Solvang will go even greener beginning Jan. 1 when the city’s organic waste disposal program begins.

All residences and commercial businesses will be automatically enrolled in the city’s collection services for trash, recycling and organic materials. Food waste generated by residents and businesses will be collected in the green container.

Commercial businesses may apply for waivers if their organic waste collected is below certain amounts or the business does not have adequate space for all the collection containers.

City Council members on Nov. 22 voted 4-0, with Councilman Robert Clarke absent, to adopt the municipal code updates that bring the city into compliance with state-mandated organic waste disposal reduction requirements.

Under the Climate Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016 (SB 1383), cities, residential households, commercial businesses, commercial edible food generators, haulers, self-haulers, food recovery organizations and food recovery services are required to support achievement of statewide organic waste disposal reduction targets.

Statewide waste reduction targets include organic waste disposal reduction by 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025. Also, at least 20% of edible food that is currently being disposed must be redirected to people in need. 

In addition, local jurisdictions are required to: provide organic waste recycling services to all residents and businesses; implement an edible food recovery program that recovers edible food from the waste stream; conduct outreach and education to all affected parties, including generators, haulers, facilities, and edible food recovery organizations; procure recycled organic waste products like compost, mulch and renewable natural gas; and, maintain accurate and timely records of SB 1383 compliance for annual reporting; monitor compliance and conduct enforcement of the city’s enforcement ordinance.

The regulation allows cities to take an educational and nonpunitive approach to enforcement for the first two years of the city’s ordinance being in effect (2022 and 2023).

The authorized collector will inspect quarterly all waste receptacles in the village area, with annual inspections in outlying areas. Customers with receptacles that need cleaning will be given written notice and allowed 10 days to comply after which the collector will clean the container with the labor and materials fee passed through to the offending customer.

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In addition, the city or its designee is authorized to conduct investigations, including through remote monitoring, to confirm compliance. Violations may, beginning in 2024, lead to financial penalties from $100 for first-time violations to $500 for third and subsequent violations.

In other action, the council:

— Waived the Design Review Commission fee for the Solvang Senior Center project as it moves forward on its capital campaign;

— Adopted the Eastern Management Area in the Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan;

— Considered the results of a recently conducted utility rate analysis, with an eye on potentially increasing combined water/sewer rates effective July 2022;

— Granted $35,000 to Solvang Chamber of Commerce radio and TV commercials and additional activities including carolers and live music downtown to promote Solvang as Christmas Village;

— Granted $2,500 to Bethania Church to help support the free food distribution program volunteers there have provided since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic;

— Waived the city’s 37-space parking requirement, or $457,912 in in-lieu fees, for the Clean Slate’s proposed temporary bocce ball court, sitting area and wine bar on a vacant lot at the end of Atterdag Street in the TRC zone.

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