1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Bender, Kimball, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project. (See Item 13, below)
Staff reported that the project is complete and the district will now process the contractor’s request for the release of the retention payment, which is $21,850.39. As previously reported, the district will need to pay this amount from its water reserves as the project costs exceeded the loan amount. Staff will ask the Board to approve a resolution to accept the project and release the retention payment in connection with agenda item 13, below.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
A subcommittee of the Working Group met recently to discuss a beach monitoring protocol; the district’s consulting geotechnical engineer, SAGE, recommends taking reading of beach levels beginning this winter to inform an eventual “wave scour” analysis. In addition, staff is reaching out to potential consultants about the cost of the coastal permit effort for this project. Once this information is available, the Working Group will coordinate an outreach to community stakeholders for purposes of funding the permit process.
-- Update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Pump Station and Electrical Upgrade Project.
This project went out to bid on October 25, 2013; a mandatory pre-bid site-walk was held on November 13th and four contractors attended. Regrettably, a fifth contractor arrived an hour late and had to be disqualified. The district posted Addendum #1 today on its website in response to questions raised and topics discussed during the site-walk, most of which focused on cost-reduction suggestions. The district has extended the bid submittal deadline to December 17th and mapped out an anticipated project schedule: Notice of Award (February 2014), Notice to Proceed #1 (April 2014) with deadline of October 2014, and Notice to Proceed #2 (October 2014) with 60-days to install.
-- Update on Shared Personnel Between BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District.
The Bolinas Fire Protection District is scheduled to approve the MOU with the BCPUD on shared personnel during its November meeting and cross-training is anticipated to begin in 2014.
-- Update on BCPUD’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
Staff is developing documents in anticipation of the annual Finance Committee budgeting effort that begins in January.
Staff directed the Board’s attention to a letter from Marin County’s Department of Public Works with an invoice for the work performed on district facilities in connection with the recent downtown paving project. The total cost of work billed to BCPUD for the raising and replacement of valve boxes and manhole covers is $17,989.76; of that total, $15,239.76 is for sewer system-related work and $2,750 is for water system-related work. These costs will be classed to “plant” improvements; at this point in the fiscal year, it is not clear that the amount budgeted for plant improvements will be sufficient to cover these (unbudgeted) costs in addition to planned annual plant costs. Staff will update the Board later in the year as to whether it will be necessary to approve the use of reserve funds to pay some or all of the costs.
Staff reported that water consumption was up on the back of the Mesa as compared to this time last year; this increase in consumption almost certainly is due to landscape irrigation given the very dry Fall thus far in California, with the exception of the current rainfall – thus far, Bolinas has received approximately 2 ½ inches of rain from the current storm. In general, the district’s water sources are performing well given how dry it has been during 2013.
The district experienced small leaks on Birch and Cedar Roads that were easily repaired by staff, and a more significant leak on the water main under Mesa Road near Purple Gate. The Mesa Road leak was caused by the deterioration of a steel saddle to a defunct brass blow-off; the water main itself is in good condition, but the metal saddle had corroded. District staff worked with an emergency outside contractor to repair the problem and water was off to the town for approximately four hours. Based on constructive feedback from customers, staff is working on improving its emergency water shut-off notification.
Staff noted that the most recent TTHM/HAA5 (chlorine disinfection byproduct) notice that was mailed out to customers is in the binders, as is an update about the status of the report that is being prepared by consultant Jon Van Bourg and Lewie Likover. The update lays out the structure of the planned report and an anticipated completion date in January 2014. The district also is conducting a chlorine degradation study and plans to consult with a “certified lake manager” about reservoir managaement options. Staff commented that Lewie’s shift operator duties have been transitioned to other operators since his retirement from full-time employment, although Lewie is still providing drainage consultations and mapping work.
The Board reviewed a recent letter from the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) which confirms that the district’s recent lead and copper testing results are all below action levels so the district will remain on a triennial sample schedule for lead and copper. The Board also reviewed a brief report from consulting hydrogeologist Rob Gailey about the latest data concerning water levels in the irrigation well at the Resource Recovery site and precipitation during 2013; Rob concludes that because Bolinas received most of its rain before January 1, 2013 (and that rain was concentrated during a couple of months rather than spaced over an extended period of time), the rain did not recharge the groundwater system as effectively as it did in past years.
Staff updated the Board on the status of the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom project coastal permit process. Staff conferred with Marin County’s Environmental Health Services (“EHS”) Department as a careful review of EHS comments on the Mesa Park permit application revealed a misunderstanding of the project. Staff then conferred with CDPH regulators and confirmed that the irrigation well that will be used to irrigate the ballfields is deemed an auxiliary water supply of the BCPUD – not a separate water system as EHS surmised – and that the installation of a backflow prevention device is the only requirement prior to plumbing this water to the restrooms. EHS does not object to this conclusion and staff has notified the County Planning staff of the outcome.
Staff referenced a letter to the owners of 350 Grove, who installed a gate across Grove Road, which deadends at their house. BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection Department (“BFPD”) personnel met with the homeowners earlier this month to request the removal of the gate and the homeowners were very cooperative. The gate will be removed and relocated to the homeowner’s property after the holiday season.
On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that spray season is over. Flows have been quite low into the system even during the recent high tides; staff is cautiously optimistic that recent improvements to the collection system have reduced infiltration and inflow. On a related note, the memorial bench crafted by Chuck Oakander and in honor of Peter Warshall is due to soon be installed at a site below the lab building and under an oak tree, looking out at the spray disposal fields.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
The Board reviewed a written report submitted by Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover.
4. Community Expression.
Ilka Hartman thanked out-going Board members Kim Bender and Bobbi Kimball for their good energy and excellent work on behalf of the community.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 99 Brighton (M. Talucci).
This item was deferred to the December regular meeting as the Talucci’s were not present to answer questions from the Board concerning their request for financial relief.
6. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 104 Terrace Avenue (S. Frank).
Scott Finney was present on behalf of homeowner Susan Frank; he explained that there was a leak located underground, just on the customer side of the meter. As soon as it was discovered it was repaired by plumber Brenden Higgs. Director Kimball stated that in cases of blind leaks followed by prompt repairs, the Board generally grants full relief from the water bill for the amount attributable to the leak.
B. Kimball/D. Smith all in favor to reduce the bill by the full amount of the bill attributable to the leak based on the historical average water bill during the same quarter over the last three years.
7. Coastal Permit Amendment Application (14-9), APN # 193-172-08, 105 Terrace Avenue, Bolinas (L. Strauss).
Director Siedman inquired whether anyone was present to comment on this coastal permit application. Director Smith noted that the house in on the ocean side of Terrace and the permit is for the repair of an existing retaining wall. There was no comment on the project or the permit application.
8. Expanded Water Use Permit Application – 185 Iris Road (C. Weare).
Director Siedman noted that the application is for a project to replace and repair siding on the exterior of the house and to paint the house; as such, the project does not pose any implications for increased water use at the property.
D. Smith/K. Bender all in favor to grant an unconditional expanded water use permit.
9. Request for Letter from the BCPUD Opposing the Use of Rodenticides on the South Farallon Islands (E. Lyman and S. Buck).
Eleanor Lyman presented a draft letter for the Board’s consideration to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in opposition to the planned use of rodenticides at the South Farallon Islands. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is soliciting public comment on its draft Environmental Impact Report by December 9, 2013. The purpose of the proposed rodenticide application is to eradicate an invasive mouse population that is attracting burrowing owls and disrupting the native bird ecosystem. Eleanor expressed strong concern about the collateral impact of the rodenticides on other birds, animals and sealife and urged the Board to join her and Wildcare in opposing the application of this toxic material. Director Smith noted that the Marin Audubon Society is in support of the rodenticide use and asked Eleanor why. Eleanor said that she does not know; she noted that Burr Heneman also is in favor of the rodenticide application and she does not know why he is in favor of it either. After some discussion between the Board members, director Siedman summarized the consensus to submit a letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service opposing the aerial broadcast of rodenticides at the South Farallon Islands that will be copied to California’s two U.S. Senators, Congressman Jared Huffman, Maria Brown at the Gulf of the Farallones, Point Blue and the Marin Audubon Society.
K. Bender/B. Kimball: all in favor to send a letter opposing the aerial broadcast of rodenticides on the South Farallon Islands to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
10. Reactivate the Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee (a Volunteer Committee of the BCPUD) to Evaluate and Recommend Solutions for the Ongoing Downtown Parking Problem.
Director Siedman explained that a Downtown Parking & Traffic committee was appointed years ago and it developed a parking plan for the downtown area that was approved by the community in an advisory vote. Unfortunately, efforts to implement the plan stalled over “public access” concerns expressed by Coastal Commission staff. Briefly stated, the Coastal Commission staff is concerned that almost any kind of parking limitations in the coastal zone have the effect of limiting public access to the beach, which violates the Coastal Act. Director Amoroso noted that he served on the committee and it was very discouraging because the committee did a very careful job crafting the plan and preparing a report – he said that the actual parking plan recommendations were quite modest, a combination of timed and resident parking. He recommended that a new committee should focus on timed parking as that seemed less objectionable to the Coastal Commission staff than resident permit parking zones. Director Amoroso suggested that the BCPUD place an ad in the Hearsay News that the Board is seeking applicants for a new committee to review and resolve parking problems in the downtown area.
V. Amoroso/K. Bender all in favor to solicit applicants for a newly constituted Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee.
11. Obstructions within the Public Rights-of-Way on the Bolinas Gridded Mesa; Update on the Obstructions within the Zebra Right-of-Way.
Martino Magid was present to update the Board on his efforts to comply with the Board’s direction that he remove obstructions in the Zebra right-of-way adjacent to his property. He said that he has removed nearly all obstructions within a 20-foot wide strip within the right-of-way, but requested that the Board not require the removal of a small studio building built by Lawrence Juniper. Sue Verhalen, the neighboring property owner who complained about the obstructions because she has no access to her property other than via Zebra, said she went to the property earlier in the day and does not believe that a 20-foot wide strip has been cleared; she said that some of the items previously located in the right-of-way were moved on to her property and the McCrea’s property. She stated that she is disappointed that more of the obstructions have not yet been cleared as she had been hoping to hire Don Murch to grade an access way for her before the winter rains set in.
Discussion ensued about next steps. Martino Magid said he will continue to remove obstructions and Lawrence Juniper said he agrees that Ms. Verhalen needs access to her property, but he would like to keep his studio. Director Bender suggested that Don Murch be consulted for his opinion as to what needs to be removed in order for him to install access. Director Amoroso said the district must have access to its water line and he inquired where the Zebra right-of-way connects to Yucca; Martino Magid said the Zebra right-of-way goes right through Lawrence’s studio where it connects to Yucca. Director Smith inquired about the materials now on the Verhalen and McCrea property; Lawrence said he temporarily placed things there and promised to remove them.
Director Smith referenced the BCPUD letter sent to Mr. Magid after the October meeting; this letter specifies that the Board requires that a 20-foot width of the Zebra right-of-way must be cleared by October 31st and the entire 40-foot width of the Zebra right-of-way must be cleared by the November Board meeting. Director Smith said he would like to revisit these requirements; other Board members agreed. Further discussion ensued about obstructions and encroachments elsewhere on the Mesa and the Board’s historic approach of requiring that the rights-of-way are sufficiently (but not necessarily completely) unobstructed so that the BCPUD and fire department can access their facilities and provide emergency services. Jennie Pfeiffer objected to the district effectively allowing people to build or encroach in the rights-of-way, which are public property. Director Siedman said the BCPUD does not affirmatively allow this, but rather responds to complaints; it does not initiate obstruction or encroachment complaints unless its facilities are directly implicated. Director Kimball said that when the district receives a complaint about an obstruction or encroachment, staff investigates with the BFPD and a letter is issued to put the property owners on notice that they are in the right-of-way; if district or fire department access is compromised, the property owner is directed to remove the obstruction or encroachment.
After further discussion, it was agreed that Ms. Verhalen and Mr. Magid will meet at the Zebra right-of-way with Don Murch, BCPUD and BFPD staff to agree upon how access will be installed within the Zebra right-of-way for Ms. Verhalen and what, if any, additional obstructing materials need to be removed. Director Kimball said that Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover also should attend given the topography of the area.
12. Expanded Water Use Permit Application – 101 Mesa Road, Bolinas (Mesa Park).
This item was continued to a future Board meeting.
13. Audited Financial Statements of the BCPUD for the Years Ended June 30, 2013 and 2012.
Staff presented an overview of the audited financial statements and management letter from the district’s outside auditors, Doran & Associates.
V. Amoroso/K. Bender all in favor to accept the district’s audited financial statements for the years ended June 30, 2013 and 2012.
14. BCPUD Resolution 626: Accepting Completion of the Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project.
K. Bender/D. Smith all in favor to approve Resolution 626 accepting completion of the Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project.
Director Kimball noted that the retention payment referenced in the resolution will be paid from the district’s water reserves.
15. Volunteer Committee Reports
-- Alternative Energy: Director Smith reported that the invertor at the Woodrat Treatment plant is scheduled for repair on Friday, November 22nd.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Community Path Update: Director Kimball said she would like to recognize the stellar work of Walter Hoffman, Meg Simmonds and Ed Pohlman, all of whom helped her repair the damage caused to the planted median strip next to the bike path on Olema-Bolinas Road during the County’s recent paving work. She said that “nature will now take its course” with regard to the planted median strip and she recommended that this committee report item be removed from future Board agendas.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Nothing further to report.
-- Resource Recovery: Nothing to report.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Director Kimball reported that the Council met with five members of the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District board two days ago about the renewal of the non-toxic protocol agreement applicable to West Marin which expires on January 14, 2014. It was agreed that Phil Smith, General Manager of the district, will prepare a statement of intent for his Board to direct a subcommittee to work with the Council to construct a new agreement by June 2014. Director Kimball noted that since she is leaving the BCPUD Board, another director should be appointed to serve in her place on the Council. She said that the Council meets twice a year (in May and in November, typically) to review treatment reports and West Nile Virus reported data. In Marin, there have been two human cases of West Nile Virus this year in Novato (the first human cases in seven years) and both individuals traveled outside of the County. Finally, director Kimball reported that Cary McGrath from Marin Organics has been recruited by Margaret Graham to succeed her in representing West Marin on the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control Board; a letter from the Council will be sent to Supervisor Kinsey to support McGrath’s appointment.
-- Sewer Pond Land Management Committee: Director Siedman reported that the committee continues its work to finalize revisions to the Gospel Flats Farm lease and identify an appropriate scope of operations; he noted that this work dovetails into developing policy for the management of BCPUD lands. The next committee meeting will be on December 16th. Jennie Pfeiffer thanked the Board for the district’s efforts in this regard.
16. Other Business
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Staff directed the Board’s attention to the first quarter financial reports and the updated capital report in the Board binders.
-- 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 Mesa Park parcel tax was approved by the voters during the November 5th election.
-- Personnel: Director Bender inquired about the status of hiring a temporary maintenance worker. Staff reported that it won’t be necessary to do so after all and thanked the Board for its support.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the October 16, 2013 Regular Meeting.
V. Amoroso/K. Bender all in favor to approve the minutes of the October 16, 2013 regular meeting.
D. Smith/B. Kimball all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
December 18, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.