Scottsdale must pump more muscle into its environmentalism or see its quality of life erode, says a report on its way to the City Council.
The city’s Environmental Quality Advisory Board wants Scottsdale to bolster its water, energy and land conservation programs, do more to encourage environmentfriendly development and expand public education about the benefits of going "green."
The "state of the environment" report is to be formally presented to the council at its March 2 meeting by board chairman Daniel Basinger.
Scottsdale "already does a lot of good things (environmentally), but we feel the city needs to be visionary and on the leading edge," Basinger said.
At its rate of growth — facing a projected population of about 300,000 — more concerted efforts are needed if Scottsdale is going to sustain its high level of livability, the report says.
Board members said they realize city budget constraints present hurdles to expansion.
"But even minimal investments now will have big returns in the future. I think we could get at least a tenfold savings over what we spend now" in fuel and energy costs, Basinger said.
"We need to get out a stronger message about this. . . . Keeping our quality of life is the payoff," said Don Manthe, the board’s vice chairman, a engineer for an environmental consulting company.
The report, which the board plans to issue annually, signals its intention to be more proactive.
"We want to show the council we are taking up our task with a renewed spirit of commitment," Manthe said.
Among the report’s proposals are:
• Establish committees to explore ways to promote more local water and energy conservation.
• Stronger support for the Green Building Program that provides incentives for new development to conserve resources and incorporate energ y- efficient building methods.
• Establishment of a Green Building Remodeling Program to help residents use greenbuilding techniques in renovating older homes.
• Expanded wasterecycling programs.
• Exploration of alternative-fuel technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in the city’s vehicle fleet.
• Stringent enforcement of the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance, which encourages protection of natural open space within developing areas.
Other major concerns include air quality and transportation. Scottsdale must stay at the forefront of regional planning to ensure progress in those areas, said board member Randy Nussbaum.
The proposals are not a pie-in-the-sky wish list, but "things we can accomplish that are pragmatic and financially sound," Nussbaum said.