The San Diego Climate Impact Plan – Applaud It or Criticize It?
There is a new plan that has been submitted to the San Diego City Council for approval. It could have significant financial consequences for home owners when it comes time to sell, depending on what is approved and mandated.
On the one hand I want to applaud that the Climate Action Plan, spearheaded by City Council President Todd Lorio and presented to the City’s Mayor after its creation in February 2014, is an effort to impact the negative effects of global warming.
Whether everyone agrees that there IS global warming and what causes it or not, there are concerns the Federal Government is not doing enough (much of anything?) to tackle this problem and smaller government entities (e.g., cities) must take action.
Hence this Climate Impact Plan for San Diego.
The San Diego Climate Action Plan was created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by the year 2020, and by 49% by 2035. Ambitious indeed.
The Plan has NOT been approved and some folks are getting their shorts in a bunch because the Mayor seems to be taking too long.
It appears, from my reading, this Plan is for the City of San Diego, residents and businesses, which includes those who are selling as well as homeowners who wish to add on to their homes.
There are some serious potential financial implications stemming from the 5 strategies outlined in the plan:
1. ENERGY & WATER EFFICIENT BUILDINGS
2. CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY
3. BIKING, WALKING & TRANSIT
4. ZERO WASTE
5. CLIMATE RESILIENCY
There are, of course, a wide range of intended benefits to this aggressive plan via the implementation of a wide range of strategies impacting emissions, water and energy efficient buildings, job creation, improved mass transportation including walking and biking, zero waste, and other matters.
It’s a complex plan with ambitious, specific goals and particular methods for monitoring.
But there are concerns about the Climate Action Plan, too, most notably in the residential housing area.
An editorial from the President of the San Diego Association of REALTORS brings to the forefront significant concerns about the mandated improvements for water and energy efficiency that could be required of homeowners at the point of sale (which would include home upgrades). Such mandate could mean possibly having to install new windows, water heaters, lighting and other similar items before selling the home, or adding on to the property.
President Leslie Kilpatrick notes these are not inconsequential costs and could have a severe impact on many residents. Further, she argues a better strategy for homeowners would be to offer incentives (e.g., solar panels) which could be feasible for all San Diegans, rather than mandates for those seeking to sell or add on to their properties.
The water and energy efficiency mandates would also impact small business owners.
There are already some water retrofit requirements requiring various types of ultra-low flow (ULF) devices (toilets, showerheads, faucets) in San Diego and some municipalities.
These can become the responsibility of the buyers if the retrofits have not been done.
The Climate Action Plan would seem to impose far more costly requirements that would hit homeowners and small business owners heavily.
Stay tuned for some heated discussion and lobbying on this tough issue. The impact on our recovering housing market COULD be significant.
Anyone working the downtown San Diego housing market want to weigh it?