Los Trancos Woods Community Association

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board

May 11, 2005, 7:00 p.m.



Attendees:    Nelson Dake, Michael Glenn, Linda Drey-Nightingale, Julie Duncan, Peri Nielsen, David Smernoff, Jamie Sovereign, and Darin Duncan (portion only). Linda led the meeting.


Public Comment: None.


Cal Water: Darin Duncan, the District Manager for the Bear Gulch District of the California Water Service Company (“Cal Water”), attended the meeting to provide information about Cal Water, the water utility that will be taking over service for LTW, and to answer questions. He also handed out a one-page overview (attached).


Who is Cal Water?


Mr. Duncan began by explaining that Cal Water was the largest investor-owned (NYSE traded company listed under the ticker symbol CWT) American water utility west of the Mississippi. Cal Water is a company focused on providing water and related services to local communities and believes it has earned a good reputation for customer service, particularly in small communities with small, narrow and winding roads, such as ours. Cal Water’s priorities for our community will be repairing leaks quickly and fire protection, for which Cal Water maintains an open line of communication with the Woodside Fire Department.


What changes can we expect with Cal Water taking over our water system?


Mr. Duncan observed that our infrastructure has been well-maintained and that Cal Water expected to do little in the near future with respect to this infrastructure save some aesthetic improvements (e.g., painting fire hydrants).


A Board member asked a question concerning Cal Water’s expectation regarding water supply in the future. Mr. Duncan replied that Cal Water has a plan to increase local production of water to offset competing demands and that he expected such plans would ensure that the community had adequate water supply without exceeding its supply assurance limit. In addition, Cal Water intends to implement over the next 20 years best management practices to promote conservation and further this goal.


Mr. Duncan explained that Cal Water would not have a rate structure that penalized users for water usage. Rather, Cal Water’s rate structure would simply charge residents for their use of water at a base rate plus approximately $2.40 per unit above a minimum threshold.


Mr. Duncan also advised us that fluoridation of our water would occur shortly, as the result of state regulation (not Cal Water). In addition, Mr. Duncan expects that the rates will increase over the next 10 years as the result of increased costs, largely owing to rebuilding the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir infrastructure. Mr. Duncan noted that the water we are drinking today is the same water as before. Cal Water has merely taken over the management of our water district.


Mr. Duncan also alerted us to the fact that Cal Water’s invoices will be sent within two or three days of the meter reading. While this shorter turnaround time will mean that payment is due sooner, it also means that residents will be alerted to potential problems, such as leaks, faster. Residents should contact Cal Water directly to obtain information regarding their policy on reimbursement for leaks.


Mr. Duncan said that the meter reading dates, as well as information concerning who to contact in the event of an emergency is available on the one-page overview he provided, as well as the Cal Water website (www.calwater.com).


Mr. Duncan then gave a brief explanation of some issues that had arisen recently on Lake Road as the result of the County’s wood chipping effort damaging some water lines.


A Board member asked whether Cal Water had a policy concerning the use of herbicides in clearing areas surrounding infrastructure. Mr. Duncan responded that the policy is to limit use of herbicides and that the only permissible herbicide for use is Round-Up. A question was also raised concerning whether Cal Water was or would be considering a sale to a larger, multi-national water company. Mr. Duncan replied that, while he could not rule out the possibility of such a sale, Cal Water prides itself on being a local company and that its President resides in Menlo Park. Finally, when asked what other sorts of changes he expected, Mr. Duncan noted that there would likely be more stringent government regulations concerning monitoring and detection of potential contaminants.


The Board then thanked Mr. Duncan for his visit, and he left the meeting.


Emergency Preparedness: Jamie and Dave distributed a draft (attached) of mission statement and tasks relating to emergency preparedness. They explained that they envisioned a team approach to emergency preparedness, which effort would be led by a coordinator and staffed with other volunteers from the community on a task-related basis. The Board discussed and agreed that this approach was reasonable. Jamie and Dave reported that Arthur Nielsen had agreed to be the lead coordinator. They also indicated that, by the next Board meeting, they would identify those individuals who could assume the task leader positions, as well as the individual who would assume responsibility for attending Board meetings as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.


Jamie and Dave also gave a brief overview of the Wildland Fire Drill, which occurred on April 20, 2005. They reported reasonably good participation among the community residents. They also noted that these drills provided invaluable insights into the areas of improvement needed in terms of our responsiveness to emergency situations, particularly with respect to “triage” and task delegation. The Board discussed and agreed that continued communication and integration with Vista Verde would be worthwhile given Vista Verde’s level of achievement in emergency preparedness.


Sewer Update: Julie reported that the number of sewer annexation applicants exceeded the required minimum level of participation and that plans for building a sewer system in LTW are underway. Congratulations to Julie and her team! If all goes well, construction will start next spring.


Treasurer’s Report: Julie gave the treasurer’s report.


Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing for Blue Oaks: Linda and David reported on their meeting with Town Staff from the Town of Portola Valley concerning the relocation of the Blue Oaks BMR's from the intersection of Redberry and Buck Meadows Drive to a new designated location on the Fire Road. While Blue Oaks has not submitted a formal application in connection with this relocation, Linda and Dave expect this application will be forthcoming. They will be meeting with a member of Blue Oaks’ homeowners’ association on Sunday, May 15, 2005 to tour the proposed site.


The Board discussed and deliberated about the fire and traffic safety hazards posed by this relocation, the possibility that this relocation would require Blue Oaks’ to “de-designate” land that had previously been designated as open space preserve, as well as the potential implication of issues concerning the Watershed Council (i.e., protection of Los Trancos Creek). The Board discussed and agreed that this relocation was a matter of significant importance and priority to the community and that all steps should be taken to ensure that LTW is informed and that its concerns are voiced prior to any decision’s being made.


Newsletter: Linda asked the Board for any items for the Newsletter. Julie provided information concerning new residents.


Picnic: The Board set the date and time for our community picnic: September 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. As agreed, the picnic would be pot luck and residents would be asked to BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) to barbecue at the Dakes’ house.


Recruitment of New Board Members: The Board noted vacancies for two representative-at-large positions, as well as positions for co-representatives for Districts I, II and III. Jamie offered to fill one of the representative-at-large positions.


Parcel For Sale: Dave informed the Board that Jeanne Kirby’s property, located near the start of Los Trancos Circle where the Toyon Trail is marked, will be put up for sale in the near future. This property is approximately two to three acres. Dave reported that he discussed with Tom Uridel the possibility that LTW could obtain funds to purchase the property and turn it into a community center/park for the residents to enjoy. Discussion ensued regarding the availability of charitable grants for this purpose or perhaps alternative arrangements whereby LTW could finance the purchase. The Board agreed that this possibility was worth pursuing and asked Dave to consult with Michael as to potential arrangements whereby LTW could own and develop this property for community use.


The next LTWCA meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on July 6, 2005 at 1074 Los Trancos Road.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted, Peri Nielsen, LTWCA Secretary.