COUNTY OF SAN MATEO
PLANNING AND BUILDING DEPARTMENT
January 28, 2008
BOARD MEETING DATE:
February 12, 2008
Honorable Board of Supervisors
Lisa Grote, Director of Community Development
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Consideration of an amendment to Division VII, Chapter 14, of the San Mateo County Ordinance Code (the Building Regulations) to establish a “Green Building Program,” including compliance with minimum standards for new construction or substantial remodels of residential single-family, low-rise multi-family, commercial and industrial buildings, as well as incentives for expedited building permit processing for residential, commercial and industrial construction.
That the Board of Supervisors approve the proposed amendment to the Building Regulations, Attachment B, and adopt the findings in Attachment A.
Commitment: The proposed program keeps the commitment of “Preserve and provide people access to our natural environment.”
Goal 14 states: “Important natural resources are preserved and enhanced through environmental stewardship.”
The proposed “Green Building” program encourages amongst other things the use of recycled materials and energy efficient appliances in building projects. The program will lower energy usage, reduce the operating and maintenance costs for buildings, provide a healthier indoor environment, and reduce waste in landfills.
The proposed amendment would establish a “Green Building Program” with minimum standards, as well as incentives for expedited building permit processing. The minimum standard of 50 GreenPoints or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification would apply to all new residential construction, 75%, and 50% remodels. Incentives would include a 30-day turnaround on comments from County departments for building permits receiving a GreenPoint rating of 75 points or higher and/or LEED® certification. In addition, projects with a GreenPoint rating of 100 or more or LEED® certification would receive guaranteed building inspections within two working days of a request. For new commercial and industrial construction projects of 3,000 sq. ft. or more, LEED® certification would be required and would receive the benefit of a 30-day turnaround time for building permit comments. Achievement of LEED® “Silver” certification would be voluntary and would result in the additional incentive of building inspections within two working days of the request.
The Green Building Task Force was created in October 2007 under the leadership of Supervisor Mark Church and the Environmental Quality Committee of the Board of Supervisors. Its membership includes contractors, architects, environmental advocates, and homeowners. It is chaired by Community Development Director Lisa Grote. The Task Force’s proposal would enhance public health and welfare by encouraging green building measures in the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings.
The Task Force and Planning Commission are recommending that all new residential construction be required to achieve a 50-point or better GreenPoint rating. Task Force members have determined that accruing 50 GreenPoints will not be especially costly or complicated for most residential projects. The proposed ordinance would expedite building permit processing for those residential projects GreenPoint rated at 75 points or higher or LEED® certified. For qualifying projects, the County reviewing agencies would be required to provide comments on building permit applications within 30 days. Projects with 100 or more GreenPoints or LEED® certification would also be guaranteed building permit inspection within two working days of a request. The Task Force proposes LEED® certification as an alternate means of qualifying for expedited building permit processing. For new commercial and industrial construction projects of 3,000 sq. ft. or more, LEED® certification would be required and would receive the benefit of a 30-day turnaround time for building permit comments. Achievement of LEED® “Silver” certification would be voluntary and would result in the additional incentive of building inspections within two working days of the request.
Planning Commission Action: The Planning Commission considered this item at their January 23, 2008 hearing. The Commission voted to recommend approval of the proposed program and ordinance, with revisions to make the program mandatory for commercial and industrial projects, to reduce the threshold for the program’s application to both residential and commercial projects, and to increase the amount of the bond over what was originally proposed. In addition, the Commission also recommended that the Planning and Building Department schedule an additional public meeting on the Coastside prior to the Board hearing on the matter, that the work of the task force be continued for one year with a mandate for public education and outreach, and that Planning and Building staff and the Task Force report back in one year on how to strengthen the program.
The fiscal impact on the County is negligible.