President Tye called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, August 20, 2011, at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

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

Directors absent:
Lawrence Baskin, Director

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.




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, Suzanne Royce, Owner.
    District Engineer Richard Souza gave a brief background of the project. This is the 3rd application over the last 20 years to develop this property. In August of 2010, this application became before the Board and now it is again subject to a public hearing. The previous application was withdrawn by owner Suzanne Royce per Board approval, subject to the following conditions: (1) the applicant would have to pay a redesign fee and site submittal fee with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 Title IV Regulations (adopted in Ordinance 2007-01) for an 18 inch depth separation to groundwater; and (3) the resubmitted application shall be received by the District within three months of the wet weather testing period. All of these conditions were met. The project's new design firm, Questa Engineering, performed additional soil testing in the wet weather season which shows two test holes that support a septic system within the leach field area. The new soil testing shows that there was 18" separation to groundwater depth. The septic field was oriented 90 degrees to be within the passing groundwater test area.

    The proposed wastewater system would utilize an Advantex recirculating textile filter and a raised bed system. Because the applicant decided on the Advantex system in lieu of the standard sand filter system, it is considered to be an alternative type system and subject to an approved variance from the Board. No comments, either for or against, have been received from the Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding this project. There could have been an option to shut off the system in event of high groundwater conditions caused by flooding, but this is not a requirement that currently exists in the District's Title IV regulations. The system, as designed, meets the District's Code.

    Bonnie Anita Rose, a long time owner of #5 Calle del Embarcadero, whose property is across the street from the proposed residence, stated that during a heavy rainstorm, the water rushes down the street. She has experienced the water level reaching the bottom of her house. She expressed concern about the percolation, not only for herself, but also for the other neighbors as well. She has a holding tank.

    Riley Hurd III, Esq., who represents Mrs. Royce, gave a brief introduction, and stated that the groundwater was tested extensively during the wettest periods they could find. He noted that the most interesting result from the tests was that it failed to show what everyone thought the findings would show, that they would be heavily tidally influenced. He stated that Mrs. Royce has been through a lot, both financially and emotionally in this project. He turned the discussion over to Norman Hantzsche.

    Norman Hantzsche, of Questa Engineering, explained some of the items in his report, the most critical being the topographic survey of the property, which had not previously existed. They found about a one foot differential in the ground surface elevation from the rear of the property to the front of the property on Calle del Embarcadero. With that important information, they were able to properly orient the system, based on the surface topography and the groundwater measurement. The system consists of a septic tank, an advanced treatment unit, and a raised bed with sand fill. From the point of distribution to the leach field to the water table is a full 36" from the leach field to the high water table. The 18" minimum groundwater separation from grade has been met. He stated that in sand conditions such as this, it is very likely that first there will be downward movement and then horizontal movement once the flow reaches the water table.

    Bruce Wachtell, stated that he lives on Calle del Embarcadero, and wanted to give an account of some old facts. In 1978, 1983, and 1997, storm events produced flooding on Calle del Embarcadero. The worst flooding takes place at the foot of this street. In 1983, he measured 30" of water there and on the surrounding properties. The smell of sewage was so pervasive in that area, that Fire Chief Kenny Stevens ordered everyone out of the water. Mr. Wachtell stated that wave action is less involved than tidal action. It involves usually a confluence of events, a lot of rain, a high tide, and a swell that is pushing seawater into the Lagoon. He believes the problem of flooding is going to get worse because Easkoot Creek is getting filled in, the Lagoon is getting filled in, and with each succeeding year there is less and less of a flood plain to deal with the excess water. He wonders whether the proposed system can actually resist an interchange between septic fluids and the water coming in or out and what precautions should be taken in terms of those recurring events that still permit the proposed plan to be reasonable.

    Mr. Hantzsche explained how septic systems operate when the land is flooded. If a septic system has a pumping component and is pumping water into a leach field that is flooded, there would be a potential problem. The way to address that is having the ability to shut off the pumping operations with a shut off switch. They also have a raised bed system. They have tie downs for all of the equipment to prevent materials floating away when it floods. There should be really very little interaction with flood waters during those extreme weather events, so it is another reason to go forward with the high groundwater level shut off sensor and switch.

    Vice President Sapanai stated that she is extremely concerned about this lot because it is a substandard sized lot. It is in an area that floods frequently and is subject to greater and greater flood events in the future, but the Code only addresses the ability of this system to meet our depth to groundwater and to meet the requirements for treatment of the effluent. This system meets the requirements of the Code. The effluent that comes from the Advantex filter is very clean effluent. However, she does not want either this project or any future projects in very marginal areas to have the necessity for a completely seasonal holding tank. The Code does not allow holding tanks in new construction. Ms. Sapanai is also concerned about the County's Title 22 merger provisions for lots of less than 7,500 square feet that are in common ownership and adjacent.

    Director Boucke thanked everyone for trying to do their very best for health and safety standards in working to solve all of the problems that arose on this project.

    Vice President Sapanai made a motion to approve the variance, subject to a determination by the County that this property is not required to be merged with the adjacent property under Title 22. In addition, the Resolution should also state that the approval of a wastewater permit does not in any way ensure approval of any County permits. Director Boucke seconded the motion.

    Mr. Hurd suggested that legally conditioning a variance for an alternate wastewater system design on a Title 22 determination from the County is legally inappropriate.

    Mrs. Royce stated that the title of her adjacent property is in the name of her separate trust.

    President Tye asked for a vote on the motion as presented and amended and the vote was as follows:
    AYES: 2 Vice President Sapanai, Director Boucke
    NOES: 1 Director Zell
    ABSTAIN: 1 President Tye

    Since a 3 vote "yes" majority is required, the motion failed to pass. President Tye stated that it is the applicant's option to bring back a proposal to the Board that would not require a variance.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff to approve a New Septic System Design Permit for property located at 321 Seadrift Road, Benjamin and Patricia Scott-Winslow, Owners, Acct. #7220.
    The Winslows' Septic System Design Permit, which was issued to them on July 20, 2009, expired on July 20, 2011. Because the initial two year period had expired without a request for an extension by July 20, 2011, there was no valid permit on which to base an extension. Their request for a one year extension was therefore denied and was being appealed today. The system's designer, Troy Pearce, stated by letter that the Winslows' plans were still in the review process by the California Coastal Commission for much of the time and have not changed in any way that would affect the septic system design.

    Vice President Sapanai made a motion to deny the Winslows' appeal to extend their existing permit. Director Boucke seconded. The Board voted unanimously to not extend the existing permit and directed staff to have the Winslows resubmit their plans with a reduced fee of $750. Then the District's Engineer, Rich Souza, can review the plans again to ensure there are no new Title IV changes that could affect the development of their septic system. This new submittal would be valid for another 2 year period.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: (1) A proposed Easement for District access to a water quality monitoring well, located at 189 Seadrift Road, Richard Volk, Owner, Acct. #7560; (2) Possible relocation of the water quality monitoring well.
    Peter Sandmann, representing Mr. Volk, has drafted an easement granting to the Stinson Beach County Water District the right to continue to have pedestrian access in order to conduct water sampling from the existing monitoring well. The easement provides that access shall be limited to the area of the six foot wide side setback located along the eastern side of the property. Access would be limited on a quarterly basis per calendar year and the residents must be provided with a 48 hour advance written notice. Mr. Sandmann expressed his concern that no motorized vehicles be allowed on the property during the well inspection.

    Director Boucke moved to accept the easement agreement subject to the insertion of the word "motorized" in the second sentence of item No. 1, so that the sentence now reads: "Grantee shall at no time enter upon the Property with any vehicle or motorized equipment of any kind." Vice President Sapanai seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously adopted and the District will prepare a resolution adopting the easement agreement.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a Water Use Charge Reduction Request from Ms. Sarah N. Butler, representing Akihiro Yoshikawa, for property located at 184 Seadrift Road, Acct. #6430.
    Stinson Beach County Water District Resolution No. GB-2010-02 limits only one loss adjustment within a five year period. Ms. Sarah N. Butler of Oceanic Realty, on behalf of property owner Akihiro Yoshikawa, requested the District to cancel a water use charge reduction granted in May 2010 in the amount of $172.21 and, instead, apply the reduction request to a much larger leak which occurred in May 2011, when a portion of her 3/4" galvanized pipe burst. She has repaid the prior leak adjustment by issuing a check to the District for $172.21. The Board reviewed the receipt from American Leak Detection and noted that since the remaining visible pipe appears to be only in fair condition, there is a high probability for future leaks. Tom Wredberg, who represented Ms. Butler at the hearing, will inform her that the entire water line to the house should be replaced. The Board unanimously voted to approve a 50% Water Use Charge Reduction of $3,280.70.
  3. Discussion and possible direction to staff regarding the recent Marin County Ordinance that eliminates most Graywater Permits.
    Rich Souza briefly explained the Marin County Ordinance that makes it easier for Marin residents to use simple graywater recycling systems that do not require a permit for recycling less than 250 gallons a day from showers and sinks for reuse in yard irrigation. However, this new Ordinance will not affect the existing regulations and policies of the Stinson Beach County Water District.
  4. Discussion and possible direction to staff to place a disclaimer on future septic system design permits that clarifies Septic System Approvals do not determine the issuance of a building permit.
    The District received a letter from Don Anderson, Coordinator of the Stinson Beach Village Association, in which Supervisor Steve Kinsey is quoted as saying that the Stinson Beach County Water District extends development rights for properties when they approve septic systems. The Stinson Beach County Water District does not approve, endorse or support development of property. The District's Septic System Design Permit, as established within the Title IV "Onsite Wastewater Management Code" and which was approved by the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board, provides for the regulations to control ground and surface water only. The Board recommended sending a letter to Supervisor Steve Kinsey and the California Coastal Commission regarding the aforementioned limitation of the Stinson Beach County Water District's authority. The Board also referred the disclaimer to the Legal Committee for review.
  5. Discussion and possible direction to staff to hire Vest Painting to prepare, prime and apply 2 final coats of paint to the District Office deck.
    The Board voted unanimously to hire Joe Vest of Vest Painting to paint the District Office deck.
  6. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: the Stinson Beach County Water District Seadrift Water Main Relocation Plan.
    The General Manager has prepared the Seadrift Water Main Relocation Plan which will be posted to the District's website. Ideally, the entire pipe replacement would be done at the same time. However, the estimated cost to have the work done by an outside contractor would be almost $1,500,000. The District's yearly water revenues are only about $650,000. District employees can perform the work for about $740,000. The Seadrift Association has been informed of the project, and is in the process of forming a committee to offer suggestions. Construction is planned to commence on Monday, September 19, 2011, and be completed by Wednesday, December 14, 2011. All of the work will be performed by District staff or temporary employees, following all environmental, safety, and testing procedures.


Vice President Sapanai moved to approve the minutes of July 16, 2011. Director Boucke seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by unanimous vote.


The disbursements of July 21 and August 4, 2011 were approved unanimously.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. The Krasny failed septic system citation was sent to the County for recordation in mid-July. The abatement process has since been suspended and a new Discharge Permit has been issued.

A follow-up letter and updated photos will be sent to California Fish and Game regarding the increased construction debris on the Lazarus property.

Aaron Salars of Verizon/OnAir LLC is still pursuing a cell tower site at the Highlands Tank Site. The road easement issue still remains to be resolved with the Park Service. When all the plans have been finalized, the District will hold a Special Meeting at the Stinson Beach Community Center.

A letter was sent to Linda Dahl, Director and General Manager, Department of Parks and Open Space, supporting the study of a multi-use path around Bolinas Lagoon, without postponing any work on the existing construction schedule.

No bids have yet been received on the District Office's 1/2 roof replacement/solar project.

On August 23, the General Manager will attend a planning meeting on Sea Level Rise to be held in Petaluma.




The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

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