Half Moon Bay has delayed passage of a more stringent electrification access code ordinance and is instead coming back to the drawing board for possible additional changes to requirements for residential and non-residential structures and farm buildings.
“The issue of modifying our existing homes and businesses just needs more attention,” said Mayor Debbie Ruddock.
At the final hurdle of a second reading of the much-discussed Dec. 21 ordinance, the council failed to address concerns about the financial costs to homeowners and businesses of replacing gas with electrical appliances, the lack of support public and the provisions of the ordinance go as far. Instead, Ruddock recommended bringing back a new, separate ordinance in February requiring all newly constructed buildings to be constructed with an all-electric design. She suggested other controversial topics, such as arrangements for the remodeling of existing residential and commercial buildings, be discussed during the city’s climate action plan discussions in late spring.
The proposed ordinance had required a switch to electrical appliances over the next few years for buildings undergoing renovation, which concerns some of the public and council. She also wanted new exemptions for farm buildings like greenhouse gases beyond the original date of 2030.
“I’m trying to make a constructive alternative here that can get buy-in from some fellows,” Ruddock said.
Had the ordinance passed its second reading, it would have authorized significant changes and stricter electrical scope codes for residents and businesses. The ordinance required that all newly constructed buildings be constructed with a fully electric design after 30 days. Major renovations to residential buildings would have been electric from 2023, and major renovations to non-residential and mixed-use buildings are expected to be electric by 2025.
Council member Robert Brownstone was against the ordinance as drafted and wanted to make changes before considering passing it. He said most of the Half Moon Bay audience was not interested in the changes. He urged the council to consider what the public wanted instead of what the council wanted. He wanted to see changes to restaurant ordinances and more guarantees that people for the foreseeable future won’t have to replace grilling appliances with electric options.
“It’s not about access codes. It is about going too far. It is not about reaching. It’s about going too far, ”Brownstone said.
Board member Joaquin Jimenez agreed with Ruddock and Brownstone, noting that the cost to the community compared to a small impact was indefensible.
“Approval of this ordinance would affect many members of the community. [For example], our seniors who live on a fixed income. It is not fair. In addition, we will be evicting some of the businesses from Half Moon Bay, ”Jimenez said.
The city wants to tackle climate change issues related to greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality goals. The city has said that if it does not make significant reductions, Half Moon Bay will not meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets. A staff report indicates that 48% of Half Moon Bay’s local greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, with 80% of that total from the combustion of fuel gas on site. The city said failure to tackle climate change and greenhouse gas emissions could lead to sea level rise that endangers homes, businesses and local and regional transport infrastructure. of Half Moon Bay. More severe climate change is possible, with an increased risk of floods, fires and other natural disasters. Portions of Highway 1 had to close briefly due to flooding caused by rain on December 23, and several residential areas were also flooded.
Concern over climate change and the city’s urgent need for action led Deputy Mayor Deborah Penrose and council member Harvey Rarback to urge council to pass the ordinance. Both said change was needed to help save the planet for future generations. However, the two were unable to convince the other three to vote yes.
Several people spoke out against the ordinance at the meeting and demanded that the ordinance be changed or stopped altogether. Many cited prohibitive spending on residential and commercial renovations, declining home values and small changes at a high financial cost. Some speakers said the deadline was too short for an important decision or asked for incentives instead of demands. Others favored passage of the law with the looming threat of climate change likely to increase in the years to come.
Penrose voted against delaying adoption of the ordinance due to the threat of climate change. She believed that future federal and state grants would help make the conversion and transition easier and cheaper for people after devices run out, along with better technology.
“I think it’s a great prescription,” said Penrose.
Rarback reaffirmed the need to view this as a matter of public safety to protect future generations. He said Half Moon Bay has no choice but to start making tough decisions.
“We need to move away from fossil fuels, and this ordinance is a step in that direction, and I warmly support it,” Rarback said.
The ordinance’s first reading was passed by a close 3-2 vote earlier in the month, with board members Robert Brownstone and Joaquin Jimenez voting no. The decision to delay the switchover on Dec. 21 came in a 4-1 vote, with Penrose voting no.