RCSD Considers Shorter Meetings

The Redway Community Services District Board of Directors had rescheduled their May meeting from the usual date of the third Wednesday of the month to Wednesday, June 1. General manager John Rogers explained that as a result of an office staff member’s medical leave, there had been changes in the district office that resulted in some confusion and lack of notification of the date of the meeting.

The board discussed a policy change that would limit board meetings to three hours and require scheduling another meeting for agenda items that were not completed in that time. The difficulty of scheduling a second meeting and the work to create a board packet were discussed. Board member Dian Griffith suggested setting times for each agenda item in order to encourage an end to discussions at some point. Rogers pointed out that many of the district’s policies should be updated. No decision was made.

The board discussed a letter from the district’s legal counsel, David McMurchie, about possible conflicts of interest for a board member in the Humboldt County General Plan Update proposed change in land-use designation on Briceland Road in Redway to Mixed Use. Board president Linda Sutton pointed out that board member Michael McKaskle could benefit financially from potential increases in density on property he owns there from the change in designation. Board member Art McClure said he also owned property that could benefit from the land use designation change. Sutton expressed concern about how to proceed when the district board is asked to comment to the county planning department on the proposed change in designation. The board discussed but could not agree on the intricacies of conflict of interest law as presented in the attorney’s letter. McKaskle suggested that the board ask for an opinion from the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“It’s going to be a moot point,” Sutton said to McKaskle, “since you simply continue to things the way you want to do.”

New Connections

Rogers said that for some years there had been few requests for new connections, resulting in a very low growth rate in Redway. In 2014 the board received several requests for new hookups to district services and hired Water Works Engineers to analyze the district’s ability to provide expanded water and wastewater service. The capacity analysis determined that the district was at or near capacity, as Sutton pointed out. 

Rogers reported that some of the recommendations for upgrades in the capacity analysis had been completed by district consultant Ken Dean, and that Dean had found in his analysis following his work that now the district could take up to 100 additional customers, or single-family residential equivalents (SFRE), also sometimes referred to as housing residential equivalents (HRE), as calculated by engineer Sami Kader of Water Works Engineers. Kader verified Dean’s analysis in a letter to the board, and suggested that the board could add new services in a “step-wise approach to growth” of “10 or so” SFREs at a time, so that the performance of the wastewater treatment plant could be closely monitored and continually evaluated.

Rogers presented a recommendation from the New Connections Committee that the board approve accepting applications that totaled 20 SFREs for the coming year to be monitored and revisited periodically.

In addition, the Rogers said the committee recommended the board approve development of a proposed new connections draft concept for a waiting list ordinance for applications above the approved number of connections, approve a draft letter of intent to serve, and approve development of new connections applications procedures, and creation of a basic development agreement that could be tailored to specific applications.

For two hours the board discussed the New Connections Committee’s recommendations and draft documents along with trying to decide how many new connections to approve. The board agreed that new connection requests should be considered in chronological order according to the date they were received, but had difficulty agreeing on how many SFREs should be initially approved, 10 as recommended by Kader or 20 as recommended by the New Connections Committee. 

In February Rogers had given the board a list of six new connection requests the district had received that added up to a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 50 SFREs. Another request had been received for 11 SFREs since then, Rogers said. It appeared that the three earliest requests submitted were being considered for acceptance, but the number of SFREs each would represent was not clarified.

The board also discussed the possibility of enacting a moritorium, possibly after accepting some of the applications already received. 

The board requested staff to supply detailed information on the number of SFREs in the new connection requests and the chronological order of the requests the district had received.

Rogers and the board talked about the details that might be required for application acceptance and timing.

Eventually, after discussions about the New Connections Committee’s proposals and the drafts submitted for consideration and other new drafts to be drafted, the board decided to vote on the committee’s recommendations.

“I would hope that this motion says to continue developing the process and language for our ordinances for the waiting list concept to be implemented and the application procedures for sending out a letter of intent, receiving an application, and developing development agreements,” Rogers said.

The board voted to authorized staff to begin negotiations with those people that had turned in applications for up to 15 hookups total, as capacity is available. 

All board members voted in favor except Sutton, who had voiced disapproval of initially considering more than 10 SFREs, and opposed the motion.

The Spring

Board member Art McClure left the meeting during the discussion of the proposed redevelopment of the district’s spring due to a potential conflict of interest he has involving property adjacent to the spring that will need to be acquired for the project.

Rogers reported to the rest of the board that, following a recommendation by Tasha McKee of Sanctuary Forest, he had contacted Joel Monschke of Stillwater Sciences, an Arcata environmental consulting firm.

Rogers recommended the board hire Stillwater Sciences and presented a scope of work proposal for three tasks to provide California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Code Section 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement assistance. 

The board voted unanimously to hire Stillwater Sciences at costs of $6,500 for Task 1, a site visit and study planning development; and $3,000 for Task 2, permit application and agency coordination. 

The cost for Task 3, hydrology/biology studies to be revised after site visit and confirmation of CDFW requirements, has yet to be determined. Task 3 will be voted on separately after the other two tasks are completed.

The board’s next regular meeting is Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at the district office, 1150 Evergreen Road, #2, Redway.