Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
November 14, 2007     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.     Call to Order

    7: 30 p.m.

2.     Roll

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

3.     Manager’s Report

    Staff reported that the conversion and retrofit of the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant has been largely completed.  The conversion process presented many challenges for staff and for the filter company; the process itself required three weeks of technician time on site, rather than the two that had been scheduled.  All staff are now trained on the new equipment and should be complimented on their hard work during this difficult process, particularly Chief Operator Bill Pierce for his dedication, persistence and supervisory skills.

    Staff noted that the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) has granted the BCPUD’s request for additional time to identify a pilot treatment process to reduce TTHM and HAA5s in the district’s treated drinking water; (the deadline has been extended from October 30, 2007 until May 30, 2008.  Staff is hopeful that the improved filtration process at the treatment plant will make a difference in the disinfection byproduct levels; the next two quarterly test results should indicate that one way or the other.  In the meantime, the BCPUD received another letter from CDPH and will notify customers that the most test results indicate levels of HAA5s over the MCL by 0.005. 

    The BCPUD also has received notice of the state’s adoption of statewide perchlorate standards (rocket fuel); staff does not anticipate this to be a problem for the district, but staff is reviewing the new requirements and will keep the Board apprised.

    As for consumption, the most recent data indicates that customers continue to heed the BCPUD’s request for conservation.  The most recent round of meter reading on the middle of the Gridded Mesa indicates that consumption declined approximately 100,000 cubic feet from last year and the amount billed to customers increased by less than $2,000.

    Staff directed the Board’s attention to a letter from the ACWA/JPIA  regarding a site visit to the BCPUD in late September and the Board discussed the various recommendations, including but not limited to the ACWA/JPIA’s recommendation that the BCPUD enter into a “Facilities Use Agreement” with Mesa Park concerning operation of the Mesa Skatepark.  The Board directed staff to prepare a draft agreement for its consideration at the December meeting.

    Staff informed the Board about a recent letter from the County indicating that the BCPUD will receive $17,373 in excess ERAF funds during FY 2007-08.  Also, the County’s LAFCO has amended the Bolinas Sphere of Influence to include two parcels not previously included in the district’s sphere of influence: the Woodrat #1 reservoir site and the water storage tanks site.

    Staff began the interview process this week for the part-time shift operator position; staff hopes to identify a final candidate by the end of the month.

    The BCPUD received a proposal yesterday from an outside engineer to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the district’s two reservoirs; staff will review the proposal and include an item on the December agenda for the Board’s consideration. 

    On the wastewater side of operations, spray season concludes tomorrow.  Staff continues to conduct vegetation management activities at the property; most recently, a perimeter drainage ditch was moved and additional French broom was removed.  The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District has weed-whacked a trail to one of the lower seepage ponds in order to facilitate mosquito trapping.

    Well boring was attempted today at the BCPUD’s sewer pond property to assess whether there is sufficient ground water for an irrigation well for Mesa Park’s athletic fields.  Unfortunately, although the soils were quite saturated, the driller bored to 70 feet and did not find water.  Mesa Park’s consulting hydro-geologist concluded that it was not productive to continue with this prospective site; he has identified other possible sites and will discuss further work with the Mesa Park Board.

    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular meeting of the Board, including but not limited to a notice regarding an incomplete well drilling permit application on a property on Poplar Road between Tulip and Walnut.

    Staff informed the Board that the Tomales Bay Watershed Council has been invited by the state to apply for implementation grant funding for some of the projects identified in the Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan.  Two BCPUD projects are on the Council’s “short list” of projects:  a demonstration chlorine disinfection byproduct treatment facility and partner project with the County and National Park Service to improve water quality at Duxbury Reef.  The state has established an aggressive timetable for project proponents; staff will know more after a meeting on November 27th with the Council’s Project Subcommittee.
         -- Update on ADA Accessibility of the BCPUD Building

    The Board’s Operations Committee and General Manager met on November 6, 2007 with outside designer, Steve Matson to review Steve’s recommended plans for building modifications to render the BCPUD building ADA compliant.  The exterior building modifications will include a revised parking scheme (including paved ADA parking spots) and remodeled ramping to the main doors; the interior remodeling recommendations consist of improved meeting and office space configuration and an accessible bathroom.  The next steps include a meeting with the County’s ADA coordinator and exploration of funding opportunities to pay for the construction work. 

    Stacey Henderson thanked the Board for addressing the issue of ADA accessibility of the district’s facilities; given that it will take time for the district to be in a position to actually implement the recommended modifications, Stacey urged the Board to move its regular monthly meetings to the Bolinas Firehouse & Clinic building, which has an ADA accessible meeting room and bathroom. 

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report

    Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover reported on two recent meetings between BCPUD staff and County personnel regarding the dozens of projects that have been identified to improve drainage on the Gridded Mesa.  BCPUD staff is seeking guidance from County and other officials regarding implementation of these projects.  In general, drainage projects on arterial rights-of-way likely do not need any special permitting whereas projects in the major drainways likely do.  An interagency group known as the Marin Projects Coordination committee meets monthly to discuss proposed stormwater management projects and provide feedback to project proponents;  BCPUD staff plan to attend one of the MPC meetings in the near future to present the district’s list of drainage projects.  BCPUD staff also is exploring the concept of installing bioswales to slow water draining from the Mesa and clean it via biofiltration; County personnel believe BCPUD likely would qualify for grant funding for such a proposal given the strong interest in water quality at Duxbury Reef.

4.   Community Expression

    Director Amoroso commented that the no camping signs at the beaches have disappeared again and that he intends to follow-up with the County.

    Stacey Henderson said that a “Get Ready Marin” class will be held the following evening at the Firehouse & Clinic building beginning at 7:30 p.m.; Stacey urged people to attend as the class is very informative.

    Meg Simonds said that she and many others in the community have been trying to assist with clean-up efforts following the November 7th oil spill in San Francisco Bay and described her strong frustrations with the lack of effective response by County, State and other personnel.  Discussion ensued about the need for local control of responses to disasters such as this.  The prior Monday evening, a standing-room only crowd of people attended a meeting at the Firehouse & Clinic building;  this meeting included Mark Brown, the County’s main pointperson on the response, Don Neubacher from the National Park Service and Dan Howard from the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary.  David Kimball commented that there seemed to be consensus about the need for local involvement and control and said the community should work through its elected representatives such as Supervisor Kinsey and Assemblyman Huffman to ensure this happens.  Director Amoroso agreed and said the BCPUD should offer its support to the Bolinas and Stinson Fire Departments (Bolinas and Stinson) to serve as lead disaster response agencies.

    Director Smith said he wanted to correct the record with regard to a November 19th Hearsay article by Stephen Simac which seeks to put the BCPUD in a bad light; Director Smith said it is ironic that Mr. Simac, who repeatedly challenged the accuracy of BCPUD documents, would be so inaccurate in his own writings.  For example, in the article Mr. Simac claims that after he reported the district to the Marin County District Attorney, the District Attorney “tweaked their [the BCPUD’s] attitude” when, in fact, the District Attorney dismissed Mr. Simac’s complaint in its entirety and exonerated the BCPUD.  Director Smith said “this kind of negative and destructive article is working against community and drives people away from public service” and he deeply resents it.

5.   Application for Water Meter Transfer; Application for Expanded Water Use Permit – 176 Alder Road, Bolinas  (S. Hodge).

    Steve Hodge requested that the Board approve the transfer of the meter he purchased from the Bolinas Community Land Trust to his one-half acre lot on Alder Road between Cedar and Dogwood and grant him an expanded water use permit. The Board noted that the historic water use for this meter was not representative as it has been out of service for many years.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor     to conditionally approve the expanded water use permit application, subject to a maximum quarterly allotment of 3750 cubic feet.

J. McClellan/V. Amoroso    all in favor    to approve the transfer of the meter to 176 Alder Road, Bolinas.

6.    Request for BCPUD Letter to Marin County Planning Department re: Vegetation Removal/Landscaping in the Bluff Erosion Zone - 395 Yucca Road (K. Khtikian).

    Kent Khtikian requested that the Board authorize a letter to the County from the BCPUD to protest the recent clearing and roto-tilling of vegetation at the property next door to his (395 Yucca Road), a large section of which occurred on the BCPUD right-of-way (Ocean Parkway South).  Kent noted this is an historic area of high erosion, completely within the Bluff Erosion Zone; the new owner of 395 Yucca evidently wants to install a landscape irrigation system, which Kent argued would increase the loading of water in this sensitive zone.  Kent suggested that the BCPUD send a letter to the County requesting, whenever a permit is sought or required (as here) for landscaping on the Bolinas Mesa, that the County notify BCPUD so that the district can review the application for erosion, water use and drainage implications.

    Cela O’Connor commented that the proposed irrigation system likely requires a coastal permit and reminded the Board of a prior letter to the County regarding the former Finkelstein property and vegetation-clearing activities there.  The Board discussed whether the district should have a policy prohibiting the installation of irrigation systems in the Bluff Erosion Zone and agreed that the question should be the subject of a separate agenda item in the future.  For now, the question before the Board is Mr. Khitikian’s request for a letter regarding the activities at 395 Yucca Road.

D. Smith/J. McClellan    all in favor    to send letter to County as requested by Kent Khitkian.

7.    Pine Gulch Creek Enhancement Project (Fresh Run Farms, Paradise Valley Farm and Star Route Farms Request for Coastal Permit and Design Review Clearance to Construct Five Off-Stream Water Storage Ponds).

    Doug Gallagher stated that he was present on behalf of Warren Weber to answer any questions the Board may have about the proposed project.   Director Amoroso said the project has lots of support, but there is a concern about protecting the appropriative water rights to ensure that they will be dedicated permanently to agricultural (and never to development) use.  For example, director Amoroso noted that Mr. Weber evidently has elected to remove his property from the Williamson Act, which suggests he may intend to develop it in the future.  Mr. Gallagher said the decision to do so had nothing to do with the proposed project; he also noted that the terms and conditions of the appropriate water rights will be determined by the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) in an open, public licensing process.  Director Amoroso suggested that the water rights be dedicated to MALT so as to preserve them legally in perpetuity; he reiterated that the project is a very good one, but he just wants to be sure it will continue to be implemented as envisioned by the current project proponents.  Director Kimball said the Board has reviewed the project at several junctures and supports it and it’s goal of enhancing endangered fish habitat; however, there is a concern that once the existing project proponents have passed on, the appropriative rights – if not sufficiently limited – could be misused to support unwanted development.  Director McClellan commented that he doesn’t believe in “dead-hand control over what people in the future want to do” and will not vote in favor of any restrictions on the farmers’ water rights.

    Mr. Gallagher said he would raise the issue of a dedication of rights to MALT with Mr. Weber and the other project proponents.

    Cela O’Conner said that the water rights will be decided by the SWRCB and any future owner of the properties involved can petition the SWRCB for a change in use and a change in place of use of appropriated water, which is a big concern.  She agreed that there is no opposition to the project as proposed, but only if it continues to be implemented as proposed.  Director Smith agreed that it would be ideal to have a mechanism over and above the SWRCB license to ensure the appropriated water can only be used for irrigation, but it is not sure what that mechanism should be. 

    Director Amoroso moved that the BCPUD write a letter to the County emphasizing the Board’s commitment to the conditions set forth in our prior letter about this project and requesting that something like a dedication to MALT (or some other legally enforceable constraint) be required to expressly limit the appropriated water rights use.  Director Smith seconded the motion. 

V. Amoroso/D. Smith     2 in favor (Amoroso and Smith), 3 against (Kimball, McClellan and Siedman)        to send such a letter to the County.

8.    Bolinas Community Land Trust Letter to the Marin County Community Development Agency re: Second Unit Amnesty Program.

    Staff reminded the Board that at the October meeting the Board had requested that the Bolinas Community Land Trust (“BCLT”) copy the district on its planned letter to the County regarding the need to revise the septic regulations in order to make it feasible for residents with properties served by septic systems to apply for amnesty under the County’s second unit program.  A copy of the BCLT letter is now before the Board. 

J. McClellan/D. Smith    all in favor    to send a letter of support for the BCLT letter to the County Community Development Agency.

9.    Amendments to BCPUD Ordinance 30 Establishing Criteria for BCPUD Participation in the Financing of Road Improvements and Other Projects in the Gridded Mesa’s Public Rights-of-Way.

    The Board considered proposed amendments to Ordinance 30 in the form of a draft Ordinance 36; director Smith suggested two revisions to the proposed language.

B. Kimball/J. McClellan    all in favor    to approve Ordinance 36 amending Ordinance, with the revisions offered by Director Smith.   

10.    Proposal to Clear Debris and Understory from Eucalyptus Forest on BCPUD Sewer Pond Property.

    Director Amoroso proposed that the BCPUD evaluate whether to adopt a procedure for regular clearing of debris and understory in the eucalyptus grove on the sewer pond property; he has discussed the matter with Fire Chief Anita Brown and she strongly supports reducing the fire load at the ground level.  He noted that expert advise will be needed to ensure monarch habitat is protected, but that he feels the district should take a responsible look (no action yet) at managing this forested area.  Director Smith said he believes the district should evaluate the question in the context of its responsibility as steward of  the land; restoring natives in this area is also needed, as is control of eucalyptus – uncontrolled eucalyptus growth leads to a loss of biodiversity and habitat.  Director Amoroso said the issues should be out in the open for community discussion and input.

    Ilka Hartman said that she was glad to hear mention of the monarchs; she is very concerned that any clearing of understory may damage or eliminate important monarch habitat.  Cela O’Connor suggested that any replacement vegetation added to the property be resistant to fires and she said arborist Ray Moritz has information about such plants.  After further discussion, it was agreed that directors Amoroso and Smith (as Board members of the Sewer Committee) will pursue evaluation of this topic with input from Fire Chief Anita Brown.

11.    National Water Resources Association (“NWRA”) California Caucus Ballot – Selection of Representatives and Alternates

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to support the Marin Municipal Water District

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to also support the East Bay Municipal Utility District representative.

12.  Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Update on Solar Installation Project:  Announcement of Lowest Responsible Bidder.  Director Smith announced that SPG Solar, Inc. of Novato was the lowest responsible Qualified Bidder and recommended that the district proceed to enter into contract negotiations.  The Board concurred and asked director Smith to lead the contract negotiations.

- Beach:  Nothing to report.

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

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

-- Community Paths Group:  Director Smith reported that the bike path route has been flagged in preparation for a brush mowing by Don Murch; an 8-foot wide swath will be mowed and the path route will be monitored over the winter to decide where gravel will be needed.  Director Smith also met County staff (i.e. the traffic engineer, ADA coordinator, DPW road crew and the designer of the proposed County bike path) to evaluate the Mesa Road/Olema-Bolinas road path entry and there now appears to be agreement on the design for this area. 

-- Downtown Parking and Traffic:  Nothing to report. 

-- Resource Recovery:  Nothing to report.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Smith reported that the committee has made progress with the County on the idea of moving Terrace Avenue away from the guard rail at Surfer’s Overlook.  The proposal requires an easement from the affected property owner and the Committee and County hope to secure the owner’s agreement to grant the easement.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Kimball said that a signed agreement with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (“M&VCD”) is in the Board binders; it has a one-year term because the Council would like to monitor the M&VCD’s use of Agnique.  The agreement and exhibits also are posted on the BCPUD website. 

13.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Staff reported that the County has not yet provided final trial balances for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

-- Legal:  Nothing to report.

-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Director Smith inquired as to whatever happened to the ground asphalt left-over from recent CalTrans paving in the area.  Kent Khitikian said that CalTrans initially balked at providing it, claiming it was an environmental hazard, but ultimately has promised the Poplar Road group 1500 yards. Kent noted there is still a large trucking expense involved in moving the material from Highway 1 to the Kale/Poplar neighborhood.  The Poplar Road group plans to proceed with the project the BCPUD approved as a road improvement project.

-- Operations:  Director Siedman said he would like the BCPUD to send a letter asking the presumed new solid waste hauler in Bolinas, North Bay, to confirm in writing that all of the former Empire Waste Management employees working in Bolinas will keep their seniority rights and benefits after the transition to the new company.  There was no disagreement and staff was directed to prepare such a letter.

-- Park and Recreation:  Director Siedman reported that the Downtown Site Committee made two decisions the prior evening:  (1) to implement erosion control at the project site during the rainy season and (2) to remove 5 trees in the old sink hole behind the duplex.  The County has confirmed that a permit is not necessary for that work; the trees are hazardous.  The donor has withdrawn the condition of having a caretaker unit at the downtown park due to the uncertainty over what/how to do it; also, the existing duplex is moldy, unhealthy and not worth remodeling.  Accordingly the duplex will be demolished after it is utilized by the Fire Protection District for a burn exercise/drill.

    Director Siedman further reported that the Mesa Park parcel tax measure did not pass, which may be for the best because Mesa Park can now better project the annual cost of the downtown park now that the caretaker unit is no longer in the picture.  As for bathrooms, they are planned but costly to build/maintain – Mesa Park therefore is looking into a shared park arrangement with the County.

    Finally, director Siedman said that Mesa Park’s consulting hydrogeologist supervised a well boring down to 70 feet at the sewer pond property and there was no water; Mesa Park will evaluate next steps at it’s next meeting (i.e., whether to try drilling again at a different location). 

-- Personnel:  Nothing to report. 

-- Sewer:  Nothing to report.

b.    Minutes of the October 17, 2007 Regular Meeting

    Directors Amoroso and Smith proposed revisions to the minutes.

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

c.  Warrants

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the warrants.

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)

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

14.     Adjournment

10:52 p.m.