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Cochecton adopts green initiatives plan

By Linda Drollinger
March 20, 2013

By unanimous vote, the Town of Cochecton Board adopted a Climate Smart Communities Pledge Resolution at its March 13 monthly meeting. The towns of Tusten, Lumberland, and Delaware have ratified similar resolutions, all of which were based on a draft resolution provided by the county. Following review by councilman Larry Richardson and supervisor Gary Maas, the draft agreement was edited to outline goals that the board considers realistic for Cochecton at this time.

The resolution focuses on six key initiatives: (1) decrease energy demand for local government operations; (2) encourage renewable energy for local government operations; (3) realize benefits of recycling and other solid waste management practices; (4) promote climate protection through community land use planning; (5) inform and inspire the public; (6) commit to an evolving process. The full text of the resolution can be found on the town’s website at tinyurl.com/c88u7mg.

In response to questions during the public comment segment of the meeting, Richardson, who is also a member of Sullivan County’s Climate Action Plan Advisory Board, which is encouraging all county towns to adopt a similar pledge, supplied background information regarding the origin of the pledge and the impetus behind it. He said that federal grant money is available to regions wherein a majority of local communities have demonstrated proactive commitment to green initiatives. Any grant money obtained can then be used to implement a larger and more sophisticated sustainability program.

Although the resolution marked Cochecton’s first official move toward greening itself, the town has been thinking green for several years. When former Cochecton Supervisor Sal Indelicato and then-councilman Gary Maas began brainstorming a new town hall building, they knew that they wanted a state-of-the-art facility made with energy-efficient building materials, equipped with energy-efficient appliances and capable of incorporating sustainable energy systems. Three years later, that dream has been realized. The new town hall building site was selected, in part because it is conducive to a solar energy installation, and the building itself is set at odd angles with the road for the same reason—the longest portion of its roof has a south-facing exposure. The new town hall is also green in a very literal sense—all who enter by the main door are greeted by a mini-botanical garden of tropical and subtropical foliage and blooms.