Chapter 17.93


17.93.010    Purpose.

17.93.020    Findings.

17.93.030    Implementation.

17.93.040    Zoning changes.

17.93.050    Effect of adoption.

17.93.060    Severability.

17.93.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to prevent the city of Capitola from becoming a logistical base for offshore oil drilling. (Ord. 632 § l (part), 1987)

17.93.020 Findings.

The city has long opposed efforts to open the central California coast to offshore drilling. Onshore support of offshore oil drilling would be detrimental to the economy and environment of the city. The city is a tourist attraction and thus its resources and beauty are shared with people from all over the United States. If offshore drilling were to commence with onshore facilities located within the city, much of the resources and beauty that is shared with the people of our great nation would be lost.

A. Effect on Economy. The city is partly dependent upon retail and visitor serving trades. A recent study by Economic Research Associates of San Francisco found that the beaches in the greater Santa Cruz area were the main attraction for eighty percent of all visitors. The U.S. Department of Interior’s Five-Year Impact Statement states, conservatively, that there is a forty percent chance of two oil spills in this area of one thousand barrel magnitude and ocean currents would bring oil to Capitola beaches, which would, therefore, have significant economic consequences for the city.

B. Oil Spills. The technology does not exist to contain or clean up an oil slick on the water. Oil is likely to land on Capitola beaches, as stated in the above report, requiring massive cleanup efforts which would include a large expenditure of city funds and staff time, and volunteer time from city residents.

C. Endangered or Threatened Species. There are at least twenty-six endangered or threatened species that reside on the central California coast including the Southern Sea Otter. Oil spills, routine discharges or toxic byproducts, air pollution, and noise impacts will pose a danger to these species.

D. Infrastructure. The city does not have the infrastructure available to handle increased traffic, especially large trucks, associated with onshore facilities. Traffic is already a problem.

E. Ambience of the Village. There is significant historical, educational and economic value to the Capitola Village. Recently, utilities were undergrounded to help preserve the charm of the village. Offshore drilling and onshore facilities associated with it would dramatically alter the nature and ambience of the village, thereby causing significant effects on the city.

F. Space Availability in the City. There is a relatively small amount of space available with the city (approximately two and one-half square miles). Among these parcels are the Rispin Mansion and others, which are inappropriate for onshore facilities and cannot be adapted for onshore facilities without ruining them.

G. The federal government has proposed to open up virtually the entire California coastline to offshore oil and gas exploration and development, including the coastline off of Santa Cruz County.

H. Coastal areas off central California have been determined high priority areas for offshore oil and gas exploration and development by various multinational oil companies.

I. Offshore oil and gas development off the coast of Capitola would have the following significant effects upon the city:

J. If offshore oil and gas development occurs off the Capitola coast, significant new air pollution is inevitable. One drill ship produces approximately the same amount of air pollution as twenty-three thousand cars driving fifty miles per day. Despite this fact, the federal government does not presently require that offshore oil and gas developments comply with state and local air pollution.

K. Offshore oil and gas development off the Capitola coast would inevitably result in the discharge of large volumes of highly toxic drilling muds into the ocean floor. These toxic materials would degrade the sensitive marine environment, put all forms of marine life at greater risk, and pose a threat to human beings who may later eat the fish contaminated with accumulated toxic material.

L. Offshore oil and gas development off the Capitola coast would put the existing local economy in jeopardy because such development would significantly and substantially interfere with the operation of the local fishing industry.

M. Noisy helicopter traffic would become a significant irritant to Capitola residents.

N. The coastal zone is subject to earthquake hazards. Geologic and historic records indicate that earthquakes have and will occur in this area. An earthquake could be accompanied by a surface rupture, ground shaking and ground failure. The location of oil and gas support facilities in this geologically unstable area would well result in an environmental disaster.

1. Rather than consuming offshore oil and gas resources now, our nation should conserve these resources, since they are nonrenewable. Moreover, the accelerated production and expenditure of hydrocarbon fuels aggravates the global warming trend, a trend which may have long term adverse impacts on Capitola and, in particular, on coastal communities which could be subject to an inundation if global oceans continue to rise as a result of polar icecap melting. Our nation should develop a national energy strategy based on energy conservation emphasizing the increasing use of renewable energy sources such as geothermal production and reinjection. Instead, the federal government has presently reduced or eliminated efforts to increase energy conservation and to develop renewable energy sources, at the same time that it is attempting to increase the development of nonrenewable energy sources like offshore oil and gas. The citizens of Capitola are willing and able to do their part in conserving energy and in developing a society less dependent on nonrenewable fossil fuel resources. (Ord. 632 § l (part), 1987)

17.93.030 Implementation.

There shall be no construction, reconstruction, operation or maintenance of any commercial or industrial facility within the city, including, but not limited to, oil or gas storage facilities, pipe and drilling materials, or equipment repair or storage facilities, which operates directly in support of any offshore oil or gas exploration, development, drilling, pumping or production; nor shall there be any construction, reconstruction, or operation of facilities to process any oil or natural gas taken or removed from any offshore oil or gas drilling or pumping operations. (Ord. 632 § 1, 1987)

17.93.040 Zoning changes.

The city council in adopting this chapter suggests that:

A. This chapter shall not be amended nor repealed without a vote of the people.

B. No zoning changes to accommodate onshore support facilities for offshore oil or gas exploration, development, drilling or pumping or production shall be enacted without a vote of the people of the city of Capitola. (Ord. 632 § 1, 1987)

17.93.050 Effect of adoption.

Adoption of this chapter by the people does not amend or rescind any consistent provisions of the general plan, local coastal program or zoning ordinances, but does strengthen and define such consistent provisions. (Ord. 632 § 1, 1987)

17.93.060 Severability.

If any section, sentence, clause, phrase, or part of this chapter is held to be invalid, the remainder of the chapter shall be given full effect consistent with the intent and purpose of the chapter. (Ord. 632 § 1, 1987)