Evanston Environment Board moves forward with Green Network resolution


Scott Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Evanston Environment Board discusses the Complete and Green Network resolution at a meeting Thursday night. The resolution was created in hopes of encouraging more people to walk, bike and use public transportation.

Scott Brown, Reporter

For the Evanston Environment Board, it’s not easy being green.

At its monthly meeting Thursday night, the board spent two hours discussing the complex details of waste collection contracts, recycling percentages and legislative resolutions.

The board spent much of its time discussing the Complete and Green Network resolution. The resolution would make it a priority for the Evanston Public Works department to consider pedestrians, cyclists and public transit access in all future projects. It also seeks to promote use of alternative modes of transportation besides vehicles.

“I think it’s broader, more inclusive,” Sustainable Programs Coordinator Catherine Hurley said. “Many of our neighboring communities north and west would be dying to have a complete and green network.”

However, some board members took issue with one of the resolution’s exceptions. The exception says the Complete and Green Network policy would not apply in cases where it would cause “neighborhood hardship,” such as interference with street parking or harm to property values.

“I don’t agree with that exemption at all,” board member Hugh Bartling said. “It’s too vague, and it opens up a whole can of worms that makes it easy to ignore the perks of the resolution.”

Bartling suggested the board put its support behind the resolution with the omission of the exception. However, after discussion, the board agreed to support the bill as written, with the hopes of presenting it before City Council on Jan. 27.

“I think it’s better to go in as a unified front if we can all agree,” said Hurley.

The board also discussed how to improve garbage and recycling collection throughout the city. According to data presented by Hurley, single-family homes in Evanston recycle 27 percent of their waste, but commercial entities and multi-family homes, such as condominiums, recycle only 7 percent.

“Step one, we need to have the goal (for recycling), so we could identify the barriers to get to that goal,” Hurley said.

Deborah Stone, director of the Cook County Department of Environmental Control, presented a pending county ordinance on waste to the board. According to a release from the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, suburban Cook County is “the only governmental entity in the five-county region” that does not routinely inspect landfills, recycling facilities and other waste management facilities. The Solid Waste and Recycling Ordinance would increase such oversight and would also collect data on the county’s recycling, with hopes of increasing totals.

“We’re basically trying to bring the county into the 21st century,” Stone said.

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