Springfield City Council Meeting Preview November 18

Springfield City Council is down to two meetings left in the year and tonight’s meeting could see significant changes to the city’s Land Development Code.

The potential changes led to a contentious meeting on November 4 when environmental activists pushed for Council to ignore a compromise measure reached between city staff and contractors & builders. The activists wanted to impose strict standards, claiming the climate was “in crisis.”

The compromise measure would phase in the stricter requirements allowing those in the construction industry time to develop best practices for the new standards.

Among the changes to the city’s codes will be requiring builders to submit details on how to meet energy benchmarks. If the builders do not submit the plan, they will be subject to specialized testing that will determine air leakage from a building.

The final deal would have City Council reviewing standards in 2022 and making a decision at that point whether to adopt 2018 or 2021 codes the following year. Multiple builders who testified said that they are already building to 2018 codes, but added that many builders have not yet invested in educating their employees on new codes.

The bills related to the Land Development Code will not be open to public comment unless they are amended; they will then be brought back for future public comment session on amendments. If there are no amendments, the Council will debate and vote on the measures.

The Council will also be voting on amending the Police Department’s budget for the purchase of “Photogrammetry/Mapping Software for the Traffic Section Drone, Rifle Rated Ballistic Shields, a K9 Camera System, a Long-Range Acoustic Device, and Major Crime Investigator Camera Packages.” The budget will be altered just over $75,000 to accept the grant funding for the items.

Some items that will be open to public comment at tonight’s meeting include an authorization to have the city manager seek grant funding for an extension of the Fassnight Creek Greenway Trail; adoption of the Public Rights of Way ADA Transition Plan; a budget amendment for the Trunked Radio System; and an EPA grant to train under-employed and unemployed residents in environmentally friendly jobs.

The Council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the top floor of the Historic City Hall building. OI will provide live coverage from the meeting.