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November 2021 Town Meeting:
9. Strengthen and increase enforcement of by-law providing for removal of snow and ice (Swaine, Vogt, TMM6, et al.)

The Caucus has consistently endorsed pedestrian accommodations because they help avoid travel by private vehicles. Winter sidewalk access is a goal that needs to be addressed, especially for those with mobility challenges.

10. Create a Tree Preservation By-Law. (J. Murphy, TMM16, J. Harris, TMM8, et. al.)
Trees provide numerous climate and health benefits. This article will significantly expand the initial protections passed at May, 2018 Annual Town Meeting, which the Caucus also endorsed then.
21. Petition for a special act regarding betterment loans for residential electrification. (Gray, TMM10)
23. Petition for a special act regarding Community Choice Aggregation. (Gray, TMM10)
25. Petition for a special act regarding Green Zoning. (Gray, TMM10)
26. Petition for a special act regarding a methane emissions surcharge. (Gray, TMM10)
28. Petition for a special act regarding an emissions reduction fund. (Gray, TMM10)
29. Petition for a special act regarding a gasoline vehicle excise surcharge. (Gray, TMM10)
This is a comprehensive, groundbreaking and powerful package of strategies to reduce the climate impacts from electricity generation, vehicles, and buildings. This will continue Brookline's track record of leading on these issues. It is important to get these in front of the Legislature before the start of the new session. Note that WA 26 is now a Resolution calling for statewide action instead of a home rule petition.
33. Amend Article 4.07 of the Town’s Zoning By-Laws to allow for bee keeping (Shpritz)

Honey bees provide pollination services for plants including food and flower gardens, and food in the form of honey. This article will expand opportunities for beekeeping in town.
39. Resolution regarding the study and use of the Golf Course. (Wholey, TMM11, Goldsmith, TMM11, et. al)
This resolution calls for considering current and additional uses of the facilities that are environmentally sustainable and meet goals such as the preservation of natural habitat, the need for trees, and avoiding the application of pesticides. The caucus endorsed the petitioners' amended article.

May 2022 Town Meeting:
We recommend favorable action on the following Warrant Articles:
17: Zoning By-Law to increase the requirements for electric vehicle-ready parking spaces
Caucus endorsed WA 25 for Fall 2021 Town Meeting, which was referred to the Planning Dept. for further development, and new WA 17 is the result. This article requires one parking space in 1-2 family units and that 100% of spaces in larger residential new construction or significant rehabilitation to be EV-ready, which will remove a significant obstacle to EV adoption.

18: Zoning By-Law on Bicycle Parking and Design Regulations
The Caucus has consistently supported bicycle accommodations. This by-law provides for minimum off-street parking for bicycles in new housing construction of eight or more units.
22: Amend the Town’s General By-Laws to restrict the sale or distribution of products containing Fluorinated Hydrocarbons or PFAS
This warrant article bans selected products that contain PFAS and other synthetic fluorinated petrochemicals commonly called "Forever Chemicals". This will help make Brookline free of toxics, certain fluorinated plastics (such as Teflon), and lead to zero waste.
23: Resolution to create an Athletic Field Surface Task Force
This resolution asks the Select Board to appoint a task force to produce, by November 4, 2022, a report and Athletic Field Surface Decision Guidelines that would recommend circumstances when synthetic turf versus natural grass should be deployed. The task force should include staff and others with expertise to consider (at least) athletics, recreation, education, environment, toxicology, risk assessment, public health, children’s socio-emotional and physical development, and capital planning.
24: Amend the Town’s General By-Laws pertaining to Artificial Turf Surfaces
This warrant article would place a three-year moratorium on new artificial fields, and require that future fields be free of organic fluorine (including PFAS). This article seeks to protect human and environmental health from these harmful persistent chemicals, especially for our children who are most developmentally vulnerable. It will also preserve green space, significantly reduce solid waste (such as plastic) and heat island, and provide other climate benefits.
25: Amend the Town’s General By-Laws to ban single-use plastics
This warrant article extends Brookline's groundbreaking plastic bag and food packaging by-laws to selected retail products that are made of plastic which now initially includes nip bottles, plastic ear swabs, glitter cosmetics, and balloon sticks, and can later be expanded. This will help Brookline reach the goal of a zero waste that is free of toxics and plastic.
27: Amend Article 8.31 of the Town’s General By-Laws pertaining to leaf blowers
This article builds on existing regulation to ban the private use of gas-powered leaf blowers in the near future (the Town is already electrifying much of its landscaping equipment). Gas-powered leaf blowers disproportionately generate noise and air pollution including greenhouse gases, disturb soil, and distribute particulate matter.

November 2021 Town Meeting:
Our position on the following Warrant Articles:
17: Resolution regarding a Town-wide composting program
FAVORABLE ACTION. Composting has broad support across Town as a solid waste and climate issue. This resolution puts Town Meeting on record as supporting town-wide action on this issue.

18: Resolution regarding a the Town’s use of low carbon concrete
FAVORABLE ACTION. We commend the petitioner for bringing this issue to the fore. Low-carbon concrete needs to be part of the town's climate solutions toolkit.

23: Amend Article VI of the Town’s Zoning By-Laws to amend off-street residential parking requirements
FAVORABLE ACTION on the petitioners' motion. From a climate perspective, reducing the minimum required number of parking spaces per dwelling unit and corresponding reduction in the space devoted to automobiles will help "minimize the need for car trips" and "align our planning and zoning regulations with our historical streetcar-, biking-, and walking-centric (less automobile-dependent) development pattern" as has been voted at recent Town Meetings.
25: Amend Article VI of the Town’s Zoning By-Laws to increase the requirements for EV ready parking spaces
All vehicles must be electric to meet our climate goals. This zoning by-law will ensure the necessary infrastructure in our buildings to support that goal. The Caucus supports the petitioners in urging FAVORABLE ACTION on the referral motion to the Planning Department.
26: Resolution to Transform Our Planning and Zoning in the Age of COVID
While we are not taking a position on this resolution, the Green Caucus looks forward to a planning process, and any resulting future zoning by-laws, that incorporates the urgent priorities of climate change mitigation and climate resilience.

October 2021 Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 2: Ground Source Heat Pump system for the new Driscoll School

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item. This project was originally part of the proposed project that would render the new Driscoll fossil-fuel free. This warrant article restores it. The advantages of Ground Source Heat Pump over an Air Source Heat Pump are considerable. The environmental benefits include significantly reduced electrical consumption and demand. Furthermore, the investment will pay for itself and generate positive cash flow in later years.
May 2021 Town Meeting:
We recommend favorable action on the following Warrant Articles:
21. Zoning Bylaws pertaining to micro unit dwellings and age-restricted units in the Emerald Island Special District (Planning and Community Development Department)
Micro-units have always been allowed in Brookline zoning and were inadvertently removed with the creation of the Emerald Isle Special District. Micro units have environmental benefits due to their increased density.

24. Bylaw to establish a Sustainability Division within the Department of Planning and Community Development (Select Board)
This article will create a new Division of Sustainability Planning within the Planning Department and create an Assistant Director position to lead the new division. The Green Caucus has long supported this position and welcome this new enhanced office.
25. Zoning By-law to require new buildings in the Emerald Island Special District to be Fossil Fuel Free (FFF) (Scanlon et. al)
26. Amend the Town’s Zoning Bylaws to incentivize Fossil Fuel Free (FFF) infrastructure in new construction and significant rehabilitation of buildings by special permit (Cunningham et. al)
These by-laws are two complementary efforts following from the Attorney General's ruling that WA 21 from Town Meeting of 2019 was invalid. These could also serve as models for other communities.
37: Climate Emergency Resolution

This resolution would recognize that we are confronting a Climate Emergency and to take immediate steps to address it. The steps include a Climate Crisis Action Plan committing us to a Just Transition with a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Nov. 2020 Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 12: Acceptance of the Community Preservation Act (Land Bank Study Committee)

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item. We look forward to open space purchases and for the possibility of green improvements to affordable housing such as fossil-fuel free. Adopting the CPA will allow Brookline to take advantage of the on-going state funding for these goals, which will reduce pressure on the CIP.

Warrant Article 27: Micro units zoning (Zoorob, Shatz, et al.)

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item. Micro units have environmental benefits due to their small square footage from reduced energy usage for heating, cooling and general electrical consumption.

Warrant Article 38 – Resolution: Decarbonization in the Commonwealth (Cunningham, Gray, et al.)

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item. This resolution calls out an ambitious agenda for the Mass. Legislature and state government to address the climate emergency by 2050, and which is part of a campaign by sixteen communities across the Commonwealth such as Worcester and Arlington.

Warrant Article WA 39 – Fossil Free Fuel infrastructure in construction (Cunningham, Gray, et al.)

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item. Following the Attorney General's ruling that overturned our groundbreaking WA 21 from the Nov. 2019 Town Meeting, we support this enabling home-rule petition, which is likewise part of a campaign among several communities.

June 2020 Annual Town Meeting, we do not have any specific voting recommendations, but have commented on selected items.

Warrant Article 8:

A.) Budget
The Green Caucus opposes the proposal to “delay filling sustainability position” as an apparent gesture to save money [1]. The Town should not “leverage” last year’s unfortunate resignation of the Town’s Sustainability Program Administrator as a rationale to continue to delay filling this vital position. Doing so is counterproductive, not only because it delays the Town’s ability to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals, but sustainability projects can also save money.
[1] Town Administrator’s June 2, 2020 “FY2021 Revised Budget Presentation to the Select Board”; page 7

The Green Caucus supports maintaining the multi-modal split in all transportation projects.
Furthermore, in the current health crisis, we view walking, cycling, and traffic calming improvements to be matters of “public safety.”  Many persons will not feel safe using public transportation or taxis, etc., until a vaccine has been developed or a practical treatment is discovered.  Brookline's ability to accommodate varied usage of the public way for non-motorized transport will also help Brookline economically by supporting local commerce and those who are commuting to work.
We support the original list of walk/bike/calm projects in the budget, and its funding should be durable (i.e., from the general revenue, not an uncertain fund such as parking).
Warrant Article 8-14: Welltower

The Green Caucus recognizes and supports the many significant sustainability features of the proposed Welltower project. This project meets the “no gas” requirements set forth in WA 21. The developer has engaged directly with environmental stakeholders and has committed to an ongoing dialogue with environmental stakeholders through planning and construction. As the project moves forward, we will continue to collaborate with the developer as the design becomes more specified.  We hope these discussions will involve and potentially lead to such green features as onsite solar, purchase of offsite renewables, induction stovetops and electric ovens in the restaurants, further consideration of electric hot water and pool heating and of permeable pavements.  We hope that Welltower will consider increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations.  We commend their use of electric vehicles and the other green features already part of the project. The Welltower project will be the greenest, large, private development so far in Brookline.  We hope it will set a new standard for every subsequent project in Brookline so that we can meet our municipal climate goals.

For the November, 2019 Annual Town Meeting:
Articles 3 Item C: Appropriation of the TNC fee revenue - Select Board

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item which will help mitigate the impact of transportation network services (Uber, Lyft, etc.) on municipal roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. Most specifically, the Caucus recommends following the age-friendly, multi-modal project and funding Plan prepared by Transportation Division staff and endorsed by the Transportation Board.
Article 7: Highly Visible Street Markings - Electris & Miller

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this item which will benefit all transportation modes.

Article 12: Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) - Select Board

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this long-delayed initiative to put significant solar projects on municipal buildings.

Article 13: Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations - Department of Planning & Community Development   

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this Zoning Amendment to allow ground-mounted solar on residential and business property. This includes solar parking canopies.

Article 14: EV-ready parking spaces - Ananian & Gray

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this Zoning Amendment which requires all parking lots of more than 15 spaces to have 15% of the spaces be EV-ready. The EV READY simply means that the parking space has the electric infrastructure required for charging and does not reserve a space for charging.

Articles 15: Storefront parking spaces - Pehlke and Saner

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this Zoning Amendment which should reduce land devoted to private on-site parking and increase walkability and vibrancy in our commercial districts.

Articles 16: E-Scooters - Paul Warren and Heather Hamilton

We recommend NO ACTION on this by-law primarily because it requires the State Legislature to act before e-scooters could be re-introduced. Note that we share the goal of preserving sidewalks for walking and seating but feel this could be done by other means than this article.

Article 17: Resolution on EV charging stations - Ananian & Gray

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this resolution which seeks to make EV charging more widely available including for renters. This article recommends (1) the development of incentives for licensed private parking lots to be EV-ready; and (2) that municipal parking lots have multiple low-speed EV charging outlets.

Article 21: Prohibition on New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Major Construction -  Gray, Lohe, etc.

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this by-law which would ban oil or gas piping inside new buildings or major renovations. Inspired by the new Berkeley Calif. ordinance, this would be the first similar law in Massachusetts (although efforts are underway in other cities and towns). Various amendments have been proposed and the Caucus recommends following the lead petitioners' recommendation.

Article 22: Ban on Gasoline-powered Leaf Blowers
Article 23: Ban on use of Leaf Blowers on Sidewalks

The Green Caucus has supported all past efforts to restrict the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers because of fossil-fuel consumption, reduced air quality, health impacts, and noise. Enforcement has been failing under the current law from the use outside of the approved seasons to the use of units that exceeds our noise limits (such as backpack units). While Article 22 may not be moved, this issue remains a concern and we look forward to much improved enforcement, which is being developed as a result of this article.

Article 23 addresses these same issues of air quality, health and noise that stem from use of all types of leaf blowers (gas and electric) on side walks and the public way. The health and air quality impacts result from blown particulate matter. Noise is further amplified when leaf blowers are used on the streets especially in denser areas. This by-law will benefit both pedestrians and neighbors.

Article 31: Resolution on Transportation Planning - Milner-Brage, etc.

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION on this Article which seeks to restore the balance between modes of transportation by looking to historical development patterns more centered on public mass-transit and person-scale (walking, cycling, etc.) travel and which seeks to coordinate addition of non-fossil-fuel power supply infrastructure for motor vehicles with improved facilities for non-private-car travel. This is consistent with our Complete Streets Policy and Climate Action Plan. The resolution calls for reporting on this issue and the establishment of a Sustainable Transportation Engineer or Planner staff position to support implementation and community engagement.

For the May, 2019 Annual Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 9: Budget

We endorse the possible inclusion of initial funding for composting at the Brookline elementary schools in the FY 2020 Town Budget.

Warrant Article 16: Parking Benefit District in Brookline Village - Chris Dempsey

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION. We hope this will mutually benefit the businesses and lead to a greener Brookline.
Warrant Article  23: Resolution regarding Electrification of the Town's Motorized Fleet - Jesse M. Gray & Heather Hamilton

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION. Brookline needs to lead by example with electric vehicles.

Warrant Article  24: Resolution Calling for a Policy to Increase the Town Supply of Electricity from Renewable Sources - David Lescohier

We recommend FAVORABLE ACTION. The goal is 100% green electricity goal by 2050, or earlier, if, in the future, the Brookline Climate Action Plan advances this date.

For the December, 2018 Special Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 2 & 3: Baldwin & Driscoll Schools - Energy Amendments
We urge FAVORABLE ACTION on the Amendments requiring all-electric (no fossil fuels) buildings.
(Note that the Green Caucus is not taking a position on any other articles or motions for this Town Meeting.)
For the November, 2018 Special Town Meeting:
We recommend NO ACTION and do not support referral.
Warrant Article 23: Resolution calling for study of restoring the Olmsted bridle path

For the May, 2018 Annual Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 7: Budget: Sustainability Co-ordinator
We strongly support the creation of this position, which has been a goal of the Caucus since its inception in 2011. We commend the Select Board for including it in the override.
Warrant Article 7: Budget: Artificial turf
The Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on the amendment to prohibit expenditures in furtherance of the installation of plastic turf at Cypress Field (CIP Items 48 & 71). We oppose an artificial plastic surface for Cypress Field, which serves as a "Town Green," and support only the use of natural grass in the renovation of the field there. Please join with the Brookline GreenSpace Alliance, PAX, and a strong majority of Precinct 6 TMMs in supporting this amendment.

The Caucus is also generally concerned about the growing use of plastic turf in Town, including in the renovation of Downes Field (Item 68, though this amendment does not apply to that budget item). We recognize the inadequacy of the Brookline's athletic field capacity, and we are supportive of comprehensive planning and investment to address this need in a sustainable way.
Warrant Article 15: Erosion and Sediment Control
The Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION to preserve trees on private property via their value in reducing soil erosion. This is an important first step in addressing private tree preservation. The caucus supports continued efforts to protect trees, which have numerous other environmental benefits including climate mitigation.

Warrant Article 24: Land Bank
We support the concept of a transfer tax to purchase and protect open space and provide active and public transportation enhancements. We hope this goal will be a priority coming out of the referral process.
Warrant Article 31: Sustainable Packaging
The Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION along with the GreenSpace Alliance and PAX. The Green Caucus began making endorsements for the Fall 2012 Town Meeting, which included successfully passing two groundbreaking articles addressing plastic pollution. In 2016, we updated the plastic bag regulation, and now we can extend the polystyrene food packaging by-law to additional products and more toxic plastics (PETE and PVC). We are also following other jurisdictions in banning the retail sale of various polystyrene foam packaging products (from serving ware to packing peanuts). The benefits of all these laws have been to reduce litter and the health risks from petrochemicals by switching to more sustainable compostable and recyclable products. This is part of the larger campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

For the May, 2017 Annual Town Meeting, we recommended FAVORABLE ACTION on the following, which were all passed by Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 1 of Special Town Meeting #2
The Green Caucus is not taking a position on the High School expansion, but has serious concerns about two possible aspects of this project:
  • Underground parking at the Cypress Playground;
  • Artificial turf.
Warrant Article 16: Runkle Photovoltaics
The Caucus is enthusiastic about the first solar-energy installation on a Brookline Public School building.

For the November, 2017 Special Town Meeting, we recommended the following, and the second passed by Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 17

The Caucus reaffirms its commitment to the goal of the Selectmen's Tree Protection Study Committee to protect and preserve trees. Should this particular Warrant Article come to a vote this Town Meeting we recommend No Action.

Warrant Article 1 of Special Town Meeting #2

This Warrant Article seeks to broaden the application of funds with respect to a solution for elementary school expansion. The Green Caucus endorses Favorable Action on this Article, because it gives the Selectmen and School Committee additional flexibility to achieve more of the goals listed in the statement that the Green Caucus published earlier this Fall entitled "Best Practices and Opportunities for Environmentally Appropriate School Planning".

For the May, 2017 Annual Town Meeting, we recommended FAVORABLE ACTION on the following, which were all passed by Town Meeting:
Warrant Article 1 of Special Town Meeting #2
The Green Caucus is not taking a position on the High School expansion, but has serious concerns about two possible aspects of this project:
  • Underground parking at the Cypress Playground;
  • Artificial turf.

Warrant Article 16: Runkle Photovoltaics
The Caucus is enthusiastic about the first solar-energy installation on a Brookline Public School building.

Warrant Article 18 & 19: Lowered Speed Limits
The Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION to accept the provisions of the General Laws - Chapter 90. The Caucus supports these articles to better protect and integrate pedestrians and bicyclists into our town's transportation system.

Warrant Article 20: Resolution on Brookline and the Paris Agreement
The Caucus is pleased to join the Selectmen's Climate Action Committee, Board of Selectmen, and Advisory Committee in endorsing FAVORABLE ACTION.

Warrant Article 21: Net Zero Energy Schools
This resolution asks that the Ninth Elementary School be a Net Zero Energy school; and that Net Zero Energy principles shall be applied, to the extent feasible, during all design phases of Brookline High School expansion. In addition to reducing climate impacts, we hope this will result in lower and more predictable energy costs for these major municipal buildings.

Warrant Article 23: Gas Tax Resolution
This will support the passage of S.1551 (and H.1640) "An Act Relevant to Regional Transportation Ballot Initiatives", a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Smizik , that has now been reported favorably by the Committee on Revenue to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. This bill allows a local gas tax to fund local transportation upgrades.



For the November, 2016 Special Town Meeting, we recommended the following:

Warrant Article    6: Sustainable Bags

The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION. This update to the bylaw will accomplish two things that have a high impact and not require additional town staffing:

  • Eliminates slightly thicker plastic bags, which have been adopted by a few stores such as CVS. This will bring us in line with our neighboring communities and others around the state and country.
  • Expand the coverage of sustainable bags to produce bags at large supermarkets. Petrochemical plastic produce bags are used at roughly the same rate as shopping bags. We join the communities leading this issue, which currently include Williamstown and Lee.

Reducing plastics and keeping fossil fuels in the ground have significant environmental benefits. This WA takes logical steps forward towards this goal.

This article is also supported by statewide environmental organizations.

Warrant Article    7-10: EMERALD ISLAND
The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on WA 7, 9 & 10. This is an attractive transit-oriented zone. There are some environmental benefits in the park space and the removal of parking minimums. Some members expressed concern about the narrow sidewalk on Washington and lack of trees, but we voted unanimously voted for NO ACTION on WA 8. Note: We have no position on the WA 11 resolution, since it was not reviewed while we were waiting for final language.

Warrant Article    17-18: Electric Vehicle Charging
The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION. We want to see infrastructure to support EV's become the norm and widespread throughout Town.

Warrant Article    19: Parking Minimum
The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION. The Caucus has long supported efforts at Town Meeting to reduce the overuse of real estate for parking where possible. We urge Town Meeting to address this issue now.

Warrant Article    20: Hubway
The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION. We support infrastructure the permits reduced automobile ownership.

Warrant Article    23-24: Leaf blowers
The Caucus unanimously endorses NO ACTION. The changes are minimal with respect to noise and sustainability. There are unknown consequences to separation from the Noise by-law. Overall, we feel this is an inadequate response to the increased restrictions on leaf blowers proposed in the WA from 2015 Fall TM that was referred to committee.



For the May 2016 Annual Town Meeting, we recommended the following:

Warrant Article 8: Fiscal Year 2017 Budget
The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on Line item 41 regarding funding the proposed bicycle lane along part of Beacon Street.

Warrant Article 11: TREE PROTECTION BY-LAW
The Caucus unanimously affirms the intent of this by-law, and endorses the Advisory Committee motion to refer this article to a Selectmen’s Committee in hopes that a by-law can be crafted which addresses the issues raised in this article.

The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on the Advisory Committee's motion, which is a revision supported by the petitioner.

Among their many benefits, all three of these items support the general goal of reducing local climate impact.


For the November, 2015 Special Town Meeting, we recommended FAVORABLE ACTION on the following:

Warrant Article  6: Dedicating Larz Anderson Park for Park Use

The Caucus unanimously endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on WA 6.  This WA would dedicate 55 acres of Larz Anderson Park for public park purposes under Mass. General Laws, Ch. 45 ¶ 3.  Such a formal designation creates eligibility for certain grants from the Commonwealth.  More importantly, it erects substantial barriers for changing the use of the designated parcel, under Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution.  The Advisory Committee has recommended NO ACTION on WA 6, citing the need to "keep options open" in light of the possibility that a ninth K-8 School or a High School Expansion may be felt to be needed on this parcel, which would be allowed under current use restrictions. Further urbanization of Brookline is inevitable.  As population density increases, the need for a respite provided by open space becomes increasingly important for more and more residents.  Thus we need to protect important open spaces such as this.  The Board of Selectmen’s Report is not yet available.

Warrant Article 13: Authorizing a Community Choice Electrical Aggregation Program

The Green Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on WA 13, joining The Selectmen’s Climate Action Committee, a unanimous Board of Selectmen, and a unanimous Advisory Committee.  Adopting this WA authorizes the Board of Selectmen to commence a Community Choice Electrical Aggregation (CCA) Program, whereby brokers engaged by the Selectmen will negotiate rates and suppliers for all residences and businesses in the Town.  Any ratepayer may opt out of the CCA program.  The increased bargaining power enables the Selectman to emphasize lower costs, rate stability, or supply from renewable sources. 

Warrant Article 14:  Urging the Board of Selectmen to use a Community Choice Aggregation Plan to increase the use of electricity from renewable Sources

The Green Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on WA14, once again joining the Selectmen’s Climate Action Committee, a unanimous Board of Selectmen, and a unanimous Advisory Committee.  Presuming that Brookline adopts CCA [See WA 13], this warrant article sets forth suggested guidelines for tailoring the CCA to emphasize obtaining electricity from renewable sources, so far as feasible and financially responsible.  These guidelines, prepared by petitioners who have professional experience in the field, recognize that the market for electricity is quite fluid so that the goals are aspirational rather than rigid.  The circumstance that WA 13 and WA 14 have been endorsed by so many groups does not mean the issues are no-brainers or pro forma.  But CCA, if adopted and implemented as outlined in these articles, carries the potential to reduce Brookline’s carbon footprint substantially.

Warrant Article 17:  Asking Brookline to go on record in opposition to [1] the Northeast Direct Pipeline proposal; [2] the Access Northeast Pipeline proposal, and [3] the proposed investment by the two largest electricity distributors in New England in the Access Northeast Pipeline, and the proposal to include pipeline costs as factors in electricity rates

The Green Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on WA 17.  The proposed pipelines would double the capacity of gas flow into and through Massachusetts, far beyond any projected consumption in the state.  The inference is compelling that these pipelines will connect with pipelines through Canada to ports where the gas can be liquefied and exported.  Moreover, Eversource (formerly NStar) and National Grid propose to invest in the Access Northeast Pipeline and include pipeline costs in their rate setting process.  The audacity of these proposals is exceeded only by the dubiousness of the notion that Massachusetts should assume the environmental risks of transporting gas across the state for export and pay larger electricity bills for the privilege.  WA 17 calls for all government agencies involved to deny permits for the pipelines and to reject any attempt by electricity providers to include investments in the same into their rate base. It is sobering to ponder the enormous capital expenditures undertaken for increasingly elusive fossils fuels, and what such expenditures could accomplish if they were applied to renewable sources and to repairing the hundreds of leaks in existing pipelines.



For the May 2015 Annual Town Meeting, we recommended the following:

Article 13: Offering Tap Water to Restaurant Customers submitted by the Caucus Co-Chairs. FAVORABLE ACTION, as amended by the Board of Selectmen. The By-law would require food service establishment to offer tap water to customers upon request. While no one disputes the desirability of this concept, some question whether a By-law is necessary when virtually all common victuallers already provide water. But without such a requirement, a business could abandon the practice at any time. The temptation to sell a packaged beverage rather than serve tap water will always be present, absent this By-law. More generally, this By-law can be one step in a coordinated campaign to wean Brookline from the ubiquitous scourge of bottled water.

Article 14: Barring Use of Town Funds For Purchase of Bottled Water submitted by the Caucus Co-Chairs. Water sold in plastic bottles is the triple whammy of unsustainable commercial exploitation. First, consumers pay for a municipal water supply that is stringently tested for purity and safety. Second, commercial interests (such as Nestlé, Coke, or Pepsi) take water from the municipal water supply or from ground sources, further process it and then fill plastic bottles with it, and then sell it to those consumers. Third, Brookline consumers pay to dispose of empty non-biodegradable containers by the millions. WA 14 seeks to remove the Town from that loop with a bylaw based on a successful San Francisco ordinance. The proponents will now move Section 8.36.4(a) that prohibits the use of Town funds to purchase bottled water for general office use, except where necessary to protect health or safety. The Green Caucus endorses FAVORABLE ACTION on this section. The remaining sections seek additional restrictions such as the sale of bottled water at events on Town property or by Town licensees. These latter provisions are more complex, and will likely be the subject of referral to a Selectman’s committee to be brought back within a year. For those reasons the Green Caucus does not take a position on the remaining portions of WA 14.

Article 15: Amending the Zoning Map to Extend the Renewable Energy Overlay District. FAVORABLE ACTION as revised. This WA reflects ongoing efforts to utilize town property to host solar panel installations wherever feasible. The WA adds a portion of the Town DPW Transfer Station at 813-817 Newton Street to the Town Solar Overlay District while protecting the abutting conservation land. It is gratifying that this site can also be used for sustainable purposes such as renewable energy, while allowing the DPW to consolidate vehicle maintenance and storage operations and potentially convert an area at Larz Anderson Park to recreational use.

Article 16: Authorizing the Selectmen to Lease The Property Rezoned in WA 15 for Hosting a Ground-mounted Solar Facility. FAVORABLE ACTION. A suitable site having been located and rezoned appropriately (see WA 15), this WA empowers the Board of Selectman to negotiate a 20-year lease for the solar development of this site. Through collaboration with Blue Wave Capital, a vendor selected through the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Brookline will outsource the management, financing, procurement, and commissioning of the transfer station solar plant at no cost to the town. Blue Wave Capital is proposing a solar canopy over a parking area. The panels will be installed and owned by a private contractor, and the Town will purchase the resulting electricity at a rate that will yield an estimated $75,000 savings to the town, an approximately 30% discount.



At our Oct. 2014 meeeting, we recommended the following:

  • Article 9: Modifications to the Noise By-Law. NO ACTION. The Caucus had two major concerns: 1) We feel very strongly that wheeled leaf blowers should remain in the definition of portable leaf blowers covered by the by-law.
    2) The proposed definition of background noise will weaken the enforceability of the current bylaw.
  • Article 10:  Expanding Recycling in Brookline to include commercial establishments. FAVORABLE ACTION. The goal of this WA is to increase the quantity and quality of Brookline’s recycling product by requiring on-site separation of recyclables for Brookline businesses.
  • Article 15: Resolution regarding the sale of taxi medallions. FAVORABLE ACTION. A robust, affordable, and efficient taxi industry is one of the crucial components of a multi-modal, green transportation system, along with bicycles, walking, short-term automobile rentals, and public transit.
  • Article 17: Resolution regarding implementation of LED Lighting Replacements. FAVORABLE ACTION. Requests that the department of Health work with the Departments of Transportation and Building to select lights with wavelengths and intensities with particular attention to reducing blue wavelengths that can disrupt the biological processes of almost all living beings (plant and animal).
  • Article 19  Resolution opposing the expansion of natural gas through pipelines and hydraulic fracturing in Massachusetts. FAVORABLE ACTION. This article was inspired by the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline and supports proposed state laws restricting hydraulic fracturing.

 Note: Town meeting voted in agreement with all of these recommendations.

On May 4, 2014, we examined all Warrant Articles and voted on those Articles most germane to the mission of the Caucus – lessening the impact on the natural environment and enhancing the sustainability and quality of life in Brookline.  This is our report on the results.

  • Article 8 (B) 8:  Special Appropriation of $50,000 for a study of MBTA Traffic Signalization. The Green Caucus unanimously endorses this item in the Capital Improvements Budget, because it will commence an effort to make substantial improvements to service and efficiency on the Beacon Street Green Line.
  • Article 12:  Amendments to the General By-laws Article 8.15 Noise Control. The Green Caucus believes that this change will have little or no positive effect, and is very likely to unduly complicate enforcement of the Noise Control By-law, particularly with respect to leaf blowers. Accordingly, the Caucus unanimously recommends “No Action” on WA 12.
  • Article 15:  Zoning changes with respect to development of Brookline Place. The Green Caucus did not take a formal endorsement position on this Warrant Article.
  • Article 24:  Accepting Grant of an easement from the MBTA for reconstruction of the Carlton Street Bridge. The Green Caucus unanimously endorses WA 24.
  • Article 26:  To Repeal The Program For The Sale Of Taxi Medallions. The Green Caucus endorses Warrant Article 26. One may debate the ethical desirability and economics of creating artificial scarcity of a commodity such as  taxicab transportation, but it is abundantly clear that taxicab transportation is an important alternative to private automobile ownership, along with bicycles, walking, short-term automobile rentals, and public transit.  Brookline should be encouraging innovation and facilitating these alternatives, including taxicabs, rather than hindering them.
  • Article 28:  To Buttress Enforcement of the Bylaw re Slippery Sidewalks in Business Districts. The Green Caucus unanimously endorses WA 28.  This Warrant Article is an example of changes that enhance the quality of life, including walkability and improved pedestrian access, without additional funding.
  • Article 29:  Various Measures to Encourage Locally Owned Businesses. The Green Caucus voted to take no position on WA 29. Without disputing the virtues of locally owned businesses, the Caucus believes that all commercial establishments in Brookline, whether independent, franchise, or chain, have a stake in and should participate in environmentally sensitive and sustainable programs throughout the Town.
  • Article 32:  Divestment of Holdings in Fossil Fuel Companies. WA 32 seeks to enlist Brookline in the movement to divest pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies, as was done successfully with regard to tobacco companies and to businesses in South Africa during apartheid.  Specifically, the WA calls upon our state representatives and Senator to support legislation authorizing and directing such divestment.

On Nov. 14, 2013 we voted unanimously to recommend favorable action on the following Warrant Articles for the 2013 Fall Town Meeting:

  • Article 10 - Amend Parking Requirements For Residential Uses By Requiring Less Parking For Studio And One-Bedroom Dwelling Units.
  • Article 12 - to lease for a term of not more than thirty (30) years the property known as the Singletree Reservoir for the purpose of hosting a ground‐mounted solar photovoltaic installation

We feel Article 10 recognizes and reinforces multi-family development patterns near public transit that is less reliant on automobiles, and is likely to preserve more green space than the current zoning.

Article 12 will enable renewable energy locally without any capital or operating costs to the Town.

We note that both Articles 10 and 12 have been endorsed by the Climate Action Committee. 

On April 14, 2013 the Green Caucus endorsed the following two Warrant Articles for the May 2013 Town Meeting.

Article 22: This article submitted by Michael Sanders and Chris Dempsey is a resolution that funds be included in the Fiscal Year 2015 Town budget for a study of the costs and benefits of upgrading Town-owned traffic signals along Beacon St. to allow for prioritization of MBTA trolleys.  Prioritization would encourage the use of public transportation by reducing the trolley waiting times at traffic lights.  The Green Caucus endorses Article 22 and urges all Caucus members to vote for its adoption.

Article 23: This article submitted by Carol Oldham is a resolution expressing opposition to the transportation of Canadian tar sands products through New England and to support low carbon fuel standards. Bill McKibben's climate action group has stated, "The tar sands represent a catastrophic threat to our communities, our climate, and our planet." The Green Caucus endorses Article 23 and urges all Caucus members to vote for its adoption.

On October 14, 2012 the Green Caucus endorsed the following three Warrant Articles for the November 2012 Town Meeting.

Article 8: This Article submitted by Nancy Heller proposes to prohibit use of polystyrene food or beverage containers to serve food or beverages, if the packaging takes place on the premises of food establishments. It would not take effect until December 1, 2013, and six month waivers can be granted by the Director of Health and Human Resources. The intent of the Article, as originally filed, is to eliminate the use of "Styrofoam" containers in Brookline.  Based on our understanding of the original intent of this Article, The Green Caucus endorses Article 8 and urges all Caucus members to vote for its adoption.

Article 9: The Article proposes a program to reduce the usage of single-use, non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags by retail establishments in Brookline. It provides exemptions for small businesses. It would not take effect until December 1, 2013, and six-month waivers can be granted by the Director of Health and Human Resources.  The Green Caucus endorses Article 9 and urges all Caucus members to vote for its adoption.

Article 15: This article submitted by Thomas Vitolo proposes creation of a Selectman's Committee to study potential costs and benefits of adopting a policy to require suitable Town-owned roofs be made "solar ready" at the time of construction or substantial renovation. "Solar ready" means a roof that incorporates structural and design elements so that solar photovoltaic panels can be installed later when appropriate.  The Green Caucus endorses Article 15 and urges all Caucus members to vote for its adoption.

Note: Town meeting voted in agreement with all of these recommendations.

On September 16-18, 2011 twelve of us, from eight pricincts, participated in a successful retreat to launch the Green Caucus. At the retreat we drafted Guiding Principles and the following Mission: "Through Town Meeting, promote a sustainable future, a lower impact on the natural environment, and an improved quality of life for the greater Brookline Community."