8. CONSIDER FIRST READING OF ORDINANCE NO. 107— RESCINDING ORDINANCE NO. 102 AND REINSTATING RULE 28, WATER USE CREDIT TRANSFERS – AND DISCUSSION OF PROCESS AND SUBSTANCE RELATING TO SUBSEQUENT ORDINANCES CONCERNING WATER USE CREDIT TRANSFERS
Program/Line Item No.: N/A
Staff Contact: Stephanie Pintar Cost Estimate: N/A
General Counsel Approval: Reviewed ordinance text and concurred.
CEQA Compliance: A Statutory Exemption under Section 15270 exempts from CEQA projects which are rejected or disapproved.
SUMMARY: The Board will consider the continued first reading of Ordinance No. 107, provided as Exhibit 8-A. Ordinance No. 107 rescinds Ordinance No. 102 and reinstates Rule 28, Water Use Credit Transfers. The Board may discuss administrative issues pertaining to the reinstatement of Rule 28, and will also discuss changes (if any) that may be made by future ordinance to Rule 28, Water Use Credit Transfers. This discussion should address both the substance of any changes, and the CEQA processes, timeline and budget that may be associated with those changes.
This item was considered at the February 27, 2003 meeting. The public hearing on first reading was opened, comment was received, and the hearing was closed. The Board began its discussion on first reading, but that discussion was continued to the March meeting. At the request of the Board, draft Ordinance No. 107 has been amended to add a fifth finding. The added text follows:
5. This ordinance resolves the cities litigation with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District regarding environmental review of the water credit transfer ban. Reinstatement of the transfer credit rules is a short-term interim measure until an EIR on the transfer program can be certified. Two detailed studies exist that concluded that water credit transfers resulted in system-wide increased water usage following the transfers than prior to the transfers. Further, this Board is very concerned that the transfer credit program harms the environment, has been subject to abuses, and violates State Water Resources Control Board Order 95-10. It is the Board’s intention that the EIR be completed as quickly and accurately as possible, and that the water credit transfer program will be amended promptly thereafter to address concerns about negative environmental impacts and public fairness.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: District staff recommends that the Board continue its discussion on the first reading of Ordinance No. 107. The Board may determine to pass or reject the Ordinance on first reading or may make amendments to the ordinance. However, should the Board direct substantive changes to the ordinance, the amended ordinance will require an addition public hearing at first reading. The Board may also provide direction relating to administrative issues pertaining to the reinstatement of Rule 28. If passed on first reading without substantive amendment, the ordinance will return to the Board for second reading and adoption at the next regular Board meeting. Staff also recommends that the EIR referred to in the last sentence in the new Finding #5 be clarified that the EIR would be on the water credit transfer program. Suggested rewording is: “It is the Board’s intention that the water credit transfer program EIR be completed…”
DISCUSSION: At the February 27, 2003 meeting, the Board expressed concern about the CEQA exemption cited for this ordinance. Legal Counsel explained that the ordinance may qualify for an Statutory Exemption under Section 15270. This section exempts from CEQA projects which are rejected or disapproved.
BACKGROUND: Ordinance No. 102 was adopted on February 27, 2002. Ordinance No. 97, adopted March 19, 2001, implemented provisions to restrict the amount of money or other consideration that could be given in exchange for the water credit transfer. The modifications enacted by Ordinance No. 97 are contained in District Rule 28-B (10), making it a misdemeanor to violate the prohibition on the transfer of water for money or other valuable consideration.
IMPACT ON RESOURCES: There will be minimal impacts to resources relating to enactment of Ordinance No. 107. Future impacts to resources will be based on changes (if any) that may be made by future ordinance to Rule 28, Water Use Credit Transfers.