The Cambridge City Council Ordinance Committee addressed two sustainability-related topics this month. First, the City Council voted to apply to be a part of the Commonwealth’s Fossil Fuel Free demonstration program (also known as the “gas ban”), with an exception for restaurants that passed on a 5-4 vote. Second, the City’s Ordinance Committee continues to have under consideration another proposed BEUDO amendment, aimed at accelerating the net-zero deadline to 2030 for non-residential buildings of 100,000 sq. ft. or more.
Full meeting details can be found here.
On June 26, the Cambridge City Council approved the June 22 version of the BEUDO amendments, with a clarifying amendment on cogeneration, and additional clarifying amendments on the definitions of “campus” to make clear that a campus can include buildings smaller than 25,000 sf (which would not otherwise be covered by BEUDO) and “owner” to include affiliates and subsidiaries. The amendments passed with a vote of 8 Councilors in favor, and Councilor Denise Simmons voting “present”.
The Council declined to adopt Councilor Zondervan’s proposed amendment to require new buildings to be net zero by 2030, that amendment was referred to the Ordinance Committee.
The Council also focused on what it needed to do to timely submit its application to participate in the Commonwealth’s fossil free demonstration program. The application is due by September 1, and CDD plans to host public sessions in July to provide information and gather input.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions on BEUDO and the fossil fuel free demonstration project.
On June 5, the City Council reviewed the BEUDO amendments drafted by the City’s Community Development Department, but deferred a vote for two weeks.
The Council will consider the amendments again at its June 26 meeting (there is no meeting in two weeks due to the Juneteenth holiday). Councillors agreed to defer consideration because the amendments were only made publicly available last Thursday, June 1, the amendments are technical and complex, and they want to give people ample time to review the amendments and make any needed minor changes or “tweaks.”
All of the amendment materials and agenda from this meeting can be found here.
Click here for the Proposed Emissions Reduction Schedule by Building Type.
The City of Cambridge’s Ordinance Committee held a meeting on Wednesday, April 12th, to hear the Community Development Department’s (CDD) proposed changes to the BEUDO amendment. The changes include introducing:
- Two net zero deadlines based on the size of the building–non-residential buildings of 100,000 or more sf must achieve net zero by 2035, while buildings of less than 100,000 sf have until 2050 to achieve net zero;
- Offsets to ensure feasibility with 2035 target;
- A Review Board for case-by-case deferrals and exemptions; and
- A Policy Review to be completed in 2031 to assess BEUDO’s effectiveness.
The hearing featured robust public commentary from MIT, Harvard, business associations including the Kendall Square Association, condo associations, and sustainability advocates.
March 6, 2023
Cambridge’s Community Development Department (CDD) is still gathering feedback from community stakeholders as it redrafts the BEUDO amendment. The KSA took part in a fourth BEUDO working group session with CDD, MIT, Harvard, and other business associations last Friday, March 3rd. Topics discussed included advocacy for a 2050 net zero target and continued flexibility via offsets and deferrals.
The KSA is participating in a series of meetings with the City alongside MIT, Harvard, and other business organizations to provide input on further amendments to BEUDO. This includes the most recent January 24, 2023 Economic Development & University Relations Committee meeting where the City of Cambridge focused on the technical, economic, and environmental impact of reaching its net zero goals with input from Eversource representatives, universities, and the business community. View the January 24, 2023 meeting agenda and video.
November 22, 2022
This was the first hearing at which Eversource appeared and provided testimony. Eversource gave an in-depth presentation on the technical and economic challenges of meeting BEUDO’s 2035 timeline. MIT addressed the need for carbon credits to meet Cambridge’s 2035 accelerated net zero timeline. The hearing can be viewed here.