November 2, 2006 Commission Meeting Minutes

Approved Minutes of November 2, 2006 Commission Meeting

  1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Halsted at the Port of San Francisco Board Room, Ferry Building at 1:15 p.m., San Francisco, California.
  2. Roll Call. Present were: Chair Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Bates, Bourgart, Fernekes, Gibbs, Gordon (represented by Alternate Hill), Hicks, Jordan, Kniss (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Kondylis, Lundstrom, McGlashan, Mossar, Moy, Nelson, Peskin, Thayer (represented by Alternate Kato) and Waldeck.
    Not Present were: Resources Agency (Baird), Sonoma County (Brown), Contra Costa County (Gioia), Governor’s Appointees (Goldzband), Department of Finance (Klass), Alameda County (Lai-Bitker), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Schwinn), and Napa County (Wagenknecht).
  3. Public Comment Period. There was no public comment.
  4. Approval of Minutes of October 5, 2006 Meeting. Vice Chair Halsted entertained a motion to adopt the minutes.
    MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers to approve the October 5, 2006 minutes. The motion passed with two abstentions.
  5. Report of the Chair. Vice Chair Halsted provided the following update:
    She serves as BCDC’s representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Under MTC’s enabling legislation, all MTC members are appointed to concurrent four-year terms which will end on February 9, 2007. MTC has asked to reconsider re-appointing her to another four-year term. She has agreed to continue in this role and Chair Randolph is willing to reappoint her, therefore, unless there are objections, staff will advise MTC of this appointment.
    1. Next BCDC Meeting. It will not be necessary to hold the next regularly scheduled BCDC meeting on November 16, therefore, the next meeting will be held on December 7. At this point it appears that the December 7th meeting will be the last meeting of the year because most likely December 21 and January 4 meeting will be cancelled.
      At the December 7 meeting the following matters will be taken up:
      1. A public hearing will be held and the Commission will vote on an agreement with the Port of Oakland dealing with mitigation credits.
      2. A public hearing will be held and the Commission will vote on whether to initiate the process of amending a Bay Plan port priority use designation in Oakland.
      3. A public hearing will be held and the Commission will vote on an application for a permit for a shoreline development project in Benicia.
      4. As called for in the strategic plan, the Commission will consider whether it wants to request that BCDC be invited to join three other regional agencies who work together on a Joint Policy Commission.
      5. The Commission will consider whether it wants to provide financial support to complete a documentary video on the Bay.
      6. As requested, John Kriken, the Chair of the Design Review Board, will provide the Commission with further ideas as to how to improve the quality of public access areas around the Bay.
      7. The Commission will consider a report on the progress it is making in carrying out its strategic plan.
    2. Ex-Parte Communications. If any Commissioners may have inadvertently forgotten to report ex-parte communications whether written or oral, they were invited to report on such communications at this time. There were no ex-parte communications reported.
  6. Report of the Executive Director. Mr. Travis said Chair Randolph is on his way to this meeting.
    1. Permit Statistics. Staff is continuing to closely track BCDC’s efficiency in processing permits. Last year staff set a record by processing 221 permit applications, each in an average of only 39 days after a complete application had been received. Since the first of the year, BCDC has received 164 applications (four for major permits, 28 for administrative permits, seven for region wide permits and 113 for amendments). Staff has 30 days to determine whether each of these applications is complete. On average they have completed this initial review within 23 days. Once the application is complete, the law requires that BCDC process it within 90 days. On average, it is taking staff 22 days to issue a permit. Thus, the average application is in and out of the office within 45 days, which is more than 60 percent faster than the 120 days staff had to complete their work.
    2. Alviso Slough. BCDC worked in cooperation with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, other local agencies and law enforcement departments to get several derelict boats, owned by Robert Childers removed from the Alviso Slough. Last week Mr. Childers filed a lawsuit against the Commission, himself, and several members of the staff seeking $1.5 million in damages for those derelict vessels. The case has been referred to the Attorney General’s Office and he will keep the Commission apprised of this matter.
    3. Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has agreed to provide BCDC with $170,000 to support its work in planning for transit oriented development along the waterfront and to carry out regional air transportation planning. MTC has provided BCDC with a contractual agreement to make this funding available and Mr. Travis intends to sign it unless the Commission objects.
    4. Personnel. Two new staff members were introduced: Anna Yee, Contracts Manager and Max Delaney, in the dredging program.
      Brenda Goeden has been promoted to fill the newly established dredging program position. Her promotion leaves BCDC with an analyst position to fill in the dredging unit.

      Sandra Sneeringer has been selected to fill the newly-created Records Manager position. If the Commission concurs with this decision, Sandra will report to work on November 20, 2006.

      Joanne Leung has been selected for the position of Planning Secretary and will join the BCDC staff on Monday, November 6, 2006.

      Seven of the 11 new positions have been filled. Positions still needed to be filled are an engineer, a secretary for the dredging unit, a geographic information system specialist and an enforcement analyst. There are three employees on leave and there are two limited term employees needed to backfill. Therefore, overall eight of the 37 staff positions are currently vacant.

  7. Commission Consideration of Administrative Matters. Mr. McAdam was available to answer any questions on the administrative listing that was provided to the Commissioners. There were no questions.
  8. Vote on Proposed Changes to Commission Regulation Sections 10214, 10381, 10500, 10620, 11002, 11003, and 11005. Vice Chair Halsted advised that this item is a vote on clarifying some sections of BCDC’s regulations that implement the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A public hearing was held on this matter at the last Commission meeting. Jonathan Smith will present the staff recommendation.
    Mr. Smith said the staff recommends that the Commission adopt the changes as proposed in the information sent out and dated October 20. He noted that there have been no comments, either written or oral, that have been received from the public on this item.
    There were no questions or comments from the public.
    MOTION: Commissioner Lundstrom moved approval of the proposed changes to Commission Regulation Sections 10214, 10381, 10500, 10620, 11002, 11003, and 11005 as recommended by staff; seconded by Commissioner Mossar. Motion carried unanimously.
  9. Consideration of Administrative Services Contract. Vice Chair Halsted said this item is for consideration of a contract with the Coastal Commission for administrative services.

    Mamie Lai presented the staff recommendation as follows:
    BCDC is one of the smallest departments in state government. Therefore, rather than hiring its own staff to provide a range of administrative services, BCDC has relied on the California Coastal Commission for the past 27 years.

    Over the years, BCDC has acquired resources to handle in-house everything other than Human Resources. The services for this function will cost approximately $125,000 in the current fiscal year, and decline to $100,000 in each of the subsequent two years; fiscal 07-08 and 08-09.

    Staff recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to enter into a $325,000 contract, under which the California Coastal Commission would provide administrative services to BCDC over the three-year period from July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2009.

    Staff further recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to (1) amend the contract as necessary so long as the amendment does not exceed 10 percent of the original contract amount and does not involve substantial changes to the services provided, and (2) to renew or extend the contract if the cost does not exceed $125,000 per year.
    There were no comments from the public.

    MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers to approve staff’s recommendation for the Administrative Services Contract. Motion carried unanimously.

  10. Public Hearing and Vote on State Ballot Propositions 1A and 87. Vice Chair Halsted stated that this is a public hearing and vote on whether to take positions on the two propositions that are on the California November 7 ballot. At the last Commission meeting, Commissioners directed the staff to bring these matters forward. Steve Goldbeck will present the staff’s analysis and recommendations on these propositions.

    Steve Goldbeck, Assistant Executive Director for Regulation, Legislation and Dredging, provided the staff analysis and recommendations.

    At your October 5th meeting, you took positions on several propositions on the November 7th ballot. At that time, you requested that the staff bring back for your consideration Props 1A and 87.

    Proposition 1A, Transportation Funding Protection Legislative, Constitutional Amendment would prohibit state sales taxes on motor vehicle fuels from being used for purposes other than transportation improvements. While these funds could be borrowed in times of severe fiscal hardship, the proposition would make this much more difficult to do. Some gas tax funds are used for transportation projects that reduce pressures to fill the Bay. Arguably Prop 1A would help preserve the availability of such funds. However, the Proposition would make it harder for the state to allocate revenue between competing fiscal obligations in difficult fiscal times, and could result in a decrease in funds available to Bay protection and restoration. Staff cannot determine whether or not the effects of this proposition would aid or ham the Bay.

    Proposition 87, the Alternative Energy Production Incentives Tax on California Oil Producers, an initiative constitutional amendment would, among other things, establish a $4 billion program to reduce state oil consumption by 25 percent through research and production incentives for alternative energy sources and vehicles, energy efficient technologies and through education. To fund this program, Prop 87 would establish a tax on producers of oil extracted in California. While passage of Proposition 87 may reduce pollution from this source, the actual amount and significance of the decrease in loadings of these pollutants is uncertain for the $4 Billion program. It also may reduce the effects of global warming by reducing greenhouse emissions, but again, the actual amount and effect on the Bay cannot be determined at this time.

    Therefore, the staff recommends that the Commission not take a position on these propositions.

    Vice Chair Halsted opened the public meeting. There were no comments from the public.

    MOTION: Commissioner Peskin moved, seconded by Commissioner Mossar to adopt staff’s recommendation on Propositions 1A and 87.

    Commissioner Moy said he would like to speak in favor of Proposition 1A for the same reasons that this Commission chose to support Proposition 1B, a Transportation Bond Act, Prop 1A will be a clean-up legislation for money that is earmarked for public transportation. Commissioner Peskin said he feels, that as BCDC Commissioners, they should try to limit themselves to taking positions on things that have a very clear nexus to the mission that this body has set forth in the McAteer Petris Act.

    Commissioner McGlashan indicated his strong support for Prop 87. In an effort to show a nexus, he said one of the most clearly accepted scientific predictions from climate change is rising sea level, which will affect the Bay. Many of the amenities providing public access are within a foot or two of mean high tide and in the next 30 years the conservative estimate is one to three feet of rise. Therefore, many of the projects that BCDC has helped to design will be inundated.
    Commissioner Lundstrom said she supports Commissioner Peskin’s position. She feels strongly that the BCDC as a Commission should take positions only on things that are a very clear nexus.

    Vice Chair Halsted asked for a vote on the motion for 1A, which is to take no position on this proposition. The motion carried with 12 ayes, 3 nays and 3 abstentions.

    Vice Chair Halsted asked for a vote on the motion for Proposition 87, which is to take no position on this proposition.
    Commissioner Waldeck asked where staff received its information. Mr. Goldbeck said staff relied heavily on the analysis put forth by the Secretary of State and State of California agencies.

    Commissioner Bates said he feels the nexus for Prop 87 is that if alternatives are not found eventually there will be rising water.

    (At this point Chair Randolph arrived.)
    Commissioner Nelson acknowledged that the nexus between Prop 87 and the Commission’s jurisdiction is different from other issues, but given the Commission’s broad mandate to protect the health of the Bay he feels there is a clear nexus between 87 and the State’s efforts to tackle a global issue.

    The vote was called and the motion for taking no action on Proposition 87 carried with 9 ayes, 6 nays and 3 abstentions.

  11. Briefing on the Regional Airport Planning. Chair Randolph explained that this is a briefing on the work of the Regional Airport Planning Committee who is undertaking the plan for the Bay Area’s future air transportation.
    Lindy Lowe said the purpose of her presentation is to provide the Commission with a brief overview of the recent work of the Regional Airport Planning Committee. RAPC is a jointly sponsored Committee sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments and BCDC. The primary purpose of RAPC is to advise the three sponsoring regional agencies on airport related issues and to evaluate the Bay Area’s airports at a regional scale. RAPC is the only governmental body in the Bay Area that looks at airports and air transportation needs from a regional perspective.

    On July 28, 2006, RAPC approved a three-year work plan to update the Regional Airport Systems Plan Analysis. This is an advisory document and the recommendations can be implemented through actions of the federal, state or local jurisdictions and the airports. The three sponsoring agencies also use the document in updating their regional plans and policies.
    The plan was last updated in 2000. Due to a number of economic, political and societal changes that have occurred since 2000, the central recommendation is no longer seen as viable. In response to this changing environment, RAPC approved a three-year phased work program to update the plan.

    The first phase, funded by MTC at a cost of $365,000, will take approximately one year to complete. It will focus on the strategies to maximize capacity of the existing infrastructure at the three commercial airports by reviewing the opportunities provided by demand management strategies, new aviation technologies and the possible creation of a regional airport authority or other type of new institutional arrangement.

    Phase 2 will further analyze the most promising options identified in Phase 1, as well as analyze alternatives for increasing the Bay Area’s air and other transportation capacity by looking at sites and opportunities away from the three commercial airports including high speed rail, the re-distribution of commercial flights, air cargo or general aviation to other Bay Area or nearby airports. The cost of Phase 2 is estimated at $500,000 and will take over one year to complete.
    The final phase, Phase 3, will provide further detailed analysis on the most viable options identified in Phase 2 and, depending upon the conclusions reached at the end of Phase 2, might also include an analysis of adding runway capacity at Oakland and San Francisco airports.

    The desired outcomes of the three-year phased work plan are: an identification of the general feasibility and benefit of each alternative; a recommendation of which alternatives to pursue; and a discussion of the steps necessary to pursue each recommendation. The purpose of the update is to develop a regional strategy to address the projected increase in air traffic and air cargo demand. This regional strategy will give the Bay Area a better chance at pursuing the funds and possible changes in federal policy that may be necessary to address future aviation demand in the region.
    BCDC’s website contains the documents that she has spoken to, i.e., the work program and schedule, etc.

    Commissioner Waldeck commended BCDC staff, particularly Lindy Lowe and Jeff Blanchfield, for their work and organization.
    Commissioner Carruthers said he is pleased to see the program proposal and he is excited about the consideration of an airport authority, the possibility of allocating and/or distributing flight traffic among the airports. He asked if this is possible with the competitiveness of the airports. Ms. Lowe said she believes that the airports are trying to balance their service to the region with their need to compete and they are much further along in this process now than they were five years ago.

    Mr. Travis said that the airports, from their own self-interest perspective, realize that a regional approach is absolutely essential.

    Chair Randolph said there is a perception growing at the State that the question of logistical capacity related to the major gateways is extremely important. There is a real opportunity for RAPC to provide leadership.

  12. Briefing on the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Project. Chair Randolph called Sara Polgar to provide a briefing on the Bay Area Water Trail Project.
    Ms. Polgar provided the following briefing:
    A water trail is considered a series of landing and launching spots along the waterway and they are usually called trail heads.

    For the most part the user base is comprised of canoeists or kayakers and the trails are set up for multi-day trips with camping available at every site.

    In the Bay Area a water trail might look a little different than the traditional concept. It may be more of a network or web of launch sites as opposed to a linear trail. Though the focus is still to enable point-to-point trips, camping at every site will probably not happen, so more creative ways for accommodation will need to be looked into.
    Kayaks for this water trail project are the primary users, but there will be potential to serve a wider variety of non-motorized small boats (NMSB).

    There are many places around the Bay to launch a non-motorized small boat. There are a wide variety of locations with different areas, i.e., waterfront parks, marinas and harbors, etc. They also vary in terms of how the launches and facilities are developed.

    Some launches are geared specifically for NMSB, such as Oyster Point Marina and Stanford Boat Dock. These sites are in a sense, a de facto water trail, but they are not linked at this point by any signage, maps, guidebooks or consistent education and outreach. So, even though there are many launch sites around the Bay, the Bay Area doesn’t have a water trail at this point, thus this project.

    The Governor signed the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Act a year ago and the Act amends the McAteer Petris Act and requires BCDC to conduct a public process to develop a San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan. The Plan will be submitted to the State Legislature in January 2008.

    The mix of land and water components is a new twist to trail planning in the Bay Area and it pulls together some stakeholders who have not necessarily had a chance to work together so the planning process itself is a great opportunity to initiate some partnerships that will help jump-start the implementation o the trail.

    Because of the unique nature of the trail, BCDC turned to a collaborative planning approach. First, her role as Project Manager is made possible through a federal state partnership under the NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship. Second, BCDC is working very closely with the California Coastal Conservancy and the Association of Bay Area Governments on this planning process.

    The most obvious collaborative aspect of the Water Trail is the Water Trail Steering Committee to provide guidance on trail development and management. The Steering Committee represents interests from non-motorized small boating groups, shoreline resource planning, management and ownership, Bay Area navigational safety and security, wildlife protection and environmental stewardship.

    For specific topics, experts are invited to participate in informing the discussions at planning meetings.
    The Steering Committee has met five times and they identified the key topics and issues that need to be addressed in the water trail plan. The Committee recommended four topics and it will be addressing implementation in the next meeting in February. The specific issues that the Steering Committee identified are:

    At the most basic level, this water trail is about access onto the water.
    Can people launch their kayaks, windsurf, et cetera on the Bay?
    Wide variety of launch types, and what is appropriate depends on the site.

    The site needs to be designed to be accessible for people with disabilities, to make sure it is safe for everyone and that it is long lasting.

    Need to consider management of the launches.

    Besides the launch itself, there are a suite of other facility improvements that can apply, (1) parking, (2) restrooms, (3) equipment storage, and (4) overnight accommodations.

    Another set of issues that have been discussed at the Steering Committee are the wildlife and habitat issues. Overall, non-motorized small activities are relatively low impact recreational activities on the Bay, but they still can have negative impacts. The Steering Committee focused mainly on wildlife disturbance issues and these fell into three categories: (1) Harbor seals that are susceptible to disturbance effects while they are resting, molting, breeding or feeding their young; (2) bird populations that are especially susceptible to disturbance during breeding season; and (3) special status species that are those that are listed as threatened or endangered or as species of concern.

    The issues of safety and security were discussed at the Steering Committee and it identified personal safety issues and navigational safety and security issues. In terms of personal safety issues, there are strong currents, waves, winds, etc. and therefore the Bay can be a dangerous place for boaters. Landside safety is also a concern as well as camping and personal security.

    Since non-motorized small boaters can have a lot of contact with Bay waters, water quality is another concern.
    Another aspect of safety is navigational safety and national security.
    Outcomes of the planning meetings have fallen under categories: (1) designating or identifying criteria for identifying critical areas of the Bay; (2) site assessment and planning; (3) trail head development and management strategies; (4) water trail ethic; (5) promote safety through a water trail education program; and (6) create a comprehensive water trail education program.

    On a more specific level, the Steering Committee has worked on trail head development and management strategies.
    The Steering Committee rallied around the concept of an organic approach with sites being developed with what is appropriate and makes sense.

    The overarching theme that came out of the Steering Committee meetings was education, education, education.
    Some other themes and challenges that are still being worked on is the water trail vision, stewardship, enforcement, selecting sites and engaging shoreline and facility managers.
    The meeting summaries and materials are on the BCDC website for those who might be interested in learning more.
    There were no public comments.

    Commissioner Waldeck asked why the Steering Committee is not a subcommittee of the Bay Trail. Ms. Polgar said the Steering Committee is working with the Bay Trail and there is some overlap. Planning this trail is very different than the Bay Trail and sometimes the funding sources are not overlapping.

    Commissioner Mossar said her City Council has directed the Parks and Recreation Commission to look further at water recreational opportunities in the Bay lands. She said she does not understand how the Steering Committee intends to engage the people who make decisions about the properties. Ms. Polgar said it will be a model similar to what the Bay Trail does. Advocacy and staff are working closely with the decision makers. The water trail will be doing a phased implementation and it will focus on the sites where there are possibilities and interests already, and then longer term, it will be going out to the planning groups and decision makers to rally support.

    Mr. Travis said the Bay Water Trail is the whole Bay. This is not a trail planning exercise so much as it is a national park planning exercise. This is a plan; a set of suggestions where great opportunities for access to the Bay will be identified. This plan will help guide local governments, park agencies, and so forth in making funding decisions.

    Chair Randolph asked how Ms. Polgar sees the potential use of the trail in this environment differing from what may exist elsewhere in similar areas. Ms. Polgar said here there is less of a need to have to go from point to point in a series fashion. There might be recommendations in a guide book where interesting trips would be recommended that combine different points. There would not be as much of a constraint on telling people they should go here or there and more flexibility would be added. The water trail would serve different needs and therefore would not have to be a linear trail.

    Commissioner Lundstrom said there could be simple workshops to invite the Parks and Recreation Directors and Planning Directors and they could point out preliminary good practices, as well as potential sources of funding.

    Commissioner Nelson asked how gaps are going to be assessed and what role the Steering Committee is going to play in reviewing the draft plan. Ms. Polgar said the Steering Committee will review the draft before it is released as a draft. She said that the Steering Committee has not, at this point, thought about how gaps will be assessed because at this stage it is a little premature.

    Commissioner Carruthers asked who will own the plan at the end of the process and will the implementation section describe potential agency roles, ongoing management, and revision of the plan based on experience, etc. Ms. Polgar said the implementation discussion is focusing on the institutional organization, the different tasks and roles, and an early work plan for the beginning of the trail. She is not sure who will own the plan, but perhaps the Conservancy will be the owner of the plan.

    Mr. Travis said the author of the Legislation is the owner.

    There were no comments from the public.

  13. Consideration of Strategic Plan Report. Mr. Travis provided an update on the progress in carrying out the strategic plan. There are a couple of items that need the deadline extended to the end of the year.
    MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Peskin to extend the deadlines as requested by staff. The motion passed unanimously.
  14. New Business. There was no new business.
  15. Old Business. There was no old business.
  16. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Kondylis, seconded by Commissioner Bourgart the meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Executive Director

Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of December 7, 2006