2023 Candidate Questionnaire on
Mayoral Candidate Response: Greta Kearns
Mayoral Candidate Response: Greta Kearns
What would you like Grandview residents to know about your background, as it relates to the environment, climate, and conservation? If applicable, please describe any relevant educational, career, or service experience you have.
My general background and platform are summarized at: gretakearnsformayor.com. I grew up in a rural area and have a deep love for the natural environment.
- Position on Climate Change
Do you believe there is a climate crisis? If yes, to what extent can and should local government take action to address it?
Climate change is upon us and demands leadership and cooperation at the highest levels of government worldwide to reduce emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. Local government should do what is feasible within its scope of control to mitigate activity contributing to climate change.
- Issue 23
For the upcoming November election, Grandview will vote on Issue 23, which, if passed, will bring 100% renewable energy to residences and businesses in our city. Do you support Issue 23?
Issue 23 asks voters to consider if the City should have the authority to aggregate retail electricity loads supporting 100% clean energy generation through the creation of an Energy Aggregation Program. It is enabling legislation. I invite the community to attend the City’s two remaining information sessions on October 24 to learn more. If passed by a majority of voters, I am confident that the City is well-positioned to implement a quality program.
- Reducing carbon emissions
Beyond Issue 23, what steps, if any, should Grandview Heights take to collectively reduce our carbon emissions? Some possible questions to address include: Should the City electrify its vehicle fleet? Will you commit to advocating to install solar at our municipal building and/or other City sites?
The Fire/EMS, Police, and City Hall facility design includes numerous green features including: bioretention stormwater management to slow release and improve water quality, LED lighting, contemporary energy code management components such as dimmers and occupancy sensors, daylighting for all offices, a high-performance exterior skin, energy efficient HVAC similar to a residential heat pump, and underground EV infrastructure. We are reviewing the feasibility of carport solar and a rooftop design to accommodate solar; this decision will depend on financial capacity within the framework of the entire project. The City regularly evaluates feasible options for our fleet vehicles so we can invest in hybrid and electric equipment when the opportunity arises. The City has previously tested the performance of electric utility vehicles and has increased its inventory of battery powered handheld equipment in its Parks Maintenance equipment such as string trimmers and blowers. I do not foresee the City electrifying its entire fleet in the near future as electric options and/or vehicles meeting our performance needs do not currently exist.
Describe the importance of our community’s parks, greenspace, and tree canopy. As an elected official, what specific steps would you take, if any, to preserve and/or expand these local assets? As one example, should the city commit to planting primarily/exclusively native species of trees/plants?
Our parks are integral to our community and its quality of life. In 2024, Grandview Heights will celebrate its 40th anniversary of being a Tree City USA through the National Arbor Foundation. The City has brought several new parks online during my tenure in leadership and continues to do so, no small accomplishment in a City of only 1.3 square miles. We intend to conduct comprehensive Parks Master Planning during my next term. The Parks Department has internal infrastructure and depth of talent dedicated to stewardship of our natural resources, including canopy management. We conduct a biannual inventory assessment of our public trees and are working with an Eagle Scout on strategies to mitigate soil compaction and promote understory growth in Wyman Woods. Our inventory includes a robust complement of natives and non-natives. We implemented the Tree Plotter tool recently and have been working toward the eradication of invasives such as Pear and Honeysuckle in our public spaces.
Describe your views and/or policy positions on transportation in Grandview. What should the City’s priorities be in this domain? Please share any specific ideas or proposals related to pedestrian and bicycle routes, public transit, and/or electric vehicle infrastructure.
Our planning and development priorities are guided by our comprehensive land use plan which supports multimodal transportation. One of Grandview Heights’ core characteristics is being a well-planned, compact, and walkable community. At every hour of the day, people are walking on our well-maintained sidewalks and we have residents who are regular bike commuters to Columbus and Ohio State. The 90-acre former industrial zone on the East side of our community was planned as a dense, walkable and bikeable district and resulted in new multi-use paths and connective infrastructure where there were previously none. We are actively engaged with our regional partners in transportation planning and development efforts, including LinkUs, a consortium with Columbus, COTA, and MORPC, which is engaged in planning and improving multimodal transit supportive infrastructure complementing COTA’s proposal for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Another such effort is the regional Heritage Trail consortium including MORPC, Columbus and other municipalities, Franklin County, and MetroParks, which is actively promoting conversion of the railroad line traversing our community into a regional multiuse trail.
- Solid Waste
What are your positions on trash, food waste, recycling, and litter? Should we expand our composting program to include curbside pickup? What else, if anything, can Grandview do better in these domains, and what specific policies or programs will you pursue if elected?
Waste management is one of City government’s core responsibilities and I am proud of Grandview Heights’ sanitation operations. We were an early adopter in curbside recycling and have high recycling rates. We have expanded recycling opportunities and implemented a food waste dropoff program since I have been Mayor. It is not currently feasible for the City to provide curbside compost; implementation of this as a future program is a complex proposition and will depend on several factors such as the existence of regional infrastructure with capacity to process food waste which is currently in the long-term exploration and planning stage with SWACO and other partners.
- Single-use Plastics
To what extent do you believe that single-use plastics, such as food utensils, bags, take-out containers, and straws, are harming the environment? What can Grandview Heights do, if anything, to reduce the production and distribution of these items?
These items are harming the environment and have proliferated with the rise of take out and food delivery services. The City does not have local authority to regulate production and distribution and the Ohio legislature has recently preempted home rule regulation of use. However, we do accept compostable containers at our food waste drop-off site currently located on Douglas St.
- Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins, such as lead and coal tar, pose significant threats to human health. What should Grandview’s role be, if any, in mitigating the presence of these toxins in our air, homes, businesses, and waterways?
State and federal agencies regulate lead and other environmental toxins and have the infrastructure to conduct enforcement. The City does not intend to use products containing coal tar in future maintenance and capital projects.