Special Meeting

Board of Directors

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District

May 20, 2009




The meeting was called to order at 8:30 AM in the District Conference Room.


Directors Present:

Kristi Markey, Chair -- Division 3

Regina Doyle, Vice Chair – Division 4

Alvin Edwards – Division 1

Judi Lehman – Division 2

Bob Brower – Division 5

David Pendergrass – Mayoral Representative

Director Potter – Monterey County Board of Supervisors Representative


General Manager present:  Darby Fuerst


District Counsel present:  David C. Laredo



The assembly recited the Pledge of Allegiance.



No comments.



1.             Continued Hearing on Apparent Insufficient Physical Supplies to Serve Ryan Ranch Water Distribution System and Determination as to Whether, and to What Extent, System Capacity and/or Expansion Capacity Limits Should be Modified

                On a motion by Director Edwards and second by Director Doyle, the Board directed District Counsel to: (1) develop a draft final decision, findings and conditions to support the assertion that insufficient physical supplies exist to serve connections in the Ryan Ranch Water Distribution System (WDS); (2) specify that the water permit moratorium shall remain in effect in the Ryan Ranch WDS until California American Water (CAW) complies with conditions to be established by the Board; (3) in coordination with CAW, develop a strategy for addressing the water distribution system shortfall, and specify an associated timeline; and (4) the Board Chair and Vice Chair shall schedule a date for the Board to consider adoption of the draft final decision, findings and conditions.   The motion was adopted on a vote of 5 to 2.  Directors Brower, Doyle, Edwards, Markey and Lehman voted in favor of the motion.  Directors Pendergrass and Potter were opposed.


                During Board discussion of the motion, there was consensus that the findings should confirm that no impermissible bias was created by the fact that Fran Farina served as prosecuting attorney, and David Laredo served in a non-prosecutorial role.  In addition, the findings will state that the Board does not have authority under Rule 40B to create a water allocation for Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP), but the Board could discuss strategies for accommodating the water needs of CHOMP in the Ryan Ranch area in a separate hearing.


                The public hearing on the agenda item was closed on February 18, 2009.   However, Chair Markey did allocate five minutes of time to each party to the proceeding for presentation of summary statements. 


                Fran Farina, representing Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, described the water production facilities that comprised the Ryan Ranch WDS in 1989 when the system capacity limit was set, and the reduced number of production facilities that now exist within the system.  She stated that CAW has regularly supplemented Ryan Ranch production with water from the main CAW distribution system.  She asserted that the system capacity should be reduced.  She explained that CAW has challenged the authority of the Board of Directors to modify the system capacity asserting bias on the District’s part.   In addition, she indicated that CHOMP maintains that a vested property right exists that would allow it to utilize water from the Ryan Ranch system for future development.   The prosecution has responded to the assertions and provided evidence that they are not valid.   She advised the Board that if it chose to accommodate the request of CHOMP, the requests of other applicants should also be considered.


                Tim Miller, representing California American Water, listed three main issues that were outlined in briefs submitted to the Board regarding due process.  (1) There is a risk of bias against CAW because Ms. Farina and Mr. Laredo have represented the District in multiple other matters relating to CAW, and the Ryan Ranch WDS is related to those matters.  (2) There is no evidence that there is a separation of functions between Mr. Farina and Mr. Laredo.  (3) The District has no authority to make a determination on the issue regarding Ryan Ranch WDS.  State law grants the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authority to regulate production at each connection during peak demand.  That conflicts with the District’s system-wide annual production limit. 


Dave Sweigert, representing Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, stated that CHOMP has spent millions of dollars to plan and develop facilities at Ryan Ranch.  The City of Monterey approved development of these facilities in 2002.  The District has not demonstrated that there is a compelling reason to limit development at Ryan Ranch.   He requested that the District take all steps necessary to protect CHOMP’s vested right to complete their development plans.  An adequate pumping level should be maintained, or a special water allocation should be established at Ryan Ranch for CHOMP.   If the District does not facilitate CHOMP’s development at Ryan Ranch, the community will be deprived of much needed health care services.


Sheri Damon, representing Ryan Ranch Investors, asserted that the District’s proposed action is inconsistent with the Seaside Groundwater Basin Adjudication decision.  She urged the Board to deny the proposed modifications to the CAW water distribution system permit because the hearings were conducted in violation of due process laws and CPUC law.  The Board should lift the moratorium on the acceptance of applications for new connections within the Ryan Ranch system.   She requested that permits issued for CHOMP, Ryan Ranch Investors and others be honored.


Fran Farina stated that in 1989 the Ryan Ranch WDS could produce 175 AF, but has not maintained that level of annual production.  She noted that the District has fully responded to allegations that the proceeding is illegal.  She stated that CAW engineers provided testimony before the CPUC that the Ryan Ranch WDS cannot meet existing customer maximum peak demand.   



The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 AM.




                                                                                                                Darby W. Fuerst, Secretary to the Board