Voter Approval of Proposed Desalination Plant

City of Santa Cruz


The Santa Cruz City Charter has been amended with Chapter 16.10 "Desalination Plant- Voter Approval" that requires that requires the City Council to submit the question of whether or not the CIty will construct a desalination plant to the CIty voters prior to the time the City Council take any legislative action. 

The vote would take place at either a regularly scheduled statewide or general municipal election.  Prior to the ballot measure, the City shall analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed project in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) .  In addition, the provisions of the Charter Amendment do not prohibit the City from appropriating the funds necessary to undertake studies in connection with such environmental analysis or to otherwise continue to analyze the proposed desalination plant’s construction, operation, costs and financing. 

The vote shall be held during a regularly scheduled general municipal or statewide election.

Historical Timeline

  • March 13, 2012: City Council adopts "Desal Plant-Voter Approval Ordinance (Ordinance 2012-3)

  • November 6, 2012: Measure P Passes to amend the CIty's Charter

City Charter Amendment

Chapter 16.10 DESALINATION PLANT – VOTER APPROVAL

16.10.010 Voter Approval
Before taking a legislative action, the effect of which would be to authorize or permit construction of a desalination plant in the city, the city council shall first submit the question of that desalination plant’s construction to the qualified electors of the city of Santa Cruz at a regularly scheduled general municipal or statewide election. The city council shall thereafter take such legislative action only if the desalination plant’s construction is affirmed by a vote of the city’s qualified electors at such election. This section shall not be construed to require more than one election per desalination plant proposal and, once a desalination plant is approved by the electorate, the city council shall thereafter be authorized to take all further legislative actions necessary for the city to undertake and complete desalination plant construction. (Ord. 2012-03 § 1 (part), 2012).

16.10.020 Environmental Review
Before submitting a desalination plant construction ballot measure to the electorate pursuant to Section 16.10.010, the city shall analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed desalination plant in accordance with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. No provision of this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the city council from appropriating the funds necessary to undertake studies in connection with such environmental analysis or to otherwise analyze the proposed desalination plant’s construction, operation, costs and financing. (Ord. 2012-03 § 1 (part), 2012).

16.10.030 Desalination Plant Defined
As used in this chapter, the term “desalination plant” means any project intended to provide potable domestic, commercial, and/or industrial water supply through the removal of salts and other minerals from ocean water, regardless of the physical or chemical process used. (Ord. 2012-03 § 1 (part), 2012).

Soquel Creek Water District


At the June 18, 2013 Soquel Creek Water District Board meeting, the Board held a public hearing to discuss conducting a vote for the proposed Regional Seawater Desalination Project.  At the close of the hearing and after discussion, the Board declared that the District will conduct a vote for the proposed regional desalination plant and directed Staff to work with District counsel and return to the Board at a later date to review additional details of the upcoming vote.  To view the minutes of item 4.4, Public Hearing to Discuss Conducting a Vote for Proposed Regional Seawater Desalination Project, click here.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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