SAN JOSE, Calif., March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- REALTORS® and homeowners are rallying together to fight a proposal from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District that would ban any home in the Bay Area with a wood-burning fireplace from being sold or rented.
Under the proposal, a home with a wood-burning fireplace could not be sold or rented until the fireplace is replaced with an EPA-approved option such as natural gas or electricity. The other alternative would be making the fireplace inoperable.
Homeowners would incur the cost of replacing the fireplace or making it inoperable. Retrofit costs homeowners several thousands of dollars, depending on the home and the type of fireplace that is installed and the complexity of the retrofit.
If the ordinance were to pass, some homeowners might decide to postpone selling their property because of the added cost to them.
"We can all agree that clean air and public health is important, but we disagree on how to get there," said Craig Gorman, President of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®. "Clearly, this is an infringement on property owner's rights. We would like to receive education and financial incentives for those who choose to retrofit."
Many of the nearly 100 people who attended a public meeting about the proposed ordinance in Morgan Hill on Wednesday, March 25th expressed their concern. Some said they don't even use their wood-burning fireplace but that they would still like to have the option to use it. Others were shocked learn that their EPA-approved fireplace would no longer be approved and that they would have to retrofit with a device that meets the higher EPA standard. Still, others expressed their discontent at having to pay a fee to register their wood-burning device.
Homeowners also asked why Spare the Air days just couldn't be extended, rather than forcing them to install a new fireplace. Those from low-income families said they use their wood-burning fireplace to offset the high cost of their PG & E bill. Seniors also were concerned about the cost of having to retrofit their fireplace before they sell because they are on a fixed income and every dollar counts.
"I was really impressed with the homeowners and the passion they showed against this ordinance," said SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins. "Clearly, they don't want it to pass."
The Morgan Hill meeting was the first in a series of nine public meetings that will be held in the Bay Area on wood-burning devices. The next meeting will be held at the Redwood City Public Library on Monday, April 6th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Bay Area Quality Management District's proposal will be revised after all nine meetings have been held. No date has been set to vote on the issue.
For additional updates on this critical issue, please visit SCCAOR's web site at www.sccaor.com/protectmyprivatepropertyrights
About the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®
SCCAOR, established in 1896, is California's oldest and Northern California's largest real estate association. We represent about 10,000 REALTORS® and affiliate members. SCCAOR exists to meet the business, professional and political needs of its members and to promote, protect homeownership and private property rights.
SOURCE Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS