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Sustainable Belmont
Planning Meeting


Wednesday, 2014 December 3, 7 PM
Belmont Public Library, Assembly Room
Agenda:
  • Vision 21 Implementation Committee motion
  • Organizational planning – active volunteers are encouraged to attend
RSVP for Dec 3 Meeting (includes write-in area for those who cannot attend).
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Easy Peasy

Act and Volunteer


Make the Switch


Through a partnership with the non-profit Mass Energy Consumers Alliance and Mothers Out Front, Mothers Out Front Logoanyone can switch their home to a clean electricity household. By participating in Mass Energy’s Make the Switch campaign, not only do Mothers and others wash their hands of dirty fossil fuel-based electricity, they send a strong message that Massachusetts households want more renewable energy.  Read More about this and other options in Belmont or go straight to Mothers Out Front to make the switch.
 
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Updates


Belmont Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group


Sustainable Belmont, a member of the Massachusetts Safe Routes to Schools Alliance, is pleased to support and participate in Belmont’s first Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group. Kate Bowen (SB) and Melissa Green (SRTS Regional Coordinator) have connected with stakeholders in the community to create this collaborative group with the focus on improving participation and safety for walking and biking to schools. In addition to the elementary and middle schools, representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Community Development, the Police Department, the Traffic Advisory Committee have made a commitment to meet and coordinate support of the SRTS program. Reducing vehicular travel, increasing pedestrian and cycling travel and mass transportation are part of Sustainable Belmont's mission to reduce carbon emissions.

The SRTS Community Working Group met 3 times last school year and recently held their first meeting of this school year. As a result of last year's efforts, 4 schools submitted applications to MassDOT (parent organization of SRTS) to be eligible to receive an infrastructure assessment with the potential for being selected for an infrastructure project in the range of $200K to $1.2 million.

We are pleased to announce that Wellington has been chosen to receive an infrastructure assessment. Representatives from MassDOT, Belmont Community Development Department, Wellington and SRTS recently met to observe the school drop-off and pick-up process, as well as to discuss initial observations. The sidewalk on School Street and the intersection at School Street and Common Street are being carefully considered for their potential to improve safety of walkers and cyclists. If a project is selected, it has the potential to also improve the route to Chenery by way of Wellington, and possibly Burbank, too.

The Selectmen adopted a policy of not funding sidewalks with road repair in recent years, which has resulted in many poorly defined sidewalks leading to dangerous parking habits and unsafe and diminished pedestrian travel. Only one school in Belmont may receive this award, and we hope having come this far, Wellington proves to have a successful project.

The SRTS Community Working Group will meet again before the holiday break to discuss ways to support the sidewalk snow removal bylaw. If you would like to participate in this coordinated support on behalf of your school or as part of your neighborhood, please contact Kate Bowen at sustainablebelmont@gmail.com
 

Distributed Generation, a.k.a. Solar Tariff


During the month of October, a small group of volunteers (Sustainable Belmont's Energy Working Group) knowledgable in solar technology and policy met with Municipal Light Advisory Board (MLAB) members, Ashely Brown (chair) and Patricia DeOrio three times, following the suggestion of the Board of Selectmen at the September 18th public hearing on the implementation of Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Distributed Generation policy. It was the expectation of these volunteers that a compromise solution would reached between Phase 1 and 2, as was implied during the hearing. Discussion notes were provided to the Board of Selectmen throughout the month. Unfortunately, the proposal provided by the MLAB members at the final meeting remained in the same realm as the previous Phase 3. The volunteer group concluded it would be unable to meet a compromise and formally stepped away from continued negotiations.

In recent weeks, MLAB and the Light Advisory Board (comprised of the Board of Selectmen) have met to discuss the issues and attempt to resolve the conflict. They are complex and can be reviewed in this memo, provided by industry professional and resident, David Schlissel. Prior to the holiday, the Light Advisory Board agreed on some changes and requested MLAB draft them officially as a policy, so they may officially approve it. Those changes would include a monthly distributed generator fee (6-yr grace period for existing), charges to the DG customer for all energy produced (no more net-metering), removal of the facility production limit (as mentioned in the Sept 18 hearing), and existing DG customers would be able to apply for a "green credit" of $5 per installed kW, per month for a 3-yr period to defray the financial cost increase associated with the elimination of net metering.

How the exact numbers play out across various households and institutions and how they hold up with leasing compared to purchasing outright remains in unclear as they have not yet been checked with solar leasing companies nor have they been analyzed mathematically. A formal drafted policy is anticipated soon. Like others in Belmont, we will look to those residents with industry experience to share their insights on the implications of any approved policy.

Individual choice plays a significant role in reducing emissions and the loss of this choice would be yet another door closed for residents trying to move to cleaner energy in an economical manner. We need multiple strategies to achieve our climate action resolution of reducing CO2 by 80% by 2050. This is one important choice, as we look around at our neighboring communities thriving in solarize programs and pushing up their timelines for achieving significant CO2 reductions to much nearer dates than 2050.
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Calendars
Peer Organizations:

•  Massachusetts Climate Action Network 
•  Concord Climate Action Network
•  Sustainable Arlington 
•  Sustainable Winchester

Members Share



Sustainable Middlesex Meeting
Saturday December 6, 2014
9:30 AM – 11 AM
Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, MA

TOPIC: PRICING CARBON
Sustainable Middlesex will advance to a new level which could have national implications.  This meeting is in collaboration with Climate XChange and Citizens Climate Lobby.

Board of Selectmen Meeting
Monday, December 1, 2014
8 PM
Town Hall

Anne-Marie Lambert will present a study performed by experienced hydrologist, Bruce Jacobs which analyzed how the Uplands development's stormwater management systems would handle a currently-predicted 100-year storm event, in contrast to the currently designed-for storm event based on rainfall data through 1958.
For more info on the Uplands, contact Idith Haber, President, Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands
Apparently, to date no building permit has been issued and the Board and the Belmont Building Inspector will be asked to take action and possibly other items at this meeting.  Information about the Coalition's legal complaint filed on October 10, 2014Belmont Media Center televises government meetings for those unable to attend in person.

Start a conversation or post organizations, events & articles of interest on our Facebook page.
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Save the Date


Green Burial Panel
Thur., January 29th evening (time tba)
Belmont Media Studio


We are pleased to share this upcoming event, as it has long been requested by interested residents.

The Belmont Health Collaborative is organizing a panel discussion of 4 professionals in the field of green burials. Panelists include: Judith Lorei, a natural burial advocate and co-chair of the Green Burial Committee in western MAHeather Massey, a Home Funeral Guid, educator and board member of the National Home Funeral Alliance; Ruth Faas, who offers biodegradable caskets and support at Mourning Dove Studio; and Raya Gildor, who heads the eastern Mass chapter of the Funeral Consumers Alliance (617-859-7990).

The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is a national nonprofit organization that protects consumers' rights to choose meaningful, dignified, affordable funerals.

Sustainable Belmont supports this presentation by spreading the word. We look forward to future events of shared interest.
Members of Sustainable Belmont at a 350.org march
As we head into the season of festivities and lights, here's a handy list of 10 things you can do to make less of an impact on the environment and more of an impact on your life. 
 

100 Homes in 100 Days


The Belmont Light Energy Efficiency Grant Program includes 2 new opportunities for customers heating by oil or electricity. 
  1. Weatherization “grants” for $1,500 worth of products and services for a co-pay of just $299 (limited to 100)
  2. Heat pump “grants” for $500-$1,500 off of high efficiency heat pump heating and cooling systems (limited to 50).

Details: www.BelmontLightEnergyGrant.com

This program is made possible by the MA DOER awarded Belmont Light $240,250 in spring 2014. A portion of this award will also go to retrofitting streetlights to LED.
Members of Sustainable Belmont at a 350.org march
In nature nothing exists alone. — Rachel Carson
Helping Belmont to be an environmentally responsible community

Sustainable Belmont is an all-volunteer organization, originally formed as a task force by Belmont's Vision 21 Implementation Committee. We hold regular discussions, workshops and presentations to enable the community to be environmentally sustainable. Meetings and events are open to the public. You can reach Sustainable Belmont members by email: sustainablebelmont@gmail.com

Kind regards from,  Kate Bowen (Chair); Darrell King (Co-Chair) and John Kolterman (Adviser)

Copyright © 2014 Sustainable Belmont, All rights reserved.


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