Home   |   About   |   Best Practices   |   Steps 1-5   |   Recognition   |   All Cities   |   Ordinances   |  City log-in   |   Contact           Stay Connected

    City of Bemidji  


Background Information

County:   Beltrami
Population:   15,119
GreenStep City category:   A

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   106

Participating township, county, school:
Beltrami County Northern Township Bemidji Township ISD #31

GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 3 (06/23/2015)

GreenStep Coordinator

Michelle Miller
City staff
michelle.miller@ci.bemidji.mn.us
218-759-3561

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
http://www.ci.bemidji.mn.us/

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: 50     1-star actions: 21     2-star actions: 18     3-star actions: 11    







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 ]  


Complete retrocommissioning and/or retrofitting work on one building. Summarize the actions taken. Update the B3 Building Editor as needed and change the Baseline Time Period to report energy/cost savings.
Complete retrocommissioning and/or retrofitting work financed by an energy performance contract, utility rebate or other means on two or more buildings. Post a print screen of B3 data to report energy/cost reductions.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria. In addition, use GESP or implement an internal program or use an external program/vendor that institutionalizes, and provides funding / incentives for, ongoing reductions in energy use by city-owned buildings (e.g. internal loan fund, shared savings with employees, capital budgeting based on energy savings, performance incentives and accountability, etc.).
Action 3: Invest in larger energy efficiency projects through performance contracting or other funding or through smaller retro-commissioning/retrofit projects in city-owned/school buildings.     [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 ]  


Efficient Existing Private Buildings
{ BP no. 2 }

Identify examples including building lighting upgrades (including exit lights, lighting equipment and controls), and other building/operational improvements in energy and water use and wastewater reduction. Report renewable energy installations under action 26.6
Identify businesses using a green building framework such as LEED to build, operate and maintain their buildings and operations, or businesses currently using Energy Star's Portfolio Manager or similar energy-tracking software.
Identify examples of extensive daylighting or electrochromic window glass and consequent energy/cost savings, installation of a greywater system, or similar innovative improvements.
Action 4: Describe energy/water efficiency outcomes and other green building practices at businesses located within/nearby the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals
{ BP no. 4 }

Signal lights go into “flash mode” during certain hours of the day; report synchronized traffic signals, flashing yellow left turn arrow signals, installation of detectors in at least 10% of city signals (operated under traffic actuated/responsive mode). Report roundabouts under best practice action 11.6
Work with the county/MnDOT to interconnect traffic signals and coordinate them in one corridor; install one or more bicycle crossing signal detectors; implement traffic signs over signals in lower-traffic areas to minimize costs
Provide estimates of reduced delays, gas use, stops; work with the county/MnDOT to interconnect/coordinate among traffic signals and synchronize them along several corridors.
Action 4: Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing so as minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Replace 1/3 of city's existing traffic signals.
Replace 2/3 of city's existing traffic signals; replace half and document savings.
Replace 100% of city's existing traffic signals.
Action 8: Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.     [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 ]  


Resilient City Growth
{ BP no. 7 }

Have at least one single-family zoning district or selected area that requires or allows 7-unit/acre (or greater).
A mixed- or single-use zoning district allowing 15+ DUA; a district that sets a minimum density for single family at 7 dwelling units/acre and minimum gross density for multi-family at 15 DUA (a level that supports 1 bus/15 min.). Multi-family housing includes attached housing, apartments and condos.
Allow 2,3,4-plexes by right in most/all residential districts; have a minimum residential gross density of 20 units/acre when adjacent to a permanent transit node or pedestrian-oriented commercial retail district.
Action 1: Limit barriers to higher density housing by including in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Neighborhood single-family density at 7 units/acre or greater.

b. Multi-family housing at a gross density of at least 15 units/acre adjacent to a commercial zoning district or transit node.


Use a process/ordinance (planned unit development or other) that allows increased density and approves development on substandard lots through flexible frontage and lot sizes; create a density bonus in one residential or commercial zoning district; allow accessory dwelling units in one single-family zoning district or overlay area.
Have a residential cluster development ordinance/process; have a density bonus in multiple areas in the city; bonus for underground parking or proximity to transit or multifamily playground space; allow accessory dwelling units and/or co-housing developments in multiple single-family districts; allow tiny houses (~400 sq. ft.) on small lots or small (~350 sq. ft.) apartments.
Create an additional density bonus linked to a transfer of development rights program that protects agricultural or natural resource land on the fringe of the urban area. Tie ADUs explicity into a plan for increasing affordable housing and/or reducing homelessness. Allow rooming or boarding houses; uncap the number of roommates who may share a dwelling unit.
Action 2: Achieve higher density housing through at least two of the following strategies:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Incorporate a flexible lot size/frontage requirement for infill development.

b. Use density and floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses in selected residential zoning districts.

c. Clustered residential development; tie a regulatory standard to comprehensive plan language defining compact city expansion zones that limit low-density development.

d. Allowing accessory dwelling units, senior housing, co-housing or tiny houses / apartments by right in selected zoning districts.


pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 3: Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Include in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map a commercial district with reduced lot sizes and zero-lot-line setbacks, or a FAR minimum of 1.

b. Set targets for the minimum number of employees/acre in different commercial zones.


pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 5: Modify the city zoning ordinance and zoning map to allow, without variance or rezoning in at least one district, developments that meet the prerequisites for LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Mixed Uses
{ BP no. 8 }

Conduct a process that involves community members / stakeholder input. Report main street revitalization and preservation actions under best practice 5.2; report comp plan civic engagement under 6.1
Bring in a facilitator to work with the city, community members and other stakeholders; use the Equitable Development Scorecard as an evaluation tool.
Participate in a Minnesota Design Team charrette; plan to increase the percent of residents who work within 10 miles of their homes.
Action 1: Organize or participate in a community planning/design process for the city/a mixed use district.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Explain which attributes are met.
Parking spaces are significantly below the parking standard due to bike/ped/transit access, shared parking, municipal lot.
A public school is located along a public transit line and provides incentives (such as discounted bus passes) for students to use the line.
Action 2: Locate or lease a school, city building or other government facility that has at least two of these attributes:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Adjacent to an existing employment or residential center.

b. Designed to facilitate and encourage access by walking and biking.

c. Accessible by regular transit service.


Ordinance allows mixed uses.
Ordinance: requires residential-only PUDs to be adjacent to commercial development or to be served by frequent transit; encourages EV charging stations.
Ordinance: requires a mix of uses; requires installation of EV charging stations.
Action 3: Modify a planned unit development ordinance to emphasize mixed use development or to limit residential PUDs to areas adjacent to commercial development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


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 }

Be recognized as a Bird City Minnesota or/and a certified Wildlife Habitat.
Register and begin work on completing actions in the Bird City MN program or/and the Community Wildlife Habitat program.
Report city actions that strengthen the ecology for birds, pollinators, other wildlife and for native plants.
Action 7: Be recognized under the Bird City Minnesota or Community Wildlife Habitat program.     [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 ]  


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 ]  


Measures such as streetscaping, bump-outs, raised cross walks, intersection markings, medians and narrower lane widths. Report temporary or permanent parklet installations under action 14.1
Measures such as roundabouts, and road diets where 3 lanes replace 4 lanes of a road with under 20,000 average annual daily traffic counts; adopt a traffic calming policy.
Measures from street reclaiming, naked streets, shared space, woonerfs, and Paint the Pavement approaches; diverging diamond interchange, J-turn lane, reverse diagonal parking; a multi-modal Level of Service metric developed and applied to road projects; conversion of underused/redundant roads to gravel roads, stormwater management, energy generation, etc.
Action 6: Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including road diets, roundabouts, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Mobility Options
{ BP no. 12 }

A basic map that shows (by neighborhood if a larger city) key civic/commercial sites, best bike and pedestrian routes, and transit routes and schedules; as needed distribute print materials in different languages; report increases in walk/bike counts.
Installed infrastructure such as designed bike or pedestrian or transit facilities like park and ride lots (report sidewalks/bike lanes under action 11.4), OR document the increase in employeer-offered transportation fringe benefits, OR report a Walk Score of 70+ or an increase in your city's Walk Score.
Be recognized as a Bicycle or Walk Friendly Community, OR require routine installation of infrastructure, such as bike parking, for all new multifamily and non-residential developments, OR allow property owners to substitute bike parking spaces for required car parking spaces.
Action 1: Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Produce/distribute route maps, signage or a web site.

b. Document increased bike facilities, such as racks, bike stations or showers.

c. Add bus infrastructure, such as signage, benches, shelters, park and ride lots, and real-time arrival data-streaming.

d. Increase the number of employers promoting multiple commuting options, including offering qualified transportation fringe benefits instead of only a tax-free parking fringe benefit.

e. Be recognized as a Walk Friendly or Bicycle Friendly Community.


Describe elements of a SRTS program in which the city is involved; note how many schools are affected, how the program addresses evaluation, encouragement, education, engineering, and enforcement, and whether the city worked in concert with the local community health board. Report shared use agreements between cities and school parks under action 18.1
Describe key elements of your non-SRTS efforts, such as which actions you are challenging which number of people/organizations to take, and how long the campaign is/will run; report collaboration/funding from your local Community Health Board (SHIP funding); host an Open Streets or Ciclovias event to temporarily make a street a pedestrian-only zone.
Report outcome measures, such as increased walking/biking in the community, improved health outcomes, percent student body covered by SRTS programming, and school bus fuel savings.
Action 2: Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Add or expand transit in your city or between your city and other destinations, working with other units of local governments as needed.
Add/expand Saturday or Sunday bus service; add dial-a-ride to regular service; assist in the creation of or promote the existance of a car sharing business or bike sharing business/service; embed a transit station/stop in a transit-oriented/mixed-use district. Report supportive changes in parking requirements under action 14.1
Bike-sharing/scooter-sharing in a small city; schedule transit service for at least every 30 minutes during peak hours so that 75% of city addresses are within 1/2 mile of a transit stop; incorporate payment for both local transit and ride-shares (and connections between the two) on a single smartphone app.
Action 6: Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.     [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 ]  


For smaller cities: at least one volunteer is a Minnesota Certified Tree Inspector or a Minnesota Forest Pest First Detector.
City has written and begun implementing a community emerald ash borer preparedness plan/climate change adaptation plan for urban forests including resilient tree species; city tree canopy goal aims for a "5-10-15" rule-of-thumb.
At least one city staff member is a Certified Forester, a landscape horticulture professional, or holds Tree Inspector and First Detector certification; city staff provide free assistance to residents/businesses, or support volunteer forestry efforts.
Action 6: Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Having trained tree specialists.

c. Adopting an EAB/forest management plan or climate adaptation plan for the urban forest.

b. Supporting volunteer forestry efforts.


Stormwater Management
{ BP no. 17 }

At least one ordinance in place (MS4s must achieve a 2- or 3-star rating). Report a "skinny street" project that decreases imperious street surface as a part of routine street reconstruction under action 11.2
Two ordinances in place.
Three or more ordinances in place.
Action 3: Adopt by ordinance one or more of the following stormwater infiltration/management strategies:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A narrower streets provision that permits construction of 22-foot roads for public, residential access and subcollector streets (with fewer than 400 average daily trips).

b. For sites less than one acre, retain the water quality volume of 1.1 inches of runoff from all impervious surfaces for new and fully-redeveloped construction sites.

c. For non-MS4 permittees, adopt an illicit discharge prohibition rule or ordinance and an erosion and sediment control ordinance.


Create a legal stormwater utility with different fees (e.g., fees based on parcel size, based on land use).
Achieve 1-star rating and offer commercial property owners decreased fees based upon an increased percent pervious surface coverage.
Achieve 2-star rating AND offer residential owners decreased fees based upon an increased percent pervious surface coverage; use 100% of fees for stormwater program.
Action 4: Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize enhanced stormwater management, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Install, require and/or provide guidelines for raingardens, rain barrels, parking lots (salt use reduction/alternatives, French drains, etc.) or pervious pavement at sites where the practice was not implemented to satisfy a requirement in an NPDES/SDS MS4 and/or Construction Stormwater permit or Industrial Stormwater permit; report that all city staff are developing guidelines that use the updated precipitation data in Atlas 14 or better, future predicted precipitation; note required use of compost as a soil amendment.
Install, require, incentivize and/or provide guidelines for green roofs, cisterns, neighborhood water storage, rainwater harvesting to supplant irrigation with drinking water, and other stormwater reuse. Report storage and reuse of stormwater for golf course/parkland irrigation under best practice action 18.5c.
Have an ongoing retrofit program to reduce pollutant loads and stormwater volume from existing neighborhoods that requires one or more of the stormwater practices in this action; aim for zero stormwater discharge in a development project.
Action 5: Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Rain gardens/infiltration practices.

b. Rainwater harvesting practices.

c. Green alleys or green parking lots.

d. Pervious/permeable pavement or pavers.

e. Green roofs / green walls.

f. Tree trenches / tree boxes.

g. Incorporate compost and/or native plants into landscape design.


pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 6: Reduce de-icing salt use to prevent permanent surfacewater and groundwater pollution.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Parks and Trails
{ BP no. 18 }

Remedy at least one connectivity break by, for example, completing a missing trail section, acquiring a high quality natural area, a priority stormwater management area, vacant space in a high amenity/redevelopment area, a rail corridor. Report remedies for street-to-trail gaps (between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails) under best practice action 11.5.
Remedy at least 3 connectivity breaks; fund trails out of adjacent street assessments; sign at least one shared use agreement with a school that allows public use of school outdoor facilities outside of school hours.
Remedy/plan/budget for 75% or more of the gaps; add a walking/biking trail that connects your city to a key destination/area/trail outside the city.
Action 1: Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


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 ]  


Create an annual event (can be in cooperation with other organizations) or ongoing 'adopt a park' effort for volunteer trash cleanup of open space, buckthorn removal, etc. for parks or selected public open space areas. Report gardens plots in city parks under BP 27.3
In addition to cleanup and removal of exotics (1 Star), engage community members in annual restoration of natural areas (replanting shoreland buffers, restoring prairie, etc.).
Create and fund an annual city-wide event for cleanup and restoration, engaging residents in most neighborhoods and creating a public promotion around the event.
Action 8: Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration and stewardship projects.     [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 ]  


Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems
{ BP no. 20 }

Calculate your waste water plant's benchmark by dividing average daily energy use by typical flow in MGD (millions of gallons per day); report energy use for drinking water produced and delivered in kWh per 1,000 gallons (typically between 0.25 to 3.5 kWh). Report water system losses under action 20.3; report protection efforts that sustain facility function during extreme weather under action 29.7
Use B3, Portfolio Manager or the like to report several years of historic data; note how your water and waste water facilities compare to similar plants.
Report that the Sewer, and Drinking Water, Enterprise funds (using data from https://www.auditor.state.mn.us/maps ) have had 5+ years Positive Net Income; rank in the best 25% of Upper Midwest peer plants.
Action 1: Compare the energy use and financial performance of your facilities with other peer plants using standardized, free tools.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Assist local businesses and institutions with water conservation measures; assist businesses in pre-treating and lowering volumes and toxicity of sewer inflows.
Reuse water (sell reclaimed water) from a wastewater plant for nonpotable ag-processing, irrigation, cooling or power plant uses; require businesses to take steps to keep grease out of sewer lines.
Co-generate electricity and heat through anaerobic digestion at the wastewater treatment plant; comp plan/zoning that guides businesses using high volumes of non-potable water to within 2-5 miles of a waste water treatment plant.
Action 6: Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Septic Systems
{ BP no. 21 }

The County implements the septic system ordinance for the City.
The city modifies, adopts and enforces an ordinance.
Include a provision that requires yearly monitoring reports on the effectiveness of indentified septic systems, as needed.
Action 4: Adopt a subsurface sewage treatment system ordinance based on the Association of Minnesota Counties' model ordinance.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Local Air Quality
{ BP no. 23 }

Participate in the Air Aware Employers program; OR report the dimensions of and results from your vehicle-idling actions: for example, no idling in the downtown core. Report no-idling policies for city and school fleets in best practice 13 and for business fleets under 23.4
Adopt a non-smoking ordinance for parks; report on your campaign with retail stores OR gasoline-replacement efforts; work with food trucks to decrease noise/pollutants.
Report on the reach of your smoking-free policy; decrease pollutants from back-up generators by shared generators, fuel cells, etc.
Action 3: Conduct one or more policy or education/behavior change campaigns on the topics below and document:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Decreased vehicle idling, pollutants/noise from stationary engines/back-up generators.

b. Participation in the Air Aware Employers program.

c. Adoption of a smoking-free policy at one or more multi-unit housing buildings, private or public.

d. Replacement of gasoline-powered small equipment with lower polluting equipment.

e. Increased sales by retail stores of low and no-VOC household products.


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 ]  


Report goals/outcomes annually from plans such as comprehensive, parks, library, housing, stormwater, drinking water, transportation, economic development, energy, sustainability. Issue a city Performance Management Report; use a simple form at http://tinyurl.com/24-2template
Achieve 1 Star rating AND identify specific steps from city departments on how to improve performance or meet goals that were not met in the previous year.
Integrate goals/outcomes reporting explicitly into the city capital improvement planning process, identifying how public dollars are targeted to meeting sustainability goals in the plans.
Action 2: Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


At least two informational/educational activities or creation of a group to work on such; promotion of/assistance with Friendly Front Yards, block clubs, neighborhood associations. Report under action 2.1 marketing & outreach programs that are limited to promoting/achieving residential energy use reduction and energy efficiency; report business outreach campaigns under BP 25; report youth/student engagement in city government under 24.6; report other targeted campaigns under topic-specific actions, e.g. 23.3
Sustained activities covering a range of topics (active living, food, water, energy, etc.) that have some challenge, assistance and/or measurement elements; documented accomplishments such as Green Ribbon School recognition, Friendly Fronts apartment building certification (coming in later 2017); city work that supports schools/youth to improve their schools (through an ecology club, school green team, IPL youth team).
Sustained activities and multiple reported outcomes such as increased multi-modal commuting, reduced water and energy use, increased local food production, increased business vitality, etc.
Action 4: Conduct or support a broad sustainability education and action campaign involving:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. The entire community.

b. Homeowners.

c. Front yards/sidewalks, block clubs, neighborhood associations.

d. Congregations.

e. Schools, colleges.


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 ]  


Report methods used, such as information included in a city newsletter and on the city website, and active ongoing promotion (twice or more per year) at city events, through city loan programs and the like. For green power purchasing through a municipal utility, report total kWh per year subcribed along with the number of participating households.
Partner with utility and local organization/community groups to promote this information (at least quarterly) through city utility bill inserts, workshops, community education courses, local lectures, etc.
Be recognized as an EPA Green Power Community, or report installed capacity as a result of a city-supported campaign.
Action 2: Consistently promote resident/business purchases/generation of clean energy by means of:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A local utility's green power purchasing program that allows residents/businesses to order/buy new renewable energy.

b. Local, state and federal financial incentives for property owners to install renewable energy systems.


Partner with a local utility or with firms that lease and finance energy systems to offer a renewable energy/energy efficiency product.
Partner with a financial institution (local bank, investment firm) to create a renewable energy/energy efficiency loan product, or leverage heating-assistance funds for renewables installation.
Join a PACE program available to Minnesota cities. Report number of participants, funding sources, dollars lent and installed capacity in kW.
Action 3: Promote financing programs for clean energy, such as PACE for commercial property owners, to install generation capacity/energy efficiency equipment.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Local Food
{ BP no. 27 }

Remove restrictions to food gardening/raising of chickens/bees in residential areas. Report beehives on city property under action 18.5
Proactively zone for & allow by right food gardening/raising of chickens/bees; report one or more developments that have dedicated, permanent and managed growing space, such as resident garden space, and/or related facilities (such as greenhouses). Report under GreenStep action 3.5 adopted city guidelines that prevent the restriction of food production through homeowner (HOA) agreements (CC&Rs).
Work with a rental building owner to establish a community garden, farmer's market or CSA/food buying club drop-point within 1/2 mile; establish tax incentives to use vacant lots for urban agriculture.
Action 2: Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily residential developments.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


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.