Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC)

Created by Ordinance No. 5-17-64

Intent

The maritime forest in Atlantic Beach is core to the City’s identity as a small coastal village. The tree canopy creates beauty, provides a home for wildlife, functions as an element of the water management system and enhances property values. It is in the best interest for this committee to be the stewards of the tree canopy through advocacy, assessment, maintenance, planting and preservation of this natural resource. The City parks provide open spaces for recreation, exercise, wildlife habitat, relaxation and encounters with the natural world. This committee intends to support the community to provide a variety of park spaces that are well maintained, accessible and secure. This committee shall take the lead and set high community standards in the beautification and maintenance of public spaces located within the City. The Atlantic Ocean, the St. Johns River and the Intracoastal Waterway have a great deal of influence on the micro climate, drainage issues and the diverse vegetation and wildlife that thrive within the City. The care and health of the coast and marsh must be paramount in every recommendation made by this committee about the use of our land, water system and tree canopy.

Purposes

It shall be the purpose of the Environmental Stewardship Committee:

(1) To study and make recommendations to the City Commission and City staff with respect to the City’s:

  • a. Maritime forest;
  • b. Parks and open spaces;
  • c. Beautification of public and private spaces; and
  • d. Environmental stewardship.

(2) To act as a motivating and coordinating body to encourage joint public and private participation in promoting these purposes.

Scope of Activities

The Environmental Stewardship Committee shall provide guidance and support to the City Commission and City Manager and, upon request by the City Commission or City Manager, shall provide written recommendations, in the following areas:

(1) Maritime Forest:

a. Clarifying and strengthening the City’s processes and all tree and landscape related city codes and ordinances;

b. Monitoring the appropriate administration and enforcement of the City’s ordinances;

c. Promoting transparency through online access to relevant information;,

d. Developing and maintaining environmental education and outreach programs about the maritime forest and relevant codes;

e. Promoting appropriate planting and care of trees on private property to owners, developers, builders, and tree/landscape service contractors;

f. Developing and maintaining a long-term tree plan that includes an assessment of the tree canopy, projecting future needs, and developing a calendar and budget for tree planting in parks, public spaces and along streets and right of ways;

g. Promoting tree canopy advocacy including upholding the City’s status as a bona fide “Tree City USA”;

h. Developing a process for systematic, review of the City’s enforcement of the existing tree codes, including the long-term health of trees planted for mitigation; and

i. Developing and maintaining a process for citizens to communicate possible violations to the City.

(2) Parks & Open Spaces:

a. Developing and maintaining a long-range plan to protect, improve and beautify park spaces;

b. Improving access to and amenities for parks including disability accommodations, bike paths, parking, signage and other user friendly features;

c. Expanding the City’s inventory of parks and conservation land through acquisition or other means; and

d. Maintaining a web-based, publicly accessible inventory of parks including their history, archaeological value, rules of use, deed restrictions and conservation easements.

(3) Beautification of Public & Private Spaces:

a. Enhancing public spaces, including public rights of way, roadsides, City buildings, beach accesses and other publicly held properties with art, carefully maintained landscape design and plantings;

b. Incentivizing and advocating for beautification of private and commercial spaces;

c. Reducing the number and appearance of degraded or blighted properties; and

d. Developing a design theme/community branding for signage, bus shelters, lighting and other elements of the built environment.

(4) Environmental Stewardship:

a. Utilizing best practices, including a science based approach, when making any decision about development and its impact on our environment;

b. Protecting the beach, dunes, marshlands and wetlands as critical defenses in hurricane, erosion and flooding conditions;

c. Communicating the dynamics of tidal drainage and floodplain with the goal of preserving the City’s flood management system;

d. Reviewing the City’s environmental codes and ensuring enforcement of rules including, but not limited to, dumping, septic tanks and commercial pollution; and

e. Reviewing, updating and maintaining the Marsh Master Plan for adherence to current research about sea level change and wetlands preservation.

Membership

The Environmental Stewardship Committee shall be composed of eleven members. A majority of the members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

Terms

All members shall serve four-year terms, with the exception of inaugural committee members. Members shall not serve more than two consecutive terms on the committee. Three-year terms of the inaugural committee members shall constitute a full term. In the event a vacancy occurs and three years or more remain in the vacating member’s term, then the remaining time shall constitute a full term.

Appointments

Except for the inaugural committee members, committee members shall be selected by the Board Member Review Committee and shall be confirmed by the Commission.

Geographical Requirements

There shall be at least one member representing each city district on the committee. Each committee member must be a full time resident of the City or own real property in the City. For the purpose of this section, full time residency shall be defined as the person’s principal place of abode. Any member must immediately notify the City Manager and Chair in writing upon no longer meeting these membership qualifications.

Composition

To the extent possible, committee members should demonstrate at least one of the following skills, experience, expertise, educational background or interests:

a. Knowledge of best practices in environmental management and sustainability;

b. Land development and building construction;

c. Urban planning and design;

d. Arboriculture and horticulture;

e. Landscape architecture;

f. Environmental policy;

g. Environmental and constitutional law;

h. Community engagement; and

i. Educational programming.

Organization

(1) The committee shall meet on the second Wednesday of each month. Special meetings may be called by the Chair, provided at least 48 hours notice is provided and that a majority of the members must agree to the date and time. At its first regularly scheduled meeting each January, the committee shall elect from among its members a chair, vice chair, and secretary who shall assume their positions immediately upon election.

(2) The chair shall preside at all meetings of the committee. The vice chair shall preside if the chair is absent.

(3) The committee shall be staffed at each meeting by a City staff member appointed by the City Manager to act as the recording clerk. In addition, the City Manager or his/her designee shall attend all committee meetings.

(4) Roberts Rules of Order shall be followed at committee meetings. The committee may adopt, amend, and rescind procedural rules of the committee to aid in implementing the provisions of this section. All reports, studies, and recommendations made by the committee shall be approved by the committee before the same may be presented to the City Commission or City Manager on behalf of the committee.

(5) The committee shall establish a tree subcommittee in accordance with Section (f) below. The committee may establish such other subcommittees from among its membership as it deems necessary to perform its activities. Subcommittees shall report on their progress to the committee at such times as the committee shall require. All committee and subcommittee meetings shall be open to the public and are subject to Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Laws.

(6) The committee’s recording clerk shall keep minutes of the proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the City Clerk and shall become a public record.

Documents

Minutes & Agendas

Environmental Stewardship Committee meeting minutes, agendas and audio recordings can be accessed by selecting the following links: