The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the City of Santa Barbara’s potential “REACH Code” ordinance that would prohibit the use of natural gas in new commercial and residential development.
We understand that on Nov. 30, the City Council’s Sustainability Committee approved a motion directing staff to proceed with the development of a REACH Code that would prohibit the use of natural gas in new commercial and residential development.
On Jan. 12, the full City Council voted to direct to staff to produce a plan to require all-electric construction with new buildings. We ask that the council strongly consider the unintended consequences of the proposal and delay or deny its progress.
The timing of this proposal is problematic and creates additional economic hardship on business during their time of need.
The City of Santa Barbara’s economy and tax base, which relies heavily on tourism and hospitality, has been devastated by COVID-19. Hundreds of Santa Barbara businesses have closed their doors, and many will likely never reopen.
Many Santa Barbara residents have been laid off or furloughed, and it will likely take years for our local economy to fully recover.
We ask that the city not impose new costs for businesses and property owners right now. Instead, we ask to solely focus on policies that matter most to residents right now: protecting public health and getting Santa Barbara businesses to reopen so residents can get back to work.
We understand that climate change is a pressing issue and that it contributes to extreme weather. Santa Barbara’s economy and business community has been affected by recent fires, mudslides and heatwaves, so we understand the need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
But banning natural gas services in a few dozen commercial and residential developments per year is not the best way to address climate change. That type of proposal has little to no effect on global climate change and only leads to increased building and operating costs.
We at the Chamber are willing and interested to work with the city on sustainability measures that make a real difference and that also support business.
The current proposal is not efficient because there isn’t much new development in Santa Barbara to begin with, and new buildings are required to be built to latest state and local standards.
California and Santa Barbara already have some of the strictest building standards in the nation. New buildings in Santa Barbara are going to be the most energy-efficient and lowest emitting in the city compared to Santa Barbara’s older existing building…
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