Torrey Hills planning board in Carmel Valley votes against city plastic bag ban

The Torrey Hills Community Planning Board voted not to support the city of San Diego’s proposed plastic bag ban. At the board’s Jan. 19 meeting, a motion to support the city ordinance failed and the board voted 9-3 in favor of sending a letter to the city detailing its concerns about the ban.

With the city’s proposed Single-Use Carryout Bag Reduction Ordinance, the goal is to reduce the environmental impacts associated with plastic bags and plastic bag litter. The ordinance would prohibit stores from distributing plastic bags and to charge 10 cents for each paper bag provided to customers.

The stores impacted by the ordinance would be stores of at least 10,000 square feet of retail space, supermarkets, grocery stores, drug stores, convenience food stores and pharmacies. Product bags, plastic bags without handles to carry meat, produce or other food items, would not be regulated.

The majority of the board did not support the 10 cent fee for paper bags as the money would go toward administrative costs and is unnecessary to achieve the ordinance’s goals and the fee would be a financial burden to customers.

“I have no objection to banning plastic bags, I do have an issue with being charged 10 cents to use the paper bag. The cost is being directly passed to the consumer on top of historically high food prices,” board member Brian Britt said.

The majority of the board felt like Britt, that there should be no charge for recyclable paper bags.

Currently, 145 counties and cities in California have banned plastic bags, including the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas. Board members Brad Fagan, Elaine Sampson and Todd Saier were the three votes against the board’s motion to send the letter in opposition.

“I shop often in Solana Beach and (the ban) seems very successful there,” Sampson said, noting she always has plenty of re-usable bags on hand. “I don’t ever have a problem with it.”