The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors gave the green light Tuesday to plans for an environmental-impact report that would look at implementing a single-use bag-ban ordinance in the county’s unincorporated areas.
The action was approved 4-1, with Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino dissenting, on the same day the City of Santa Barbara voted to approve implementation of the same ordinance.
The supervisors listened to a brief presentation from county Public Works Department staff members, who explained that the county’s environmental report would use Santa Barbara’s ordinance as a model for its own.
The ordinance would ban single-use plastic carryout bags, and require retail and grocery stores to charge 10 cents per paper bag.
Staff said 74 stores within unincorporated areas would be affected by the ban, with seven larger retailers affected six months after implementation and 67 smaller stores impacted after a year.
A similar environmental impact report has already been done by BEACON, the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment.
Cities in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have shared the EIR and used it as a base for their own ordinances.
Public works would be responsible for enforcement of any county ban, which would not come back before the supervisors for approval until next spring.
Nine public speakers commented on the ban, with all but one in favor of the county pushing the process forward.
“We learn from our kids,” Wolf said, referring to the student group. “It’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr wondered aloud whether the ordinance could be phased in at a slower rate for stores in the central and northern parts of the county, where residents might not be as informed on the issue.
She suggested that the South Coast could implement the ban as presented, with the rest of the county following suit the next year after more education efforts, but the recommendation was not included in the final approval initiating the environmental review process.
Although the bag-ban ordinance would affect just a handful of stores in Lavagnino’s Santa Maria district, he said he was voting against the move because he didn’t like its “big brother aspect.”