Planning & Sustainability
Sustainability is at the very heart of building community in the Town of DeWitt. In this context, sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.” On a practical level, sustainability’s three broad themes --economic, social, and environmental — must be coordinated and addressed to ensure the long term viability of our community and our planet.
The Town Supervisor and Town Board have prioritized sustainability with the implementation of a town-wide Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinance update inclusive of green building codes and a dark-skies initiative; also in 2014, the development and execution of a Sustainability Policy and Sustainability Plan, Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and Climate Change Plan. DeWitt is a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (Local Governments for Sustainability) NYS Energy Research & Development Authority’s Cleaner, Greener Communities, and NYSDEC’s Climate Smart Community.
DeWitt has implemented a variety of green initiatives at the local level including construction of a 2.66 Megawatt solar farm on the site of the former Town of DeWitt landfill, a 51 kilowatt solar array on the roof of Town Hall, converted all town streetlights to LED, purchased electric vehicles for conducting town business, and installed electric vehicle charging stations for use by both town vehicles and the public. The solar farm represents a carbon footprint reduction of 2605 metric tons, equivalent to removing 510 automobiles from the road every year for 20 years; it will supply all of the Town’s electricity for buildings, facilities, streetlights, and water and sewer pumps, thereby completely freeing the Town of DeWitt from using fossil fuels for electric consumption.
“I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to view polluting fossil fuels – natural gas, oil, and coal – like we view using horses as a mode of transportation. Our Solar Array not only benefits Town of DeWitt residents, but will improve the quality of life for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for many years to come.”
Edward M. Michalenko, Ph.D., DeWitt Supervisor
Completed in 2016, our Comprehensive Tree Inventory and Urban Forest Management Plan outlines recommended practices to maintain healthy and robust trees on our publicly owned lands. DeWitt is also one of only a few communities actively trying to save Ash trees; our Emerald Ash Borer program treats selected Ash trees throughout the community.
We’re also pursuing a myriad of other tangible sustainability measures, including: improvements to our storm water infrastructure in order to reduce the amount of runoff entering watersheds, monitoring the activities of nuisance and invasive pests, an active Deer Management Plan, and rain barrels for residents interested in participating in the Save the Rain grant program. We have also adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit to make the solar permitting process easier for residential and commercial property owners. We are also aggressively pursuing the creation of a network of sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes that connect all of our many and varied neighborhoods and business districts to one another and to our parks.
Numerous studies have shown that parks and greenspaces improve the standard of living and quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods, provide increased recreational opportunities and public health improvements, increase property values, and help maintain a strong tax base.
All of these initiatives are supported not only by the Town Supervisor and Town Board, but also by the Town Sustainability Committee, the DeWitt Advisory Conservation Committee (DACC), the Tree Committee and a whole host of community volunteers.
The Town of DeWitt…we’re building community.