Steamboat officials plan to revisit energy code adoption

After Steamboat Springs City Council members adopted an energy code without restrictions on how they are powered last month, members will once again revisit the topic at their meeting Nov. 21.

Council members voted 6-1 on the second reading of the energy code ordinance at their Oct. 17 meeting. The currently adopted code includes no restrictions on how commercial snowmelt systems are powered within three downtown zoning districts at the base of the mountain, and limits residential snowmelts in the city to 450 square feet.

Despite joining a majority in the vote last month to approve the measure, Gail Garey proposed Tuesday night that the council — including three newly-elected members — reconsider the subject at their meeting next week with a goal of approving an energy code that restricts snowmelt systems powered by clean energy.

“This is a course-setting decade in terms of climate action and taking the steps necessary to make sure that we preserve the natural environment that we know here in the Yampa Valley,” Garey said.

The City Council president pointed out that newly-elected City Council members Bryan Swintek, Steve Muntean and Amy Dickson indicated in their campaigns that they would support the more environmentally conscious systems.

“What we heard throughout the campaign process is there is an interest in taking the necessary actions, so it seemed appropriate to revisit and look at those sections specific to snow melt again,” Garey said.

In voting against the energy code adoption, council member Dakotah McGinlay had made a motion to table the discussion for the energy code adoption until Nov. 21 to give council members more time to review available non-carbon producing options, including the Green Energy program.

“I don’t think our council fully understands the Green Choice program,” McGinlay said. “It’s hard to make a decision on new information.”

On Tuesday, Garey said revisiting the adoption of the code would allow more time for members to understand its implications.

“As we talk about building codes and as we talk about snow melt and additional energy sources, there is a lot of information out there so having an opportunity to really have a conversation and bring in the experts and look to see what other communities are doing is important as well,” Garey said.

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