GSD Ponders Impacts of Park Rezone

The Garberville Sanitary District will hold a special meeting on June 21 to review comments on the potential impacts of the Southern Humboldt Community Park's proposed rezone, which includes additional water uses such as new sports fields. (Photo via Southern Humboldt Community Park)

The Garberville Sanitary District will hold a special meeting on June 21 to review comments on the potential impacts of the Southern Humboldt Community Park's proposed rezone, which includes additional water uses such as new sports fields. (Photo via Southern Humboldt Community Park)

The Garberville Sanitary District (GSD) board of directors considered whether to write any comments about the Southern Humboldt Community Park (SHCP) board’s proposed land-use designation change and looked at the district’s draft budget for the next fiscal year at their regular meeting on May 24.

District general manager Ralph Emerson explained that the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department had requested GSD comments for the SHCP land-use classification change and rezone. Emerson said that the SHCP was not in the district boundary so he did not think the district had any say in what the park did, but suggested that in order to protect GSD customers the district should participate in a discussion of park water use since the park was upstream from GSD’s water intake. 

District contracting engineer Jennie Short commented that the SHCP was in the GSD’s Sphere of Influence (SOI). She expressed concern about the SHCP’s plans for sewage disposal and use of water.

“There are some pretty significant sewer uses they are proposing, and so I think the district should consider whether or not they want to make a comment on a fairly significant development occurring in our sphere of influence without them connecting to our sewer system and our water system,” Short said. She recommended the board clarify to the county the district policies as they relate to the park’s proposal.

The board was asked about the potential impact to the downstream GSD water supply of the sports fields proposed for the park that could require upwards of 2 million gallons of water per summer month.  

“So they’re going to be taking out, in the summer, close to the same volume we take out,” commented board member Richard Thompson.

Short remarked that currently the park withdraws water from the river under riparian rights, which does not have any limitations on it. 

“But the change in land use, once that’s complete, they will be allowed to withdraw whatever they need to be able to support the land use that’s been, and the development, that’s been done,” Short pointed out. “And so this change in land use is the only time that we will have an opportunity to voice our concern over protecting this community’s access to water and not having the park remove so much upstream from us for this new land use.”

Emerson suggested that he and Short draft some comments and present them to the GSD board at a district special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 21, since the next regular GSD board meeting would be after the June 27 deadline for comments to the county on the park’s DEIR.

Budget

Short and office manager Tina Stillwell presented the board with a draft budget for fiscal year 2016-2017.

Short explained the district’s debt obligations, income, and the proposed projects for the coming fiscal year. Also discussed was the district’s reserve of about $700,000, most of which is held for the district in accounts by the county. The projected operational cash balance for fiscal year 2016-2017 was estimated to be $88,952.

Emerson presented a complicated proposal for third-tier water charges if the board decides to charge customers for extremely high water use. Though the board noted that the state drought conditions had been lifted, Emerson proposed that the third tier rate committee composed of Gary Wellborn and Richard Thompson look further into creating a third-tier policy for the district to consider adopting in case the board ever decides to use it.

They passed a resolution that updated a section of Article 12 of the district’s ordinances on the use of fire hydrants. The board had a first reading of some updates proposed to Section 12.2 on moving fire hydrants.

The June 21 special board meeting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the district office. The next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, June 28.