Public Utility District
Regular Meeting Of The Board Of Directors
March 18, 2009 270 Elm Road, Bolinas
1. Call to Order
Directors Amoroso, Kimball, Siedman and Smith present
and director McClellan absent; director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
Staff reported that the district’s water supply status is much improved due
to what water providers in the state are referring to as the 2009 “Fabulous
February” of rainfall. The district’s rainfall total to date this season
is approximately 20.7 inches; the Arroyo Hondo creek flows are up and both
reservoirs and full and spilling. As a result, the staff is prepared
to recommend that the Board rescind the mandatory rationing requirements
of Resolution 575 in favor of a continued voluntary conservation approach.
Staff is also prepared to recommend that the Board direct staff to develop
a “water conservation and dry year water use reduction program” modeled on
programs in effect throughout the state, but tailored to the district’s specific
circumstances. Staff’s recommendations in this regard will be more
fully addressed during item 9 on the agenda.
Staff presented water consumption data for the most recent
month in a new format suggested by director Kimball. The data shows
a significant spike upward in consumption during January 2009 (which was
unusually warm and dry) and a extremely significant drop in consumption during
February when the district’s mandatory rationing program took effect;
in fact, consumption in February was just half of the consumption in January.
Over 98 percent of the district’s customers were in compliance with the mandatory
water rationing requirements. Fortunately, the district did not experience
any significant leaks on the distribution system during the last month.
In operational news, staff this month has inspected
the top of the district’s two finished water storage tanks on Mesa Road.
Staff is concerned about the condition of the top of the west tank and recommends
a professional inspection; there was no objection from the Board.
During the prior month, all of the pressure reducing valves in the district’s
distribution system were inspected and either repaired and or rebuilt.
The project proceeded very smoothly and was a highly beneficial training
experience for the staff.
Staff reminded the Board that the County plans to install
a bike path along the east side of Olema-Bolinas Road this summer.
The district has certain facilities in the vicinity of the bike path project
area that need work; specifically, the pressure reducing valve (“PRV”)
station currently located on the west side of Olema-Bolinas Road at the intersection
with Mesa Road. Staff asked the district’s outside engineers for a
cost estimate for the work needed to prepare the plans and technical specifications
to modify this PRV station, including the installation of a second PRV as
was previously recommended for this station, and associated piping; the estimate
for this work was just submitted and is $11,750. Staff recommended
that the Board approve this work so that the engineering can proceed as soon
as possible as the district will want to perform the specified modifications
before the bike path is installed. Chief Operator Pierce informed the
Board that the project will consist of the installation of a new vault with
two PRV, creating separate pressure zones for the downtown and for Gospel
Flats. Director Amoroso said that because the engineering estimate
was just received, an item should be added to the Board’s agenda as an urgency
item to vote on whether to approve this engineering work.
V. Amoroso/D. Smith all in favor to add
an urgency item to the Board’s agenda as item 12 (b) to decide whether to
approve the engineering work for the modifications the district’s existing
PRV station at the intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.
Staff noted that in the Board binders is information about
the Obama Administration’s economic stimulus plan and the potential for funds
to flow to water and wastewater projects. The federal monies allocated
for water and wastewater projects will be disbursed by the Environmental
Protection Agency to the California Department of Public Health (for water
projects) and the State Water Resources Control Board (for wastewater projects).
The deadline for application for water project funds was February 27, 2009.
The district submitted nine applications for funds to: (1) replace
the existing 4-inch water main under Olema-Bolinas Road with a 6-inch main;
(2) replace all of the fire hydrants on the district’s distribution system;
(3) extend the district’s water main up Horseshoe Hill Road to serve 150
and 190 Horseshoe Hill Road; (4) install a fifth filter at the Woodrat
Water Treatment Plant; (5) slipline the overflow pipe at Woodrat 1 reservoir;
(6) replace a portion of the Arroyo Hondo transmission line;
(7) replace corroding services and saddles on Wharf and Brighton Roads;
(8) install new security fencing at the district’s reservoirs and storage
tanks; and (9) stabilize the bluff below Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.
In different funding news, CalEMA has recommended
full reimbursement for the funds the district spent following the New Year’s
Eve storms of 2005-2006 to restore the Arroyo Hondo access road and reservoir.
On the wastewater side of operations, staff will soon
be preparing for spray season which begins on April 15th. Staff also
has requested the district’s outside engineers to prepare an estimate for
moving the district’s sewer main off of Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since
the last meeting, including but not limited to an e-mail from Redwood Disposal
Company approving the district’s request (on behalf of the Bolinas Community
Center) for a second seasonal dumpster to be located at Mesa Park for downtown
and beach clean-up purposes.
-- Update on the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Accessibility of
the BCPUD Building.
The district’s designer, Steve Matson, has suggested that
a local contractor review his drawings for completeness prior to putting
the project out to bid so that any necessary clarifications can be made to
the plans beforehand. Staff will identify a contractor and request
-- Update on the BCPUD’s Application for Proposition 84 Grant Funds
(in partnership with the County of Marin and the National Park Service)
for Projects to Enhance the Duxbury Reef Area of Special Biological Significance(“ASBS”)
Nothing to report; the state’s Proposition 84 money is still frozen.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report
Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover reported that the
district worked with the County Department of Public Works road crew on a
major drainage project on Ocean Parkway; Lewie thanked community member
and Ocean Parkway resident David Kimball for his role in organizing the neighborhood.
Lewie reported that the district received significant valuable assistance
from the County crew and he hopes to work with them again on another drainage
project in the near future.
4. Community Expression.
5. Application for Well Drilling Permit – Whamond (APN
## 193-030-03 and 193-133-37).
Director Siedman stated that the district has received
a letter from the County Environmental Health Services (“EHS”) department
per the district’s Well Permitting Agreement with that agency informing the
district of an application by property owners Tobin and Ashley Whamond for
two irrigation wells; director Siedman noted that the district also
has been provided a copy of an Open Space Easement agreement recorded in
1976 which is applicable to the property and he quoted certain of the terms
of the agreement. The stated purpose of the irrigation wells is for
Director Smith said that it is his understanding that
the Whamonds have applied to take the property out of the Open Space Easement
agreement (which is a ten-year process), so that the likely long-term intention
is to develop the property. Director Smith said that installing wells
now may violate the easement agreement while the agreement is in effect,
but in the future it likely will be permissible to install such wells as
long as the 100 foot setbacks are observed. Director Siedman agreed
that the easement agreement by its terms (i.e., requiring the land to be
preserved in an undeveloped state, prohibiting disturbance of the natural
topography, prohibiting commercial agriculture, etc.) seems to preclude the
installation of wells on the property during the term of the agreement and
suggested that the BCPUD write to the County to apprise EHS of the agreement.
Others commented that the easement agreement prohibits the installation of
any “structures” and that wells are considered to be structures under the
Coastal Act; others noted that nearby existing wells on neighboring
properties could be affected by the installation of additional wells with
this relatively shallow aquifer , so that perhaps a groundwater study or
analysis should be performed. Adjoining property owners expressed a
strong interest in continuing to protect the land as open space; they
were advised by the Board to write their own letters in this regard as the
issue under the Board’s purview is the well permit application only.
The Board directed staff to write a letter to the County
EHS department to express the stated concerns that the installation
of wells on this property may violate the several terms of the applicable
Open Space Easement agreement and to suggest that a groundwater study
may be appropriate; staff was further directed to provide a courtesy
copy of the letter to Supervisor Steve Kinsey.
6. Request to Lease Land behind the BCPUD Building at 270
Elm Road for a Community Garden.
Sarah Hampton was present to speak to this agenda item;
she explained that she currently lives at the Regenerative Design Institute
(“RDI”) gardens and that Scott Hammond, who initially conceived of the garden
project on the property behind the BCPUD building, does not live in Bolinas
anymore. She explained that the concept is a garden based on permaculture
concepts, using water catchment and greywater; RDI would like to share these
concepts with community, particularly since many Bolinas residents have told
RDI that they cannot afford to take RDI’s permaculture course.
Director Siedman said that when this item came before the Board previously,
concerns were expressed about the project due to the topography of the land,
drainage and erosion issues, as well as the likely removal of native habitat.
Sarah emphasized that the RDI group wants to engage in community-building
around this project and to do what the community would like to see done at
the property. After further discussion, it was agreed to defer the
matter until such time as RDI is prepared to make a more specific lease proposal.
7. Complaint of Obstructions to the Public Rights-of-Way
on the Bolinas Mesa (K. Khtikian).
Director Siedman summarized the substance of a letter
to the Board from community resident Kent Khtikian regarding the installation
of speed bumps on Poplar Road; director Siedman said he also received
telephone calls from deputy sheriffs seeking to discuss reports of “vandalism”
to specific speed bumps on Poplar Road. While the deputy sheriff ultimately
concluded that the vandalism complaint was a civil dispute, the overall issue
of control over activities within the public rights-of-way on the Bolinas
Gridded Mesa should be made clear. Director Siedman noted that for
many years, the BCPUD has exercised authority over unpaved roads and the
County has exercised authority over the paved roads. As a utility district,
the BCPUD clearly has authority to enforce the public easement within the
designed rights-of-way on the Mesa and has done so with respect to water
lines, drainage, garbage service and the like. With regard to speed
bumps, the BCPUD in the past has heard complaints and investigated them as
obstruction complaints pursuant to the district’s Ordinance 30. Director
Siedman said the district is seeking legal advice with regard to title over
the rights-of-way on the Bolinas Mesa and plans to issue a public statement
on the topic when appropriate.
Discussion ensued about ideal specifications for speed
bumps and whether the speed bumps installed in Poplar Road did, in fact,
obstruct the road. Andy Blake stated that Kent Khtikian is the only
member of the West Poplar Road group who does not want speed bumps and that
he is unaware of any damage caused by the speed bumps. Judith Elliott
said that she has nothing against speed bumps, but that the speed bumps installed
on Poplar Road were much too high and she nearly bottomed out when trying
to drive over them at less than 5 miles per hour. Director Smith proposed
that the district define when a speed bump constitutes an obstruction – when,
for example, it exceeds 4 inches in height – and stated that the district
is not in a position to authorize the installation of speed bumps or issue
specifications. Director Kimball said that anyone installing a speed
bump also should install a sign warning of the existence of the speed bump.
After further discussion, the Board directed staff to
prepare a response to Mr. Khtikian stating that the district is consulting
its attorneys regarding title to the rights-of-way and that state law otherwise
is clear that as a public utility district the BCPUD has authority to enforce
the public easement, but does not have maintenance responsibility.
Andy Blake said that he is unclear as to the district’s
position on speed bumps. Director Siedman said that if the district
receives a complaint about a speed bump, it will investigate the matter as
an obstruction complaint under Ordinance 30. Director Smith said the
district should define when a speed bump is an obstruction and director Siedman
said that the topic should be agendized for the next meeting; director
Amoroso said that the letter to Kent Khtikian should include a statement
that the district plans to discuss the speed bump topic at the next meeting.
Director Amoroso moved that the district obtain a second
legal opinion with regard to title to the rights-of-way on the Bolinas Mesa;
director Smith said the Board should discuss that motion in a closed session.
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball three in favor, Smith abstaining
requesting the district’s Legal Committee to work with staff to obtain a
second opinion with regard to title to the rights-of-way on the Bolinas Mesa.
8. Marin County Local Coastal Plan Update process:
BCPUD Comments on the Marin County Community Development Agency’s Draft Issue
Summary Paper for Public Facilities and Services.
Staff summarized the issues presented in the draft Issue
Summary Paper, which include potentially significant revisions to the Local
Coastal Plan on water and wastewater matters within the Coastal Zone;
the paper also includes sections addressing energy efficiency and telecommunications.
After some discussion, the Board decided that the district’s comments on
this Issue Paper should be conveyed via the Bolinas Planning Group process
and directed staff to apprise the County planners as such.
9. Amend or Repeal Resolution 575: Declaring a Prolonged
Drought Condition in the Bolinas Community Public Utility District and Implementing
Mandatory Conservation Measures Pursuant to a Previously Established Water
Director Siedman stated that the Board has in its binder
a draft Resolution 576 which rescinds the mandatory rationing provisions
of Resolution 575. Director Smith said that he is worried about the
sustainability of the flow in the Arroyo Hondo Creek in light of the fact
that the district has received only a bit more than half its normal rainfall,
with no guarantee of additional rainfall until the next rainy season.
He inquired whether the district should consult with a professional hydrologist
to obtain a calibrated projection of creek flow for the rest of the year.
He suggested that perhaps test wells for groundwater table monitoring should
be installed near the creek so that the district could analyze how the groundwater
level correlates with the creek flow; this might enable the district to better
predict extreme shortages.
Chief Operator Bill Pierce said that he expects the creek
flow to drop late this spring or early summer as it did during 2008;
he said that the district in 2009 has received three weeks more rain (i.e.,
later season rains) than it did the prior year and that creek flows are good,
but not excellent. In sum, the district is in about the same place
now as it was last year at this time. Staff plans to simulate a high
demand scenario next week by running the plant at peak capacity to monitor
the impact on creek flows; if the creek cannot handle that level of
demand now, that will be highly instructive. Discussion ensued about
additional means by which the district might be able to monitor and/or project
creek flows. Director Kimball noted that draft Resolution 576 directs
the staff to develop a “water conservation and dry year water use reduction
program”; she said the district’s creek monitoring and/or projections
should factor in to this program. Director Amoroso said the district
also should consider further revising its tiered water consumption rate structure
to further deter high consumption. Janine Aroyan suggested that the
district implement a “stage” alert process that would correlate with available
water supply and make sure the community does not revert to wasteful habits.
Kirk Kirkham commended the district’s prior decision to ration water under
the circumstances then presented, but said that if the water supply concerns
have eased, the district should lift the mandatory rationing but encourage
continued conservation and reasonable water use.
Director Siedman noted that there is a reservoir off of
Mesa Road on National Park Service land leased by Bill Niman and said he
would like to pursue talking with the NPS and Bill about possible emergency
use of this water if needed in the future. Bill Pierce observed that
when the district’s own reservoirs were less than 40% full, Bill Niman’s
reservoir also was quite low; however, staff did talk with Bill Niman
in January and he indicated that he would do whatever he could to help the
community, but that since the reservoir is on NPS lands, NPS will need to
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball all in favor to
approve Resolution 576 and rescind the mandatory water conservation provisions
of Resolution 575.
Staff noted that a proposed mailer to the community about
the Board’s decision to rescind the mandatory rationing provisions of Resolution
575 also is in the Board binders; staff inquired whether the Board
has any revisions or comments on the mailer. There were none and staff
said the mailer would be sent out within the next two days.
10. Tomales Bay Watershed Council Funding Crisis.
Director Smith said that he attended a meeting of the
Tomales Bay Watershed Council (“TBWC”) the day prior; the TBWC currently
has no idea when the funds it is owed by the state will be released and the
Council is not hopeful that the funds will be released any time soon.
In the meantime, the TBWC is struggling to survive. Director Smith
proposed that the BCPUD provide a second donation of funds as the TBWC does
important work, the BCPUD has benefited significantly from its membership
in the Council and funds are urgently needed to keep the staff and water
quality monitoring in place. He noted that the BCPUD previously donated
$500 and he noted that the Inverness Public Utility District (“IPUD”) has
pledged $1,000; director Smith proposed that the district donate an
additional $1,500 for a total contribution of $2,000. Director Amoroso
said that IPUD is more vitally connected to the TBWC (i.e., operates within
its watershed) and he is willing to match what IPUD contributed; directors
Kimball and Siedman agreed.
B. Kimball/V. Amoroso all in favor to
donate an additional $500 to the Tomales Bay Watershed Council for a total
contribution to-date of $1,000.
11. BCPUD Order Commitment for ACWA/National Geographic
magazine “Water for Tomorrow – California’s Water, Our Responsibility.”
Directors briefly discussed whether the BCPUD should commit
to an order of this ACWA/National Geographic magazine; no motion was
12. Election for LAFCO Special District Member.
Director Kimball recommended that the district rank its
preference of Special District members to the LAFCO as follows: Einar
Asbo as #1, Peter Sullivan as #2, and Craig Murray as #3.
V. Amoroso/D. Smith all in favor
to submit the district’s ballot for the LAFCO Special District Member as
recommended by director Kimball.
12(a). Approve Engineering Proposal to Prepare the Plans and Technical
Specifications to Modify the Pressure Reducing Valve Station at the Intersection
of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.
D. Smith/B. Kimball all in favor to approve
the engineering proposal from Brelje & Race to prepare the plans and
technical specifications necessary to modify the PRV station at the intersection
of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.
13. Volunteer Committee Reports
-- Alternative Energy: Accept Field Report for Solar Array Inspection;
Accept Solar Array Projects and Authorize Final Payment to SPG Solar, Inc.
Director Smith reported that a field report has been prepared subsequent
to an inspection of the district’s solar arrays; the inspection was
highly professional and thorough and, apart from the potential identified
for corrosion due to the marine environment (which the district will monitor
carefully and ensure that any necessary work is performed during the 10-year
warranty period), no problems were identified. Director Smith said
that SPG Solar has fulfilled all of its installation obligations and delivered
all system documentation; he therefore recommended that the Board approve
final payment. Staff recommended that any such approval be subject
to legal review for any final contractual or public works requirements.
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball all in favor
to accept the field report and approve final payment to SPG Solar, subject
to review by and any recommendations of the district’s attorneys.
Staff reported the district’s field operators will
receive safety training concerning the solar arrays on March 27th and that
some of the Bolinas Fire Protection District volunteers also are scheduled
-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee: David Kimball reported
on the Planning Commission’s first Issues Workshop with regard to the Local
Coastal Update Plan process. Bolinas Community Plan Committee representatives
attended the hearing and submitted comments relating to shoreline protection
devices, bluff erosion, economic life span of structures, sea level rise
implications and non-native tree removal permit requirements.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee: Director Amoroso reported
that he attended
the most recent BALTAC meeting but that a quorum was not present.
-- Community Paths Group: Staff reported that the district has received
$40,000 in reimbursement from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District
for the BCPUD bike path.
-- Resource Recovery: Director Siedman reported that PG&E
has provided an estimate to the BCPUD for the cost of providing electricity
to power pumps in the event the state approves an amendment to Mesa Park’s
reclamation grant permitting the use of water from the new irrigation well
on the BCPUD sewer pond property (at the Resource Recover site) to irrigate
Mesa Park’s fields. Samples from the well have been taken and submitted
to the district’s outside laboratory for testing.
-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:
Director Siedman noted that the Board has received two letters – one from
Rob Solomon and one from Remmick Hart – with specific suggestions for the
potential project to stabilize the bluff below Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s
Overlook; they want to ensure that any such project fully addresses
the entirety of the threatened area to the east toward Brighton Avenue.
Ilene Danse expressed interest in re-activating the Alternative Access Committee
in light of the on-going threat to Terrace Avenue at both Surfer’s Overlook
and Overlook Road.
-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:
Nothing to report.
14. Other Business
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Report on FY 2009-2010 Budget Progress. Staff
reported that the Finance Committee held a meeting on March 10, 2009;
the first draft of the budget proposes a $62 increase in the annual water
service charge (a 7.6% increase over last year) and a $71 increase in the
annual sewer service charge (a 9.3% increase over last year). The district’s
operating costs are projected to increase approximately 5% this year and
several important capital projects are planned on both the water and sewer
systems which accounts for the remaining increases in rates. The committee
has directed staff to consider specific suggestions and present a revised
draft budget at the next Finance Committee meeting on April 7th. Director
Kimball noted that the committee also is analyzing the tiered water rate
structure and may propose in increase in those rates at the highest levels
in order to further encourage conservation.
-- Legal: The Board suggested that staff inquire with County Counsel
about the possibility of a second opinion on the right-of-way title issue.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Nothing to report.
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Director Siedman reported that Alethea Patton is
putting together a budget for the Downtown Park project to determine how
much the park donor will contribute and how much will be donated labor.
George Gonzales has expressed concern that a subterranean cistern will
be too expensive to install.
-- Personnel: Staff reported that the Personnel Committee has responded
to the staff’s request to revise the Memorandum of Understanding between
the Board and staff regarding compensation and benefits. Belle Wood
has requested to work four additional hours per week and this request will
be considered by the Personnel Committee, as well.
-- Sewer: The Board briefly discussed commencing its bi-annual
eucalyptus containment project in the near future.
b. Minutes of the February 18, 2009 Regular Meeting; Minutes of the March
4, 2009 Special Meeting (Joint Meeting with the Bolinas Fire Protection District).
Director Smith offered minor technical corrections to
the minutes of the February 18, 2009 regular meeting.
B. Kimball/D. Smith all in favor to approve
the minutes of the February 18, 2009 regular meeting, as amended.
The minutes of the
March 4, 2009 special meeting were deferred to the April meeting for
D. Smith/V. Amoroso all in favor to approve
the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
Staff requested that the April meeting be held on April
22, 2009 rather than April 15, 2009, due to staff vacation schedules.
There was no objection and it was agreed that the next regular meeting of
the Board will be on April 22, 2009 beginning at 7:30 p.m.