MIDPENINSULA REGIONAL OPEN SPACE DISTRICT
COASTAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
FEBRUARY 9, 1999
Coastal Advisory Committee Members Present:
Geoff Allen Nonette Hanko
Betsy Crowder Mary Hobbes
Neil Curry Stan Pastorino
Mary Davey Audrey Rust
Rich Gordon Betty Stone
Background and Role of Advisory Committee
This first meeting of the Coastal Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) opened with a short history of this annexation study. The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (District) Board of Directors (Board) appointed an "Ad Hoc Committee" consisting of Nonette Hanko, Betsy Crowder, and Mary Davey. The District conducted public hearings and a public opinion poll concerning annexing to the coast. An advisory measure on this issue passed last November, receiving 55% of the votes cast.
Among the Advisory Committee's charges is to review District policies and make recommendations to the Board about acquisition, eminent domain, and agricultural use policy revisions, among others. Because many existing policies were geared to District jurisdiction on the bayside, this review will recognize the potential need for some alteration of policies for the coastside. Issues that come up that are not directly related to land use could be studied by other committees in the future.
Craig Britton, the District's General Manager, introduced Patrick and Jane Miller of 2M Associates who are leading the consulting team for this project and will serve as staff to the Advisory Committee. He also introduced other District staff members present: Randy Anderson, Sue Schectman, and Del Woods.
Sue Schectman, District Counsel, gave a brief presentation regarding the Brown Act that requires meetings of elected bodies be open to the public, In this case, although the Advisory Committee is an advisory committee rather than a regulatory body, enough of its members are elected officials to render its meetings subject to the Brown Act. The Brown Act basically prohibits a majority of committee members from communicating together in a way that would affect any Committee decision-making outside of a public forum. However, communications between individuals are permitted, as long as such communications are not discussed by a majority of the Advisory Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee isn't subject to the Brown Act because it does not represent a quorum of the Board. A summary of the Brown Act was provided to the Advisory Committee members.
The consultant stressed that it is important to keep in mind that the Coastal Advisory Committee is indeed an advisory committee; it is not a decision-making body. The results of the Advisory Committee's work will take the form of recommendations to the District Board.
Public notices of upcoming meetings and agendas for each meeting need to be provided and posted at appropriate locations The public has the right to speak at meetings, and will be given the opportunity to do so at the end of each Advisory Committee session. The Advisory Committee does have the right to reasonably limit the amount of time allotted to speakers, and to prohibit interruptions and disorderly conduct. Public remarks are for the purposes of comment only; no discussion will ensure.
There was some discussion about what written information is considered public, and how it might be made available. Staff was asked to look into these questions.
The public was encouraged to sign-in on the sheets provided so they could be on a mailing list for meeting notices/agendas and meeting summaries.
Advisory Committee members will be receiving a "packet" of pertinent information before each meeting so they can familiarize themselves about agenda items prior to the actual meeting date.
Ratification of Advisory Committee Chairperson
The Advisory Committee voted unanimously to ratify the selection of Rich Gordon as its Chairperson (Chair).
Advisory Committee Introductions and Background
At Mr. Gordon's invitation, the Committee members individually introduced themselves and addressed the following four questions:
1) What do you do when you're not at these meetings?
2) What general interests do you have?
3) Why do you wish to serve on the Advisory Committee?
4) In what organizations do you maintain membership?
Discussion: At-large Members
The next task for the Advisory Committee will be to complete the Committee formation process by selecting three "at-large" members. Considerable discussion took place about how best to conduct this process. Three applications have been received to date; the deadline for applications to be received at the District is Friday February 12 at 5 PM. It was agreed that the bulk of the next Advisory Committee meeting would be devoted to reviewing applications and hearing presentations, preferably from all applicants. However, should the number of applicants be more than can reasonably be accommodated in the allotted time, the Chair will make a determination about how to proceed. Individual Advisory Committee members will vote by written ballot for three different candidates.
A motion was made that proposed the following:
1) limit the information provided to the Advisory Committee to the applications only;
2) any questions about clarification of applicant's information should be directed to the Chair;
3) questions about applicants' references will go to staff; and
4) a time limit will be set for applicant's presentation on February 23
The motion passed by a unanimous vote.
Next Steps and Schedule
Is there already a priority list for land acquisition? District staff answered that there is not.
Would the Advisory Committee mind some "discreet" microphones used to aid in videotaping the meetings? Advisory Committee members agreed this would be all right.
A letter was read that is to be submitted to the local newspaper. The letter asks for the "at-large" Advisory Committee members to be opponents of measure F.
The next Advisory Committee meeting on February 23rd will be largely devoted will be selecting the three at-large members. As time permits at the next few meetings, the agenda will include identifying issues and topics to be addressed by Advisory Committee, as well as establishing timelines and scheduling public hearings.
Two topics were identified for future discussion:
1) The frequency of meetings - since they are currently scheduled to be bi-monthly (the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month), it may be difficult for some Advisory Committee members to attend each one. It was pointed out that as the process progresses, members will likely be aware of which meetings will address critical issues, and will be able to take that into account. When members have a conflict with any of the scheduled meeting dates, they should inform staff in advance.
2) Should alternate members be allowed to vote? Advisory Committee members expressed differing opinions on this subject. Some felt alternates should be able to vote in their absence, while others felt that since alternates would not have been involved in many meetings, they should attend to report back to the regular member, but not be allowed a vote. District counsel pointed out that if alternates were allowed a vote, it could confuse what comprises the total membership of the Advisory Committee. She will look into this question and bring it back to the Committee at a future meeting.
Both of the above concerns will be addressed during the next few Advisory Committee meetings.
The next scheduled meeting of the Advisory Committee is Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30 PM.
Public Affairs Manager
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
voice: (650) 691-1200
fax: (650) 691-0485