Meeting Date:

May 3, 2004

Budgeted:  N/A


Staff Contact:

Gabriella Ayala

Stephanie Pintar

Program/Line Item No.:  N/A

Cost Estimate:  N/A


General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:  Mr. Jeffrey Becom and Ms. Sally Jean Aberg are appealing a decision of the General Manager to deny a waiver from the connection charge requirement for a second bathroom at 116 13th Street, Pacific Grove.  The Application for Appeal is attached as Exhibit 2-A.  In the Application for Appeal, the applicant refers to the “precedent-setting granting of the HANLON Appeal.  The Water Board agreed to grant Mr. Hanlon’s appeal on November 24, 2003.”


The Board’s granting of the Hanlon Appeal was based on the fact that Mr. Hanlon paid connection charges to the District and a debit was made to the jurisdiction’s water allocation.  The Becom/Aberg Appeal also involves payment of connection charges and issuance of a water permit that debited a jurisdiction’s allocation.  The only difference between the Becom/Aberg Appeal and the Hanlon Appeal is that the Becom/Aberg Appeal involves multiple showerheads, which are specifically excluded from credit:  The Hanlon Appeal involved a hot tub. 


Resolution 2001-09, July 16, 2001, limited the amount of credit available for multiple showerheads to four fixture units per fixture.  Based on the outcome of the Hanlon Appeal, and adding the text of Resolution 2001-09 to the Rules and Regulations, Ordinance No. 111 (effective March 1, 2004) added the following terms to the Rules and Regulations (Rule 24-C (1) (d)):


The District shall grant a Water Use Credit for the permanent removal of water using fixtures providing that the fixture was properly and lawfully installed.  Credit for fixtures listed in Section C.1.b shall only receive credit upon evidence of a water permit showing a debit to a jurisdiction’s allocation and payment of related connection charges.  However, the District shall not provide a water use credit of greater than four (4) fixture units for the complete removal of any shower or bathtub. 


In a letter to Fran Farina, General Manager, dated December 2, 2003 (Exhibit 2-B), the applicants requested relief only from the connection charge associated with a proposed second bathroom ($959.51):  They did not request a full refund of the connection charge paid for the multiple showerheads in 1992 ($1,319.40).  The applicants contend that they should receive credit for the previously paid connection charges.

The District responded to Mr. Becom and Ms. Aberg on January 15, 2004, formally denying a waiver from the connection charge requirement (Exhibit 2-C).  The District’s letter states that “as the application is made under Rule 24 (Ordinance No. 98), the application is exempt from the requirement that the jurisdiction authorize a debit from its water allocation to supply the second bathrooms, but the connection charge still applies.  Staff does not have the authority to credit the entire connection charge paid by you for nine showerheads in 1992 to the current permit application or to reduce the connection charge.”


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends the Board consider the Becom/Aberg request and provide direction to staff.  A similar appeal was heard in April and June 2003, when Bruce Zanetta appealed a denial of credit for multiple showerheads.  The Board ruled that the applicant is subject to the Rules in effect at the time a complete application is submitted.  As the rules at that time did not allow credit for multiple showerheads (more than two), the Zanetta Appeal was denied.  Mr. Zanetta did not pay connection charges to the District, whereas Becom/Aberg did.


In considering the Becom/Aberg Appeal, the Board should consider the ruling on the Hanlon Appeal (paid connection charge and debited allocation), the ruling made on the Zanetta Appeal (no payment of connection charge although allocation was debited), and the circumstances of the Become/Aberg Appeal (payment of connection charges and issuance of a water permit that debited a jurisdiction’s allocation).  The Zanetta Appeal involved multiple showerheads, and the appeal was denied due to the provision in the regulations that disallows credit for multiple showerheads.  The Becom/Aberg Appeal also involves multiple showerheads, but a connection charge was paid to the District and the District debited the City’s allocation. 


BACKGROUND:  In September 16, 1992, the applicants obtained water permit #13124 (attached as Exhibit 2-D) to add nine gang showerheads (nine fixture units) to an existing shower at 116 13th Street in Pacific Grove. The City of Pacific Grove authorized an allocation for 0.090 acre-feet of water and the applicant paid a connection charge of $1,319.40 for the added nine-gang showerheads.  District Rule 24 requires a water permit for multiple showerheads. 


In July 2001, Resolution 2001-09 modified Rule 24, Table I: Residential Fixture Unit Count, limiting water credits for multiple showerheads to no more than two per shower stall (Exhibit 2-E). The District conducted a final inspection to verify installation of the multiple showerheads after completion of the project on January 10, 2000 (Exhibit 2-F).  The showerheads were installed and operating at the District’s conservation specifications.


On September 2, 2003, the applicants submitted a water permit application to the District for a new single-family residence using water credits from the demolition of the existing house.  On January 6, 2004, the District issued water permit #21118, attached as Exhibit 2-G.   The water permit includes the addition of a second bathroom and required payment of fees in the amount of $1,226.51.  The fees included a connection charge of $959.51 for 4.7 fixture units for the second bathroom, $150 in processing fees, $72.00 for legal review and $45 for recording the two deed restrictions that were required as conditions of the water permit.  The District credited four fixture units on the permit (equivalent to $816.60 in connection charges) for the removal of the multiple showerheads and bathtub.