Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More on getting work done: comments submitted to the Water District on protecting streamside areas

(As was the case last week, I attended a Water District meeting today and submitted comments yesterday. Again as was the case last week, I was the only candidate who either attended or submitted comments. The submitted comments are below (I made them on behalf of Committee for Green Foothills), and I also spoke on these issues and asked for further clarification of the seismic stability problem at Anderson Dam, a serious issue that's likely going to cost a significant amount of money to fix. I intend to watch that issue closely. -Brian)

October 25, 2010

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors

Re: Agenda Item 12, BMR-10-0064 regarding exceptions to riparian ordinances

Dear Chair Santos and District Board Members;

The Committee for Green Foothills agrees with the Staff recommendation that the two options that Staff identified for performance evaluations of riparian protections would likely be unproductive for the cost involved. However, it may be productive to broaden the BMR to consider more generally whether land use agencies have provided the adequate riparian protection that was the necessary counterpart to revoking Water District Ordinance 83-2 as well as the decision to desis from expanding the District's permit authority to a 150-foot buffer. The BMR might also consider whether the District could do more to assist in the application of adequate riparian protection policies.

I would encourage consideration of specific examples to see whether the protection the District sought through expanding Ordinance 83-2 has been achieved under present conditions. Several examples that immediately spring to mind include:

· Los Altos Hills, with a 25-foot riparian buffer policy.

· Los Gatos and the development recently proposed along Ross Creek.

· San Jose and the relatively recent development projects on Duckett Way and Guadalupe Mines Road.

In each case the District might analyze whether it could help with riparian protection under current policies. For example, in the case of the Guadalupe Mines Road project, the District submitted a useful comment letter prior to the initiation of CEQA review for the project, but the District did not comment on the CEQA document itself and did not provide comments when the project approval was appealed by environmental groups and another governmental agency, the Guadalupe Coyote Resource Conservation District.

We believe that more can be done to improve riparian protection. Because we are aware of interest in different cities for improving policies (for example, San Jose's proposed Draft General Plan revision to reduce exceptions to its 100-foot buffer policy), we think this could be advanced in a way that shows the District's concern but is still productive and cooperative.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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