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— At the December 10 Solana Beach City Council meeting, councilmembers adopted a resolution that requires all publicly funded building projects within city limits to meet minimum “green” building standards established by the Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). In addition to applying the resolution to public projects, the council will offer incentives to builders of eco-friendly residential or commercial projects. Those incentives include: expediting the permit process, rebating permit fees, and publicly recognizing the builder, designer, and owner of the project in the community newsletter and on the city’s website.

Councilmembers Joe Kellejian, Lesa Heebner, David Roberts, and the newly inducted mayor, Mike Nichols, were in strong support of the resolution; councilmember Thomas Campbell was skeptical about placing requirements on publicly funded projects during such precarious economic times. Campbell was mainly concerned over the cost differential of building in an environmentally conscious way as opposed to building without added regulations.

“I hate to obligate ourselves...especially when financial times are tough to have to build a project that will cost a significant amount of money to build it green versus not building it green.”

Despite information from city manager David Ott, who stated that adopting such requirements would actually save the city money in the years after the project is completed, Campbell was not convinced.

“I think the concept is good and going down that road is great, but I think before adopting this we need to have a little more flexibility.”

Campbell’s colleague, councilmember and former mayor David Roberts, disagreed. “If we are going to show leadership in environmental sustainability, then we have to put our money where our mouth is, even in tough economic times.”

Councilmember Campbell responded, “I’m against adopting the approach of putting our money where our mouth is, when we have no idea how much money that may be.”

Despite Campbell’s objections, Resolution 2008-138 passed with four votes in favor and one opposed.

For more on Solana Beach and their willingness to spend more green in order to build green, go to their website at ci.solana-beach.ca.us.

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