City's sustainability plan on track
Tulsa officials and representatives of a Texas-based firm are close to signing a contract that would allow the company to begin work on a sustainability plan for the city.
Brett Fidler, director of the Office of Sustainability, said a few details remain to be hammered out in the agreement between Tulsa and the URS Corporation, but he expected it would be finalized soon. A Jan. 27 deadline for completion of the agreement came and went, but Fidler said the deal was far enough along that federal officials approved an extension.
URS submitted a winning bid of $277,000 for the project earlier this winter, and the cost of the plan will be covered by a U.S. Department of Energy-administered Energy Efficiency Block Grant. The firm is charged with developing a plan to help the city identify opportunities to save resources and money, reduce its environmental impact, improve air quality, promote a green economy, provide sustainability education and outreach to citizens and businesses, guide decision making and policy making, and help Tulsa become a regional leader in sustainable government.
Fidler said he expected Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. would be able to sign a finished agreement this week. Once that happens, he said, URS can begin work on the project immediately.
"They've got a four-month deadline," he said. "They've got to have something to us by May, so they need to go ahead and get started."
The city has indicated it hopes to receive a plan that outlines methods to help Tulsa reach such goals as reducing energy consumption citywide by at least 25 percent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent, obtaining 10 percent of energy from renewable resources, and developing a plan to increase the number of alternative fuel vehicles to 20 percent of the total city fleet -- all by December 2012.
Snow delays city code meeting
A Feb. 2 meeting of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission was postponed by last week's snowstorm, meaning approval of the city's first form-based code has been delayed until the commission's next meeting on Feb. 16.
The Planning Commission was supposed to continue a public hearing for the form-based code pilot project for the Pearl District at the Feb. 2 meeting, but the weather made that impossible. TMAPC Chairman Bill Leighty said the group would take the issue up at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
The form-based code pilot project covers a small part of the Pearl District, an area just east of downtown Tulsa that is hoping to reinvent itself as a walkable, sustainable neighborhood. The form-based code proposed for the district represents a departure from traditional zoning, fostering predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form, rather than a separation of uses, as its organization principle.
The code first went before the Planning Commission on Dec. 7 before it was determined some minor adjustments needed to be made to it by the city's legal staff.
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