Ahead of the city’s annual effort to pick up trash at the 19th annual River Rally, Santa Clarita City Council members are once again looking at plastic bags.
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Santa Clarita officials’ current approach to address single-use plastic bags has focused on promoting the use of reusable bags, according to city documents.
Santa Clarita first looked at a plastic bag ban back in 2010; however, on the advice of city staff and legal counsel, the discussion was postponed until a court challenge to the measure made its way through the courts, said City Councilman TimBen Boydston, who was on the council during the first discussion.
The state’s High Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the laws, which is why the city is taking another look at the issues, evaluating a city report and seeking public input, Boydston said.
“I would be in favor of not having plastic bags, but only on the condition that we have an option for paper bags and there is no tax,” Boydston said. “Too often, the government uses ecological issues as a reason to implement taxes. With the paper bag is, the difference is they don’t fly and they’re biodegradable.”
A variety of outreach has been completed through the city’s GreenSantaClarita.com website, print advertising, waste-hauler newsletters and partnering with Los Angeles County’s “A Day Without a Bag” campaign, among others.
The item on the agenda is under new business, and it recommends that City Council members look at a report by city staffers and “provide direction” on what may be done about single-use plastic bags.
In the past five years, a total of 58 ordinances have banned single-use plastic bags in 79 jurisdictions in California, according to city documents.
However, the laws aren’t evenly applied to all businesses, most just targeting grocers.
Nearly 50 of the ordinances extend the ban to retail establishments, and only 25 include restaurants, according to city data.
Most of the ordinances include a fee, ranging from 5 to 25 cents for customers wishing to purchase papers or biodegradable bags.
There’s also been several attempts at state legislation on single-use bags to guide local officials throughout California.
There are also a few guidelines mentioned on the agenda.
Appropriate steps should be taken to ensure compliance with CEQA. Cities and counties have used CEQA exemptions to Environmental Impact Reports with Statements of Overriding Considerations to ensure compliance.
If the City wishes to include a fee for paper bags, consider having the retailers retain the fees to cover any associated costs related to compliance with the ordinance.
Consider exempting restaurants from the ordinance until the pending litigation addressing such provisions is resolved.
- Consider approach to enforcement. Staff has discussed enforcement with jurisdictions with ordinances in effect. Based on responses from the cities contacted, the code enforcement divisions at the respective cities are tasked with
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Source: Santa Clarita News