Pismo Beach leaders once again toyed with the idea of implementing a tiered building moratorium in light of the statewide drought on Tuesday night, but ultimately decided to continue the discussion to December.
The City Council first considered restricting building in May, but said then that they were hesitant to institute a moratorium that could hinder the city’s economic growth. Instead, the council directed staff to bring the restrictions before them once again in September after the summer water conservation numbers were in.
The city made and in most cases exceeded its year-over-year conservation targets for June, July and August — the city reduced its water use by 24.46 percent, 29.8 percent and 25.46 percent in those months, respectively, compared to the same months in 2013, Public Works director Benjamin Fine said in a staff report.
Because Pismo Beach residents reached their target conservation goals, councilmen Erik Howell and Ed Waage said at Tuesday’s meeting that they felt the council could wait until January, after the expected fall rains, to consider the restrictions again. That would also come after California announces how much each city will receive in state water.
Mayor Shelly Higginbotham said she did not want to once again delay the discussion and asked that a resolution outlining the restrictions be brought back sooner rather than later.
"I don't want to wait until January," she said. "The time is now. I think we need to get on top of this."
Ultimately, the council directed staff to bring the proposed restrictions back at the Dec. 1 meeting, after the state announces its state water availability in November.
The proposed resolution calls for three tiers of building restrictions that would go into effect depending on the city's available water supply:
The first tier would allow completed planning and building permit applications to be processed, but would not accept building permit applications for vacant parcels. Any new commercial use or redevelopment of existing buildings must show that water demand would be less than or equal to the average monthly usage in the year before the tier was triggered.
The second tier would prohibit new building permits, though it would continue to process existing planning permits. New commercial use and redevelopment of existing buildings would be required to show that water demand was at least 15 percent less than the average monthly usage in the year before the tier was implemented.
The third tier would require new commercial use and redevelopment of existing buildings show water demand would be at least 30 percent less than the year before the tier was triggered. All municipal irrigation also would be banned, except at the direction of the City Council.