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City amends green-building policy

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City Council adopted the Springfield Green Building Policy after debating a provision that would allow the city manager to make exceptions to the rule without its approval. The resolution declares that all city-owned buildings would be constructed to meet the silver-level certification using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design 2009 New Construction and Major Renovations Rating System.

At issue was Section 6 of the resolution, which requires the city manager to notify council when he deems an exception to the policy is appropriate. To have public discussion on the project, three members of council would need to provide a written objection to the exception within five days of notification.

The benefits of promoting energy-efficiency in city-owned construction never appeared to be up for debate. Mayor Pro-tem Dan Chiles, however, said the exception rule effectively cancelled out the will of the resolution.  

Our intention would just disappear because of Section 6,” Chiles said after he made a motion to strike the provision.

Councilman Jerry Compton said he thought not having a possibility for exceptions was “short-sighted.” Councilman Nick Ibarra agreed.

We don’t need a black-and-white rule that’s not putting cost into the equation,” Ibarra said.

Councilman Doug Burlison said he thought the exception rule, which could be challenged by council if used, provided adequate checks and balances.

Citing a bright future for LEED certification, Mayor Jim O’Neal said the resolution would help reduce long-term energy costs associated with building maintenance.

Both the effort to remove Section 6 from the original resolution, and the amended resolution, which gave council the option to fight the exception, failed by 5-4 votes.

Before the amended resolution went on to see a 9-0 approval, it was revised to be reviewed in two years, instead of four.[[In-content Ad]]

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