Charlotte City Council Environment Committee discusses livability and focus area plans

At the February 11 Charlotte City Council Environment Committee, Councilmembers Autry, Driggs, Howard, and Smith discussed the Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan and the Environment Focus Area Plan.

Rob Phocas from Neighborhood & Business Services presented a summary of the Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan process to date and shared a timeline for future work on it. The committee voted unanimously to support the MLCP resolution and to send it to the full City Council for their endorsement at the February 23rd meeting. Mr. Phocas reported that the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners endorsed the plan process on February 21st, and he shared a list of dates when it will be presented to town councils throughout Mecklenburg County for endorsement.

Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan

7 Guiding Principles of the MLCP. Image from

Councilmember David Howard thanked Sustain Charlotte for being a key advocate in initiating creation of a county-wide plan, and Councilmember John Autry also recognized the many individuals and organizations that have contributed to this effort. Sustain Charlotte has been actively engaged in plan development through participation in the Built Environment workgroup and other meetings. We will continue to participate in the process of moving the plan forward this year. The next phase of the project after endorsement of the process by the communities of Mecklenburg County will be establishment of goals and targets by December 2015. Annual reporting will be done in July 2016.

The committee also reviewed the Environment Focus Area Plan’s FY2015 Mid-Year Performance Summary. The vision of the plan is: “Charlotte will become a global leader in sustainability, preserving our natural resources while balancing growth with sound fiscal policy.” The plan includes five FY2015 Initiatives, with several Key Indicators for each.

After a presentation of the Performance Summary by Hyong Yi from the City Manager’s Office, committee members discussed their desire for more numerical data in the plan and summary so they can understand whether the City is on track for reaching its long-term environmental goals. Two issues cited as examples by committee members were Charlotte’s tree canopy and recycling rate. Councilmember David Howard said that he would like to see recycling rates included among the plan’s metrics, which we applaud as a needed metric since Mecklenburg County’s per capita residential recycling rates have remained stagnant over the past 15 years (see p. 41-42 of our 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card). Councilmember Ed Driggs pointed out that early indicators are an important part of the plan because they will allow the City to determine whether we’re on track to reach long-term goals. We couldn’t agree more!

City Council committee meetings are open to the public. We realize many of you cannot attend these meetings since they take place during the day, so we’ll continue to keep you informed on what transpires in these important monthly meetings.

The next City Council Environment Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 280 of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. Meeting times are subject to change, so check the online schedule.

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