Palo Alto, California, administrators have exempted a celebrity chef’s restaurant from the city’s sweeping gas stove ban.
Jose Andres’ newly planned restaurant, Zaytinya, is one of the latest Simon Property Group (SPG) buildings that received project approval in 2019, including for a a gas line, which the restaurant relies on, according to Palo Alto Online. The plan, however, changed when planning staff informed the company that due to the City Council’s revision of the building code, the restaurant was required to use electric stoves.
Simon wrote a letter in April threatening the city council with a lawsuit if it maintained the ban, according to the letter.
This “is a unique situation, where parts of the project were built or under construction when the City’s all-electric new construction rule went into effect,” according to a statement from the city council. “Except for this one-off situation, Palo Alto’s all-electric requirement is being implemented for all new projects and substantial remodels.”
“SPG is confident that the enforcement of the new Reach Code in this context is legally defective and unconstitutional, and SPG is thus prepared to take all actions necessary to enforce its legal rights to employ gas facilities within Building EE,” wrote Anna Shimko, an attorney for SPG Group, LLC. She added that Zaytinya relies on traditional cooking methods that only natural gas appliances would grant “to achieve its signature, complex flavors.”
The Department of Energy announced a new rule in early February that would create an “energy conservation standard” for gas stoves and electric equipment. Prior to the February rule, Richard Trumka Jr., a top Consumer Product Safety Commission official, told Bloomberg that banning the manufacture and importation of gas stoves is “on the table” if they “can’t be safe,” citing a study claiming to link the cooking appliances with childhood asthma cases.
“Zaytinya cannot compromise the caliber of its cuisine and reputation, and if SPG cannot provide gas in Building EE, Zaytinya will likely choose not to locate within the City. This would be an unfortunate loss for the residents of Palo Alto, as well as a compensable loss for which SPG would be forced to seek redress,” Shimko said.
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