Zero Waste, Smart Growth Committees Take Action
We need people to follow the activities of the Energy, Smart Growth, and Zero-waste committees and to write bi-monthly summaries for the Capital Sierran. Anyone interested in helping out, please email Rick Nunno.
The Zero-waste Committee met on November 21 and discussed proposed bills in the DC Council and various events being planned. An "event recycling bill", introduced by Councilmember Cheh, would require groups applying for certain event permits to divert at least 35% of the waste they generate to recycling services. Another bill known as "the styrofoam bill", introduced by Mayor Vince Gray, would ban the use of polystrene foam containers (of which styrofoam is a brand and which is not biodegradable) in the District. (Further details on this bill.) The Committee is developing strategies to support those two bills and is looking for volunteers to help out. The Committee also discussed a number of other emerging waste-related issues in which its members may become involved. To learn more details of these initiatives, or to become involved, contact Committee Chair Hana Heineken.
The Smart Growth Committee is advocating for a more walkable, livable Washington.
In November, Smart Growth Committee Chairman Ryan Crowley and Committee member Brad Green testified before the DC Zoning Commission to express their support for a new zoning code that encourages transit access, affordable housing, cycling and walkable neighborhoods. For the last few years, the District's Office of Planning has been drafting a plan to update the city's zoning code, which was last overhauled in the 1950s. Advocates for a progressive zoning code have been pushing for policies that emphasize transit use, encourage car-free and car-light lifestyles, and facilitate walkable neighborhoods. At the November hearing, members of the Smart Growth Committee (formerly the Transportation Committee) spoke out in favor of reducing parking minimums (requiring a minimum number of parking spaces) in areas well-served by transit. Parking minimum rules require that a certain amount of parking be constructed in proportion to the number of units per residential building, regardless of demand or proximity to transit. Chapter advocates noted that eliminating parking minimums in downtown Washington and reducing parking minimums around transit areas will help encourage greater use of these transit options, lessening the need for trips made by automobile. They also pointed out that reducing parking minimums will help make housing more affordable, since parking construction costs are passed on to the home buyer.