Reach code administrative guidelines

These administrative guidelines are promulgated by the building official pursuant to the authority set forth in Ordinance No. 1057.

Eligibility requirements to appeal

The appeal process under Section 100(e)2A for Exceptions 1, 3, and 4 allows applicants seeking an exception for some required electric appliances to install a gas-fueled appliance. Exemptions may be granted to allow for the following:
  • Gas space heating for nonresidential buildings containing a scientific laboratory building OR public agency owned and operated emergency centers. 
  • Gas stoves for nonresidential buildings containing a for-profit restaurant open to the public or a commercial property with a kitchen.

​Section 100.0(e)2A appeal process: Exceptions 1 and 3

Application requirements for scientific laboratory building or public agency owned and operated emergency centers:

Applicants shall submit a cost effectiveness and infeasibility analysis from a city approved third party verifier according to the criteria outlined in this document. 
  • See below for the definition of “third party verification” and a suggested list of consultants. Applicants are responsible for all aspects of, this may include, but not be limited to, hiring, consulting, and financing the third party verifier. 
  • The consultants shall assist the applicant to analyze the cost effectiveness and infeasibility of using electric appliances. Applicant shall submit the analysis report to the Building Division as early as possible after applying for a building permit application. After the City receives the final report, staff will evaluate before issuing building permit. If deemed by the City that the information is insufficient to qualify for the exception, applicant shall resubmit prior to building permit issuance. 
The following methodology will be used to determine the cost effectiveness and infeasibility for scientific laboratory building or public agency owned and operated emergency centers:

1. Infeasibility exception shall include the following explanation:
    • Provide a narrative demonstrating why the electric appliance will not meet mission-critical functions compared to natural gas equipment/appliances. Applicant shall demonstrate research performed, such as contacting multiple manufacturers, with written documentation confirming the inadequacy of all-electric appliances/equipment to support the end-use function.
    • If the appliance is capable of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, manufacturer’s instructions can be included in the package for supporting documentations.
2. Cost-effectiveness exception shall include the following explanation (See Attachment A for full description on applying specific cost effectiveness methodology):
    • Cost-effectiveness analysis must be performed for the Menlo Park baseline electric space heating system to the proposed gas space heating system. The proposed gas system will be allowed if the electric system is shown to not be cost effective.
    • The cost effectiveness analysis components must include:
      • Incremental construction costs
      • Operational time dependent valuation energy costs
      • Cost effectiveness calculations
3. The following guidance will be used to determine the building official decision making. In determining whether there is good cause for granting the exception, the building official shall give consideration to the following:
    • Evaluation of cost effectiveness and infeasibility analysis
    • Number of recent case studies to support similar all electric nonresidential buildings
    • Proposed appliance’s ability to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

​Section 100.0(e)2A appeal process: Exception 4

Application requirements for for-profit restaurant open to the public or a commercial property containing a kitchen.

Applicant may apply for the exception if the business would like to use gas fueled stoves. The City Council appointed body may grant the exception if all the following findings can be made: 

1. That cooking with all-electric stoves creates a hardship for the business. Financial difficulties and loss of prospective profits are not hardships to justify an exception. 

2. That an exception is necessary for the business purpose. Explain why the cooking with a gas fuel source cannot be achieved by an electric fuel source
    • For each gas fueled stoves needed, please provide multiple appliance models, the prices, and the source information. Compare these appliances with electric alternatives. Please provide multiple electric models, the prices, and the purchase location. 
    • Describe why gas fuel stoves are essential to the business and why the electric alternatives are insufficient to the business? 
3. That the granting of the exception will not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Explain how greenhouse gas emissions will be mitigated if the exception is granted. If a mitigation measure requires going back to the planning commission for approval due to a redesign, it will not be considered viable. 
    • Recommended/example mitigation strategies include the following:
    • Subscribe to 100 percent renewable energy from Peninsula Clean Energy (applicable until 2021)
    • Install a micro-grid (renewable energy plus environmentally friendly battery storage)
    • Perform deconstruction of existing structures (as opposed to demolition)
    • Determine and establish embodied carbon limits on new material for construction 
    • Install additional electric vehicle charging station for public use beyond current city requirements
4. If exception is granted, pre-wiring is mandatory. Refer to Note 1 in the Ordinance No. 1057.

Appeal process next steps

  • These findings are to be addressed by the applicant in the application.
  • The City Council appointed body may recommend a different greenhouse gas mitigation plan. If the applicant does not accept the body’s recommendation, the body must make a decision based on the applicant’s proposal.
  • The applicant shall submit the appeal to the City Clerk’s office (City Hall, 2nd floor, 701 Laurel Street).
  • The City Council appointed body shall hear the matter at its earliest opportunity. The applicant may appeal the decision of the City Council appointed body to the City Council in writing within fifteen (15) days after the decision of the commission. Such a request shall be submitted to the city clerk and it shall state the reasons for the appeal. The decision of the City Council shall be final.


The following definitions shall apply for Section 100.1(b):

  • “City Council appointed body” is the Environmental Quality Commission who will review the appeal for Exception 4.
  • “Food establishments” are businesses that sell food directly to consumers as their primary function.
  • "Employee kitchen” is any commercial property that has equipment for preparation and cooking of food for its employees.
  • “Newly constructed buildings and new construction” limit on repair/remodel for R3 and U occupancies. When the scope of work for R3 and U occupancies involves the alteration or removal of any existing structural framing that meets or exceeds 75 percent or greater of the linear footage of interior and exterior walls, including the removal of roof structure in those wall areas, cumulative within a two-year period, the project shall be considered as new construction.
  • “Pre-wiring standards” are outlined in Section 100.0 of the ordinance are to ease the transition from natural gas appliances to electric appliances. The intent of the pre-wiring standards is to use the equipment installed to its capability based on the increased efficiency standards. At this time, there is no requirement for additional rooms, panels and equipment. Equipment manufacturers are creating more efficient electric power consumption, which will reallocate the existing equipment loads in the future. As a result with the pre-wiring requirement, new electric appliances will be electrically accommodated without damaging the building.
  • “Public agency owned and operated emergency centers” act as shelters for the community during emergencies and natural disasters that need to operate 24 hours, 7 days a week. Public agency owned is any State or local government; any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a state or local government. Police departments, fire stations, and community centers are some examples.
  • “Stoves” are any appliances that have natural gas burners. This may include, but not limited to be ranges, stove tops and any combination appliances of top burners.
  • “Third party verification” is an individual or company without a vested interested in the project and is responsible for verification of compliance. The applicant is responsible third party verification to submit cost effectiveness and infeasibility information (Exception Information) to the Building Division (for Exception 1 and 3). A list of consultants is available in the FAQs section. 

​Administrative guidelines amendments

The guidelines may be updated from time to time by the building official to provide more clarity.