Outside study recommends Charlotte-Mecklenburg community sustainability plan

Charlotte needs a community sustainability plan, according to a recent study commissioned by city and county officials.

It’s an idea that’s been under consideration following presentations in April on a community-wide sustainability program from Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte, and Helene Hilger, retired director of the Infrastructure, Design, Environment and Sustainability Center at UNC Charlotte.

Charlotte and Mecklenburg County officials split costs this summer for an estimated $50,000 study from the International City and County Management Association. The association spent two-and-a-half months eyeing green plans in other municipalities and interviewing community leaders and local officials.

“ICMA’s research concluded there is a need for and support for developing some level of community sustainability framework or plan,” according to a city memo. “The report identifies several possible paths to achieve that end, each with different implications and possible costs. All costs cited in the report are rough estimates by ICMA and will need detailed refinement by City and County staff.”

These findings — which include a 46-page feasibility study and a 56-page appendix that details other municipal sustainability plans — will be discussed by the Charlotte City Council’s Environment Committeetoday. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. at Room 280 of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Government Center.

The feasibility study outlines six scenarios for the city and county to move forward on a community sustainability plan.

In its research, the association looked at 14 local governments as case studies. Those communities were: Asheville, Durham, Raleigh, Atlanta, DeKalb County in Georgia, Baltimore, Md., Arlington County, Va., Dubuque, Iowa, Nashville-Davidson and Memphis-Shelby in Tennessee, San Antonio, Texas, Palo Alto, Calif., Sarasota County, Fla., and Onondaga County in New York.

Susan Stabley covers growth, the environment and residential real estate for the Charlotte Business Journal.


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