San Diego County, California, supervisors approve amendments to organics zoning ordinance

San Diego County, California, supervisors approve amendments to organics zoning ordinance

The amended zoning ordinance will expand organics processing and composting options for area residents.

September 20, 2022

Board supervisors in San Diego County, California, voted unanimously Sept. 14 to amend an organic materials zoning ordinance to provide more options for community gardeners, farmers, commercial composters and residents, reports Times of San Diego.

The amended zoning ordinance (ZO) will allow organic material processing or composting to occur in more areas of the unincorporated county. According to the county’s website, this will be made possible by:

  • adding more composting allowances for agricultural land;
  • allowing community composting in residential settings and adding more allowances for composting in community gardens;
  • providing more permit options, which will vary depending on the size and intensity of the operation, encouraging more small- and mid-scale commercial activities; and
  • ensuring the protection of public health and safety by including best management practice requirements to address issues of stormwater runoff, odors, pests and others.

All of the changes listed for this project are voluntary, says the county. The new ordinance will not mandate or require anyone to compost or accept organic materials. The board’s vote also establishes a standalone zoning ordinance for organic materials management, amends a section on animal waste processing and develops a zoning verification permit for organic materials management.

The ordinance update project is part of a variety of plans and initiatives to “reduce San Diego County’s greenhouse gas emissions, make the best use of local natural resources and reduce the need for new landfills.” A key element to these plans is a waste diversion goal established by the board in 2017, which set an initial waste diversion goal of 75 percent by 2025.

In 2018, the county’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) increased the waste diversion goal to 80 percent by 2030.

Achieving this goal, the fourth-largest emission reduction measure in the 2018 CAP, would account for nearly 9 percent, or 79,052 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, of the total emission reductions needed for 2030.