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Council punts on changes to environmental policy

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Council punts on changes to environmental policy
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

Proposed changes to a city ordinance governing environmental management will be put on hold until more community members can weigh in on it, Woodbury City Council members decided last Wednesday.

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During the Jan. 12 meeting City Council member Christopher Burns, in his first meeting, called on the panel to table its decision on amendments to a proposed environmental management ordinance so the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, developers and Woodbury residents can review the changes.

Burns said additional review of the proposal will "broaden the outreach to the community."

Council members accepted Burns' recommendation, which city administrator Clint Gridley said will establish neighborhood meetings and solicit other feedback. The council will be presented with a summary memo based on the community feedback, he said.

The proposal is a collection of amendments to the current ordinance "to reflect changes in city policy as a result of the 2009 adoption of the city's Surface Water Management Plan and to clarify issues in the existing ordinance language," according to a city memo.

The amendments cover wetlands, woodland protection, urban forestry management and landscaping. The proposal would also add divisions governing environmental review, and compliance and enforcement.

According to a city memo, the process included "multiple opportunities for public review and comment," spanning six public meetings, including stops at the Environmental Advisory Commission and the Planning Commission.

Burns said he called for additional review since prior input was mostly limited to commissioners. He also noted environmental planner Steve Kernick's assertion that the city is under no deadline to implement the ordinance.

The council's decision came shortly after the city was presented with an award for its environmental practices. Sherry Buss, chairwoman of the Minnesota Chapter American Public Works Association, presented the city with the group's Environmental Stewardship Award.

Buss praised the city for its environmental policies, including "a wide array of programs," from stormwater management to use of green infrastructure.

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Mike Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
(715) 426-1072
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