Over the last few months, we have seen almost every city and county adopt the new 2019 California Building Codes. Unfortunately, a number of cities are also proposing or enacting so-called “Reach Codes” that amend the standard building codes adopted by the California Building Standards Commission to mandate all new residential and, to varying degrees, commercial construction be all-electric beginning January 1, 2020. In past alerts, we identified some of these ordinances in cities like Berkley, Windsor, Santa Rosa, San Jose, and Oakland. To be absolutely clear, these ordinances provide there will be no natural gas piped to new buildings in these areas and, in some cases, whole subdivisions.
CPSA is opposed to these “Reach Codes” and has weighed-in by filing comments in opposition with a number of cities that have or are considering these new statutes. However, often by the time CPSA receives these notices of such proposed ordinances, the city has had a number of workshops or other meetings on the issue and has garnered local support sufficient to enact such codes. In other words, our comments in opposition come too late which is the problem when trying to deal with over 450 California cities.
So now CPSA is joining with the California Restaurant Association to challenge in court the City of Berkley’s ordinance. The association has contacted attorneys for the restaurant group to inform them we will file an amicus brief in support of their challenge under both state and federal laws to the authority of the city to enact such a code. This will be a process likely to take months, but it is a necessary step to try to prevent the enactment of such codes in the name of reducing greenhouse gases.
Most of the ordinances CPSA has looked at thus far are general in nature and apply across the board. However, we were recently alerted to the ordinance passed by the City of Santa Monica which is specific to swimming pools and spas. Per this ordinance, after January 1, 2020, all residential, non-residential, high rise residential, and hotel/motel buildings where a new pool is to be constructed will be required to install an electric heat pump water heater or solar thermal system to heat the water for the pool or spa.
In addition to the court challenge of the City of Berkley’s ordinance, CPSA will be looking into the Santa Monica ordinance as well as others along with a coalition involving the California Business Roundtable, Sempra, California Restaurant Association and others. We will have more information to report after an upcoming coalition meeting that is scheduled for next week on December 10.
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