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Environmental Board clarifies requirements

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 by Courtney Griffin

At its April 1 meeting, Austin’s Environmental Board clarified a December 2014 ordinance, which outlined board membership requirements. The issue was brought before the board by Chuck Lesniak, an environmental officer with the city. The ordinance in question could be interpreted to mean that the board is requiring some members to have a desire in the city’s environmental preservation; professional expertise in geology, hydrology, civil engineering, land planning or ecology and expertise in horticulture, urban forestry or landscape architecture, which would recruit candidates who were overly qualified, Lesniak argued. The latter clause was added because the Environmental Board is going to be combined with the Urban Forestry Board, said Chair Mary Gay Maxwell. The “and” was replaced with “or demonstrated.” Board Member Robert Deegan also pointed out that the ordinance increased board membership from seven to 11, but the clause stipulating that no more than three board members should be employed in land development-related activities did not go up in accordance. Board members voted unanimously to incorporate the changes.

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