Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting Of The Board Of Directors

July 14th, 2004          270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1. Call to Order 

8:01 p.m.

2. Roll

Directors Amoroso, Bertsch, Siedman and Smith present. Director McClellan absent.   Director Bertsch presiding. Director McClellan arrived at 8:06pm.

3. Manager’s Report

Staff reported that the Terrace Avenue pipeline replacement project is proceeding. The easement agreement with the property owner will be recorded, the temporary fence is being erected and the tree removal work will soon be underway. The project enables BCPUD to reroute a critical existing pipeline away from the bluff erosion zone on Terrace Avenue. 

Staff reported that the County has removed road hazards and repaved at the intersection of Overlook and Terrace.

Board members received a memo from the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) urging members to contact legislators requesting their support for the highest protections for local government revenues before any future tax shifts can occur.

Board members received a response letter from the Department of the Army (DOA) regarding BCPUD’s request for records pertaining to any existing United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) policy that prohibits participation in the option to open Seadrift Lagoon at both ends. The DOA stated that there is no pertinent record in their files. Staff pointed out that this finding supports the idea that Seadrift Lagoon may be opened to create flushing of the Bolinas Lagoon, because there is no USACE policy prohibiting such actions.

Staff directed the Board’s attention to Debbie Morrison’s request to erect a small trash pick-up bag stand at the entrance to the downtown beach. Since this will be a volunteer project, there is no cost to the District.  The stand’s prototype was displayed for review.

A discussion ensued regarding specific language written on the stand encouraging owners to clean up after their pets on the beach. Director McClellan was opposed to some of the language used in the message painted on the stands.

Amoroso/Siedman    4 ayes   McClellan no   to allow Debbie Morrison to erect the stand at the entrance to the Brighton Beach. 

General Manager Phil Buchanan will be on vacation for 6 days starting Friday, July 16th, 2004 and returning Monday, July 26th, 2004

4. Community Expression


5. Enforcement of Marin County Ordinance 3360-restrictions on beach camping

Susannah Mills presented a petition, signed by local residents, objecting to the behaviors of people on the downtown beach and requesting that all camping be banned on the beach year around. She noted current beach and beach neighborhood problems including alcohol intoxication, extensive beach camp-outs, fighting, inappropriate toilet habits, noise, beach fires, firecrackers and the continuing parking and traffic problems in the area. She would additionally like to see a ban on all campfires on the beach.

Director Amoroso suggested that this issue be placed on the November, 2004 ballot as an advisory measure.

Director Siedman suggested an ordinance revision banning all camping at the downtown beach year around and 7 days per week and including a sunset extension. He stated that there is strong support in the community to prohibit all camping and fires on the beach.

Joel Braverman voiced strong opposition to such an ordinance revision based on his observation that many of the beach campers are homeless. He further opined that Bolinas residents are aging which causes viewpoints about beach camping to be too conservative to meet the needs of the younger individuals who wish to campout on the beach. 

Andy Blake asked the Board why the original ordinance covered so short a period of time. He noted that Point Reyes National Seashore offers permitted camping, which is a more appropriate alternative to camping at the Bolinas beach.

Director Siedman responded that the original ordinance provided a 2-year test period to allow a period for observing its impact on the beach.  He further noted  that fire permits are available at the Bolinas Fire Protection District (BFPD).

Bruce Bowser noted that creosote from the beach fires pollutes the air, especially in the downtown neighborhood. He further noted that crowds of up to 30 people gather on the beach and on Brighton Avenue at night exhibiting signs of alcohol intoxication such as shouting, petty theft and vandalism, fighting and driving cars recklessly.

Debbie Morrison noted that she has asked beach campers to clean up their campsites, yet clean up rarely occurs by beach-users.

Jannick Pitot opined that the current extent of the lawlessness and disruptive behavior on the beach requires strict and consistent law enforcement. She reiterated that the beach is left dirty and unsafe by beach-goers every day. She suggested posting signs on the beach warning against fires and camping and stating associated penalties.

Gary Rosenblatt stated that he too is tired of unsafe beach fires, smoke pollution, inappropriate toileting habits and noise on the beach. He noted that he’s spoken about these issues with Rick Sherman who is employed by the Bolinas Community Center with the task of daily beach clean up. He noted that Rick supports the notion that fires are ongoing, that fire pits are left in unsafe condition with embers still burning, with exploded bottle glass left lying around and that he is consistently cleaning up both human and dog waste and garbage. Gary stated that since the Bolinas Beach is now a popular destination for out of town visitors, we must find methods that will curtail the associated behavior problems. Gary supports the idea of no fires and no camping at the beach.

Director Bertsch read the current ordinance aloud and pointed out that the ordinance’s specific language is very clear in defining what constitutes beach camping so that there can be no confusion. She suggested that the ordinance be extended to include the ban on year around camping every day of the week. She further suggested that the extension would allow time for the community to form a group to study the issue and to come up with recommendations about how to handle the beach problems in the future.

Scott Anderson stated that displacing the homeless from the beach will not solve the problem, because they’ll just move elsewhere in town. An alternative for them should be established.

Director Amoroso introduced Lieutenant Scott Anderson of the Marin County Sheriff’s office, who replaced Lieutenant Rich Ginnodo for West Marin. Lieutenant Anderson noted that, based on his own law enforcement experience in other assignment areas, law enforcement warnings don’t work However, making citations and fining does work to curb problem behaviors, especially as word spreads that Bolinas is no longer an “anything goes” destination. He also suggested placing trash receptacles on the beach.

Andy Blake suggested that before giving up camping and fires on the beach, even to local residents, the matter should be carefully studied to derive solutions to solve specific behavior problems on the beach.

Director McClellan agreed with Joel Braverman and pointed out that the homeless on the beach need our help and stated that with extreme reluctance he will support a year-round ban on beach camping.

Director Amoroso stated that he will vote against the measure because he wants it placed on the November ballot.

Director Smith expressed concern about extending the ordinance. He suggested installing fire rings on the beach to control fires to specific locations. He also suggested providing designated campsites, especially for homeless people in Bolinas. He suggested engaging a locally employed town constable who could enforce lawful behavior in Bolinas and who would be knowledgeable about local issues and sensitivities.

McClellan/Siedman   3 aye  2 no  to write a letter to Steve Kinsey requesting to amend the ordinance to extend the camping ban to 7 days a week, 12 months of the year  to extend the entire ordinance to October 2006 and to ban all fires on the beach unless a fire permit is obtained from the BFPD. The letter will also contain Suzannah Mill’s petition.

Director Amoroso stated that this letter should include the fact that the board voted 3/2 on this matter.

 6. West Nile Virus Update: Stacey Henderson

Board members were notified that West Nile Virus (WNV) has now been reported in California. BCPUD WNV Task Force representative Stacey Henderson suggested that sightings of dead birds, especially crows and ravens, should be called in so that they can be studied for the presence of WNV. She also suggested that roof vents be screened, that septic tanks be properly screened and that window screens cover all windows. She asked if the BCPUD building could seal its roof vents and get window screens. She also requested that an information sheet about WNV be placed inside water bill mailings.

 7. Agate Beach Parking Issues

Joyce Clements provided the Board with a detailed report supporting the Agate Beach parking lot remaining a no-fee parking area. Additional letters from the community were presented to the Board also supporting a no-fee parking lot. Joyce Clements urged the Board to send a letter to the County supporting a no-fee parking area at Agate Beach. 

Amoroso/McClellan    3 ayes     to  send a letter to the county requesting that Agate Beach parking lot remain a free lot.

  8. Proposed Ballot Measure Re: Community Paths Options; Other Ballot Measure

Director Smith stated that the Path Options Committee has decided to postpone the ballot advisory measure on the BCPUD-land path until the March, 2005 election because funding options are still being investigated.

9. Request for Sewer Connection: Hogle. 49 Terrace Avenue

McClellan/Amoroso   all in favor   to approve Hogle sewer connection.

10. Resolution No. 505, Adopting District Budget For Fiscal Year 2004-05; Resolution 506, Stating Rates and Charges For Fiscal Year 2004-05

Nancy Kemper urged the Board to consider increasing the water rates to raise the additional money required for the district instead of raising property tax bills. Her suggested change would help ensure that residents using the most water take on more of the financial burden while those using less, were spared some of the burden.

Director Amoroso stated that he would like to entertain this plan in the future because it could encourage water conservation.

Director Siedman pointed out that the District needs a guaranteed income for yearly operations. For example, what would the District do if a particularly rainy year occurs and water usage drops very low resulting in lower revenue?

Director Amoroso noted that homeowners may be allowed to deduct their property tax bill from their income taxes.

Staff pointed out that the fixed cost to supply each house with water is the same for each house, no matter the usage.

Director Amoroso suggested the Board look at this possible change next year. .

Siedman/McClellan     all in favor    to adopt Resolution 505

Siedman/McClellan     all in favor    to adopt Resolution 506

11. 2004-05 District/Employees Memorandum of Understanding

           No agreement has been reached. Continued to next month.
12. Pine Gulch Creek Property (AP# 188-090-14): easement reformation; sale options

Director Siedman reported on his discussion with adjacent property owner Michael Moritz. He noted the District’s receipt of a National Park Service letter stating that they have intent to purchase the Pine Gulch Creek property at a higher price if the District provides an independent assessment of the property’s value. Director Siedman opined that Mr. Moritz should be notified of this fact, and should therefore grant a wider easement.

Director McClellan pointed out that the district should use caution and not make special deals with Mr. Moritz.

Director Amoroso stressed the importance of keeping the Pine Gulch Creek property in the public domain by selling it to the Park Service. He pointed out, however, that the Board has a duty to the community to strike the best possible deal for the property.

Director Bertsch suggested another meeting with Mr. Moritz, showing him the Park Service letter openly and then filing action in court to get the easement in court if it becomes necessary at that point. Then the District would proceed with the property valuation.

Amoroso/Smith   all in favor   to hold a meeting with Mr. Moritz and then file in court if he won’t grant the easement voluntarily.

13. Marin Countywide Plan Update:

Bobbi Kimball noted section PA-7.2 in the Draft Marin Countywide Plan stating that the Local Coastal Program should govern land in the Coastal Zone. She pointed out that the letter from the BCPUD asks that the Bolinas Community Plan and the Gridded Mesa Plan is the prevailing guide for land in the Coastal Zone. 

Staff will reissue a copy of this letter to the County.

14. Other Business

a.    Committee Reports

--Alternative Energy:
    Nothing to report

 --Downtown Parking and Traffic:

  Staff presented a letter from Jason Nutt, Marin County Department of Public Works Traffic Operations Engineer, stating that parking improvement ordinances are underway and that he will soon issue a work order to install associated parking signs in downtown Bolinas.

       --Finance:  2004-05 budget process

Staff presented Budget vs. Actual and Statement of Cash flow reports for 4th quarter. Director Smith discussed BCPUD’s reserves, which are 60 percent of the operating budget. He noted the importance of determining what reserve amount is appropriate and then reaching and maintaining that level.

Director Amoroso stressed the importance of increasing the reserves. He noted our current reserves are good, but could be better.


 Nothing to report

--Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:

Director Amoroso suggested the committee review septic enforcement activities at the state level and that this information be brought back to a future meeting. He noted pertinent questions should be answered such as if the Bolinas Mesa water table is lowered by improving drainage, how many septic tanks are expected to benefit and what will be the exact effects of improved drainage?

Director McClellan stated that state septic regulations would be changing in 2008, but that the county may proceed as early as this year. 

Andy Blake stated there will be a tour for neighbors of Alder Creek at 10am, Saturday, July 17th to determine the exact locations of obstructions impeding the creek’s flow. He also stated that the drainage group is to receive detailed maps from the county with specific elevations marked.

Al Hettich objected to having a crowd on his property during the tour.

Director Bertsch reassured him that a crowd is not expected and that she will control the creek tour as it passes along private property bordering the creek.

Matt Lewis has been working with County Septic Consultant Kit Rosenfeld who is monitoring his septic tank as a free service. Matt stated that the intent is to monitor septic systems for research purposes, not to notify the County that any specific system is not working properly.

      --Nothing to report

--Park and Recreation: 

Staff will file the Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration with the County Clerk tomorrow. This action will enable the Regional Water Quality Control Board to approve the Water Reuse Permit for the proposed reclamation project.

Director Siedman stated the check to reimburse BCPUD for the County and Fish and Game’s fees will be delivered tomorrow.


Nothing to report.

Director Siedman pointed out that the August, 2004 board meeting will be Director Bertsch’s final meeting and her replacement will be appointed during that meeting. He suggested the Board specify the criterion to be used in selecting Director Bertsch’s replacement.

A document outlining the procedure will be issued prior to the next Board meeting so that all candidates can use it to prepare for the August meeting. Each candidate will give a brief opening statement. Board members may then ask questions of each candidate. Members of the floor may then pose questions and lastly the Board will vote to appoint. There are time limits for each segment.

--Sewer:  Resource Recovery Project

Staff reported receiving a letter from the County regarding permit-required work at RRP. Staff also presented RRP’s financial report. Discussion followed noting Mike Aitken’s generous volunteer management work at the RRP and noted the need for continued grant writing to keep RRP properly funded.

--Community Paths Group:
Director Smith reported that the group approved the path’s route. Next week month brush clearing and a tour of the path will occur. The path’s design will be presented to the community soon and fundraising will begin.

--Solid Waste:

Nothing to report.

b.     Minutes of June 16, 2004 meeting

Smith/Amoroso     all in favor   to approve the June 16, 2004 minutes.

c.    Warrants

Siedman/Amoroso   all in favor   to approve the warrants.

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting

August 18th, 2004

15.  Adjournment

10:50 p.m.