While most of us have been staying at home during Covid-19, we have been working with sustainability teams across central Iowa to do webinars on critical topics and plan for how to move forward equitable climate and sustainability action on the local level. Check out these community conversations Below:
1000 FRIENDS OF IOWA ANNOUNCES 2018 BEST DEVELOPMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
Celebrating Iowa’s ‘development heroes’ and recognizing smart growth principles across the state
Dec. 11, 2018 (Des Moines, Iowa) – 1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eight recipients of its Best Development Award for 2018. These recipients were chosen because they implement the efficient use of resources to develop sustainable communities and provide a high quality of life.
“These are our state’s ‘development heroes,’” according to Julia McGuire, Program Coordinator. The 2018 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, recipient, project, city):
In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Storm Lake for building a sustainable community through food, youth service and education, flood control, and stormwater management in Storm Lake
In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, Primary Health Care’s East Side Clinic for its Healing Garden in Des Moines
In the Renewable Energy category, Stuff Etc. for its unique “solar plus storage” technology in Coralville
In the Renovated Civic – Small Community category, the Bricker-Price Block for the restoration of the Bricker-Price Block in Earlham
In the Renovated Civic – Large Community, the Davenport Community School District for its J.B. Young Opportunity Center in Davenport
In the Renovated Residential category, Professional Property Management for Sun Prairie Apartments in West Des Moines
In the Stormwater Management category, the City of Algona for its Downtown Green Parking Lot Infrastructure Renewal in Algona
In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Manning for its Trails Network in Manning
“The nominations for 2018 were very diverse. The jurors really appreciated the number of renovations that were nominated. There are so many great developments occurring in our state,” stated Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa. “Iowa should celebrate the communities where thoughtful planning is happening. Hopefully other communities can replicate the successes of our 2018 category winners.”
The Best Development Awards winners are selected from a pool of nominations each year by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors were Pat Boddy, Senior Partner Emeritus at RDG Planning & Design; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager with the Community Development Division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager of the City of Sioux City; Ulrike Passe, Associate Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University and Director of the Center for Building Energy Research, and Ryan Peterson, President of Impact7G.
An Award Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2019, at 12 noon at the Capitol Rotunda. It is free and open to the public.
The Best Development Awards Program recognizes projects in up to 12 different categories as a way for 1000 Friends of Iowa to express the fact that smart land use and sustainable communities are more than constructed buildings. All of the award recipients help advance sustainability across our state by considering site design, outdoor and indoor environmental impact, public use, and long-term benefits.
Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve quality of life for future generations.
For more information about the Best Development Awards Program, please contact Julia McGuire at 515-988-1828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right now, making it’s way through the Iowa State House is a horrible bill – Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093). The bill has passed out of committees in both houses and was passed out of the full senate. The bill is now awaiting debate in the full house. This bill has sweeping changes that decimates energy efficiency programs, potentially losing over 80% of the current funds, it essentially deregulates utilities in Iowa, leaving all utility customers vulnerable to soaring prices and the whims of the utility companies, and it makes it easier for gas pipelines to be built in Iowa.
If enacted, Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093), which is being championed by Iowa’s investor owned utilities, would:
Effectively deregulate Iowa’s energy utilities;
Slash energy efficiency programs, potentially by up to 80% or more;
Make it easier for gas pipelines to build in Iowa.
And though the bad solar provisions were removed, there is still an effort to put them back into the bill which if added back in, could essentially kill rooftop and community solar by allowing utility companies to discriminate against solar customers.
So what does that mean for you? It means:
This bill is bad for Iowans. Energy efficiency is a key factor that keeps utility rates low in Iowa. If passed, utility rates will go up. Low income people will lose out on energy efficiency and weatherization programs programs and utility companies can build unnecessary fossils fuel generation plants and charge all of their customers to foot the bill.
We could see a potential loss of over 20,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sectors and and a loss of over $200,000,000 that would have been savings for utility customers.
If you are asking what we can do about it, keep reading!
Another bad bill that is now making it’s way through the senate is SSB 3078. This bill proposes to eliminate all energy efficiency programs. It is on the Ways and Means subcommittee schedule for Monday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m. The subcommittee is made up of Senator Fenestra, Senator Hogg, and Senator R.Schmidt. Please contact all three of them and ask them to oppose SSB 3078. Click here to find their contact info.
1000 Friends of Iowa is pleased to celebrate the winners of the 2017 Best Development Awards. The Awards Program showcases projects that exemplify the connections between building, land, and natural resource development and quality of life. With a mission focused on responsible land use, 1000 Friends of Iowa promotes smart growth planning principles that help achieve socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. The public is invited to recognize our award recipients with us.
Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. In 2015, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Commission gutted the requirement to maintain at least 4 inches of topsoil on residential construction sites. Because topsoil is so crucial for flood mitigation, carbon sequestering, filtering out pollutants to keep our water clean and for growing the pants and food we depend on; we are turning to local communities to take action to protect our topsoil.
To help communities and Iowa residents take action to adopt topsoil restoration and protection ordinances, 1000 Friends of Iowa has created a handy toolkit with how to’s, talking points and sample ordinances that we like. Get our toolkit here.
Take action! — Communities within the Greater Des Moines Metro Area have been talking about adopting a region-wide topsoil ordinance for a couple of years, but have been dragging their heels. The time to act is now!
Please do two things:
Write a letter to the editor to the Des Moines Register calling on metro cities to adopt the topsoil ordinance. Submit your letters here.
Contact your council members and mayor. Go to you cities home page and click on city council for contact information.
2017-2018 Topsoil ordinances
Congratulations to both the cities of Clive and Cedar Rapids for being the most recent communities to adopt topsoil restoration ordinances!
In 2017, we will reach out to additional communities around the state to adopt similar ordinances. Our soil is too precious not to.
* Topsoil retention is very important to urban landscapes — growing plants need healthy soil. New homeowners with no topsoil left in place are often faced with very expensive soil remediation to even begin to establish healthy lawns, trees, and gardens. The savings to the building and construction industry (numbers that keep changing and are unsubstantiated) comes at a great cost to the homeowner and to the watershed.
* Rain events quickly wash fertilizers, also called nutrients, off lots that have been stripped of topsoil. This pollutes our rivers, lakes, and streams. Furthermore, it is costly for the landowner who must spend extra money for repeat fertilizer applications. Keeping soil in place contributes to natural storm water management solutions and helps build healthy, green, and more sustainable neighborhoods for future generations.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. Last fall, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Commission gutted the requirement to maintain at least 4 inches of topsoil on residential construction sites, and we are turning to individual communities to take action.
The City of Clive is in the process of passing an 8-inch topsoil rule. While we strongly support this proposal, there are builders who would like to create a loophole allowing them to avoid maintaining topsoil if they implement other storm water management solutions. Though utilizing additional storm water management solutions is a great idea, it is still critically important that builders maintain topsoil on the property.
Please plan to attend the Clive City Council meeting on Thursday, April 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Some talking points for the topsoil protection rule:
We strongly support requiring that builders maintain 8 inches of topsoil on properties after the build. This rule will not only help to manage stormwater runoff, but it will also reduce water pollution and add value to the property.
Topsoil retention is very important to urban landscapes — growing plants need healthy soil. New homeowners with no topsoil left in place are often faced with very expensive soil remediation to even begin to establish healthy lawns, trees, and gardens.
We understand that scraping soil is part of the site preparation process, but instead of hauling away the soil that has been scraped off, it can be stock piled and spread out after construction is completed. The extra cost to the building and construction industry for keeping the soil on site are nominal compared to the costs to the homeowners, the watershed and our drinking water if it is removed.
When the soil is stripped away, homeowners often turn to fertilizers and chemical amendments to encourage plant growth. Wit no soil to soak into, these chemicals find their way into our waterways after rain events, polluting our rivers, lakes, and streams.
It is costly for homeowners who must spend extra money for repeat fertilizer applications. Keeping soil in place contributes to natural storm water management solutions and helps build healthy, green, and more sustainable neighborhoods for future generations.
Do you have ideas or suggestions for Land Use Bulletin articles? Are there issues, improvements, or events happening in your community that require action, deserve recognition, or could use publicity? Do you have a community success story you’d like the rest of Iowa to know about? Please share your thoughts, ideas and news with us, send an email email@example.com!