REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTRUCTION

 

Public Hearing

 

July 8, 2008

 

The Honorable,

The Board of Commissioners of Cook County

 

ATTENDANCE

 

Present:

Chairman Murphy, Vice Chairman Butler, Commissioners Schneider, Silvestri and Sims (5)

 

Absent:

Commissioners Beavers, Gorman, Moreno and Steele (4)

 

Also Present:

Commissioner Quigley and Bruce Washington, Director, Office of Capital Planning and Policy.

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

        Your Committee on Construction of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County met pursuant to notice for a public hearing on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at the hour of 10:00 A.M. in the Board Room, Room 569, County Building, 118 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois.

 

        Your Committee has considered the following items and upon adoption of this report, the recommendations are as follows:

 

 

293638

AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 2-6 (BUILDING CONSTRUCTION) (PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENT).  Submitting a Proposed Ordinance Amendment sponsored by Mike Quigley, Williams M. Beavers, Jerry Butler, Forrest Claypool, Earlean Collins, John P. Daley, Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, Gregg Goslin, Roberto Maldonado, Joseph Mario Moreno, Joan Patricia Murphy, Anthony J. Peraica, Timothy O. Schneider, Peter N. Silvestri, Deborah Sims, Robert B. Steele and Larry Suffredin, County Commissioners.

 

The following is a synopsis of the Proposed Ordinance Amendment:

 

PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

 

AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 2-6 (BUILDING CONSTRUCTION)

 

WHEREAS, the Cook County Forest Preserves and surrounding areas are home to at least 290 known species of birds; and

 

WHEREAS, Cook County lies along the Mississippi Flyway, through which millions of birds of 300 different species pass every year; and

 

 

WHEREAS, birding is a hobby enjoyed by 64 million Americans and generates more than $40 billion a year in economic activity in the United States; and

 

WHEREAS, as many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with windows every year in the United States, according to studies by Dr. Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and

 

WHEREAS, Field Museum scientists studying bird collisions at McCormick Place found that turning off lights reduces bird collision deaths by 83 percent; and

 

WHEREAS, the Chicago area is emerging as a national leader in protecting birds from collision; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago was the second city in the nation to sign the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds in 2000, a partnership between individual cities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory birds through habitat conservation and educational programs; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has developed a very successful Lights Out program in recent years, encouraging the owners and managers of skyscrapers to reduce illumination during migration periods; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2005 the City of Chicago and the Birds and Buildings Forum hosted the first-ever national conference on bird-safe buildings; and

 

WHEREAS, Cook County adopted the Green Buildings Ordinance in 2002, committing itself to construct buildings which minimize environmental harm; and

 

WHEREAS, bird-safe design features can be incorporated into new construction and major renovation projects at no extra cost, and existing buildings may be made bird-safe through the use of simple, low cost adaptations; and

 

WHEREAS, bird-safe practices often go hand-in-hand with energy efficiency improvements.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that Chapter 2 Administration, Article I, Section 2-6 (Building construction) of the Cook County Code is amended as follows:

 

Sec. 2-6. Building construction.

 

(f)         New construction and major renovation projects shall incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features, including, but not limited to, those recommended by the City of Chicago’s “Bird-Safe Building Design Guide for New Construction and Renovation,” the City of Toronto’s “Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines,” and New York City Audubon’s “Bird-Safe Building Guidelines.”

(g)        The County shall make existing buildings bird-safe where practicable.

 

*Referred to the Committee on Construction on 4/23/08.

 

Commissioner Silvestri, seconded by Vice Chairman Butler, moved the approval of Communication No.  293638.  The motion carried.

 

293643

BIRD-FRIENDLY PILOT PROGRAM FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS (PROPOSED RESOLUTION).  Submitting a Proposed Resolution by sponsored by Mike Quigley, County Commissioner.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTION

 

BIRD-FRIENDLY PILOT PROGRAM FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS

 

WHEREAS, the Cook County Forest Preserves and surrounding areas are home to at least 290 known species of birds; and

 

WHEREAS, Cook County lies along the Mississippi Flyway, through which millions of birds of 300 different species pass every year; and

 

WHEREAS, birding is a hobby enjoyed by 46 million Americans and generates more than $30 billion a year in economic activity in the United States; and

 

WHEREAS, as many as one billion birds may be killed by collisions with windows every year in the United States, according to studies by Dr. Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and

 

WHEREAS, Field Museum scientists studying bird collisions at McCormick Place found that turning off lights reduces bird collision deaths by 83 percent; and

WHEREAS, the Chicago area is emerging as a national leader in protecting birds from collision; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago was the second city in the nation to sign the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds in 2000, a partnership between individual cities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory birds through habitat conservation and educational programs; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has developed a very successful Lights Out program in recent years, encouraging the owners and managers of skyscrapers to reduce illumination during migration periods; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2005 the City of Chicago and the Birds and Buildings Forum hosted the first-ever national conference on bird-safe buildings; and

 

WHEREAS, Cook County adopted the Green Buildings Ordinance in 2002, committing itself to construct buildings which minimize environmental harm; and

 

WHEREAS, bird-safe design features can be incorporated into new construction and major renovation projects at no extra cost, and existing buildings may be made bird-safe through the use of simple, low cost adaptations; and

 

WHEREAS, bird-safe practices often go hand-in-hand with energy efficiency improvements.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Cook County Board of Commissioners, that the County shall identify one existing facility for an initial pilot project at which various cost-effective bird-safe modifications, including, but not limited to, those measures recommended by the City of Chicago’s “Bird-Safe Building Design Guide for New Construction and Renovation,” the City of Toronto’s “Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines,” and New York City Audubon’s “Bird-Safe Building Guidelines”; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that such modifications shall be made and evaluated for their effectiveness in reducing bird collisions.  Modifications shall be complete within twelve (12) months of the passage of this Ordinance and an evaluation report shall be delivered to the Board of Commissioners no later than twelve (12) months after the completion of modifications; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution, along with supplemental information, be forwarded to the Brookfield Zoo, the Chicago Botanic Garden, all suburban Cook County municipalities, and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Suburban Chicago.

 

*Referred to the Committee on Construction on 4/23/08.

 

Chairman Murphy asked Bruce Washington, Director, Office of Capital Planning and Policy, to address the committee.

 

Mr. Washington began by stating that the Office of Capital Planning and Policy is a proponent of the Ordinance.

 

Mr. Washington stated that in regards to cost, clearly with new construction the cost is nominal; any type of bird fitting design would be incorporated into the design, so therefore the cost would be negligible.

 


Mr. Washington stated as the County moves into retrofitting the buildings and trying to make them bird friendly, there are a number of things that the Office of Capital Planning and Policy has considered:  1) installing transparent or perforated pattern or nonreflecting window film; 2) painting, etching or temporary coating coalition windows to make them visible to birds; 3) louvers, awnings, sun shades or other shading devices at large expanses of glass to reduce the reflection. 

 

In addition the Office of Capital Planning and Policy can install and operate reflected blinds, shades, or curtains to reduce glazing reflectivity and indicate the presence of a barrier to a bird in flight.  The other option would be to consider closing curtains when the buildings are illuminated at night or perhaps if there are no activities going on at night in the building to reduce the illumination being used by that building.  Finally the other consideration would be to reglaze the existing windows that experience a high rate of bird collation with low reflectivity.

 

In conclusion, Mr. Washington stated that when you’re looking at window film the cost would be approximately five dollars per square foot.  If we install shades they would run anywhere from $20.00 to $135.00 per square foot.  Once the direction is received by the Board the Office of Capital Planning and Policy will look at the various conditions and look at what buildings are good candidates for the retrofit of our buildings to make them bird friendly.

 

Chairman Murphy asked if all of the County buildings have some type of shading or curtains on them already.

 

Mr. Washington responded that most of the buildings have shades or curtains.  It is more of a building operation or policy by the County to direct or instruct the various departments to close their shades at a certain time or turn off the lights at certain time of the day if there is no operation going on in the building.  At this time there is no policy that exists; the County has a total of 105 buildings.

 

Chairman Murphy stated that the first order of business would be to institute a policy particularly during migratory periods of the year such that the County follows a period of closing drapes/shades and turning off lights which would cost the County no money.

 

Commissioner Quigley asked who is responsible for implementing a policy.

 

Mr. Washington stated that Facilities Management will implement the policy for all of the buildings that are outside of the Bureau of Health.  For the Bureau of Health, it would be the Bureau of Health itself that would operate the policy.

 

Commissioner Sims asked if there are any funds available through the Federal government to help the County with the retrofitting that needs to be completed.

 

Mr. Washington stated that there could be, but grant funds are difficult to obtain.  The Office of Capital Planning & Policy does have a grant writer on staff and efforts are being made by that individual to secure funds.  Further he stated that we can not assume that the County will be receiving funds soon, but could apply for funds.

 


Commissioner Butler asked if the retrofitting will only be for buildings that Cook County owns or does it include all buildings under construction in Cook County.

 

Mr. Washington stated that it is his understanding that it would only be for buildings that Cook County owns.

 

Commissioner Quigley stated that Mayor Daley has been outstanding regarding this issue and the City of Chicago has already implemented its bird policies and has begun to deal with the issue across the City.

 

Commissioner Silvestri stated that the Zoning and Building authority of the County is limited to unincorporated areas only.  He stated that he would like to work with Commissioner Quigley to draft an amendment to the building code of the unincorporated areas basically to require that new construction do incorporate these standards.  Further, he stated that as a body the suburban municipalities should be encouraged to look at incorporating the County into their local building codes.

 

Commissioner Silvestri, seconded by Vice Chairman Butler, moved the approval of Communication No. 293643. The motion carried.

 

Chairman Murphy called upon the registered public speakers.

 

1)         Ginny Hotaling – Director of Government Relations, Chicago Botanic Garden

2)         Donnie Dann – Past President, Bird Conservation Network

3)         Judy Pollock - Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Chicago Region

4)         Randi Doeker – Director, Birds and Buildings Forum

5)         George Blakemore – Concerned Citizen

 

 

Commissioner Silvestri moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Commissioner Sims.  The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned.

 

 


YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS

WITH REGARD TO THE MATTERS NAMED HEREIN:

 

Communication Number 293638                     Approved

Communication Number 293643                     Approved

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Committee on Construction

 

 

 

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Joan Patricia Murphy, Chairman

 

 

Attest:

 

 

 

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Matthew B. DeLeon, Secretary

 

 

The transcript for this meeting is available in the Office of the Secretary to the Board, 118 N. Clark Street, Room 567, Chicago, IL  60602.