ENVIRONMENT

A Plan to Ensure a Green, Sustainable Future for Peekskill

Peekskill’s greatest asset is its natural beauty and resources, and we need to take aggressive steps now as a city to safeguard our environment and collective health. The climate change crisis is here, and not enough is being done to combat it. It is absolutely vital to act now.

We worked closely on this platform with environmental experts and advocates who have been working on these issues in our community for years. We are proud to put environmental protections, sustainability and ensuring that our city grows in a green and healthy way at the center of our platform for Mayor & Council. Below is our official environmental platform.

Improve public health and quality of life to offset local impacts of climate change.

  • Protect and expand green space, and combat the heat island effect, via:
    • Passing a city-wide tree ordinance
    • Restoring street trees throughout the city and creating a tree inventory
    • Creating pocket parks and new green space where possible
  • Reduce the number of vehicles on our streets and emissions in our air, by:
    • Improving pedestrian accessibility
    • Seeking grants for sidewalk repairs
    • Creating a network of bike lanes and bike parking
    • Calming traffic through street design to create a multimodal city
    • Working with the state to reduce truck traffic along Main Street
  • Clean up our streets, by:
    • Enforcing litter ordinance that requires property owners — especially landlords — to keep their own property free of litter. First violation would result in a written warning, the second in a summons/fine.
    • Working with landlords to improve tenant trash collection via discrete larger trash receptacles in the downtown area. This would also include recycling, and potentially expand to composting.
  • Start a community discussion around phasing out Wheelabrator by incentivizing programs that dramatically reduce waste, starting with a food scraps program.

Ensure that Peekskill’s growth is environmentally sustainable.

  • Create a new Master Plan to replace the current 1968 version to ensure our zoning and codes meet the requirements of the CLCPA, the anticipated impacts of global climate change, and foster sustainable, healthy growth, with a focus on smart growth and green building requirements.
  • Seek Federal funding that is available to municipalities for infrastructure upgrades.
  • Initiate a city-wide infrastructure audit, including water, sewer, roads/sidewalks, electric grid, and city buildings and property to ensure it meets future needs and the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Prioritize sustainability across all city departments and policies.  

  • Hire a part time city Sustainability Coordinator to oversee all aspects and planning around the city’s sustainability efforts, as part of the effort to reach thresholds and unlock additional funding streams.
  • Establish a Sustainability Task Force of city employees, residents and elected officials to work with the Sustainability Coordinator to achieve the city’s sustainability and environmental goals. This task force will draw on existing resources, including the Conservation Advisory Council, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Sustainable Westchester and New York Power Authority.
  • Achieve Climate Smart Community status, making the city eligible for State and Federal funding streams to reduce the burdens on taxpayers.

Standardize environmental impact as a measure for smart development.

  • Adopt NY Stretch Energy Code that requires all new buildings to be 10–12% more efficient than the NYS base energy code (depending on climate zone and building type) to significantly reduce energy consumption, operating costs, utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Give priority permit review to all new and renovated buildings that achieve LEED certification and require new buildings to submit a LEED Checklist.
  • Streamline permit process for local community-based renewable energy projects.
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