Tag Archives: ordinance

Oklahoma Property Rights Protection Bill or Property Rights Destruction Bill?

 

little house

Kaye Beach

May 1, 2014

As promised from the start, HB 2620 which is supposed to prohibit cities from mandating vacant property fees and registration, and HB 3363 which defines “abandoned buildings” as a public nuisance, have been combined. The title for the new version of HB 2620 remains “Protect Property Rights Act”  (Call me cynical but such titles of bills always make me think “PATRIOT ACT”)

There are some grave issues with this measure but for now I am only going to address the first portion.  (I will post the about the rest of it before this weekend in over)

The reasoning for merging the registry ‘ban’ bill (HB2620)  with the abandoned property definition bill (HB3363) is so that owners of property with ‘bad’ vacancies CAN be targeted, forced to register and accrue a variety of fines and fees which if not paid will result in a lien being placed on their property.

Both bills were passed by the House and sent to the Senate (Hb3363 with title off) HB3363 was not heard in the Senate but was combined with HB 2620 after the bill was passed by the senate.

What we have now is a mess that is due to be heard in the House General Government Conference Committee  next week.  I am almost certain that our legislators will not pass this monster of a bill in anything resembling its current state but you never know….and I am concerned enough about it that I am going to begin squalling now rather than taking the ‘hide and watch’ approach and end possibly up regretting that later on.

The first portion of the committee substitute for HB2620 is supposed to prohibit municipalities from implementing mandatory fees and registries for real property.  Rep. Steve Martin, the House author,  says he wants to  protect property owners from onerous and expensive city mandates such as the recent OKC vacant property registration ordinance which he feels goes too far.

Residential properties that are vacant for 30 days must register the property with the city.  If your property is,  at a minimum, 1. vacant  and 2. water and electric has been shut off for more than 60 days, you are required to pay a $285 fee and an annual renewal fee of $190.  It doesn’t matter if the building is entirely up to code.  If those two conditions apply, your property is designated a “vacant property” that requires you to pay for some special attention from the city government.  Read more about OKC’s new vacant property registry here

I agree with the House author of HB 2620 that state intervention in municipal actions that violate city residents’ right’s is appropriate.  However, it is doubtful that the current language will survive to passage of the bill.

For one thing, it is too broad. As currently written this measure would not only nullify all existing vacant property registries and fees but also other existing registries such as for storm shelters which allows rescuers to find and search all shelters in the aftermath of a disaster. Not only will the cities vehemently oppose such a measure, citizens might as well.  Whether or not you agree with the premise that there should be no mandatory registries of real property, understand that the bill is not likely to survive to address the stated goal of halting vacant property registries when written this broadly.

More concerning than what may appear to be merely a stubborn stance on principle (which I usually don’t criticize) is that numerous statements made by the bill’s authors clearly indicates that they do not really oppose all “registration of real property” as the bill states but simply mandatory registration of otherwise perfectly maintained property that happens to also be vacant.

‘Treat also sponsored House Bill 3363, which defines abandoned buildings and how they should be handled by a city. He said he could merge the two bills to help better define what is an abandoned or vacant building. Treat also said Oklahoma City’s fee requirement will not reach those it is intended for – improper property owners’ Link

Its going to be a real trick to separate these proper and “improper” owners, I’m afraid.  In fact, it will be impossible to pass such a measure that will not inevitably harm what you and I might classify as good property owners.

When you consider the fact that state law already allows for the city to deal with “improper” property owners which are those whose use or neglect of their property harms the general right of others, you might wonder what it is we are missing here.   Protecting our rights is precisely the purpose of government in the first place and they are well-seasoned to the task.  City government has broad police power to intervene anytime the rights its residents are threatened furthermore, city governments in this state also have specific statutory authority abate common public nuisances. (See Title 11 )  So what problem do we have that is so new and extraordinary that we need to grant cities some brand new powers?

I don’t agree that some vacant property registries are necessary or proper and think It would be a grave mistake for the state legislature to further burden  property owners with such registries or fees at all.   

Registration is not necessary as cities already know where the problem properties are and how to contact the owners. For example, this is from a 2013 City of Norman Council Oversight Meeting where the issue of a vacant property registration was discussed.

‘Ms. Leah Messner, Assistant City Attorney said locating the property owners is not an issue’

It is important to note that city, state and federal properties are exempt from enforcement of such city ordinances. Government properties (even the ones that may have been taken fro you for being an ‘improper’ owner) can sit happily vacant for as long as the government wants them to with no penalty.  As noted by the Norman assistant City Attorney, banks can be exempt and the outcome of recent federal lawsuit indicates that federal mortgage holders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also exempt from such city ordinances.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Exempt From Chicago Vacant Building Ordinance

 However, there are no exemptions for the average property owner or financially struggling individuals.  When the Norman Assistant City Attorney was asked if there were any exemptions from a vacant property registry and the attendant fees for low-income property owners her answer was simply “No

It is easy to see why property owners might feel that vacant and abandoned property programs are open to abuse and possibly a racket that will result in an even greater transfer of wealth from the ordinary citizen to government and their cronies.  In fact, in cities across the nation where vacant and abandoned property programs like the one Oklahoma City is apparently embarking on,  are well advanced, there is plenty of evidence that such fears are complete warranted.

Here is what I’m afraid might happen;  if the HB 2620 is amended at some point prior to final passage to protect only perfectly pristine vacant properties  registration and fees wouldn’t it also, by omission, bless city ordinances to mandate registration of any other vacant properties?  This would end up being a case of the exception that swallows the rule.

I guess the question is do you support subjecting property owners (except for the government and big banksters) to more bureaucracy, fines, fees and risk of having their property taken?  Do we have a right to own property that is vacant?

If you think we do have the right to really own our private property then you might want to encourage the members of the  General Government Conference Committee  to be careful and not allow HB2620 to be amended to turn a what is supposed to be a property rights protection measure into a property rights destruction law.

All vacant property registries should be prohibited.

The rest of the measure is an utter nightmare and deserves it own separate post which will go up sometime this weekend.

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‘Vape Ban Warning’ Issued for 26 Oklahoma Counties

super cell 1

Kaye Beach

Jan. 25, 2014

Feb 11, 2014 UPDATE: On Feb. 10th the TSET apparently decided to revamp their entire website and all of the informative links below were rendered dead.  THANKFULLY the Internet has a very long memory and all links were restored on Feb 11th via The Wayback Machine.

 

An electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer (affectionately known by its fans as a ‘vape’) is a battery-operated device that heats a liquid containing nicotine (but not always) and various flavors to produce,  not smoke, but vapor, thus eliminating tar and toxins associated with burning tobacco cigarettes.   Thousands of Oklahomans have switched from smoking to vaping, potentially improving their health and longevity.

The good news about this safer alternative to smoking is being clouded by a potent mix of financial and political interests making conditions ripe in 2014 for potentially disastrous vaping bans and other dangerous political phenomena such as unreasonable taxation of vaping products.

Oklahomans should be advised that the political environment may turn treacherous at any moment.

At 4:59  PM CT AxXiom for Liberty’s Nanny State Prevention Service has issued a Vape Ban Warning for the following Oklahoma counties:

vape ban watch

The previous  state-wide Vape Ban Watch is now upgraded to a Vape Ban Warning for these counties.

TSET funds at work

Residents of these twenty-six Oklahoma counties are advised to expect a whirlwind of TSET funded anti-tobacco coalition agitation at the city level, accompanied by media saturation of anti-electronic cigarette propaganda, local political maelstroms, and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) team activation.

Immediate city level organization is necessary to  protect life and property from dangerous government overreach.

Don’t wait until the vape ban is on top of you – take your  big government precautions now!   

Oklahoma TSET Communities of Excellence In Tobacco Control

Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control FY 13 budget: $6 million (Source: TSET Program Fact Sheet)

A Vape Ban Watch means that conditions are favorable to the formation of e-cigarettes and vaping bans.  85% of Oklahoma has been under the Vape Ban Watch since last fall when the same political influences that threaten areas in 2014 produced damaging bans in Oklahoma communities such as Shawnee, Ada and others.

Sporadic outbreaks of vaping bans and e-cigarettes prohibitions this fall prompted vigilant vapers and other Oklahomans leery of the nanny state  to take action on impending bans.  Oklahoman’s may feel overwhelmed by sudden storms produced by the explosive combination of cold cash and hot air but as the residents of Tahlequah demonstrate, citizen preparedness and quick action can save the day.

Be proactive.  Call your city council member now and tell them that TSET bribes are not a good reason to ban vaping!

Please remain vigilant.  Under normal circumstances, community health coalitions are relatively benign and even helpful entities but when fueled by tobacco settlement funds granted by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these entities can coalesce becoming supercells that produce twisted efforts that can devastate opportunities for Oklahomans to improve their personal health.

tobacco free coalitions TSET

Right now these coalitions are primed to start firing off  Vaping Bans in cities that fall under the 26 county (highlighted in green pg 31-33)Vape Ban Warning area.

Detail is as follows:

These twenty-six Oklahoma counties are part of a ‘Communities of Excellence’ coalition/consortium and are  eligible for TSET Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding for  fiscal year 2014.

In 2014, flush with tobacco settlement cash extracted from predominately low-income smokers, the TSET has doubled the grant funds available to communities as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant for Tobacco Control.

If you live within one of these twenty-six  counties, chances are good that your city will be targeted by one or more TSET funded anti-tobacco groups operating in your area in over the course of this year.  TSET has set aside 4.1 million dollars in 2014 just to fund the anti-tobacco coalitions that you will find agitating for the Vape Bans.  (Page 3 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf )

‘Additional grant money of $42,000 would be granted to Choate’s group as part of TSET’s Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control.

An amount of $200,000 is received annually by her group from the tobacco settlement.

She emphasized that it is not money that motivates them to push ecig ban.’

(Reported by North West Watch http://www.northwestwatch.org/news/speculations-that-money-push-council-to-ban-ecigarettes/)

These health related coalitions work within our communities to promote public health education and policies that many of us welcome and support but the TSET and it’s partners have decided to focus in on eradicating the imaginary scourge of e-cigarettes and are funding the coalitions to be the tip of the spear in this misguided effort.  Given the well established and devastating effects of smoking, redirecting health activists’ efforts away from this and other pressing health concerns can only be described as perverse.

turning point coalition e cigarette

Coalition applicants must develop work plans to address five (required) Core Indicators defined in TSET’s 2014 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding. (Page 24 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf)

Required “Core Indicator 1” is a city-wide tobacco-free policy which is defined to include e-cigs/vapor products.

CI red lined

Pg 25 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf

Oklahomans fed up with the ever encroaching nanny-state would do well to inform themselves by spending a little time perusing the TSET’s website http://www.ok.gov/tset/    (Well, not so much now since they have removed MANY public information links!) You should get to know these coalitions that are getting their paychecks and marching orders from TSET while professing to represent ‘the community’ and thus YOU!

Each of the twenty-six  counties eligible for TSET tobacco control grants in 2014 are listed below.  They are linked with their respective TSET funding pages that identifies the lead coalition as well as their most recent yearly and cumulative total TSET funding to date.

Coal
End Advisory.
When the political weather heats up, stay tuned to AxXiom for Liberty, we’ll keep you advised.

City of Norman’s WQPZ a land grab say property owners

Kaye Beach

July 24, 2012

An ordinance requiring  ‘buffer zones’ to be maintained around streams and ditches within areas that fall within the Lake Thunderbird watershed  was adopted  by the Norman City Council last summer.   These buffer zones are strips of land, usually 100 feet wide, alongside a stream called Water Quality Protection Zones.  Development is generally prohibited in the Water Quality Protection Zones.  In some cases, property owners may get a variance that allows other engineered options to be implemented that protects the water in place of the 100 feet buffer.

Many property owners opposed this ordinance saying that it was unfair in the manner of implementation and asserted that is constituted an unconstitutional takings of property.

Here is one example;

 

Note: The City of Norman did fail to notify 15,000 property owners, which would be affected by the ordinances as required by law. Link

Another example; (click on images to read the entire letters)

Now, over a year out from the adoption of the ordinance, complaints are surfacing.

July 23, 2012 The Norman Transcript/AP

WQPZ can burden some land owners

Some say the Water Quality Protection Zone regulations are overly burdensome for small land owners.

Cindy and Mike Milligan, owners of Milligan Trucking, believe the WQPZ creates a “land grab” that allows government – in this case the city of Norman – to “steal” their land by mandating that a protection zone be unmowed, undeveloped vegetation.

. . .For a small business owner, compliance with the regulations as can be costly, and the additional requirements of the city pushed them to their limit. While applying for a building permit to erect an office on their site, the Milligans were told the land had never been platted and, even though they were not subdividing, it must be platted. There were several city requirements they would need to meet in order to move forward including the WQPZ. Adjacent industry was grandfathered in, but their land was a “new plat” and the zone applied to them.

“We have invested our lives in this,” Cindy Milligan said.

. . .And while the city was willing to apply a variance because of the small size of the land, rather than taking a 100 foot wide strip of the property, the engineered variance would require dirt removal and other expenses.

Read more

Some Norman greenbelt/buffer zone enthusiasts disagree with allowing any exception to the burdensome rule.  They think that property owners who still must pay taxes on this land that they will not be permitted to use,  must be disabused of the notion that they should be able to utilize all of the property that they own.

“I think it sets a bad precedent,” said Charles Wesner, Norman resident and chair of the Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club. “If people come in and buy property and can’t get what they want, they’ll ask for an exemption. This can continue. It may not be all of it.”

His wife, Lyntha Wesner says;

“We have an impaired lake,” she said. “It’s well documented. Scientists know it. People know it.”link

Sure.  It is all about the lake and the quality of our drinking water so who can argue?  Of all the possible remedies for the water quality in Lake Thunderbird,  the one that just happens to take portions of people’s property that can be added to the Greenbelt is the one that seems to interest this Sierra Club couple the most.

To see why the Sierra Club is so excited about greenbelts, do a search on “Sierra Club” + “wildlands project

From Property Rights Take a Hit, 2002;

“All across America millions of acres are being put off limits to any use by Americans. They are being declared national monuments, heritage sites, buffer zones. This is spelled out in The Wildlands Project, an environmental plan to deny Americans access and use of fifty percent of the nation’s landmass.” Link

Lyntha Wesner is a member of the state and local chapter of the Sierra Club, she was the Chair of the Norman Greenbelt Commission (until very recently)  as well as participating in a number of other efforts centered around building up Norman’s green infrastructure such as the Greenbelt Task Force, Chair of  Norman Area Land Conservancy, Inc., and both Citizens Committee on Norman 2020 and 2025 Plan.

Take a look at the Greenbelt Commission’s recommendations from 2005;

2005 Recommendations of the Greenbelt Commission;

. . .the Greenbelt Commission recommends the Norman City Council study the option of establishing an innovative Storm Water Utility to both manage storm water run-off and provide other benefits throughout the community.

Conclusion 2:
EASEMENTS FOR STORM WATER RUN-OFF AND OTHER USES PROVIDE AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR CREATING A TRAIL SYSTEM FOR NORMAN.

. . .

Therefore, the Greenbelt Commission recommends the Norman City Council revamp the easement dedication and purchase process to include seeking wider easements, in order to create a trail system and preserve more green spaces.

. . .

Easements should be routinely viewed as an opportunity for trail development and developers should be encouraged to consider them when planning their plats.
. . . Properly planned, these areas could also frequently be used for urban or rural trails and would always form pieces of the eventual citywide Greenbelt System. While purchase of these areas may sometimes be necessary, it is believed that most of these areas could be part of the dedications required by the City at the time of development
Read the entire 2005 report here
The WQPZ ordinance is obviously serving a dual purpose here leading residents to question whether or not the city is using its power legitimately.

Wed. July 19th 5:30 pm Norman City Council Discussion Regarding Council Ethics Amendment

5:30 pm CONFERENCE ROOM – MUNICIPAL BUILDING
201 WEST GRAY Topic-DISCUSSION REGARDING ORDINANCE NO. O-1112-5
AMENDING CHAPTER 2 REGARDING COUNCIL ETHICS.

This is  a study session and is an opportunity for residents of Norman to listen and learn.  The topic seems to be a contentious one judging from the last City Council meeting. (Topic is raised at about 38 minutes into the video)

Video and documents from the last City Council meeting (see link for 7-12-11)

Agenda

JOINT CITY COUNCIL/OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
STUDY SESSION
CONFERENCE ROOM – MUNICIPAL BUILDING
201 WEST GRAY
TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011
5:30 P.M.
1. DISCUSSION REGARDING ORDINANCE NO. O-1112-5
AMENDING CHAPTER 2 REGARDING COUNCIL ETHICS.
Additional support documentation will be forwarded electronically prior to the
meeting.

The City of Norman’s government access channel airs on channel 20 for Cox Cable subscribers.

“Dark Skies” Might Be a Hard Sell in Oklahoma

Kaye Beach

*Update June 15,2011

Like I said-Dark Skies might just be a hard sell…Due to an sudden “dark sky” event, the lighting ordinance proposal had to be postponed due to a mighty storm that appeared to centered right on top of the Norman Municipal complex area where the City Council meeting was being held last evening.

June 15, 2011

High winds tear roof from apartment building, snap power poles in Norman. . .

Down burst hits Norman, NWS says

The down burst was centralized in Norman, Pike said.

The storm hit and knocked out the power in the municipal building just before the lighting ordinance was to be considered.  The meeting had to be  canceled.  It has been rescheduled for June 21st.

June 14, 2011

If the idea of “Dark Skies” doesn’t give you are warm and fuzzy feeling all over, it could just be that you are an Oklahoman.

But don’t be so hasty.  There are more ominous aspects to this proposal than just the foreboding connotation of threatening weather that come to mind when dark skies are mentioned in these parts.

“Everyone is a citizen of the world. At some level we should all be its stewards with accountability toward preserving its environment. One component of that is the preservation of dark skies or the prevention of light pollution”

GLOBE at Night . . .enlists the help of students to collect data on the night sky conditions in their community and contribute to a worldwide database on light pollution.

Read more about Dark Skies Awareness

There will be a Norman City Council meeting today at 5:30 pm to include consideration of the controversial lighting ordinance.
CONFERENCE ROOM – MUNICIPAL BUILDING
201 WEST GRAY
TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2011 at 5:30 P.M.

See City Council Agenda

The proposed lighting ordinance is back up for a vote.

Norman Transcript Articles

June 11, 2011

Lighting Ordinance Resurfaces

April 13, 2011

Lighting ordinance draws opposition

The proposed ordinance, O-1011-44, is being presented as primarily an energy conservation measure.

SEC. 431.6 — COMMERCIAL OUTDOOR LIGHTING STANDARDS

(Established by Ord. No. O-1011-44 — ___, 2011)

1.         Purpose and Intent.  It is the intent of this Section to define practical and effective measures by which the obtrusive aspects of commercial outdoor light usage can be minimized, while preserving safety, security, and the nighttime use and enjoyment of property.  These measures are intended to reduce light spillover, minimize glare, and decrease resource waste.

Council Committee compromise version 6 7 11 Commercial Lighting vers 3 (2)-1

April 15,2011

Norman City Council and Public Discuss New Lighting Ordinance

Almost every seat was full on Tuesday night during the city council meeting; many were filled by students, all dressed in black shirts.

The students of Norman North High School’s astronomy club attended the city council meeting on Tuesday, April 12. They waited patiently in the back for their turn to speak their opinion to the city council. They all wore black shirts to show their support for the lighting ordinance. As the four students and one of their teachers stepped toward the podium, a power point presentation came up on the screen. The students passed forward a petition with 637 signatures in support of the proposed lighting ordinance proposed by the City Council.

http://simplysalmagundi.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/norman-city-council-and-public-discuss-new-lighting-ordinance/

Norman Public School teachers apparently are using our taxes to indoctrinate school kids on new   “rights” and using them to instigate the implementation of city policy that offers us these new “rights” invented by international organizations  in lieu of long established natural and legal ones.

The students, however, are to be commended.  They overcame the usual apathy and turned out in force to defend what they are being taught is a right.

The Starlight Initiative

An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity.”
Starlight Declaration. La Palma, Spain 2008.

http://www.starlight2007.net/theinitiative.htm

Too bad the schools aren’t teaching about them about their true rights to life, liberty and property that are recognized and guaranteed to each and every one of us by law in the United States.   For the first time, I am thankful that my daughter chose the more physical and less academic route at Norman North.  I don’t think I could face this sort of  public realization that my tax dollars had been used in this manner.

Outside Agitators

“Grzybowski said the class is Norman’s outside agitators to the city for the issue of light pollution, encouraging City Council to preserve the night sky by passing lighting ordinances”

“The students — steered by Norman North astronomy teacher Eileen Grzybowski — have collected readings throughout Norman as part of Globe Night 2010, a worldwide campaign to fight light pollution —“

(Source March 15, 2010  Star light, star bright  The Norman Transcript)

GLOBE Night 2010 centerpiece of the Dark Skies Awareness Global Cornerstone Project for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) in 2009 a UNESCO initiative.  (More information below)

Mrs. Grzybowski’s husband is the author of this publication;

The Canadian River and floodplain in Norman, Oklahoma: Environmental perspective

Joseph A Grzybowski (Author)

Unfortunately, Amazon.com lists this publication as out of print

Joseph A. Grzybowski, Ph.D. is a Biologist/Ornithologist [scientist who studies birds]and Professor who serves on various local, regional and national committees involving endangered species and environmental management.” link

IYA2009 Boosts Globe at Night to Record Number of Dark-Skies Observations

Source: International Year of Astronomy 2009 Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Norman, Oklahoma, high school students, their teachers and local amateur astronomers produced a map of nearly 500 SQM measurements that canvassed their city. Local teacher and amateur astronomer Eileen Grzybowski, with students Brittany, Emily and Braden, then made a well-received presentation of the results to their local Environmental Control Advisory Board. (Emphasis mine)

They [the City of Norman’s Environmental Control Advisory Board]  want us to partner with them and be the outside agitating voice in the newspapers and elsewhere to put the issue of revising our lighting ordinances front and center, Grzybowski reported.

They[the City of Norman’s Environmental Control Advisory Board] made suggestions as to how the presentation could be revised to make a bigger impact.

They want us to obtain pictures taken from the sky down to the Earth from an airplane and pictures of our ground-based sites of high light pollution and dark oases, and they want us to include data about security issues and cost savings. http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28094

**See below for information regarding the IYA2009 and “GLOBE at Night”

 

“Our next step is to go before the City Council and do the light demo and discuss our preliminary results.” Says Grzybowski

Which they did on May 13, 2010.

NORMAN PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR SESSION AGENDA

MAY 13, 2010

 

PRESENTATION BY EILEEN GRZYBOWSKIS SCIENCE CLASS OF THEIR STUDENT LIGHTING PROJECT.

Link

City of Norman Environmental Control Advisory Board

Investigates, prepares plans for, and recommends programs regarding the preservation and enhancement of the environmental quality of the City as well as administers variance procedures in the Air Quality Control Ordinance. Meets the 3rd Wednesday; 5:30 p.m., Norman Municipal Building Multi-Purpose Room, 201 West Gray. (3-year term)

US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement

Members

  • Amanda Rook – 07/14/09 – 07/14/09 – 10/27/12 – 5
  • Mark Jensen  – 11/10/09 – 11/10/09 – 10/27/12- 2
  • Dr. Moira Waterbury – 11/10/09 – 11/10/09 – 10/27/12 – 5
  • Asia Scudder – 04/27/10 – 04/27/10 – 10/27/13  – 4
  • Yves Badaroux – 04/27/10 – 04/27/10 – 10/27/13 – 3
  • Dave Boeck – 04/10/07 – 10/27/10 – 10/27/13 – 4
  • Larry Steele, CHAIR – 10/27/08 – 10/27/08 – 10/27/11 – 7
  • Jane Dye – 10/27/05 – 10/27/08 – 10/27/11 – 7
  • Neil Suneson – 08/09/05 – 10/27/08 – 10/27/11 – 2

http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/environmental-control-advisory-board

About those Dark Skies

2007 First meeting of the Starlight Reserves Working Group.

The overall aim is to discuss the problems of identification of specific catego­ries of natural sites, skyscapes, cultural nightscapes, and excep­tional sites for astronomical observation, as “Starlight Reserves” for their possible nominations on the World Heritage List.

www.starlight2007.net/pdf/ProgFVStarlight.pdf

 

IYA 2009
The United Nations declares 2009 the International Year of Astronomy.

20 December 2007: the United Nations 62nd General Assembly proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The Resolution was submitted by Italy, Galileo Galilei’s home country. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is an initiative of the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO.

THE STARLIGHT INITIATIVE (Granting all the “right” to observe the stars which will obviously clash with your right to light your property!)

An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity.”
Starlight Declaration. La Palma, Spain 2008.

http://www.starlight2007.net/theinitiative.htm

The initiative is designed as an international campaign in defence of the values associated with the night sky and the general right to observe the stars. It is open to the participation of all scientific, cultural, environmental, and citizens’ organizations and associations, as well as public institutions and other public and private bodies willing to effectively cooperate in the conservation of clear skies and the dissemination of the knowledge related with their observation. The final aim of the initiative is to strengthen the importance of clear skies for humankind, emphasizing and introducing the value of this endangered heritage for science, education, culture, technological development, nature conservation, tourism and, obviously, as a quality-of-life factor.

http://www.starlight2007.net/theinitiative.htm

GLOBE at Night is a fun, international citizen-science event that encourages everyone— students, educators, dark sky advocates and the general public— to measure the darkness of their local skies and contribute their observations online to a world map. The program is a centerpiece of the Dark Skies Awareness Global Cornerstone Project for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) in 2009. Its goal is to raise public awareness of the impact of artificial lighting on local environments by getting people involved. http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/gan.php

GLOBE at Night in Norman

United States: 475 Sky Quality Meter measurements & 475 Orion measurements during GLOBE at Night in Norman, Oklahoma àlighting inventory for city

http://www.starlight2007.net/pdf/lapalma2009/WalkerS4.pdf

Dark Skies initiatives are concerned with land development control policies and part of a “Global Assessment” done on behalf of an International Union

GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF LIGHT POLLUTION IMPACT ON PROTECTED AREAS

The Dark Skies Advisory Group of the Specialist Group works to reduce light pollution and protect a natural night sky. While it focuses primarily on protected areas and sites, the group is also concerned with appropriate design and land development control policies.

www.interenvironment.org/pa/dark.htm

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the

world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a

democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and

NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists

in more than 160 countries.

www.iucn.org

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the importance of natural darkness to the ecological integrity of protected areas, and to the sustainability of healthy lives in healthy cities.  The Dark Skies Advisory Group has been established within IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas to help advance this recognition. 

“. . .ecosystems and wild species operate 24 hours each day, seven days each week.  They have evolved to cope with, depend on and take advantage of natural darkness.  A night sky without artificial light is therefore vital to the proper functioning of natural ecosystems.  Artificial lighting affects species migration patterns, predator-prey relationships, and the circadian rhythms of many organisms, to name just a few of the consequences of light pollution.”

Web site of the IUCN Dark Skies Advisory Group

The IUCN’s official mission is “to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.”

Members of the IUCN include the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, US Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior National Park Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, and hundreds of other federal, state and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and land trusts

Naturally-The Sierra Club supports the proposed lighting ordinances in Norman.

It is imperative that all Sierra Club members attend this important meeting to ensure that the proposed lighting ordinance remains effective and is even strengthened.

We also continue to urge Sierra Club members to individually contact their council members and the mayor asking them to adopt this ordinance as it is currently proposed or even strengthening the ordinance. Contact information including email addresses are located here for council members: http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/city-council and here for the mayor: http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/mayor.

http://www.oklahoma.sierraclub.org/redearth/newsletter/2011AprNewsletter.html

 “Dark Skies” Might Be a Hard Sell in Oklahoma 6 14 11 pdf

Norman Oklahoma: Where the Wild Things Are

Norman, Oklahoma: Where The Wild Things Are

Part I

Kaye Beach

June 09, 2011 (edited for clarification purposes June 12, 2011)

A few weeks ago I got an email detailing the controversy over Norman’s Storm Water Master Plan and a couple of proposed ordinances that had some people up in arms.

The issues that were brought to my attention centered on the proposed Water Quality Protection Zones and the approval of a Storm Water Master Plan for the City of Norman.

ORDINANCE NO. O-1011-52: AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NORMAN, OKLAHOMA, AMENDING CHAPTER 19 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF NORMAN TO PROVIDE FOR STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR A DESIGNATED WATER QUALITY PROTECTION ZONE INCLUSIVE OF THE LAKE THUNDERBIRD WATERSHED;

Legislation Details (With Text)

ORDINANCE NO. O-1011-53: AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NORMAN, OKLAHOMA, AMENDING CHAPTER 22 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF NORMAN TO ADDSECTION 429.7 CREATING A ZONING OVERLAY DISTRICT FOR THE WATER QUALITY PROTECTION ZONE AND AMENDING SECTION 441(11) PROVIDING FOR SUBMITTALS FOR A VARIANCE FROM THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE WATER QUALITY PROTECTION ZONING OVERLAY DISTRICT; AND PROVIDING FOR THE SEVERABILITY THEREOF.

Legislation Details (With Text)

The Storm Water Master Plan (SWMP) is supposed to;

Satisfy regulatory requirements including the mandated OPDES MS4 storm water quality permitting program and identify problems and solutions associated with stream flooding, including;

  • stream erosion,
  • local drainage problems
  • water quality

Enhance recreational opportunities and protect the environment.

The Storm Water Master plan is supposed to accomplish these goals with input from all stakeholders, the plan is to receive public input and is to also provide public education on important issues, and help maintain public support into the future.(Source “SWMP Summary Statement Executive Summary” page ES-8)

Dr. Baxter Vieux, a local professor and water quality expert, says that Lake Thunderbird which supplies Norman and surrounding areas with drinking water, has unacceptable levels of chlorophyll-a due to algae growth which is bad for water quality and causes difficulty for wildlife.  (The Norman Transcript May 30, 2011 Adopting SWMP first step)

The problem is that the new zoning that is required to implement the Water Quality Protection Zones (WQPZ ) and the Storm Water Master Plan (SWMP) will have an impact on property rights.

From the City of Norman’s FAQ on the ordinances;

Zoning Overlay District (O-1011-53): The City’s zoning ordinance regulates the use of property. Your existing zoning of your property does not change with these ordinances. The current use of your property does not change either; however, new construction and new developments in areas that aren’t already platted or subdivided would be required to follow it. The proposed overlay district would restrict new uses of property within the WQPZ.


To clarify-new development within at least 100 feet of every stream or drainage ditch within the Lake Thunderbird watershed would be restricted from any new development in varying degrees. The current zoning of the properties would not change but if the owner wished to develop the land in a way that may have been permitted when he or she purchased and does not get permission prior to the ordinance change then they are out of luck.

The two ordinances are scheduled to be considered by the City Council on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 6:30pm in the Council Chambers in the City
Municipal Building at 201 W. Gray Street.  Read the FAQ

In examining the issue,  It is apparent that these ordinances will be followed by similar and increasingly restrictive property regulations which is why it is important to view these changes in their proper historical and philosophical context.

I don’t own real estate in Norman but I do cherish my rights

A right is simply that which we are all entitled to.  All rights are, in essence, are our property.

This what James Madison meant when he said,

‘‘as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.’’

When I started looking into this issue, all I wanted to know was if these measures, which demand control over private property, are legally just and necessary?

It’s about water quality, water quality, water quality.  We can’t emphasize that enough.”–Shawn O’Leary, Norman Public Works Director

Whenever the government uses its police power to take away property rights people are usually suspicious of the motive and want ample evidence that the taking is just.  I think this is a very healthy reaction.  This was my motive for looking into the matter.

We have a high percentage of private property ownership in this state. I believe it is one of Oklahoma’s greatest strengths but some see private property ownership as a barrier to “sustainable development”

If the cause of action is just and necessary then the government has stayed within its purview of protecting the rights of all and has not infringed upon the rights of anyone.  If the cause cannot be proved to be necessary, then the government has perverted the law, infringing where it should be only be protecting.  The power of government is simply and extension of our power and should be used to protect our rights.  The police power of government should never be abused by taking from some for the benefit of a few.

Where do property rights come from?

I think certain rights are unalienable, that they were granted to us all by our Creator and cannot be taken from us.  Life, Liberty and Property are among these natural rights. These rights did not come from the government and the government cannot morally revoke them. This happens to the premise that this nation’s laws are based upon so for all of you who also believe this to be true, you are on firm ground.

Furthermore, I believe that,

We all have a duty to ensure, for the benefit of generations to come, that our government respects the unalienable rights granted us by our Creator and paid for in blood by those that came before us.

Not everyone believes this way.

On May 22, 2011 George Ingels gave this opinion in the The Norman Transcript;

Community’s needs outweigh the rights of property owners

Mr. Ingels writes,

“As a long-term elected official of the now-annexed town of Hall Park, I was confronted many times by issues that pitted the needs of the community against the rights of the individual homeowner, and I had to develop a viewpoint that would be helpful to me in my decisions” (Emphasis mine)

That “community” is made up of individuals.  All of those individuals have the same exact rights.  Calling a collection of individuals a “community” does not change anything at all unless he is suggesting that Hall Park operated under mob rule.

We do not give up our rights because we live in a community.

Mr. Ingels concludes;

“It is now down to the decision of whether the requirements of the community should outweigh the rights of certain property owners and developers to use their property as they wish.”

This is a highly Utilitarian view.  The Utilitarian perspective holds that the right thing to do is that which would cause “the greatest good for the greatest number”   It also means your rights are conditional, subject to the whims of society.

I disagree with his premise entirely but think that it will be worthwhile to find out just who comprises this “community” that he speaks of and to find out exactly what it is they require and why.

Jane Ingels, George Ingels’ wife also weighed in on the issue in an opinion piece co-written with Lytha Wesner that was published in the Norman Transcript on May 24, 2011.   The two women, both members of the Norman Storm Water Task Force, seemed indignant by any suggestion that they might be moving too fast on these ordinances.

Ordinances weren’t a rushed-up job

Tonight, the Norman City Council will consider two ordinances that would take the first steps to seriously address the increasing problems of storm water runoff that directly affect businesses, homeowners and taxpayers, the problems of flooding and water quality

. . .The two ordinances that are now before the council are the result of many months of study, research and discussion involving countless meetings and hours by the task force in order to find solutions that are flexible, effective, legal and — above all — fair. This was not a rushed-up job, as opponents now claim.

Every effort was made to address legitimate concerns and even non-legitimate “concerns”

Read more

These ladies claim that they have made every effort to address all concerns even the “non-legitimate” ones.  Legitimate in this context I take to mean authentic or genuine. It seems like to me any concern expressed by any member of the community should be considered legitimate unless the person expressing it was, perhaps, insane. If this is the case, the two ladies are to be commended on their patience.

According to another article published in the Norman Transcript on the very same day as Ingels’ and Wesner’s editorial was published, it does appear that the City Council neglected to notify the actual property owners potentially affected by the ordinances as required by law before attempting to implement the zoning changes. As I understand it, this is why the vote on the two ordinances had to be postponed.

Just like The Ingels’, Lytha Wesner and her husband Charles make a dynamic duo.  Charles Wesner is the Chair of the Oklahoma Sierra Club.

Here are some of the other task forces, boards, commissions etc. that Lyntha Wesner and Jane Ingels are or have been a member of.

Lyntha Wesner

  • Norman Storm Water Task Force
  • Founding member and Chair of the Norman Area Land Conservancy, Inc.
  • Chair of the Greenbelt Commission
  • Member of the Greenbelt Task Force
  • co-author of Norman’s Park Land Dedication ordinance
  • Citizens Committee on Norman 2020 Plan
  • Citizens Committee on Norman 2025 Plan
  • Member of the Greenbelt Task Force
  • Member of the local and state chapters of the Sierra Club

Jane Ingels

  • Norman Storm Water Task Force
  • Greenbelt Commission Chair
  • Citizens Task Force for the Storm Water Master Plan.
  • Former member of the Norman School Board

Almost as soon as began the research on the SWMP I realized that it was inseparable from Norman’s longstanding efforts to create a Greenbelt system.  This is entirely by design.

Side Benefits

In 2005, Wesner and Ingels, along with seven other members of the City of Norman’s Greenbelt Commission, according to this article Greenbelt Commission recommends stormwater utility, trails plan” in the Norman Transcript,  concluded that,

“establishing the Greenbelt System was  essential to supporting Norman’s wild and green spaces.”

A “New Approach” is Needed

The Greenbelt Commissions report to the City Council recommended the creation of a Storm Water Utility and the development of a regional plan stating that,

 “a new approach to managing storm water runoff and other natural water drainage systems would have the side benefit of augmenting the greenbelt system.”

Read all of the Greenbelt Commissions recommendations in the 2005 Greenbelt One Year Report.

Greenbelt Commission Year One Report

It would also sidestep the law.  Getting property owners to give up their development rights through voluntary devices like buying “conservation easements” which locks up land forever from and future  development, was not working fast enough for them.  The proposed ordinances are simply conservation easements that are taken rather than purchased.


The Norman Area Land Conservancy NALC

The Greenbelt Commission acknowledged that the creation of the Greenbelt System for Norman would have to be done in a piecemeal fashion and that it would take a concerted effort on behalf of the City Council to get the job done and recommended the City partner with the Norman Area Land Conservancy (NALC) to help the city acquire land for the Greenbelt System.

Read more

The Norman Area Land Conservancy, established in 2000, is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized to assist in implementing long-term environmental objectives.

Founding Members of the Norman Area Land Conservancy

Marion Bauman

Robert C. Goins, Vice-chair

Harold Heiple

Edwin Kessler

John Raeside, Treasurer

Jacci L. Rodgers

Lee Rodgers, Secretary

Lyntha Wesner, Chair

Patrick Copeland, Executive Director

The Norman Area Land Conservancy states that it is guided by the Norman Greenbelt Plan. NALC was also initiated by the same fellow who is given much credit for the Greenbelt Plan, Lee Rodgers.

NALC became a member of the Land Trust Alliance in the same year it was founded, 2000 and has formally agreed to abide by the Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices

“. . .the Land Trust Alliance,  serves as an umbrella group for local land trusts.” —A Brief History of Conservation Planning by Reed Noss, Wildlands Project founder via LandScope.org

Patrick Copeland, who is listed as an Advisor to the 1997 Norman Greenbelt Report is listed as the contact for the Norman Area Land Conservancy on the Land Trust Alliance’s website. He’s a founding member the Executive Director of the Norman Area Land Conservancy.

Patrick Copeland has been the development services manager for Norman since 1994, is on the Norman Storm Water Master Plan Project Team and is credited for drawing up the Norman Greenbelt maps for the 2002 “Green Dreams” Report and Recommendations on Forming a Greenbelt System.

As carefully noted in the “Green Dreams” report;

“The Task Force was very cautious and chose not to include any maps in their report, as they did not want to suggest in any way that any specific properties were “targeted by their group”. Therefore, while the attached maps are not part of the Greenbelt Task Force report, I believe they will help clarify some of the material presented in the report.”

Patrick Copeland is also a member of ACOG’s (Association of Central Oklahoma Governments) INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

The Real Problem

Shifting mind sets

“The City of Norman, with the creation of the Greenbelt Commission and development of the Storm Water Master Plan have taken the initial steps toward shifting mind sets.”

This is from a report commissioned by the Norman area Sierra Club (which goes by the name “The Red Earth Group” in Norman) critiquing Inhofe Creek.  The writer of the report, Russell C. Dutnell, is also a former member of the Norman Storm Water Task Force.

He admits that the Norman engineers have done a good job in creating a storm water drainage system that prevents flooding by quickly and efficiently conveying elsewhere which is exactly what they were assigned to do.  The Sierra Club, however, opens the report by referring Inhofe Creek as a “gaping wound”

The real problem is, according to Mr.Dutnell, that these creeks are (or should be) so much more than drainage systems.

“They are harbingers of life, of ecosystems that have evolved with the pulsating rhythm of low flows and high flows, of low energy and high.”

Read More

In order to tease out the answer to my question, “Are these measures which demand control over private property legally just and necessary?,  I had to study the history and development of Norman’s Greenbelt Plan.

Norman Greenbelt History

Greenbelts are generally focused on growth management and open space preservation

According to our city planning documents, in Norman, greenbelts are specifically used as a way to protect natural areas and open space with a system of land parcels.  The greenbelt is to be created by linking existing parks and green space areas, both publicly and privately owned by a system of trails.

-In the mid 1990’s Norman first recognized the greenbelt plan by including it as one of their five goals in the Norman 2020, the city’s first comprehensive planning document issued in 1996.

The reasons stated for creating a Greenbelt System were to protect environmentally sensitive lands and to create multipurpose greenbelt corridors that would connect existing parks and other open space areas.

-The City Council then appointed the Citizens Greenbelt Steering Committee to study the merits and feasibility of a greenbelt system as suggested in the Norman 2020 document.

CITIZENS GREENBELT STEERING COMMITTEE

  • Marion Bauman
  • Dick Reynolds
  • Jim McCampbell
  • Jim Sipes
  • Gene McKown
  • Lyntha Wesner
  • Lee Rodgers, Chair and Report Editor
  • Richard Massie, Director of Planning and Community Development
  • Patrick Copeland, Advisor to the Committee

In 1997 the Citizens Greenbelt Steering Committee produced a document entitled “A Report on Greenbelts and Greenways for Norman, Oklahoma” for the City Council.

Policies identified with the goal of creating a Greenbelt System include:

  1. Use greenbelts to preserve environmentally sensitive lands. . .
  2. Use the greenbelt area to link together existing recreation areas.
  3. Create a multipurpose greenbelt corridor

-In 1998 an ordinance was passed creating the Greenbelt Task Force.

In 1999 Lee Rodgers, the Greenbelt Steering Committee chair was asked to recommend a “Proposed Study and Scope of Work” for establishing a Greenbelt System.

On February 22, 2000, the City Council created the Greenbelt Commission and appointed [35] members to draft a plan. Greenbelt History

In 2000 the Greenbelt Task Force was appointed to draft a plan for the Greenbelt system and in 2002 issued a report entitled;

GREEN DREAMS” Report and Recommendations on Forming a Greenbelt System for the City of Norman.  

The “Green Dreams” report identified three important elements that for Norman’s greenbelt and green way development.

  • The 100 year floodplains,
  • Prime (and locally significant) farmlands,
  • Parcels greater than 37 acres in size.

-On May 11, 2004 The Greenbelt Commission was created by ordinance.

The Greenbelt Commission advises the City Council on policies pertaining to the promotion, acquisition, maintenance, and improvement of the open spaces, greenways, and trail way systems in the City of Norman” Greenbelt Commission Information Page

Major Recommendations of the Greenbelt Commission

-On November 10 2009 The City Council accepted the draft Greenway Master Plan in conjunction with the Storm Water Master Plan

On Nov 24, 2009 The City Council adopted the Norman Parks and Recreation Master Plan entitled “A Legacy For The Next Generation

http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/parks/parks-recreation-master-plan

Regarding the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, the Sierra Club/ Red Earth Group writes;

A regional park along the South Canadian River is a high priority that would protect the local ecology, flood plain, and provide for a pedestrian and bicycle trail. This goal is a high priority in the recently completed Parks & Recreation Master Plan (see http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/parks/parks-recreation-master-plan).

They say that the “Master Plan calls for “Acquisition of lands along the Little River corridor and the Canadian River will help with flood control and provide opportunities for nature preserves.”

Download the Parks & Recreation Master Plan

-On November 10, 2010 a subcommittee of the Greenbelt developed amendments to the existing Greenbelt Commission ordinance.

Adopted Greenbelt Commission Ordinance as of November 11, 2010

Sec. 4-2026. – Specific principles, purposes and goals of the Greenbelt System.

A Greenbelt System, as defined herein, serves the following principles, purposes and goals of the City of Norman.

 (1) The ultimate goal is to create an interconnected system of trails that allow multiple connections across all of Norman.

(2) The Greenbelt System should preserve valuable green space, natural habitat and key areas with existing vegetation.

(5) Trails should promote smooth walkable corridors that are open and visible.

(6) The Greenbelt System should contribute to enhancing the physical appearance of the City, whether through new pedestrian features, landscaping added to trail corridors, or simply by revealing natural areas not previously visible to the general public.

(7) The Greenbelt System should encourage the creation of public and private partnerships that help build the entire system more quickly.

(8) Greenbelts should protect environmentally sensitive lands . . .especially floodprone areas and riparian corridors, and provide connectivity between the elements of the Greenbelt System.

(b) The use of lot clustering should be encouraged as a means to develop the Greenbelt System.

(c) The Greenbelt System should be used to link together existing recreation areas.

(d) Multipurpose greenways should be created that:

(1) Create a unique greenway characterfor Norman;

(2) Protect the environmentally sensitive areas of the City and serve as a wildlife habitat;

(All Emphasis mine)

Greenbelt Enhancement Statement (GES)

A GES according ARTICLE XXI GREENBELT COMMISSION  “a statement on a form provided to the applicant by the City Planning and Community Development Department that is to be included with all applications for a Land Use Plan amendment, a Norman Rural Certificate of Survey or preliminary platting of land and submitted for consideration by the Commission that articulates how the principles, purposes, and goals of The Greenbelt System are met by the proposed development.”

In brief, Article XXI 4-2027 deals with Greenbelt Enhancement Statements.  It requires “All applications for a Pre-Development meeting regarding a proposed Land Use Plan amendment, a Norman Rural Certificate of Survey or preliminary platting of land in the City shall include a Greenbelt Enhancement Statement.”

Norman Greenbelt Enhancement Statement

Persons wishing to develop property in Norman are required to explain how they propose to incorporate open space into the development, whether or not it will include any sort of trail and how this trail will connect a public open space (such as a park or trail) with ½ of a mile of the property they wish to develop.

If the property is near a schools, recreational areas, commercial sites, or residential neighborhood, the Greenbelt Commission prefers that your project provide “connectivity points” to promote non motorized transportation such as walking or bicycling.  They also want you to list any features of the property that might be useful to Norman’s greenbelt system.

The Greenbelt Commission will then consider how your property may contribute to the greater good and make their recommendations which will be forwarded to the Planning Commission and City Council to be factored into their decision about approval or non-approval of your request.

(Source Greenbelt Commission update)

Malthusian Planners?

Going back to the initial Greenbelt report done by the appointed Citizens Greenbelt Steering Committee in 1997, what is obvious is that the creation of interconnected green corridors that preserve nature in a “pristine state” for the sake of wilderness preservation and wildlife habitat is central to purpose served by a greenbelt system.

“There is a rich diversity of wild life throughout the riparian corridors of the Canadian and Little Rivers and their tributaries”, writes Lee Rodgers, the chairman of the greenbelt steering committee and author of the 1997 report.

Joseph Lee Rodgers, Jr. has been extremely involved in city planning and the creation of Norman’s Greenbelts.  He was credited by the Norman Greenbelt Commission for working “for a decade to gather information and raise awareness for this project”

In 1953, Lee Rodgers earned the first masters degree from the new regional and city planning program at the university [OU], where he became director of the Institute of Community Development. In 1961, he was named chair of the planning program which he directed for 24 years until his retirement in 1985

Lee Rodgers was named a David Ross Boyd professor of planning, and in 2001 he became a Fellow of the American Planning Association, the national organization’s highest honor.

. . .he initiated the organization of the Norman Area land Conservancy and he has been instrumental in the establishment of the ongoing Norman greenbelt and greenway programs.

Source Local couple celebrates 60th anniversary

I was reading over some of Rodgers’ papers which focus on human behavior, fertility, class intelligence and the like which frankly struck me as rather Malthusian but I shrugged it off.

[Thomas]Malthus was a political economist who was concerned about, what he saw as, the decline of living conditions in nineteenth century England. He blamed this decline on three elements: The overproduction of young; the inability of resources to keep up with the rising human population; and the irresponsibility of the lower classes. To combat this, Malthus suggested the family size of the lower class ought to be regulated such that poor families do not produce more children than they can support. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/malthus.html

Then I stumbled upon this information.

From 1994-1998, he was the president of The Society for the Study of Social Biology , the successor of the American Eugenics Society .  Joseph Lee Rodgers was also on the board of the Society for the Study of Social Biology from 2000-2006 and again in 2009.

I feel an unbearable pressure to unleash a cliché at this point so let me get it over with.  I don’t make the news, I’m just reporting it.

If you are unfamiliar with what eugenics is all about, this site for The American Bioethics Advisory Commission provides an excellent overview.

American Eugenics Society was founded in 1922 and the name was changed to The Society for the Study of Social Biology in 1973 According to The American Life League, a Catholic Pro-Life organization, the name change did “not correspond to any alteration in the goals of the Society.”

In 2009 the name of the Society was changed once again to The Society of Biodemography and Social Biology.  The site lists a “Joe Rodgers” as a member of the current Board of Directors but I can’t be certain if this is the same person as Joseph Lee Rogers.  It might make for a lively discussion though. Next time you run into him at a dinner party or something, maybe you could ask.

If you are interested,  Between Quality and Quantity: The Population Council and the Politics of “Science-making” in Eugenics and Demography, 1952-1965, provides an insightful study of the transition that led to the eventual name change of the American Eugenics Society.

According to Lee Rogers and the Citizens Greenbelt Steering Committee,  thirty plus “open space” plans were reviewed by the Greenbelt Steering Committee and the report cites the “English Garden City” movement and the “New Town Movement” as sources of inspiration.

The English Garden City movement was spawned by the book “Garden Cities of To-Morrow” by Ebenezer Howard.  You can read this book online.

Garden Cities of To-morrow By Ebenezer Howard

The Garden City principles of planning espoused by Ebenezer Howard also enamored Soviet urban planners. (See The Ideal Soviet Suburb: Social Change Through Urban Design by WM. Stephen Scott)

“The Soviets were particularly interested in Howard’s idea that the Garden City was to be a small, communal place, where the municipality would collectively own property.”

WM. Stephen Scott reminds us in The Ideal Soviet Suburb: Social Change Through Urban Design , that while we may think of “communism as a political and economic system, it was also a culture. . .Architecture and city planning were used as tools to further the communist social agenda of liberalizing the household, collectively sharing goods and cultivating individuals through cultural institutions. . .”

Scott closes his review of planning methods favored by the Soviets by contrasting Soviet ideals with Western ones.

The Western single-family home is a self-contained unit — a place to put purchased goods, to cook, to entertain guests, to raise children. Soviet plans deliberately attempted to prevent this bourgeois lifestyle by reducing the amount of personal space and offloading previously private functions into the public realm.

Collectivization required new collective entities: dining halls, laundromats, boarding schools, and open space were included in Soviet plans to a greater extent than in the West. Collectivization also implied clustered, high-density residential quarters, while in the West the standalone home was the ideal. Naturally, Soviets planned fewer churches, shopping districts, and private lawns, reflecting the fundamental difference between the ideal Soviet communal lifestyle and Western customs.

You have to ask yourself if the American values are being purposely crowded out by the comprehensive planning schemes being promoted and placed by eco and social activists all across this land.

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God; and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.

—John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. July 16, 1814

The 1997 Norman Greenbelt Report explains that,

“The long term success of a Norman Greenbelt and Greenway Plan is entirely dependent on the continuing and enthusiastic support of many coalitions of citizen interest groups. These groups need to be identified and involved in the planning and implementation process. They will have much to contribute to any community wide open space system and environmental protection plan that may evolve.”

NGO’s

Citizen Interest Groups are commonly NGO’s or Non Governmental Organizations.

From The American Policy Center;

The phrase “non-governmental organization” came into use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter. The term describes a consultative role for organizations that are neither government nor member states of the UN.

Read more about NGO’s  and how they operate

The organizations have no legal definition but usually exist to promote political and social causes and as their name implies, they are not an official part of our government structure.  They are, however, often funded by government agencies and are often very involved in policy making.  NGO’s have their own agenda and as most activists groups tend to be, they are highly motivated to see their pet issue propped up by law or policy.  So, what citizen groups do you expect would be highly motivated to participate in city planning policy?

One would hope that the average citizen would want to be involved in policy making that will affect their property and environment.  This is usually not the case because the average citizen is not an activist.

They read the news, talk to their neighbors and cast their votes accordingly.  From that point, most expect their elected officials to represent their interests and follow the established law of our nation and state.  What most people don’t realize is that, especially on the local level, our government is being transitioned to a participatory form of democracy. This is where the art of consensus is crucial.  The citizens invited to participate are micro-managed and intellectually corralled into a consensus (which means there is no vote)  If the voters understood this, they would be shocked because in the United States the form of government that is guaranteed us is a constitutional republican form of government, not a democracy.

As you might expect, it is the motivated individuals that stand to gain that have made it their business to understand the intricacies of municipal government.  These are the people who are helping form city policy by participating in the task forces, boards and committees.This is why you see the same names again and again on the various reports listed as members of this of that council or committee.

By and large these people have an interest in either conservation or and land development.  You might also notice that some of  these people are involved in organizations that represent both.   Most of us don’t fall into either category, yet our city policy is being shaped by these highly motivated individuals and we are told that the policies are what the  “community” has decided and are expected to quietly abide.

I am unconvinced that other methods to improve water quality have been fairly considered.  The idea of using buffer zones that restrict property rights, I believe were chosen to serve a host of other purposes unrelated to the ones were are being told and I will be posting further information that will make this abundantly clear.

Just to give you an idea, have you ever heard of LandScope?

Well they have heard of you and some of you are living on land that is targeted as a “Conservation Priority”

The truth is that eco activists have been working for many years to get Norman property out of the hands of private ownership so that they can manage it according to their own agenda.

Casting the issue as a community health and safety issue, they hope, will give them a legal leg to stand on.  This is why the water quality/storm water issue has been married to the greenbelt plan and the Greenbelt Plan is married to even bigger plans as I will show.

When I started looking into this issue, all I wanted to know was if these measures, which demand control over private property, are legally just and necessary?

What I found out was a lot more.

Look for Part II soon

Norman Oklahoma: Where the Wild Things Are

Share or Download  Norman Oklahoma: Where The Wild Things Are on Scribd


Edmond Oklahoma Info for Citizens Planning to Survive Sustainability

Kaye Beach

Dec. 30, 201o

This is a collection of links and info that I have gathered pertaining to Oklahoma, (The City of Edmond in particular) and Sustainable Development since the Dec 6, 2010 Edmond Forum on Sustainability.

There is a list of resources and information about “sustainable development” at the bottom of this page.

For those researching this issue, I hope this info proves helpful to you.

_____

EDMOND City Government Defines Sustainability-

Defining Sustainability

Sustainable development can be defined as meeting the needs of the present without jeopardizing the needs of future generations.  For the City of Edmond this concept applies to municipal operations, land use decisions, transportation choices, and natural resources.

Read More

The City of Edmond’s Environmentally-Friendly, Conservation, and Energy Efficiency Programs

December 17, 2010

City defines ICLEI ties

James Coburn The Edmond Sun

Shannon Entz, community development manager, said the City of Edmond is a member of the International Council of Local Environmental Governments, which became a source of contention with some residents at a public forum Dec. 6.

. . .Entz told The Edmond Sun that the City of Edmond became a member of ICLEI USA in November 2009 and renewed this November. The dues are $1,200 per year, she said. (paid by public-tax payer monies)

The city has not decided on a date or format for the next Sustainability Forum, she said.

“This will take some thoughtful consideration given the outcome of the first forum,” Entz said.

I guess people actually showing up with all of those questions and opinions screwed up the consensus process. They need to gain your agreement (your silence will suffice) to give everything the appearance of legitimacy.  You try to gripe later and they will say –

“Sorry, you should have said something when you had the chance”

Are questions from the taxpayers of Edmond about the use of their money and plans that might affect their lives and property inappropriate?  Who is Shannon Entz answerable to?  Obviously NOT the citizens of Edmond.

The Edmond Sun explains;

That Dec. 6 forum ended abruptly after about 200 residents broke into arguments with city staff members about the definition of sustainability and concerns about individual property rights. Some attendees also contended that ICLEI is part of a United Nations program they referred to as Agenda 21.

Read More City defines ICLEI ties


Listen to and learn from the Experts.


ICLEI-USA says;

Understanding Sustainability Planning

Municipal codes are the legal mechanisms by which local governments implement goals for sustainability.

With few exceptions, state statutes require localities to regulate community development through code provision.

Ideally, zoning code directives originate from consensus-driven policy planning for land use, transportation, housing, natural resources, economic development, social equity, culture, and so on. For many communities, coordinating these efforts is best done through one overarching policy plan. Master plans (i.e., comprehensive plans, general plans) are a framework to achieve community goals.

Sustainability plans take a similarly holistic approach—though in a different style. Divided into three areas, these plans typically address the “three pillars” of sustainability: environment, economy, and society.

Goals for transportation, land use, housing, culture, and so on, are incorporated across the pillars.

Sustainability plans also address contemporary issues such as climate change, carbon emissions regulation, globalization, and energy in greater detail.

Read More


The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is the international environmental agency for local governments. It was established in 1990 at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future. The congress was held at the United Nations in New York in response to the needs of local authorities;cities, towns and counties;that are taking on increasing responsibility as managers of both the local and global environment.

ICLEI and its membership are currently acting in response to several of the objectives established for the world community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. (Emphasis mine)

UN Conference on Environment and Development

At UNCED, ICLEI, along with local authorities and other local authority associations, played an active role in raising the profile of local governments as managers of the local and global environment. Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, which resulted from these efforts, calls upon local authorities around the world to undertake a consultative process with their communities to establish their own local Agenda 21s by 1996. This Local Agenda 21 mandate, introduced and championed by ICLEI in the Earth Summit’s preparatory process, has been taken up by more than 1200 local authorities around the world.(Emphasis mine)

In the early stages of the project, ICLEI developed and presented a general approach to local sustainable development planning called Strategic Services Planning (SSP). The SSP approach was then presented to prospective participants through a series of regional workshops. During the workshops, participants reviewed and revised the planning elements in order to adapt the SSP to their own unique needs. They exchanged planning ideas and experiences and began to prepare work plans for their Local Agenda 21 efforts

The United States campaign was introduced in November 1994 at the annual conference of the National League of Cities. Eight months later, the local councils of 15 cities had agreed to the campaign commitments.

Results

ICLEI and its members of local authorities from large and small communities around the globe are rising to the challenges identified in Rio and achieving concrete results. (Emphasis mine)

In doing so, we should expect that, in combination, the independent actions of local governments and their communities that are responding to the objectives identified at UNCED will produce a ripple effect of responsible social and environmental behaviour that will ultimately encompass the globe.

Read More

From ICLEIUSA.org

Milestone Award Winners in the South Central Region

by Samantha Hughes, South Central Regional Intern, Apr 04, 2010

Congratulations to the 17 local governments across Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arizona that have received an ICLEI Milestone Award to recognize their achievements through our Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process or our Five Milestones for Sustainability process.

In addition to our congratulations, we’d also like to say thanks to staff from these local governments, who conducted check-in calls with us in the first quarter. We appreciate your willingness to communicate what’s going on in your community — it gives us that much more of an opportunity to highlight your success. Click below to view the local government winners and see what Milestones they have achieved…

Read more »

What Is ICLEI’s Five Milestone Process?

A little refresher:

Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation

  • Milestone One: Conduct a baseline emissions inventory and forecast
  • Milestone Two: Adopt an emissions reduction target for the forecast year
  • Milestone Three: Develop a local climate action plan
  • Milestone Four: Implement policies and measures
  • Milestone Five: Monitor and verify results

Five Milestones for Sustainability

  • Milestone One: Conduct a sustainability assessment
  • Milestone Two: Establish sustainability goals
  • Milestone Three: Develop a local sustainability plan
  • Milestone Four: Implement policies and measures
  • Milestone Five: Evaluate progress and report results

http://www.icleiusa.org/blog/archive/2010/04/04/milestone-award-winners-in-the-south-central-region

ARRA, EECBG, DOE funds and more. ICLEI shows local governments how to really go “green”!

ICLEI USA is committed to helping its members access this funding and use it wisely.

Bookmark and check this page often for the latest economic recovery funding updates and application instructions.


ICLEI Explains:

The Basics – International Climate Negotiations and the UNFCCC Explained

What is the UNFCCC?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty with the objective of addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the inevitable challenges that will arise from a warming planet. Nearly every country on Earth is a party to the UNFCCC, and each year they meet at a Conference of the Parties (COP).  For example, COP16 was the 16th meeting of the Parties, held in Cancun.

-Our Agents of Change program brings delegations of U.S.-based youth to conferences and summits related to international policy, primarily at the United Nations. Our delegates work with government delegates, fellow civil society members, and other youth to promote youth-friendly and future-focused policies related to sustainable development and climate change. Follow the links below to learn more about our involvement:

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD)

What role does Oklahoma have at a conference like this?

Eric Pollard

Oklahoma could play a huge role in the domestic advancement of action on climate change through renewable energy policy and infrastructure development in the US … http://pollardtopoland.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-12-11T02%3A33%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=7

One of the technological tools used to implement sustainable development is GIS


ESRI’s commitment to developing interoperable technology sets the stage for cooperation between organizations so that they can make well-informed decisions. GIS software allows users across the globe to share ideas on how to meet their resource needs, plan efficient land use, and protect the environment to guarantee the survival of future generations.

Read More about GIS, Sustainable Development and its use in Edmond.

Okies get Mapped! GIS For Sustainable Development


When and Where are Meetings and events held in Edmond?

Calendar of Events

http://edmondok.com/service/calendar

Meeting notices (be sure to refresh)

http://edmondok.com/government/cityclerk/meetings

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Edmond Email Updates

Stay informed by signing-up for City of Edmond email updates.

http://edmondok.com/service/email

Edmond City Data

Stay in touch with city government

From the City of Edmond home page-We operate under a Council-Manager form of government established by the 1925 Charter. The Mayor and Council are the policy-making and legislative body, and appoint the City Manager as well as the City Attorney and Municipal Judges. The City Manager provides centralized direction and leadership for the day-to-day administration of city services. Link

Directory

Research City Laws

The City Clerk is the legal custodian of Edmond’s official records, including the Code of Ordinances enacted by Edmond City Councils since 1925, when our city was chartered.

As a convenience for our citizens who may like more information about specific laws or regulations, an online database is available for research.

The link below will take you to a non-city web site.

Edmond Code of Ordinances

Who’s Who?

These are some of the people that appear to have a significant role in Edmond’s Sustainability effort.

Edmond’s Sustainability Planner is Phil Jones

Former GIS Analyst II at City of Edmond link

The Oklahoman2010-03-20

EDMOND — Edmond is earning a reputation for its “green infrastructure” development in changes to its transportation, drainage, energy, water and waste management systems. Thanks to a grant from the state Department of Agriculture, Forestry Services, the city is widening its vision and plans to share the details during the Green Infrastructure Initiative’s Annual Stakeholder meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Downtown Community Center. Edmond Sustainability Planner Phil Jones said the event will “educate people and give them the direction we’re heading.”

Mr Wantland (I did not make this up!) is a member of Sustainable Edmond

Russell serves on the Central Edmond Urban Development Board, is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the Urban Land Institute, Oklahoma Venture Forum, Sustainable Edmond, and recently served as a steering committee member for development of the City of Edmond’s 50-year water supply plan.

Wantland was named to Oklahoma Super Lawyers – Rising Stars in 2009.

Broken links   Contact Russell Wantland > http://www.palmerwantland.com/PW_RWantland.html

Linked in http://www.linkedin.com/in/russellwantland

  • Citizens Participation Committee (CDBG)

    There are six members on this  committee.
    The HUD Citizens Participation Committee reviews all items to be funded with City of Edmond CDBG dollars.

    The CPC Committee makes recommendations to the City Council concerning our Community Development Block Grant programs for the next fiscal year.

    Link

What is a Planning Commission and What do Planning Commissioners do?

Oklahoma Planning Commissioners
Handbook The Origin Of The Planning Commission

The idea of the planning commission originated in the Standard Planning and Zoning Enabling Acts developed under Herbert Hoover in the 1920’s.

•These model ordinances were drafted in order to standardize land use planning procedures across the US.

• These acts defined and established the essential duties of planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals or adjustment, and legislative bodies as they address planning and development issues.
Oklahoma was one of the states that adopted the “Standard Enabling Act,” which is the basis for our zoning and planning legislation and practice. (Emphasis mine)

Read more

Follow the money

Nov. 18 2010

The City has been awarded nearly a million dollars in Recovery Act funds from the US Department of Energy and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Staff developed a strategy for allocating those funds, which included the development of the Edmond Sustainability Plan. The remainder of the funds is being spent on energy saving technologies for city facilities and water wells, CNG conversion kits, energy building code training and equipment for inspectors.  http://s3.amazonaws.com/content.newsok.com/documents/20101118-092402.docx

CDBG’s- Community Development Block Grants.

Background

The Constitution provided the federal government with a modest array of enumerated powers and left most government responsibilities to the states.

During most of the nation’s history, local units of government were not financially tied to the federal government. The New Deal of the 1930s started to change that with major federal encroachment into formerly state and local policy areas. The federal government’s micromanagement of local affairs accelerated in the 1960s with President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1965.

The idealistic plans of the 1960s for federal aid to solve local problems have not panned out. Federal meddling has been high in taxpayer cost and low on accomplishment. Indeed, federal subsidies and regulations have often contributed to the very urban decay that federal involvement was supposed to fix. The following six HUD programs should be high on the list of programs for federal policymakers to put on the chopping block.

While CDBG funds are initially handed out to state and local governments, the ultimate beneficiaries are usually private businesses and organizations working on particular projects, such shopping malls, parking lots, museums, colleges, theaters, swimming pools, and auditoriums.

All these activities are purely local in nature, and there is no national interest in funding them. CDBG funding runs completely counter to the federalist model of American government.

Federal policymakers are supposed to make decisions on national issues such as defense and security; it makes no sense for them to be city planners, but that’s what the CDBG program effectively lets them do.

Read more about CDBG’s

The City of Edmond- CDBG Community Development Block Grants

The City of Edmond is one step closer to addressing these needs, thanks to citizen participation and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The CDBG program was authorized by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

Each year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development provides eligible metropolitan cities with CDBG funds to revitalize neighborhoods, develop affordable housing, expand economic opportunities and provide public services, principally to benefit low and moderate income persons or households.

All projects and programs must meet ONE of three national objectives:

  1. A benefit to low and moderate (L/M) income persons or households;
  2. Aiding in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight; or,
  3. Urgent Need (Meeting other community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community, such as natural disasters).

Link

Oklahoma City, OK: The City of Oklahoma City is currently working on a sustainability plan using EECBG funds, lighting upgrades to City facilities, and Energy Management System Upgrades to City Facilities. In addition, the City is preparing to advertise for bids for our compressed natural gas fast fill fueling station and bike share program.

http://www.icleiusa.org/blog/sustainability-progress-across-the-southwest-and-south-central-u.s/?searchterm=oklahoma

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program-EECBG

Award(s): 56 totaling $36.5 million, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program (EECBG)

LINK

Location: Statewide

Fifty‐six communities in Oklahoma received a total of $36.5 million for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program (EECBG) to develop, promote, implement and manage local energy efficiency programs.

Oklahoma is using this funding to support various energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The State is competitively awarding 60 percent of the funding to local cities and counties, prioritizing projects based on measures like energy and cost savings, job creation, renewable energy generation and carbon emissions reductions. EECBG funds also allow Oklahoma to upgrade the electrical distribution system in Waynoka, where the installation of new transformers will result in a 25 percent reduction in power consumption. The remaining funds are being used to install solar and wind technologies in jurisdictions across Oklahoma and enhance local recycling programs

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Planning and Zoning

Review Criteria

In determining whether to approve, approve with conditions or deny a site plan application, the Planning Commission will consider the following factors:

Consistency with the applicable provisions Chapter 4, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of Title 22;
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ORDINANCE NO. _ 3068______

AN ORDINANCE REPEALING THE EXISTING TITLE 22 ZONING ORDINANCE ORIGINALLY ADOPTED IN 1972 AND AMENDING TITLE 22 TO READ AS HEREIN SET OUT.

Purpose

This Ordinance classifies and regulates the use of land, buildings and structures within the city limits of the City of Edmond, Oklahoma. The regulations in this Ordinance are necessary to:

(A) Promote the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants;

(B) Implement the policies found in the current version of the Edmond Plan;

(C) Encourage the most appropriate uses of land by dividing the City into zones and regulating therein the use of the land;

(D) Maintain and stabilize the value of property;

(E) Reduce fire hazards and improve public safety and safeguard the public health;

(F) Facilitate the flow of traffic and decrease hazards;

(G) Prevent undue concentration of population; and

(H) Create a comprehensive and stable pattern of land uses upon which to plan for transportation, water supply, sewage, schools, parks, public utilities and other facilities.

LINK

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FEMA National Flood Insurance Program

“Since the Federal Government does not have land use authority, the NFIP is based on the Federal government’s power to spend under the Constitution rather than any Federal authority to regulate land use.” Link

“When a community chooses to join the NFIP, it must adopt and enforce minimum floodplain management standards for participation.

“‘Floodplain management’ refers to an overall community program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing future flood damage. These measures generally include zoning, subdivision, or building requirements, and special-purpose floodplain ordinances.” Link

Recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for local landowners to purchase flood insurance are nothing more than a scam, a levee district official told a crowd of concerned residents Saturday.

Some communities are very unhappy with how FEMA is re-drawing their flood maps.


**

ARRA Stimulus funds

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Stimulus Applications

City of Edmond EECBG Application June 2009 EECBG-Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

Other reports or articles that may be of interest:

Monthly Progress Report – August 2009

2009 Edmond Oklahoma EECBG Fund Proposal Presentation

Edmond Oklahoma Budget and Financial Plan FY 2010 – 2011

Edmond Public Works Authority Meeting June 2010

Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign

What Is Health Equity?
Health equity is a new idea for most people. It’s not hard to grasp, but it does require us to reframe the way in which health differences are usually presented and perceived.

Tackling health inequities requires widening our lens to bring into view the ways in which jobs, working conditions, education, housing, social inclusion, and even political power influence individual and community health. When societal resources are distributed unequally by class and by race, population health will be distributed unequally along those lines as well.

What is Health Equity?

Partner Contact List

CITY OF EDMOND

Shannon Entz

405-359-4789

shannon.entz@edmondok.com

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City Charter

The Edmond City Charter was first adopted by the voters in 1925 and approved by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1926. The Charter provides the basis for Edmond government as its organic law and structure as a home-rule city under the laws of the State of Oklahoma

There is a Charter Review Committee:

The Charter Review Committee is composed of citizens appointed by the City Council by action taken on April 9, 2007. The members of the Committee are shown on the attached exhibit 1.
The Committee includes broad experience in Edmond municipal affairs. The Committee membership includes one former mayor; five former city council members; two former Edmond City Attorneys; one former city manager, one University Professor expert in municipal affairs; and all have experience in affairs of the City of Edmond over a period of many years.

Here are some of the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee from 2008:

  • The Committee recommends that Section 9 of the Charter omit the requirement that a candidate be a freeholder in the city of Edmond.
  • office of Treasurer would in the future be appointed by the City Manager
  • the Charter that would allow the Edmond City Council to have the ability by ordinance to consider such additional campaign finance rules and regulations as it may desire in the future.


Read the 2008 Charter Review Committee’s recommendations for changes to the Charter

HOME RULE background


“It’s a shame that we have to ask the Legislature for permission to change our form of government.” Sen Leftwich 2006

County home rule amendment fails in Oklahoma on parliamentary move

Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City), Mar 7, 2006 by Marie Price

An attempted rehearing of a bill to which state Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, added a county home rule proposal last week was quickly tabled Monday on a vote of 27-10.

Some 300 officials from mainly rural counties were at the state Capitol Monday to lobby senators against the home rule idea.

Leftwich’s amendment to Senate Bill 1763, by state Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, would allow Oklahoma and Tulsa counties to adopt a home-rule type of government. The language was attached to Lamb’s bill last week, but the bill itself was defeated, with Lamb serving notice to reconsider.

Former state Sen. Dave Herbert, now with the County Government Legislative Council, charged that the home-rule proposal was a move by local chamber officials to get their hands on county money.

You don’t know what it’s going to do once they pass it, he said What they’re saying is, give us permission to change government, but we’re not going to tell you how it’s going to be changed, and that’s just a bad idea.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4182/is_20060307/ai_n16168841/

Kay County Officials Pleased With Defeat of Home Rule Bill

By MARK GALVIN

News Staff Writer

NEWKIRK — Kay County officers here say it’s just fine with them that the Oklahoma House has rejected two “county home rule” bills that would allow restructuring of county government.

Kay County Treasurer Pat Schieber, who was outspoken lately against the two House bills voted upon Monday, said officers had not just simply been opposed to the bill because they have a vested interest.

“We have a vested interest (but) our citizens have elected us, so we feel it’s our duty to watch over something that could ultimately be very bad. The way I interpret it, it would take the vote away from them on who their officials are at the courthouse.

“It’s the first step to the people losing their local control,” she said.

“The ultimate goal (of such bills),” Schieber said, “is to consolidate offices, then to consolidate courthouses, and eventually move everything to the control of the state.”

link

Home Rule in Midwest City Oklahoma causes some consternation….

Owner determined to fight ban in OK

Wed Jul 15, 2009

“Really, probably the key thing about this case is that it’s not about dogs,” said Katherine Bolles, city attorney for Midwest City. She said the city is most interested in having the courts define the powers of a home-rule charter city, which Midwest City is. (Emphasis mine)

A home-rule charter city is one which has adopted a charter that allows them to rule over local issues. As far as state concerns, state laws and statutes still trump home rule municipalities. Bolles said, however, that the safety of citizens against dogs is a municipal concern.

“If a home rule charter can’t regulate animals in a city, what can it regulate?” she asked. This is the question she wants to take to the court.

More

So MWC admits that this case was ultimately  about control, not safety.  Interesting

CHARTER OF THE CITY OF EDMOND, OKLAHOMA

As Last Amended
April 7, 2009

We, the people of the City of Edmond, Oklahoma, in order to form a more modern government, facilitate civic improvement and promote the general welfare, do ordain and establish this Charter for The City of Edmond, State of Oklahoma.
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Reports

Edmond Sustainability Key Documents

Green Infrastructure Initiative Report to Stakeholders
City of Edmond and Edmond Land Conservancy Facilitated Meetings Summary
March 27th – 28th, 2009
March 26th, 2010

Definition of Green Infrastructure
Green Infrastructure is defined as a “strategically planned and managed network of natural lands, working landscapes, and other open spaces that conserves ecosystem values and functions and provides associated benefits to human populations.” The network consists of Hubs, Links, and Sites.

The Green Infrastructure Initiative Vision
Create a plan and process that commits Edmond to preserving, protecting, and restoring its interconnected natural resources for the future development of the community.
The long term vision in creating a plan will accomplish the following:
1.It will create a GIS layer for the city that can be used by staff, planning commission, and the city council to make decisions and guide policy.
2.It will allow the ELC to better focus their efforts in acquiring conservation easements.
3.It will create changes in city code to provide approaches to construction that are environmentally sensitive, economically viable, and that comply with federal requirements.
4.It will make specific recommendations that lead to more sustainable practices and a more livable community for the long-term.

You can download the entire report here

According to the Edmond  report the ” Top Priorities for the Green Infrastructure Initiative” are:

  • Conserve forest lands in Edmond through a combination of regulations and incentives.
  • Educate landowners and promote use of conservation easements through educational materials and ongoing public awareness efforts.
  • Preserve floodplain and watershed lands through acquisition of conservation easements or, when necessary, whole properties.

Important information about Conservation Easements HERE

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Edmond Plan IV (also Edmond Plan III)

The Edmond Plan IV is the City’s comprehensive plan, which acts as a general guide for how the City should grow and develop over the long-term.

Edmond Plan IV builds upon previous plans, incorporating elements that remain relevant and revising others that require updating to reflect current conditions.

What has Changed?

  • A General Plan has been added to depict the desired general vision for physical development and growth in Edmond. The General Plan is supported by the various goals and policies found throughout Edmond Plan IV, and considers constraints (such as protection of natural areas or anticipated availability of infrastructure), trends, desired growth patterns and preferred community character.
  • The site-specific land use map, previously known as Edmond Plan III, has been updated and the name has been changed to the “Ordinance Plan”. Updates to the Ordinance Plan reflect the vision and desired character of the “General Plan”, particularly in regards to east Edmond where the majority of change will occur.
  • A Preface has been added to provide a quick overview of the plan and how it is intended to be used by stakeholders.
  • A Community Profile section has been added (Chapter 2), which provides a current “snapshot” of Edmond examining demographic and development trends, key community features, and current development-related issues. The Community Profile provides the context for the long and short range goals and policies throughout the rest of the document.
  • The Transportation chapter (Chapter 5) has been revised to reflect the Edmond Transportation Plan.
  • The Utilities chapter (Chapter 7) provides an analysis of the City’s sewer and water infrastructure and its capacity to handle projected growth.
  • An Implementation chapter (Chapter 9) has been added to the plan to cover all remaining bases needed to move from plan to reality. Administrative goals and policies, as well as other tools to implement the plan are discussed.
  • Policies have been revised to provide stronger direction for decision-making.
  • The community vision, developed by citizens through the Tomorrow’s Edmond process in 1996, continues to provide the guiding vision for Edmond Plan IV.

Edmond Plan IV
Edmond Plan IV Ord. Map

http://edmondok.com/communitydev/planning/edmondplan

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Edmond Greenprint Report 2003, 46 pages


See also Conservation Easements and Your Property Rights

From the Executive Summary:

To develop a long-term plan for enhancing outdoor recreational amenities and preserving natural resources, the City appointed a task force to explore these issues and develop a “greenprint” which will guide future growth and development.

The Green City Task Force, made up of 17 civic leaders, spent roughly one year exploring existing City plans, efforts, and needs, and developing a series of recommendations to the City for future efforts.

The ultimate goal of the Green City Task Force and this Greenprint is to ensure that the best natural areas which still exist are not lost

Read More

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Financial


Look for The Triple Bottom Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The triple bottom line (abbreviated as “TBL” or “3BL“, and also known as “people, planet, profit” or “the three pillars” captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological and social.

With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007, this became the dominant approach to public sector full cost accounting.  Read More

What’s Wrong With the “Triple Bottom Line”? A critique from the accounting perspective

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
What is it?

“Each year all State and local governments prepare a financial report on assets, liabilities, revenues and expenditures in more or less a standardized format that must conform to the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) accounting and financial reporting standards. This financial report is called the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR, pronounced “cay-fer”). Most people have heard of the budget, which is the document that plans and authorizes the spending of money. The CAFR describes what actually was spent and the status of assets and liabilities at the end of the fiscal year.”

Read More about CAFR’s

COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT for the City of Edmond Oklahoma  2009

Edmond Oklahoma Budget and Financial Plan FY 2010 – 2011

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Oklahoma State Energy Office
Operated by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the State Energy Office looks at energy efficiency as a tool for economic development to help sustain and grow Oklahoma communities.

NGO’s-Non Governmental Organizations

ELECTRONIC GLOBAL NETWORKING AND THE NGO MOVEMENT:

THE 1992 RIO SUMMIT AND BEYOND

by Shelley Preston

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was unprecedented in bringing together people from all walks of life, cultures, political systems, and environment-development experiences. Because the gathering cemented relationships and forged new alliances, international networking and mutual understanding of common problems or national predicaments are bound to flourish. As electronic communication becomes more available, a basis of international consolidation and reciprocal respect also will become more firmly established. Without that basis, there cannot be an effective transition from unsustainable to sustainable development.(1)

Link


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Going Green – Sustainability
Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce

http://www.edmondchamber.com/programsgo-green/going-green-sustainablility/

The Oklahoma Sustainability Network

“Oklahoma Sustainability network is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about implementing more earth-friendly policies. “

In 2010  The OSN received a $493,000 stimulus grant

Sustainability chapter started in Edmond

Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City), Jun 21, 2007 by David Page

Jeff Tate first learned about the Oklahoma Sustainability Network from Harlan Hentges.

Tate and Hentges are both attorneys with Mulinix Ogden Hall Andrews & Ludlam, a law firm with offices in downtown Oklahoma City. Hentges is general council for the Oklahoma Sustainability Network and is a member of the group’s board of directors.

“It was through my friendship with him (Hentges) that I gained exposure to the Oklahoma Sustainability Network,” Tate said. “I realized I had a lot more in common with the group than I realized.”

Tate, a resident of Edmond, attended the group’s annual conference in April. Hentges also lives in Edmond.

“I decided it was important to begin an Edmond chapter,” he said.

. . . “We will discuss how to improve our quality of life and our community in ways that make sense economically, environmentally and socially,” Tate said. “We also want to promote environmental stewardship through individual, community and business understanding of long-term consequences associated with climate change and other environmental issues.”

Sustainable Edmond is the state group’s seventh chapter. Other chapters are based in Oklahoma City, Norman, Tulsa, Stillwater and Shawnee. There is also a Green Country regional chapter. Other chapters are being formed. The nonprofit Oklahoma Sustainability Network actually got its start in Edmond. In 2001, a small group started meeting at the 501 Cafe in Edmond to discuss what could be done to “green” up Oklahoma, according to the state group’s Web site.

Those small meetings in Edmond resulted in the first Oklahoma Sustainability Network conference in May 2002 at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. About 125 people attended the first conference, “Sustainable Solutions: Envisioning Oklahoma’s Future. LINK

OSN Programs and Projects

Consolidated Appropriations Act 2010 Sustainable Communities Initiative

Sustainable Edmond

ACOG “Association of Central Oklahoma Governments”

About ACOG
Established in 1966, the Association is an association of city, town and county governments within the Central Oklahoma area. ACOG works on mobility, public safety and quality of life issues that impact Central Oklahoma.
We are the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Central Oklahoma. The MPO is a federally recognized entity that coordinates transportation planning and determines priorities for transportation funding.

INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION TECHNICAL COMMITTEE VOTING MEMBERS AND ALTERNATES

http://www.acogok.org/Newsroom/Downloads10/may10ittc.pdf

Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council
OREC is a broad coalition of individuals, companies, organizations, and agencies working to develop Oklahoma’s bountiful renewable energy resources. These resources include wind, solar, biomass, Geothermal and small-scale hydroelectric.World-Wide Sustainability Resources Inventory

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I will be adding information that seems relevant to this posting.


For your further research-Here is a collection of some of the documents pertaining to Oklahoma and sustainability that I have gathered so far

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Additional Resources and Reading:

Alabama Property Rights GLOSSARY OF TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

TAKING LIBERTY How Private Property is being ABOLISHED in America

What is Communitarian Law

Understanding Sustainable Development Agenda 21

Sustainable Development Global to Local Action Plans

A selection of papers about dealing with predetermined consensus, the Delphi Technique and  group manipulation tactics .

Sustainable Development or Sustainable Freedom

Smart Growth shows its ugly side in South Carolina