President Lawrence A. Baskin called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, August 21, 2010, at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

Directors present:
Lawrence Baskin, President
Scott Tye, Vice President
Barbara Boucke, Director
Elizabeth Sapanai, Director
Jim Zell, Director

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Richard Souza - District Engineer
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Assistant




The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a Variance Request for installation of a new septic system using an alternative type system, vacant lot located at Calle Del Embarcadero, APN#195-132-03, property owner, Suzanne Royce.
    President Baskin stated that he had a conflict of interest because he owns real property within 500 feet of the property that is the subject of the hearing. President Baskin then left the building and Vice President Tye officiated in President Baskin's absence.

    District Engineer Richard Souza briefly described the project to be located on a vacant lot near Easkoot Creek. This is the second application. The first application by Yarnell & Associates in 1982 was denied by the County of Marin due to the property's high depth of groundwater. At that time, the standard was 24" of groundwater to grade. A soil profile by CSW/Stuber-Stroeh was done in November 2005. Earth Systems Designs tested four times in the winter of 2006. Water levels varied from 16.50" - 28", which suggests that the groundwater there is tidally influenced. The SBCWD Title IV Wastewater Code Regulations regarding depth to groundwater have since been changed to 24", but this application was submitted while the regulations were at 18".

    The owner has requested the following variances to the SBCWD Wastewater Code Sections: (1) Sec. 4.19.010, use of an alternative wastewater system design; (2) Sec. 4.23.100, site criteria; and (3) Sec. 4.23.625, raised-bed drainfield design. The system has been designed to receive a maximum 150 gallons of wastewater per day. To mitigate the high groundwater, the design includes a raised bed that is raised even higher by imported soil. A variance is needed for the proposed Advantex sand filter system. In November 2009, staff recommended additional sampling. Other recommendations by staff included separating the leach fields 6 feet apart as well as doing a topographic survey. Property owners within 300 feet of the project have been notified of the project. The draft resolution provides for a maximum of 150 gallons of wastewater per day using a recirculating textile filter and raised bed system. It also recommends a shut off float when the groundwater is within 18 inches of the bottom of the raised bed. The system would then temporarily operate as a holding tank.

    Suzanne Royce, the owner of the property, stated she purchased the property several years ago for the purpose of building a residence. Mrs. Royce stated that since 1997 the property has never flooded, although it may have in 1982. She has planned a state-of-the art disposal system. She asked the Board to approve the variance.

    Rozyln Marnell stated she has lived at 12 Occidente for twelve years and stated the Embarcadero property has not flooded during this time frame.

    Noadiah Eckman, of Eckman Environmental, the systems designer, elaborated on the project's specifications and mitigation to get additional treatment. She had previously spoken to Blair Allen of RWQCB. She believed that the prior data was good and that additional studies seemed redundant.

    Bruce Wachtell, stated he has lived on Calle Del Embarcadero for forty years. In 1983, the water was 24" high in the street. In 1978 and 1997 there was flooding as well in the same area. He is concerned that people may have to walk through raw sewage if the septic system cannot be designed to overcome flooding caused by extreme rainfall and high tides occurring simultaneously.

    Carlos Bea, of Bolinas, stated he supports a variance.

    Brian Lanigan's letter of support dated August 20, 2010 for the granting of a variance was distributed to the Board.

    Director Zell asked for a topographic study. He noted that certain lots are saturated all winter long. One can hear the water squishing as one walks along. He is interested in seeing a FEMA map showing flood zones. The samples were taken in a drier than average winter.

    Riley Hurd III, Esq., representing Mrs. Royce, stated he was not provided with the staff report. He stated that Mrs. Royce did due diligence by looking at the District files. He stated that none of this information relating to previous groundwater level studies was in the District files. He continued that Mrs. Royce entered into this transaction in order to develop this lot. She was advised she could not do any further testing of groundwater levels. Merits of the project suggest a variance should be granted. If deprived of a permit, Mrs. Royce cannot build. This is a fundamental right and should be granted.

    Vice President Tye noted that the staff report is a public document and available to anyone who requests it.

    Director Sapanai stated of the need to follow and meet rigorous requirements. Some lots are not suitable for an on-site septic system. The main issue is depth to groundwater. She noted that 18" depth to groundwater is not a standard that is currently used by other agencies. The Board's mission is public health and safety. Rich Souza noted that the proposed system is not a level tertiary system. The District inspects all systems. There is no guarantee that this proposed system will work. This system was designed to add soil. Bringing it higher may not work. New holding tanks are not allowed. Director Sapanai noted it is no solution to truck effluent to another location for disposal.

    Director Boucke stated that she would not be willing to vote on the matter today. She inquired if this system that is proposed, is it the best system that can be done to assure public safety. The District's counsel should provide guidance on the issues raised by Mr. Hurd. Topographic information as well as more current data would be helpful.

    Mrs. Royce inquired if Rich will allow them to have further testing done. Rich responded that he previously suggested further wet weather testing. Director Sapanai noted another series of tests would be valuable. The applicant can withdraw the application and reapply at a later date.

    Patrick Miyaki, Esq., the District's counsel, summarized portions of the SBCWD Title IV Code requirements. The measurement of depth to groundwater is not the average depth to groundwater for a certain period. There is disagreement to how the depth to groundwater measurement is satisfied. The application does not meet the standard. A variance may be granted by the Board, but it is not an automatic right. The Board wants more information before making a decision. Neither he nor the Board members have had sufficient time to review Mr. Hurd's letter of August 19, 2010. There are four options: a withdrawal of the application, a motion to approve the application, a motion to delay the application, or a continuance. Three votes are needed from the Board.

    The meeting was resumed after a 5 minute recess.

    On behalf of Mrs. Royce, Mr. Hurd asked that the Board accept the applicant's request to withdraw the application, and allow the applicant to resubmit it using the previous standard of 18" depth to groundwater. Mr. Miyaki recommended that the Board clarify the time frame for resubmitting the application and design fee schedule, if the Board were going to consider this request.

    Mrs. Royce requested that she receive copies of all notices and letters concerning her project. Director Sapanai responded that certain correspondence such as between attorney and client is privileged information. Mrs. Royce requested the new testing be conducted three months after the close of the wet weather season. Director Sapanai motioned to accept withdrawal of the application with the following conditions: (1) the applicant would have to pay a redesign fee and site submittal fee with the resubmitted application; (2) the resubmitted application would be subject to the previous 18 inch depth to groundwater standard; and (3) the resubmitted application must be received by the District within three months of the wet weather period, as defined in Title IV. Director Zell seconded the motion. The withdrawal was approved unanimously, with the exception of President Baskin, who had previously left the building.

    President Baskin subsequently returned and officiated for the remainder of the meeting.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a Variance Request to replace an existing septic system with an alternative type system located at #12 Marine Way, APN#195-221-09, Account #3880, property owners, Michael Mullin/Donald James.
    Rich Souza briefly explained the reasons behind the variance request. The Board reviewed draft Resolution No. WW-2010-4, a variance for an alternative septic system, replacing a gravity tank, with a new system. Property owners within 300 feet of the project had been notified. Vice President Tye suggested that the number of conditioned square feet be inserted in the resolution. President Baskin proposed that item c., page 2, of the Resolution be stricken and the following language be substituted: "There shall be no further addition of 'habitable space' beyond the current 2,560 square feet or division of the existing property to provide a second living unit."

    Director Boucke moved to approve Resolution No. WW-2010-4, granting the variance request as modified by President Baskin. Vice President Scott seconded the motion. The Resolution as modified was approved unanimously.


  1. Discussion and possible action re: acceptance of the District's Basic Financial Statements (Financial Audit):
    Director Boucke suggested moving the approval and acceptance of the District's Basic Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 to next month's Board meeting. Terry Krieg, the District's auditor, will review and comment on the District's invoice coding procedure.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: the results of the Electronic On-line Bill Paying Customer Survey, continued from the Saturday, May 15, 2010, Board Meeting and the Saturday, June 19, 2010, Board Meeting.
    The General Manager discussed the results of the Electronic On-line Bill Paying Customer Survey by credit card. Of the 722 survey forms mailed out, 337 were completed and returned to the office. Of the 337 forms returned, 304 individuals checked the form: "No, I would not use the service." Thirty-three responded, "Yes, I would use the service." It is clear then that the District will not offer on-line bill paying by credit card. President Baskin noted that there are a number of individuals who currently utilize on-line bill paying by having their financial institutions issue and send us the payment checks.


Director Sapanai moved to approve the minutes of July 17, 2010. Vice President Tye seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by unanimous vote.


President Baskin moved to approve the disbursements for July 15 and July 28. Vice President Tye seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved by unanimous vote.


The financial reports including the month of June 2010 were approved. They had previously been reviewed by the Finance Committee on August 12, 2010.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. A Public Hearing for our Coastal Development Permit for our new well at Steep Ravine has been scheduled for September 16. A Notification of Deficient Notice dated July 30, 2010 from the California Coastal Commission check marked two deficiencies: "Procedures for appeal of the decision to the Coastal Commission not included" and "Notice does not indicate if local government action is appealable to Coastal Commission." Allan Richards of Stetson Engineering wrote a letter dated August 5, 2010 to Kristina Tierney of the Marin County Community Development Agency responding to each of the "incompleteness items" listed in the July 22 Notice of Project Status. Kristina now supports the project with no conditions.

Senate Bill 120 enhances notice requirements prior to terminating water service of residential tenants who are not District customers and thus are not responsible for payment of the water bill. The District will continue to call customers who are in arrears in their water bill payments.




The Board did not comment on the correspondence in the Board packet.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 noon.

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