There?s much on the plate over the next six months, so I will be writing to you about the various initiatives underway to introduce them and answer questions you might have. And, also, I include a reminder for the Martin Luther King Community Breakfast tomorrow morning, run by a group of local residents.
Green Building Code
One of the major initiatives the Board will tackle over the next few months is the incorporation of environmentally sensitive requirements into our Village Building Code. These changes will affect most new construction as well as be a factor in major home and commercial renovations. This effort, underway for nearly three years, is the
result of hundreds of hours of work. The Board had asked the Conservation Committee in 2010 to pursue modifications to "green up" the Building Code. The Committee, in turn, put together a group of resident volunteers with backgrounds in architecture, construction, engineering and public policy to come up with a general approach and then later a smaller drafting group headed by resident Sharon Kivowitz to synthesize that into specific recommended changes to the Building Code. A draft was passed onto the Planning Board, which came back with their own recommended changes and those have been largely incorporated.
The code changes include some applicable to all construction (e.g. all appliances should be Energy Star compliant). It also includes a "Chinese menu" of possible accommodations (such as the 10% of construction materials made from recycled materials, use of solar energy to heat water or produce electricity etc.), each of which is assigned a number of points. Most projects will require a set number of points which can be fulfilled by implementing any combination of the alternative available environmental accommodations.
Many of the changes are increasingly standard practice (for example, it's hard to find appliances that are not Energy Star), and most result in energy or water savings and thus pay for themselves in a matter of a few years. It is in line with similar work being done in other communities, drawing in part on the approach of a building code
standard familiar to many known as LEEDS. It reflects our community's values by incorporating a respect for our environment and a concern for sustainability.
Trustee Jennings, who has been involved with this effort throughout the drafting, has indicated that the Conservation Committee will be submitting the proposal to the Board of Trustees this month. Once submitted, we'll have a public process of review and public input before it is cast into the stone of the Building Code.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Breakfast
Several residents have organized a community breakfast in celebration of Martin Luther King Day on January 21st from 10AM to 1PM at the Community Center. If you register in advance (an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will do the trick), it's only $12, or $15 at the door. Following the breakfast from 10AM to 11:15AM, the organizers will honor local artist Madge Scott and then Arthur Matthews, an attorney with civil rights roots, will speak. The event ends with the participants watching President Barack Obama's inauguration address. It's a day off for many, so please consider coming and a RSVP at the above email will be helpful to the organizers.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day provides a chance to both celebrate the legacy of this great man and to consider the state of our nation's race relations. It comes coincidentally this year on the same day as the Inauguration, which is certainly Exhibit One in how far our country has come. However, Martin Luther King's dream is not yet realized and we have much more ground to cover than, perhaps, we are usually willing to admit. It's a topic that makes most people (including me) supremely uncomfortable, and yet the stain of our nations' past history still colors the present and we need to continually address it. King would often say "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice". The holiday calls for reflecting on King's success and vision, but also on the road ahead and the
ongoing march toward justice that we have only completed in part.