Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Goal 2: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

We recognize that our health and well-being depend on protecting the web of life of which we are a part. Therefore, it is vital that we live and work here in a manner that supports that web and the well-being of people everywhere, including future Acton residents.

Protect the quality and quantity of Acton's water.

Objective 2.1: Protect the quality and quantity of Acton's water.

To protect the quality and quantity of the water that cycles through our ground water, surface water, drinking water, waste water, and storm water systems, and to ensure that future development fits within the constraints of these local water cycles.

Development planning that includes water limits

Strategy 2.1.1: Development planning that includes water limits

Make specific plans to identify and address the limits to development implicit in our water systems that take our groundwater, stormwater, and surface water into account.

Monitor groundwater quantity and quality

Action Item 2.1.1.1: Monitor groundwater quantity and quality

Continue to monitor groundwater quantity (i.e. groundwater surface elevation and flow rates) and quality, and plan for necessary Acton Water District (AWD) service expansion, quality improvements, and well-head protection.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Land Use
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Health Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Planning Department
Selectmen
Water Resources Advisory Committee

EPA WaterSense fixtures

Action Item 2.1.1.2: EPA WaterSense fixtures

Consider regulatory changes and/or incentives requiring EPA WaterSense fixtures in new construction and major renovations.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Building Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Selectmen
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Town Meeting?: 
No

Zoning that includes water quality impacts

Action Item 2.1.1.3: Zoning that includes water quality impacts

Zoning needs to take water quality impacts into consideration; for example, ensuring riparian protection areas, and limiting density and types of use near water resources.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Department
Planning Board
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Locate and design new development and supporting infrastructure to limit and mitigate impacts on groundwater quality.

Strategy 2.1.2: Locate and design new development and supporting infrastructure to limit and mitigate impacts on groundwater quality.

West Acton Village sewers

Action Item 2.1.2.1: West Acton Village sewers

Consider extension of sewer and/or advanced package wastewater treatment in West Acton Village to serve redevelopment of the commercial area north of Massachusetts Ave and also to serve existing high priority neighborhoods identified in the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan.1 Consider whether to rely on betterment fees for these improvements or to include Town or developer contributions.
  • 1. These locations are addressed in the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan. These issues, including the relationship of local costs for betterments and townwide benefits, should be included in planning for development of West Acton Village and other designated growth centers
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Economic Development Committee
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Planning Department
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Advanced package wastewater treatment

Action Item 2.1.2.2: Advanced package wastewater treatment

Where possible and consistent with water quality protection, utilize advanced package wastewater treatment with groundwater recharge for other concentrations of residential and commercial development.1
  • 1. Package treatment plant effluent discharged in a Zone II water protection area should undergo the highest possible level of treatment. No discharge is allowed into a Zone I.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Land Use
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Town Meeting?: 
No

Enhance quality of water discharges.

Action Item 2.1.2.3: Enhance quality of water discharges.

Enhance the quality of all discharges into the ground (both stormwater and wastewater) in current and new sources.1
  • 1. Focus especially on reducing phosphorus discharges for surface water and nitrogen discharges for ground water, and other contaminants typically found in stormwater runoff, such as pesticides and herbicides used on lawns, and contaminants from automobiles found in parking lot runoff.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Health Department
Water Resources Advisory Committee

Move industrial activity away from recharge areas

Action Item 2.1.2.4: Move industrial activity away from recharge areas

Consider zoning and incentives to slowly move industrial activity from rivers and wellfield recharge areas.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Health Department
Planning Board
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Match Water District and Town protection zones

Action Item 2.1.2.5: Match Water District and Town protection zones

Amend the groundwater protection overlay bylaw to make the overlay districts fully consistent with Acton Water District protection zones.1
  • 1. Town Meeting in 2011 made the Zone II definitions almost the same for the Town and Water District.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Health Department
Planning Board
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Protect AWD buffer zone along Mass Ave.

Action Item 2.1.2.6: Protect AWD buffer zone along Mass Ave.

Ensure that Acton Water District land and buffer zone on Mass Ave in West Acton is not targeted for development
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Manage Stormwater

Strategy 2.1.3: Manage Stormwater

Manage stormwater to reduce impacts on streams and to recharge groundwater.

Stormwater planning to support 2020 plan

Action Item 2.1.3.1: Stormwater planning to support 2020 plan

Use a proactive approach to mitigating existing stormwater issues and avoiding new problems throughout Acton. In Kelley's Corner and West Acton, do this in a manner consistent with the objective of concentrating growth, and use planning and development review to address these issues. Review existing stormwater management techniques for applicability. This action step should commence in the short term and continue through the long term.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Land Use
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Highway Department
Planning Department
See Also: 

Limit impervious surfaces

Action Item 2.1.3.2: Limit impervious surfaces

In reviewing development, consider incentives and infrastructure to create better managed runoff recharge by limiting impervious surfaces. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term.1
  • 1. Limiting impervious surfaces might lead to adverse impact of groundwater in Zone II’s; this should be a tiered system depending on the sensitivity of a site’s location.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Health Department
Planning Board
Selectmen

Encourage private action to conserve water

Strategy 2.1.4: Encourage private action to conserve water

Inform the public and encourage private action to conserve water and reduce impacts to groundwater quality.

Water education

Action Item 2.1.4.1: Water education

Provide broad-based education on how our water systems work; where our water resources are located, and how water flows through withdrawal, use, and disposal of wastewater; and promote sustainable use by residents and businesses.1
  • 1. Groups that have been doing this for some time include Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety (ACES), The Discovery Museums, and the Stream Teams.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Continue and expand on Acton Water District water conservation encouragement programs.

Action Item 2.1.4.2: Continue and expand on Acton Water District water conservation encouragement programs.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Support Acton Water District in enforcing and strengthening water use regulations.

Action Item 2.1.4.3: Support Acton Water District in enforcing and strengthening water use regulations.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Sustainability
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Monitoring private wells

Action Item 2.1.4.4: Monitoring private wells

Create better incentives and systems to ensure private well owners also monitor and report on their wells.1
  • 1. Consider a requirement for private irrigation wells in Zone IIs to meter and report their water use during periods when the Water District limits or prohibits watering. At some point water use monitoring for private wells may be required by our DEP water withdrawal permit, and count against the town’s withdrawal limit.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Health Department
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Update private well standards

Action Item 2.1.4.5: Update private well standards

Update water quality standards for residential private wells, including provisions to decommission unused or noncompliant private wells according to Massachusetts DEP guidelines.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Ripe?: 
Yes

Lawn replacement

Action Item 2.1.4.6: Lawn replacement

Identify and encourage the replacement of all or part of home lawns with low-maintenance perennials or gardens. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term.1
  • 1. Advocate for removing any home-owner association restrictions against replacing lawns with other vegetation that needs little or no irrigation and chemical applications, and provide public education on home landscaping options that use less water and avoid or reduce fertilizer and pesticide/herbicide applications.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Rainwater harvesting

Action Item 2.1.4.7: Rainwater harvesting

Encourage rainwater harvesting for irrigation and landscaping. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term.1
  • 1. A key step is to amend the health board ban on cisterns to forbid only cisterns that serve as potable water supplies.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Health Department
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Acton Stream Teams

Action Item 2.1.4.8: Acton Stream Teams

Encourage the revival of the Acton Stream Teams to have citizens periodically monitor and report on the state of streams in Acton - so the Town can document changes and identify and resolve issues.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Board of Health
Conservation Commission
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Reduce waste and the accumulation of toxins.

Objective 2.2: Reduce waste and the accumulation of toxins.

Reduce the size of the solid waste stream.

Strategy 2.2.1: Reduce the size of the solid waste stream.

Education on disposal of unwanted items

Action Item 2.2.1.1: Education on disposal of unwanted items

Distribute information to residents on how they can reduce unwanted items, and make items no longer needed available for use by others.1
  • 1. Examples of unwanted items include catalogs and junk mail; ways of making items available for re-use include Freecycle and tag sales. A flyer was developed in the past by the "Life after NESWC" Committee.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Citizens and citizen groups
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
School Committees
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Create a Zero Waste Committee to promote recycling, reduction, and reuse.

Action Item 2.2.1.2: Create a Zero Waste Committee to promote recycling, reduction, and reuse.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
School Committees
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Recycling bins

Action Item 2.2.1.3: Recycling bins

Provide recycling bins in central locations around the Town, and a system for processing them.1
  • 1. Bins should be located where their contents, if spilled accidentally or by vandalism, do not adversely impact stormwater systems or surface waterbodies.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Highway Department
Municipal Properties
Recreation Commission
School Committees
Ripe?: 
Yes

Reduce use of throw-aways.

Action Item 2.2.1.4: Reduce use of throw-aways.

Encourage the public to reduce the use of throw-away plastic (bottled water, single-use bags). Lead by example: provide water pitchers and, where practicable, washable cups for Town board and committee meetings (especially for high-profile public meetings such as Town Meeting). Leverage Scout troops and schools to influence children.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Citizens and citizen groups
Green Advisory Board
Municipal Properties
Recreation Commission
School Committees
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Packaging reduction incentives

Action Item 2.2.1.5: Packaging reduction incentives

Encourage local stores to implement packaging reduction incentives.1
  • 1. Examples: money off if you bring your own bags, sales of products in bulk, etc.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Influence?: 
Yes

Support expanded bottle bill

Action Item 2.2.1.6: Support expanded bottle bill

Support the state initiative to expand beverage container deposits.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Increase recycling and reuse.

Strategy 2.2.2: Increase recycling and reuse.

Transfer Station waste reduction

Action Item 2.2.2.1: Transfer Station waste reduction

  • Create a permanent sheltered drop/swap site at the transfer station.
  • Research single-stream recycling at the transfer center.
  • Re-consider implementing a ‘pay as you throw’ system.
  • Allow any Acton resident to get a “recycling only” sticker for free.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Highway Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Selectmen
Sustainability Coordinator
Zero Waste Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Private trash haulers - waste reduction

Action Item 2.2.2.2: Private trash haulers - waste reduction

  • Require multifamily residential developments to provide a recycling strategy for residents.
  • As a license condition, require that trash contractors report annually to the town on numbers of households they serve, and trash and recycling amounts, as a first step toward creating trash policies that include the curbside providers.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Green Advisory Board
Highway Department
Zero Waste Committee

Encourage sports teams to use reusable sports bottles.

Action Item 2.2.2.3: Encourage sports teams to use reusable sports bottles.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Zero Waste Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Enact a bylaw to control where landscape contractors dispose of debris.

Action Item 2.2.2.4: Enact a bylaw to control where landscape contractors dispose of debris.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Conservation Commission
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Composting

Action Item 2.2.2.5: Composting

  • Educate, advocate, and encourage home composting, and provide inexpensive composting bins.
  • Provide more composting services at the transfer station.
  • Study if requiring or encouraging curbside composting service would be practical and effective.
  • Encourage the schools to explore options and develop a food composting program, starting at the central campus.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Sustainability Coordinator<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Highway Department
Zero Waste Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Manage hazardous waste appropriately

Strategy 2.2.3: Manage hazardous waste appropriately

Unwanted electronics (e-waste)

Action Item 2.2.3.1: Unwanted electronics (e-waste)

Conduct e-waste education, and support events where cost effective certified e-waste specialist services are easily available.1
  • 1. Green Acton has held annual Drop and Swap days since 2010 that include e-waste recycling.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Citizens and citizen groups
Health Department
School Committees
Zero Waste Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Local hazardous waste days

Action Item 2.2.3.2: Local hazardous waste days

Have more hazardous waste days at the transfer station. Continue accepting pharmaceuticals, and continue to explore expanding the items to be collected.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Highway Department
Zero Waste Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Regional hazardous waste days

Action Item 2.2.3.3: Regional hazardous waste days

Consider joining the Devens Hazardous Waste Collection Consortium, or a similar regional program elsewhere.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Zero Waste Committee

Non-toxic products

Action Item 2.2.3.4: Non-toxic products

Reduce or eliminate the use of toxic cleaning products, pesticides in municipal and school buildings and grounds.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Ripe?: 
Yes

Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

Objective 2.3: Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

Encourage use of cleaner energy sources

Strategy 2.3.1: Encourage use of cleaner energy sources

Renewable energy at transfer station

Action Item 2.3.1.1: Renewable energy at transfer station

Turn part of the transfer station into a renewable energy power plant1
  • 1. A Power Purchase Agreement is in progress; it would involve placing photovoltaic panels on unused Transfer Station property.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

District heating

Action Item 2.3.1.3: District heating

Permit and provide incentives where applicable for the use of multi-building ground-source heating systems (“district heating”) for new dense development and redevelopment.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Building Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
No
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Geothermal energy

Action Item 2.3.1.4: Geothermal energy

Advocate for the use of geo-thermal heat pumps in new residential and commercial construction where appropriate.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Influence?: 
Yes

Reduce energy use in new and renovated buildings.

Strategy 2.3.2: Reduce energy use in new and renovated buildings.

Advice on energy reductions

Action Item 2.3.2.1: Advice on energy reductions

Provide advice to home-owners, businesses and contractors to undertake new building and renovation projects that reduce energy use.1
  • 1. This includes both the construction process (site development, choice of materials) and their design – promoting energy efficiency (as well as water savings, and a healthy indoor environment in weather-tight buildings.)
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

LEED certification

Action Item 2.3.2.2: LEED certification

Adopt a policy that new public buildings are to be LEED certified Gold or better.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Green Advisory Board
Municipal Properties

Reduce energy use in existing buildings.

Strategy 2.3.3: Reduce energy use in existing buildings.

Sustainability coordinator

Action Item 2.3.3.1: Sustainability coordinator

Create a position for a Sustainability Coordinator, funded by the Town at ½ full-time equivalent (0.5 FTE), and expand these hours as other sources of funding allow. As workload permits, this person would assist the Green Advisory Board with other sustainability efforts.1
  • 1. This role could include the current part-time position of energy coordinator for the schools as well as other sustainability efforts.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Green Advisory Board
Municipal Properties
School Committees
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

PACE legislation

Action Item 2.3.3.2: PACE legislation

Support Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation.1 Implement this program if it becomes available for Acton.
  • 1. PACE allows home-owners to pay for energy upgrades over time with a line item on their local tax bill, with financial backing from the Commonwealth.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Assessors Department
Finance Department
Green Advisory Board
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Energy retrofits on public buildings

Action Item 2.3.3.3: Energy retrofits on public buildings

Continue to retrofit existing public buildings to increase energy efficiency. Establish a policy on the minimum pay-back period for these investments.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Department
Green Advisory Board
Manager Department
Sustainability Coordinator
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Energy-efficient ("Cool") roofing

Action Item 2.3.3.4: Energy-efficient ("Cool") roofing

Encourage the use of more reflective roofing, especially in the infrared range, to reduce heating costs.1. Sometimes this "cool" roofing is lighter colored, but not always. Allow such 'cool' roofing in historic districts.2
  • 1. http://www.nyc.gov/html/coolroofs/html/how/benefit...
  • 2. Guidelines are needed to address situations such as flat or pitched roofs, in and outside of historic districts. A future step, if research supports it, would be to provide incentives or require such roofs in appropriate situations.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Building Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Green Advisory Board
Historic District Commission
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Reduce transportation-related CO2 emissions.

Strategy 2.3.4: Reduce transportation-related CO2 emissions.

Encourage the growth of local businesses that can provide local shopping opportunities and employment.

Action Item 2.3.4.1: Encourage the growth of local businesses that can provide local shopping opportunities and employment.

Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Organize web-based car pooling and ride sharing.

Action Item 2.3.4.2: Organize web-based car pooling and ride sharing.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Green Advisory Board

Reduce vehicle idling

Action Item 2.3.4.3: Reduce vehicle idling

Educate the public and enforce and encourage compliance with anti-idling laws, especially at schools and the train station.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Police<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
School Committees
South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Inform and educate Acton residents and businesses regarding energy efficiency

Strategy 2.3.5: Inform and educate Acton residents and businesses regarding energy efficiency

Educate and increase people’s awareness of the need to reduce their carbon footprint.

Action Item 2.3.5.1: Educate and increase people’s awareness of the need to reduce their carbon footprint.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
School Committees
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Promote energy-efficiency upgrade programs

Action Item 2.3.5.2: Promote energy-efficiency upgrade programs

Help promote utility and/or state sponsored energy-efficiency upgrade programs for appliances, lighting, and weatherization.1
  • 1. The MassSave program provides resources that can be used. Work with builders and suppliers to make clients aware of energy saving options.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Selectmen
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Air-drying of clothing

Action Item 2.3.5.3: Air-drying of clothing

Continue to encourage air-drying of clothing, and advocate for the removal of any home-owner association restrictions on outdoor line-drying.1
  • 1. Advocacy may be done association by association, or via a town-wide bylaw, or via lobbying the Massachusetts legislature to pass a ban on homeowner association bans of clotheslines.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Planning Board
Influence?: 
Yes

Energy 'barn raisings'

Action Item 2.3.5.4: Energy 'barn raisings'

Support and expand on existing energy-saving 'barn raisings' by community organizations and individuals.'1
  • 1. Barn raisings” refers to community-organized home energy audits followed by volunteer energy-reduction work: caulking, bulb changes, etc.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Continue planning for reducing Acton’s carbon footprint

Strategy 2.3.6: Continue planning for reducing Acton’s carbon footprint

Leverage Green Communities grants

Action Item 2.3.6.1: Leverage Green Communities grants

Continue to leverage Green Community grants for energy-reduction activities.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Sustainability Coordinator
Ripe?: 
Yes

Expand GAB role

Action Item 2.3.6.2: Expand GAB role

Expand the role of the Green Advisory Board to include researching and advocating for energy savings in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Influence?: 
Yes

Carbon Footprint measurement and reduction plan

Action Item 2.3.6.3: Carbon Footprint measurement and reduction plan

Conduct town-wide carbon footprint tracking and prepare and implement an energy reduction plan. 1
  • 1. This is part of the Town’s existing commitment to ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability).
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Department
Municipal Properties
School Committees

Joint community and town effort to use less fossil fuels

Action Item 2.3.6.4: Joint community and town effort to use less fossil fuels

Evaluate supporting a “Transition Initiative,” a community-wide collaborative effort of citizens and Town government, using education, planning, and action steps to move Acton toward local resilience and energy autonomy.1
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen

Healthy Patterns of Land Use

Objective 2.4: Healthy Patterns of Land Use

Move toward patterns of land use and land protection that support broad biodiversity, soil preservation, and healthy local agriculture.

Adopt land use strategies that reduce the development of open land

Strategy 2.4.1: Adopt land use strategies that reduce the development of open land

Biodiversity

Strategy 2.4.2: Biodiversity

Maintain and increase biodiversity on Town conservation land and private land

Promote healthy biological communities

Action Item 2.4.2.2: Promote healthy biological communities

Consider regulations, and promote practices, that support healthy communities of plants and animals. Act to minimize the use of broad-spectrum herbicides and pesticides, and promote organic agriculture and landscaping practices.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Morrison Farm Committee
Municipal Properties
Natural Resources Department
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Remove invasive plants

Action Item 2.4.2.1: Remove invasive plants

Organize efforts to remove invasive plant species from public and private land.1
  • 1. For information on this topic see: http://www.newfs.org/protect/invasive-plants/index. An example is the work that has been done on garlic mustard eradication on Acton property. Care in implementing this recommendation is needed, as there is not always agreement on which plant species are invasive.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Conservation Commission <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Land Stewardship Committee
Morrison Farm Committee
Natural Resources Department
School Committees

Discourage invasive plantings

Action Item 2.4.2.3: Discourage invasive plantings

Continue to discourage residential and commercial property owners and landscape contractors from planting invasive plant species.1
  • 1. Acton Garden Club has done a lot of education around invasive plants
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Planning Board
Planning Department
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Education on native plants and biodiversity

Action Item 2.4.2.4: Education on native plants and biodiversity

Develop and implement a public education program on the role of native plants in supporting Acton’s biodiversity.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Land Stewardship Committee
Planning Board
Planning Department
School Committees
Influence?: 
Yes

Tree-clearing bylaw

Action Item 2.4.2.5: Tree-clearing bylaw

Explore the adoption of a tree-clearing bylaw, which would require notice and justification from landowners for certain large tree clearing operations on private parcels.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Department
Tree Warden
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Plant and protect large trees

Action Item 2.4.2.6: Plant and protect large trees

Provide education and support the public and private planting and protection of large, long-lasting, carbon-sequestering trees.1
  • 1. Disease-resistant Elm and Chestnut trees are becoming available.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Tree Warden<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Green Advisory Board
Planning Board
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Conserve farm land and support agriculture in Acton

Strategy 2.4.3: Conserve farm land and support agriculture in Acton

Protect existing agricultural land

Action Item 2.4.3.1: Protect existing agricultural land

Protect existing agricultural land through acquisition or transfer of development rights and promotion of agricultural tax abatements.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Open Space
Sustainability
Other Owners: 
Assessors Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Finance Department
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Selectmen

Support new farming

Action Item 2.4.3.2: Support new farming

Support new and expanded farming, including organic farming, Community Supported Agriculture, and community gardening on Town-owned land.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Officer
Morrison Farm Committee
Planning Department
Recreation Department
Influence?: 
Yes

Support the Morrison Farm plan

Action Item 2.4.3.3: Support the Morrison Farm plan

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Morrison Farm Committee<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Land Stewardship Committee
Natural Resources Department
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
No

Zoning to encourage agriculture

Action Item 2.4.3.4: Zoning to encourage agriculture

Change zoning to encourage the use of cluster development common land for gardening and agriculture; consider density bonuses
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Planning Board
Planning Department
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes