Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
February 15, 2006    270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order
    7:34 p.m.

2.    Roll

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 Plan. 

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 installation advice.

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 Meeting.

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 Project.

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 to Road

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 term.

13.  Resolution 528:  Authorizing General Manager to Execute Grant Contract for the Mesa Park Water Reclamation and Irrigation Project, Project No. RN-21-003

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 8, 2006.

15.      Resolution 530:  Designation of Applicant’s Agent

    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 and staff.

-- 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.

c.  Warrants

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the warrant list.

c.    Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)

March 15, 2006

17.    Adjournment

11:20 p.m