Minutes of June 2, 2011 Commission Meeting
1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Chair Randolph at the Ferry Building, Port of San Francisco Board Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, California at 1:10 p.m.
2. Roll Call. Present were: Chair Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Apodaca, Baird (represented by Alternate Vierra), Bates, Chan (represented by Alternate Gilmore), Chiu, Fossum (represented by Alternate Kato), Gibbs, Gioia, Jordan Hallinan, Hicks, Lundstrom (represented by Alternate Sanchez), McGrath, Moy, Sartipi (represented by Alternate Richards), Shirakawa (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Spering (represented by Alternate Vasquez), Wagenknecht, and Ziegler.
Not Present were: Marin County (Adams), Association of Bay Area Governments (Addiego), Sonoma County (Brown), Department of Finance (Finn), Governor’s Appointee (Goldzband), San Mateo County (Groom), and Senate Rules Committee (Nelson).
3. Public Comment Period. Chair Randolph called for public comment on subjects that were not on the agenda. Comments would be restricted to three minutes per speaker.
Seeing no speakers, Chair Randolph moved on to Item four, Approval of Minutes.
4. Approval of Minutes of the May 19, 2011 Meeting. Chair Randolph entertained a motion and a second to adopt the minutes of May 19, 2011.
Commissioner Gibbs asked Chair Randolph if corrections to the Minutes should be done prior to approval.
Commissioner Gibbs stated that on page nine, five paragraphs up from the bottom where it refers to, “lay person” that should be one word.
And then on page 10, four paragraphs from the top at the very end, “I urge the Commission to adopt a plan that was true to both the ideals of in our name, conservation and development”, it says “may” instead. Thank you
MOTION: Commissioner Wagenknecht moved, seconded by Commissioner Halsted, to approve the May 19, 2011 Minutes. The motion carried by voice vote with Commissioners Ziegler, Vierra, Sanchez, Kato, Carruthers, Moy and Hicks abstaining.
5. Report of the Chair. Chair Randolph reported on the following:
a. New Commission Member. The Association of Bay Area Governments has confirmed the appointment of Richmond city councilmember Tom Butt to serve as the alternate for Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates to represent East Bay cities on BCDC. I’m sure the Commission joins me in welcoming Mr. Butt to the Commission.
b. Harbor Safety Committee. Under California’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, the Harbor Safety Committee of the San Francisco Bay Region is responsible for the safe navigation and operation of tankers, barges and other vessels in the Bay.
Commissioner Joan Lundstrom has ably served as BCDC’s representative on the Harbor Safety Committee for a number of years, has chaired the Committee for the past seven years and has received awards for her outstanding performance.
Joan has decided to resign from the Harbor Safety Committee so she can pursue other interests. I am sure the Commission joins me in thanking Joan for her outstanding service.
While she is truly irreplaceable, Jim McGrath has agreed to try. I believe Jim’s background in port operations, his active involvement in recreational navigation, his expertise in water quality protection and his commitment to environmental protection make him uniquely qualified to serve as our representative on the Committee.
Therefore, I would like a motion, second and affirmative vote to concur in my appointment of Commissioner McGrath as BCDC’s representative on the Harbor Safety Committee of the San Francisco Bay Region.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Chiu, to approve Commissioner McGrath’s appointment to the Harbor Safety Committee of the San Francisco Bay Region.
The motion passed by a voice vote with no abstentions or objections.
c. Next BCDC Meeting. Our next meeting will be two weeks from today on June 16th. At that meeting, which will be held at the MetroCenter in Oakland, we will receive briefings on restoration projects, way finding improvements and social media communications.
d. Ex-Parte Communications. In case you have inadvertently forgotten to provide our staff with a report on any written or oral ex-parte communications, I invite Commissioners who have engaged in any such communications to report on them at this point.
No Commissioners reported any ex parte communications.
Chair Randolph then moved on to the Report of the Executive Director.
6. Report of the Executive Director. Executive Director Travis reported:
a. Bay Development Design Analyst. As you know, there is a state hiring freeze in place. But at the urging of our colleagues at the Natural Resources Agency and the Department of Finance, the Governor’s Office has given us permission to hire a Bay Design Development Analyst to replace Brad McCrea who was promoted to be our Regulatory Program Director six months ago.
To fill this key position, we’ve selected Ellen Miramontes. She received a bachelor of science in landscape architecture from UC Davis and a master of landscape architecture and city planning from UC Berkeley.
She has nearly two decades of experience as a consultant and we are 100 percent confident that she will be an outstanding member of our staff. Our confidence is based on the fact that Ellen served as our Bay Development Design Analyst for two years until she was laid off in a staff cutback in 2003. We are delighted she wants her old job back. Unless you have objections, Ellen will re-join our staff within the next few weeks.
b. Interns. Two new legal interns have joined our staff. Sarah Foley is a second year law student at Hastings College of Law. She’s a graduate of the University of California, Irvine where she studied Water Resource Management.
She has worked as a legal intern for the Orange County Counsel’s Office and as an investigator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Kathryn Keller, is also a second year law student at Hastings. She has a BA in literature from the University of California, Berkeley, interned with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and worked as an intelligence analyst for Kroll Inc. Kathryn is also a ballroom dance instructor and has performed as Penny the Penguin at Sea World.
7. Consideration of Administrative Matters. Executive Director Travis stated that there were no listings on administrative matters.
8. Public Hearing on Staff Report, Preliminary Recommendation and Environmental Assessment on Proposed Bay Plan Amendment No. 1-10 to Amend the San Francisco Bay Plan and the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan Provisions Concerning a Water-Related Industry Priority Use Area at Collinsville, Solano County. Chair Randolph announced that Item 8 was a public hearing on proposed amendments of the San Francisco Bay Plan and the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan to revise a priority use designation in the Collinsville area of Solano County. Tim Doherty presented the staff report on this matter.
Mr. Doherty presented the following: I’m here to report on Proposed Bay Plan Amendment 1-10 to amend Bay Plan, Map 3, amend the Marsh Plan findings and policies for water-related industry and the suite of Marsh Plan Maps as well as to modify Resolution 16 boundaries for the Commission’s water related industrial use area located in Collinsville in Solano County.
On August 10, 2010 the Commission authorized the Executive Director to enter into a contract with Solano County to amend the Bay Plan, the Marsh Plan and Resolution 16.
On January 7th of this year the Commission adopted a descriptive notice to initiate the planning process for this amendment and to set the public hearing date which is occurring today. We have tentatively scheduled the vote for this proposed amendment on July 7, 2011.
The preliminary staff recommendation is to amend Bay Plan Map 3 to delete approximately 2,400 acres of water -related industrial priority use area, to amend the Marsh Plan findings and policies for water-related industry, to amend and update the Marsh Plan Maps and to revise Resolution 16 boundaries at Collinsville. We are also proposing to make some very minor corrections to the text in the Marsh Plan and in the Marsh Plan Maps.
The Commission’s rationale for priority-use areas is to ensure that there are adequate and suitable locations preserved for their specified use thus reducing the need for Bay fill.
There are five categories of water-related use areas: water-related industries; airports, ports, wildlife refuges and waterfront parks and beaches.
In 2008 the County of Solano updated its General Plan and its land use designations throughout the County.
This amendment aims to reconcile the inconsistencies between the Commission’s plans, specifically the Bay Plan and the Marsh Plan and the 2008 Solano County General Plan.
Upon adoption of this amendment the County will likely update its component of the Suisun Marsh Local Protection Program which is otherwise known as the LPP and will likely request Commission certification of this LPP at a later date.
Staff’s findings are that the regional economy has changed dramatically since the Collinsville site was initially designated in 1969.
In addition, there is a lack of infrastructure at the Collinsville site to support large industrial facilities.
Furthermore, the Commission has not received any proposals for the development or redevelopment of water-related industrial facilities.
It is our conclusion that the existing supply of designated land is sufficient to meet the limited regional demand for water-related industrial use and that the remaining areas are sufficient to avoid the need to fill the Bay.
This proposed amendment is also consistent with the Commission’s statutory and policy requirements in that it preserves 200 acres for water-related industrial use. It will not increase the likelihood of Bay fill. It increases the acreage of marsh and agricultural use in the secondary management area. It retains areas with deep-water access and it increases the buffer area between marsh and industrial areas.
Once again, our preliminary staff recommendation is to amend Bay Plan Map 3, amend the Marsh Plan findings and policies, amend and update the Marsh Plan Maps and to revise Resolution 16 boundaries.
There are four components of this amendment.
The first component is to amend Bay Plan Map 3 as shown in Exhibit 1.
The second component of this amendment is to amend the Suisun Marsh Plan findings and policies for water-related industry to reflect staff proposals.
The third component is to amend and update the Suisun Marsh Plan Maps per Exhibits 4, 5 and 6.
The fourth component is to modify Resolution 16 per staff proposals.
We will be integrating the comments that we receive today during the public hearing and we will be moving to publish a Final Staff Recommendation with a likely vote on July 7th. This concludes my presentation.
Chair Randolph opened the public hearing on this matter.
Mr. Michael Yankovich commented: I’m with Solano County and I am the Planning Manager. We have completed a comprehensive update of our General Use Plan with an update of the maps as well as our Local Protection Program.
We recommend that the Commission adopt these changes.
Mr. Robert Hall stated: I own the Collinsville Inlet from the Sacramento River to the Cemetery, about 3,019 feet.
I have tried to work closely with the County and I appreciate the advice they have given me.
My son and I want to create a recreational area along the line of floating museums or what-have-you and all of my property was made into commercial/recreational.
I’m asking for some assurance that I can continue going along the designation of commercial/recreational.
Mr. Jim Levine spoke: We are the largest landowner in this area. We own 36 hundred acres and most of what is being re-zoned is our land.
We are in favor of this action today and we operate a successful dredge, disposal and wetland restoration project on that site.
We are a major power purchaser and I know the Commission has a program for greenhouse gases and sea level rise and we’re also blessed with the most consistent winds in the Bay area.
We wanted to put on the radar screen here at the Commission that we will be coming forth with a renewable energy project on our site which will not interfere with the Marsh restoration, dredge, disposal or other industrial uses on the site.
In today’s world anytime you can incorporate renewable energy into a project and impacts can be reasonably mitigated – you should.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: I was a little confused in the correspondence we got regarding the outcome of your inquiry and how it was to be addressed.
Mr. Levine responded: I am, yeah. I’ve been convinced that the interpretation from the County and your staff is that renewable energy development is no way precluded by the zoning that’s out there now or that will be changed.
Chair Randolph asked for a motion and a second to close the public hearing.
MOTION: Commissioner Vasquez moved the item, seconded by Commissioner McGrath. The motion passed by a voice vote with no abstentions or objections.
Commissioner McGrath commented: I went to an interesting land use session scheduled by ABAG. One of the concerns that came up was the industrialization and re-industrialization of the Bay area.
There is a concern that manufacturing remains viable in the United States and changing energy will increase its viability and if we’re not careful with our urban areas we will have lost available industrial sites.
I don’t think that applies to this area but I would like the staff to make sure that there are findings. I think there’s a real distinction between industrial areas in urban centers, close to employment where it may make sense to retain. But I would like to make sure that the findings distinguish so that this isn’t seen as a broad-case endorsement that manufacturing is gone forever and never to return because I’m not convinced that that’s true.
Chair Randolph concurred: I totally agree with that. I’ve been a part of some of those discussions as well. I think that’s a very good suggestion.
Chair Randolph then moved on to Item 9.
9. Consideration of a Contract with the Port of San Francisco for Amending the San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan to Accommodate America’s Cup Events. Item 9 deals with our consideration of a contract that will provide us with funding to consider plan amendments needed to accommodate the America’s Cup events. Lindy Lowe will present the staff recommendation.
Ms. Lowe presented the following: Item 9 is an authorization to allow the Executive Director to execute a contract with the Port of San Francisco for up to $50,000.
The purpose of the contract is to provide staff resources to assist in developing and considering an amendment to the San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan that are being requested in relation to the America’s Cup Events in 2012 and 2013.
The proposed amendments will likely involve the temporary use of two of the waterfront’s four open-water basins.
There is also a possible permanent use of these two basins for recreational marinas at the conclusion of the America’s Cup events which also may need to be analyzed.
The staff recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to execute a contract with the Port of San Francisco for up to $50,000 and to be able to amend this contract as long as the amendment does not involve substantial change in scope or amount.
Chair Randolph mentioned that a public hearing was not scheduled on this matter but if anybody wished to comment they were welcomed to do so.
There were no public commenters so Chair Randolph asked for questions or comments from the Commission.
There were no Commissioner comments, so Chair Randolph requested a motion and a second.
MOTION: Commissioner Chiu moved this item, seconded by Commissioner Vasquez. The motion passed by a show of hands (20-0-0) with no abstentions nor opposition.
10. Public Workshop on Draft Language for Bay Plan Amendment No. 1-08 Dealing with Climate Change. Chair Randolph opened saying: Item 10 on the agenda is a continuation of the workshop that we held at our last meeting on the latest draft language for amending the Bay Plan to address climate change.
Staff has made refinements to the language that we saw at our last meeting that reflects a number of things. It reflects comments from the stakeholders involved in our process including alternative approaches to the language that was presented.
Joe LaClair is going to summarize the draft language that we are considering today, then we will open the workshop to comments from the public. And after that we will open up for discussion among members of the Commission.
Chief Planner LaClair commented: I'm here to summarize the recent changes the staff has made to the Draft Findings and Policies for Bay Plan Amendment Number 1-08 regarding climate change.
On May 19th the Commission held a public hearing and a workshop with a panel made up of three representatives each from the business and environmental communities and a representative from San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association.
The panelists and the Commission discussed and commented on staff's May 6, 2011 draft to the findings and policies.
Following the workshop on May 25th the staff met with representatives of the business and environmental groups to continue the dialogue on how to resolve concerns about the proposed findings and policies.
Based on all of this input we prepared the draft that is included in the May 26th staff report that is the subject of this workshop.
First, Finding P was revised to remove the infill definition. The finding now supports Policy 7c calling for Commission review and endorsement of priority development areas that lie within its jurisdiction.
Next, Findings W, X and Y quoting from the California Climate Adaptation Strategy were consolidated into one finding to reduce redundancy.
Changes to Policies 4, 6 and 7 in part are intended to create parallel constructions and parity with regard to how development and habitat enhancement should be considered by the Commission.
Also, in Policies 4 and 7 references to the California Climate Adaptation Strategy were removed.
Policy 4 was revised to remove the sentence, "development in these areas should be discouraged".
In Policy 6, subparagraphs a and b were modified to remove the phrase, "to the maximum extent feasible" which was a qualifier at the beginning of each of those policies.
And in subparagraph b of Policy 6, the phrase, "consistent with the subparagraph a" was removed, again, to create parity in how the Commission and its partners preparing a regional climate adaptation strategy should consider proposals for development and protecting existing development and habitat enhancement or restoration.
Finally, Policy 7 was modified to replace the phrase, "may be approved" with "should be encouraged".
We think that these changes improve the draft and help to resolve outstanding issues in a way that provides the Commission and the region a way forward in meeting the challenge posed by sea level rise.
Chair Randolph thanked Mr. LaClair and asked for questions.
Commissioner Gioia commented: The term “infill development” is used and it’s not defined.
We had talked at one time of incorporating a definition from SB 375.
There's not any clear internal definition of, "infill development" in this document.
Executive Director Travis added: You're right but we can quickly fix it by simply eliminating those two other references to infill.
Chief Planner LaClair stated: In preparing the Sustainable Communities Strategy pursuant to SB 375, the priority development areas constitute a subset of the overall areas that have been identified as possible for infill development.
We could replace it with what has been termed, “growth opportunity areas”, as other infill sites that aren't yet nominated by local governments as priority development areas.
Commissioner Gioia continued: What this has done is sort of de facto using the FOCUS priority development areas as infill sites.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: Well, as proposed, the idea behind the FOCUS Program is that the priority development areas would be infill sites.
Those that would overlap with the Commission's jurisdiction would need to be endorsed by the Commission before they would have acceptance.
Commissioner Gioia responded: To the extent if we're using "infill development" here and we don't have a definition for it, it takes us back to the same ambiguity.
And if we're going to use "infill development" the questions is whether to use it, then the SB 375 state definition was something we had talked about including.
Executive Director Travis added: We went around with this a long time at the meeting.
There was so much getting wrapped around the wheels for the definition, we found a way to simply sidestep it.
You can substantively get to the same issues without using the words "infill". And so, we just didn't catch that as we were going through.
We can remove the definitions and you still have a very sound policy which deals substantively with the same matter.
Well, we'll go through and search for the words "infill" and, unless they're clear on their face we can simply remove the references.
Chief Planner LaClair stated: I think the important thing is not to lose sight of the fact that the Sustainable Communities Strategy will include more than priority development areas and that we want to make sure that we embrace the full subset of opportunities.
Commissioner Gibbs commented: I wanted to elaborate on that for the other Commissioners because a lot of people mean a lot of different things by "infill development".
And we've looked at our policies, particularly Policy 7. We decided what we meant in terms of the development of this strategy was it's there in C on page 14. "A project that will concentrate employment or housing near existing or committed transit service."
So once we saw that they're in 7C we determined we should try and remove references to infill development throughout. This remains a work in progress.
But ultimately, the direction that we were heading is that we don't need to refer to infill development because what we mean for our purposes by "infill development" is there in 7c.
Commissioner McGrath replied: The thing that struck me as I listened to the debate as one group wanted to push us to a more restrictive development definition of infill and another wanted a looser definition.
I asked myself, does it matter?
We don't currently have the authority in the shoreline band to turn something down because it's not flood proof or it doesn't concentrate development.
And as John Coleman said, you know, there is a 700-pound gorilla or, I think, elephant, was the term, in the room, which is the question of the salt pond development.
Salt pond development is governed by a different set of policies, both in terms of the existing salt pond policies which do discourage development and within this structure its consideration is not based on infill, it's based on a concentration development possibility. And it's allowed but not compelled.
So that distinction is clearly enough made. And I don't think it makes any sense for the Commission to allow sparring on a definition of infill when at the end of the day, it doesn't matter.
Chair Randolph continued the hearing: So I think what we're going to do is we're going to have a deeper discussion with the full Commission after the public hearing.
We'd like to get into the hearing because last time a lot of people were very patient. We ran over. And folks only got two minutes and we were quite late in the day.
So we're going to put the public hearing at the front end and then we'll really open it up for a full Commission discussion.
So we'll start with Greg Cochran. And after that, Stephen Knight.
Mr. Cochran commented: I'm the former Executive Director of the South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Chairman of the Peninsula Coalition, a public/private coalition focusing on sustainable planning.
At the Chamber I learned something about economic health, at the Coalition about the critical issues surrounding ecological, economical, environmental balance.
BCDC stands for Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Sustainable planning can offer a bulwark against sea level rise while adding to the economic vitality of our community.
This plan is an overreach by BCDC, an attempt to dictate to our communities what they may or may not do with their own territory.
Mr. Knight commented: I'm the Political Director for Save the Bay and you all have a letter from us underscoring some of the language recommendations that we and The Nature Conservancy and others made at your last hearing.
We agree with most of the draft language. But our suggestions will make the policies more clear. And clarity should be your top objective.
The Bay Plan policies should be clear and direct in order to do two things.
To be useful to the Commission itself when you consider proposals within BCDC's jurisdiction; and to offer wise guidance for municipalities to consider as they make plans within or outside of BCDC's jurisdiction.
The changes that we recommend would implement the California Climate Adaptation Strategy, would protect BCDC's jurisdiction from erosion that some special interests desire and would define infill development as already established in state law.
We encourage you to make these changes which are consistent with previous staff recommendations and Commissioner comments including two from the May 19 Minutes that you just approved.
Commissioner Gibbs said in support that, “Of course, we should discourage development along the Bay where development ought not to be, where it's obvious that we need not develop, and where sea level rise makes it imprudent to consider development".
Joe LaClair supported the stronger Policy 4 language we recommend saying, quote, "we believe both the State Adaptation Strategy and existing provisions in state law and the Bay Plan make it more appropriate for the Commission to discourage development in these areas, undeveloped vulnerable areas."
So please direct the staff to strengthen the language in these ways.
Chair Randolph: Thank you. Alan Talansky followed by John Coleman.
Mr. Talansky commented: I am speaking as Public Policy Chair of the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce.
However well-intentioned the possible expansion of the state-mandated BCDC oversight might be, it would have the effect of sponsoring state-sponsored regional land use controls.
But we all live with a lot of predictions and projections.
The first step should be an assessment of the actual threat posed by predicted sea level rise, the potential protective responses and possible sources of revenue to cover the costs of mitigation.
Secondly, we at the Chamber feel very confident in the abilities and priorities of the elected leaders and responsible staff of our city and the other Bay cities to make land use decisions.
The Chamber believes that it is premature and excessive for BCDC to try to expand its state-mandated oversight and become the de facto regional land use authority.
Therefore, we ask BCDC first go to Sacramento and see if the State Legislature and Governor even want to expand the jurisdiction.
And secondly and simultaneously, we believe your policies need to be rewritten to protect and enhance our economic job generators not diminish and restrict them.
Jobs and the economy should be government's current number one priority right now. And anything that hinders that effort should be set aside.
Commissioner McGrath addressed Mr. Talansky: You've said that there's an attempt here to expand our jurisdiction. And in my preliminary comments I tried to make it clear that we don't have authority to deny something because it doesn't concentrate development or is flood prone in the shoreline band.
And we're not seeking that authority. So I would really like you to be very specific about what language it is that you think is an expansion of our authority because we're making heroic efforts to try to clarify that that's not the case.
Mr. Talansky replied: When you take the level of sea level rise and take authority over where the sea level might rise in the future and want to control that area, that's expanding your jurisdiction.
Commissioner McGrath responded: And you think there's language in there that would do that?
Mr. Talansky answered: Yes.
Chair Randolph added: And at this point I would urge everybody if you have very specific issues to be very specific about the exact wording where you see a problem and if possible, provide that in writing.
Commissioner Gioia stated: I think it's really important to understand, and you can clarify this, that there is no proposal to expand jurisdiction.
But what we're really trying to do is focus on the specific issues.
So today, in a more challenging way, it's to address a regional approach to sea level rise. And that is why I think this issue of jurisdiction is so sensitive and we need to be honest, intellectually honest, and clear about what these policies may or may not do and focus on where there are true legitimate differences of opinion.
Commissioner Gibbs addressed Mr. Talansky: I don't want to put words in your mouth concerning your testimony but I believe you testified to the effect that you believe the regulations or the proposed regulations, amendments as we have them would be harmful to jobs and the economy.
Mr. Talansky replied: If it’s used to stop development in the future.
If it's used to stop homes and building in areas that can now be developed that in the future might not be developed because of this regulation.
Mr. Coleman commented: I'd like to ask a question. It's been raised to me by people who have property along the Bay who have put in public access and I don't know the answer.
In the event of the sea rise and sea walls that will go, put in place in order to protect property and facilities and the private entity has built the public access and a sea wall goes in, the access is gone.
And whose responsibility is it then to provide the public access. Is it the property owner who has already put it in? Or is it a government entity?
Chief Planner LaClair responded: Well, we haven't yet received any applications from those who have permits to amend them to say, replace the public access with shoreline protection but the policies that we are proposing here would both for new development that has public access we're suggesting that there be conditions imposed that would require either the replacement of the access elsewhere or some intervention made so that the access is integrated with the shoreline protection.
Currently the permit requires the public access to be provided. So they would have to seek an amendment to either modify it or eliminate it and it would be tested the same way maximum feasible public access consistent with the project.
So it would be a case-by-case determination.
Mr. Coleman continued: That's helpful. Thank you very much. It has been a long, arduous process. There are a couple of things that we would like to see added under the Findings, under Section W.
I know you're looking at deleting the word, "infill" anywhere you find it. But just so you're aware, under the California Climate Adaptation Strategy on page seven, Section 3 it specifically says, "infill development in these areas may be accommodated in the flood-prone zone areas."
So if "infill" is going to be included then that should be included under the Findings in Section W.
In addition from the Strategy under near-term actions in Strategy 1 something that was omitted, although it's cited often, that we should be using this document for the whole process that we're engaged in, innovative designs is not included as part of the process.
And when we're looking at innovative designs that gives the opportunity for where whatever kind of development, business, homes, whatever the case to have innovation to look at how you can accommodate that development and this should be included under Finding W.
Then finally, under Strategy 2 it's called the Provide Statewide Guidance for Protection Existing Ecosystems, Existing Coastal Development and Future Investments, there are two sections that should be included.
Although the concepts can be embodied in Section W however you want. But this is part of the state document. And it should be included under Finding W. And the quote is, "We must acknowledge that the high financial ecological, social and cultural costs of protecting everything may prove to be impossible. In the long run, protection of everything may both be futile and environmentally destructive."
That's on page 74 followed by the next sentence, "Decision guidance strategies should frame cost/benefit analyses so that all public and private costs and benefits are appropriately considered."
And so we would ask that under this Section W that those be included or wordsmithed in a way that would meet the test of everything that is being done.
Mr. Nack commented: I'm here this afternoon representing The San Mateo Building Construction Trades Council. I'll be speaking today on behalf of The San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Solano County Buildings Trade Councils which represent a total membership of approximately 75,000 union construction workers living in the Bay area.
The Bay Area of Building Trades Council supports BCDC's efforts to plan ahead by developing ways of adapting to the significant sea level rise projected over the next century.
We ask that the BCDC commit to protection of bayside communities, businesses and vital infrastructure and consider abandonment and retreat only as a last resort.
We ask that all provisions that will have a negative effect on land values and potential development next to the Bay as we know it today not be included in any Bay Plan Amendment.
We ask that provisions that would preclude or discourage private investment, innovation and public/private partnerships in low-lying areas under threat of rising sea level not be included in any Bay Plan Amendment.
And finally, we ask that the BCDC avoid using language that creates policy conflicts with local economic development that could be used to frustrate local control and local accountability over land use decisions.
The Bay Area Building Trades Councils strongly believe we must protect and invest and not surrender and retreat in the face of sea level rise and the impact of climate change on our San Francisco Bay.
Executive Director Travis added: On behalf of the staff I would like to thank Mr. Nack for his comments. He's a former member of the Commission. And it was an honor to work with him and it's good to see him again.
Mr. Wren commented: I just wanted to thank staff and Commissioners involved in the meeting last week for attending. I was a bit more disturbed by Policy 1 of the Amendment which is the one that is intended to reassure the public that the amendments will only pertain to areas within BCDC's current jurisdiction.
In the meeting it became clear that some stakeholders felt that that policy would virtually preclude federal oversight under CZMA in areas outside of BCDC's jurisdiction.
This is a relatively remote scenario since only under the most extreme circumstances would such oversight occur.
However, I share Commissioner Baird's concerns which were expressed in the last hearing that BCDC should carefully consider whether it's comfortable relinquishing its federal authority under CZMA to act outside the 100 foot shoreline only when absolutely necessary.
So within the context of this amendment I really am not too concerned about Policy 1 but I would ask the Commission to seriously consider the policy and whether it's really worth it since it would unnecessarily undermine BCDC's authority in areas completely unrelated to sea level rise.
Ms. Murray commented: I represent the leading employers in Marin, Sonoma and Napa representing over 25,000 employees.
We are a public policy advocacy group who work on creating new jobs, improving transportation and certainly are very committed to climate and energy resilience.
We were one of the groups that supported AB 32. We opposed Prop 23. But we are very concerned about some of the things that are being proposed in the Bay Plan Amendment which has brought me here today.
We want to make sure that decisions are based on real information. It's my understanding that the maps that show the potential climate change and the sea level rise do not incorporate existing levees or existing plans for wetlands restorations.
We're very interested in making sure that existing development is protected as well as existing development rights.
And what you're looking at here just by putting these lines on a map can really depress property values further.
It could become a disclosure item when you're looking to sell your land and a real estate law.
And we're also hearing it's causing an impact on insurance rates.
We want to be partners in this. We want this to be addressed. We want to see adaptation and mitigation and public/private partnerships. But we've got to do this in a very deliberate way so we don't exacerbate a problem that already is out there.
So we ask you to please look at many different things and make sure when we're starting to get into the decisions that we're operating off of the data that's really going to take us where we need to go and that we can be working with you as partners.
Commissioner Vasquez stated: A question of staff. That question has come up a couple of times that the maps don't reflect the levees or flood control that's already in place.
Chief Planner LaClair responded: That's correct. We simply didn't have the data, the accurate data to be able to project the impact of existing flood control structures.
We simply looked at existing low-lying areas and compared that to water levels and mapped those areas.
But we simply lack the resources or the information to be able to map what the impact of existing shoreline protection would be on holding back rising seas.
Executive Director Travis replied: I think it's important to understand though that these maps have been out on the street for over two years. They are USGS maps. They aren't ours.
And they have all of that disclaimer information on them. It doesn't include existing flood protection. It doesn't include areas that can be protected. It should not be used for insurance purposes. It should not be used for anything else.
So our challenge with this is people are saying, well these maps are causing all the problems. It's not the maps that's causing the problem, it's sea level rise that going to cause the problem.
The maps do exist. The concerns that people have I think could be addressed by simply reading the disclaimer which in many cases seems to be larger than the map.
Commissioner Gioia commented: Some people thought that this was some expanded area of BCDC jurisdiction. And I think that's been put to rest.
I mean, those are not intended jurisdiction areas. In fact, it's my understanding that if any project is proposed that's within a jurisdiction of some city that covers those potential inundation areas they would be site-specific analysis to determine what steps would need to be taken and that that jurisdiction would consider and that including the existence of local flood control protection measures that are in place.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: I think we've gone past the point where we just say, those maps are informational.
I hear the public wanting to know what is the likely process whereby projects would be considered. What would be the process whereby projects would be conceptualized, designed and proposed?
What would be the process of bringing to bear the additional information about where flood control is available, where flood control projects are produced?
I'd like to hear something, even just conjecture, about how do we see this process being applied in local governments to specific projects and all, rather than just simply say, well, those projects, the maps are really just informational, but I hear these people say, well where do we go from there?
Executive Director Travis replied: Well I think this is an example of damned if you do and damned if you don't. When we first came out with the policies we said, these are BCDC policies and as is allowed under the law and in the Bay Plan they are advisory for local governments.
There was a great concern that this was an attempt to usurp local authority which is why we have proposed Policy Number 1 which says, these policies are only for BCDC's use in its jurisdiction.
So we are offering no advice. We then have a policy that calls for the development of a regional climate change adaptation strategy whereby BCDC working with its regional partners, working with the business community, local governments, investors, insurers would develop a long-term strategy for how the region deals with this.
But the truth is that under current law local governments have the authority, have the responsibility to deal with this matter as they do yesterday and will tomorrow. None of this changes any of it.
Commissioner Carruthers replied: That's not what I'm talking about. I've heard you all say that there is a growing body of information that is applicable to making decisions about these areas subject to flooding. There is a growing body of information that's available to consider what kind of use should be applied and how development proposals should be designed.
And, I think we need to articulate that, not as part of the policy but part of the context within which the policies are being considered because otherwise we get that continuing anxiety.
Chair Randolph added: My understanding of the maps too was that they'd show where water could go if nothing else was done, if there were no existing protections, if no measures were taken to protect new properties from development or existing properties.
And so I think what lies behind the maps is the expectation that decisions will be made but not in the Bay Plan about what those properties are going to be and what the protections would look like.
So I don't think it precludes innovation in any sense of the word. Hopefully it actually encourages innovation.
Ms. Silveira commented: I'm here on behalf of my father, Anthony Silveira, who is a dairy rancher in Marin County on some substantial number of acres in the County.
And it's interesting because it got on to the subject of mapping.
All this tizzy about our property has been a distraction and a real drain on us. And I would have to say that maps that have footnotes regardless of how big the footnotes are, always have and always will continue to work against us because, I'm sorry to say, but there are people who use it for their own narrow agendas that have nothing to do with fairness to property owners who have been land stewards and continue to be.
So I'd just have to urge the BCDC to be very careful about what is highlighted in terms of, I know you're not the originator of the maps, but whatever is presented in a way that seems to highlight specific areas of concern.
Mr. McConnell commented: Gregory McConnell here on behalf of The Jobs and Housing Coalition which represents major employers and developers primarily in Oakland.
Our concern is to ensure that the language does, in fact, allow us to continue to promote jobs and economic development.
Oakland has a 17 percent unemployment rate and in the more challenged areas and more challenged communities you might be able to double that.
We have worked closely with the Building Industry Association, the Bay Planning Coalition, the Bay Area Council and have met with some of you in other rooms.
And, our position is that we want to be supportive of efforts to bring together a consensus approach to address the issues that we are concerned about but also at the same time be very mindful of that protecting the future does not damage, unnecessarily, the present.
Mr. Campos commented: My name is Paul Campos. I'm with BIA of the Bay area.
First, I would like to echo what Joe LaClair said in his opening remarks that I think there has been significant progress made since the last public hearing with the subsequent meeting and communications.
I'd like to second what John Coleman requested that the language, additional language in the findings from the CCAS are added in the name of balance.
And then second, on the issue of some of the language in Climate Change Policy 4, and this goes back to the very sensitive discussion that Commissioner McGrath and I had at the last meeting about the term, “critical habitat.”
I would, again, request and suggest that the Commission not use that term, “critical habitat”, because it is such a well-defined term of art in The Endangered Species Act and instead substitute the term, “significant habitat.”
Ms. Weems commented: I'm Margaret Weems, Weems Law Offices, Fairfax, California on behalf of several small shoreline property owners and developers.
I have submitted to the hearing clerk a copy of a June 2, 2011 letter drafted by Fred Grange of Francisco Properties and I ask that that be incorporated in the public comment record.
I think the “critical habitat” language is inappropriate. It does not show balance.
Protecting the future cannot come at the expense of the present and there is no clarity about current development and development rights in the proposed amendments.
But just because this work has happened it is not necessary now to amend The Bay Plan. And my main concern, and I think it's, I'm surprised and gratified how many times it's been raised, is that the data, the mappings, the specific site information, the milestones and goals for needing the protections, the amendments proposed are very uncertain and speculative at this point.
And with respect to the jurisdiction question, it continues to be a problem in the public's eye for the Commission because on your website in a section called, Climate Change Strategy for the San Francisco Bay Region, a very specific strategy is laid out that talks about expanding the jurisdiction.
There have been requests that the Commission specifically disavow the kind of powers attributed to it by the California Appellate Courts in Acme Fill, additional comments specifically disavowing those kinds of powers would be helpful. So, thank you.
Mr. Sasaki commented: My name is Tito Sasaki of the North Bay Agricultural Alliance. Our members own and farm on thousands of acres of diked farmland on the shore of the San Pablo Bay.
It is public policy as reflected in the County General Plan that these lands will remain agricultural.
And, of course, this sea level rise issue is quite a serious problem particularly because it's rather uncertain. We don't know exactly what is going to happen and how much is going to rise, et cetera. So it's a real big issue and nobody is more affected than the owners and the managers of these lands. And so they are the ones who really think hardest on how to cope with that.
And so just again, priorities should be given to the wisest decision of these private and public owners of the lands that are going to be affected.
I have one simple solution to Mr. Travis about your answer to Cynthia Murray's question on the map. If that map comes from USGS and has all these provisions or disclaimers, why don't we put that one on top of the map, all these disclaimers. That will solve all the problems. And at the moment, you know, the map is just about set without any disclaimers. So I thought that when I was listening to you.
Okay, now concerning the latest revision I have one suggestion. That on page six of this revised revision as well as on page 36 there is a reference saying that the strategy further recommends that the state should consider prohibiting projects that would place development in undeveloped areas already containing critical habitat and those containing opportunities for tidal wetland restoration, habitat migration or buffer zones, et cetera.
I think this should be taken out because it shouldn't be prohibited.
But I think leaving this one in would necessitate your overriding it in a later day and makes life more complicated to everybody. So I suggest you remove this particular section from the reference of the Climate Adaptation Strategy, the document. Thank you.
Mr. Franchimon commented: I am the business manager of the Napa-Solano Building Trades Council and we represent about 24 different individual unions; about 15,000 members live in Solano and Napa Counties. I am here on behalf of the Building Trades Councils in the Bay Area.
The one issue is retreat that I have a problem with. I am originally born in Holland and moved to the United States, became a citizen.
Mr. Harrison commented: Dave Harrison, Operating Engineers Local 3. We support the comments made by Mr. Coleman from the Bay Planning Coalition and then Mr. Nack and Mr. Franchimon from the Building Trades.
For us the number one priority is jobs, as one of the Commissioners mentioned earlier. That is high on everyone's priority list.
So we would like to encourage, as Mr. Franchimon said, we would like to encourage the use of engineering strategies as used in places like Holland, or places that have been dealing with sea level rise responsibly for decades.
And finally I would like to offer the services of the Operating Engineers and our almost 40,000 members to get that done for you. Thank you.
Chair Randolph added: I just might mention for our prior speaker that I think the reference he was referring to, the phrase "prohibit" is from the state's Climate Adaptation Strategy.
So what this part of the Plan reflects is just in the findings that this is a statement of the strategy, it is not the statement of the policy which is reflected in the policy section. So they are linked of course but they are rather different and we will have some more discussion on that afterward.
On the Dutch reference, I think as many members of the Commission know, BCDC has had a relationship with the Netherlands for some time actually looking at their experience, which is probably preeminent in the world, in dealing with water, a lot of water, a lot of the country being at or below sea level. And so I think we are in fact looking to the Netherlands among others for their experience and innovation in engineering.
The word innovation has come up a couple of times today and I think we are definitely, you know, thinking actively about innovative responses, it's not just -- certainly not just retreat or even retreat.
Ms. Wooden commented: My name is April Wooden, I am the Community Development Director for the City of Suisun City and I am here today representing the Planning Directors of Solano County.
I would like to simply join the previous speakers that have discussed how important it is to have clarity and certainty for development rights in the future.
When we take on the amendment of a plan that covers a lot of territory usually the first thing that we do is look at background information. And when possible map that so that everybody can see where the areas are that we are thinking about doing something differently or that we are trying to protect or that have entitlements already in place.
And I understand the enthusiasm that has gone forward over the last two years in trying to get a set of policies ready for adoption. But unfortunately I do feel, and I have said this before, that it has been a little bit of the cart before the horse. I think that there are maps that would be very useful.
As the representative from SPUR expressed at the last workshop, we may be much closer in our agreement on what is going forward than we know because we haven't looked at the area within the 100 foot shoreline band and determined what is at risk, what we all agree constitutes infill development and should be developed and what we generally all agree should be protected possibly for future expansion of the marshland.
That is why I really, really encourage you. I know that it is expensive and I know that you don't have the staff. But if you don't then you should not be promulgating regulations that affect people's property and they can't look at a map and know what you are trying to do.
When you ask for specifics about why people think that your plan affects local control I urge you to look at the climate change policy. Not a finding but a policy that is proposed in the latest staff proposal which says, ideally the regional strategy, the regional strategy will determine where and how existing development should be protected and infill development encouraged, where new development should be permitted and where existing development should eventually be removed to allow the Bay to migrate inland.
For those of us in local government those are scary words. We are not looking for regional planning, we are looking for regional support. So there is my specific example of why we are still concerned that there isn't enough local government involvement in this.
Commissioner Gioia added: I wanted to make a comment on this last comment because if you look earlier it says that the Commission in collaboration with the Joint Policy Committee, other regional, state and federal agencies, local governments and the general public - remember, this is a document in which everything has to be read in conjunction with everything else. So that section, the entities that -- that you read from. "The entities that formulate the regional strategy are encouraged to consider the follow strategies and goals."
So the entities that are formulating the regional strategy, which is what I am referring to, are: "The Commission, in collaboration with the Joint Policy Committee, other regional, state and federal agencies, local governments and the general public should formulate a regional sea level rise adaptation strategy for protecting critical developed shoreline areas" and so forth, "enhancing the resilience of Bay and shoreline systems and increasing their adaptive capacity."
So the intention here is that all local agencies in the Bay Area, with the general public, with state and federal agencies and the regional agencies, are together working on a regional strategy. Because the only way you can effectively develop a strategy on sea level rise is a regional one. The City of Richmond can't independently do one from the City of Suisun City or the City of Berkeley. That it's a regional issue because the effects of what happens in one area impact a neighboring city.
So I think the goal here is that yes, maybe there is some tension between local control of one city. There may be one city that wants to do things very different from the city next to it. But that may have negative impacts on the city next to it. And therefore I think that's why a regional approach with all agencies working together is necessary and that's the intent.
And so I think while we're facing a different issue, the recognition is the only way you address it with all 101 cities of the Bay Area and nine counties working together. Not each city going it alone with their own regional control.
Ms. Wooden replied: I don't know what local governments have been at the table on these behind-the-scenes meetings. But no local government has been informing us of those conversations.
Commissioner Gioia responded: And again, I am just referring to saying going forward that the regional adaptation strategy would be developed with local government. That's what this says.
Ms. Mazzoni commented: My name is Casey Mazzoni and I am representing the Marin Builders Association. The Marin Builders Association serves the construction industry by promoting high, ethical and professional standards and providing quality services to our members. We have over 750 members who work responsibly with our community for the enhancement of the building industry and our environment.
The Marin Builders Association urges BCDC to avoid language that might stifle economic development, particularly smart growth.
We urge the Board to slow down this process. I have reached out to many of our members. None knew about what was going on. Two of our members who would be directly affected by this plan knew nothing about it until a week ago.
So we hope that when issues arise in the future that affect the community and the construction industry that you will utilize our knowledge and resources. We stand ready to partner with you and other interested parties to bring thoughtful solutions that support and maintain a vibrant business community while protecting our environment. Thank you.
Mr. Pedersen commented: My name is Ken Pedersen from Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito. We have 37 acres of water there. We have been in business for over 60 years.
My biggest concern is the elevation. We have 37 acres. Some are on bedrock. The bulk of our property is from 120 to 180 feet of Bay mud with fill on top of that.
The elevation requirements that you are suggesting on the buildings is doable, obviously pile-supported works. But the property in general, we are the only company, the only property owner in Sausalito that is actually filling their property to control the settling of our property, which we settle at a level of about a half-inch a year and we take care of that.
If these elevations are to be put up there is no way that we can take care of it. Marinas, the marinas are not like others. If the elevation and the weight of the fill is so great right on water's edge you end up with a slump slide which is like a fault line. It takes years and years and years to recover.
My biggest concern is we are one of the property owners that is trying to protect our own property. We are not talking about developing because right now you have convinced me to take my money and take it somewhere outside of this area.
But just maintaining and running a marina properly, which the Bay is full of them, needs to be really thought of and how you are going to, what elevation requirements you are putting on us I don't believe are going to work.
Mr. Garcia commented: My name is Josue Garcia, I am the Deputy Executive Officer for the Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council. We represent 25 construction unions and we have a membership of around 30,000 members in the South Bay.
I want to commend the Commission and the BCDC staff for its efforts in highlighting the extraordinary challenges posed by climate change and sea level rise. Because these challenges are so great we must not prematurely adopt restrictive policies that will limit our ability to respond appropriately and most effectively.
We firmly believe that more work needs to be done to assess the threat posed by the projected sea level rise and identify these communities, businesses and associated infrastructure at risk of inundation. Once that work has been completed we must then make a commitment to those at risk that our strategy will primarily seek to protect their communities and protect our local economy.
In the South Bay we have extraordinary infill opportunities within the projected inundation zone that have long been planned to support the growth of Silicon Valley's economy as part of both smart growth and economic development strategies. By adopting sweeping and restrictive policies and recommendations at this point the Commission will only serve to discourage private investment and innovation throughout this area.
We want to stress that the private sector can and should play a critical role in the efforts to protect vulnerable communities and economic centers from future sea level rise.
We ask that you not take premature actions. Instead look towards continuing the work you have begun in assessing the threat we face and exploring those options that promise the best hope of protecting our communities and our economy and our environment. Thank you so much.
Ms. Tam commented: My name is Laura Tam. I am the Sustainable Development Policy Director for SPUR, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. We are a member-supported nonprofit that supports good planning and good government in San Francisco and the Bay Area and we are also the authors of the recent report, Climate Change Hits Home, which provides a guidance document for local governments as well as regional agencies to begin the process of adapting to climate change, including how to plan for sea level rise.
We were really honored to be part of the May 19 panel discussion that took place with the Commission and we feel there has been enormous progress made with creating even more clarity in the Bay Plan since that time.
In short, we think that the Bay Plan is very clear and constantly becoming clearer about its objectives and about how it is going to help provide a regional framework for protection of the Bay and of our regional conservation and development objectives as they relate to the Bay.
In particular SPUR is glad to see the Bay Plan recognizing that there are regional benefits in protecting the shoreline, in creating some new shoreline development as well as regional benefits in protecting areas for tidal marshes.
The new draft recognizes that BCDC is one of many regional agencies who have a stake in protecting the economic development of our region and in aligning policies around sustainable communities and in particularly supporting transit-oriented infill development.
We are delighted to see that the new draft Bay Plan includes a reference to the region's FOCUS program as where we are deciding to prioritize that infill development going forward.
The new draft recognizes that we will need to invest vast resources in protecting communities and infrastructure along the shoreline. It also recognized that there is a presumption of protecting the Bay and its adaptive capacity.
But when the regional benefits question comes up we deal with things on a surgical, sort of case-by-case approach. And this is appropriate as we move forward and move our regional strategy forward as well.
So to conclude, I am just here today to support the general direction of the Bay Plan. And as Gabriel said to you all a few weeks ago, we feel like we are very, very close and optimistic about passing this amendment in some form this year.
Mr. Krystal commented: My name is Jack Krystal and I represent a small piece of humanity as well as my company, Literal Development Company. We own a large parcel of property between Sausalito/Mill Valley, one-third of which has subsided over many years. It was filled a long, long time ago; only two-thirds is left.
We had to be involved in litigation with BCDC over overreaching and going back to what is reasonable in attaining a mean high tide jurisdiction rather than what used to be the highest possible tide of whatever means or sources that could take place. In summary, Roman law versus Greek law, which is the argument that the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court found very valid.
I am here not to oppose what is being produced or at least intended to. I am here to warn and to ask that not to overreach. To facilitate, to think. We must act smart. This is a worldwide condition and so much of it is speculative. But we don't want to be too late but we don't want to harm. And we have to keep in mind that this relates to families, to individuals, to children, to people who make their livelihood and will do so. And if we do not act wisely and keep these things in mind it will be a permanent, irreparable harm.
Chair Randolph opened the hearing for Commissioners’ comments but stated first:I was thinking, listening to a few of the public comments though, I wanted to just respond or comment on the public process. I think there were a lot of people last September when the first draft of the BCDC language came out that were caught by surprise despite a lot of process prior to that, obviously it wasn't deep enough to get the community fully engaged.
I feel very comfortable that since then there has been an exhaustive process of outreach through many, many public hearings here with 30, 40 people at a time speaking where we run very, very late for everybody to have the opportunity to participate. There has been a lot of diversity of participation. Public hearings with local elected officials in all the counties. And that process is continuing.
I think it is an unfortunate fact of life that whatever one does in public policy, somebody is not going to know about it. And most businesses, not surprising, they are trying to meet their payroll, they are involved day to day in what is going on to be successful and it's often not the first priority and it is pretty hard to follow what is going on in regulatory agencies.
Unfortunately, I think it is going to be hard for everybody who would be potentially affected by this to be fully informed at every moment. But I am comfortable that our process to date for public outreach and engagement has been, I think, about as thorough as it can be and it is certainly not over yet.
I think we have to plan. We are talking about uncertainty about climate change, uncertainty about the effects. I don't think we would be doing our job if we were living purely in the present and not beginning the process of planning for the future.
And I think it is important to note again that a lot of these future decisions about what might be supported and where, it is not here in the Bay Plan. That would happen through the process that Trav referred to of the Bay Area Regional Climate Adaptation Strategy, which will be a much larger and longer public process.
So I just want to acknowledge the uncertainty. I think it is what we are dealing with here. State our sensitivity to those who spoke to us about jobs and the impact on the economy and assure everybody that we are doing our utmost to have an open and extended public process.
So turning to the language and the Commission. I would like to open it up and just note that the language you have in front of you today is an evolution of the language at our last meeting two weeks ago and the workshop we held since then. As I said earlier, staff and a number of Commissioners who have been actively involved in this met again with business representatives, environmental representatives, and looked at the language.
And what we tried do in the last meeting was, as we looked at specific phrases and clauses and sections, to get a sense of the Commission about what was the level of support, the comfort level with certain directions as we get more clarity on close to the final language. And so this draft reflects the best efforts of the drafting group to reflect what we think that comfort level might be on these different issues.
But what we would like to hear from you now is, is that the case? To what extent are members of the Commission comfortable or not comfortable with the language, the direction? This is a great opportunity today to hear from you. We are really closing in pretty rapidly on what will be the final language. But I really encourage everybody who has a view on this to -- pro, con, neutral, whatever -- to speak to that today. With that let's just open it up. Commissioner Wagenknecht.
Commissioner Wagenknecht commented: I have just one, real quickly. Today we are going to give some input at this point. Then let staff move forward and put our input into what they hear for the Bay Plan. Where is it going from there?
Executive Director Travis replied: Over the next month we will be meeting with local governments throughout the Bay Area listening to their ideas, getting the information today. The plan is that we will then refine that. We will put out a revised staff report which will be the fourth revised staff report. That's on July 29th.
We will hold a public hearing on September 1st. Hopefully a vote then on October 6th.
Commissioner Wagenknecht added: Mr. Wren asked about Policy 1 and that it is possible, in his reading, that our Policy 1 was weakening what we were doing in other regards. I don't read it that way but have you looked it over with that in mind?
Executive Director Travis replied: We have indeed and we have worked very closely with the Attorney General's Office and with a number of the stakeholders in drafting that language. The purpose of it is really to deal with the expression of political concern that the Commission could overreach, could use the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act to overreach its authority.
And also a concern that, a concern we share, that so-called NIMBYs could use the maps and say, well, you've got an infill development in one of these areas that's low-lying and under BCDC's plan you have to take that into account under the CEQA guidelines and require a full EIR, which would take a perfectly good project and make it financially unfeasible.
So this is an area where we are sharing and supporting the work of the Sustainable Communities Strategy. We want to encourage that type of infill. So we are trying to craft language that to the degree BCDC has control over this one small part of CEQA, we will try to fix it. It may not fix everything but we don't want to be contributing to the problem.
Commissioner Wagenknecht continued: Mr. Coleman talked about innovative design. Are we precluding innovative design in our --
Chief Planner LaClair replied: What Mr. Coleman was asking for were some specific references from the California Climate Adaptation Strategy be included in Finding W.
The proposal as it now reads has a finding that recognizes that innovative strategies will be necessary in order to respond to this challenge and there is a policy that encourages the use of innovative strategies. What he is requesting is inclusion of a specific reference to further support in addition to what is already in the proposal from staff.
Commissioner Wagenknecht continued: Okay. I don't have any issue with that. Mr. Coleman had at least one other specific piece of language in Policy W.
Commissioner McGrath replied: It was cost benefit.
Commissioner Gibbs commented: There has been a lot of talk about economic development and jobs and the economy today. I wanted to talk a little bit about that. And for the rest of the Commission, really refer us to the policies and the policy alternatives that are implied. Because there's been two sets of comments.
One has been encouraging us to think about jobs and the economy and I understand and appreciate that. The other set of comments has been implying that the policy as drafted currently is somehow harmful to jobs and the economy and I don't understand or appreciate that. And I think we need to turn to the specific language and see what it says.
So the two specific pieces of language that have been the focus of the controversy are in Policy 4, which is on page nine. And what that says, without reading the whole thing but it talks about undeveloped lands that are suitable for ecosystem enhancement or restoration. It says: "These areas should be given special consideration for preservation and habitat enhancement and should be encouraged to be used for those purposes."
We as a Commission at the last meeting and in our subsequent meeting specifically removed the last language that said "Development in these areas should be discouraged." Okay? Because we believe that this gives sufficient instruction to this Commission and future Commissions to say that when there is undeveloped land around this ring of the Bay and it can be used to restore or enhance the environment that that should be the first priority.
Now there is a policy alternative there and the policy alternative there is to not give priority to the few remaining areas of undeveloped land around the Bay. I would maintain that that is contrary to economic development because nobody wants a water coast area that has development after development after development. And having some natural land and some undeveloped land actually enhances the overall property of the Bay.
But I want to be very clear, the Commission can take the policy alternative that we should not, with respect to undeveloped land, say that the first preference should be given to preservation or enhancement.
I also want to be very clear that that implies, and because we removed the language that says discourage, that development will be permitted in those areas if a strong case can be made. So that's one of the important policies that we are considering.
The second is Policy 7 which starts on page 13 but the key language spills over onto page 14. And that relates specifically in -- in Policy 7c is one of the policies that it says: "have regional benefits, advance regional goals and should be encouraged if the regional benefits and advancement of goals outweigh the risk from flooding." And specifically included there is “projects that concentrate employment or housing near existing or committed transit service”.
Now, how anyone can say that that discourages development or kills jobs or the economy is beyond me. There is a policy alternative there as well. You could remove the language that says "outweighs the risk from flooding." So in other words, we could say in this shoreline band around the area where a project concentrates jobs or employment we won't consider the risk from flooding.
Once again, the working group and I don't believe that that is prudent planning or that that actually advances the economy of the Bay. Because if you put these projects there and then sea level rise comes, what good have you done?
Specifically, I spoke to the man who was the representative from the South Bay Building Council and he talked about projects in Silicon Valley. I grew up there, I know what he's talking about. From Palo Alto down through Milpitas they used to have drive-in movie theaters and baseball parks and everything else and now the Silicon Valley companies want to put job projects there for employment. And I said to him, it is our belief that that kind of project is not only specifically permitted under 7c but specifically encouraged. And that's what the language says.
And so we want to engage all the rest of the Commissioners to actually look at the language and see what its practical and real-life effect is. And if somehow you believe that it does not support the economy or kills jobs let us know.
But we have now worked for almost two years, led by Chair Randolph who in fact is the head of the Bay Area Economic Council, to make sure that jobs and employment and the economy are considered. And that we not only have a sustainable environment in the Bay but a sustainable economy as well. So that's what we have been working on. And again, we want to encourage all of you to look at the language.
And finally, with respect to the notion of uncertainty in planning, that somehow if we pass these amendments it will lead to uncertainty that is also going to be harmful to the Bay or the economy.
I don't understand how you have certainty in the face of coming sea level rise unless you adopt one of two policies. And one policy is to do absolutely nothing and then you can be certain. There are no regulations and that clearly is certainty. The other policy is to completely ban development and then you can be certain there will be nothing there in the projected flood zone.
We have clearly chosen another alternative. And that alternative is a balancing test and that alternative is reflected in the language. And so, you know, once again, please Commissioners, read the language. Come to your own judgments about what it says. And if you don't believe that it does support a healthy Bay Area economy please let us know. But right now we have been working for two years on this and we think it does. Thank you very much.
Executive Director Travis added: Just let me supplement because I think it is very important. You look at that language that Commissioner Gibbs talked about and he talked about Silicon Valley.
If you also adopt Policy 1, which we recommend you do, this language does not apply to Silicon Valley. It applies to that piece of water out there and it applies to salt ponds and it applies to managed wetlands and it applies to what we call certain waterways, which are some of the rivers that empty into the Bay.
It would also apply within 100 feet of the shoreline of the Bay. But the gotcha there is under the law you don't have the authority to turn down a project because it would be endangered by sea level rise or it would have inadequate protection. You only have the authority to say, well, is it one of these -- we talked earlier today about a priority use area. If it is a priority use area you can say, it can only be used for that priority use. And the other thing you can do is make sure it has enough public access.
So the policies would apply in these low-lying areas where there are existing provisions of protection and law and existing provisions that give emphasis or environmental protection to the Bay. So it is not like it is overlaying a whole new body of restriction because it only applies within your jurisdiction.
And I think as you think about that, and one of the reasons that we are advancing Policy 1 is it makes it easier for you then to develop policies that are appropriate for the shoreline of the Bay, the Bay wetlands and salt ponds.
Commissioner McGrath commented: I would like to endorse and thank you on my behalf, and hopefully the Commission's behalf, the hard work by Commissioner Gibbs and his ability to articulate and discover ways to do this. I think he has laid the issue out and I endorse his approach entirely.
I would like to see three minor changes to this. I do agree that cost-effectiveness is a meaningful addition.
I do agree with the comment that we probably shouldn't use a term of art under the Endangered Species Act.
I also agree and I would ask for a little love from the development community as I have before on the language suggested by David Lewis. I think there's an effort here to provide a balance on the different policy perspectives that are there in the Climate Adaptation Strategy.
Now, it is important for the audience to understand, first, there are recommendations by the Ocean Protection Council. We have quoted them here but we have not adopted them. We have adopted different policy recommendations and maybe that wasn't clear. But it is important for you to recognize that we took those recommendations, we considered them and we are not suggesting, your staff is not suggesting.
There seems to also be a misunderstanding that flooding of land in the over-topping or failure of levees is somehow going to enhance and permanently change BCDC's jurisdiction.
We discussed that at some length with the business community. By a matter of law if I remember it correctly, there is one year to repair those facilities; there is nothing automatic that changes it; and there are emergency permit provisions in a track record that says, we allow and approve that. So there is nothing automatic. So there is nothing that changes jurisdiction nor any intent to change jurisdiction.
But with that said, we also know that this problem is huge. And I know enough about our existing governance structures and the flood control districts in the communities that I have tried to work with to know that they don't have the financial capability.
We are going to have to rely on the private sector to do so without a governance structure, and in many cases, with land that may be public land. That is going to be challenging.
And the idea here is to move us into a planning stage where we start to do that and start to do that ahead of time. But as the commentor from SPUR said, this is intended to establish a presumption, if economically viable, of protection and that's what it is.
But it may not always be the case. And certainly insurance companies already know this. They already know this. We didn't let this cat out of the bag. They know this in a big way, as does the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These changes are coming on a fiduciary sense as people begin to appreciate that. And what we are recommending is that you begin to anticipate that, begin to look at what you might have to do in governance.
So I think we have made some changes to improve, I think in no other case, the optics for development. The development community asked for us to remove the language, the "discourage." We don't have the authority to turn it down, we made that change. So I think you want to consider the package here.
But I do think -- and I would argue, although I will not base my final vote on it, I would argue that what the request from David Lewis, as the request from John Coleman and the building industry, on those two additions are all reasonable and minor changes.
Commissioner Gioia commented: First let me start by saying I think that this has been the issue in my, I guess, probably 12 years on the Commission, this has been the issue that has taken the greatest amount of time in terms of public input, staff, Commission. I think that's a good thing and I think that indicates the level of engagement that has occurred here and I think we ought to recognize that that has happened.
I think we have incorporated input from enough representatives of all the sectors of the economy and the environmental community, the local government community from around the Bay Area. I think we are getting a very good overall representative sample of how people feel so I think that's a good thing.
You know, I was struck by one comment. A couple of speakers said that protecting the future should not come at the expense of the present. And I reflected, you know, many of the problems we have today are because that was the philosophy that existed in the past.
So I think what we are trying to do is sort of protect the future while having the least impact on the present, but understand that there will be impacts and that there will be sacrifices. As others have said, we don't want to let our children deal with the problem alone. And I think this policy is seeking to strike that balance.
And I think we realize that not everybody is going to be happy with every word in this policy but I sort of divide this policy into two. What is the standard that BCDC is going to use in looking on a case-by-case basis on projects that are within its jurisdiction?
And then what is the process going forward in terms of developing a regional adaptation strategy? And I think, Commissioner Gibbs, you talked about some of the details so I won't revisit that.
And I think where there is a lot of concern is the speculation over what is going to happen on developing a regional adaptation strategy. So while we have put in here what we think it should include, and we have put in language I think strikes a good balance, ultimately that regional adaptation strategy is going to be developed by sort of a more general, broad-based, mutual strategy with local government, state and federal agencies, business, labor, the whole Bay Area community. So I think that, you know, we are doing our best in striking a balance about what we think it should include.
With regard to the policies as to how they are applied before there is the development of a regional adaptation strategy, I draw us back to the idea, we only have jurisdiction over particular defined areas. And I think a lot of the people who have come here are expressing concern over what will happen on a project that is in a potential inundation zone that is outside of our jurisdiction. And I think we are trying to make clear in these policies that, you know, local government will continue to exercise its jurisdiction in those areas. And that's the local control.
But as to those issues within our jurisdiction we feel it is appropriate to have some regional approach. I think that is the tension that will always exist, the need to have some regional approach over this issue because it affects everyone around the Bay.
And I think it also strikes a balance that yes there is going to be, as some called it, innovative practices. Which I read the same thing as resilience. We use the term "resilience" throughout this document.
And that's sort of the old phrase of, you know, engineering our way out of a problem. Sometimes engineering our way out of a problem is good and sometimes it's only part of a solution. Because there may be places around the Bay where we don't want to engineer our way out of the problem and have development and it is more appropriate to have restoration and more appropriate to protect and leave the Bay as it is.
So I think overall, and I am not happy with every element as well here and I think probably no one is, but that it is moving us toward trying to develop some type of consensus.
I do want to ask one question regarding this issue of cost-benefit. Cost-benefit may be good in some areas but there may be, again, I want to make sure that that standard is not applied to areas that clearly we all agree there should be no development as you apply these policies. Just because you may be able to buy your way out still may not be the reason for having development in areas for all of the reasons we should not have, so I wanted a clarification.
Commissioner McGrath, you said you were interested in incorporating that. I am not sure what part of that and where that would be, because that would be significant to understand, you know as you can well appreciate. I mean, as you used to work for the Port of Oakland, you understand that you can engineer your way out of anything almost but that sometimes it may not be appropriate, even under a cost-benefit analysis.
The other comment. There is some language here about small projects but it doesn't define small projects being allowed.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: There is no finding defining small projects. Similarly, the Commission has language in the Bay Plan, “minor fill”.
The Commission makes that call on a case-by-case basis as to what constitutes a small project.
Commissioner Gioia responded: I just think we may want to maybe expand what that means. People coming before the Commission are going to have different interpretations of what a small project is and when I saw that in there it was just, I just think we may want to think about some additional definition of what that would be.
That's on page 15 where it says, "The following specific types of projects should be encouraged if they do not negatively impact the Bay and do not increase risk to public safety. And one of them is "a small project." I think maybe we need a little more guidance on that.
Executive Director Travis added: Well, clearly anything that qualifies for an administrative permit is a small project. We would prefer not to define it, for the same reason there is a provision in the law that says, Bay fill is defined to include a lot of things.
So it is very hard to take a term like that and apply a regional definition that doesn't end up being so complicated and cumbersome. So a small project is clearly one that is not a big project.
Commissioner Gioia replied: I'm not sure I agree on this one. But it means we just give a little thought about what that means. And it may be that things in which an administrative permit is appropriate, is one way to define it because there is some understanding of what that is.
So on the costs, again, I put my comments out on the cost-benefit about my concern about where that gets included.
And finally my last comment. I do think we should keep on this time schedule, the one that we approved which is on the Web, which we approved at our meeting. Which is, to be clear, we're moving toward having there be a staff release July 29th, a Commission public hearing on that staff recommendation September 1st, final recommendation September 23rd and the Commission vote October 6th, right?
It would be great to have a graphic representation or a summary that's like a two page flow that somebody, city council members who are picking this up as we do work with local government can pick it up and say -- and use that as a guide as they look at the document.
Because sorting your way through this is going to be hard for somebody who wants to understand the impacts of it. So some visual, graphic representation of this policy including the policies before there is a regional adaptation strategy and what is sort of the guidance on the development of the regional adaptation strategy. Some way to graphically represent this in a couple of pages.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: We'll definitely take a look at that.
Commissioner McGrath commented: I believe, and I confirmed with Mr. Coleman, that he had asked for the language as a finding that was literally and simply a quotation from the California Climate Adaptation Strategy.
I think it is ironic and even a little amusing that they asked us to whittle it down and they want to whittle it back up. And I do think that both the changes that they seek and the changes that David Lewis seek are appropriate as background information that we considered but there is no policy change.
I did, however, agree with Paul Campos on the term in our policy because it lifts a term of art. And I think his objection there is well taken.
Commissioner Carruthers added: First I want to thank Commissioner Gibbs for his superb clarity regarding the major alternatives that could be taken – beautifully done.
And I just want to say that I agree with and support the comments that other Commissioners have offered until now. And I am confident that for projects that come to us before a regional plan is prepared, again I want to assure the audience, I am confident each of those projects will draw on all of the available information at the time that relates to possibilities of protection, adaptation, whatever and we won't be just bound by that map.
Commissioner Bates commented: I want to first of all congratulate everybody here actually, the staff, Sean, I would like to congratulate you and the people who sat in on these various workshops, both from environmentalists and also representative of business. This product is actually getting better and better and I think the process has really been the factor that's made that happen.
The wordsmithing at this point-- I mean, I am almost ready to say let's just stop at some point. Because this document, as important as it is, is a living document.
And the other thing that I keep thinking about is, you know, we keep talking about these things. But there is actually another world that we are not even thinking about, which is the investment community.
When we start talking about - we are going to be able to build here on these lowlands, you are going to have to put in huge investments in order to make it happen. So it is almost economically not feasible because nobody can afford to make the changes necessary to allow the development to happen in the first place. So it is also a factor of reality that comes into this.
I would like to indicate that the adaptation issue, which has been mentioned by lots of people, on the resilience, is that we are undertaking this. And this is actually Travis' pushing, I think, more than anybody else that I am aware of, has gone to the Joint Policy Committee and to the regional agencies and said, this has got to be on the agenda.
And Sean and I and others are working now to try to figure out a way that the Joint Policy Committee can actually bring together some of the smart adaptation strategies around the nation and around our area. We have lots of people thinking about this.
The problem areas are going to change. It's not just sea level rise. We're talking about extended warm weather, we're talking about weather like we've been having in May. June 1st it's raining in San Francisco. Who knows what we're facing with the weather, fire, floods, all kinds of things. So we are going to try to get a handle on some of the problems.
And the question is, what do we do about it after we understand it? So there's going to be policy ideas, there's going to be some financing ideas, there's going to be public/private. I mean, it's going to be a huge problem in trying to figure out how you implement a strategy once you understand the scope of the change.
So I would just say that I think that what we have outlined now is a process. I would just like us to end it.
But in the final analysis we need to make it as clear as we can, get the jurisdiction so people know the rules, know how we are going to operate and they can figure it out from there. So I look forward to October the 6th.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan commented: Well the first thing, I just wanted to respond to Commissioner Gioia's recommendation on getting a definition on small projects. I think the concept of having less definitions is better. The less specific we are the more it is actually a guidance document.
You know, this concept of uncertainty, there is actually something good about that. We don't know what is coming down the road. What kind of information is out there and what's available. Better to be less specific so that when there is a project that comes before the Commission there is a lot of debate about it and new information comes in and you don't have some restrictive definition that ties you down to a particular decision.
The other thing is kind of more of a big picture. I think one of the speakers started to ask a question of Joe LaClair, you know, what if we do nothing? What if we just didn't do an amendment, right? What happens to, number one, critical habitat? Number two, private property that floods and becomes unusable? And public access that is now gone?
I know this is like sort of stepping away and like just looking at the forest instead of being inside of the detail but let's just say we just didn't do this. Then what happens to the public access that is now gone that is owned by a property owner? They are required to then rebuild it in a different place or it's just gone?
Chief Planner LaClair replied: It's going to depend on a case-by-case basis as to what happens to the public access in an event that there is a flooding event that knocks it out. So right now the permit requires that that access be provided because the private development on which it is required is assuming -- we assume that that's still in place and so there is a linkage there between the private development.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan asked: It's a forever thing, right?
Chief Planner LaClair answered: Well, forever is a long time.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan continued: Well that's the question, I mean, because we're talking, this could be 100 years from now. Let's say we actually do the 55-inch rise. But the building is still there but the path is gone.
Chief Planner LaClair continued the dialogue: Right. And so the policy that we are recommending is that if public access is eliminated because of sea level rise and either it's replaced on top of or in conjunction with shoreline protection or it's relocated elsewhere to the
maximum extent it practically can be. And it will vary on a case-by-case basis as to how and where and whether the public access can and where it will be replaced or repaired or reconstituted.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan inquired: So the Bay Plan Amendment as it has evolved so far changes that how?
Chief Planner LaClair answered: Well it would impose, the Commission could use the policy to impose conditions on new development that would say something to the effect of, you need to adaptively manage this public access over time so that it will persist, consistent with the project.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan: So currently there --
Chief Planner LaClair: And currently it simply requires the public access as it is. There isn’t the same kind of adaptive principle included in permits to date.
It's a static kind of public access requirement. The Commission enters into an arrangement through a permit with a permittee for a certain development and public access that goes with that and the permit rules. So the public access, the Commission can't retroactively come back in and say, you have to redesign this. They can require that it be replaced in kind under the permit but they can't redesign it.
Commissioner Jordan Hallinan continued: I am not quite understanding the answer. So under current without the amendment, a path is wiped out. Would they be required to then build new access?
Chief Planner LaClair responded: To replace it in kind. To replace it in kind, yes. That's what the Commission would have authority to require under the permit.
As opposed to entering into an understanding with the permittee that over time perhaps as sea level rises they are going to have to make interventions in addition to the design that was approved at the time the project was constructed. So it gives the Commission more flexibility in terms of sort of reopening the public access design down the line.
Vice Chair Halsted commented: But this stuff is complicated, it's nuanced and every change affects something, some other place in the Bay Plan.
So I have listened carefully and listened to the comments from both the development community and from the environmental community as well as the jobs community and I am confident that no one will be totally happy.
However, I think that your Commissioners, particularly Commissioner Gibbs, Commissioner Randolph, Commissioner McGrath and Gioia and Bates, have done a fabulous job at trying to integrate the concerns of people. And I think we are very close to what I can advocate for.
I would like to ask that someone on staff be available to those people in the audience or in the potential audience who still retain great fears that we are going to do something that they can't predict. In the next month or so that we be able to respond to those kinds of fears in a way that is understandable because this stuff is really nuanced and complicated. And if your read one word in the wrong place you understand it incorrectly.
So I think we should be moving ahead but I would like to make sure that we try to reassure those individual property owners that we are not trying to take their property away from them, that we are not trying to decrease their value, but we are trying to look to the long-term interest of the public and for the property owners in the values of their property.
I do share Commissioner Gioia's concern that we not sacrifice the future to the present. And consider the present but look to the future as our guide.
Commissioner Vierra commented: I just wanted to say that I am pretty happy with the language that has been talked about today. I think I can also live with the changes that Commissioner McGrath had mentioned, the cost effectiveness section being included in the findings, taking out the word "critical" and replacing it with the word "important" habitat.
And, you know, I probably defer to other Commissioners about reinserting the phrase "discourage development" in Policy 4.
But again, overall I am pretty happy with this and I am ready to move forward on it.
Commissioner Vasquez added: First of all I do want to thank the Commissioners and staff for all the work they have done on this. Being one of the new members there is a lot of catching up for me to do.
But what concerns me is that you have had so many speakers come with a certain amount of distrust. And we all know as elected officials, once we lose the trust of our community we don't become elected officials again.
So how can we begin to articulate and address those concerns? And I know it has been repeated over and over again and I know at times it becomes almost -- you're tired of yourself saying, no, trust me, we are not doing this, we are not doing that. And that's fine for us to sit here today and for those who hear us today. But it really is about folks who come later and the interpretation of all this.
So I was thinking here, is there a preamble that goes in front of this amendment that talks about, really lays out what its intent is?
The Constitution was written but the Bill of Rights came afterwards. And the argument was that all those rights were implied in the Constitution. And the argument to that was, well if they are implied what's the big deal in spelling them out.
So I am not sure if that is the right thing to do or if it has not been thought about before. But someone who is fairly fresh to the ongoings, if somehow that would begin to relieve some of the stress on the part of local officials that represent some of the cities that I come from, from my planning department, from the business community, from the building trades and from farmers. I mean, I don't know how we go about articulating that but if that's something we could consider.
Executive Director Travis replied: I think this is one of those situations where we are so close to it that you just sort of threw a spotlight on the obvious.
We are dealing with the findings and the policies that are in the Bay Plan and they have a certain legal standing, they are written in a certain way. But what we need to do and we will do this in the staff report that brings us forward, is in simple, lay language explain why we are doing this, what we are doing, what the purpose and the intention is. I think that's a great idea.
Commissioner Gioia added: That should be part of what goes out to the cities in the next couple of months, not wait until the very end.
Chair Randolph stated: If any Commissioners have any level of discomfort or any significant problem with any of what has been discussed today, anything you have seen in the text, the suggestion that Commissioner McGrath has made, tell us now.
I think if you don't say anything we'll take that as saying that you have a broad level of comfort with all the major points and that the staff has direction about how to go forward with the fourth draft. I would encourage anybody else who has anything to say at this point to say it because we are very, very close. Commissioner Bates.
Commissioner Bates commented: Sean, I just want to emphasize, I thank Jim McGrath who raised these two issues and I am interested in taking both David Lewis' comments and this issue forward about the cost-benefit. I am not sure about the cost-benefit as much as -- I am more comfortable with Mr. Lewis. So I just want to go on record about that.
Commissioner Carruthers stated: Since Mr. Bates brought it up. I myself have a feeling that the cost-benefit analysis is not universally the solution to every problem. And I am not sure what having the wording in the findings, what the effect of that is.
I am not sure what the effect of the wording would have. I'm pretty sure that it's not in the policy. But again, I would like to have the people working on this look and see what actually is the impact of having it in the findings. Because again, I don't think it is the universal panacea for decision-making.
Chair Randolph opined: My interpretation of the cost-benefit phrase is that if that is taken from the Climate Adaptation Strategy then those proposing it are looking to strike a certain balance within what is extracted from the strategy and reflected in the findings. So I think it is probably a perspective of the balance of what is brought forward in the findings from the adaptation strategy.
Commissioner Gioia added: I think we need to see the language and the context. Commissioner Carruthers agreed.
Executive Director Travis stated: Remember, our staff report isn't going out until the 29th of July. So what we have time to do, we don't have to have another workshop on this but we can get together with the folks that have suggested this. We'll work up some language. We'll provide it to you so you have a chance to look at it and if you have any concerns about it you can let us know.
Chair Randolph commented: I should also note that in Policy 7 on page 13-14 actually does have cost-benefit analysis. It doesn't use the word "cost" but it refers to "evaluate each project proposed in vulnerable areas on a case-by-case basis to determine the project's public benefits" et cetera. And at the end refers to outweighing the risk of flooding. So I think we have that embedded in the policies, it's just a matter of whether we want to back that up in the findings.
Again, there will be a new draft. The staff will take this back and come back to you with that one. I suspect that will be very close to the final one if not the final one. And we have our calendar going ahead for the public hearing and the adoption, which we will make.
11. Consideration of Strategic Plan Status Report. Executive Director Travis informed the Commissioners that they had been provided with the Strategic Plan Status Report. On Page five there is one change, which is the schedule that you approved for the Bay Plan Climate Change Amendments.
I’d appreciate a motion and a second and an affirmative vote on this.
MOTION: Commissioner Vasquez moved, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers. The item passed by a voice vote with no abstentions nor objections.
12. New Business. No new business was discussed.
13. Old Business. No old business was discussed.
14. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Hicks, seconded by Commissioner Vasquez the meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Approved, as corrected, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of June 16, 2011
R. SEAN RANDOLPH, Chair