20 Sep 2017

Buying Property In the Coastal Zone

In Santa Cruz County, the coastal zone extends about five miles inland from the North Coast. From Natural Bridges to 41st Avenue in Capitola, it extends about 0.6 miles inland. From Capitola to the south County boundary, it extends to Highway One. Santa Cruz County Coastal Zone Map:   Within the Coastal Zone, a person who wishes to do any sort of land development must obtain a Level 5 development permit. Development, amongst other things,

9 Mar 2017

Changing Energy Codes to Increase Energy Savings

Did you know that new 2016 Residential Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Standards) are now being enforced and California is expecting to see 28% more energy savings in regulated loads* than those built under the 2013 Energy Standards? *an electrical load is an electrical component or portion of a circuit that consumes electric power Having energy efficient buildings: Reduces energy costs. Increases reliability and availability of electricity. Improves building occupant comfort and reduces impact to the environment. Energy efficiency requires

28 Feb 2017

Changing ADU Laws in Santa Cruz

In response to our state's housing shortage, Governor Brown has signed Senate Bill (SB) 1069, which will make it easier, and for some, less expensive to develop Additional Dwelling Unit's (ADU's). SB 1069 will require local governing bodies to loosen ADU regulation. Both Santa Cruz County and City have amended their ADU related ordinances. We report on major ordinance changes that the city has publicized. We also summarize County ordinance changes, which are still contingent on Coastal Commission

9 Sep 2016

Rising Sea Levels – Local Consequences

With man-made climate change being widely accepted by the scientific community, the question is no longer "if" but "when" our communities will be affected by these large-scale changes in the environment. The Pacific Institute has recently released an interactive map that projects to 2100 and identifies at-risk areas in the event of a major flood or from erosion, with both scenarios dependent on a ~4.6 ft sea-level rise. Read more about the study conducted here and see the actual

16 Aug 2016

Zero Energy (Net-Zero) Homes

In simplest terms, a zero net energy home is a building that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of the year. With Federal and Statewide initiatives in place, it is very likely that more energy efficient and net-zero homes will become a new norm in the near future.   Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) has coined the term “Zero Energy Ready Home” which is identified as a home