Mecklenburg County Commissioners greenlight community sustainability plan

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved its support of a communitywide sustainability plan in a 7-1 vote Tuesday evening. County Commissioner Karen Bentley was the opposing vote. Commissioner Bill James was absent.

The county agreed to commit its half of a $300,000 consultants contract for the green plan. The city and the county intend to partner on the sustainability strategy, which would establish an overall vision for the community, connecting existing environmental initiatives, and set targets for new programs and goals. The plan would work in collaboration with area nonprofits and the county’s other towns.

On Monday, the communitywide sustainability plan cleared a city council environmental committee and is expected to go for a full council vote within the next few weeks.

Both the city and the county say they will apply for grants from the Foundation for the Carolinas and other places to offset costs for the plan. The county will be asking for up to $100,000 from the foundation on behalf of itself and the city. The grant deadline with the foundation is at the end of this month. A decision is expected in early June.

The city and the county have been considering sustainability plans since early 2012. Last year, the International City/County Management Association (which also happens to be the previous employer of Charlotte's new city manager, Ron Carlee) performed a feasibility study regarding the proposal commissioned by Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

ICCMA studied green plans in other municipalities and prepared a 46-page report and 56-page appendix detailing 14 other community sustainability strategies. It found “a need for and support for developing some level of community sustainability framework or plan.”

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