Scottsdale considers city environmental office - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Scottsdale considers city environmental office

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Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 11:58 pm | Updated: 11:03 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Scottsdale could establish a new Office of Environmental Policy to research and oversee "green" programs and handle federal environmental mandates.

The proposal would not impose any new fees or bureaucratic hoops for private construction projects to jump through, though, said Frank Gray, planning and development services general manager.

Rather, the office would serve as a resource for information and to generate reports on city environmental policies, such as energy conservation and environmentally friendly building methods, Gray said.

The office would also oversee the implementation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, such as the new anti-dust measures the City Council passed last week, he said.

The amendments to the city's municipal code and zoning laws include a ban on using leaf blowers to push debris into public streets and restrictions on the use of off-road vehicles in unpaved areas, as well as requirements to use dust control measures on some unpaved properties used by vehicles.

Craig Clifford, Scottsdale's chief financial officer, said during a City Council budget session Tuesday that the proposal would not require the hiring of any new staff members. Instead, the Planning Department would be reorganized to put several environmental specialists working in separate areas into the new office.

Gray said, "It's actually people that already exist brought together in one area."

The proposal arose from recommendations contained in the city's energy policy, first passed in 2000 and then updated by the Environmental Quality Advisory Board in 2007, Gray said. The policy provides broad guidance on such things as energy conservation, using cleaner fuel in the city's fleet of vehicles, using renewable energy sources such as solar power, and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

The office could be implemented right away if the council gives its approval on April 17, Gray said.

"The council gets to say yea or nay if it's a good idea or a bad idea," he said.

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