Friday, April 17, 2015

South Burlington, VT Litter Control Proposal


Clean City - Litter Control Proposal to South Burlington, Vermont City Council. April 20, 2015 (~7:30PM) Press Release is on last page.


I offer you here tonight, a proposal for South Burlington ordinances and resolutions pertaining to litter control.  This paper argues that the City of South Burlington should set clean city, litter free business standards, and litter control management processes, and measurements to ensure year round compliance, and constant improvement.


Purpose:  

(A) The purpose of these ordinances is, to set standards and regulations for the control of litter in South Burlington; to set a bold and forefront path to a standout-clean Community.

 (B) It is the purpose of these proposed ordinances to help preserve the public health, safety, and economic well being of South Burlington, by requiring businesses to manage their properties in such a manner as to keep them clean (free of litter) year round.

The control of litter will have a lasting effect upon the city’s environment and appearance and earn South Burlington businesses and community, the highly valued Vermont clean branding.


Ask yourselves, why should we be tolerant of littered trash that degrades our city’s image?


Proposal Summary:

I.                Fortify the Vermont clean brand within South Burlington by directing all South Burlington businesses to maintain litter free properties year round.

II.             Initiate a [1]multi-faceted approach and management plan to eradicate or at least reduce litter in South Burlington, year round, for the sake of the health, and the economy of our community.

III.          Stimulate collaboration between the city offices and businesses, non-profits, schools, and citizens in order to expand litter picking and litter prevention activities in our South Burlington communities.

IV.          Commend those who support or take direct action(s) to help maintain a clean South Burlington environment.



This memorandum covers multiple points, to which I hope will favor this council to rule in support of the proposed ordinances and resolutions.
Following each ‘whereas’ are arguments and analysis in favor of the proposed ordinance.





Proposed Ordinance LC-1

Whereas, although there is a focus on removing littered trash from our landscape on Green Up Day and during spring planting; unfortunately, outside those periods, there is a cumulative fall out of trash, which adds blight to the South Burlington business district and to our community overall.

Whereas, The Vermont image is described as pure, natural, beautiful and includes respect of the environment.

Whereas, according to The Vermont Brand, a study by the O’Neil Strategy Group, a brand is a set of strong associations’ people have with a product, place or service. Brands exist in peoples’ minds, not in the product, place or service-itself. These associations are really expectations people have for that product, place or service.

Whereas, businesses must constantly earn the valuable ‘Clean’ branding that Vermont conveys.

Whereas, littered trash is a detriment to both the health and the economy of our community.

Whereas, although some people view littered trash as the status quo. Some may have just stopped being conscious of the food packaging, plastic, and other littered trash. This does not make it benign, or an isolated or inconsequential problem.

Whereas, studies have shown that litter begets litter. That is, in general people are less apt to drop litter if the area is litter free, and more apt to drop litter at an area that is already littered.

Whereas, many share the opinion that ignoring littered trash is a behavior untrue to Vermont values and expect businesses to align maintaining a clean litter-free on site environment, with other business objectives. 

Whereas we encourage businesses to brand litter picking as a community building activity; helping to create cleanliness as a South Burlington social norm. 

Whereas, a litter free community would be a social and economic benefit to South Burlington.

Whereas, we support year round, clean, litter free South Burlington business properties, and public areas such as parks, schools, and roadways.

Whereas, electing clean storefronts is a matter of community pride. Moreover, it is a matter of differentiation for South Burlington businesses.

Whereas,The State of Vermont Statutes state:  the city shall have the powers guaranteed to towns and municipal corporations by the constitution and laws of this state together with all the implied powers necessary to carry into execution all the powers granted; and it may enact ordinances not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the state of Vermont or with this [2]charter.

Whereas, The general grant of (South Burlington) ordinance-promulgating authority in section 103 (§ 13-104. Ordinances; subjects) shall include, but shall not be limited to, the authority: (4) “to adopt and enforce ordinances relating to regulation, licensing or prohibition of the storage and accumulation of garbage, ashes, rubbish, refuse and waste materials; regulation of the removal and disposal of such materials; …”.

  
Let it be Resolved (Ordinance LC-1)
 South Burlington businesses will maintain litter free storefronts / business properties, year round in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health.

Meaning businesses will make sure that land under their control and to which the public have access (with or without payment) is kept free from litter and refuse year round.

          (A) Businesses definition: To include but not limited to, stores, hotels, motels, gas              stations, restaurants, bars, and commercial entities.

     (B) The responsibility for the removal of litter from business properties or                  receptacles shall be upon the owner(s) of the property or upon the business establishment residing at the property. It is the responsibility of the owners and operators of publicly patronized establishments to maintain their surrounding areas.

(C)   Business properties/storefronts include parking area, walkways, and green areas.

(D)   The emphasis is on the consistent and appropriate management of an area to keep it clean, not on frequency of cleaning. (Similar to snow, ice, and leaf litter removal responsibilities.) This is dependent on effective monitoring of environmental conditions and the co-ordination of a carefully prioritized cleansing regime in response to litter trends, weather patterns and human activity.

(E)   It is recommended that each business include in its operating procedures a zero litter policy for the outside of the business property similar to its indoor trash on the floor policy.

(F)   The cleanliness grades regarding litter are hereby defined as:


         1. Grade A    No litter or refuse (requirement on hard surfaces)

    2. Grade B   Predominantly free of litter apart from a few small items. (acceptable on soft surfaces)

    3. Grade C   Widespread distribution of litter with minor accumulations. (Unacceptable)

    4.  Grade D   Heavily littered with significant accumulations. (Unacceptable)

    5.  A grade (A) effectively means that no litter, in any form, is present on the land or parking lot, or walkways.

    6.    The presence of even one piece of litter or refuse automatically downgrades the environment to grade B. Grade (B) is an acceptable standard for areas with soft or other types of surfaces that are difficult to clean to a grade A. These include grassed and landscaped areas, and terrain such as earth.

        7.The presence of litter and refuse that is significant enough to form a few minor accumulations (grade C) or significant accumulations (grade D) on any surface, indicates non-compliance.


(G)   Clean up Response times are dictated according to the level of pedestrian and vehicular activity, and the type of land area use (type of business). Each type of land use area has a response time within which the business should return the property to an acceptable standard.

1.     High intensity of use (busy public areas, large parking lot may be indicative)

2.     Medium intensity of use (Small parking lot (less than 10 cars) may be indicative.)

3.     Low intensity of use (lightly trafficked areas. Offices might be indicative.)

4.     Areas with special circumstances (Where issues of health and safety and reasonableness and practicability are dominant considerations when undertaking cleansing operations).

  
 The table that follows can help you work out how quickly an area should be returned to cleanliness grade A.



High intensity of use
Medium intensity of use
Low Intensity of use
Special Circumstances
Nature of the area
Areas, which, through intense pedestrian and/or vehicular movements, are prone to fluctuations in the litter, refuse, and require both high levels of monitoring and frequent cleaning.
Areas affected by moderate levels of pedestrian and vehicular activity and therefore less prone to fluctuations in litter and refuse, usually situated outside retail or commercial activity, but used regularly by members of the public.
Areas subject to low or infrequent levels of pedestrian and vehicular activity and therefore less prone to fluctuations in litter and refuse, often located in office space, health facilities.
Types of land where issues of health and safety and reasonableness and practicability are dominant considerations when undertaking environmental maintenance work .
Maximum response time to restore to Grade A standard if it falls below grade B
One Day
Two Days
One Week
30 Days or as soon as reasonably practical


Type of land or area Use


Retail
Retail
All businesses in shared location of more than 2 businesses
All businesses in shared location of more than 2 businesses
Large grocery store

Restaurant, take out, gas stations
Restaurant, take out, gas stations

Hotel, Motel

Bars
Bars

Commercial

Office, Health org.


Industrial areas

   
  (H)  Where a litter problem is clearly traced to certain types of business, such as ‘food on the go’ establishments, grocery store (flyers); a local authority can issue a Street Litter Control Notice. This will compel the occupier, or the owner of business or retail premises, to clear up litter and implement measures to prevent the land from continued defacement.


   (I)  Litter Receptacles. To help prevent or reduce litter by pedestrians, the South Burlington City Council recommends that the owners of publicly patronized establishments provide and maintain publicly accessible litter receptacles on their premises.



NOTE: I am not proposing penalties for failure to comply with the cleanliness standards and or the actions called for in Resolution L-1; at least not until 1 year from the time the ordinance originates, giving time for outreach and public announcements of the standards businesses must meet.



Proposed Ordinance LC-2

Whereas,  a multi-faceted approach is necessary to maintain a litter free community. When education (information, knowledge), enforcement (penalizing offenders) and engineering (making it easy and convenient) are integrated, attitude and behavior change are more likely to occur simultaneously.

Whereas, the Circle of Prosperity, (first articulated in Vermont back in 1997 by the Vermont Business Round-table), emphasizes the fact that economic development and healthy communities are a system, involving the collective and sometimes coordinated actions of many individuals, businesses, and institutions.



Let it be Resolved: (Ordinance LC-2)
We resolve to collaborate with interested parties such as South Burlington businesses, rotary, schools, and scouts, to explore both public and private initiatives to facilitate picking up litter shortly after occurrence, and address littering behaviors.

 This includes installing and maintaining more readily accessible trash and recycling containers for the public to deposit litter, recyclables, and cigarette butts at public and business locations.

Moreover, to give particular focus to high traffic areas that commonly experience littering in our community.  


(A) City Council to solicit a volunteer committee. (Perhaps invite a college ‘intern’ to join the committee even if not a SB resident.)
 (No, I am not volunteering to lead such a committee-I believe this leadership position requires an extrovert personality. I would however, volunteer to be a member of such a committee).

(B)  Committee tasked with periodic evaluations and process improvement- including:


         1.     Litter management reviews: Determine litter control best practices.

A.    Solicit and encourage business support of litter control measures, best business clean city practices.

B.    Create incentive programs. (For example, a yearly ‘Golden Broom Award’ for business with best cleanliness, litter-free results and litter control management processes.)

2.     Cleanliness monitoring:  Measure cleanliness levels, and assess improvements, over time.

A.    Business litter scorecard (similar to Health Dept. restaurant food scorecard) Publish quarterly.

          B.    Catalog of Litter surveys: Categorize the litter in sample surveyed areas, and record quantities, types, and percentage of total by type. Utilize data to help determine source of most predominant litter materials.


      3. Attitude and awareness: Gather public sentiment on perception of litter in the city, on cleanup activities, and on local business performance against clean standards.

           4.    Identify solutions for specific; consistent litter issues (For example, escaped grocery store ads/flyers).

           5.    Publicize cleanliness standards. Inform citizens of the standards of cleanliness they can expect and the action to take if they are dissatisfied.

           A.   Identify the steps to record and deal with the complaint and timescale for responses.

      6.   Manage cigarette litter as a specific challenge. (Prevention, education (butts are litter), promote installation of ash containers /cig. butt depositories).

      7.  Create and present a litter education package to SB students. (or seek to delegate to another group)


      8.   Encourage and promote the Adopt-a-block campaign. Citizens sign up to pick up litter periodically in a public area of the city of their choosing-for a term of one year.

      9.   Solicit and Encourage SB school students to create and implement their own litter reduction programs. (Ex. Litter songs, litter online arcade games, Green Up Day Poster and writing contest participation, litter videos, PSA.).
  
    10.   Solicit and Encourage nonprofit groups like scouting, and SB Rotary to implement their own litter related programs.

    11. Organize ‘Fall Sweep’ campaign for pre-snow annual citywide litter clean up in November.

        12.   Encourage SB citizens, especially students to utilize [3]Litterati’ / instagram as a fun way to clean up litter

        13.    Host Red Rocks Beach cleanup event annually

        14.   View my[4]web page under the ‘Got Talent?’ tab to see more litter cleanup campaign starter ideas.




Let it be Resolved (Ordinance LC-3):
 We (City Council and City Mgr.) further resolve to take a read out each year in April in order to gauge effectiveness and status of said South Burlington litter reduction initiatives.




Resolutions LC-4, LC-5, LC-6:
The purpose of these three resolutions is to commend those who support or take direct action(s) to reduce litter in South Burlington. 


Whereas, caring, and contribution help build community,


Resolution LC-4:
 Now therefore let it be resolved, the city of SB City Council and City Manager hereby commend and thank the members of the SBLT (South Burlington Land Trust) for managing the SB Green Up Day drop off site at City Hall, running the ‘Unusual Litter Find’ contest, and for promoting participation in SB Green Up Day.


Resolution LC-5:
 Now therefore let it be resolved, The city of SB City Council and City Manager hereby commend and thank the businesses and citizens of South Burlington who participate in, and otherwise support South Burlington’s Green Up Day.


Resolution LC-6:
Now therefore let it be resolved, we hereby commend and thank the citizens of South Burlington that have pledged to Adopt-a-block, and who pick up litter year round in each their chosen street, park, or other public area within our South Burlington community. Including but not exclusive of: Marga & Glenn Sproul, Ann Slatery, The Scarpa Family, Kelsey Hudson, Rosanne Greco, Paul Engels, Jane Boisvert, Walter Luchini, Susan Saferstein,  Maida Townsend, and Chris Shaw.

In Conclusion,

Many businesses and many citizens of South Burlington demonstrate great pride in our city by picking up litter on both public and private domains, with particular focus on Green Up Day and during spring planting.

However, litter is visible throughout the year at many of our city’s business locations.

How long litter remains on business properties remains inconsistent without a set of standards and expectations set by the city. Without these standards, litter attracts more litter, debasing the image of South Burlington.

Litter free standards serve to support the health of our environment, the health of our citizens, as well as the economy of our city.

Citizens expect businesses to earn Vermont’s clean branding continually. Citizens expect SB businesses to advance pride in community by maintaining litter free business properties year round.  

The City of South Burlington should set clean city, litter free business standards, and litter control management processes, and measurements to ensure year round compliance, and constant improvement.

The city should also take an annual read out on a Clean City dept or committee regarding business compliance, litter surveys, best practices, and celebrate successes.

As a citizen of South Burlington, I respectfully ask the council members and the city manager to review this analysis, the points of argument, and resolve to implement as is or in similar form.

Thank You City Council members and City Manger for consideration of these proposed litter ordinances.

Let us make our street the cleanest in our city, our city the cleanest city in the state.


Respectfully submitted,
Bernie Paquette, SB VT
April 2015 
               Addendum
I have explained the advantages businesses can gain by earning the clean branding through timely removal of litter on their properties. I am not so naïve to think there is not cost of doing so. I do believe the benefits outweigh the cost.
However, I understand change can be difficult for individuals and for businesses. In that respect, I offer not my thoughts but those of Seth Godin; which I find applicable to this change of behavior I am suggesting we ask of SB businesses.

Footnotes


[1]  A multi-faceted approach is necessary to maintain a litter free community. When education (information, knowledge), enforcement (penalizing offenders) and engineering (making it easy and convenient) are integrated, attitude and behavior change are more likely to occur simultaneously.
[2] The Vermont Statutes Online Title 24 Appendix: Municipal Charters Chapter 13: CITY OF SOUTH BURLINGTON Amended 2/1/12
[3] Litterati: 1. Find a piece of litter. 2. Photograph it with Instagram. 3. Hashtag your photo with ‘Litterati’. 4. Throw away, recycle, or compost the piece of litter. Source http://www.litterati.org/

[4] http://www.litterwithastorytotell.blogspot.com/
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PRESS RELEASE 
Clean City Ordinance Proposal
On Monday April 20, I offered the South Burlington City Council a proposal for ordinances and resolutions pertaining to litter control. The purpose of these ordinances is, to set standards and regulations for the control of litter in South Burlington, to set a bold and forefront path to a standout-clean Community. 

It is the purpose of these proposed ordinances to help preserve the public health, safety, and economic well being of South Burlington, by requiring businesses to manage their properties in such a manner as to keep them clean (free of litter) year round.

The emphasis is on the consistent and appropriate management of an area to keep it clean, not on frequency of cleaning. (Similar to snow, and ice, removal responsibilities.) How long litter remains on business properties remains inconsistent without a set of standards and expectations set by the city.

Ask yourselves, why should we be tolerant of littered trash that degrades our city’s image?

Proposal Summary:
I.   Fortify the Vermont clean brand within South Burlington by directing all South Burlington businesses to maintain litter free properties year round.

II. Initiate a multi-faceted approach and management plan to eradicate or at least reduce litter in South Burlington, year round, for the sake of the health, and the economy of our community.

III. Stimulate collaboration between the city offices and businesses, non-profits, schools, and citizens in order to expand litter picking and litter prevention activities in our South Burlington communities.

IV. Commend those who support or take direct action(s) to help maintain a clean South Burlington environment.

Proposed Ordinance LC-1

 South Burlington businesses will maintain litter free storefronts / business properties, year round in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. Meaning businesses will make sure that land under their control and to which the public have access is kept free from litter and refuse year round.


Many businesses and many citizens of South Burlington demonstrate great pride in our city by picking up litter on both public and private domains, with particular focus on Green Up Day and during spring planting. However, litter is visible throughout the year at many of our city’s business locations.

The City of South Burlington should set clean city, litter free business standards, and litter control management processes, and measurements to ensure year round compliance, and constant improvement.

The city should also take an annual read out on a Clean City dept or committee regarding business compliance, litter surveys, best practices, and celebrate successes.

As a citizen of South Burlington, I respectfully ask the council members and the city manager to review this analysis, the points of argument, and resolve to implement as is or in similar form.

The full memorandum covers multiple points, and detailed line item recommendations to which I hope will favor this council to rule in support of the proposed ordinances and resolutions. View the full report @ http://www.litterwithastorytotell.blogspot.com/.

Let us make our street the cleanest in our city, our city the cleanest city in the state.
Respectfully submitted,
Bernie Paquette, SB VT
April 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

VT Birding Green Mountain Audubon @ South Hero Marsh

Birding @
South Hero (Vermont) Marsh Recreational Trail
In search of migrating Rusty Blackbirds.

Walk led by Bruce MacPherson
                        President of Green Mountain Audubon Society.

Directions: Take I-89 interstate exiting at Exit 17 (Champlain Islands). Than follow route 2 to South Hero. Drive through the town and take your first left on Tracy Road. You will cross the marsh about 200 yards down the road. The parking lot will be on your left where the road divides.









                                                                                                   Osprey























                     Osprey, sometimes known as the fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk, or fish hawk, is a fish eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than (60 cm (24 in.) in length and 180 cm (71 in.) across the wings. ~Wikipedia




















































































































































































TO VIEW my backyard birding photo series, go to the top of this posting, click on Table of Contents, page down to the birds section, choose any of the  16 species of birds. 

* List of birds seen on this South Hero Marsh walk listed below. 

Rusty Blackbird references. (click on listing to open the reference web site.)
 GMAS speaks of South Hero Marsh Recreational trail


Bernie publishes short stories and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to pick up litter in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 
Bernie resides in SB, Vermont

Here is the list of birds seen by at least one member of the group.
GB Heron
Green Heron
Killdeer
Canada Goose
Mallard
Hooded Merganser
Wood Duck
Ring-billed Gull
Osprey
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Tree Swallow
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown Creeper
American Robin
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
European Starling
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
Belted Kingfisher