Meeting Date:           April 21, 2003                         Budgeted: N/A

                                                                                                Program/Line Item No.:  N/A

Staff Contact: Stephanie Pintar                                 Cost Estimate: N/A


General Counsel Approval: N/A

Committee Recommendation: N/A

CEQA Compliance: N/A 


SUMMARY: Bruce Zanetta and Therese Beauclair are requesting a variance from District Rule 24 – C, Table I: Residential Fixture Unit Count (amended by Resolution 2001-09) to allow credit for multiple showerheads (Exhibit 13-A).  The footnote on Table I (Exhibit 13-B) limits water credits for multiple showerheads to no more than two per shower stall.  Resolution 2001-09 (Exhibit 13-C) modified Table I, Residential Fixture Unit Count in July 2001. 


In May 1999, the applicants obtained a water permit (#17595, attached as Exhibit 13-D) to add six showerheads.  The application indicated the project description as:  “Remodel and upgrade bath/shower.”  The applicant did not pay a connection charge for the added showerheads as the City of Monterey authorized water from its “public water credit” allocation and there is no connection charge from the District for public credits.  The applicant installed the permitted water fixtures and the District conducted a final inspection to verify their compliance with District conservation requirements on March 22, 2000.


The applicants are requesting a water use credit of twelve fixture units (derived from the removal of six of seven showerheads in a bathtub).  The applicants plan to remodel their one bathroom home in Monterey and add a second bathroom.  The proposed remodel includes the addition of a master bathroom (two lavatory sinks, toilet, tub and shower), utility sink, vegetable sink, and second lavatory sink in the existing bathroom.  There are 9.7 new fixture units in the remodel described in the variance application.  A variation of the applicant’s plans has been discussed with staff that includes a second dish drawer (a type of dishwasher) in the kitchen.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends that the Board deny the variance request and adopt the Findings of Denial attached as Exhibit 13-E.  The applicant met with District staff and Director Henson to discuss their request for credit for six showerheads in March 12, 2003.  District staff also met with the applicants on March 14, 2003, and discussed the options available to them that would allow the contemplated project to proceed despite the change in the District’s rules.  It was determined that the applicant has the ability to offset the 9.7 fixture units discussed in the variance application by adding the second bathroom under Ordinance No. 98 (the second bathroom ordinance), installing a low-flow washing machine and dishwasher, an instant-access hot water system, installing two 2-liter toilets or one 2-liter toilet and one 1-gallon toilet, and removing the six showerheads.  District Rule 24-C, Table I: Residential Fixture Unit Count, does not allow water credit for more than two showerheads in a shower, regardless of the number of showerheads actually installed. 

District staff is responsible for processing water permit applications using the current District Rules and Regulations.  The District’s Rules and Regulations are subject to change by action of the Board of Directors.  This variance applicant received and completed a project using a former set of rules that was in place in 1999.  The rules have changed since the applicant’s last project.  All new applications submitted to the District are subject to the rules in effect at the time the complete application is received.  As of April 15, 2003, the District has not received a water permit application for the applicants’ proposed project. 


The variance application indicates that the addition of the previously listed conservation incentives and the second bathroom would increase the fixture units in the home to a level not allowed by the City of Monterey.  Staff verified with Todd Bennett, Associate Planner for the City of Monterey, that there is no limit on the number of fixtures in an existing home when the fixtures are either offset through the installation of conservation incentives (such as dishwashers and washing machines) or are obtained through Ordinance No. 98.  The City of Monterey’s fixture unit limit applies only to new construction and remodels that request water from the City’s water allocation.  The consequence of exceeding the fixture unit limit of 24.9 is that an applicant is required to receive City Council approval before being placed on the City’s water waiting list.  Based on this information, the City’s fixture unit limit would not apply to the applicants planned remodel project, as no water is needed from the City’s water allocation if the applicant pursues other measures to offset the proposed new fixtures.


BACKGROUND:  District Resolution 2001-09, adopted by the Board on July 16, 2001, immediately modified the District’s residential fixture unit count table to disallow most water use credit for multiple showerhead installations, among other things.  The minutes of the July 16, 2001 Board meeting (Exhibit 13-F, Item VII-A) reflect that credit for multiple showerhead installations was modified by motion during adoption of the Resolution.  A reasonable time was allowed (from July 16, 2001 until December 31, 2001) for a complete application to be filed with the jurisdiction to utilize any water fixture credits that were changed by the Resolution.  Notice of the window of opportunity was posted on the District’s website and in the District offices.  The District allowed water credits during the window of opportunity for water fixtures/credits that were documented prior to the date of the Resolution.  To use the water credits previously documented by the District, a complete application must have been on file by December 31, 2001 with the planning and/or building department in the jurisdiction where the property was located.  Mr. Zanetta had the opportunity to receive full credit for removal of his multiple showerhead fixtures if he had completed this task before December 31, 2001.


On October 25, 2002, the District received a letter from Mr. Bruce Zanetta requesting that credit be granted for six showerheads installed in 1999 (Exhibit 13-G).  A legal opinion was requested from District Counsel.  District Counsel concluded that in 1999 Mr. Zanetta followed the then-current rules to acquire and install twelve new multiple showerheads.  That development project was completed, and the District conducted a final inspection of the property in March 2000.  Mr. Zanetta now plans to undertake another project and wants the same rules as applied to the first project.  Unfortunately, his desire to use the old rules cannot be accomplished in view of the fact the rules have changed.  According to District Counsel’s conclusion, Mr. Zanetta has not shown that he has a legal basis to contest the rule change or to seek an exemption from it.