Policies & Strategies
Link: Sustainability Printabe Version (PDF)


The larger goal of all activity in the area of Sustainability is to ensure the long-term environmental, economic and social viability of Cleveland and its region. The
Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan proposes the following set of policies, each addressing a key issue, and strategies for implementation.

  1. Sustainable Development Patterns. Create high-density, mixed-use districts that promote travel by transit, walking, and bicycling.

    1. Support regional efforts to reduce suburban sprawl in order to strengthen and reinvest in the City of Cleveland and our urban core, while supporting farmland preservation and expansion efforts (e.g. the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy) and other land protection efforts (e.g. the Western Reserve Land Conservancy).

    2. Engage in a sustainable development planning process to develop clear, useful guidelines, and provide technical assistance to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and private developers involved in neighborhood development projects.

    3. Integrate sustainable design and construction practices and the use of eco-friendly materials into major infrastructure and neighborhood-scale redevelopment projects.

    4. Support Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) initiatives that increasethe density of housing along bus lines and near transit stops.

    5. Improve public transit to provide a clean, convenient, and efficient alternative to automobile use.

    6. Change traffic codes to be more pedestrian- and bike-friendly and create safe bike routes connecting residents to amenities and other key destinations.

    7. Partner with other public and private entities to develop a sustainable design resource center.

  2. Sustainable Neighborhoods. Develop “full life-cycle neighborhoods” that provide housing and services for residents of all ages and incomes, with a healthy living environment and convenient access to jobs, shopping and recreation.

    1. Ensure that residents can meet their basic needs by providing: affordable housing to meet the needs of all ages, incomes, and special needs; access to affordable health care; employment and income to support individuals and families; safe communities and work places; and access to locally produced, affordable food.

      • Provide basic needs services within walking or cycling distance of residents (e.g. grocery stores and community gardens).

    2. Ensure that residents can advance themselves through: access to a variety of local and/or regional jobs; through advanced education opportunities; through affordable recreation, leisure or cultural facilities and programs; through opportunities for cultural and artistic expression; and through opportunities to promote health and well-being.

      • Retr ofit and transform built-out, low-resource neighborhoods through physical projects, programs and policies that promote physical activity and access to nutritious food, by following the example of the Slavic Village neighborhoods’ Active Living by Design Community Partnership program.

      • Encourage residents to lead healthier lifestyles through exercise, community involvement, and by taking advantage of educational opportunities in the community to learn about obesity and other health risks.

      • Develop increased access to electronic communications to address the digital divide.

    3. Ensure that residents have opportunities to participate in social or community activities t o improve quality of life by encouraging: community economic development; embracing diverse communities; involvement in public processes; by providing opportunities for social community interaction and access to arts, cultural and community activities; and support of local community organizations and networks.

      • Incorporateenvironmental and sustainability interests into community organizing and neighborhood planning efforts.

      • Encourage participation in block clubs and neighborhood watch programs to increase public safety and to assist community members in taking ownership of their neighborhood.

      • Promoting community gardens, youth gardens, and urban market gardens in neighborhoods to provide a source of supplemental income, greenspace, more accessible fresh affordable foods, and to enhance social networks and community.

      • Encourage transit use to improve quality of life by cutting household transportation expenses while reducing the impacts of pollution on public health and the environment.

      • Examine existing City programs to determine whether they support, or work against, the goal of creating full life-cycle neighborhoods, and make any necessary modifications.

    4. Ensure that minority and low-income populations are not disproportionately affected by adverse human health or environmental conditions.

      • Use information related to environmental and human health risks and ensure that local programs, policies or activities have not unfairly affected minority or low-income populations.

      • Ensure that communities and neighborhoods have a strong voice in environmental decision-making and problem solving and build capacity for constructive engagement and problem-solving.

      • Receive full protection from existing environmental rules and regulations by ensuring that all permitted facilities in a neighborhood are in compliance with their environmental permits.

      • Conduct enhanced review of any new or expanding air or water emissions, or solid or hazardous waste facilities.

  3. Sustainable Economy. Ensure that economic development and job training in the Cleveland region keep pace with national trends and emerging opportunities in order to provide jobs for current and future residents.

    1. Foster relationships between industry and environmental interests to maintain Cleveland’s industrial health while incorporating sustainable business practices.

    2. Create environmentally sustainable developments, such as eco-industrial parks or zero waste businesses, where networks of firms exchange products and by-products to optimize economic, employment and environmental objectives. What is waste for one company may be a raw material and revenue for another.

    3. Foster the growth of businesses and industries that are developing or manufacturing technology, products or materials for high performance / green building, ecologically responsible waste disposal or recycling, local food, and clean energy production.

      • Provide incentives to encourage sustainably-minded businesses to locate in Cleveland, and commend existing companies that follow pollution prevention and product stewardship practices.

      • Improve the capacity to store and process locally grown foods to encourage the development of food-related businesses, which provides basic entrepreneurial training, creates new markets for local farmers, and captures more value from food than is currently purchased from outside of the region.

      • Foster growth of the deconstruction industry in Cleveland, the recovery of salvageable building materials for reuse or resale to the green/sustainable construction marketplace.

    4. Ensure that the Cleveland public schools are providing children with the skills and resources that will enable them to pursue advanced education or become gainfully employed in today’s marketplace.

    5. Encourage the efficient use of resources by adopting sustainable business practices for businesses, organizations and local governmental agencies in Cleveland.

      • Reduce consumption of resources by City agencies in order to save money and reduce disposal costs.

      • Utilize local food production as an opportunity to teach basic entrepreneurial skills and sustainable business practices to urban residents.

      • Develop a plan to increase adoption of sustainable practices by Cleveland businesses including the production of a resource guide .

    6. Use the City’s purchasing power to support the local economy, the public health and the environment, and encourage other entities to the do the same.

      • Reduce City purchasing of products that may be harmful to public health or the environment and, where possible, seek less harmful substitutes (e.g. purchase wood products from sustainably managed forests and recycled-content paper).

      • Purchase more products and food from local and regional companies.

      • Work with local economic development groups to map the locations of local suppliers and distribute that information to encourage the purchase of local materials.

      • Encourage local businesses such as restaurants, schools, groceries, farmers markets, and convenience stores to purchase fresh, locally-produced, organic produce.

      • Consider human health and environmental impacts when the City makes planning, contracting, purchasing, or operating decisions.

      See the Economic Development chapter ( add link ) for more policies and strategies .

  4. Sustainable Development Practices. Ensure that land is used in a manner that preserves and expands valuable open space, protects natural habitats, retains and replaces trees, prevents environmental contamination, and protects sensitive lands.

    1. Develop and maintain a comprehensive open space system that protects the natural environment while providing passive and active recreation opportunities, which is equitably distributed throughout the community.

      • Create a long-range open space plan for open space and habitat preservation and restoration that identifies opportunities, sets priorities and details acquisition and management strategies.

      • Create a new land conservancy or land trust, or expand an existing group to hold property for open space projects.

      • Actively solicit donations of property or easements to protect and enhance identified resources.

    2. Develop neighborhood level plans centered on restoring the function and aesthetics of natural features and highlight them as amenities for neighborhood preservation and restoration.

      • Ensure that neighborhood master plans and other planning efforts include preservation and enhancement of significant natural and scenic resources.

      • Incorporate new fish and wildlife habitat elements into park plans and landscaping.

      • Include noise reduction as a major goal in neighborhood planning efforts.

      • Encourage the incorporation of low impact development features into new development proposals.

      • Include water and habitat quality improvements as part of any water related (rivers, lakes, streams) recommendations.

      • Promote existing neighborhood greening efforts like the Broadway Greenway Plan, which advocates the creation of multi-modal routes linking neighborhood parks to public open space, neighborhood assets, and the regional Towpath hiking trail system.

    3. Protect natural areas characterized by stream valleys, stream valleys / riparian areas, wetlands, hillsides, forests and other environmentally sensitive and valuable features.

      • Support preservation of regional habitat and biodiversity by promoting land use patterns that encourage growth within the City rather than in undeveloped areas.

      • Encourage preservation and maintenance of existing natural habitat in new development or redevelopment projects and require mitigation if damage is unavoidable.

      • Encourage the use of greenspace protection tools, such as conservation easements, and adopt ordinances that will assist in achieving preservation goals.

      • Protect natural resources from sediment and other forms of pollution through use of vegetation, erosion control measures during construction, settling ponds and other structural and non-structural means.

      • Correct lakefront and riverfront erosion conditions where it is in the public interest to do so.

      • Protect land from changes that would make it unsafe or unsightly (e.g. excavation, quarrying).

      • Establish policies regarding the appropriateness of “fill” (using earth to build up the level of low-lying land).

        • When and if filling is approved, require the highest engineering standards to ensure safety and consistency with the future use of that property.

      • Protect existing recreation and open spaces by making them permanent.

        • Analyze existing recreation and open space for use and access by residents and appropriateness for rezoning as an Open Space & Recreation (OSR) Zoning District (Chapter 342 of zoning code).

        • Reserve land for either temporary and permanent community gardens or urban market gardens in every neighborhood throughout the City.

        • Protect and retain trees of significant historical, cultural, horticultural, environmental, and aesthetic value.

      • Add City staff to handle review of areas deemed critically sensitive.

    4. Improve the quality of existing open space and natural features including restoring their natural functions to lessen the negative impact of human development on the local ecosystem.

      • Protect and improve the quality of street trees, landscaped areas, urban forests and wildlife habitats within Cleveland, in order to maximize their environmental and aesthetic benefits.

        • Consider the value of the functions trees provide (wildlife habitat, property value enhancement, open space enjoyment, soil stabilization and greenhouse effect mitigation) in decisions related to infrastructure and development / redevelopment projects.

        • Restore natural function to the Lake Erie shoreline.

        • Improve and make urban cemeteries more usable and active.

      • Maximize public access to the lakefront, riverfront and stream valleys, including safe and convenient access from nearby neighborhoods for pedestrians and bicyclists.

      • Raise the importance of local restoration projects such as those for Doan Brook, Big Creek, Mill Creek, and Euclid Creek.

    5. Acquire additional open space in underserved areas and increase vegetative cover in the City to help decrease the urban heat island effect caused by impermeable surfaces.

      • Support the acquisition of, and assist in the assembly of, land that will expand greenspace opportunities in the City.

        • Aggregate underutilized and/or vacant land for neighborhood green spaces (e.g. new parks, community gardens, desalinization gardens, and wetlands).

        • Improve and expand publicly accessible recreation sites and greenways along the lakefront and other waterways such as Doan Brook, Treadway Creek, Big Creek, Mill Creek and Euclid Creek.

        • Increase staff and funding allocated for greenway restoration projects.

      • Consider development of an urban forest management plan that establishes goals for tree planting, maintenance and greenbelt restoration and identifies priority actions to improve the number of healthy trees.

      • Expand land dedicated to urban agriculture (e.g. community gardens) to increase local food production and to support community building and nutrition education.

        • Encourage the utilization of vacant land and rooftops within the city for market garden or agricultural production.

        • Partner with local organizations groups like City Fresh part of the New Agrarian Center to promote access to local food systems.

        • Purchase local produce for the Cleveland City Hall cafeteria and encourage other institutions to do the same (e.g. medical and research facilities, schools, and colleges).

      • Utilize green technology (e.g. green roofs, permeable pavement, bioretention cells, and pocket wetlands) to help decrease urban heat island effect, to lower energy costs, and to incorporate water quality features.

        • Promote existing green roof projects (e.g. the Cleveland Environmental Center, several Cleveland Division of Water facilities like the Baldwin covered reservoir, and the Convention Center green roof) and local green roof installation companies (e.g. The Garland Company).

        • Encourage the City of Cleveland to promote green roof technology by installing them on City buildings where appropriate.

    6. . Manage City operations in ways that work with natural systems to minimize negative impacts to the environment and reduce costs to the City.

      • Design, construct and operate all City facilities to limit environmental impacts through energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimization, pollution prevention and/or resource efficient materials.

        • Planning, contracting, purchasing, and operating decisions should consider the environmental and economic costs and should include the suppliers’ commitment to protecting the environment.

      • On City property, cultivate ecosystems that encourage native wildlife.

      • Use regionally appropriate plants (native species) on all City property to reduce maintenance costs and to create native habitats supportive to local wildlife and resistant to local insects, diseases and climate conditions.

        • Monitor the use of native and non-native plants onnew or replaced public landscaped areas and non-recreational turf areas.

        • Utilize local resources to gather and distribute information about native plant species (e.g. Cleveland Natural History Museum, Holden Arboretum, Big Creek Initiative website).

        • Encourage the development of small-scale horticultural enterprises to propagate native plants that can be utilized for native vegetation and habitat restoration initiatives.

    7. Expand public/private partnerships to more effectively involve citizens and non-governmental organizations in the care and enhancement of habitat for native plants and wildlife.

      • Engage organizations like the Wildlife Habitat Council (works with private businesses to protect, restore and manage natural areas on private property) to expand their presence in Cleveland.

      • Coordinate with local, state and federal regulatory agencies to address proposed developments within natural resource areas.

      • Continue and expand cooperative relationships with regulatory and local non-profit agencies to promote environmental stewardship.

      • Involve citizens, community groups and non-profit organizations in the care and enhancement of urban forests and wildlife habitat.

        • Allow for Adopt-A-groups, other community groups and volunteers to clean up and maintain streets, parks, streams, etc.

    8. Educate property owners, residents and City personnel on water quality best management practices (BMPs) that reduce negative environmental impacts.

      • Map all parks, “green” projects, outdoor recreation opportunities and natural assets and distribute widely as a regional branding/marketing tool.

      • Improve City’s role in public environmental education and provide opportunities for public involvement in recreation management and maintenance.

        • Educateemployees about environmental impacts through training in environmental stewardship programs at community and recreation centers.

      See the Recreation & Open Space chapter ( add link to chapter ) for more policies and strategies specific to recreation and the waterfront.

  5. High Performance / Green Building. Amend building and zoning codes and add financial incentives to encourage high performance “green building” that conserves resources and creates more healthful living and working environments.

    1. Ensure that City policies and codes allow high performance building to proceed with same ease as other new construction and rehabilitation projects.( Seattle’s Sustainable Building Policy is a good model.)

      • Create high performance building design and construction guidelines for the City of Cleveland.

      • Train City staff to provide high performance building technical assistance to developers and the public.

    2. Develop a high performance building rating system in Cleveland for a variety of building types, including commercial, residential, and affordable housing.

      • Develop a high performance building policy and requirements for all City-owned and funded construction projects; set goals and timelines for what percentage of new construction must be green.

      • Develop a high performance rating system, administrative rules, project tracking, criteria, outreach and marketing.

      • Conduct research on barriers to high performance building in Cleveland and develop tools to remove impediments.

    3. Create incentives and subsidies to encourage developers to build high performance.

      • Provide residential and commercial incentives by creating City programs that provide homeowners and developers with grants or rebates for new construction and major remodeling projects that meet high performance guidelines as defined by the City.

      • Offer a combination of technical assistance, grants, low-interest loans, and discounted energy audits.

      • Follow the example set by the cities of Shaker Heights and Lakewood.

    4. Educate officials, City staff, developers, private and public sector decision makers, and the general public about the reasons for, and benefits of, high performance building.

      • Develop materials (e.g. brochures, fact sheets, newsletters, event displays) and a marketing campaign to promote high performance building principles and technology in Cleveland.

        • Develop a web site that contains information on City programs, guidelines, incentives, case studies, emerging technologies, and links related to high performance building.

        • Develop and deliver high performance building-related training and workshop curriculum.

        • Encourage local purchase of all materials (within 500 miles of the City).

        • Arrange for local high performance buildingsto be featured in case studies, home tours and other education and outreach initiatives.

        • Evaluate current projects to see how well they meet high performance building goals in the City.

  6. Nonmotorized Travel. Design and develop safe routes for walking and bicycling, accessible to all residents, in order to reduce automobile dependency, improve health, and reduce the cost of travel.

    1. Modify traffic codes and adopt street design standards that are bike- and pedestrian- friendly, and adopt standards and requirements for the design of trails and bike improvements for roadways in keeping with the American Association of State and Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards.

    2. Require that pedestrians and bicyclists are accommodated in all roadway and capital improvement projects; allocate a portion of City roadway improvement money for bike and pedestrian enhancements.

    3. Create a comprehensive network of bicycle routes, bicycle lanes and multi-purpose trails that safely link neighborhoods to recreation sites, schools, shopping areas, places of employment and other destinations throughout the City and region.

      • Evaluate Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) property, railroad property and underutilized rights-of-way for use as potential trail routes.

      • Develop and expand continuous trails along waterways as part of broader greenway corridors.

      • Coordinate bikeway planning with adjacent communities and the Cleveland Metroparks.

      • Improve coordination of mass transit facilities, routes and bicycle amenities throughout the City.

    4. Develop incentives and accommodations to encourage employees of the City, other public agencies and private industry to commute to work on foot or by bicycle.

      • Create car-free districts and pedestrian-friendly streets, and designate special areas and times for minimal automobile use.

      • Provide bicycle racks, benches, water fountains and other amenities to encourage bicycling and pedestrian travel throughout the City.

      • Establish secure bicycle parking throughout the City and support the City Racks / City Seats program to install ~500 bike racks and ~200 benches in Cleveland.

      • Create a centralized downtown bike station providing services for bicycle commuters, such as secure bicycle parking and showers (e.g. Chicago’s Millennium Park Bike Station ).

      • Reduce City employee work trips by encouraging walking and biking to meetings instead of driving fleet cars.

      • Consider implementing bike parking requirements in Cleveland’s zoning code for new buildings and developments.

      • Design bicycle and pedestrian amenities as public art.

    5. Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and access throughout the City.

      • Improve crosswalk safety by consolidating crosswalks, signal, and transit stop locations for safety and convenience.

      • Improve the aesthetic experience for pedestrians by designing wider sidewalks where appropriate, and using materials and treatments that invite pedestrian activity.

      • Develop ‘Safe Routes to Schools’ programs in all neighborhoods to improve safety conditions for children walking and biking to school.

      • Identify and reduce road hazards and barriers to bicyclists (e.g. potholes, glass, and sewer grates).

      • Increase driver awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians through education and marketing, and promote local and national programs.

      • Use educational programs within the police department, schools and other agencies to teach children and adults, cyclists and motorists to safely share the roads and trails.

    6. f. Increase community interaction through ‘street reclaiming’ to increasing social, cultural, recreational and economic activity in neighborhood streets.

      • Promote block club activity and neighborhood parties and festivals.

      • Incorporate benches, art displays and other design features to encourage community interaction on sidewalks and front lawns.

    7. Market walking and bicycling as a way to reduce household costs and to improve health and the environment for Clevelanders.

      • Develop a City Bikeway Map, safety brochure and other bicycle publications that are regularly updated.

      • Promote bike-to-work programs and bike advocacy groups such as Ohio City Bike Co-op and ClevelandBikes!.

      See the Recreation & Open Space chapter ( add link to chapter ) and the Bikeway Master Plan for more policies and strategies .

  7. Motorized Travel. Continue to upgrade current bus fleets with cleaner-burning vehicles, and accelerate the replacement of vehicles in government and corporate fleets with more fuel-efficient and cleaner-burning vehicles.

    1. Increase investment in and support clean fleet programs, including clean buses to improve air quality, public health, and ridership.

      • Support City efforts to purchase energy efficient, hybrid vehicles.

      • Support City ’s 2006 Anti-Idling Policy, to eliminate unnecessary idling of city vehicles as a way to reduce fuel consumption and harmful carbon emissions.

      • Support the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (GCRTA) clean bus fleet initiative and encourage more bus and transit improvements.

      • Expand the use of biofuels (e.g. ethanol, biodiesel) in City vehicles.

      • Increase the use of fuel-efficient and alte rnative fuel engines like mopeds, motor scooters and motorcycles, and provide adequate facilities (e.g. parking spaces).

    2. Decrease automobile use in the City.

      • Support car-sharing programs and reduce the percentage of City employees driving to work alone.

      • Reduce the amount of fuel used by City employees for work trips by reimbursing them for using transit instead of City fleet cars.

      • Create and publicize park-and-ride lots near transit stations.

      • Implement a citywide transportation plan and make recommendations for new bus routes or facilities and priorities for investment ( Transportation Development Opportunities ) .

    3. Manage traffic and design transportation facilities in such a way as to enhance neighborhood aesthetics and quality of life.

      • Develop roads that provide direct truck access between freeways and industrial areas and, whenever possible, divert cars and trucks from residential neighborhoods onto major streets and nonresidential streets.

      • Use traffic-calming and other design features to enhance neighborhood livability.

      • Preserve natural geography and protect views, historical sites and archaeological resources when designing transportation facilities.

      • Encourage the use of sustainable design and construction practices in major local and regional transportation infrastructure improvements.

  8. Mass Transit. Increase use of mass transit through such initiatives as employer incentives, park-and-ride lots, and transit-oriented development projects.

    1. a. Increase investments in and support clean public transportation, including modern commuter trains to improve air quality, public health, and ridership.

      • Continue to develop relationships between the City of Cleveland and local and regional transportation agencies to increase public transit opportunities and awareness; and work with other agencies to create multi-modal hubs.

      • Implement a citywide transit plan and make recommendations for new transit routes or facilities and priorities for investment ( Transit Development Opportunities ) .

    2. Create incentives to encourage transit use and reduce driving.

      • Promote GCRTA’s Commuter Advantage Program offering discounts on public transportation fares.

      • Educate the public about the benefits of mass transit versus the automobile.

      • Create faster and more comfortable transit service, and improve rider information and marketing plans.

    3. Utilize transit stations as catalysts for creating dense, attractive, compact, livable and walkable neighborhoods ( Transit-Oriented Development ) .

      • Increase the density of housing near transit facilities, along bus lines and within mixed-use retail corridors.

      • Encourage a mix of compatible land uses at transit stations designated on the Transit Opportunities list.

  9. Energy Conservation. Reduce use of energy and water in City-owned facilities and vehicles and encourage similar practices by residents, businesses and other organizations.

    1. Establish Cleveland as a national model for energy management and efficiency in all City facilities and operations, and encourage similar practices by residents, businesses, and other organizations.

      • Conduct an energy audit of all City-owned facilities to gather information about their use of, and expenditures on, electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and gasoline.

      • Establish efficiency standards and an energy reduction challenge for all City departments, and provide the tools and information needed to identify opportunities to reduce City greenhouse gas emissions in decisions on purchasing, operations and construction.

        • Purchase only the most energy-efficient appliances (e.g. air conditioners, refrigerators, copy machines, computers, and automobiles) that use cleaner fuels (e.g. biodiesel).

        • Convert all traffic lights to light-emitting diodes (LED), which are less expensive to use and last 10 times longer than conventional fixtures.

        • Encourage the use of non-automotive transportation by City employees and the public.

        • Encourage land use patterns and methods of transportation that use less energy.

        • Install green roof technology on City Hall and other City buildings to increase energy efficiency and reduce replacement costs, as green roofs can last twice as long as conventional roofs.

        • Plant trees as a way to reduce heating and cooling costs (e.g. strategically plant deciduous trees to block summer heat, and when leaves drop sunlight warms buildings in winter months; or plant evergreen trees to block cold winter winds).

      • Develop and promulgate a local action plan for reducing Cleveland’s contribution to global warming, and disseminate information (through public meetings, printed materials, the City’s web site and the media).

        • Show local residents and businesses how to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and how to identify potential reduction opportunities

    2. Promote energy conservation through City programs and projects for residential, commercial and wholesale City customers.

      • Require landlords and homeowners receiving City tax abatement to purchase only appliances meeting Energy Star efficiency standards.

      • Make housing rehabilitation the official City preference, whenever possible, over demolition and new construction, as utilizing existing housing uses less energy and resources and recognizes the superior construction methods/materials of older housing stock.

      • Create or expand programs, such as the City’s low-income and multi-family housing weatherization program, to help lower energy bills for low-income residents through improved energy efficiency in homes.

        • Partner with local utilities and the State to assist multi-family property owners in getting energy audits; create a marketing campaign (direct mailings, advertisements in multi-family housing publications and tradeshows) to get homes insulated and weatherized through these partnerships.

        • Provide residential customers of CPP/FirstEnergy with technical assistance and incentives for energy efficiency improvements.

        • Utilize local/national foundations to help provide funding for energy-efficient apartment projects .

    3. Improve the economic vitality of commerce and industry in Cleveland by promoting effective energy management practices.

      • Provide local businesses with the tools to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and potential reduction opportunities.

      • Provide technical assistance/utility coordination and incentives to small commercial and larger commercial/industrial customers (through CPP/FirstEnergy) for energy efficiency improvements.

      • Encourage the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and cars.

    4. Restructure Cleveland Public Power to be a provider of energy services rather than a delivery company for kilowatt-hours of electricity.

  10. Renewable Energy. Promote use of solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy resources .

    1. The City should take a leadership role in encouraging local electricity suppliers and the general public to use local, non-polluting, renewable energy and to recycle energy and fuels through education and outreach.

    2. Work to eliminate the use of fossil fuel-burning sources of electric power for City operations by purchasing alternative energy sources.

    3. Set goals for decreasing the use of fossil fuels, and promote use of alternative fuels, in vehicles and equipment owned by the City, transit or fleet operators, and the public.

    4. Ensure that businesses have the ability to purchase at least part of their electricity from renewable sources.

      • Provide incentives to encourage local residential, commercial and industrial consumers to manufacture, purchase, and install renewable energy systems.

  11. Brownfield Remediation. Clean contaminated “brownfield” sites and promote beneficial re-use through regulatory action and increased funding to improve Cleveland’s environmental and economic health.

    1. Increase support and funding for the City’s Industrial Landbank Program which is intended to return brownfields to productive use by prioritizing, assembling and rehabilitat ing the properties.

    2. Promote the participation of non-profit community development organizations in the development of brownfields to encourage development that meets community needs.

    3. Promote community involvement in the planning and implementation of redeveloping brownfields.

    4. Promote the protection of public health and the environment in developing brownfields.

      • Promote cleaner re-use of cleaned land by requiring new buildings to meet and exceedgreen / high performance building standards aimed at restoring environmental conditions and encourage healthy living and working environments.

  12. Recycling and Waste Management. Reduce waste disposal through municipal curbside recycling and programs for recycling tires, motor oil, yard waste, electronic equipment, demolition debris, and roadway materials, as well as by encouraging consumers to make choices that are less wasteful of resources .

    1. Decrease overall community consumption by purchasing materials in bulk whenever possible to avoid wasteful individually-packaged products.

    2. Minimize the quantity and toxicity of solid waste generated from City facilities and operations through waste reduction, reuse and recycling .

      • Work with all City departments and their contractors to improve and expand recycling and waste reduction efforts (e.g. direct all City departments and their contractors to set an example by purchasing only sustainable materials like recycled paper).

      • Measure the volume and toxicity of hazardous material purchased by the City and take steps to reduce the use of such materials.

      • Include language in construction request for bids and proposals requiring recycling and waste reduction, and during construction projects through reuse and grinding of materials onsite .

    3. Control illegal disposal and eliminate land disposal of untreated waste.

      • Reduce illegal dumping and nuisance problems by coordinating collection of large items with haulers and scrap metal recyclers in targeted neighborhoods.

      • Consider increasing dumping and landfill fees regionally to make recycling of materials a more economically viable alternative.

      • Consider charging a franchise or tonnage fee for all land disposal that would be used to help fund residential solid-waste, recycling and green / high performance building programs.

      • Ensure the City’s capability to respond quickly to reported violations.

    4. Improve and expandresidential and commercial waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

      • Make recycling as easy as possible for residents and businesses.

        • Improve the design of recycling receptacles for ease of use, and as funds become available reinstitute the curbside recycling program.

      • Expand the recycling program to include yard debris service and leaf pick-up citywide with opportunities to compost food waste.

      • Aggressively promote residential and commercial recycling through education and outreach programs (e.g. at schools, recreation centers, public events, etc.).

        • Expand consumer education programs designed to increase awareness and teach residents the basics of composting and other practices that help reduce solid waste disposal.

        • Promote the City’s newest Commercial Recycling Program by getting large commercial operators and multifamily buildings to use the free recycling containers provided by the City.

      • Provide recycling assistance to multi-family housing complexes and consider installing recycling receptacles that are easily accessible and user-friendly.

      • Encourage the establishment of new businesses promoting alternative means of waste reduction (e.g. composting, vermiculture).

          • Create a commercial food-waste collection and processing business to divert that type of waste from landfills.

      • Explore and evaluate new recycling markets for additional types of materials (e.g. plastics, computers and other electronic equipment).

    5. City departments and contractors shall divert as much construction and demolition (C&D) debris from landfills as possible through waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

      • Require City departments to follow the lead of the Division of Waters’ Construction and Demolition Waste reduction ordinance, requiring that 50% of C&D waste be recycled or reused (Ordinance C-57, Construction and Demolition Waste ).

      • Consider creating financial incentives to encourage waste haulers to increase their diversion of C&D material from landfills.

    6. Support deconstruction (the recovery of salvageable building materials for reuse or resale) during remodeling and demolition projects conducted by the City, unless the building must be demolished or repaired quickly for health or safety reasons.

      • Create an ordinance mandating deconstruction, whenever possible, over demolition.

      • Promote deconstruction as a viable means of generating economic development by creating jobs in low-income neighborhoods, redu cing waste disposal costs and offering new business opportunities such as a materials resale warehouse (e.g. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore ).

      • Provide informational brochures about deconstruction and salvage options to all citizens applying for building demolition or remodeling permits.

      • Foster partnerships between the local demolition and deconstruction industries so that recovery and reuse of building materials can be maximized in a manner that is profitable for both.

      • Work with local builders to develop guidelines and procedures designed to increase C&D recycling and expand the deconstruction market in Cleveland. (See Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Districts’ Construction Debris resources .)

  13. Water Quality. Improve regional water quality by better managing storm water runoff, strictly enforcing emission controls, reducing use of harmful lawn-care chemicals, and restoring urban streams and rivers.

    1. Support regional sprawl management initiatives aimed at reducing automobile use and other factors contributing to water pollution.

    2. Support Northeast Ohio Regional Storm Water task force recommendations for consistent and prescriptive storm water ordinances in the region.

    3. Support the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) plan addressing Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) events so as to reduce the amount of untreated wastewater being released into water resources.

    4. Coordinate major development projects with County and suburban governments to reduce sewer overload impacts.

    5. Work regionally to improve programs and management strategies designed to prevent and reduce contamination of street runoff and storm water from all sources and encourage appropriate post construction best management practices (BMPs) based on site and soil conditions to improve water quality.

      • Study the feasibility of establishing a regional Storm Water Authority to solely address storm water issues related to impervious surfaces (e.g. surface parking lots) .

      • Identify and disseminate BMPs and establish policies that facilitate effective management of both the quantity and quality of storm water runoff caused by land development.

      • Limit nonpoint source pollution that comes from diffuse land use sources (e.g. salts, sediments and chemicals) carried to lakes and streams by surface runoff.

        • Investigate banning the use of pesticides on all public property (following the example Cleveland Heights set in 1995).

        • Educate landowners about alternatives to pesticides and herbicides (e.g. natural / organic lawn care techniques) and create incentives to encourage use of alternatives.

      • Work with businesses and the community to provide education about the importance of, and methods for, controlling the release of all contaminants into storm drains.

    6. Control storage, manufacture, transportation, use and disposal of hazardous substances, especially in areas with sensitive aquatic ecosystems, such as the Cuyahoga River Valley and Lake Erie watersheds.

    7. Cooperate and coordinate efforts with state and federal agencies to minimize illegal discharges into water from both permitted and non-permitted sources.

    8. Promote non-polluting recreational uses of Lake Erie and other fresh water resources in the area.

    9. Promote water efficiency through programs and projects designed for water customers.

        • Set goals for reducing water use by all regional consumers.

        • Set up a “rain barrel” program to inform the public about the cost savings and other benefits of collecting rainwater from rooftop runoff (e.g. for garden irrigation).

    10. Implement exemplary water efficiency measures in all City facilities and operations and urge the Greater Cleveland community to use similar practices.

      • Install more efficient technologies, such as low-flow water fixtures, in City buildings.

      • Install computerized irrigation systems in City parks.

      • Decrease the overall community consumption of non-local, non-recyclable, non-recycled water.

    11. Conserve significant wetlands, riparian areas and bodies of water for the purpose of containing and regulating storm water runoff, to prevent flooding, to provide sediment and erosion control to improve overall water quality .

        • Create a comprehensive drainage plan to identify priority actions to improve water quality, drainage and aquatic habitat.

        • Regulate development within identified drainageways, water bodies, riparian areas and wetlands by passing riparian and wetland setback ordinances.

        • Restore natural drainage systems and urban streams in neighborhoods.

        • Create manuals for landowners and developers on installing natural drainage systems.

  14. Air Quality . Improve regional air quality by strictly enforcing emission controls, increasing alternative energy production, and promoting the use of mass transit, nonmotorized travel, and cleaner-powered vehicles.
    1. Work to calculate and reduce Cleveland’s carbon footprint to fulfill goals of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement signed on July 3, 2006, which follows the example set by over 200 U.S. cities that support the Kyoto Protocol (a United Nations pact to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases in order to improve air quality and address climate change concerns) and develop financial incentives for City staff and citizens to achieve reductions in the City's carbon emissions.

    2. Ensure that air quality in Cleveland meets state and federal air quality standards.

      • Implement a climate protection plan with goals and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions citywide.

    3. Promote the development of non-polluting industries and work with existing industries to help them comply with established industrial emission control regulations.

    4. Encourage greater use of transit and transit oriented design.

      • Support the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (GCRTA) clean bus fleet initiative.

    5. Reduce the use of fossil fuels in automobiles and trucks.

      • Promote the use of clean-burning, alternative-fueled vehicles by large fleet operators, transit operators and the public as a way to reduce impacts on air quality.

      • Encourage the location of a biodiesel production facility here.

      • Promote the use of alternative modes of transportation such as carpooling, bicycling, walking and transit as a means to improve air quality .

      • Actively discourage the wasteful practice of vehicle idling; support the City’s 2006 Anti-Idling Policy, which eliminates unnecessary idling of City vehicles as a way to reduce fuel consumption and harmful carbon emissions.

    6. Reduce and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuel-burning sources of electric power.

      • Purchase energy generated from alternative sources such as wind or geothermal power.

      • Implement energy conservation strategies in all City-owned facilities and operations.

    7. Improve indoor air quality in all renovation and new construction projects by utilizing high performance / green building techniques in City-owned facilities and in private construction.

    8. Protect existing greenspace and increase vegetation citywide to help offset the release of greenhouse gases.

      • Promote green roof tops as a way to increase vegetation, lead by example and install a green roof on City Hall.

    9. Expand consumer education programs to increase the public’s awareness and understanding of air quality issues. (See the American Lung Association’s Web site on air quality issues .)

    10. Ensure that no one geographic area or socioeconomic group in the city is being unfairly impacted by air pollution.

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Sustainability
  Introduction  
  Acknowledgements  
  Citywide Plan Home Page  
  Citywide Chapters  
  Population  
  Housing  
  Retail  
  Economic Development  
  Recreation and Open Space  
  Sustainability  
  Arts and Culture  
  Education and Community Service  
  Transportation and Transit  
  Safety  
  Preservation  
  Opportunity and Equity  
  Planning District Chapters  
District 1
District 2
District 3
District 4
District 5
District 6