Saturday, October 15, 2011


President Tye called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, October 15, 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
Lawrence Baskin, Director
Barbara Boucke, Director
Jim Zell, Director

Directors absent:
Elizabeth Sapanai, Vice President

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.


Steve McCaffrey, Director of Governmental Affairs, North Bay Corporation/Redwood Empire Disposal, stated that last month they conducted their annual collection of West Marin residents' cleanup debris. Unfortunately, the flyer advertising the pickup held on September 12-16 did not reach the Stinson Beach residents. Mr. McCaffrey apologized for the mix-up and will work with the General Manager to set another cleanup date and send a new flyer in about a month.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Consideration of Applicant's (Suzanne Royce) Request to Re-Open the Public Hearing for Variance for Use of Alternative Wastewater System for Vacant Lot Located on Calle Del Embarcadero (APN 195-132-03).
    Director Baskin went on record to say that he had previously recused himself from participating with regard to the Royce variance request on the basis that he was within 500 feet of the subject property. He rebutted the presumption that he has a conflict of interest by stating that he does not believe there is any financial impact to his property by this application. As a member of the Legal Committee and a member of the Board, he wants to be able to be a party to advising the Board and participating with the Board in the process of procedure related to how things of this nature are handled. It is, however, still his intent and his position to abstain from any actual discussions on motions or voting on such motions, but only to be involved with process and procedure issues.

    The General Manager stated that on September 8, 2011, District Counsel Patrick Miyaki and he received an e-mail from Mr. Riley Hurd, who represents Mrs. Suzanne Royce in her application for a septic system discharge design permit, in which Mr. Hurd requested a rehearing of this matter.

    Riley Hurd stated the reason he requested this rehearing is that he thinks the outcome of the previous hearing was not only unfair but actionably illegal, and he thinks that the Board would find it more efficient to resolve the matter by having another hearing instead of him bringing a cause of action against a public entity. He also stated that Mrs. Royce was instructed to go back and test again and she did this and she paid the District all required fees in order to have the variance considered. He stated that to be denied at the August 20, 2011 hearing on grounds that were not mentioned in the past, and if they were going to be grounds for denial, certainly she should not have been sent back into the field to spend thousands of dollars more. He stated it was very frustrating for Mrs. Royce and difficult and unfair. He also pointed out that the variance findings for an alternative wastewater system, which was the only thing that was being sought at the last hearing, are the same whether or not the property is unimproved or improved. He stated that the granting of the variance in Mrs. Royce's case was absolutely essential for the preservation of her property right, and that there is a total diminution of the property's value if the permit is not granted. He requests that the Board hold a rehearing, reconsider the evidence and strongly reconsider the decision that was previously reached.

    Director Zell made a motion in response to the applicant Suzanne Royce's request to reopen the hearing and to place it on the next available agenda. Director Boucke seconded the motion. The motion passed with three aye votes [Jim Zell, Barbara Boucke and Scott Tye]. Director Baskin abstained from voting, but as a matter of process, he thought that the Board should approve the motion.

    If there is new information presented by Mrs. Royce or Mr. Hurd, and if the District Engineer, Rich Souza, feels he wants to modify his earlier staff report, the new information is required to be sent to the Regional Water Quality Control Board 30 days in advance of the reopened hearing date. The 15 day notification process to all the neighbors must be done as well. Thus, it is premature to set the rehearing for the November 19, 2011 Board meeting.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: the Stinson Beach County Water District Seadrift Water Main Relocation Plan.
    The General Manager distributed to the Board Members a letter dated October 13, 2011 sent to him by e-mail and copied to the Seadrift Association from Peter Sandmann, who is acting on behalf of its members. Director Baskin stated that Patrick Miyaki, the District's Counsel, will advise the District as to the District's response and obligation to provide historical attorney- client privileged communication.

    Mr. Schmidt reported on the District's positive Water Operations Committee meeting that took place on October 1, 2011. In attendance from Seadrift were Peter Sandmann, Morey Nelsen, Kiren Niederberger, and Chris Kelly. From the Water Operations Committee were Directors Jim Zell and Barbara Boucke, the District's Chris Kelley, Toby Bisson, and Ed Schmidt. Many different aspects of the project were discussed from the geography to finance to pipeline techniques, ownerships, number of lots, different options for doing the project and the definition of this project. Mr. Schmidt stated that some individuals in the community are concerned about the condition of the water main pipe. He suggested having Allan Richards of Stetson Engineering, who is the District's water engineer, analyze and prepare a written report of the condition of several different cross sections of the pipe for a cost of approximately $1,500. The Board unanimously approved of going forward with the pipeline analysis. Another question that was raised concerned the depth of the pipe. District staff know, from the construction that took place last week, that the depth of pipe in the trench is about 32".

    The General Manager then briefly described a problem encountered by District staff regarding some of the lots located between the 7 lots [who have paid the $10,000 deposit] that have major landscaping encroachment issues and have not paid the $10,000 deposit. There is probably $15,000 worth of landscaping right on top of the water line. Director Zell stated that the Seadrift Association must be proactive in having the homeowners remove landscaping from the road easement.

    Director Baskin is in favor of proceeding to move the water line in a straight direction rather than in a zig-zag fashion. He suggested the necessity of the District to establish an ordinance that permits assessing the homeowner for the cost of relocating the water line when she/he makes an application to build or remodel. The District's Legal Committee will prepare the ordinance. However, there are several hundred homes out there that do not need to have the pipeline relocated because they are grandfathered in under the District's regulations.

    The District will convene a Water Operations Committee Meeting on October 19, 2011 to discuss further the water line relocation project. The meeting's agenda will be revised to include a site visit by Committee Members at the meeting's conclusion.

    Morey Nelsen, a member of the Seadrift Lands Committee, inquired if the old water line will be removed. The General Manager responded that it was recommended that the old pipe, made of asbestos concrete, will be abandoned and remain in place.


Director Zell motioned to approve the minutes of September 17, 2011. Director Baskin seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by unanimous vote. Director Zell expressed interest in receiving a summary of the sea level rise workshop referred to in the Manager's Report at the bottom of Page 4.


The disbursements of September 14 and October 3, 2011 were approved unanimously.


The District's Legal Committee is finalizing the draft disclaimer language to be put on future septic system design permits, and it will be comprised of language taken from the District's Title IV Wastewater Code.

The District's new auditors, Maze & Associates, will be coming the second week in November. The Water Operations Committee and the Finance Committee are reviewing the CIP Budget monthly.

John L. Ryan, the GGNRA Project Manager for the Park's new proposed septic system, has requested help with arranging for an all day meeting to be held on November 14 at the Community Center for various divisions personnel from the National Park Service. The preferred septic system alternative design will be discussed. The General Manager, Jim Zell and Rich Souza will attend.

On November 2, 2011, the General Manager, Rich Souza, and Chris Kelley will attend the California State Water Resources Control Board's septic system workshop titled "Notice of Availability of Draft Documents and Staff Workshops" in Santa Rosa. President Tye stated that he is interested from a Board perspective and will attend as well.

The General Manager received a call from Rob Mengel from the California Department of Fish and Game regarding his inspection of the property at 20 Marine Way, responding to the District's letter of complaint regarding construction debris. Based on Mr. Mengel's description, Mr. Schmidt believed that the debris had been removed or relocated on the property; however, this was not the case. Mr. Mengel agreed to make another inspection, but will notify the District first of his coming.

A recent sampling along Easkoot Creek showed high coliform levels. Samples were taken of our potable water at the nearest location to the coliform hits. The result of those tests were negative and thus did not impact the potable water that is supplied to our customers. Additional coliform samples were collected from the creek for analysis. Both Chris and Rich believe a dead animal or algae is the probable cause of the coliform spike. The matter will be discussed further at the Wastewater Committee Meeting on November 7, 2011.


Director Boucke reported that the Employee Recognition Dinner will be held at the Community Center on December 13, 2011.


The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

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