Brendan Fitzpatrick

December 8, 2023

Framingham Sustainability Committee Presents Annual Report

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FRAMINGHAM - The Framingham Sustainability Committee’s annual report was presented to the City Council Tuesday evening at the Memorial Building.

Chair of the Sustainability Committee Erin Ellsworth and Vice-Chair Aimee Powelka—who is also the Community Lead for Energize Framingham—presented the findings of the report. In it, the group—comprised of nine members in order to advise the Mayor and other government officials —highlighted their major focuses for the next year. Those include prioritizing funding through grants and other sources, alongside continued community engagement for the development of a climate action plan, supporting curbside composting, as well as other initiatives to improve climate resiliency.

“The Sustainability Committee really hopes to be more of an anchor in a lot of the boards and relationships that we think are important to all the sustainability efforts going on in the city,” Ellsworth said.

Councilors were supportive of the ideas presented to them and encouraged the committee to keep up their work, especially when it comes to educating members of the community. District 4 Councilor Michael Cannon wants to ensure that in the future, the city can work on ways to overcome objections to climate resiliency projects.

“As dollars become more competitive, there’s always someone to say, ‘No, no, here are the reasons we can’t do that,’” Cannon continued.

“The better we are as a municipality in articulating and overcoming those objections on the front end, I think the more successful we’ll be.”

The topic of the Opt-In Stretch Code—an emissions-reducing initiative in Massachusetts that would mandate that new buildings accommodate electric utilities going forward—was brought up before the Sustainability Committee. The City Council has mixed thoughts on the idea of adopting the code: those in favor believe it is an important step for the city in their quest to meet carbon emission goals by their 2030 target date, while others are unsure of the developmental consequences the measures could have compared to other Bay State communities.

Either way, At-Large City Councilor Janet Leombruno agreed with the Sustainability Committee that educating residents on this topic is vital.

“We’re heading in that direction anyway, the Stretch Code,” Leombruno explained.

“We are going to be adopting a lot of these things, so I think your point on education is very important.”

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