4 January 2024
And so it has begun. Seven towns out of 10 have been selected by the DOER to begin the Fossil Fuel Free Pilot Program in MA. This is a ban on fossil fuels in New Construction and Significant Remodels. (However, Lexington’s bylaw adoption of the opt-in code does allow for the use of Fossil Fuels in heating and cooking). See the article from State House News below.
Seven Communities Cleared For Fossil-Fuel Free Building Pilot
Arlington, Newton May Join "Leafy Green Suburbs" In Major Experiment
JAN. 4, 2024.....After years of deliberations, negotiations and regulatory rollout -- and some well-publicized "agita" in the corner office -- a septet of Massachusetts cities and towns can now significantly limit the use of fossil fuels in building projects.
The Department of Energy Resources gave seven communities the final green light to begin a groundbreaking experiment: they will require new construction and major renovation to embrace fossil fuel-free infrastructure for uses like heating and cooling.
Acton, Aquinnah, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Lincoln and Lexington can now begin enforcing those policies, effectively mandating that most construction or significant renovation projects inside their borders abstain from oil and gas hookups.
Effective dates vary by community. In several cases, the landmark bylaws will take effect within three months, though Lincoln's will not kick in until six months after DOER's approval and Aquinnah's appears to have already started on Jan. 1.
The bylaws themselves also have a few variations across cities and towns, carving out localized exceptions like allowing continued fossil fuel use in restaurant kitchens.
Another two communities, Arlington and Newton, won "conditional project acceptance" from the state. They each have until Feb. 11, 2024 to prove they fulfilled affordable housing requirements in the law creating the pilot program. [Either Northampton or Somerville will more than likely take the 10th spot, the DOER has until March 1 to approve a replacement for West Tisbury].
Read full article here. There are still some moving pieces here. At this time, these are the ONLY 7 towns (out of 10) in MA that have banned fossil fuels and ONLY in new construction and remodels. If you have a permitting problem on retro’s, replacements, or small remodels: get the code reference and the inspector’s name and send the information to me, Karen@nehpba.org.
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