Will Schmitt, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Sonoma County judge has signaled he favors arguments made by Santa Rosa in a prominent local developer’s lawsuit that argues the city did not follow the proper process more than a year ago when it banned natural gas in most new residential developments.
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Patrick Broderick on Wednesday held a virtual hearing about his recent tentative ruling in response to the allegations brought forward by Bill Gallaher, who owns the Gallaher Homes and Oakmont Senior Living companies, after the Santa Rosa City Council passed an all-electric rule in late 2019. The city passed the rule — known as a “reach code” because it’s an optional expansion on baseline energy efficiency standards — as a way to reduce energy use by buildings, shrinking the city’s carbon footprint.
That ruling would deny Gallaher’s request for Broderick or another judge to order Santa Rosa to “set aside” its approval of the all-electric rule, which generally requires new homes under four stories to be built without natural gas lines and requires electric appliances to heat food, air and water.