Cocoa Council Launches Sustainability Committee, Will Ensure City Remains Resilient

By  //  December 16, 2017

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committee will consist of 5 to11 residents

Cocoa City Council members include, left to right: Councilman Clarence Whipple Jr., District 1; Councilwoman Brenda Warner, District 2; Deputy Mayor Don Boisvert, District 3; and Councilwoman, Jeri Blanco District 4. Seated is Mayor Henry Parrish III. (City of Cocoa image)

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – At the Cocoa City Council meeting last Tuesday, Council unanimously approved the establishment of a Sustainability Advisory Committee. 

The committee will advise the City on ways in which the City can incorporate and promote sustainable and resilient activities and practices that not only meet the needs of the present, but also do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The holistic concept of sustainability includes consideration of the environment, the economy, and community well-being and social equity.

Dozens of residents from the community and representatives from organizations in support of the Sustainability Committee such as the Indian River Lagoon Coalition, the Florida Solar Energy Center, League of Women Voters, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Brevard County, and Keep Brevard

Beautiful were in attendance for the Council meeting on Tuesday.

“With Cocoa being such a forward-thinking community, I have no doubt this is going to be a great success,” said Keep Brevard Beautiful Executive Director, Tony Sasso.  “Keep Brevard Beautiful is ready and willing to partner with your committee.”

Cocoa resident Lorraine Koss derived the idea for this committee from her interest in the Indian River Lagoon.  “Cocoa has the opportunity to contribute to the lagoon’s long-term health and this is where planning comes in.”

In May, Lorraine gave a presentation to Council on the success of the City of Satellite Beach’s Sustainability Plan and requested that Council consider establishing a committee to help form and implement such a plan for Cocoa.

The City Manager’s office met with Lorraine and a group of dedicated residents to formulate a proposed scope of work for the committee and the City drafted a resolution for the creation of the committee.

The City of Cocoa is hiring a Plans Examiner, Systems Admin, Utilities Billing Clerk and more.

At the Cocoa City Council meeting last Tuesday, Council unanimously approved the establishment of a Sustainability Advisory Committee. 

The committee will consist of anywhere between 5 and 11 members who are all residents or owners of property in Cocoa and whose main objective will be to establish a written Sustainability and Resiliency Plan.  The plan will consider and recommend a set of actions, initiatives, strategies, policies, and/or programs related to items such as:

  • Sustainable enhancements that serve low-income neighborhoods
  • Public use of right-of-way areas along Indian River Drive to promote lagoon-friendly landscaping and rain gardens
  • Opportunities to develop trails in the Cocoa Conservation area
  • Improving recycling access
  • Opportunities for photovoltaic installations
  • The purchase of alternative fuel vehicles for the City’s fleet
  • Tracking and improving energy efficiency in the City’s municipal buildings
  • Education partnership opportunities
  • Review of code and City standards regarding invasive plantings
  • Expansion of the City’s Rain Barrel program
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Currently, the Cities of Palm Bay and Satellite Beach have adopted similar Sustainability Plans, although many local governments engage in sustainable activities through committees and regulatory practices.

Once the plan is formalized and presented to Council for consideration, the committee will continue to advise and assist the City regarding implementing, monitoring and assessing the performance of each action, initiative, strategy, policy, and program set forth in the plan.

Currently, the City of Cocoa strives to promote and achieve sustainability through existing plans and regular operational procedures including sustainable and smart growth measures included in the City’s 2010-2020 Comprehensive Plan and in the City’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan which encourages the promotion of sustainability through the redevelopment of the City’s core and sound fiscal practices.

“We are excited about the talented residents of our community to work together and improve our City for future generations,” said Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish, III.

“When residents step up and engage with their community, the results can be tremendous.”


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