In previous posts I have talked about Dillon’s Rule and the impact this rule has on green building regulations in Virginia. Dillon’s Rule provides that the state retains all powers except those specifically carved out for municipalities and counties. You can think of this as the reverse of the federal system, where all powers not enumerated in the Constitution to federal authorities are then devolved to the states. So if a Dillon’s Rule state has a statewide building code, like Virginia, cities are limited in the green building regulations they can enact.
Arlington County has found a way to implement a green building policy despite Dillon’s Rule. What other options are out there for municipalities located in Dillon’s Rule states?
You may recall that I have highlighted the Portland Feebate system as a common sense green building regulation that others should mimic. After reading more about the Feebate structure, I recently learned that the Feebate system works particularly well for Dillon’s Rule states:
According to Vinh Mason at the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the new policy came about in part because Portland cannot institute a building code that is more stringent than the statewide code.
Lets not stop there, though. I also came across another option for Dillon’s Rule states looking to implement green building regulations when reading Green Building Law Blog’s post regarding a new Massachusetts building code. According to the Board that passed the new code, implementation would be optional at the city level:
[T]he stretch code would be incorporated into the Massachusetts building code as an optional appendix. Towns and cities in Massachusetts would then be able to choose between remaining on the base energy code or adopting the stretch energy code as their mandatory energy code requirement.
Which option do you prefer, the Feebate or the stretch code? Got any better ideas?