The Planner: Shane Corbin

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Shane Corbin is the city manager of Atlantic beach which has a pretty small population but really big plants and you about lead for buildings and I had never heard of lead for cities last year. The tiny beach town took to giant steps toward adapting to climate change. Enchaine played a pivotal role woman. This is the adapt podcast. I'm Brendan rivers adverse reporter at W. J. C.. T. News Jacksonville. Florida adapt is our online magazine about what people in our region are doing too apt to sea level rise and climate change in this podcast. We'll hear from some of them about what they've learned. And what motivates them as our region grapples with big issues. Aw Shane Corbin. Orban has been involved in city planning for about two decades. I started as an entry level. Land Use planner in Hardin County Kentucky and from there I moved to Louisville Metro and I wasn't environmental planner for the city of Louisville for five years while he was in Louisville his supervisor decided to put together the city's first climate action report and we hired an engineering firm to create a greenhouse gas inventory for the entire city formed partnership between in the city the local school system and the college being the three biggest employers in the city knowing if we could get those partnerships together they could could influence change from top down and actually influenced the culture of sustainability throughout the community so really got immersed and the topic of climate change and chemistry of climate change and the science behind it and after I left that position Still carried that knowledge with me and as a as a land use planner I would do things like implement tree planting projects and look at impacts of development velopment. He had stints in Indiana and Savannah before he landed in Atlantic beach shortly before. Shane arrived in two thousand seventeen. There was a a huge power shift in Atlantic beach. Three women with no public office experience between them unseated. Three incumbents all men under Mayor Ellen Glasser and the city the commission now made up of four women Atlantic beach has been leading the charge in Duval County when it comes to addressing the threats posed by climate change and twenty nineteen mayor Glasser in the the city commission unanimously supported a resolution acknowledging the threat of sea level rise and flooding and the need for the research and funding resiliency efforts. Here's glasser reading from the bill. No reports that Florida's sea level rise of three inches since two thousand has increased flooding in the state by three hundred percent. Uh No reports that nearby naval station mayport has experienced sea level rise at one third inch per year a pace that has accelerated it since the nineteen nineties rising sea levels amplify the threat and magnitude of storm surge in coastal areas meaning the impact and power of hurricanes will only increase endangering even more coastal property and infrastructure. Shane is doing a lot of the work on the ground. We did analysis assist for Sunday flooding. and which is basically just like a bathtub. Model poor additional water into the best of it rises them so we looked at that for twenty five fifty and one hundred years out. In addition to that we did storm surge. Modelling on top of the best model to this show if you put that much water in the bathtub and then we have a significant storm on top of that. What does that mean so we created these various areas for where where would additional water go and then we did a spatial analysis using G.? I S. looking at property values infrastructure such as lift stations for our utilities schools. The police station City Hall evacuation routes. So we've tallied some potential property damage. The results of this vulnerability assessment chains talking about are very visual charts graphs and lots of maps with colorful layers. I basically all these visual tools illustrate the obvious. Atlantic beach is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding. Perhaps the most striking map looks at future storm surge urge during one hundred year storms which scientists say are becoming more and more frequent due to climate change during one of those storms at the turn of the century under an assumed six and a half feet of sea level arise. Noah's intermediate high estimate for the region. Nearly all of Atlantic beach will be underwater. Shane says now that the city has all this data. They're applying for another state. It grants to the city can work on what's called an adaptation plan bringing in engineers having community meetings and then we'll start to formulate some long range solutions or adaptation strategies to what those impacts mean. How much is it going to cost do this stuff? What is the the public's public's appetite for spending certain dollar amounts on certain projects the city's assuming the ocean will rise at least one foot by the year twenty forty four two and a half fi total within twenty five years of that and more than sixty by the end of the century so that data set is actually right almost in the middle of all the data sets and that's what the Navy used do their analysis at the mayport naval station? So you've got some. I don't remember which ones predicting really really really high and we didn't do that because we don't want to be unrealistic but we also didn't want to go to low what kinds of policies and standards are currently in place to protect homes homes and infrastructure. The State of Florida has now required that we'd put some language in our plan about peril of flood in the term sea level. Arise to show up there a couple times about trying to limit new development in areas that would be in peril flood we did update our COMP. Don't plan last year and we did include that language in there and that was really the state's first attempt to start to slide sea level rise into local regulations and actually force literally force communities to start to talk about it. And you know whether you like it or not when you're caught plan goes out of date and five years. You're not we're not GonNa let you do any zone. Changes is the way it it works. They freeze your comp plan for example. Let's say you're in Daytona and you've got an area that is looking to rezone zone from residential to commercial. It's a sizable piece of property. And the city's complaint is frozen so the planners go to task and they go to update their co plan and Lo and behold state has new requirements in. There that you have to discuss CEELO rise doesn't say that you have to deny development for or any reason or because of C. level rise but it forces that language into the official DNA of the community and they have to take it to the city council and talk about it on record in a public meeting that they are now inserting consideration of Ceelo rise into the community. So that's what the the first thing state did. And so that started to get into the conversation going round round state and then they follow that up with the resilient coastline coastline grants. That's the Atlantic beach recently applied for to create Neta patient plan. Were Pretty careful in the vulnerability analysis not to discuss carbon or climate change. Or why it's not about. Why isn't any of this happening? It's just here's the data we don't want to get that wrapped up in a debate about well. We shouldn't be thinking about this because the scientists fake or anything like that. We're just looking at. How much sea level rise have we seen in the past so we know that it's happening and then what are the predictions that we're getting from these scientific agencies plug that data into a model and that gives us our vulnerability analysis so we stayed completely clear of greenhouse gases or anything like that lead on the other hand looks at not only greenhouse gases but it looks really holistically at energy water waste transportation in the human experience elite stands for leadership leadership in energy and environmental design? It's a certification program from the US Green Building Council buildings have huge environmental impact using more than seventy percent of electronically and causing forty percent of all missions and lead was originally designed to improve the sustainability of their design construction and operation but the Green Building Council recently decided to take that same concept and scaled up with lead for cities and communities leaders in Atlantic beach decided to start pursuing lied about two years ago which I I thought was pretty interesting because I knew about lead for buildings and I'd never heard of League for cities with most people in that. Yeah so I thought well yeah I think I understand what that means but do they understand. Shane was one of a handful of city staff work on the certification process. But they got help from the Green Building Council and then college student named Sean La Hob will hear from an another episode of this podcast and from the city's Environmental Stewardship Committee Environmental Stewardship Stewardship Committee is a committee. Specific to the city of Atlantic beach was largely born out of concern for urban. Can't be but they were given a charge much broader to look at what happens in our parks other environmental issues to get lead certified fight. Cities are judged on everything from energy and water use to the amount of waste they generate the efficiency of transportation and the quality of life for the people who live there and then they to give you a composite score on those topics and in order to get there. We had to do a lot of data mining. So we were going to we we were looking. At Census Data Crime Data Transportation Data. We looked at our utility bills for all of our residents. We were able to get general numbers of water. Use per resident. We also did that for energy and we looked at. What is the tonnage of waste is that we're sending to the landfill versus? What is the tonnage of the weight that we're we're diverting from landfills and putting into recycling so it took us a while to mine all that data good evening commissioners as you know as one of your priorities that we became a lead certified city? Shane announced Atlantic. Beach is Leed certification at a city commission mission meeting last fall we did recently achieved that status as lead first lead certified city with the Silver Score. There are four lead certification and levels from highest score to lois their platinum gold silver and certified as part of the certification process Atlantic beach had to submit a roadmap which basically outlines its potential strategies to improve the city score. There are a lot of strategies that other cities had done that. We didn't think were practical. Like we're going to have zero waste stream by at twenty thirty five. How do we do that? You know but we could make some general targets of least for starters. A lot of things we wanted to do was was education and outreach. We WanNA do education outreach. With the community on sea level rise and the vulnerability of sea level rise. We did get it's recommendations banning styrofoam plastic but What we eventually ended up doing was taking that those ten or fifteen page is is giving those to the Environmental Stewardship Committee and saying talk about all these and rank these and see which ones you think make sense or at least you're passionate about that staff can actually work on so as far as the all this data that you had to collect as part of this process? was there anything that really stuck Out To you are human. Experience score is extremely high which I don't know if you know anything about Atlantic beach but it's pretty nice community. We scored a seventeen eighteen out of twenty three points away from perfect or waste. Numbers are pretty good court six out of eight so go a little bit of work to do their energy use score as sixteen thirty three. That's probably where we could make the most improvement. I'm guessing that's category that that would include your your greenhouse gas emissions. Yes that would be. And that's probably the most tricky one to try to improve that could involve behavior change. How do you convince people to ride their bike to the grocery instead of drive? That's it's pretty difficult. How do you convince people to spend a little bit of extra money on solar and retrofit for higher efficiency appliances and thanks for that can be pretty tricky to do one thing in landing beaches considering he says is allowing Special Financing Program for home improvements? It's called the property assessed clean energy or pace program. It allows homeowners to pay off the cost of adding solar panels as part of their property. Tax Bill over time. The hope is that we'll be l.. To offer that as an option to folks not that we would mandate and say everyone has to put solar on their house or anything like that. But we're we're in a unique position. But we're we're having a lot of rebuilds in remodels in the city of Atlantic beach and we could offer that program as an option to people when they come in and they're doing their building projects and they can essentially wrap that into their overall project and then disperse at cost over time and then we could potentially spread solar throughout the community has the city set emission reduction goals. No Man is that. Do you think that's going to be part of the process. `assises pinpoint could be. But we have not done this after the break what Atlantic beach could do to improve its lead score. And what chain says just isn't possible things for you're listening to the adapt podcast. I'm adapt editor Jessica. Palumbo if you like learning about how Florida's responding to sea level rise and the other effects of climate change. I invite right you to sign up at adapt Florida dot work. That way you'll be the first to know when the next edition of adapt publishes or when there's a community event where you can come discuss these issues with experts. Plans for both of those are in the works right now. You can sign up in under five minutes at adapt Florida Dot Org. The adopt podcast is a production of. WJ C. T. public media financial support for adopt comes from our readers and listeners with additional support from the Arthur Providing Davis foundations and the twenty forty foundation more at adapt Florida dot org now back to shame. She'd says the lead certification process cost just over a dollar for each Atlantic beach resident pretty big commitment from a from a small city. Not necessarily really Depends on who you ask there. There are some folks out there that don't believe any of the a debate on or of environmental issues and so any initiative. That a city does they're going to criticize. It is and try to discredit. But I wouldn't say that any of our efforts have consumed absorbent amount of staff time mm-hmm or volunteer time committee time and one of the things that we're trying to do early on here to see if we can't implement strategies that ended up not only reducing our environmental footprint but save US money in the long run and so we're looking at some of those things right now doesn't make sense to retrofit city hall with solar and as far as financially I think the total certification process. I WanNa say we spent spent around fifteen thousand dollars on that so it wasn't a huge amount. There are people that will argue that that was not money. Well spent a staff. We don't get into that debate We follow the charge charges that were given by the elected officials and let them argue argue about that. You're not going back to that road map. What has been done? So far policy-wise as this continued effort to pursue. We'd we've done quite a bit of outreach. On the vulnerability assessment did quite a bit of research on banning Styrofoam Styrofoam and plastic. And currently. That sounds like that's probably a non starter here in the state of Florida because of State Law got AH preempts us from doing anything. We're working on plant Palette for native landscaping. We're looking at incorporating sustainability into numerous Henrik planning with green infrastructure swell as Some innovative zoning and land use we drafted a complete streets policy. What is the complete streets Palffy essentially says anytime we repave street or do any significant work on a street? We're going to look at it from every every user's point of view and see if we can retrofit that street to accommodate all users should not just cars but do we have an opportunity to put in bike lanes lanes. Can we widen the sidewalk. We need to put it in street trees and furniture so again. It's not going to say that every time we repave a neighborhood street. We're GONNA put Kim bike lanes but we're going to look at it and if we can't put them in or if it doesn't make sense for us to put him in then we'll document that and we'll say why. What are some of the priorities going forward providing opportunities for people to reduce their way stream? So we're looking at doing some pilot. Let composting programs post at City Hall and possibly at some of our parks with a limited number of residents to participate in to see we wanted to do a large scale composting program for people to participate in. How'd it work? Is it reasonable or would it be would be a nightmare. We don't yeah so it's really easy to sit around the table and say you know. We need a compost all our food scraps in the city of Atlantic beach. Well how do you get that food from you know you. You scrape it into a bucket at your table. Where does it sit? How long does it sit there who comes and picks it up up? What sort of health concerns or bacteria gets transferred? What sort of rodents get attracted? How do you the deal with all that? So when you're tackling these issues it's very easy to say we're going to do something by X. percent or you know Oh this is what we need to do but when you have limited resources and you're dealing with people tardy to get anyone on the same page do the same thing perfectly right all the time so for some of these things will try some small pilot programs if hey there hit that will bigger again. That's Sheen Corbin. Atlantic beach city manager to see some of the results of the city's vulnerability assessment and how it scored in various lead certification categories look at his QNA on adapt Florida dot. Org they can get to know all six the people profiled in this podcast. Aw thanks for listening to the adapt. podcast I'm Brendan Rivers. Production help came from Wednesay. Kilbride with editing by Hi Jessica Palumbo. The theme music was composed and performed by Davin well and Keith Phelps from a conglomerate that podcast is a production of WJ C. T. public media media financial support for adapt comes from our readers and listeners with additional support from the Arthur vining Davis Foundations and the twenty forty foundation. More and adapt Florida Dot Org

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