A plan to comply with a state mandate to divert organic waste from landfills – with an estimated annual cost of $ 450 million – was reluctantly approved by Tehachapi city council on September 20.
After a presentation from Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe, council voted 3-2 to approve the city’s SB 1383 implementation plan. Pro-Tem Mayor Michael Davies and council member Susan Wiggins voted no.
Mayor Phil Smith and council members Christina Scrivner and Joan Pogon-Cord voted to approve the plan, but neither appeared satisfied. Smith asked how much increase residents might have to pay (still unknown) and Scrivner urged city staff to continue their efforts to work with state officials.
âPlease keep trying to find common sense solutions,â she said.
City manager Greg Garrett said the law was another example of a tough state mandate for small towns. âOne size doesn’t fit all,â he told the board. âRest assured that we will continue to lead the fight. “
Previously, the city had sent a comment letter to CalRecycle expressing concerns about the increased costs for residents of mandatory organics recycling, Costelloe said. While the city’s contribution did not have a direct impact on organic compliance regulations, he said the state agency said it helped lay the groundwork for delayed application of these regulations.
The problem that Senate Bill 1383 set out to solve when it was approved in 2016 is to reduce the impact of short-term climate pollutants that generate methane and impact climate change by diverting organics – including yard waste and food waste – from landfills and garbage. flow, Costelloe said.
The law will come into effect on January 1, 2022, but the city has developed a plan to achieve full compliance by July 1, 2023. At that point, a weekly collection of a third bin will be required.
The state even specifies the size of the bin and what should be printed on it, he said.
The city is working with Waste Management, its franchised solid waste and recycling service provider, to be ready for this, he said.
Other requirements are an edible food rescue program to promote and account for donations of food and prepared meals from grocery stores and restaurants to nonprofit and community organizations and – possibly – monitoring, enforcement and awareness associated with all elements of SB 1383.
The city’s commercial organic waste and self-transported green waste are already transported to the Mt. Vernon compost facility in Bakersfield for composting; the city may also have to take back the material in the form of finished compost or mulch.
Sludge from the city’s wastewater treatment plant is also treated by a composting company and reused for use in soil management and erosion control projects, Costelloe said. Additional work will be required for the city to meet all state law procurement requirements.
At its September 7 meeting, the board approved the first readings of the ordinances regarding the regulation of signs, accessory housing units (also known as âgrandma apartmentsâ) and a zone change to allow for a new AT&T cell tower.
Director of Development Services Jay Schlosser gave brief presentations on all three.
An ordinance to amend the city’s zoning code regulating signs seeks to ensure that the city complies with a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that it is unconstitutional to regulate signs based on their content, he said.
Passing an ordinance amending various sections of the city’s zoning code to regulate ADUs and Junior ADUs is necessary for the city to comply with state law that exempts units – whether it is whether additions to existing homes or small freestanding independent housing – California Environmental Quality Act and other requirements. Under the law, the city has little leeway to approve the units, Schlosser said.
Approval of an AT&T cell tower on property owned by the Tehachapi Unified School District (near the high school) requires the passage of an ordinance to change the zoning of the land, he noted.
The three second readings were approved 5-0 by the board, without public comment and without discussion, resulting in the adoption of the ordinances.
An amendment was also approved, as part of the consent program and without discussion, to allow builder K Hovnanian to go ahead with a plan to build homes on 55 lots in Alta Estates without bonding and building d ‘public improvements for the remaining lots of the subdivision. .
Alta Estates is a 384 lot subdivision located west of Curry Street between Pinon Street and Highline Road. It was designed in five phases, but construction came to a halt during the 2007-08 economic crash. Eventually, the houses from the first three phases were completed, but 122 lots from phases four and five remain vacant.
In a report to city council, Schlosser said the city’s municipal code generally requires that public improvements associated with a land phase be fully bonded and built before individual dwellings can be built and sold.
âGiven the size of Phase 4 (or Phase 5), this requirement is effectively prohibitive in our current housing market,â Schlosser wrote.
He recommended that the city allow the development of a partial phase and the council agreed to allow KHov to engage and build the necessary public improvements to release the first 55 lots of phase 4.
The action of the council was to approve a draft agreement for future signature by the mayor once the builder has completed the acquisition of the property and deposited bonds for the 55 lots. He said it is expected in about 60 days.
The Tehachapi Planning Commission approved the house designs planned by KHov at its September 13 meeting.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be contacted by email: [email protected]