2017 Council Workplan - Ecological Sustainability

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Brisbane will be a leader in setting policies and practicing service delivery innovations that promote ecological sustainability.  The following items are numbered how they appear in the full Workplan, and are not in any particular or rank order | Back to 2017 Council Workplan landing page.


  • Item #1 - Recology Expansion Project

Recology is proposing to expand their existing facility in Brisbane which will require an environmental impact report (EIR).  An EIR Notice of Preparation was published in 2015, and we are awaiting Recology to submit a proposal, which will be subject to appropriate City review.

  • Item #2 - Baylands EIR and Specific Plan

The Baylands Final EIR was published in May of 2015.  The Planning Commission deliberated over the applicant's (UPC's) Brisbane Baylands Specific Plan, amendments to the 1994 Brisbane General Plan, and of course the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Baylands, and ultimately arrived at the following recommendation to the City Council:

1.  That the Brisbane General Plan be amended as it relates to the Baylands to allow for a 1- 2 million square foot net increase in building area and a utility-scale renewable energy generation facility;

2.  That the Baylands Final EIR be certified as it pertains to the General Plan recommendation;

3.  That permitted land uses include Light Industrial, Research and Development, Office, Retail, Commercial Recreation and Open Space; and

4.  That no housing be developed.

The City Council commenced their Baylands Review Process in September of 2016.  The City Council’s Public Hearing/Workshop schedule for the Baylands is located here: http://brisbaneca.org/baylands-city-council-proceedings.  Council Study Sessions with the consultant who prepared the Baylands Final Environmental Impact Report are being held prior to each Public Hearing.  Public Hearings and Council deliberations are expected to continue through the end of 2017.

  • Item #3 - General Plan Update

In March of 2015, the City Council concurred that the 1994 General Plan core values were still relevant to Brisbane today and that the 1994 Plan, as modified through 2007, should be the basis for moving forward with the General Plan update process.  The General Plan update is pending completion of the Baylands Review Process.

  • Item #7 - Baylands Soil Processing (BSP) and Brisbane Recycling Company (BRC)

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for Baylands Soil Processing, establishing operational limits and site controls while an Interim Use Permit application was being processed, was adopted by the City Council in 2014.  The interim use permit and EIR have been filed and hearings are expected to start in 2017.  In the meantime, per the bi-monthly activity reports from UPC, their operations and pile heights remain in compliance. 

Brisbane Recycling Company has filed an application to extend their interim use permit and it is expected that Planning Commission review of this application will occur in 2017.

  • Item #8 - Quarry Permit

The County initiated an EIR in August of 2015 for future quarry operations, which is still under preparation by the County.  A draft publication date is unknown at this time.  It is anticipated that staff will review and comment on that Draft EIR upon its release.  Additionally, potential developers of the Quarry continue to approach the city to discuss future development, and the current owners have also approached the City with potential development options.  Any Quarry planning process through Brisbane would commence if and when a new owner chooses to move forward.

  • Item #9 - Grading Ordinance Update

The City Council Planning Subcommittee reviewed the city’s current Grading Ordinance in 2014 and the update process will be scheduled as time permits, possibly 2017.

  • Item #10 - California Building Code: Reach Codes Update - DONE

Brisbane has several building reach codes that address different aspects of ecological sustainability.  Reach codes are those local codes that go beyond the California Building Code (CBC) minimum requirements.  The CBC includes several different parts addressing the various aspects of building construction, such as the energy code, fire code, electrical, green building standards (CalGreen), etc. 

The state updates the CBC every three years and at the City Council’s meeting on December 8, 2016, Council adopted the latest update, the 2016 CBC, with certain local modifications to safety standards, such as the Fire Code, as well as to address ecological sustainability.  The 2016 CBC became effective on January 1, 2017.  At the same time, City Council either reaffirmed or adopted the following ecological sustainability reach codes that go beyond the CBC:

•          Green Building Requirements

•          Energy Conservation and Generation

•          Water Conservation in Landscaping

•          Recycling and Diversion of Debris from Construction and Demolition

The City’s Green Building Ordinance was adopted in 2007.  There were no changes to it with Council’s adoption of the CBC and it remains effective and applicable to both large residential and non-residential projects in Brisbane, including City sponsored projects.  One such project is the City’s new library slated for construction beginning in 2018, which will be in conformance with CalGreen, but is also planned to achieve a minimum LEED Silver equivalent under the Green Building Ordinance. 

Regarding energy, with the most recent edition of CBC, it is estimated by the California Energy Commission (CEC) that residential buildings will use 28% less energy vs. buildings constructed under the previous, 2013 CBC.  The state’s goal is for all new residential construction to be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020 and that all non-residential construction be ZNE by 2030.  To date, energy use reductions are largely achieved by building envelope (the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building including the resistance to air, water, heat, light, and noise transfer), HVAC and lighting efficiencies.   Along with the adoption of the CBC in December, City Council adopted the Energy Conservation and Generation ordinance.   The provisions of this code are applicable to new residential and non-residential buildings and include “cool roof” requirements for low pitched roofs and the installation of solar photovoltaic systems, with an alternative of solar thermal systems. 

To save costs to the City while also being proactive regarding sustainability, the Energy Conservation and Generation ordinance was based on the City of San Mateo’s model.  Prior to adoption, staff reviewed the model cost effectiveness study which showed that the added costs for the compliance measures would be cost-effective over time through reduced energy bills.  This amendment is also consistent with the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal of reducing the City’s carbon footprint, and to aid in reducing the future impacts of increased global warming. 

The City has also teamed up with the Bay Area Sunshares program as a participating agency, securing group discounts to incentivize the use of solar and electric vehicles.

Water conservation is another key way that a city can be more sustainable.  In April 2016, the City replaced its Water Conservation in Landscaping Ordinance to be more water conserving than the state’s 2015 model ordinance.  That ordinance was adopted in response to the ongoing drought and it remains in effect.  It includes a lower applicability threshold for replacement landscaping projects and a higher percentage of low water use plants.

Finally, the City updated its waste diversion ordinance along with the CBC update, both for consistency of terminology with the state’s latest update as well as to include certain demolition and reroofing projects that the CBC does not cover.

  • Item #12 - Airport Noise

On 11/16/15, Congressional Reps. Eshoo, Farr, and Speier released to the public the FAA’s response to congressional inquiries about aircraft noise, which is a plan of action titled, FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns.  The report is a compilation of ideas that were offered by the public regarding SFO, as well as requests made by the SFO Airport Community Roundtable.  Additionally, the Concerned Citizens of Brisbane drafted a letter in response to the FAA Initiative and sent it to the FAA; the City Council followed up by sending a separate letter supporting the Concerned Citizens’ letter.

In November of 2016, the SFO Roundtable submitted a response to the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns.  Councilmember Lentz, former Chair of the SFO Roundtable, also submitted this letter in support of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable's response.  Workshop video recordings and latest news regarding Airport Noise are available on the City’s website here.

Three additional temporary noise monitors were placed in Brisbane by the SFO Noise Abatement Office in January 2017 which collected more specific data for two weeks, in addition to the continuing permanent monitor near Kings Rd.  The locations of the temporary noise monitors were at Lipman Middle School and two sites on the Ridge.  A report was received in April 2017 regarding the noise impacts that the four noise monitors recorded in Brisbane, which the Airport Noise Subcommittee reviewed at their May 1, 2017 meeting.  The Subcommittee met again on June 12, 2017 where Bert Ganoung of the SFO Aircraft Noise Abatement Office said he would secure two monitors in the next few months, recommending they be placed at Mission Blue and Lipman, away from HVAC.  When concluded, Ganoung will only provide the raw data, not a complex report.  Ganoung also said he had sent TRACON a request to increase the elevation of the airplanes.




(Last updated: September 1, 2017)