Council approves upgrades to City Yard

Kelsey Shelton
The Mount Shasta City Council considered water efficient landscaping and upgrades at the City Corporation Yard at their meeting on Monday evening at the Mount Shasta City Park. Pictured are City Planner Juliana Lucchesi and councilors Paul Engstrom, John Stackfleth, Barbara Wagner, John Redmond and Jeffrey Collings.

The Mount Shasta City Council on Sept. 9 approved the construction of a new equipment garage at the City Corporation Yard and approved a title only reading of a new ordinance that calls for water efficient landscaping for newly constructed homes and businesses.

Water efficiency

Although the council brought forward some concerns, they ultimately passed a title only reading of an ordinance that would make new homes and businesses subject to water consumption guidelines for landscaping.

The reading passed 4-1, with councilor Paul Engstrom casting the sole no vote. Mayor Barbara Wagner and councilors John Redmond, John Stackfleth and Jeffrey Collings voting “aye.”

City Planner Juliana Lucchesi said the ordinance is past due. In 2015, the state of California passed an executive order declaring drought conditions within the state, and it mandated that the Department of Water Resources put together recommendations to promote water efficient practices for landscaping, regardless of drought conditions.

According to Lucchesi, the ordinance should be mirrored with the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS), which was a project created in the Pacific Northwest to provide an assesment of irrigation and water needs for more than 4,000 plant species. The City of Yreka recently created its water efficiency ordinance using suggestions from WUCOLS.

The ordinance would affect newly constructed residential and business projects, as well as rehabilitated landscapes. Lucchesi assured the council that homes currently within city limits would be exempt from this new efficiency ordinance, but rehabilitated spaces of over 2,500 square feet of landscape would be affected.

Lucchesi reminded all council members that there are ways to avoid fines if the ordinance becomes active, including the collection of rain water to use for lawns, as well as collecting gray water for reuse.

“Anyone could become exempt if they chose to use grey water and water recycling systems,” Lucchesi stated.

County Yard upgrades

City Manager Bruce Pope presented the council with an amendment to Johnson Control’s existing contract to incorporate project changes, which includes the construction of a corporation yard equipment garage, site plan and the project’s notice of exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act.

In his memo to the council, Pope said during the initial design portion of the photovoltaic project, it became apparent that a roof-mounted solar display was more energy efficient than the original ground mounted display. However, because the existing building did not meet the structural integrity for the mounting of panels, the city had to investigate the financial feasibility for building an updated equipment building, with accompanying solar panels, as part of the solar project.

Scott Krebs and Brian Labrie of Johnson Controls were on hand to answer the council’s questions. The new garage will house mechanic equipment and can provide a space for the city to work on the equipment out of the elements. It will also keep the ground-mounted solar panels safe from harm during the wet season.

Krebs discussed that there would be more panels going into the corporate yard, and that instead of the current 22.7 kilowatts in the yard, now they would be at 43.3.

The garage itself would be a 45 by 160 foot pre fabricated metal building with seven bay doors at 20 feet each, which allows large machinery to access inside.

There would also be an office space, new electrical units, and a handicapped parking space.

When asked about the price increases, the council was assured by Pope that “we do not see this as a major cost addition to the city.”

In the end, the council voted 4 to 1 to approve the new building, with Engstrom abstaining from the vote, stating he needed to do more investigation.

“We need a new city yard, but I think one building won’t make much difference,” Engstrom said.

Next meeting

The next Mount Shasta City Council meeting will be held on Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Representatives from the Mt. Shasta Mountain Bike Association will be giving a presentation, and there will be a discussion on Wastewater Treatment Plant bids. There may also be an update about a Hazardous Vegetation and Combustible Materials ordinance, and a nuisance ordinance discussion.