By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported a gallon/container size. The correct size is 96 gallons, not 56 gallons.

Solid handling service fees will likely increase in San Juan Capistrano due to state environmental regulations.

Beginning on July 1, various residential curbside and commercial rates will go up. For instance, residential rates for a 32-gallon container or volume size could go up to $21 from the current rate of $19.16. A 64-gallon rate could go up to $22 from $20.21 and 96-gallon rate could go up to $24 from $22.45.

The commercial rate increases will be higher. The proposed increase for two cubic yards of trash will be $99.90, up from $72.75; three cubic yards will be $152.07, up from $111.25; and four cubic yards will be $199.80, up from $145.51.

Information about the increases came to light when the San Juan Capistrano City Council discussed and approved an amended agreement with CR&R Inc. for waste handling services during a council meeting on Feb. 4. The agreement was amended and restated to comply with California Senate Bill 1383, which addresses organic waste and other environmental concerns. Gov. Jerry Brown had approved the legislation, which penalizes non-compliance, in September 2016.

“At the end of the day, given the state mandates which I don’t personally agree with, I’m actually rather impressed that our rates are going to be as low as they are,” City Councilmember Derek Reeve said. “There was a time where it really looked like it would be significantly higher, but because of the work of our staff and consultant and the negotiations we had with CR&R and others, we got them as low as they could possibly be, given the mandates of the state.”

Mayor Troy Bourne said the amended agreement with CR&R will impact every home in the city.

“These cost increases are largely outside of our control,” Bourne said. “We live in the state of California. We can agree or disagree with what people are doing in Sacramento, but these laws are designed to protect the environment, maybe well-intentioned or whatever you want to say, but they definitely add costs to the processes that other regions or states are not dealing with because of our efforts to make some of these changes.”

The new rates will be effective July 1. Outreach, educational efforts, and public workshops will be held before then to inform people about details regarding organic waste handling and related matters.

During the council meeting, the city council also approved a ridgeline buffer exception request for property at 26951 Berkshire Lane due to the property owner doing unauthorized grading work to construct retaining walls to accommodate a playground structure. Bourne, Reeve, and Mayor Pro Tem John Taylor voted for the exception request, while Councilmembers Brian Maryott and Sergio Farias voted no.

Residents Matt Gaffney and Steve Behmerwohld spoke against the ridgeline buffer exception request. The property owner is required to go back through required city processes, pay required fees, and have property work reviewed by city staff to ensure compliance.

In other council meeting news, city officials also approved the parade permit and temporary street closures for the 62nd annual Swallows Day Parade on March 21 and said a contract bid for construction of the Putuidem Cultural Village at the Northwest Open Space is expected in April, with construction beginning in May.

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