Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting Of The Board Of Directors
February 15, 2006 270 Elm Road, Bolinas
1. Call to Order
Directors Amoroso, Kimball and Smith present and Director McClellan absent.
Director Siedman arrived at 7:42 p.m.; Director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report
Staff requested that an item be added to the agenda as an urgency item; specifically,
staff requested that the Board consider a resolution designating the General
Manager as the BCPUD’s agent for purposes of the district’s Public Assistance
Application to the Office of Emergency Services and FEMA for financial assistance
to make repairs caused by the New Year’s Eve storms. The Board unanimously
approved the request and added it as a new item 15 on the agenda.
Staff presented an update on district operations. Post-storm/heavy
rain clean-up continues with the staff working up the Arroyo Honda watershed;
making necessary adjustments at the water treatment plant; actively managing
the sewer pond property (opening valves, commencing drainage work and so
forth); monitoring operations at the downtown lift station; supervising the
testing of back flow devices and replacing worn equipment. A new water
service was installed for lower Oak Road; due to bluff conditions,
the service temporarily is being run off of a fire hydrant on Nymph Road
and across private property to the Oak Road residents, with the agreement
of affected property owners. The district experienced two recent leaks
on the distribution system: on the 100 block of Birch Road and on the
line to Commonweal; the district’s recently purchased leak detection
equipment worked well.
Staff further reported on a very productive meeting with the Marin/Sonoma
Mosquito & Vector Control District (“M&VCD”) regarding vegetation
management (i.e. mosquito breeding habitat reduction) at the sewer pond property.
The M&VCD has committed to lending BCPUD staff certain equipment and
providing assistance with the maintenance of the drainage ditches surrounding
the sewer pond property, as well as along certain public rights-of-way.
Based in part on M&VCD advice, staff intends to develop a specific
management plan for the sewer pond property, including valve replacement/adjustment;
mowing and discing; evaluating/replacing sprinkler heads and isolating shut-off
valves; and updating irrigation practices.
The BCPUD has received another quarterly notice from the Department of Health
Services that the district exceeded the maximum contaminant level (“MCL”)
for haleoacidic acids in the water system. Staff prepared the required
notice to consumers and it will be mailed on February 17, 2006, with copies
also to be published in the Hearsay and the Marin Independent Journal.
The BCPUD received a response from the National Park Service to its letter
offering to sell the Pine Gulch Creek property to the NPS at its fair market
value. NPS has asked its legal counsel to review the latest information
provided to it by the BCPUD concerning the legal easement to the property
site. NPS remains extremely interested in purchasing the property to
add to its parklands, but no longer has any funds budgeted for this purpose.
The NPS therefore intends to pursue creative financing alternatives to raise
the funds necessary to purchase the property, including but not limited to
working with local conservation organizations.
Staff updated the Board that a meeting has been scheduled at the former Vierra
ranch property site to evaluate a fencing plan proposed by Mr. Moritz and
his representatives pursuant to the applicable Stream Conservation Area Stewardship
Staff updated the Board on correspondence sent and correspondence received
by the district since the last regular meeting of the Board.
Finally, staff reported that the General Manager will be away from the district
from February 20, 2006 through February 24, 2006.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report
Lewis Likover reported that he reviewed the proposed drainage
plan submitted by Pamela Whitehead for her house building project at 271
Poplar Road; because the plan is not consistent in some instances with
the Todd Plan, Lewie intends to talk with the County planner and Ms. Whitehead’s
engineer to ensure that her drainage efforts will be integrated properly
and consistently with the Todd Plan. Director Smith said that staff
should set up a process with the County whereby proposed drainage plans submitted
to the County for projects in Bolinas are sent initially to the BCPUD for
review and comment for consistency with the Todd Plan.
Lewie also met with Lynn Page to discus neighborhood interest
in the Alder/Aspen/Birch/Cedar area in performing road improvement and drainage
work in the Spring. The BCPUD will assist with culvert purchase and
Directors McClellan and Smith met with Lewie and other staff to agree upon
drainage priorities for the remainder of the 2005-2006 fiscal year;
specifically, the priorities will be to complete as much as possible of the
“Pilot Project” and to provide as much assistance—financial and technical--as
possible to neighborhood groups and individual homeowners implementing drainage
projects on the Mesa.
Lewie has installed three stream level gauges on Alder Creek in locations
suggested by Rob Gailey, a Big Mesa resident who also is a hydrologist. Lewie
noted that the stream level gauges were constructed with donated assistance
from Ralph Camiccia. With the information gathered from the gauges
and the recorded rainfall results, it should be possible to determine the
amount of water currently going in to Alder Creek and identify where some
of the water can be diverted—either to Overlook and the County storm drain
system, or to the Jack’s Creek watershed.
Finally, Lewie said that he and Director Smith are scheduled to meet with
the new County Suveyor, Mike Brogan, to discuss the elevation survey and,
it is hoped, schedule the work to be done. Various audience members
commented on the importance of obtaining the elevation points in order to
properly implement the Todd Plan. Lewie noted that the Board has approved
purchase of certain survey equipment so that he and other BCPUD staff can
monitor drainage projects and ensure that the Plan is followed. BCPUD
also recently purchased a gas-powered hedge trimmer to use for drainway clearing
projects, particularly to work on Larch right of way between Overlook and
Aspen. Matt Lewis and Lewie have scheduled a meeting for the upcoming
weekend to mark the boundaries of the Larch right-of-way.
Director Kimball commended Lewie for the work he has accomplished to date,
building on the work of the former volunteer drainage committee, and encouraged
him to come to the Board if he needs specific equipment or other support
to accomplish his work. Director Amoroso noted that it may be necessary
to go to the voters for approval to increase the drainage budget and associated
charge to property owners to fund significant additional drainage work.
4. Community Expression
Janine Arroyan spoke in favor of improving the landscaping at the Brighton
Beach entrance. As a result of a fire in the area last summer, the
entrance has become an eyesore. The community is trying to build respect
for beach and members of the public are interested in seeing it planted with
native plants--something simple and relatively self-maintaining. Janine
said that many people have said that they are willing to contribute plants
and the homeowners (the Solomans) directly next to the entrance also are
willing to contribute financially to the landscaping of the entrance.
The primary cost is in preparing the site for planting--debris removal, soils
preparation, etc. Janine also suggested that two small retaining walls
should be constructed. She asked if BCPUD would contribute to the project.
Staff noted that this topic came up during the January meeting and that the
Board approved a contribution of $200 and some erosion control materials.
In response to a question from Director Smith, Janine said that the landscaping
project will cost several thousand dollars. After some discussion during
which several directors expressed interest in increasing the BCPUD’s financial
participation in the project subject to an agreed-upon cap, the Board requested
that Janine work up a specific proposal for the Board’s consideration at
the next meeting and that staff include the item on the March meeting agenda
David Kimball said that the County Counsel’s office currently is preparing
the administrative record in the Kidson lawsuit and will let the community
know when the trial is scheduled to begin. David also mentioned that
Mr. Kidson sent a work crew that morning to move a bench that Paul Collett’s
family placed on the bluff to memorialize his death; Mr. Collet’s ashes
were also spread on the site.
Staff reported that Meg Simonds submitted a written request that the Board
place an item on next month’s agenda to consider the appointment of a committee
to update the Bolinas Community Plan. Staff was instructed to include
the requested item on the March meeting agenda.
5. Volunteer Committee Reports
-- Alternative Energy: Nothing to report.
-- Beach: Recommendation regarding BCPUD acceptance of Offers To Dedicate.
The Board received the Committee minutes of its January 2006 meeting.
Committee chairperson Magi Barror said the Committee would like the BCPUD
to accept the Offers To Dedicate (“OTD”) along Brighton Beach, on the condition
that accepting them not pose any liability issues for the district.
Director Smith observed that it was his understanding that state law protects
public agencies from liability in such circumstances and that it would be
far better for the BCPUD, which is much more attentive to community concerns,
to accept the OTDs rather than pass the opportunity to the County.
Staff was directed to include an item on the March meeting agenda for the
Board to act on the Committee’s recommendation.
-- Community Paths Group: Nothing to report.
-- Downtown Parking and Traffic: Update on February 7, 2006 Community
Committee member Jennifer Blackman provided a brief description of the community
meeting: approximately 20 community members attended the meeting, most
of whom were there to ask questions about the specifics of the Downtown Parking
& Traffic Plan (“the “Plan”). At the meeting, the Committee presented
a history of the events leading to the drafting of the Plan, including the
heightened interest in the community in favor of regulating parking near
the downtown due to the sharp increase in visitors to Bolinas. The
Committee then went step-by-step through the Plan and answered questions
from the community. Director Amoroso said that most of the people at
the meeting were not vehement opponents of the Plan, but rather were people
with concerns at margins; he feels some of their concerns likely were allayed
by the discussion at the meeting. The next step is for the Committee
to submit a local coastal permit application; Liza Crosse previously
had said that the County may be able to provide financial assistance by covering
the permit fee. In response to a question from Eleanor Lyman, Director
Amoroso confirmed that the Committee intends to ask the County to increase
the parking fines for violations in the downtown parking area because the
current $21 fee is ineffective to deter illegal parking.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Committee: Report from WMMCC; Discussion
of timeline for the WMMCC evolution and structure.
Chariperson Liza Goldblatt reminded the Board that the WMMCC has been working
with the M&VCD for approximately one year; this collaborative effort
has led to the M&VCD agreement to use only biological treatments (“BTs”)
to control mosquitoes in West Marin and only OMRI-approved BT’s near organic
farms—a very significant accomplishment that was facilitated in many respects
by the results of the November election, with 86% if the voters favoring
Measure E. The Committee is scheduled to meet with M&VCD General Manager
Jim Wanderschied in March to put together a draft written agreement to set
forth the M&VCD’s commitment on BT use.
The Committee is taking steps to become a true West Marin-wide entity.
To that end, Inverness Public Utility District and the National Park Service
have agreed to appoint representatives to the Committee and the Committee
actively is soliciting other West Marin representatives (from governments
entities and community groups). The Committee plans to keep the current
committee structure in place, continuing its work with the M&VCD, until
the entity is formalized.
Director Siedman expressed concern that the Committee is still a BCPUD committee,
with members from outside of the district. He urged Liza to speed up
the process of transforming the Committee officially into a West Marin-wide
entity, independent of the BCPUD; he noted such status will confer
even more political clout on the committee.
-- West Nile Virus Task Force: Nothing to report. Stacey
Henderson commented that she attended the California West Nile conference
in December and that she continues to pick up dead birds in West Marin and
transfer them for testing.
-- Resource Recovery: Financial report for January 2006. The
Board received the January 2006 financial report for the Resource Recovery
6. Whitehead New SFD Coastal Permit, CP-06-3 (REVISED) -
271 Poplar Ave
Staff reported that Pamela Whitehead submitted a revised set of building
plans to the County; in response to concerns expressed by neighbors
to her previous plans, Ms. Whitehead significant reduced the square footage
and proposed height of her planned house. Staff concerns exist with
respect to the drainage plan that Ms. Whitehead also submitted, and staff
are in discussions with Ms. Whitehead, her engineer and the County planner
with respect to those concerns. Director Smith commented that Ms. Whitehead
has made very significant revisions to her proposed home in direct response
to community feedback and said that he was very pleased with her accommodations.
Director Kimball said that she, too, had reviewed the revised plans and is
grateful that Ms. Whitehead was so responsive to the community.
After further discussion, staff was directed to write a letter to the County
planner indicating that Ms. Whitehead needs to submit a revised Expanded
Water Use Permit application and correct her drainage plan to conform with
the Todd Plan (or explain any deviations).
7. Terrace Avenue at Overlook: Proposal to Request
Marin County Department of Public Works to Immediately Remediate Storm Damage
Director Siedman said that the current status of Terrace Road, which has
been reduced to a one-way road just east of its intersection with Overlook
following the New Year’s Eve storms, is a major problem for the town and
that the County must be required to find the money to fix the road.
Director Amoroso noted that more than 40 homes could be isolated in the event
that Terrace fails at both its current problem location near Overlook, and
at “Surfer’s Overlook, which also sustained significant damage as a result
of the storms.
Director Smith said that he has had a number of discussions
with Bob Beaumont at the County about the problems along Terrace Avenue;
Mr Beaumont claims that the County has a $100 million backlog on road maintenance
throughout Marin and that Terrace Avenue seems to be a “doomed road.”
Director Smith also has spoken with soils engineer Vince Howes, who is analyzing
whether it is possible to install a deep French drain to divert water before
it hits Terrace Avenue near Surfer’s Overlook, because the current erosion
there seems to be on a surface (or subsurface) level, not due to wave action
below the cliff.
Director Siedman suggested that the BCPUD write a letter to the County Department
of Public Works, with a courtesy copy to County Counsel, demanding an immediate
response as to what DPW intends to do with respect to the damage on Terrace
and, if the answer is that DPW intends to do nothing, that the letter further
demand an explanation of DPW’s legal justification for not acting to maintain
a County road.
Ken Masterton thanked the Board for placing the item on
the agenda and for its willingness to demand explanation from the County
for the County’s inaction. Ken observed that the road failure affects
not only the folks living on Terrace Avenue, but the entire town. He
said that Bob Beaumont is engaged in a study to examine short-term and long-term
solutions for the problems on Terrace Avenue, but that the study evidently
is not available to the public. Ken said it may well be cheaper for
the County to put funds into improving the Surfer’s Overlook section of Terrace,
rather than build an alternative access road; however, Ken said the County
should not be “let off the hook” with respect to upper Terrace.
Director Kimball said she supports taking a strong position
on this issue with the County and she urged Ken Masterton to circulate a
petition in the affected neighborhood to plea for assistance. She noted
the Fire Protection District operations are also directly affected by the
Terrace Avenue damage because of the reduced access to a significant area
of town. Director Siedman suggested that the Fire Chief also sign on
to the BCPUD’s planned letter to the County.
After further discussion, staff was directed to work with
the Fire Chief to write a letter to the County Department of Public Works,
with a courtesy copy to the County Counsel, requesting immediate action to
fix Terrace Avenue or, if no action is planned, an explanation (including
legal justification) as to why DPW does not intend to fix the road.
8. Permit Request for Drainage and Road Work on Lower Poplar
Ave (between Kale and Yucca)
Andy Blake, who requested the item be placed on the agenda,
noted that the request is on behalf of the West Poplar Road Maintenance Group.
Andy has not yet put a written application together because the group met
only last week to discuss and agree upon the scope of the proposed drainage
and road work. (He noted the group recently spent $3,300 just for pot-hole
filling work.) Andy would like to reestablish the road ditches and
install culverts; he said the Todd Plan calls for 4 foot deep ditches and
18 culverts on the affected stretch of road. Andy requested that the
Board clarify whether the BCPUD will support the group’s proposed ditching
and culvert installation work, even where a property owner objects to the
work being done in the right-of-way bordering his or her property.
Director Amoroso asked whether Poplar area folks objected
to spending the money necessary to do the work. Andy replied that some
property owners do not think any drainage or road work is necessary and do
not want work done in the right-of-way bordering their property.
Director Siedman requested that Director Amoroso take the gavel and chair
the meeting at this point because, as a resident of Poplar Road, he wished
to participate in the discussion as an audience member. Jack said there
is a divergence of view in the road group as to whether the road should be
“crowned” with ditches on both sides, or slanted with a ditch along one side
only. Jack said that there are 24 property owners in the road group,
seven of whom were at the meeting and four of whom spoke again ditching both
sides of road.
Andy disagreed, stating that the divergence within the group is not about
a crowned vs. slanted road, but rather over whether the BCPUD has the authority
to implement the Todd Plan in the face of recalcitrant property owners.
He noted that the road needs to be properly maintained, whether or not a
few property owners disagree, and that certain sections of Poplar Road that
have not been maintained are currently below the water table. He requested
that the BCPUD issue specific guidance to road groups as to whether road
improvement and drainage work can be done in the rights-of-way on the Big
Mesa, even in the face of opposition from an adjoining property owner.
He noted that if the Board determines that such work cannot be done if opposed
by a particular property owner, the decision essentially grants a few property
owners the ability to derail road improvement and drainage efforts favored
by a large majority.
Director Smith reaffirmed that the Board’s policy is and has been that once
a road permit has been issued by the BCPUD for road improvement and/or drainage
work in the public right(s)-of-way, individual property owners cannot stop
that work from proceeding; individual property owners remain responsible
for establishing/maintaining access from the public right(s)-of-way to their
property (e.g., driveways, culverts, etc.).
Director Kimball asked Andy to bring the Board a specific written proposal
for his proposed project on Poplar road. On a related note, Andy suggested
that the BCPUD formally request assistance from the National Park Service
with the maintenance of Poplar Road. NPS is the adjoining property
owner on the north side of the road and has not made any contributions to
date, even though its lands drain directly onto Poplar Road. The Board
directed staff to raise the issue for discussion with the NPS.
9. Request to Relocate Existing Fence To East Side of Woodrat
2 Access Road
Director Siedman resumed the gavel and chaired the remainder of the meeting.
Staff reported that rancher Bill Niman requested the BCPUD’s permission to
relocate the existing fence separating district property near the Woodrat
2 reservoir from the National Park Service property on which Bill grazes
his cattle; specifically, to relocate the fence from the west side of the
existing access road, to the east side of this road. Bill made the
request to facilitate his operations and because the fence currently is in
a state of disrepair; it needs either to be repaired or replaced. Bill
would prefer to replace the fence entirely, but only if he can move it to
the preferred location. Staff met with Bill at the property site and
have no objection to the proposed relocation of the fence, subject to the
installation of gates for staff to access the Woodrat 2 reservoir facilities.
The Board unanimously agreed to approve staff’s recommendation, on the additional
condition that Mr. Niman pay for all costs of the proposed fence relocation.
10. Proposal for BCPUD Solar Energy Project
Director Smith observed that the recently enacted federal energy bill provides
a 30% tax credit for the installation of solar arrays; although the
BCPUD is not a tax-paying entity, Director Smith is exploring the possibility
of convening a group of investors or a bank to purchase, install and maintain
a solar array and lease it to the BPCUD under the terms of a power purchase
agreement. With the available tax credit, accelerated depreciation
and the California Energy Commission rebate, Director Smith believes that
the government ultimately would pay for approximately 75% of the cost of
the system. He suggested that this may be a means by which the BCPUD
can “go solar” at little to no cost to the district. The Firehouse
& Clinic Project and Bolinas Garage project both have decided to pursue
this route. If the BCPUD agrees to proceed, it means that the BCPUD
eventually would pay the investing partnership or bank for its electricity
(since the investing partnership or bank would own the solar array) rather
than PG&E. After some discussion, it was agreed that the Board
would like to receive a specific proposal from Director Smith for its consideration.
11. Status of Empire Waste Management Rate Increase Request
Director Amoroso requested this item be placed on the agenda because he feels
the BCPUD should approve a cost-of-living increase for Empire Waste Management.
He said that while the company has requested a considerably higher rate increase,
the franchise agreement does not obligate the BCPUD to agree to it; however,
the BCPUD historically has approved annual cost-of-living increases in rates.
V. Amoroso/D. Smith all in favor to approve
a cost-of-living increase in rates for Empire Waste Management.
Staff was directed to write a letter to the company setting forth the BCPUD’s
agreement in this regard. Discussion ensued about the possibility of
also requesting community dumpsters for “bulky waste” drop-off. After
further discussion, staff was directed to work with the Resource Recovery
Project to determine whether RRP will agree to a host a drop-off site once
or twice a year.
12. Election of Officers/Committee Assignments
B. Kimball/ D. Smith all in favor to
approve existing officer positions and committee assignments for an additional
13. Resolution 528: Authorizing General Manager to Execute Grant
Contract for the Mesa Park Water Reclamation and Irrigation Project, Project
B. Kimball/D. Smith all in favor to authorize
the General Manager to execute the grant contract for the Mesa Park Water
Reclamation and Irrigation Project.
Director Amoroso emphasized that this authorization is subject to the Board’s
previous understanding that no grant funds will be expended until Mesa Park
confirms its ability to pay on-going, post-construction operational costs
of the project.
14. Resolution 529: Granting Director Jack McClellan Permission
to be Absent
D. Smith/V. Amoroso all in favor to grant
permission for Director McClellan to be absent from the district until May
15. Resolution 530: Designation of Applicant’s
This item was added to the agenda as an urgency item per
the unanimous vote of the Board during the Manager’s Report.
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball all in favor
to designate the General Manager as the Applicant’s Agent for purposes of
obtaining certain federal and state financial assistance for damage caused
to the district’s property as a result of the New Year’s eve storms.
16. Other Business
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Draft FY 06-07 Budget Proposal and Schedule. The
Board received the draft FY 2006-2007 budget proposal and schedule prepared
by staff; a Finance Committee meeting is scheduled to consider the draft
budget on March 7, 2006 beginning at 10:00 a.m. Staff was directed
to advise the field staff about the March 31st deadline for requesting negotiation
concerning the current Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) between the Board
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Discussion ensued over whether
to reestablish the former volunteer Drainage Committee; after some
discussion, the Board agreed that in light of the recent hire of a Drainage
Project Manager, it was preferable to encourage the Mesa Septic, Flood Control
and Roads committee and/or Drainage Project Manager to organize volunteer
workdays on an as-needed basis rather than reestablish the committee.
-- Operations: Staff requested that the committee meet with staff and
company representatives regarding a possible pilot project to run at the
Woodrat Treatment Plant to reduce the levels of chlorine disinfection byproducts
in the district’s water system. Given Director McClellan’s absence
from the district, Director Smith agreed to attend the meeting.
-- Park and Recreation: The Board received correspondence from the County
relating to a refund pending for permit fees charged for the Skatepark project.
-- Personnel: Staff reported that Belle Wood has been hired as the
district’s Administrative Assistant.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of January 18, 2006 Regular Meeting
D. Smith//V. Amoroso all in favor
to approve the minutes of the January 18, 2006 meeting.
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball all in favor to
approve the warrant list.
c. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
March 15, 2006