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City plans for sustainable future

Members of DeKalb’s Citizen Environmental Commission seek residents’ opinions

Published: Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014 11:16 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014 11:25 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – Members of DeKalb’s Citizen Environmental Commission want to know what residents think should be the guiding environmental sustainability principles for the city.

Committee members want residents’ opinions on a draft of the proposed sustainability plan, which is designed to guide city leaders, businesses and residents in making the community more environmentally friendly.

“The commission put together a plan to make the city of DeKalb utilize natural resources in a way that meets the current needs, but minimizes the impact for future generations,” commission chairman Bill Oleckno said.

Commission members formed a 15-member citizen subcommittee to work on the plan about 18 months ago, after commission member Dan Kenney attended a conference where he learned about the city of Elgin’s sustainability plan.

The plan includes recommendations for city operations, air quality, alternative energy and transportation, among others. Recommendations are proposed for short, medium and long-term periods, but don’t mandate the city make any immediate changes.

Recommendations are meant to guide city leaders’ decision making. Kenney said, for instance, the plan would encourage city officials to consider bike lanes when discussing street repairs. Some parts of the plan also suggest the city use more energy efficient light bulbs in new construction or give residents information about how to use less water.

“We see there’s a need for the community to think ahead, to not only what they need for the present, but what they need for quality of life in future generations, as well,” Kenney said.

A copy of the plan is available on the city of DeKalb’s Web site, cityofdekalb.com, the city clerk’s office at City Hall, 200 S. Fourth St., or at the reference desk at the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St.

Residents should send comments to Jennifer Diedrich, the city liaison for the commission, no later than Sept. 8. Comments can be mailed to Diedrich at 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, emailed to jdiedrich@cityofdekalb.com or faxed to 815-748-2090.

Commenters should sign and date their comments and provide a contact phone number or e-mail address where they can be reached in case of questions.

Once commissioners have received all the public comments, they will consider them at their Sept. 11 meeting. A final draft of the plan with resident comments incorporated will go to the DeKalb City Council for consideration Oct. 11.

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