Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – September 2018

Sustainable Communities Network – September Meeting
9/6/18                      Location: City of Oshkosh

Attendees: K. Thunes, K. Miller, C. Kasimor, R. Kanitz, M. Davey, R. Hull, and R. Kasperek.

Barriers to Green Infrastructure and Green Spaces

  • City of Oshkosh Green Infrastructure Audit: Steven Wiley presented on the Green Infrastructure Audit and provided an overview of the audit tool and process. He explained that the Audit provides an overview of green infrastructure and mitigation of stormwater runoff.  He then explained the Community Scoping worksheet as a means for gauging potential concerns regarding sustainable initiatives.  Wiley explained the impact ordinances have on developments and existing properties in a community.  He then went through the Parking section of the Audit with the SCN members and showed them how he went through the steps of identifying the question asked by the audit tool, looking up relevant code language, listing potential new code language, strategies, or case studies, and assigning a grade based on the community’s current situation.  Wiley stated that he had found areas where Oshkosh was doing very well and areas where there was room for improvement in the code language.
  • Village of Fox Crossing Green Infrastructure Audit: Ria Hull of Fox Crossing presented an overview of their work on the Audit. She explained that they had an intern work on completing the entire audit and that most of the results were fair and in the C-A- range.  Currently Fox Crossing maintains policies of working with developers and if developers use permeable pavers, the Village will knock off some of the stormwater utility cost.  Hull explained that Fox Crossing has limited resources and therefore has not yet had a chance to revise their ordinances in response to the audit results.
  • City of Menasha Green Infrastructure Survey: Roni Kasperek provided an update and stated that the Sustainability Committee spent an hour and went through the Community Scoping worksheet of the Audit.
  • Town of Greenville Green Infrastructure: Roni Kasperek provided an update on Greenville’s progress since John Conrad was unable to attend the meeting. The Town might work with the Urban Forestry Department and use parts of the Audit.  According to Mr. Conrad, the Town does not have the resources to do an entire ordinance audit.
  • Kimberly Miller explained that she had an interest in green infrastructure and that the County had partnered with Oshkosh Civil Engineer John Ferris on a number of demonstration projects including a prairie bio-retention area.  The bio-retention area is an experiment to see how the project holds up to salt.  Ms. Hull asked how someone can quantify how many Total Suspended Solids (TSS) a rain garden removes.  Ms. Miller and Ms. Thunes asked Mr. Wiley to follow up with Mr. Ferris and see if he has formulas or information on this.

Solar Gardens and Local Renewables

  • Menasha Solar Garden Update / Menasha Fire Station: Roger Kanitz provided an update on the Menasha city garage. The Sustainability Committee had some discussions about installing solar on the roof of the new garage but the project was coming in over budget. Mr. Kanitz stated that the utilities could have some interest in the garage for solar gardens.
  • Ria Hull of Fox Crossing explained that their village hall solar has performed great.  She explained that the system provides about 9% of the village power from the 28kW system, but it is well aged and new solar panels have come a long way.

Invasive Species Management 

  • Buckthorn Removal and Prevention (Community Approaches): Mr. Kanitz updated the group on the buckthorn in Menasha.  He presented some materials and information he had drafted and obtained on buckthorn.  He showed a sample of a buckthorn plant.  He stated that he would continue updating the buckthorn information he had put together.  Ms. Miller also shared some information on buckthorn and some buckthorn publications.  Mr. Wiley explained that the neighborhood association on the west side of Oshkosh has been dealing with buckthorn and had recently received a grant from the City’s Great Neighborhoods Program to remove the buckthorn and remediate the area.
  • Other Invasive Plant Concerns (Greenville – Wild Parsnip): Ms. Kasperek shared updates from Mr. Conrad on Greenville’s interest in bringing more education to their community on wild parsnip.

Community Sharing

  • Mr. Wiley shared the remainder of Greenville’s items.  According to John Conrad, Greenville had a successful electronics recycling event in July at their Farmers Market, just a couple hundred pounds less than last year’s event.  Greenville will conduct their Christmas Light recycling program again this year and expanding to more businesses in the Neenah/Menasha area.
  • Mr. Wiley also shared Kimberly Clark’s items.  Kimberly Clark is aggressively pursuing plastic straw elimination.  They are defining a program for Styrofoam container elimination.  They initiated a small scale composting collection structure at one of their smaller cafeterias.  They published World Overshoot Day data from the World Footprint Organization – basically humanity is consuming the Earth’s biocapacity faster than it can be replenished, faster than available resources.  Kimberly Clark also toured Becher Solutions – they take Kimberly Clark’s polypropylene plastics and return them to pellets form for re-use.

Additional Items / Next Meeting

Ms. Thunes asked to add this item to the agenda.  The next SCN meeting is scheduled for Greenville to host.  Ms. Thunes asked about the possibility of doing a holiday pot luck style meeting on December 6th.  Potential topics might include urban forestry – an update on tree cover by Kimberly Miller for the SCN communities.  Ms. Thunes asked Mr. Wiley to note that she will contact Tracy Salisbury and ask her to present and coordinate with Ms. Miller.  Invasive species education and the 2019 meeting schedule/locations/topics were additional items for the next meeting.  Ms. Thunes proposed revisiting Green Infrastructure at a future meeting perhaps in March.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:40 pm. 

Recorded by: Steven Wiley, Assistant Planner, City of Oshkosh

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