Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
June 15, 2011     Special Location: Firehouse PUblic Meeting Room, 100 Mesa Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order.

    7:33 p.m.

2.    Roll

    Directors Amoroso, Bender, Kimball, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.

3.    Update on Terrace Avenue and County of Marin’s Plans to Repair the Slide at Overlook Road; Supervisor Kinsey, County DPW Representatives, Kleinfelder Engineering

Staff provided a brief background history of the slide at Terrace Avenue near the intersection with Overlook Road and resulting road closure for the benefit of the several dozen members of the public in attendance; staff then introduced County Department of Public Works (“DPW”) representatives Bob Beaumont and Ernest Klock, as well as Kleinfelder engineer Bill McCormick.  

    Bob Beaumont, DPW’s Assistant Chief Director, said that the County has wrestled for years with the problems presented by Terrace Avenue, which is the community’s primary access into downtown from the Bolinas Mesa.  The problems are the long-term stability of the road at two locations:  one near the intersection with Overlook, which has failed, and the other at Surfer’s Overlook.  Following the 2010-2011 winter’s storms, the DPW renewed its efforts to secure funds to do storm damage repair at the Terrace/Overlook site as well as other high priority sites within the County.  As a result, $3 million has been allocated for damage repair County-wide and the slide at Terrace/Overlook has been designated the highest priority site.

Ernest Klock, DPW’s senior engineer, presented a graphic summary of the geotechnical assessment of the slide site conducted by the Kleinfelder firm.  He described the slide conditions, the anticipated limits of the repair, and details of the repair itself.  The planned repair is a mechanically stabilized earth wall (MSE wall), otherwise known as a geogrid buttress.  Mr. Klock said that the Kleinfelder firm’s assessment shows that the upper sandy mass of material on the top of the slide is sliding on top of the bedrock below – essentially, the sandy mass becomes saturated during the winter and then slides off on top of the bedrock.  The geogrid buttress will be installed at a depth of approximately 60 feet (after the native soils are removed) so that it is keyed substantially into the bedrock.  Geogrid has very high tensil strength; compacted soil will then be placed on top of the buttress up to the road surface.  The entire repair structure will be founded in bedrock; the native soils can be used to reestablish the downslope, which will be re-vegetated to look as it did prior to construction. 

In response to questions, Mr. Klock said that no underground streams were found in the vicinity;  the plan is to repair the County’s existing stormdrain in this area and install a perforated drainage structure to catch laterally-moving groundwater and divert it away from the repair site.

He said that the County does not plan to stabilize the toe of the bluff as it would be impracticable to do so; the proposed repair is self-sufficient as designed and the drainage systems (both surface and subsurface) to be installed should slow the rate of erosion on the face of the bluff below.  Mr. Klock said the County’s goal is to complete the repair before the winter rains begin;  the anticipated life of the repair is 20 years and could be more or less than that, depending on seismic events and/or other factors.  He noted that the nature of any failures of the repair likely would be relatively slow and DPW would have time to react; Kleinfelder’s engineer, Bill McCormick, said that the most important maintenance issue will be the regular cleaning/maintenance of the surface and subsurface drainage improvements.  In response to additional questions, Mr. Klock said that the repair will be sufficiently westerly to preserve access to Terrace via Overlook Road and he emphasized that the County is very aware of the vital significance of this access to the community.

Director Smith observed that the identified bedrock at the slide site is fractured Monterey shale and that generally in Bolinas the waves erode the bottom of the bluffs, rendering them over-steepened, then big chunks slide down from the top.  He asked how long it will be before this happens at the Terrace/Overlook site.  Bill McCormick said that the primary cause of erosion at this site is not wave cut at the toe; rather, there is a slide plane on top of the bedrock where groundwater is percolating and softening material.  He does not believe that the bottom of the buttress will be undermined by wave cut at the toe “in our lifetimes”.  When pressed by director Smith, he said that the bedrock at this location also is stronger than other parts of the bluff elsewhere in Bolinas. 

Supervisor Kinsey said that he is present to support DPW and the Bolinas community in this critical situation that could become a crisis if not remediated.  He noted that the County has worked very closely with BCPUD staff and Board members, as well as members of the community, on issues relating to Terrace Avenue.  That said, this is now an urgent situation and, if the County has the resources, now is the time to move forward with a repair.  Supervisor Kinsey said that he is thankful that the Board of Supervisors made specific allocations for three major slide repairs on County roads, including this repair.  Rudy Ferris asked whether this means that the stabilization of Surfer’s Overlook will not be pursued.  Supervisor Kinsey said no; the County continues to work with the BCPUD on that project and the geotechnical evaluation of that site is expected soon.  While it is not clear where resources may be coming from to fund a project at that site, the County will continue to work with the BCPUD to develop a solution.

    In closing, Ernest Klock said that the Kleinfelder geotechnical report will be available to the public when it is complete.  DPW hopes to put the repair project out to bid in the next two months so that a contractor can begin the work in September and complete it in October.

4.    Manager’s Report.

-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project:  Accept Final Technical Report: Coastal Bluff Evaluation & Stabilization Alternatives Analysis, prepared by Sanders & Associates Geostructural Engineers (“SAGE”)

Staff said that the report is not yet finalized as the Working Group has requested that SAGE provide in this report construction estimates for an in-kind repair of the road level retaining walls.  This is not an alternative to a full-height bluff stabilization structure, but rather as a potential alternative to moving the district’s water and/or sewer lines. 

--    Update on Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project:

Staff plans to over-night the executed loan documents for delivery to the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) on Friday, June 17th.  Staff reminded the Board that it previously directed staff to hold off on submitting the loan documents to determine whether the County might decide to repair Surfer’s Overlook rather than the Terrace slide at Overlook Road; since that is not the case and since the deadline to accept the loan funding is June 17th, staff will submit the documents.  Staff reported that CDPH staff has confirmed that the district can back out of the funding at any time up until it starts drawing on the funds; however, the funds cannot be used to stabilize the road (as opposed to moving the water line) without submitting a new project application and there is no guarantee that any funding would be forthcoming. 

-- Update on the BCPUD Office Building Accessibility Improvement Project

    Staff reported that the accessibility improvement project is underway and that the staff is fully moved into its temporary office in the district parking lot for the duration of the construction.

-- Update on Evergreen Road Improvement Project

Staff has obtained bids from two licensed and insured tree removal companies for the tree work for this project and the lowest bid is $9,960.  The next step is for the district to meet with interested property owners and agree on relative financial contributions.  Staff noted that the district also plans to do some fire fuel reduction mowing and road/drainage improvements at this location (Evergreen near Larch Road).

-- Update on the Bolinas Fire Fuel Reduction Project (BCPUD Sewer Pond Property)

The district currently plans to conduct this project sometime between August and October.  There are two open tasks to complete before the project can begin:  a biological resources clearance and a cultural resources survey.  The BCPUD has agreed with its partner on this project, the Conservation Corps NorthBay, that the district will retain firms to perform these tasks and pay for their work; these payments will be credited toward the district’s $25,000 project match. 

-- Update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Pump Station and Electrical Upgrade Project

Staff reminded the Board that the district’s insurance authority has recommended replacement of the electrical control panels at the wastewater treatment plant pump station.  The district retained an electrical engineer to design the panels and, during the course of his work, staff requested that he design similar new control panels for the aerators and replacement wiring (all of the electrical components and wiring at the plant are from the original installation in the 1970’s).  The engineer has done so and his technical specifications and drawings are in the Board binders;  in addition, the engineer has specified the installation of flow meters so that staff can better monitor flows into and discharged out of the treatment ponds.  The engineer’s estimate for all of the work is $108,166.11.  At the request of staff, the engineer has broken the work into three phases so that the work can be done over a period of several years.  After a brief discussion, the Board referred the project to the Board’s Sewer Committee. 

Staff reported that the district has received a final report from West Yost Associates pertaining to allegations raised in September 2010 by a former neighboring property owner that wastewater from the district’s sewer ponds was discharging onto his property.  In summary, the report concludes on the basis of independent testing as well as an analysis of the property owner’s own data that the district’s wastewater is not discharging to the neighboring property.  Staff has prepared a letter to the Regional Water Quality Control Board to send in with the West Yost report;  the Board had no objection. 

Staff presented a draft of the district’s 2010 Consumer Confidence Report which will be mailed to the district’s customers on or before June 24, 2011.  Staff noted that the district’s triannual water rights reports to the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) are due on July 1st.  The SWRCB has moved to a new web-based reporting process which is relatively complicated;  given staff’s upcoming vacation, staff has requested that the district’s outside counsel review, complete and submit the license reports this year.

    A large maple tree has fallen across the district’s Arroyo Hondo access road, narrowly missing the exposed transmission main and blocking access to the district’s facilities.  Staff has arranged for removal of the tree for a one-day not-to-exceed cost of $2500.

On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that a new motor is needed at the irrigation pumps, which will cost at least $2,400 plus installation.  In addition, the oiler for one of the pumps is not operating property due to a likely blockage in the wellhead.  Staff therefore plans to arrange a technician site visit to redress this problem.

Staff noted that at the May meeting, staff recommended the purchase of a mower for the on-going vegetation management tasks at the sewer pond property as well as the areas surrounding the district’s reservoirs, storage tanks and water treatment plant.  The cost of an appropriate mower ranges from $24,000 - $40,000.  The Board asked staff to gather information pertaining to the amounts paid by the district for mowing, specifically at the sewer pond property, over the last five years.  Staff reviewed district expense records from 2006 – 2010 and determined that the district spent $34,205.50 on mowing at the sewer pond property. 

Finally, staff presented the district’s annual report on Sanitary Sewer Overflows (“SSO’s”) to the Regional Water Quality Control Board (“RWQCB”) and also reported on an inspection conducted on June 9th by the RWQCB of the district’s compliance with the state’s reporting and record keeping requirements regarding SSO’s.  The inspection lasted most of the day and concluded with an “exit interview” where the inspector discussed his assessment with staff;  overall, he said the district is “on top of things” and doing the “right things” in terms of regular system cleaning and maintenance.  He said he will be sending a follow-up report with recommendations for additional best practices that the RWQCB would like to see the district implement going forward.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.

5.    Community Expression.

Cela O’Connor said that the County is continuing its work to update the Local Coastal Plan, but that the community stalled on its work to update the Bolinas Community Plan.  Meanwhile, there is “constant development” going on in town and not much discussion about it locally.  Cela said that Bolinas should reestablish a local review committee “that has teeth” and she requested an item on the July agenda to discuss the topic.  Director Siedman asked staff to include such an item on the July agenda.

6.    Public Hearing:  2011-12 Draft District Budget.

Director Siedman said that this is an opportunity for members of the public to comment on or ask questions about the district’s proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2011-2012;  actual approval of the budget will take place at the July meeting.  There was no comment from the public on the proposed budget. 

7.    Pending Appeal to Coastal Commission re: Marin County Approval of Application to Legalize a Greenhouse on an Undeveloped Property (175 Poplar Road).

John Bryant said that the County has been allowing certain development to take place in Bolinas without involving the community and that County planners seem to think that a structure can be allowed on an undeveloped lot as long as it is less than 200 square feet in size.  John said that the community should have input on such decisions.  Director Siedman said that the district usually is notified of such projects and regularly agendizes them for public discussion;  director Kimball noted that the district commented on this specific project in the past.  John Bryant said that the BCPUD’s comments were not included in the staff report and the County does not appear to be paying attention to local sentiments.  He also said that the County is giving “false hope” to applicants by appearing to allow such structures, as any structure over 120 square feet in size will require a building permit (as well as a planning permit) and such structures often cannot meet the criterion for such permits – as such, applicants spend considerable time and resources to obtain a planning permit, only to be frustrated at the building permit stage.

Director Smith said he has a question about the project because the staff report seems to be internally inconsistent – on the one hand, planning staff denies the applicant the ability to place water storage tanks on the property but on the other hand, the planning staff requests an agricultural plan for the property.  Also, the proposed structure is a greenhouse.  How can the applicant reasonably use a greenhouse and/or implement an agricultural plan without water?  The applicant, Shea Freedomhowler, said that he has been through several different potential agricultural plans as he originally wanted to do a wheat grass farm with employees, but has since narrowed his plan to a natural landscape display garden.  Director Smith asked if the proposed structure therefore will be a storage building rather than a greenhouse;  Mr. Freedomhowler said he needs it for storing tools. 

    After further discussion, director Siedman summarized the various comments, namely:  concerns about what the County is approving without local input; concern that the BCPUD’s prior comments were not addressed in the staff report; dissatisfaction with the inconsistency about permitting a greenhouse and agricultural enterprise with no water; and questions about the legal authority for the County planning staff to allow structures of up to 199 square feet in size on undeveloped properties.  Staff was directed to submit a letter to the Coastal Commission in connection with the appeal detailing these comments.

9.    Coastal Permit and Development Plan Amendment, 330 Horseshoe Hill Road, Bolinas, APN# 188-140-69 & 70 (Rappaport) (to construct a 1,380 square foot music and photography studio accessory to existing 2,318 square foot single-family residence on a 4.97 acre lot)

Deborah Rappaport said that she was present to answer any questions the Board or public may have about her project.  In response to questions from Cela O’Connor, Ms. Rappaport said that the applicable zoning is 5 acres and that there are no structures other than the single family home on the property.   Cela said that in her opinion, no accessory buildings larger than 120 square feet should be allowed.  Director Kimball noted that this property is not within the district’s boundaries.  After further discussion, staff was requested to apprise the County that the property is not within the district’s boundaries, but that a member of the public commented that the accessory structures larger than 120 square feet should not be permitted. 

9.    Request for BCPUD Letter to Marin County Open Space District Asking it Not to Allow CalTrans to Improve Highway One Around the Bolinas Lagoon Until Non-Motorized Travel Needs Are Fully Studied.

Gerry Coles submitted a draft letter to the Marin County Open Space District for the Board’s consideration.  He said that the connection of Bolinas and Stinson Beach via a bicycle and pedestrian path is a very important issue that has been identified in the County’s plans but evidently not studied by any public agency.  Now, he said, CalTrans is going to proceed with improvements to Highway One around the lagoon, including adding up to two feet of pavement width at some points, but this will not provide adequate bike or pedestrian access.  Mr. Coles proposes that the Open Space District conduct public meetings to study the issue and do as much as it can to encourage people to travel by bike or foot and not by car around the lagoon.

Director Amoroso said that any kind of non-motorized access improvements that would involve filling in the lagoon to widen the roadway will be impossible.  He said that the pending CalTrans improvements are very important and he isn’t sure he wants the district to oppose those improvements in order to support something that might be impossible.  Director Kimball agreed;  she said she supports the concept of a bike path around the lagoon, but is not willing to oppose the current CalTrans project, which required 10 years to permit.  Director Smith also said he would love to see bike lanes around the lagoon, but it would take years and years to accomplish (if it is even possible).  Director Amoroso clarified that the CalTrans project is, in fact, a part of the Bolinas Lagoon Restoration work and he doesn’t think the district should oppose it.  Director Siedman said that there did not appear to be any sentiment on the Board to send in the requested letter.

10.    Resolution 600:  Accepting Completion of the Horseshoe Hill Road Water Main Extension Project.

This item is deferred to the July meeting.

11.  County of Marin’s Environmental Health Services Department’s Proposed Graywater Program for the Unincorporated Areas of Marin County.

Director Kimball said that she reviewed the proposed program, as did director Smith, and she thinks it is a great step forward.  She has no substantive comments but said she would send a letter of support for the program to Becky Ng at the Environmental Health Services Department.

12   Discuss Potential Revisions to Water Meter Suspension and Termination Resolutions (BCPUD Resolutions 238, 247, 248, 258, 439, and 440).

Director Smith said that he requested this agenda item and that he has reviewed 30 years of various BCPUD resolutions dealing with abandoned, terminated and suspended meters.  In brief, there are two situations that tend to arise –either the district must terminate someone’s water service due to nonpayment or some other reason, or the customer wants to suspend his or her meter for some reason – and there are two different procedures to follow in these situations.  Director Smith believes it would be helpful to clarify and consolidate the district’s procedures in these regards.  He noted that part of his motivation to deal with this topic is that he would like to reduce the potential burden to non-profits of bringing a meter out of suspension.  He agreed to draft a potential resolution for the Board’s consideration at a future meeting.

13.    Update on Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation Project.

Staff reported that Mesa Park has communicated with the California Department of Fish & Game about that entity’s stated concerns about the irrigation project and has addressed/resolved those concerns.  At this point, the next step is to re-circulate the Initial Study with a revised biological resources section addressing the Department of Fish & Game’s comments. 

14.   Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy: Nothing to report.

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report.

-- Community Path Update: Director Kimball presented a financial report to the Board concerning the community path median planting project.  In brief, the project received a grant of $1,000 from the Bolinas-Stinson Community Fund, a donation of $5,000 from the BCPUD and donations totaling $3,470 from 50 donors.  Director Kimball said that $5,816.00 of the funds have been spent on plants, materials, paint, labor, etc., so the current account balance is $3654.  These funds will be applied to future maintenance costs (additional plants and materials).  Another report will be made in December 2011.

-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee:  Staff reported that the County’s planning staff called to arrange a meeting to discuss implementation of the parking plan during the week of July 11th.

-- Resource Recovery:  Nothing to report.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Kimball requested that this volunteer committee item be removed from the agenda going forward as the work is now being done (and reported) on a staff level.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Kimball reported that the West Nile Task Force will next meet on June 20th and that the West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council has submitted its annual reminder letters to the public about the importance of mosquito abatement efforts for publication to the West Marin Citizen and the Point Reyes Light.

15.     Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Approve Audit Engagement Letter from Doran & Associates for FY 2010-11 Audit.

B. Kimball/K. Bender        all in favor    to approve the audit engagement letter.
Staff reported that the district is close to finalizing a move of its payroll service from in-house to an outside professional firm.  This step is recommended by the district’s bookkeeper and CPA due to changing tax laws and the potential for penalties for payroll tax errors;  the outside professional firm will be responsible for any such errors. 

-- Legal:  Nothing to report.

-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Nothing to report.

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation:  Director Siedman reported that the Downtown Park will retain Roger Peacock as a project coordinator and that all permits have now been approved for the project.

    -- Personnel:  Nothing to report.

-- Sewer:  Nothing to report.

b. Minutes of the April 27, 2011 Special Meeting; Minutes of the May 18, 2011 Regular Meeting

Director Kimball had minor corrections to page 8 of the draft minutes of the May 18, 2011 regular meeting.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    4 in favor, director Amoroso abstaining        to approve the minutes of the May 18, 2011 regular meeting, as corrected.

    Approval of the minutes of the April 27, 2011 special meeting was deferred to the July meeting.

c. Warrants

K. Bender/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the warrant list.

d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 

    July 20, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

16.  Adjournment.

10:21 p.m.