Danville council talks potential plastic bag ban

Information sessions for residents, business owners start Wednesday

During a study session Tuesday morning, the Danville Town Council expressed interest in creating a resolution of intent to propose a local ordinance banning stores from passing out plastic bags effective in July 2016.

The potential ordinance is planned to be a hybrid of State Senate Bill 270, currently under consideration, and Walnut Creek's local plastic bag prohibition.

SB 270, a bill that would prohibit food stores and retailers of a certain size from providing single-use carryout bags to customers effective July 1 of next year, allows cities to preempt the state law by passing a resolution expressing intent to restrict single-use carryout bags.

The Danville council is tentatively set to consider such a resolution of intent during its Aug. 12 regular meeting, and formal deliberations about a permanent ordinance would follow in the future.

Town staff said submitting a resolution of intent would provide time to create a draft ordinance that incorporates SB 270 and the feedback from community meetings, allow for the state to act upon SB 270 and give Danville officials an opportunity to work with businesses to create strategies such as offering "Shop Danville" reusable bags.

The town ordinance, as currently proposed, would prohibit Danville retailers and restaurants, beyond those covered under SB 270, from distributing single-use plastic bags, and could require stores and retailers to offer customers a recycled paper bag for 10 cents -- effective July 1, 2016.

Residents and business owners have the chance to learn more about the town's plastic bag ban options during informational meetings at the Veterans Memorial Building, 115 E. Prospect Avenue. Meetings are scheduled for this Wednesday (July 9) at 2 p.m., July 15 at 8:30 a.m. and July 16 at 7 p.m.

During the information sessions, town officials to provide an overview of the potential town ordinance and explain how it would work with SB 270. Citizens will also be able to ask any questions or provide feedback to staff.

"With a situation like this, we need to do more homework on it," Councilwoman Renee Morgan said Tuesday morning.

In other business during their study session, council members received an update on the PG&E Pipeline Pathways Project (PPP) in which the utility company proposes to remove trees and other vegetation it deems is inhibiting the safety and operation of its natural gas transmission system.

Town staff presented the council with a "Principles of Agreement" between PG&E and local governments to be used as a framework for how the project would move forward.

In one example, the framework states, "Prior to moving forward with vegetation management activities under the PPP, PG&E agrees to work with the local agencies, including doing the following: Per an agency's request, re-evaluate all trees already submitted to agencies as trees PG&E desires to remove with a goal of reducing the number of trees proposed for removal."

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said, "This is not a legal document, it's more of a memorandum of understanding between the agencies and PG&E."

PG&E originally proposed to remove as many as 173 trees in Danville, but town officials want the utility company to reduce that number.

Later Tuesday, the council adjourned to a special meeting and adopted the acquisition of right-of-way on San Ramon Valley Boulevard from the East Bay Municipal Utility District to allow widening of the thoroughfare to four lanes of traffic plus bike lanes in both directions and have a pedestrian sidewalk.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Danville
on Jul 10, 2014 at 6:47 am

I am interested in knowing the economic impact of forcing small and independent business owners to change the bags they offer to their customers. Will it hurt their bottom line if they have to change which bags they order and ultimately use for their customers purchases? We don't need more unique businesses either leaving Danville or never starting because this is another economic hurdle they cannot pass.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

Are you kidding me?
There is no plastic bag issue in Danville. These bags are very useful around the house. What about the Farmer's market? This will hurt the small businesses, forget about this...more unnecessary intervention by government.
Surely the town council has better things to discuss than this.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kay
a resident of Danville
on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

I re-use every plastic bag, as I think most people do. Leave well enough alone.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Darlene
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I work and shop in Danville and I am very much in support of the ban. Over 13 billion plastic bags are used in California alone every year and only 3% get recycled. They don't decompose or disappear, instead they litter our streets, local creeks, rivers and oceans, harm sea life and contribute to the landfills. Alameda County, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Lafayette have already passed a ban- I hope Danville does too.

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