In January 2006, Shoreline’s City Council adopted a goal “to create an environmentally sustainable community” and directed City staff to develop an environmental sustainability strategy for preserving, restoring and enhancing the value of the City’s environmental assets. The City of Shoreline already had an extensive list of programs and policies that address aspects of sustainability, but it did not have a framework for incorporating sustainability concepts into decision making, setting sustainability objectives and targets, prioritizing actions, and monitoring progress. To develop an overarching framework, the City of Shoreline hired O’Brien and Company, in partnership with AHBL, Inc. The project team set out to develop a comprehensive Environmental Sustainability Strategy that would accomplish the following:
- Establish criteria for environmentally sustainable decision making
- Assess current City practices and provide recommendations for improvements
- Develop a green infrastructure system for the City
- Create performance measures for tracking progress
- Assess capacity for strategy implementation
- Engage the community in the development and implementation of the Strategy
O’Brien and Company’s work tasks included research of other municipal sustainability strategy efforts, compiling an overview of elements that should be included in the Shoreline Strategy, interviewing City staff, assessing strengths, weaknesses, and program gaps in existing City sustainability efforts, and preparing materials for and facilitating community meetings.
The Sustainability Strategy Focus Areas included Green Building and Low Impact Development, Green Infrastructure, Energy and Carbon, and Waste and Resource Conservation. Two “community conversations” were held to obtain resident input on actions the City should take in the four focus areas, engage citizens in a participatory mapping exercise to identify the City’s Green Infrastructure system, and obtain feedback on the Team’s preliminary recommendations and draft indicators.
The final City of Shoreline Environmental Sustainability Strategy was adopted by The Shoreline City Council in 2008, and was awarded the 2009 Sustainability Merit Award from the APA/PAW.