Andersen elected Board Chair for 2020
By Daniel Borsuk
Without any citizen opposition, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve an ordinance that will prohibit food vendors from using polystyrene food service ware (Styrofoam) and require vendors to use environmentally-friendly food service products.
The ordinance goes into effect on May 1, 2020. The Contra Costa County Department of Public Works will enforce the law.
The ordinance includes a procedure where a food vendor can file for a one-year hardship exemption from the county. The exemption is renewable.
Concerning the exemption, the ordinance states:
“Application for hardship exemption. A food vendor may request a hardship exemption from the requirements of this chapter by submitting a written request to the Public Works Director. The food vendor must establish to the satisfaction of the Public Works Director that use of polystyrene food service ware will cause an undue hardship to the vendor, or that no suitable alternative polystyrene food service ware is available in the form of environmentally-friendly food service ware. The Public Works Director may require the food vendor to provide additional information in support of its request for a hardship exemption, including, but not limited to a list of available alternative packaging materials and the reasons why those materials cannot be used without causing a hardship to the food vendor. A hardship does not exist solely on the basis that an environmentally-friendly food service ware product costs more than a similar polystyrene food service ware product.”
Exempt from the ordinance are raw meat trays, polystyrene-based ice chests and coolers intended to be reused, and prepackaged food products that use polystyrene-based packaging materials.
“This is great” declared Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who briefly talked about her environmental work removing polystyrene dissolved pellets from polluted creeks in the county. “Reusable is the way to go.”
“I welcome the ban of polystyrene foodware in the proposed ordinance,” Howdy Goudey of El Cerrito, who also chairs the Contra Costa Sustainability Commission and wrote in a letter to the supervisors. Goudey also appeared at the board meeting.
“The Contra Costa County ordinance does not go far enough,” said Goudey. “It is inappropriate to exclude compostable foodware products from the definition of environmentally friendly food service ware. “
The county ordinance defines environmentally friendly food packaging as:
“(1) Single-use, disposable containers and other products made from recyclable materials and used for selling, vending, or serving food or beverages, including, but not limited to cups, bowls, plates, and hinged or lidded containers (clamshells).
“(2) Products that can be used more than once in their current form to serve or transport prepared, ready-to-consume food or beverages, including, but not limited to cups, bowls, plates, and containers made from ceramic, glass, porcelain, metal, or other composite or product intended to be reused.”
Andersen Elected Board 2020 Chair, Burgis Vice Chair
Supervisors have broken tradition on the way it elects Board Chairperson and Vice Chairperson by electing the new incoming chairperson and vice chairperson in late September instead of on the first regular board meeting held in January.
The supervisors elected Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville as Chairperson and Supervisor Burgis of Brentwood as Vice Chair after unanimously adopting new rules on election of new year officers.
Supervisors switched the election of Board officers from January to September because the reorganization “requires many weeks of advance planning.” In addition, “The early selection of officers of the Board of Supervisors would facilitate a seamless transition of leadership at the time of reorganization,” the board’s ordinance states.
Also, supervisors inserted a teleconference provision so supervisors who are absent or are attending a meeting elsewhere can attend or vote on crucial business items via teleconference.
In addition, supervisors modified their Disruption of Meeting Rule to read: “For the purpose of insure the orderly conduct of the Board of Supervisors meeting, no whistles, horns, drums, noise makers, megaphones, air horns, bullhorns, or other amplified devices are allowed inside the County Administration Building while the meeting is in session. If any meeting is willfully interrupted by a group or groups so that the orderly conduct of the meeting becomes infeasible and order cannot be restored by the removal of individuals who are willfully interrupting the meeting, the Chair may order the meeting room cleared, as authorized by law (Gov. Code, 54957.9), recess the meeting, adjourn the meeting.”
There were no public comments for or against Ralph M. Brown Act changes proposed by the supervisors.
Approve 35-Home Alamo Subdivision
Seven years in the making, developers got the green light from supervisors to begin construction of the environmentally sensitive Ball Estates subdivision development in the Alamo area. Supervisors approved the development’s ordinance on a 5-0 vote.
The development on a former orchard of which 735 trees of 3,489 total trees are on the project site will have to be removed, to clear ground for the gated subdivision’s 35, single family custom houses.
There was no public comment concerning the development that had previously earned environmental impact report certification from the Contra Costa County Department Conservation and Development.
Approve $25 Million in Housing Bonds for Walnut Creek Development
Supervisors approved the issuance of $25 million in revenue bonds to the nonprofit affordable housing developer Bridge Housing to finance the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of Coggins Square Apartments in Walnut Creek. Located at 1316 Las Juntas Way in an unincorporated area nearby Walnut Creek, the development consists of 87 multifamily rental housing units.
Bridge Housing is a participant in the county’s multi-family mortgage revenue bond financing program.