists is “upside down” economically and a more viable business model must be forthcoming.
• Pilot Project to be identified for 10 great candidates involved with deconstruction. They will eventually partner with a demolition company to grow a market for the deconstruction materials on a greater scale. It is common perception there is demand for these deconstructed materials. There is also a great opportunity to grow jobs in this area and use local work force to handle the tasks.
• New demolition protocols are almost in place to demolish homes in a much more sustainable and healthy fashion. These protocols will be aligned with Blight Authority protocols which have already been successfully used in the city.
• All basements of these homes will be removed and the site will be graded for optimal on-site drainage. All impervious surfaces of the site will be removed.
• Guidance Doc from EPA which outlines best management practices for demolition suggested to Mr. Owry by Mr. Bahrou.
• New demolition protocols call for “wet wet” demolition where not only is the house sprayed with water when it is being demolished, but a top clamp on the bucket is used to hold material until it is gently placed on the ground and the material is sprayed again when loaded onto trucks. These procedures will greatly cut down on dust flying in the neighborhoods. However, the question of potential toxic runoff was never really addressed by anyone?
• Interesting conversation about finding local site in which to take the material and avoid all the ghg emissions from trucks going on 30-50 mile round trips with material.
V. Other Updates
A. Greenways Commission – Todd Scott
• City bicycle ordinances haven’t been updated in decades. Sorely need to be updated for more modern usage of bicycles today.
• Working to get youth engaged in public policy.
• Working on TIGR grant for more bike paths in city.
• City recently submitted a grant for bike sharing program that will hopefully bring 35 bike stations plus hundreds of bikes. Need $1 Million to fund the program.
• Other projects are already underway which supports biking in the city, including: 1. Riverwalk; 2. Mt. Elliott; 3. More bike lanes coming; 4. The Dequindre Cut being extended beyond Eastern Market.
B. Detroit Climate Action Collaborative – Kimberly Hill Knott, DWEJ
• Developing City Detroit Climate Action Plan; A framework for the plan is in place.
• Six workgroups have been developed and are actively working.
• Report to be rolled out on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, along with Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets to be announced soon.
• NEXT STEPS: Rollout to Mayor’s office, City Council and the community. Desire is to get the city council ordinance with specific targeted reductions.
• An ordinance is to be drafted with Wayne State University Law School assistance.
• Lots of great partners have been helping from other cities, including Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York and Cleveland.
• Khalil stated that sustainability policies should be in our city’s Master Plan, including the Detroit Climate Action Plan.
C. (Postponed) Urban Agriculture/ Livestock – Kathryn Underwood
• The Green Task Force Facebook Page is being reactivated;
• Climate Art Project at the DIA on May 14 (Kresge Court);
• EPA Conference occurred on Friday, April 25th at University of Michigan;
• Bike to Work Day – Friday, May 16 – Detroit Bike Tour on Facebook;
• Belle Isle Cleanup – Saturday, April 26 2014;
• Riverfront Conservancy Days (Purchase Rain Barrels)/ Sierra Club on Saturday, April 26th 10 am;
• Curbside Rollout of Recycling begins Monday, May 5th in Detroit;
• Green Task Force Water Subcmte. Next Meeting: Tues. May 20 1-3 pm;
• Green Infrastructure Bike Rides in Detroit – Sunday May 4th 1 pm. Meet at WSU Campus, 5425 Woodward Ave. Detroit – co-sponsored by Sierra Club and WSU;
• Green Infrastructure Conference- MDEQ May 8-9 2014 Lansing Center
• Vehicle Charging Stations are Coming to Belle Isle – Hope to have them in before INDY Car Race in June;
• Vets & Dads to Dads Program – June 7-8, 2014 (Northwestern H.S.);
• Friends of Detroit River Bug Hunt May 16 – Meeting near Trenton H.S.
• Friends of Detroit River Cleanup Detroit River Saturday April 26th;
• Cleanup of the Rouge River – Saturday, May 17th
• Eliza Howell Park Cleanup – Saturday, May 10th
• Detroit City Council Evening Meeting – District 3; May 20, 2014 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Central Concord Missionary Church;
• DRC, USGBC Mid-Year Meeting Wednesday May 21, 2014 (location tbd)
ROBERT E. MATTLER, Associate Broker, Attorney and LEED AP BD+C, is Director of Green Brokerage at Armada Real Estate Services in West Bloomfield, Michigan. He speaks and writes about emerging green real estate issues and economic development in Michigan and elsewhere. Mr. Mattler is also senior correspondent for www.greeningdetroit.com For more information, contact Bob at Armada Real Estate (248) 855-1221; or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org