There is nothing more gratifying for CLF advocates than to be able to work with our members in translating big-picture policy goals down to the local level. Over the last couple of years, I had that opportunity as a result of the City of Burlington’s efforts to adopt a stormwater pollution control ordinance to ensure that Vermont’s biggest city was doing its part to prevent pollution to Lake Champlain. The idea was the brainchild of CLF member Scott Mapes, a lawyer and engineer who specializes in low impact development techniques to manage stormwater runoff.
As a member of the City’s Conservation Commission, a long-time lover of Lake Champlain, and a regulation-savvy lawyer, Scott was the City’s clean-water conscience and a driving force that overcame bureaucratic inertia to get the ball rolling on this major project. Scott’s principled persistence gradually led to enthusiastic buy-in at the highest levels of city government. His multi-year effort to get the City to take stormwater more seriously was really something to watch. As the process matured, CLF had a chance to weigh in by reviewing drafts of the ordinance, providing guidance and legal research assistance, and echoing Scott’s message that adoption of the ordinance was necessary for full compliance with the Clean Water Act.
After this experience working with Scott, it came as no surprise to read the headline in today’s Burlington Free Press announcing “Burlington man honored for stormwater efforts.” In recognition of his work on the stormwater ordinance, Scott was named “Citizen Planner of the Year” by the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association and he received a similar award today from the Vermont Planning Association.
Congratulations to Scott and to all CLF members who advance CLF’s mission through their support of the organization AND their leadership on the local level.