Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
August 15, 2007     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order

    7:33 p.m.

2.    Roll

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

3.    Manager’s Report

    Staff reported that the district experienced several significant water losses in last month.  First,  a break in the main water line adjacent to Marin Way, immediately north of Terrace Avenue (to which the staff was alerted by Lea Earnheart), which likely was caused by the recent 4.2 earthquake; an emergency repair was conducted and went very well, despite the difficult access conditions.  Second, the staff responded to reports of water flowing in the culvert at Agate Beach (which is unprecedented in August) and discovered that a homeowner on Elm Road had left his hose on the prior weekend.  Finally, there was a leak on the water line on Tulip Road off of Larch.  The water loss from these three events was more than 200,000 gallons.  Staff thanked the community for discovering and reporting these water losses so quickly; without such diligence, the amount of water lost would be even more significant.

    The equipment necessary for the retrofit of the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant is scheduled to begin arriving during the week of August 20th.  The current shipping schedule indicates that all of the required components will not arrive until after the end of the month, so staff has rescheduled the retrofit until mid-September, conditions permitting.  At present, the district is in good shape in terms of stored water, despite the water losses previously described, thanks to the good response from the community to the district’s pleas for water conservation.  Staff is optimistic that consumption will further decline after the Labor Day holiday.

    Staff is planning to complete several projects during August:  (1) excavate the plumbing at the intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads; staff suspects that there is a valve in the system in this location that needs to be either bypassed or replaced; (2) commence the long-awaited restoration work in the Arroyo Hondo canyon; the district has the green light to proceed now that the spotted owl nesting and fledging season has passed; (3) replace a service on Ocean Parkway off of Elm, across from the Agate Beach parking lot; (4) install a valve on Pine Road near Cherry so that staff can better isolate neighborhoods in the event a water leak requires the district to shut off water or reduce flows; and other smaller projects.  Staff plans to hire two temporary field personnel to work with the permanent staff to complete these projects before the rainy season begins. 

    Staff acknowledged the excellent administrative assistance the district received during the first week from of August from Chou Chou O’Hare, Molly Brown and Kara Blake, who filled in for administrative assistant Belle Wood when she was on vacation.
    On the wastewater side of operations, the sprayfields are doing very well this year.  Staff has significantly reduced the amount of standing water in the fields by replacing solenoids and repairing spray heads.  As a result, the fields are drying out almost completely over the weekend when the sprinklers are not in use and there is little to no presence of mosquitoes this year (however, the yellow jacket population is alive and well, as staff can attest).

The removal of the dead and dying pine and cypress trees along Mesa Road to the north of the sprayfields is under way.  Pacific Slope Company has worked very well with district staff on this project and the public feedback to-date has been extremely positive. 

The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last Board meeting.  After some discussion, the Board approved outgoing correspondence to Empire Waste Management and requests for events including a “Toxic Away Day” on September 22, 2007 at Mesa Park and  tree-limbing work by PG&E along Mesa Road during the latter part of August. 

Staff reported on the district’s receipt of an e-mail from the County of Marin’s Disability Access Manager which states that it has been reported to the County that BCPUD “is regularly conducting its meetings in a facility that is not accessible to persons with disabilities” and encloses guidance about compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  Staff recommended that the district gather more information and determine whether there is, in fact, an access problem with the district’s building.  If there is a problem, the district can then explore the steps necessary to comply with applicable law.  If the money necessary to do so is prohibitive, staff already has secured permission from the Bolinas Fire Protection District to hold the BCPUD meetings at the new firehouse meeting room, which is fully compliant with the ADA.

The Board reviewed a formal written complaint by Stephen Simac of certain obstructions to the public right-of-way at 350 Fern Road.  After some discussion, staff was directed to notice a public hearing on Mr. Simac’s complaint to be held during the September regular Board meeting in accordance with BCPUD Ordinance 30.

Director Amoroso commented that data provided to him by staff indicates that water consumption on the middle section of the Mesa declined 13% as compared to last year and billings increased by approximately 8% (reflecting the new tiered rates).  Director Amoroso requested that staff  include a standing item on the Manager’s Report to update the Board on the status of consumption trends and amounts billed the previous month to district customers.

     -- Update on Tomales Bay Watershed Council progress on an Integrated Coastal Watershed        Management Plan.

    The district submitted comments to the Tomales Bay Watershed Council on the draft Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan, nearly all of which were incorporated by the Council’s consultants into the second draft of the plan (however the district awaits requested information relating to the ASBS Assessment).  Copies of the current draft plan are available in the BCPUD office, on CD and via the Council’s website.  Further public review of the plan will be conducted during the next month and formal approval of the plan will be requested of all participating Council members in September.  A Council meeting is scheduled for August 21, 2007 and a Technical Advisory Committee meeting has been scheduled for August 27, 2007 for further discussion and refinement of the plan.  Director McClellan confirmed that he plans to attend the Council meeting and staff confirmed attendance at the TAC meeting. 
     -- Drainage Project Manager’s Report

    The Board received a report from Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover. 

4.    Community Expression

    Bill Lyons requested a copy of any correspondence to the Board from the district’s attorneys regarding the rights-of-way on the Mesa.  Director Siedman advised him that attorney-client correspondence is privileged from disclosure.

    Director McClellan suggested that the district’s water conservation notices should be printed and distributed in Spanish as well as English, to be certain that all persons in the community are fully informed about district news.  Staff agreed to work with local community members to translate district notices. 

5.    Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (“LAFCO”) Bolinas Area Service Review and Sphere of Influence Update.

Staff provided a summary of the LAFCO’s draft Bolinas Area Service Review and Sphere of Influence Update, which addresses both the BCPUD and the Bolinas Fire Protection District (“BFPD”).  In brief, LAFCO planners have concluded that the current spheres of influence – which are coterminous with their jurisdiction—should remain in place and have recommended against consolidation of the two districts.  Staff directed the Board’s attention to draft comments prepared on the BCPUD’s behalf with regard to the LAFCO draft report; the comments address minor factual corrections that should be made to the report in the interest of accuracy.  The Board concurred with the comments and directed staff to forward them to LAFCO. 

6.    Request for Correction to Public Record re: Simac Ag Structure Coastal Permit and Design Review (CP 06-32 & DC 06-143) Fern Road, Bolinas (no assigned address), APN 193-111-15 (S. Simac).

    Mr. Simac requested three things:  (1) further corrections to the public record per his previous written submittal to the Board outlining alleged errors in the Board’s minutes and letters to the County; (2) a public apology from the Board for having approved allegedly inaccurate minutes and/or letters regarding his proposed building project; and (3) a personal apology from director Kimball for repeating allegedly inaccurate statements about his building project. 
    Director Amoroso asked staff to summarize recent developments concerning Mr. Simac and the BCPUD since the last meeting.  Staff reported that the district was contacted by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office because Mr. Simac had filed a complaint with the District Attorney alleging that the BCPUD violated the Brown Act in connection with its review of Mr. Simac’s permit application; staff cooperated with the ensuing investigation.  Staff recently was advised that the District Attorney’s Office has completed its investigation into Mr. Simac’s complaint and concluded that no violations of the Brown Act occurred. 

    Director McClellan moved that the Board include a reference in the August meeting minutes referring to Mr. Simac’s previous written request for corrections and stating that any persons interested in reading Mr. Simac’s request may obtain a copy at the BCPUD offices.  Director Smith seconded the motion.  Director Amoroso clarified that the minutes will reference the request only, not reprint it in its entirety; director Kimball reiterated that any interested persons can obtain copies of the request at the BCPUD offices. 

J. McClellan/D. Smith    all in favor    to include a reference in the August meeting minutes referring to Mr. Simac’s previous written request for corrections and stating that any persons interested in reading Mr. Simac’s request may obtain a copy at the BCPUD offices.

    Mr. Simac’s request for an apology failed for lack of a motion from the Board.  Director Siedman advised Mr. Simac that his request for an apology from director Kimball was not properly the subject of a Board vote as this seems to be a personal matter between Mr. Simac and director Kimball.

7.    Amendments to Ordinance 30:  (1) Establishing Criteria for BCPUD Participation in the Financing of Road Improvements and Other Projects in the Gridded Mesa’s Public Rights-of-Way; (2) Approving Form(s) of BCPUD Letter(s) to be Issued to Property Owners Regarding Obstructions and/or Encroachments in the Public Rights-of-Way on the Gridded Mesa.

Director Siedman observed that the BCPUD has an ordinance governing the public rights-of-way on the Gridded Mesa (Ordinance 30); historically, the BCPUD has not participated financially in road improvement projects (other than where such projects are necessary to protect the district’s water lines and other facilities), but rather has provided guidance and input to property owners via the permitting process.  As such, the quality of the roads on the Mesa depends on the success of particular road groups (and, in some cases, whether there is a road group at all).  Also, in its efforts to assist the community with drainage improvements, the district is finding that it is often necessary to conduct work in the rights-of-way (such as ditching and/or culvert installation); however, where the drainage work is adjacent to undeveloped property, the property owner may or may not be interested in participating financially in the drainage project.  Thus, the BCPUD is presented with the question of whether or not the district should be participating financially in road improvements and other projects in the Gridded Mesa’s public rights-of-way.

Director Smith said that he believes the district should participate in such projects and he referenced the criteria he previously had developed to determine when such participation is appropriate, subject to all applicable budget limitations.  He emphasized that driveway culverts should not be included in the sorts of projects the district will financially support as driveways are properly the responsibility of the property owner.  Director McClellan agreed with director Smith’s approach and volunteered to assist with the drafting of specific language to amend Ordinance 30.  Director Amoroso suggested that if the district ultimately approves such participation, a line item should be added to the drainage budget to allocate specific funds for this purpose; director Smith did not object to the suggestion, but said staff should retain discretion to prioritize projects under the drainage budget.  After further discussion, director Siedman requested staff to include an item on the Board’s September agenda for approval of the specific language amending Ordinance 30.

Director Siedman directed the Board’s attention to the next topic under this agenda item involving approval of specific forms of letters to be sent by the BCPUD to property owners concerning obstructions and/or encroachments in the rights-of-way.  He noted that the first form of letter addresses the issue of trees planted in the rights-of-way; the letter essentially informs the property owner that a tree or trees have been planted in the right-of-way adjacent to their property and they are required to remove the tree or trees immediately, or the BCPUD will do so at the property owner’s expense. 

Director McClellan commented that trees inevitably grow to be large and dangerous--by that time, such trees are very expensive to remove; since the district has the authority to abate an encroachment, whether it amounts to obstruction or not, he favors the district adopting a policy of “no tolerance” with regard to the planting of trees in the rights-of-way.  On the other hand, he said, the district need not similarly address other things such as shrubs, fences, corner of buildings and the like in the rights-of-way because – unlike trees -- they won’t get any worse.  Director Smith noted that the form of letter grants property owners only 72 hours to remove such trees and he suggested that 30 days was more reasonable.  Director Siedman directed staff to make that correction to the form of letter.

Director Siedman turned to the second form of letter, which addresses encroachments in the rights-of-way that do not pose an immediate threat to BCPUD or BFPD facilities or operations; the letter places the property owner on notice of the encroachment(s), but does not require removal.  Director Amoroso suggested that the letter should make clear that the alleged encroachment “appears” to be in the right-of-way; the qualifier is necessary where, in most cases, there is not a formal survey to rely upon.  Staff noted the revision.

Finally, director Siedman referred to the third form of letter, which addresses encroachments in the rights-of-way that do pose an immediate threat to BCPUD and/or BFPD facilities and/or operations and therefore requires the removal thereof.  Director McClellan noted that an encroachment must rise to the level of an obstruction under Ordinance 30 for a private citizen to lodge a formal complaint; the BCPUD, however, has the authority to take action such as this with regard to encroachments in the rights-of-way that threaten public health and safety. 

Members of the public commented about pending encroachments in the rights-of-way (such as where fence post holes are being dug and are clearly in the right-of-way); about customary and historic use of particular rights-of-way (some rights-of-way have never been developed roads, but rather have been only accessible via foot or bicycle); and about emergency vehicle access on the rights-of-way.

J. McClellan/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the three forms of letters (with the corrections noted above) as part of the district’s process of governing the public rights-of-way on the Gridded Mesa.

8.    Resolution 551:  Establishing Criteria for Appeals by District Customers for Relief on Quarterly Metered Water Delivery Charges in the Event of a Leak.

    Director Siedman commented that the topic of establishing criteria for appeals by district customers from BCPUD water delivery charges in the event of a leak was requested by certain customers in light of the BCPUD’s recently revised tiered water rates.  Criteria are necessary so that customers have clear notice as to when they are entitled to appeal water charges and when such charges are not subject to appeal.  For example, when a customer leaves a hose running in his or her yard, is this the type of action that should entitle the customer to appeal his or her water bill?

    Director McClellan said that the resolution needs to address leaks and “other inadvertent water losses”.  He referenced the draft resolution in the Board binders that was prepared by director Kimball and said it is a “great start.”  He stated that if a water loss occurs and was beyond the control of customer, the district should grant some forgiveness; however, he feels that water losses of any kind caused by irrigation systems should be ineligible for relief because such systems are the responsibility of the property owner to maintain and repair. 

    Director Siedman inquired whether other directors agreed that water losses resulting from irrigation systems should be ineligible for relief.  Director Amoroso questioned whether singling out a single category for ineligibility was appropriate – what about swimming pools, he asked.  Director Kimball agreed that activities necessary for health and sanitation are different from things such as swimming pools and irrigation systems.  Director McClellan referenced the district’s recent large water losses resulting from faulty irrigation systems and said that residents should not be irrigating their landscapes with the district’s drinking water. He said the Board has a right to discourage inappropriate landscaping and should do so when the opportunity arises. 

    After further discussion and considering public input, the Board agreed that the draft form of resolution should be revised to make clear that water losses resulting from irrigation systems will not be eligible for relief, but that the Board will retain discretion to decide whether to grant relief in all other cases.  Staff was directed to revise the draft resolution consistent with the meeting discussion and agendize a final draft of the resolution for approval by the Board at the September meeting.

9.    Resolution 552:  Cites Board of Directors’ Choices for Determining Fiscal Year 2007-08 Appropriations Limits.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve Resolution 552.

10.    Resolution 553:  States District’s Appropriation Limits for Fiscal Year 2007-08.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve Resolution 553.

11.    Volunteer Committee Reports

--    Alternative Energy:  Update on Solar Installation Project.   Director Smith reported that the district has issued an RFQ/RFP for the design and installation of solar arrays for the water treatment plant and wastewater treatment plant.  Six contractors attended the required walk-throughs of the sites and more information was requested;  the contractors also requested more time to prepare their technical proposals.  Director Smith is working with staff to amass the requested information and to issue addenda to the RFQ/RFP to respond to the contractors technical questions and extend certain deadlines. 

-- Beach:  Cela O’ Connor inquired whether a community meeting is going to be scheduled to consider the Final Report of the Beach Committee.  Director Amoroso confirmed that such a meeting was supposed to occur, but the Beach Committee has not yet convened it.  He said he personally has not been hearing complaints from the public about beach problems this year; he speculated that this may be because the County sheriff deputies seem to be consistently enforcing the weekend ban on camping.  Cela disagreed, noting that the previous weekend many people were evicted from camping sites and vehicles also had to be moved off the beach. 

-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee:  Nothing to report.

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:   Nothing to report.  Cela commented that the recent decision to grant control of the BALTAC process to the Gulf of the Farallones is likely to significantly change the dynamics of the process. 

-- Community Paths Group:  Director Smith stated that the district continues to await word as to whether supplementary funding for the path construction will be available;  as a result, the district plans to seek an extension of time for completion of the path. 

-- Downtown Parking and Traffic:  Nothing to report;  director Amoroso commented that the downtown parking problem seems to be less acute this year than it has been in past years. 

-- Resource Recovery:  Nothing to report

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Smith said the committee is slowly moving ahead with the concept of moving the road back from Surfer’s Overlook and that the homeowner on the north side of Terrace Avenue.  The County’s Department of Public Works will do a topographic survey to further define the situation.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Kimball reported that both the Task Force and the Council will meet the following week; the Task Force meeting on August 20, 2007 will be open to the public from 10:00 -12:00 noon.  She noted that the Governor has declared a “state of emergency” for West Nile Virus in three counties in central California, but there has been no evidence of the virus in Marin County to date.  Finally, the Marin County Board of Supervisors appointed a new director to the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District:  Fred Smith, a resident of Inverness and the new Executive Director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.  

12.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Nothing to report.

-- Legal:  Director Siedman reported that he and director McClellan are working on proposed amendments to Resolution 152 and hope to have something to report for the next meeting. 

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

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation:  Update on Committee Appointment Status-Solicit applicants for September appointment.  The Board approved a draft notice to be placed in the Hearsay News to announce the vacancies on the Mesa Park Board of Directors.  The Bolinas-Stinson Union School District and the BCPUD will make their respective and joint appointments in September.

-- Personnel:  The deadline for applications for the BCPUD’s open part-time staff position has been extended until September 14, 2007.

-- Sewer:  Director Amoroso reported that he spoke with Donald Guravich about performing the eucalyptus containment work at the sewer pond property by the end of September and he requested that staff write Mr. Guravich a confirming letter.

b.  Minutes of the July 18, 2007 Regular Meeting

Director Kimball requested revisions to item 9 and director Smith requested a revision on page 7 of the draft minutes; there was no objection.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the minutes, as amended.

c.  Warrants

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the warrant list.

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)

        September 19, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

13.    Adjournment

11:08 p.m.