Resilience & Sustainability

Climate trends suggest that in the next 50 years Minnesota will experience increased precipitation, hotter summers, warmer and wetter winters, and more severe weather events. Such changes could damage infrastructure, drain resources, and impair a City’s capacity to respond to residents’ needs. To ensure it will survive and thrive under these chronic stresses and extreme events, the City of Golden Valley is developing a resilience and sustainability plan, which will be included in its 2040 Comprehensive Plan update.

Comp Plan Conversations: Resilience & Sustainability

Mon, May 8
Agenda | Minutes

Write questions on this fillable note sheet and bring them to the open house.

Sustainability aims to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability focuses on three key factors--environmental, economic, and social. Incorporating sustainability into planning will ensure that future residents of Golden Valley will have the resources they need to survive and prosper.

Resilience is the capacity to respond, adapt, and thrive under changing conditions such as weather- and climate-related events. Consideration of vulnerabilities, and strategies to address those vulnerabilities, will strengthen Golden Valley’s ability to prepare and respond to the various impacts. This includes planning for climate variations and environmental threats, improved health and well-being of residents, and economic strength and diversity.

Vulnerability Assessment

Great Plains Institute conducted an assessment to understand what the City can expect as the effects of climate adaptation occur in the future. The assessment identified strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities in regards to infrastructure, population, and economics. The results will help the City know how well prepared it is to respond to these changes.  

Proposed Resilience and Sustainability Objectives

Goal 1: Promote and Develop Clean, Renewable Energy

Remove barriers and increase renewable energy use to help lower costs and mitigate climate-related impacts.


  • Promote ways to increase renewable energy use, purchase, and generation.
  • Support programs that enable community members to participate in community renewable energy projects.
  • Encourage new development, redevelopment, and retrofit projects to add renewable energy capacity or infrastructure.
  • Continue to incorporate renewable energy or its supporting infrastructure into City projects and operations.
  • Look for opportunities to partner with other public entities, utility companies, and private sector to provide clean energy infrastructure and accomplish energy goals.

Preliminary Policies

  • Communicate opportunities and information about clean, renewable energy to the public.
  • Create renewable energy standards or ordinances that encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.
  • Create a transparent and consistent permit process for residents and businesses to install renewable energy systems.
  • Work with local utilities or community organizations to distribute information about green power purchasing programs or incentives for property owners to install renewable energy systems.
  • Use solar mapping tools to identify potential solar resources and share mapping tools with residents and businesses.
  • Evaluate new energy technologies as they become available and incorporate into City projects and operations as appropriate.
  • Create a clean energy goal, at a minimum consistent with the State’s goals.

Goal 2: Encourage Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Lighting, and Infrastructure

Energy efficiency improvements will decrease costs and lower energy-related emissions.


  • Communicate to residents and businesses about rebates, audits, and other opportunities to decrease energy costs and lower energy-related emissions.
  • Integrate energy efficiency best practices information and assistance into building permit process.
  • Encourage an integrated approach to designing building and infrastructure systems (heating, cooling, water, etc).
  • Maximize the energy efficiency of all public buildings, campuses, infrastructure, and operations.
  • Improve fuel efficiency of City vehicle fleet.
  • Encourage fuel/charging stations or supporting infrastructure for low emissions vehicles.
  • Look for opportunities to partner with other public entities, utility companies, and private sector to maximize energy efficiencies.

Preliminary Policies

  • Provide incentives to residents and businesses who add energy efficiency improvements.
  • Integrate energy efficiency standards and sustainable design features into project review and approval processes.
  • Require higher efficiency standards and/or renewable energy generation or infrastructure for projects that receive City financial support.
  • Create or participate in outreach programs to promote energy conservation.
  • Connect property owners with assistance providers who offer energy audits and assistance.
  • Partner with non-profit organizations, local utilities, and/or the state energy office to provide energy savings opportunities to low-income residents.
  • Continue to work with regional partners to connect and expand options for multi-modal transportation (see Transportation Chapter).
  • Explore the purchase of low emissions vehicles.
  • Install fuel/charging stations or supporting infrastructure for low emissions vehicles at City campuses.
  • Encourage fuel/charging stations or supporting infrastructure at commercial and office sites, parking ramps, and public parking areas.
  • Facilitate changes in City code to allow for reduced light in the night sky, which may also benefit the natural environment.

Goal 3: Encourage Waste Reduction, Recycling, and Composting

Comprehensive management of waste will lower energy costs and reduce energy-related emissions.


  • Continue to partner with other public entities to reduce costs, provide improved services, and meet state goals.
  • Create goals for solid waste reduction, recycling, and organics/composting for City operations as well as residential and commercial sectors.
  • Increase accessibility to composting/organics recycling.
  • Explore opportunities to expand the recycling program or recyclable products (ie, organics, textiles, electronic waste, certain plastics, other).
  • Research options for managing yard waste, woody brush, and soil.
  • Explore opportunities to improve efficiencies in solid waste removal.
  • Motivate residents, businesses, and institutions to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.

Preliminary Policies

  • Provide education and incentives to residents and businesses to reduce waste and recycle.
  • Explore the potential of implementing organized collection systems, including residential and business/institutional source separated organics collection.
  • Review the frequency of pickups.
  • Facilitate more fix-it clinics in Golden Valley.
  • Promote City drinking water as alternative to bottled water (strategy).
  • Require that City events are zero waste events.

Goal 4: Protect and Enhance the Natural Environment

Protect the natural environment and enhance it to mitigate weather and climate-related impacts.


  • Preserve open spaces and natural areas and seek to expand these areas as opportunities arise.
  • Increase the amount of trees and native vegetation cover, including pollinator habitat.
  • Preserve and enhance wetlands, streams, and lakes.
  • Encourage the construction of green infrastructure to enhance water quality and reduce stormwater runoff rates, volumes, and nutrient loads.
  • Reduce urban heat island effect.
  • Protect and maintain air quality.
  • Look for opportunities to partner with public and private entities to enhance the natural environment and build resilience.
  • Continue to engage the public and provide education on environmental topics and opportunities.
  • Support community efforts to improve the natural environment.

Preliminary Policies

  • Support the goals and policies of the City’s Natural Resources Management Plan and reference this plan when evaluating protection and enhancement of the natural environment.
  • Maintain and improve natural infrastructure assets such as streambanks, wetlands, ponds, and rain gardens.
  • Identify areas with steep slope vulnerabilities and consider policies regarding protection.
  • Use an adaptive management approach to protection, preservation, and enhancement of natural areas.
  • Incorporate resilience into natural resource management budgets to prepare and respond to unexpected shocks and stresses.
  • Establish land management standards and practices that lower inputs and maximize resilience (ie, use low maintenance turf, replace turf with native and resilient species wherever possible).
  • Reduce the amount of chemical herbicides and pesticides applied in the community.
  • Continue to take a proactive approach in efforts to identify and treat diseased and insect-infested trees in a timely manner through implementation of the City’s shade tree disease program.
  • Continue to monitor and prepare for invasive species and pathogens that could significantly damage the City’s vegetation and water resources.
  • Increase tree canopy in areas with low coverage, high heat vulnerability (non-residential areas, high impervious surface coverage), and areas exposed to more vehicle exhaust.
  • Reforest or increase tree canopy coverage in areas that have experienced significant tree loss due to storms, disease, insect-infestation, or other.
  • Ensure healthy tree canopy coverage represented by a diverse species of trees.
  • Increase the ratio of tree planting to tree removal.
  • Increase native species planted in publicly owned parking lots or heavily-paved areas to enhance stormwater management and provide habitat to pollinators and other wildlife.
  • Continue to review development proposals for conformance with environmental ordinances regarding tree preservation, water quality, wetland protection and mitigation, shoreland protection, and consistency with the Natural Resource Management Plan.
  • Encourage, through education or incentives, development that saves or increases green spaces and protects areas with high ecological diversity.
  • Work with private property owners and developers to encourage reforestation and enforce the current tree preservation ordinance.
  • Plan and budget for targeted invasive species removal and, where appropriate, native species replacement.
  • Reserve a portion of the forestry or natural resource budget to be used in the event of an unexpected disturbance (invasive species, disease, storm damage, climate impacts, etc) to the urban forest.
  • Budget for adequate urban canopy coverage and increased tree planting after events that lead to tree loss.
  • Support the goals and policies of the City’s Surface Water Management Plan and the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission Watershed Management Plan.
  • Update shoreland management ordinance consistent with state requirements.
  • Encourage the preservation or establishment of native and natural vegetation near shorelands.
  • Encourage businesses and residents to retain stormwater runoff onsite and to reuse it whenever feasible.
  • Conduct education and outreach on the effects of nutrient loads and contaminants in stormwater on local water quality.
  • Integrate green infrastructure into City capital improvement projects.
  • Provide information about water use and conservation.
  • Reduce impervious surface area where possible and use lighter colored pavements and building materials to mitigate urban heat island effect.
  • Expand environmental education programs with schools and in the community and involve community members in hands-on land restoration and stewardship projects.
  • Provide information and assistance to residents on natural landscaping techniques, including rain garden installation and creation of pollinator habitats.
  • Review ordinances with respect to wood burning.

Goal 5: Plan for Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure


  • Protect and maintain constructed and natural systems that provide critical services.
  • Design stormwater infrastructure to consider emerging climate patterns.
  • Minimize the excavation of public streets and disruption to public services.
  • Reduce the opportunities for power outages.
  • Support well-planned improvements to the private utility and communications networks that provide redundancy, efficiency, and security.
  • Continue to explore and incorporate new and emerging technologies to construct, rehabilitate, maintain and manage public assets and infrastructure in an efficient, cost effective manner.

Preliminary Policies

  • Support the goals and policies in the Water Resources and Transportation Chapters of the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Continue to assess public buildings and sites for vulnerabilities to extreme weather, and make improvements to reduce or prevent damage and sustain function.
  • Encourage private building owners to take actions that will increase resilience.
  • Support improvements to the natural gas network, electric grid, and smart grid technologies.
  • Support microgrids (combined heat and power, distributed energy of wind and solar, and district energy) that provide redundancy, efficiency, and security.
  • Support the plan to construct electric vehicle charging stations along the US interstate highway system.
  • Work with public and private partners to plan and schedule infrastructure projects to reduce disruptions and decrease costs.
  • Encourage joint trench construction and construction of duct banks and conduits.
  • for future expansion of facilities within public right-of-way, where appropriate
  • Continue to use trenchless technologies to rehabilitate underground infrastructure.
  • Plan, design, and maintain infrastructure to accommodate emerging vehicle technologies.
  • Identify opportunities to enhance the electric grid to be more resilient to power outages.
  • Improve the redundancy and reliability of back-up energy for critical infrastructure.
  • Design infrastructure to minimize environmental and public health impacts.
  • Consider life cycle costs, including operations and maintenance costs, when planning projects and selecting construction materials.
  • Integrate multi-benefit green infrastructure into public capital projects.
  • Continue to reduce the inflow and infiltration of clear water into sanitary sewer system.
  • Continue to review operations and maintenance procedures and practices in response to climate impacts.

Goal 6: Increase Community Resilience and Preparedness


  • Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather- and climate-related events.
  • Ensure all residents are prepared to respond to emergency situations.
  • Establish a reliable, modern communication infrastructure that is accessible to all residents.
  • Promote social connectedness.
  • Promote economic resilience to acute and chronic stressors.

Preliminary Policies

  • Coordinate with regional partners to ensure basic needs of all residents are met during an emergency.
  • Continue to routinely review and participate in updating the County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
  • Identify staff responsible for City preparedness, emergency response, and recovery efforts for each type of event.
  • Designate appropriate facilities that will be made available to the public as community safe shelters and arrange for adequate provisions and backup power.
  • Make air conditioned public facilities available during poor air quality days and high heat days.
  • Continue to participate in FEMAs National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System to maintain a higher level of floodplain management in exchange for lower flood insurance premiums for eligible properties.
  • Develop a volunteer community preparedness program.
  • Strengthen relationships with community organizations to support the most vulnerable residents.
  • Provide education to residents on what actions they can take to reduce their risk to extreme weather- and climate-related events.
  • Coordinate with emergency dispatch and first responders to address the specific concerns of residents who may be more vulnerable in each type of event.
  • Make emergency communications available in multiple languages and platforms.
  • Prepare to communicate when power and communications networks are down.
  • Facilitate relationship building between members of the community across age, ethnicity, income, and/or other demographic differences.
  • Support and promote opportunities for public engagement in sustainable efforts.
  • Promote and report on the City’s sustainability projects and initiatives.
  • Explore opportunities to strengthen and diversify the local economy.
  • Foster small business and green business development.
  • Develop a post-disaster impact assessment in partnership with the local business community.
  • Promote low-income weatherization and heating assistance programs through City communication mediums.
  • Promote local food production, sales, and consumption and remove barriers for urban farming (ie, vertical farms, community gardens).

Comp Plan
In A Box

Comp Plan In A Box is a small group meeting, guided by a leader, where people share ideas about the future of the place where they live, work, and play.