March 15, 2007 Commission Meeting Minutes
Approved minutes of March 15, 2007 Commission Meeting
Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Halsted at the MetroCenter Auditorium, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California at 1:10 p.m.
Roll Call. Present were Vice Chair Anne Halsted, Commissioners Baird (represented by Alternate Potter), Bates, Bourgart, Brown (represented by Alternate Smith), Fernekes, Jordan, Kniss (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Lundstrom, McGlashan (represented by Adams), Mossar, Moy, Peskin (represented by Alternate Owen), Thayer (represented by Alternate Kato), and Waldeck.
Not Present were: Governor’s Appointees (Randolph and Goldzband), Speaker of the Assembly (Gibbs), Contra Costa County (Gioia), San Mateo County (Gordon), U.S. Army Corps. Of Engineers (Hicks), Department of Finance (Klass), Senate Rules Committee (Nelson), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Schwinn) and Napa County (Wagenknecht).
Public Comment Period. There was no public comment.
Approval of Minutes of January 18, 2007 Meeting. Vice Chair Halsted entertained a motion to adopt the minutes.
MOTION: Commissioner Mossar moved, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers to approve the January 18, 2007 minutes. The motion passed unanimously.
Report of the Chair. Vice Chair Halsted provided the following update:
a. The Solano County Board of Supervisors reappointed Barbara Kondylis to serve as the County’s representative on BCDC and Supervisor John Silva was reappointed to serve as her alternate.
b. It will not be necessary to hold the next regularly scheduled BCDC meeting on
April 5. Therefore, the next BCDC meeting will be held on April 19, 2007. At that meeting, which will be held at the MetroCenter, the following matters will be taken up:
(1)A public hearing and vote will be held on the application to place an electric power cable on the bottom of the Bay between Pittsburg and San Francisco.
(2)A public hearing and vote will be held on a permit application and a related federal consistency determination dealing with a plan to restore Bay habitat on Bair Island in Redwood City. Although there is one management plan, two regulatory actions will be needed because one part of the island is owned by the California Department of Fish and Game and another part owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
(3)A public hearing and vote may be held on a case that is being taken up by the Enforcement Committee in the next few weeks. The case involves placing material dredged from the Port of Stockton by the Army Corps of Engineers on a duck club in the Suisun Marsh.
(4)A report from staff will be considered on issues that lend themselves to regional coordination. The Commission called for the preparation of this report in its strategic plan.
(5)The Commission will receive a briefing on the status of the studies being undertaken to determine whether it is feasible to provide a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
(6)The Commission will receive a briefing on the actions other California agencies are taking to deal with climate change.
(7)The Commission will consider a report on the progress it is making in carrying out the strategic plan.
c. Ex-Parte Communications. If any commissioners may have inadvertently forgotten to report ex-parte communications whether written or oral, they were invited you to report on such communications now. (No reports were made.)
Report of the Executive Director. Mr. Travis provided the following report:
a.Last Meeting. After consulting with Chair Randolph, three emergency permits were issued. The first was issued to the California Department of Fish and Game on January 22, 2007 to deal with hydrogen sulfide orders coming from a stagnant pond in the Bahia community of Novato by breaching a levee and installing a water control structure.
The second permit was issued on February 14, 2007 to authorize Tesoro Refining Company to make emergency repairs to the Avon Wharf in Martinez so that ships transporting gasoline produced at the refinery could moor at the wharf.
The third emergency permit was issued on February 21, 2007 to the City of Alameda to allow steel piling to be installed and stabilize a section of a gangway at Alameda's Main Street Ferry Terminal.
b.Budget. Over the past week, subcommittees in both houses of the California Legislature have approved the budget the Governor proposed for BCDC for the fiscal year that begins in July. BCDC’s budget was unanimously approved by both subcommittees because it did not request any revisions in our budget, and the Governor did not propose any.
c.Potrero Landfill. In late 2005 Solano County issued a permit for the expansion of a waste management landfill in the Potrero Hills, which are located in the secondary management area of the Suisun Marsh. The County's permit was appealed to BCDC, and this Commission voted to accept the appeal. The County’s decision relied on Environmental Impact Report for the project, which the County certified at the same time it approved the landfill expansion. In addition to appealing the County’s decision to BCDC, local residents filed a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the EIR.
On February 26, 2007, the Solano County Superior Court invalidated the EIR because the court found that the EIR failed to consider a sufficient range of reasonable alternatives to the project and failed to analyze certain air quality impacts and impacts to groundwater.
BCDC has been advised that rather than appeal the court decision, the County and the landfill operator will amend the EIR to address the shortcomings identified in the court decision. Once the amended EIR is certified, a public hearing and vote will be scheduled for this project. Staff will be meeting with the permit applicants next week to work out a more precise schedule for BCDC’s further consideration of this project.
d.SB 300. Senator Ellen Corbett introduced SB 300, which would increase the maximum penalty a court can impose for violating the McAteer-Petris Act, from the current $30,000 limit to $100,000. After the measure had been introduced, the Senator’s staff asked for BCDC’s assessment of this legislation. After consulting with the Attorney General’s staff it was concluded, by BCDC, that the existing limit has not been a detriment in pursuing violations. Therefore, rather than to continue to press for the penalty increase, BCDC staff requested that Senator Corbett consider amending the bill authorizing BCDC to become a member of the Joint Policy Committee.
e.Climate Change. At the last meeting staff presented the Commission with a briefing on the impact of the climate change on the Bay. Since the last meeting, staff has been actively involved in providing the general public with information on sea level rise by making presentations at conferences, through newspaper articles, and on television and radio. In addition, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded there is now a 90 percent likelihood that human activities are the primary cause of global warming and that the increase in sea level rise may be slower than previously predicted.
The California Climate Change Center is assessing this new information. BCDC staff will wait the completion of the assessment before developing a detailed work plan. Staff will report back to the BCDC Commission on June 7th. In the meantime, Commissioner Chris Potter has offered to arrange a briefing on the actions that other California agencies are taking to deal with climate change.
f.Childers Lawsuit. The lawsuits Robert Childers filed against BCDC and the Santa Clara Valley Water District have been dismissed. The suits claimed vessels owned by Mr. Childers, which had been removed from the Alviso Slough to carry out a court order, had been damaged.
g.Skaggs Island. The BCDC permit that authorizes the replacement of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge requires CalTrans to provide $8 million for clean-up work needed to allow ownership of Skaggs Island in Sonoma County to be transferred from the U.S. Navy to the State of California so the property can be restored to tidal and seasonal wetlands. Up to $6 million is to be used for the removal of deteriorated buildings and hazardous materials on the property. The remaining funds are t be used for eventual wetland restoration.
In December, the BCDC Commission agreed that CalTrans could use $190,000 of the $6 million to determine the precise cost of removing the buildings and hazardous materials from the property. Unfortunately, the final bid for the assessment has come in at $250,000. Therefore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has requested that an additional $60,000 be provided for the necessary analysis. Without this work, there is no way to determine whether the site can be cleaned up to a point where the State can accept ownership of the property.
Congressmember Lynn Wolsey sent a letter to BCDC supporting this request. BCDC staff also believes that this is a reasonable and appropriate use of the funds, and Mr. Travis will inform CalTrans to release an additional $60,000 for this study unless the Commission directs him otherwise.
Commissioner Bates mentioned that the work needed to be completed by a certain time and asked for an update on the timeframe. Mr. McAdam said the permit requires that the money must be provided by the end of 2007. CalTrans will be requesting an additional year and staff is still working on guarantees. There is a specific deadline in the permit for the work to occur, however it needs to be known if this property can transfer from federal to state ownership.
Commissioner Bates said if this cannot be completed within the timeframe, it was agreed upon at the last Commission meeting, and that the money would be diverted to other mitigation sources.
Commission members were reminded that their annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) must be received in BCDC's office or postmarked by April 2, 2007.
Thus far in 2007, BCDC has received 28 permit applications. The initial review of the applications which, by law must be completed in 30 days, has been completed in an average of 15 days.
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 administrative matters.
Public Hearing and Vote on Consistency Determination CN9-06; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, for 2007-2009 Maintenance Dredging of Federal Navigation Channels in San Francisco Bay and the Delta. Vice Chair Halsted said Item #8 is a public hearing and vote on a federal consistency determination submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake maintenance dredging of the federal channels in the Bay.
Ms. Brenda Goeden, Dredging Program Manager for BCDC, provided the following summary:
In the next three years the Corps proposes to dredge and dispose an estimated 9,375,000 cubic yards of sediment, of which 7,750,000 cubic yards are within the Commission’s jurisdiction, for the purpose of safe navigation for commercial and recreational vessels traveling into and out of the Bay for the fifteen federal navigation channels.
The consistency determination raises three primary issues:
a.Whether the proposed maintenance dredging of federal navigation channels is consistent with the Commission’s laws and Bay Plan policies regarding dredging, water quality, fish, other aquatic organisms, and wildlife in subtidal areas;
b.Whether allowing the Corps to use knockdown events of up to 25,000 cubic yards of sediment within a federal channel is consistent with the Commission’s laws and the Bay Plan; and
c.Whether identifying the proposed disposal site as a particular beneficial reuse, upland disposal or ocean disposal sit with an in-Bay fallback site is sufficient in meeting the Commission’s policies on feasible alternatives to in-Bay disposal when other beneficial reuse, upland disposal or ocean disposal sites may be available.
The Corps has committed, as part of its consistency determination, that from 2007 through 2009 it will dispose and/or beneficially reuse sediment from the federal channels at wetland restoration sites, including Hamilton, Bair Island, Montezuma Wetlands to place sediment at ocean beach for shoreline nourishment at upland disposal sites and the San Francisco Deep Ocean Disposal site. If these sites are not available within six months of commencement of the dredging project, the Corps has designated alternative sites that include in-Bay disposal as well as deep ocean disposal.
If the Corps determines less than six months before any dredging project begins that the preferred disposal site is not feasible, the Corps proposes to use an alternate site that includes in-Bay disposal, as well as ocean disposal.
Ms. Goeden introduced Major Christopher Hussin, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who provided the following information:
a.The Corps has a mandated operations and maintenance dredging program, the purpose of which is to remove obstructions of safe navigation, thereby ensuring the safe movement of maritime vessels, the protection of the surrounding habitat and the continuation of the economic well-being and national defense of the nation.
b.The Consistency Determination presented today, supports this vital Corps program for the next three calendar years. This Consistency Determination includes annual dredging and non-annual dredging, as well as provisions for emergency dredging events.
c.The maintenance of deep draft channels is essential for the continued efficient operation of the port serving commercial vessels. Dredging shallow draft channels is essential for access to the Bay for recreational and fishing boaters and commercial barges. Without regular dredging the shallow draft channels would become unnavigable and the deep draft channels would revert to sloughs only navigable at high tide.
d.Staff representatives of the Corps, BCDC, the San Francisco Bay Regional Quality Control Board, USCPA Region 9, and the California State Lands Commission meet regularly to review dredging projects and make consensus based recommendations.
e.The Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) is a coordinated and comprehensive long-term monitoring program with the goal of monitoring water and sediment quality in the Bay. The Corps is a participant in the RMP and contributes to the program by funding monitoring of suspended sediments at an array of locations in the Bay which is carried out by the United States Geological Survey.
f.The Corps is also a participant in the Long-Term Management Strategy Environmental Windows Working Group. This group is concerned with identifying studies that provide sound science upon which to guide policy and improve consultation of permitting procedures.
g.The Corps is committed to conducting dredging and dredge material disposal in an environmentally and economically sound manner in accordance with LTMS goals. The Corps will continue to be an active participant in the DMMO and RMP and remain committed to appropriately testing all sediments as required.
h.There is no feasible alternative to maintaining the federal navigation channels through dredging and disposal. The maintenance of these channels is essential to provide safe navigation and access to the ports and recreation marinas in the Bay. The Corps stands ready to work closely with all regulatory agencies to implement this vital dredging program for the benefit of the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
Jim Levine with the Montezuma Wetlands said his organization developed and owns the Montezuma site. The project has been highly successful both operationally and environmentally. This is the only site available to take contaminated sediment safely from the Port of Oakland, as well as to other sites.
He believes his organization is under challenge from the San Francisco District Corps of Engineers, who in their efforts to get their own site up and running, is acting like competitors instead of the Government. Their proposal is to self-direct all the maintenance material from their projects to their own site without any objective comparison between the sites. In his opinion, this violates the spirit of Order 99, and in the private sector, would be considered an anti-trust action that would get rid of competitors.
The proposed CD, as it is written states, “That if proposed upland disposal at Hamilton is determined to be unfeasible, that an alternative disposal site would be the deep ocean site, or one of the identified in-Bay disposal sites.” They would not even consider his organization before going in-Bay. That anyone in the government would even suggest this is shocking to him.
Mr. Levine said he submitted a detailed letter to the BCDC Commission, as well as did Senator Swanson and Solano County. He highlighted the following points:
a.It is bad for LTMS.
b. It is bad for the environment.
c. It is bad for Solano County.
d. It is bad for private enterprise.
He asked BCDC to amend the Consistency Determination to provide for equal treatment of Hamilton and Montezuma, and every disposal project, and have no allowance for short-circuiting the Alternatives Analysis. He asked the Commission to pass a resolution requesting the Corps to fully and fairly consider these sites in every one of their actions.
Ellen Johnck, Executive Director of the Bay Planning Coalition provided the following information.
It is fortunate that there is more than one beneficial reuse site to be considered for material disposal. There needs to be as many options available as possible and at the least cost. She knows that she would have to pay a little more to keep the array of sites operating.
There is one commercially available site. We worked hard to get this site and it should be considered in the distribution of sediments.
The Bay Planning Coalition is approving the Consistency Determination but she asked the Commission to encourage, as they go forward, that continual comparison of sites and alternatives, costs, and environmental benefits be considered in decision making, including the commercially available site (Montezuma Wetlands).
MOTION: Commissioner Mossar moved, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers to close the public hearing. The motion passed.
Commissioner Moy said he is sympathetic towards the public sector and does not want the Commission’s actions to run people out of business. He does not want to see unfair competition from government with the private sector.
Commissioner Carruthers asked staff if the letter from Mr. Levine presents information that is salient so that the Commission is taking a more explicit recommendation regarding the Montezuma site as a potential site for disposal. Ms. Goeden said the information in the letter is not new information to staff. Staff is aware of Montezuma’s concerns of distribution of sediment. In looking over Bay Plan policies there is the ability to determine whether or not placing material upland or at the deep ocean disposal site prior to authorizing in-Bay disposal is feasible. At this time, there is no policy direction that allows to choose between one beneficial reuse site over another. They are both authorized. They are both available, and at the point of dredging, both would be considered in the alternatives analysis.
Commissioner Carruthers asked if there is any kind of additional wording in the Commission’s Recommendation to the Corps on the Consistency Determination that make clearer the Commission’s desire to have more equitable considerations.
Commissioner Smith asked who would make the determination if the sites are feasible. Ms. Goeden said the Corps prepares an alternative analysis and it is submitted to BCDC, the EPA, the Corps of Engineers Regulatory Division, and the Water Board. All four agencies review the analysis to determine whether it is feasible to dispose out of Bay.
Commissioner Moy said the condition in the Consistency Determination states that the Executive Director makes the decision. Ms. Goeden pointed out special condition E-3 which speaks to this issue. She said she would be happy to add a sentence into the Consistency Determination that states Montezuma is available and should be treated as a potentially feasible alternative so that it would not be excluded from consideration.
Mr. McAdam stated that staff did not intend to exclude Montezuma Wetlands from being used by the projects. The staff recommendation simply reflects the project as it was described by the Corps. The staff wishes to change the staff recommendation to authorize the Corps to dispose of any dredged materials from any of the maintenance dredging projects included in the consistency determination at Montezuma Wetlands.
Mr. Travis suggested that Ms. Goeden present staff’s recommendation, which might answer some of the Commissioner’s questions.
Ms. Goeden said that similar to the 2004 through 2006 Consistency Determination, this Consistency Determination includes flexibility in the individual project volumes. Less expected and maximum volumes are included because the dredge volumes cannot be accurately defined until the pre-dredge survey is completed.
The Corps proposes knockdown episodes for material dragged from a high spot into adjacent lower spots within the federal channel as a way to minimize dredging and disposal in areas where it is less practical to dredge due to isolated high spots; the minimum volume above project depth, and economic feasibility.
The Consistency Determination has been amended during the last week to limit potential knockdowns to 25,000 cubic yards deep draft channels and 15,000 cubic yards in shallow draft channels. To the staff’s knowledge the Corps’ District has not conducted a knockdown episode larger than 8,000 cubic yards in the Bay to date.
The Consistency Determination also includes the ability for the Corps to use an alternate disposal site when the preferred site is infeasible. Most of the dredge sediment is proposed for beneficial reuse. When the preferred site is not available, the Corps proposes to dispose of dredge sediments in-Bay rather than taking it to an alternate upland or ocean disposal site.
The Corps has prepared an integrated alternatives disposal site analysis that considers the three year dredging program, and it describes the most efficient way to place the largest amount of sediment at either beneficial reuse sites, upland or ocean disposals with the minimum amount disposed of in the Bay. However, because this integrated alternative analysis states the disposal preferences rather than specific individual private disposal sites, the staff has included an alternative analysis condition. This condition is consistent with the Regional Board’s water quality certification for the Corps program that was approved yesterday.
Three comment letters have been received. One, from Jim Levine, whose concern centers around the placement of dredge material at the deep ocean disposal site or an in Bay disposal site when the Montezuma project is available for beneficial reuse. Two additional letters, one Special Condition 2-E-(3) requires that the additional analysis and the Executive Director approval prior to disposing dredge sediments in the Bay.
Staff recommends that the Commission find the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2007, 2008, and 2009 operations and maintenance dredging program as condition consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the Bay Plan Policies on navigation, dredging, water quality, tidal marshes and tidal flats, subtidal areas, fish, other aquatic organisms and wildlife in the Suisun Marsh Act and Protection Plan.
Commissioner Lai-Bitker asked who would make the decision if the Montezuma Wetlands would be included as a beneficial upland reuse site. Ms. Goeden said it is included as a beneficial upland reuse site and would be considered in the alternative analysis. Staff would look at economic feasibility, availability, equipment availability, etc.
Commissioner Moy said the first part of the staff’s recommendation describes the project as it is being proposed by the Corps. So the Corps’ project does not specifically mention Montezuma anywhere which is why there appears to be an exclusion. Ms. Goeden stated it does include Montezuma for Oakland.
Commissioner Moy suggested adding a sentence to the authorization, that even though it may not be part of the Corps’ project for all of the dredging sites, that BCDC would find that Montezuma is an acceptable and consistent disposal site for any of the dredging.
Commissioner Moy said in terms of making the decision, the Executive Director would make the decision as to whether or not there are alternatives to in-Bay disposal, however the Corps would make the decision as to which alternative upland site would be used.
Commissioner Carruthers said in Mr. Levine’s letter, it indicates that there are some criteria that the Corps may not have considered in considering the alternate sites. He asked if the Commission can be assured that the various conditions regarding the availability of equipment, etc. would be part of the acceptable subject of how feasibility would be determined. Ms. Goeden said the Corps provides a number of different categories to integrate feasibility analysis.
Commissioner Potter asked to what degree is the Corps bound by the outcome of the feasibility studies. Mr. Aris Rakstins with the Corps of Engineers, said the Corps will be bound to the conditions of the Consistency Determination. It will be up to the Corps to demonstrate the feasibility to the Executive Director of the various sites available at that point in time. The data would be presented to the Executive Director for his consideration.
Commissioner Kondylis said Montezuma could take clean material too and wanted to know if there were other sites that could take contaminated material. Ms. Goeden said Montezuma can take both mildly contaminated material and clean dredge material. The Port of Oakland and the Port of San Francisco both have small containment facilities where they can dry material and truck it to the landfill.
Commissioner Kondylis said she has a concern about BCDC’s involvement because BCDC was a partner with Hamilton and she is concerned with the Commission’s involvement it may have a prejudicial overcast. Mr. Travis said the Commission, in what is before it today, will act as a Regulatory Agency. What staff is looking at is the Commission’s policy which says you should beneficially reuse material to the maximum degree possible. If staff finds that it is feasible to beneficially reuse the material either at Hamilton or Montezuma staff will let the Corps know that this is what they must do. However, Mr. Levine is asking the Commission to interject beyond what staff believes BCDC has the legal authority to do, and that is to say some should go to Hamilton and some to Montezuma in order to be fair. Under BCDC’s policies there is not the ability to do this.
Commissioner Kondylis asked about the costs at Hamilton and Montezuma. Ms. Goeden said there is federal funding that pays for the incremental costs to dispose at the Hamilton site. Montezuma does not have this federal funding and charges a tipping fee.
Commissioner Adams asked if it is possible to set a criteria for how disposal sites will be addressed so the Commission has clarity and transparency in how the determination is made. Mr. Travis said this would take an amendment of the Commission Bay Plan. He clarified that he does not make decisions as to which beneficial reuse is used. Staff just says that it either is or is not feasible to go out of the Bay.
Commissioner Smith asked what goes into the feasibility determination. Is it primarily environmental, or economic, or a combination of both? Ms. Goeden said there are a number of things that are considered. They are: economics, timing, the amount of time it takes to get a dredge from the dredging site to the disposal site, what sites are open, what endangered species may be present, the sediment suitability for the site, etc.
Commissioner Smith said the Commission encourages the development of the upland sites and is concerned about one having a competitive advantage because it is federally subsidized and the other is not. It is his hope that whatever determination is ultimately made that a fair and equitable feasibility determination is made.
Commissioner Bourgart asked what the paramount factors are that lead to one recommendation versus another. Mr. Rakstins said it is primarily a current year budget and the time of the availability to decide. Another point is the environmental windows that the Corps is required to work within.
Commissioner Potter asked if the Corps foresees a day when it will ask for funding increases to pay for beneficial reuses. Mr. Rakstins said the Corps is currently complying with the Federal guidelines. The federal standard is the least cost environmentally acceptable alternative. If the Corps is complying with these guidelines then the Corps’ budget is submitted to reflect this.
MOTION: Commissioner Mossar moved, seconded by Commissioner Lundstrom to approve staff’s recommendations with an additional sentence that states Montezuma is available and should be treated as a potentially feasible alternative so that it would not be excluded from consideration.
It was pointed out that staff is not saying that Montezuma is necessarily more expensive as a total cost than Hamilton. Part of the issue is that Hamilton gets direct funding that helps subsidize the cost, whereas Montezuma does not get subsidizing. The Corps looks at the dollars they have to spend this year and next year.
Commissioner Carruthers mentioned that the letter from Mr. Levine indicates that the Corps’ process in seeking bids somehow resulted in higher costs for delivery to Montezuma. The Montezuma site was not included with the result that no current costs for delivery to Montezuma were forthcoming. Commissioner Carruthers would like some assurance that when the considerations are made, that the costs relative to Montezuma were indeed the appropriate current costs. He asked the Corps for their comments on the letter from Mr. Levine relative to how the costs were determined.
Mr. Rakstins said there is a fundamental difference between the two sites in that Hamilton is a federal project while Montezuma is not a federal project. The Corps considers all the costs that go into any site. Commissioner Carruthers urged the Corps to study the Levine letter because it seems to indicate that the information upon which the determination will be made is not based on current costs.
Commissioner Bates said it seems as if, given the two sites, the competitive advantage clearly would indicate the Corps would go to Hamilton because they would get subsidized.
Mr. Rakstins said that many of the projects in the Bay were authorized in the 1940’s and 50’s for in-Bay disposal and they are still authorized and funded this way. With the advent of LTMS the Corps has modified its funding request to accommodate the LTMS guidelines. If the Corps can accomplish the least cost environmentally acceptable disposal alternative that is what it is required to do. On the other hand, if there is a reason to pay more than the authorized cost, there is Legislation Section 204 of the Water Resources Development Act, which allows the Corps to establish a non-federal partnership for disposal sites. But, to pay that additional cost a new federal project would have to be developed on top of a non-federal project and a non-federal sponsor is needed in order to do this.
Commissioner Bates asked if there might be some discussion on how to make this more equitable. Mr. Rakstins said on all the federal dredging contracts, the contractor has a value engineering option, where if he can submit a disposal site less than what was advertised, and the Corps could then go to Montezuma.
Commissioner Lundstrom said she sits on the Harbor Safety Committee and the Committee wrote a letter to Senator Feinstein about dredging because the Bay Area does not get its fair share of dredging money from the Federal government.
Commissioner Kondylis said there is a three year window of opportunity to look at BCDC’s policies and the LTMS.
MOTION: Commissioner Mossar moved, seconded by Commissioner Lundstrom to direct staff to explore whether BCDC's policies can be amended so that competing projects that beneficially reuse dredged material are treated equitably. Motion carried unanimously.
VOTE: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 17-0-0 with Commissioners Potter, Bates, Bourgart, Smith, Fernekes, Jordan, Carruthers, Kondylis, Lai-Bitker, Lundstrom, Adams, Mossar, Moy, Owen, Kato, Waldeck, and Vice Chair Halsted voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions.
Consideration of 2006 Annual Report. Vice Chair Halsted said that Agenda Item 9 is for approving the text of BCDC’s 2006 Annual Report. Mr. Travis said that staff recommends that the Commission approve the text of BCDC’s required annual report to the Governor and the Legislature which was included in their packets.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Mossar to approve the text of BCDC's 2006 annual report. The motion passed.
Briefing on Sydney, Australia. Vice Chair Halsted said that agenda Item 10 is a briefing by Dr. John Landis of the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. He will share his ideas on what BCDC can learn about waterfront development and public access based on his observations in Sydney, Australia where he recently spent part of his recent sabbatical.
Dr. John Landis provided the following information, he is no longer the Chairman of the City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley.
Sydney Harbor is in the southeastern part of Australia and is an estuarian harbor. The city region is about half the size of the San Francisco Bay Area. The average density of the city region is about the same as that of San Francisco. The economies of both Sydney and San Francisco are fairly similar and both have the most expensive housing markets in their countries.
San Francisco Bay has approximately 400 square miles while Sydney Harbor is only 22 square miles. The shoreline of Sydney Harbor is 190 miles while the shoreline of San Francisco Bay is approximately 1,000 miles.
Sydney Harbor has one major ferry operator and 31 vessels on 8 routes. There is one major bridge crossing and one major tunnel crossing at Sydney Harbor.
The regulatory authority in Sydney Harbor comes down to two organizations, the State of New South Wales, and the Foreshore Authority.
There are some big differences and big similarities between Sydney and the Bay Area. Both Sydney Harbor and the Bay are the core of economy, both are tidal, hills come down to meet the shorelines, urban development lines the shores, there are key historical and natural areas that have been set aside for protection, water quality issues are ongoing in both places, and both are wondering about the affects of climate change.
Some of the big differences are, Sydney Harbor is mostly rocky as opposed to fill; Sydney Harbor is much narrower than San Francisco Bay; Sydney Harbor has a much more variegated and deeper shoreline than San Francisco Bay; there is not as much dredging work going on in Sydney Harbor as in San Francisco Bay; Sydney Harbor’s working harbor activities have been relocated to Botney Bay and is not a working harbor unlike San Francisco Bay; in Sydney Harbor there are many private homes having water frontage and many private and community marina parks and beaches; there is a minimal history of filling in city harbor; in Sydney Harbor their philosophy of use is to maximize the use by the widest variety of activities including environmental protection and preservation.
Prior to 1968 Sydney was going to high rise the city, however the city residents opposed this plan and heritage preservation was emphasized as the key to this area.
The ingredients to success in Sydney have been: (1) seeing development as an opportunity to activate the waterfront for multiple uses; (2) preservation is worth fighting for, but not every place needs to be preserved; (3) mixing iconic modern buildings; (4) master plans involving private developers with the plan coming from the government; (5) design competitions to think outside the envelope; (6) the understanding that the resulting renovation buildings will not be for the poor, but the poor and everyone in society will have access to the water slide; (7) leadership, vision, patience and occasionally a willingness to incorporate risks for great rewards; (8)conservation and new development can co-exist in the same agency; (9) projects and plans that emphasize the core values that the resource is for the enjoyment and use of everyone.
The City Harbor Foreshore Authority was established in the 1970’s and has three sets of responsibilities, an economic development responsibility, a cultural management and facilities responsibility, and a real estate responsibility. The Foreshore Authority owns many properties that are developed with private developers. The Authority has many purposes, i.e., a community purpose to enhance the city harbor while protecting the natural and cultural heritage, to increase visitation, to promote appropriate commercial growth in and around the core, and to promote economic development.
The City Harbor Foreshore Authority does research to have a good sense of benchmarking their operations. The Authority has jurisdiction in the four shore area, but that jurisdiction extends across multiple municipalities. This is similar to BCDC which has jurisdiction across multiple municipalities. Their authorization comes from the State just like BCDC, and the authorization for port authorities and redevelopment authorities comes from city councils. The Authority does have the power of eminent domain and they set the price, which is something that does not happen in the Bay Area.
The Authority gets its money from the state governments and the rents that are charged on the use of their space. The Authority does not issue bonds.
In general, Australia is much further behind the U.S. in terms of citizen stakeholder involvement because in Australia it is entirely through the political process.
Vice Chair Halsted said rather than take questions from the Commission at this time, if Dr. Landis has the time she would ask him to stay to hear the next briefing and then the Commission can ask questions of him and the speaker for shoreline development.
Briefing on Shoreline Development and Access. Vice Chair Halsted said Agenda Item #11 is a briefing by John Kriken, the Chair of BCDC’s Design Review Board, on the design of public access and its relationship to shoreline development.
Mr. Kriken provided the following information:
a.He emphasized that the following presentation is from the Design Review Board’s perspective.
b.The BCDC mandate of maximum feasible public access to and along the waterfront is being achieved. The access is being achieved with minimal fill.
c.Many beautiful landscaped parks have been added, such as the one on Mission Creek.
d.Some of the concerns and questions that have arisen are:
(1)Building setbacks which impede public access.
(2)Plant variety and materials for waterfronts.
(3)Architectural character – It would be good to communicate to cities that it is their responsibility to raise the quality and get better building character along the waterfront.
(4)Access to the water and from the water for boats, etc. Is there something BCDC might do to encourage activity along the Bay? Restaurant type facilities are needed around the Bay.
(5)Access continuity – Are there places on the Bay Shore that should be left alone where the Bay shoreline access might continue behind it because it creates a public opportunity and interest benefit that is greater than putting the public access in front and continuing it on the shoreline?
(6)Would it be helpful to develop material to help educate cities to the value of waterfront planning?
(7)Should there be incentives for providing public access to and from the Bay?
(8)In circumstances where there is discontinuance access, should they be permitted or encouraged for some larger public access?
e.Like cities, the shoreline is going to change continuously over the future years. We must not think of the shoreline as a fixed object, but rather one that will continue to evolve over the life that we live together.
At 3:30 p.m., due to loss of quorum, The Commission adjourned to Special Committee.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Mossar. The motion passed unanimously.
Sandy Threlfall of Waterfront Action said she would like to point out that the shoreline is considered public and belongs to everyone. Public transportation is what makes Sydney Harbor work. Vancouver is another incredible waterfront city and what makes it work is that every individual who lives in the area is no more than one half a kilometer away from public transportation. Some of the Oakland developments have met the BCDC requirement but there is no transportation. If BCDC has the ability to require public transportation on any level of development that touches the waterfront it should do it.
Vice Chair Halsted said the transit oriented development possibilities around ferry landings in the Water Transit Authorities Plan may create some wonderful opportunities.
Commissioner Carruthers said BCDC is a regulatory agency and does not build so it cannot force activity in this way. There are many things the Commission would like to see along the Bay but it is outside its parameters.
Commissioner Moy said he will be bringing back a report on the San Francisco Bay Water Trail and the Commission will see it is focusing on recreational activities using the public access areas as take off points.
Vice Chair Halsted asked if the Design Review Committee had looked at the proposed San Francisco plan for Pier 32. Mr. Kriken said there was huge resistance for car traffic generating uses along the Embarcadero. He is looking for something that is somewhat passive but has the economic muscle to overcome the repair problems.
Dr. Landis said in 30 years there has only been one World class development on San Francisco Bay. In Australia they don’t refer to the term “historic preservation” but “heritage protection”. Heritage protection means that sites will be preserved and reused.
In Sydney the tourists are a tremendous constituency for the ferry, but the ferries are operated at a loss. The average width of Sydney Harbor is approximately 1 to 2 miles, which means the ferries can travel relatively more quickly than in the Bay.
Commissioner Jordan said she believes that BCDC can play a role in presenting its vision to cities. Mr. Kriken said be believes that cities are fearful that if they exert themselves they will lose investment opportunities and they need to know that a master plan would enhance value and would attract a much bigger pool of development interest.
Mr. Travis said BCDC views itself as encouraging development along the shoreline. However, it is hard to get the message out. Ellen Johnck of the Bay Planning Coalition said in terms of making projects happen, and “taking the show on the road”, she is captivated by developing materials for more education, and the term heritage protection. She offered to provide a workshop for BCDC and the Bay Planning Coalition to bring some renewed activation to this subject.
Ellen Johnck asked Mr. Kriken if the Design Committee could do a better job of informing people of the economics.
Vice Chair Halsted suggested having these types of discussion at the next BCDC Strategic Planning Session.
Consideration of Strategic Plan Report. Mr. Travis said there are a few changes in deadlines and asked if the changes were acceptable. Vice Chair Halsted stated that they are acceptable.
New Business. There was no old business.
Old Business. There was no new business.
Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Adams, seconded by Commissioner Mossar, the meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of April 19, 2007
R. Sean Randolph, Chair