New city policies up sustainability efforts

By Jennifer Gregerson, Council Vice President | Jul 18, 2012
Jennifer Gregerson

Being your city councilmember keeps me busy, but I always find time to volunteer for extra duties. This year, I’m working as the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association president.

We have great monthly meetings, planning exciting activities for Sept. 7, 8 and 9. I’ve met some new people through the festival organization, and I realized recently that many people in our community don’t know what I focus on as a councilmember.

This month, I’m energized by the work our Sustainability Committee is doing. We are helping to write new comprehensive plan policies that speak to the sustainability efforts and priorities of Mukilteo and are supporting efforts to bring solar power to Mukilteo.

The comprehensive plan guides the vision and policies for the city. This year, we are working to add a few new policies that highlight work we have already done, and some new policies that relate to sustainability.

I have been able to use my thesis work that I did as I earned my master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington a couple years ago. The policies that we are writing will be woven into the full comprehensive plan in several different sections.

Some of the new sustainability policies include a policy that expresses support for organizations and businesses that provide healthy food to Mukilteo, such as the Farmers Market, Community Garden, and Food Bank.

Our council and city administration have long been supportive of these organizations. It is a positive move to make that support official and part of the vision for Mukilteo.

I think one of the new housing policies is also a great one. I support the concept of city regulations and public and private partnerships that can provide affordable housing choices that help meet the needs of Mukilteans facing changes in lifestyle.

Our citizens should be able to afford a first apartment, a starter house, raise a family and retire in Mukilteo. There are housing types and designs that support those different stages in life, and our city should have a good variety of all of them.

The city can support that through regulations and zoning, and by working with other organizations.

I’m also working with cities throughout Snohomish County on a committee to identify actions that our region can take. I’m the Chair of the Snohomish County Inter-jurisdictional Housing Committee.

The group’s goal is to create an organization to help meet our responsibilities and needs related to local housing. This might include technical assistance to our city staff, pursuing grants, educating our city and citizens, and coordinating with existing affordable housing developers.

The planning efforts have been under way for several years, and I look forward to seeing the organization take shape.

You’ll see these sustainability policies first reviewed by the Planning Commission, and then at City Council on Oct. 1. There is also a work session scheduled on Aug. 13, from 6-8 p.m. This is a joint meeting with the City Council, Planning Commission and Parks and Arts Commission.

This is a good chance to listen to these leaders discuss concepts for the Comprehensive Plan Update. I know it sounds dry – but these are important policies that help guide the vision for Mukilteo.

I am also happy to support the work of a new community effort called Solarize Mukilteo. This is a volunteer-driven organization with several Mukilteans at the helm.

They are working with NWSeed, a nonprofit, and Snohomish County PUD. They have selected a vendor, A&R Solar and NW Wind and Solar, to provide the opportunity for home or business solar system installation. The process allows for a reduced rate for the installs, and a chance to get educated as a community.

You can register now for one of several workshops taking place in the next few months. Go to http://solarizewa.org/get-started/mukilteo to register – the workshops are on July 28, Aug.18, Sept. 22 and Oct. 17.

Attending a workshop gets you on the fast track for a solar assessment at your house, and gives you information about all the PUD and federal tax credits that are available.

Being part of Solarize Mukilteo is a great opportunity and will help shift our community’s energy usage! Businesses and homeowners are welcome to participate.

And, in case you wondered, solar power works in Washington state. The Mukilteo City Hall generated 2,736 kilowatt hours of electricity this year through our 2.72 kilowatt system on the roof.

I was proud to vote in 2008 not only for a LEED Gold certified City Hall with geothermal power and a green roof, but for the investment in a small solar system for the building!

I hope to keep you updated more regularly on my work as your city councilmember. Contact me anytime at jgregerson@ci.mukilteo.wa.us or 425-239-5241 with your questions or concerns.

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