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    City of Belle Plaine  


Background Information

County:   Scott
Population:   6,661
GreenStep City category:   B

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   40

Participating township, county, school:


GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 3 (05/17/2018)

GreenStep Coordinator

Laura Blue
City staff
lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us
952-873-5553

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
http://www.belleplainemn.com/

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment Files below summarize completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded each June to cities who report a minimum number of optional (and a few high-priority/core) metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics - see guidance documents for them at http://www.betterenergy.org/step4 - aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement beyond minimum thresholds in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data in the Metrics Files below.

Assessment Files
2018 - click to view assessment
2017 - click to view assessment

 


Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars. Mouse over a star for its definition.
Total completed actions: 28     1-star actions: 14     2-star actions: 9     3-star actions: 5    







Buildings and Lighting   Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings
{ BP no. 1 }

Complete the Building Editor for each city-owned building; identify the person responsible for routinely entering data; enter current (at least once/90 days), consecutive monthly energy use data ongoing; also best to enter 12 consecutive months of historical energy use data.
Complete 1 Star criterion and enter 24 consecutive months of historical data; routinely validate newly entered data by looking at patterns/trends and inconsistencies; correct inaccurate entries and identify potential opportunities for energy savings.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria, routinely ID energy-related operations and maintenance issues and poorer performing buildings for follow-up action; routinely enter current and consecutive (monthly or quarterly as available) water use data ongoing.
Action 1: Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Implement changes in one poorer-performing building and summarize the actions taken: updating temperature, ventilation and lighting schedules and setbacks; installing building-wide computer and office equipment power management software; assigning responsibility for turning off manual lights and other shared equipment; assuring that routine HVAC maintenance schedules are thorough and implemented at appropriate intervals; revising janitorial schedules to day-time hours; adjusting janitorial responsibilities to include regular cleaning of sensors, lamps and HVAC vents; installing lower-flow faucet aerators, dish sprayers, and showerheads to reduce hot water use.
Complete 1 Star criterion for two buildings. Post the Print Screen of the Baseline tab for one of the buildings with the Energy gauge showing at least a 5% decrease in energy use compared to the baseline period [12 months immediately prior to implementing changes]. Continue fine-tuning operations and maintenance procedures and monitoring energy usage to identify opportunities for additional savings.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria for two buildings. Use B3 to report at least a 10% decrease in energy use compared to the baseline period.
Action 2: Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Install a building management system for city buildings for control via office computer or home laptop; implement power management of computers and other information technology energy saving strategies. Report actions taken and results achieved.
Engage employees to turn off, unplug, enable power management (if not controlled by building-wide IT software), or set timers on equipment, lights and chargers; minimize/use efficient models of personal appliances (personal refrigerators, space heaters, fans, coffee pots, etc.); use task lights instead of ceiling fixtures; optimize active use of windows, doors and interior shading devices to conserve energy. Report actions taken and results achieved.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria.
Action 4: Implement information technology efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads and building energy use.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Building Redevelopment
{ BP no. 5 }

Complete an historic resources survey of the city to determine which buildings are community assets and have more potential for reuse due to potential access to financial incentives.
Designate a historic district; incorporate historic preservation-friendly language into the city’s zoning code and/or into regulatory ordinances (relating to signs and other design guidelines); adopt an historic preservation ordinance (which typically establishes an historic preservation commission); incentivize historic preservation.
Become a Certified Local Government (CLG) for historic preservation; pair rehab financial incentives with energy and resource conservation, indoor air quality and other green building practices.
Action 1: Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations to encourage adaptive reuse.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Adopt design standards that address the downtown core and encourage compatible infill development; parking standards waived to recognize on-street & shared parking facilities; repurpose vacant/underutilized downtown sites as green space, event space, play areas, outdoor siting and eating, transport/information areas. Report infill incentives under action 7.4
Small houses (~500 sq.ft.) allowed under CUP on non-conforming vacant city lots; standards facilitate the evolution of strip/large format commercial areas into more livable/walkable neighborhoods with a mix of land use and including gathering places.
Limit annexations or infrastructure extensions until infill and redevelopment goals are met; encourage building, mall and parking ramp design such that structures can be adapted for different future uses.
Action 5: Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Land Use   Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans
{ BP no. 6 }

Adopt a comp plan/amended comp plan that is less than ten years old or adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity less than 15 years ago, or Category B & C cities may adopt a city vision that looks at least 20 years into the future.
Include in your plan a sustainability section/chapter, an active living/placemaking/bike-ped section, or integrate sustainability goals and strategies into all chapters of your comprehensive plan, or articulate land development principles for creating a complete, compact and connected community. Report climate protection or energy independence goals and objectives under action 6.5
Adopt a development goal that new/infill projects generate enough tax revenue to pay for the related public infrastructure maintenance/replacement over multiple life cycles; reference a capital improvement plan that catalogues public system maintenance obligations by date and cost; create 'green zones' that focus environmental improvements in under-served areas of the city; adopt the Precautionary Principle.
Action 1: Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Document where in the zoning code or development regulation the comprehensive plan is referenced as a foundational document or that the purpose of the code is to implement the comprehensive plan.
Comprehensive plan referenced in all land use and development ordinances and regulations in addition to zoning code ordinances; zoning decisions are required to reference/be in compliance with the comp plan.
Conduct an audit of ordinances; individual ordinances or ordinance sections should be introduced with a "Purposes" section that includes language such as the following: "The XXX regulations specifically implement the following goals from the Comprehensive Plan:"
Action 2: Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Include plan requirements (in a comp plan or another planning document) on coordinated action with surrounding or overlapping jurisdictions for several of these issues: land use, watershed/groundwater impacts, transportation, sewer and water, economic development, housing and foreclosures, police, fire, health; adopt a wellhead / source water protection plan.
Convene discussions or enter into agreements (joint service or others) with surrounding communities on at least 3 of these issues; adopt a comp plan goal to monitor and/or remediate all LUSTs within the city's DWSMA/SWPA.
Jointly invest in infrastructure to avoid duplication or improve performance; as part of inter-city discussions mentor another GreenStep city.
Action 3: Include requirements in comprehensive and/or other plans for intergovernmental coordination addressing regional land use and watershed / wellhead impacts, infrastructure, transportation, economic development and city/regional services.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Mixed Uses
{ BP no. 8 }

Describe to what degree the district used the Minnesota Model Ordinances for Sustainable Development.
Existence of horizontal mixed use; a downtown overlay district; light industrial uses.
Allow mixed use of office, retail, educational, civic, and residential units all located within the same building.
Action 5: Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Design for Natural Resource Conservation
{ BP no. 10 }

Adopt an integrated approach to roadside maintenance; fill out the EPA Assessment Tool A.1 Site Development and Preservation of Natural Areas section to assess the city's codes and ordinances for their compatibility with sustainable sites and land use development. Provide a code/ordinance reference for each question in section A.1.
Amend or adopt at least one code/ordinance to expressly require or incentivize preservation or protection of drinking water source(s), pollinator habitat, steep slopes, green space and/or trees.
Certify or qualify a site under the SITES rating system; amend or adopt at least one code/ordinance that expressly requires or incentivizes flexibility to modify design and materials of streets, driveways and/or parking to protect natural resources.
Action 6: Conserve natural, cultural, historic resources by adopting or amending city codes and ordinances to support sustainable sites, including roadsides, and environmentally protective land use development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Transportation   Transportation

Living Streets
{ BP no. 11 }

A city council resolution to develop standards; a policy governing city-owned streets; routine consideration of complete streets elements in all streets projects; explicit complete streets comp/strategic plan direction, that expresses the city's intent to facilitate multi-modal transportation (at least one route for each mode); include consideration of EV charging stations.
A city-council-adopted complete streets policy and implementation criteria.
A Living Streets policy; modify street design standards/practices according to policy, addressing multimodal transportation, trees and stormwater; include provisions/performance measures that account for the needs of the most vulnerable users, aiming to deliver benefits to all users equitably, particularly vulnerable users and the most underinvested and underserved communities; possible additional elements include align new streets to give buildings energy-efficient passive solar orientations; address public art in the street right-of-way; use a sustainable infrastructure tool; give consideration to growing use of ridesharing services and shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs) by, for example, planning for more drop-off road sections.
Action 1: Adopt a complete streets policy or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Remedy at least one complete street gap, including using alleys. Report green alley interventions under action 17.5
Inspect, evaluate, inventory and map your roadway network for complete streets insufficiencies and develop a prioritized transition plan and timeline for remedying the insufficiencies and gaps. Pay particular attention to multimodal conflict areas and transit connections to serve users and destinations.
Routinely budget complete streets improvements through roadway & bridge capital improvement & maintenance projects; show project cost-savings through innovative/collaborative efforts with other jurisdictions/stakeholders; address street corridor issues by infill, adding bridge liner (retail on a bridge to be rebuilt in a walkable corridor), etc.
Action 4: Identify, prioritize and remedy complete streets gaps and lack of connectivity/safety within your road network by, for example, adding a bike route/lane, truck route, sidewalk or mid-block alley.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Make functional/recreational walking/biking possible between at least one park/open area and city streets. Report remedies for gaps entirely within your city's system of parks, off-road trails and open spaces under best practice action 18.1
Add a walking/bike trail that significantly improves access between two areas without a full network of streets, e.g., connecting cul-de-sacs within a housing development that has very long blocks.
Fully integrate your street and off-road trail network to facilitate bike/ped commuting; report under action 18.1 a walking/biking trail that connects your city to a key destination/area/trail outside the city.
Action 5: Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Environmental Management   Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing
{ BP no. 15 }

Have a written policy/guidelines/practices specifying at minimum the purchase of Energy Star equipment/appliances and recycled-content paper (at least 30% post-consumer). Report street lighting/traffic signal policy/purchases under action 4.2; vehicle policy/purchases under 13.2 and 13.3
Have a formal policy adopted by the city council; note if this includes centralized purchasing into one office/person.
For the city’s top 10 categories of spend, track the purchases of sustainable products/services purchased annually compared to non-sustainable products/services purchased; join with other cities in joint purchasing of environmentally preferable products and summarize EPP purchases.
Action 1: Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. EnergyStar certified equipment and appliances and

b. Paper containing at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.


Adopt a policy or adopt practices for meetings and events hosted by city government addressing issues such as solid waste generated (e.g., paperless city council packets), transit/carpooling to meetings/events. This could include distributing educational materials about holding a no-waste event for use at city-supported events such as National Night Out / Night to Unite. Report broader multi-topic educational material distributed at events under action 24.4
Have a policy for meetings and events taking place on city property, including parks and libraries; include healthy/local/organic food elements.
Work with at least the largest private venue in the city (such as a conference center) to cut waste generation by at least 1/3 and to increase recycling by at least 1/3; adopt internal departmental carbon fees.
Action 7: Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Urban Forests and Soils
{ BP no. 16 }

Certified for current year.
Certified for 30 or more years, or recent recipient of a Growth award.
Certified for at least 10 years with an annual tree budget (for maintenance, planting, replacements, removals) of at least $8 per resident (4X the Tree City requirement) or have calculated and publicized the financial and other benefits of trees to your city.
Action 1: Certify as a Tree City USA.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Enact an ordinance that preserves/replaces trees and soils and encourages resilient, non-invasive landscaping. Report protection of large wooded areas by means of zoning or development review under best practice action 10.3
Address tree preservation and soils conservation on both public and private lands; enact requirements such as removing requirements to establish turf grass (this does not refer to removing maintenance standards for turf grass) and permitting resilient, non-invasive native landscaping throughout the city.
Adopt quantitative performance metrics; require approval of a tree preservation plan before development (tree inventory, tree saving zones, soil preservation measures, tree replacement for damaged/destroyed trees at a 2:1 ratio or greater).
Action 5: Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Parks and Trails
{ BP no. 18 }

Adopt a Parks/Trail plan; have in the city's subdivision chapter code language requiring dedication of open spaces, parks, and drainage easements or, in lieu of that, cash with each new subdivision. Report conservation design to create wildlife corridors under action 10.1
Dedication required for new developments over 1 acre; create and adopt a conceptual parks and green connections plan for greenfield areas having or planned to have urban services or redevelopment areas; integrate into existing Park/Open Space/Trail Plan if one is in place.
Achieve 2 star rating AND require demonstration of bike/ped trail connections for all new housing to existing trail network as part of the subdivision submittal.
Action 2: Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


There exist at least 7 acres of municipal park land per 1000 residents.
At least 20% of total city land area is in protected green infrastructure (parks and protected natural resource areas, trails, publicly accessible school green space).
90% or more of residents are within a 10-minute walk, or within one-half mile of, a park or other protected green/blue space; report your ParkScore
Action 3: Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Surface Water
{ BP no. 19 }

A high-level elected city official or city staff person participates in at least 1 community event that includes a variety of stakeholders (farmers, other business people, environmentalists, recreation users, and other government staff, one of whom has scientific expertise). The conversation should be outside the TMDL process and include more than just impaired waters. Report an adopted wellhead protection plan under action 6.3
The city cosponsors at least 4 water quality conversations that explicitly focus on significant water quality improvement.
The conversations are intentionally facilitated/mediated to influence changes in public/private actions that are likely to improve local water quality, quantity and surface-groundwater interactions; residents work with city to determine specific projects within a city-established Storm Sewer Improvement Taxing District.
Action 2: Conduct or support multi-party community conversations around improving local water quality and quantity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Have a shoreland ordinance approved by the DNR or one consistent with state-wide shoreland standards (MR 6120.2500-06120.3900).
Adopt the Alternative Shoreland Standards or similar alternatives reviewed and consistent with recommendations of the DNR Area hydrologist that exceed the minimum standards of the DNR shoreland rules.
Document 60-75% forested shoreland; achieve 2 Star rating and include one or both of: (1) a menu of mitigation measures, one or more of which to be attached to shoreland variances; (2) provisions for restoration of shore impact area and vegetative buffer with permanent protection for all new shoreland development.
Action 4: Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Resilient Economic & Community Development   Resilient Economic & Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement
{ BP no. 24 }

A staff green team, or small working group (e.g., city manager, council member, citizen commission chair) exists; city participation in a multi-city/regional green team; annual news article/media to community members referencing GreenStep (& other programs as relevant); city web has a link to city's GreenStep web page.
A citizens group, city task force/commission or committee of city staff/officials exists to lead and coordinate sustainability/GreenStep implementation; a report available online with details on city's sustainability accomplishments.
A committee of city staff/officials and community members (business, education, religious) exists; annual report includes some metrics, such as dollars spent/saved, energy saved, and any sustainability indicators measured, and energy/carbon inventory data or ecological footprint data if gathered; participation in a county/multi-city green team.
Action 1: Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Host a community meeting/event that explictly uses a sustainability framework.
Create or support an on-going local effort around one of these sustainability frameworks.
Achieve 2-star rating and adopt a sustainability plan or other implementation plan and/or goals and document concrete actions taken toward achieving them; work with LMC on race equity training & planning. Report adopted energy or climate plans under action 6.5
Action 5: Conduct or support a community education, visioning and planning initiative using a sustainability framework such as:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Strong Towns, resiliency, transition.

b. Eco-municipalities, Smart Cities.

c. Healthy communities, environmental justice, race equity.


Green Business Development
{ BP no. 25 }

Provide incentives such as targeted loans, grants, streamlined permitting processes; participate in coordinated marketing and business assistance efforts, or provide similar such support; actively support women- and minority-owned businesses.
Provide or link businesses to incubator space, local/MN suppliers, or other tangible assests.
Utilize an economic gardening approach; support the creation of co-operatively owned businesses (report retail food co-ops under action 27.4); develop workforce training opportunities with community colleges and job training centers to credential, for example, energy auditors.
Action 1: Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Collaborate with local organizations, such as a local business group or a business assistance provider, to produce a multi-pronged branding effort (beyond just information on a city or chamber web site) promoting diverse businesses located in/nearby the city. Report local tourism, local purchasing by the city, and local food under action 25.3, and best practices 15 and 27, respectively.
Compile a list of locally owned businesses located in/nearby the city and promote them and their products (such as compost, books, arts & crafts).
Create incentives for buying and investing locally; create a local currency or (discounted) local dollar gift certificates; report results of your buy local efforts, including specific benefits to the local economy; enact policies that support emerging and existing locally-owned businesses.
Action 7: Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Renewable Energy
{ BP no. 26 }

Ensure that solar and/or wind energy installations are allowed land uses for appropriate zoning districts within the zoning code.
Adopt the Grow Solar land use best practices or a wind ordinance with provisions that promote rather than restrict renewable energy installations. Include incentive provisions such as fee guidelines, fast-tracking permits (as noted in action 26.7). Note land use or street standards that maximize solar orientation of buildings.
Adopt solar energy standards and a wind energy ordinance; require renewable energy installations or RE-ready buildings when the city is a financial participant in a project; adopt a biomass ordinance to govern cogeneration facilities.
Action 1: Adopt solar energy standards, wind energy/biomass ordinance that allows or encourages appropriate renewable energy installations.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Local Food
{ BP no. 27 }

Summarize what exists in the city: a farmer's market, urban ag businesses, etc.
Report on supportive actions taken by the city such as use of city land for a farmer's market, garden plots in city parks, hiring a garden/market coordinator, supporting season extension techniques such as hoop houses or greenhouses; donations from markets/gardens to food shelves.
Report on percent of housing units within a 1 mile of a healthy food source (farmer's market, community garden, CSA drop point, and stores with an NAICS code of 445110 or 445230); convert top level of a parking ramp for a local food growing business.
Action 3: Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A farmer's market or co-op buying club.

b. An urban agriculture business or a community-supported agriculture (CSA) arrangement between farmers and community members/employees.

c. A community or school garden, orchard or forest.


Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience
{ BP no. 29 }

Develop targeted emergency communications in appropriate languages (or get access to existing versions) to address the specific vulnerabilities of each population group in your community to each type of event.
In consultation with the county, every two years review the county (or city if there is one) Hazard Mitigation Plan and identify who is responsible for city preparedness, emergency response, and recovery efforts for each type of event. Routinely participate in updating the Plan. (Category A & B cities must achieve a 1-star rating plus either a 2- or 3- star rating for Step 3 recognition).
In consultation with the county, designate appropriate facilities available to the public as community safe shelter for each type of event as applicable. Arrange for adequate provisions (including potable water) and backup power for 5-7 days. Develop coordinated strategies with private sector critical facilities and document agreed upon procedures.
Action 1: Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]