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    City of Ely  


Background Information

County:   St. Louis
Population:   3,460
GreenStep City category:   B

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   38

Participating township, county, school:


GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 2 (06/15/2016)

GreenStep Coordinator

Harold Langowski
City staff
elyod@ely.mn.us
218-226-5474

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
www.ely.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
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: 23     1-star actions: 17     2-star actions: 5     3-star actions: 1    







Buildings and Lighting   Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Private Buildings
{ BP no. 2 }

Incentives include lower interest loans, lowered building or equipment permit fees; note what improvements/equipment qualify and if a revolving loan fund was used. Private parties include builders, homeowners, businesses, institutions. Report renewable energy financing programs such as PACE under action 26.3
Incentives include a utility-bill payment option, grants, rebates or tax breaks (e.g., property tax abatement) or expedited permit review.
Note incentives used, such as a density bonus or green building design assistance, for certified green building or ones incorporating district energy. Report buildings meeting the SB 2030 energy standard.
Action 6: Provide a financial or other incentive to private parties who add energy/sustainability improvements, meet the SB 2030 energy standard, or renovate using a green building or energy framework.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Building Redevelopment
{ BP no. 5 }

Describe the expansion/reuse of a school building.
Describe city actions that assisted in the expansion/reuse of a big-box building into uses other than large-format retail.
The expansion/reuse of a school or big-box was done with explicit attention to green building practices and/or to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Rehabilitation.
Action 3: Plan for reuse of large-format retail buildings, or work with a local school to either add-on space or repurpose space into non-school uses.     [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 ]  


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.


Document the existence of a district meeting the FAR standard and/or zero-lot line.
Achieve 1 Star rating AND: locate the higher intensity district near higher density housing; have at least one co-working office space in your city.
The number of retail entrances per 330 feet in a downtown retail district ranges between 8 and 13; employment density of 25+ jobs/acre in compact areas; a maximum block perimeter of 2000' in a downtown zoning district.
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.


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 ]  


Two or more uses in multi-story buildings favored in the comp plan with overall goals or design guidelines.
Adopt incentives (density bonus, development assistance) for vertical mixed use development such as housing above commercial, shared parking in the downtown core.
An incentive and/or requirement for inclusionary (affordable) housing in at least one development; live/work vertical units allowed by right.
Action 7: Create incentives for vertical mixed-use development in appropriate locations (downtown, commercial districts near colleges or universities, historic commercial districts).     [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 ]  


Summarize the complete streets elements - grey infrastructure such as adding sidewalks, bumpouts, bike lanes, truck routes, broad band, EV charging station, smart grid.
Summarize the complete streets (re)construction project and its green infrastructure elements - street trees, vegetation, rain gardens, permeable pavement, stormwater capture and re-use, etc. Note if a utility franchise fee (vs. special assessments) was used.
Use the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System; use a Pavement Management Plan to incorporate complete street goals; implement a "dig once" plan/policy (installing conduit/other underground capacity that can accept future infrastructure such as fiber optics without digging up the street); report lower cost of project (capital costs and/or anticipated maintenance costs) compared to reconstructing roads with no changes.
Action 3: Modify a street in compliance with the city's complete streets policy.     [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 ]  


Environmental Management   Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing
{ BP no. 15 }

pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 2: Purchase energy used by city government - via green tags, community solar garden, 3rd party - with a higher renewable percentage than required by Minnesota law.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Urban Forests and Soils
{ BP no. 16 }

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.


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 ]  


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 }

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 ]  


Septic Systems
{ BP no. 21 }

Periodic or ongoing tracking, inspections, report review, and/or outreach to system owners.
Require inspections on a set timetable, at time of sale or when a building permit is pulled; require failing systems to be upgraded within 12 or fewer months.
Provide financial assistance for bringing systems into compliance; bring all remaining septic owners voluntarily into central sewer system.
Action 1: Report to landowners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of an educational, informational and financial assistance and outreach program designed to trigger voluntary landowner action to improve septic systems.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Sustainable Consumption and Waste
{ BP no. 22 }

Require by license (and ideally also ordinance) the provision of recycling services in multi-unit residential buildings; report implementation of at least 3 "good" recycling BMPs (e.g., mandatory separation of residential recyclables, email/text recycling reminders) from https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/w-sw1-11.pdf Note that pre-2018 organized collection entries are listed under this action, and that post-2017 organized collection entries are under 22.7
Report the city recycling rate prominently on the city's web site (by only licensing haulers that report their data); provide as requested larger carts/2nd recycling container at no added cost to resident; collect co-mingled fiber/containers; report implementation of 3 “better” recycling BMPs from the webpage above; in greater MN, require collection of recyclables from commercial entities.
Require that each tenant in multi-unit housing has a recycling container; assure multi-unit recycling during routine city building inspections; report implementation of 3 “best” recycling BMPs from the webpage above.
Action 6: Improve recycling services and expand to multi-unit housing and commercial businesses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Require trash haulers to follow the city-organized recycling collection schedule; require organized collection of residential recyclables; publish hauler rates on city's web site & require waste/recyclables tonnage reports as a condition of licensing; assist residents on X % of city blocks to arrange for 75%+ of houses to contract with 1 trash hauler; set at least a 25% price differential among 3 cart size/frequency categories (~30, 60, 90-gallons); provide a financial or other incentive (e.g. larger container) for recycling. Report compostables collection under action 22.5 Note that pre-2018 entries of cities organizing their solid waste collection service are found under action 22.6
Offer bi-weekly trash collection, ideally paired with weekly recycling (and organics); organize city-wide collection of recyclables, yard waste, source-separated organics via RFP.
Organize trash collection; contract with one/multiple, zoned haulers for trash & multi-materials, either via RFP (if previous contract) or via hauler negotiations; note estimated cost savings to residents and to city (from decreased truck traffic); note if trucks use compressed natural gas (as city license condition?); achieve 50% recycling & 10% composting rate.
Action 7: Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Resilient Economic & Community Development   Resilient Economic & Community Development

Green Business Development
{ BP no. 25 }

Identify how area tourism is featuring green aspects of the area/their business, and/or how the city has contacted businesses (and how many) about making internal green changes within their business.
Create or participate in an ongoing green tourism initiative; facilitate follow-up with at least 5 businesses to assist them/arrange for assistance to them in greening their business.
Document the financial and environmental outcomes from these green tourism efforts on your city web site. Report any green tourism business certifications earned in action 25.6.
Action 3: Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Renewable Energy
{ BP no. 26 }

pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city 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.


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.


Business Synergies and EcoDistricts
{ BP no. 28 }

pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 3: Require, build or facilitate at least four attributes in a business/industrial park project:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Shared parking/access OR shared recreation/childcare facilities.

b. Green product development, manufacturing or sales OR a green job training program..

c. Buildings located within walking distance of transit and/or residential zoning.

d. Renovated buildings OR buildings designed for reuse.

e. Green buildings built to Minnesota's SB2030 energy standard OR renewable energy generated on-site.

f. Combined heat and power (CHP) generation capacity, shared geothermal heating/cooling, microgrid OR energy storage.

g. Low-impact site development.