Encinitas takes next step in plan to cut natural gas for future buildings

City is first in San Diego, 50th in state to pursue energy goal


Encinitas City Hall. (NCC file photo)

North Coast Current

The Encinitas City Council voted to move forward on shutting the valve to natural gas for future homes and businesses in what the mayor called a “blockbuster item” during the council’s meeting Wednesday, Sept. 22.

The council voted 5-0 after a public hearing to take the ordinance up for full adoption in October.

The city is the first in the region to adopt such an ordinance, Kelly Lyndon, a volunteer with the San Diego Building Electrification Coalition, acknowledged during the meeting’s public comments.

“We are leading in this county,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said during the meeting, which was held remotely online. “We’re the first city of 18 in this county to have an ambitious building electrification code like this.”

The city is also the 50th in the state to adopt such a policy, according to the Sierra Club and other public speakers at the meeting.

The action is part of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to shift the city toward renewable energy, efficiency and decarbonization standards to offset the effects of climate change. The ordinance updates Encinitas building and construction codes to require a vast majority of new projects to be entirely electrified, including alternative forms of energy such as solar systems, in place of gas.

Exceptions to the ordinance include essential medical and emergency facilities, cases where utility upgrades might prove significantly challenging, and restaurants where gas flame is deemed necessary (with other emission offsets instead upon approved exemption).

The ordinance was developed starting in late 2020 with a series of public workshops and Environmental Commission hearings, culminating in Wednesday’s hearing and the vote to move forward with full approval.

“I’m happy with where we’ve landed,” District 4 Councilman Joe Mosca said during the meeting.

The next regularly scheduled Encinitas City Council meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 29.