CITY COUNCIL RECAP

October 27, 2020, 6PM
EXCERPTS (Eco-related Items only)

Full Agenda & Meeting Video 

Presentations & Reports:

Green Business Certification Program Report

Integrated Waste Superintendent Etienne Ozorak, offered a brief report on the Green Business Certification Program emphasizing that this was a non-regulatory way for the City to help businesses reduce their water, energy and waste usage with a free audit and guidance. [GEC Note: This process also can help reduce bills as well.] Upon program completion, participants receive a Green Business Certificate and signage, are listed on both the city’s website and the statewide network website and receive a mayor’s commendation at Council. [GEC NOTE: Visit our new Green Business Program webpage to see businesses that have participated in the program and hear about some of their experiences.]

15 businesses have gone through the program in its first year. Mr. Ozorak estimated that between 3-5 businesses were currently under consideration. Pre-Covid, site visits were in person. At present, they are handling most things online. Council member Brotman asked how outside groups (such as GEC) might help spread help, and asked specifically how the city could better promote the program so that there were more participants. He also asked for clarity as to whether the limited number of participants was due to the ability of staff to process more businesses? The reply was that tonight was meant to be the kickoff and the city will push this more after tonight. The City Manager will begin broader outreach. Will hold workshops and will invite businesses to get acquainted with the program. The presentation concluded and the Mayor recognized the 15 businesses that have successfully completed certification.
Consent Item (pulled):

c. Public Works, re: City of Glendale’s Response to 2019-2020 Report by the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury regarding Cutting Down on Food Waste (“Diet for Landfills”)

Mr. Yazdan Emrani, Director of Public Works,  introduced Dan Hardgrove, Assist Director of Public Works, to discuss Glendale’s response to the Grand Jury’s letter requesting action updates on how the city will prevent food waste and prevent organic waste going to the landfill (see response letter.) followed up by an update on the city’s edible food recovery efforts to date.

Hardgrove reviewed the city’s proposed responses, going through each recommendation and response one by one, including: drop off sites for food waste (no, too complicated for a city to run this), incentive programs (no, SB 1383 mandates participation by law, so not necessary to provide incentives, better to do targeted outreach), adopt suggestions from County Organic waste management plan (agrees, City is in process of implementing all 11 of county suggestions, as aligned with state law – SB 1383.)

Hardgrove then gave a brief overview of the requirements of SB 1383, the new CA rule which seeks to reduce edible food waste and reduce organic waste going to landfills, and outlined some of the City’s current SB 1383 preparation efforts. Hardgrove first outlined the SB1383 rules – including having an Edible Food Recovery program in place by January 2022 (grocery stores, supermarkets and larger processors and distributers first, then smaller venues such as restaurants, hotels, health facilities, and event venues for tier two). Mr. Hardgrove then shared the efforts to date (see below) and shared efforts that will be pursued next, including: (1) find regional collaborators, (2)  track participation by businesses in order to coordinate participation and check compliance, (3) document, track and provide performance metrics to CalRecycle. CalRecycle is currently rolling out model structures for city’s to use for successful implementation.

CITY EFFORTS TO DATE: Determined who the food generators in the city were (developed comprehensive database); Identified 8 food recovery services within Glendale (food pantries) and met with LA Regional Foodbank and other regional organizations involved with food recovery. Glendale has formed a partnership with FOOD FINDERS. The city has 6 businesses participating in the edible food recovery program so far – Ralphs, (2) Jons Markets and Village French, 85 and Siapan Bakeries. 100,000 pounds of food has been recovered since the program began in August, 2019.  Mr. Hardgrove then went on to describe plans to continue developing this program, including developing a webpage, updating solid waste ordinances to address all aspects of SB 1383 and finding additional food rescue partners.

Public Comments: GEC steering member and waste expert Jennifer Pinkerton, called in to make suggestions on ways to enhance the Grand Jury response letter, by highlighting the efforts the city is making now in preparation for SB 1383 (including all the work being done to prepare a database of businesses and characterizations of their waste streams. She suggested the city should note the franchise hauling agreements in development. Ms. Pinkerton provided suggestions to further reduce food waste and expand composting of organics, such as: (1) stressing upstream activities including food waste prevention education, (2) providing modest incentives to generate interest and attention, (3) providing compost drop off sites (or bringing in an outside non-profit such as LA Compost to run one), and (4) revising commercial and multifamily building codes to encourage on site organics recycling (dehydrators or processing equipment such as EcoVim), food waste separation bins or space for equipment related to food donation.

Council member Devine was upset to not have heard an update on this item since her request it in 2019. She agreed with the GEC caller’s points. Though many concerns were voiced, the council agreed to allow the letter to be sent as drafted.

Council Comments:
Council member Brotman requested an update on the Slow Streets program, and was told:
– barricades are in high demand and the city is waiting for more to arrive
– 30 to 40 more locations already processed will be finished up
– City can’t take more applications now
– will look again into the program in late Winter/Spring – looking at other cities to see if they made this permanent and if so, what they did.
Action Items:

8b: Ordinance Establishing A Sustainability Commission: Glendale’s Sustainability Officer, David Jones, introduced an ordinance amending code to establish a Sustainability Commission. Mr. Jones talked about the process staff took to establish parameters for the commission, including looking at several other cities and receiving local input. The proposed commission will consist of 5 voting members and 2 high school or higher (non-voting) student members. It shall make advisory comments to council on climate action, sustainability plans, low-emissions development strategies, protecting biodiversity, enhancing healthy ecosystems and the natural environment. The commission will provide input regarding improving air and water quality, sustainability programs related to waste management, green procurement and recycling, and on the natural and built environment in and around the city. It will seek inclusive participation from local and regional businesses, public interest groups and residents, support education and outreach efforts, and create an annual report. Mr. Jones proposed an aggressive schedule, so that members could be solicited before the holidays, selected by council in January and hold their first in February. While the initial proposal is for the commission to meet quarterly, it is expected the commission will choose to meet monthly.

Public Comments: GEC steering member Elise Kalfayan called in to support. She thanked staff for bringing the proposed ordinance forward so quickly and asked for consideration that the commission, due to the vast amount of issues they would need to consider, should indeed meet monthly (vs. quarterly.) Also, she suggested commission should not just review matters, but should be given reports to address sustainability impacts early in the process to give input. Glendale resident, Alek Bartrosouf called in support as well, and expressed that from his own personal past experience, it is positive having council members and commissioners engaged with one another.

Council member Brotman said he liked the aggressive timeline, supports the GEC request for monthly minimum meetings, active engagement and being part of brainstorming, and appreciates how quickly staff brought this item back. The City Manager concurred that they will proceed with monthly meetings and noted that this was just an introduction tonight from a council member, so no need to move the item.The item will come forward next week for adoption.


8c: 
Standards for Landscaping in Parkways: This ordinance amendment to the GMC loosens restrictions surrounding parkway landscaping designs established in 2015, and will attempt to reduce the amount of code violations recorded to date. The specifics are outlined in the report HERE. The bigger takeaways: The adjacent property owner is responsible for maintenance and is liable for damages caused as a result of a failure to meet this requirement. Defines the parkway as a public right of way from the curb to the sidewalk, increases height limit of non living material within parkway from 6″ to 18″, allows loose non-living materials, live material plant requirement reduced to 30% from 50%, and cacti and needle/prickly plants will now be allowed.  Ms Devine requested the ordinance be revised to require a permit for anything living or non living that is greater than 12″. Ordinance will be re-drafted and will go to vote in the next council meeting.


8d: Verdugo Wash Visioning consultant recommendation and funding allocation

  1. Motion awarding a contract to !melk, and authorize the Interim City Manager to execute a Professional Service Agreement with !melk in the amount of $440,000 for the Verdugo Wash Visioning Study (PASSED)
  2. Resolution of appropriation of $200,000 in Measure M funding to be used towards the Verdugo Wash Visioning Study for a contract total of $440,000 (PASSED)

Please see the presentation from Bradley Calvert (Assistant Director of Community Development) at approx. 2 hrs. 37 min. or see the full report.  Calvert reviewed the scope of the project and discussed the selection process. the city sent over 40 (highly regarded) firms the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the visioning stage of the project to encourage bids and had a one-month solicitation. He expressed how extremely excited staff was with the RFP results. They received 20 submittals from firms across the country, including some of the leading firms in the country, if not the world. They chose to interview 8 firms based on their scoring criteria. The final selection was  !melk landscape architecture & design, an award-winning NYC firm that brought the complete package they were looking for. Mr. Calvert presented examples of many projects of note around the globe – from New York and Madrid to Toronto and Sacramento. Mr. Calvert then requested council add $200k to the budget to expand the scope (see presentation at approx. 2:40) and specify more specific technical details.

Council Member Kassakhian – Concerned that a local firm was not selected. Question: if firms that applied understood that there was another $200k to put into the RFP,  would the selection outcome be different? A: No, no firm had an advantage. They were all evaluated on the same level of skills and same level of budget.

There were several callers in support of the expanded budget and the project:  Paul Rabinov – calling on behalf of the Verdugo Hills Committee, in support of direction city is taking with the project. Paul believes this will be an emblematic symbol for Glendale; resident. Alek Bartrosouf called in support and to thank the community members for bringing project to reality. He said this will be a multifaceted project that will address mobility, open space and more, and supports the robust community engagement piece. (3) John Howell, CEO and General Council of the Arroyo Foothils Conservancy (land trust) which works to link the Verdugo Mountains, San Rafiel Hills, San Gabriel Mountains and Griffith Park into wildlife corridors – called in to support and also offered to assist to promote wildlife corridors in this project. He supports the open space, sustainability, habitat aspects and would like to add the wildlife corridor component, to help species connect to protect the biodiversity in the area. He is working separately on this in Griffith Park. He noted that the entire conservation in our region is very excited about this possibility, but needs to work together to make it a reality, including for the PUMA species. Talked about the Upper region of the LA River project and potential connection to that LA tributary. He recommends a specialist or sub-consultant to be involved, and other inputs such as CA fish and wildlife and National Park Service, that this will be a substantial amenity to Glendale and that the habitat restoration and sustainability considerations are very encouraging.

Moved by Brotman, seconded by Devine, Yes from Kassakhiah, Yes from Mayor Agajanian, Najarian (abstained) 

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