CONSIDER APPEAL OF STAFF DECISION REGARDING CLASSIFICATION OF DORMITORY WATER USE – ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON SCHOOL (APN 008-022-003, 008-022-012, 008-022-020, 008-022-021, 008-022-023, 008-022-033, 008-031-002, 008-031-013, 008-532-008, 008-532-009, 008-532-010)


Meeting Date:

January 26, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:

Stephanie Pintar

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Review:  Yes

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  Notice of Intent to Adopt Negative Declaration.  If staff’s recommendation is approved, the proposed Negative Declaration will be filed with the Monterey County Recorder.


SUMMARY:  Robert Louis Stevenson School (RLS) has appealed a staff decision to disallow use of water from the Pebble Beach Company (PBC) Entitlement (District Rule 23.5 as amended by Ordinance No. 109) to remodel or expand the dormitories on the RLS campus (Exhibit 11-A).  As stated in the Application for Appeal:  “This appeal involves an interpretation of MPWMD Ordinance No. 109 with respect to what constitutes a ‘Residential use’ through a ‘Residential connection.’  Ordinance No. 109 authorizes the use of the portion of PBC’s Water Entitlement to be sold pursuant to Ordinance No. 109 only for “Residential Use” through a “Residential connection” as those terms are respectively defined in Ordinance No. 109 by reference to MPWMD rules.  This is a matter of first impression that has not been previously addressed by the Board in the specific context of Ordinance No. 109.”  The pertinent section of Ordinance No. 109 is attached as Exhibit 11-B.


Dormitory water use is calculated using a “per room” factor from Group III of District Rule 24, Table II, Commercial Water Use Factors.  Staff’s ministerial discretion is limited to the characterization of dormitory water use as “commercial” based on the factor shown on Table II.  Had dormitory water use been listed on District Rule 24, Table I, Residential Water Use Factors, staff would have authority to issue a water permit for dormitory uses using water from the PBC Entitlement.


Staff filed an Initial Study and Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration with the County Clerk on January 3, 2006 (Exhibit 11-C).   The comment period ends January 23, 2006.  (Any comments received will be reported at the Board meeting.)  If the Board agrees that dormitory water use should be considered residential, the Negative Declaration should be adopted as part of the action on this appeal.


DISCUSSION:  Dormitory water use is calculated using a commercial water use factor under Rule 24 of the MPWMD Rules & Regulations.  Presently the water consumption factor for dormitory water use is set forth in Table II of Rule 24, which is labeled “Commercial Water Use Factors”.  The nature of water consumption for dormitory use, however, closely resembles residential water use.  The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) assigns a fixture unit value to water fixtures used in residential uses and equates each “fixture unit” to 0.01 acre-feet of water.  MPWMD uses water factors based on regional averages for nonresidential uses to predict water use capacity.  Dormitory water use has had been assigned a Table II use factor, as dormitories typically share multiple water fixtures that are located in common bathrooms and laundry areas.  If dormitory water use is characterized as “commercial” water use, the use may be transferred, is rationed using a percentage reduction, and is subject to nonresidential use restrictions and conditions.  If dormitory water use is, instead, characterized as water consumption for a domestic use, it would be treated as “residential” water use and not be available for transfer.  Residential use, however, may utilize water entitlements, is rationed based on the number of residents, and is subject to residential water use restrictions and conditions. 


The applicant, in their appeal application, has presented a number of reasonable arguments as to why the dormitories at RLS should be considered “residential”.  There appears to be a reasonable association between the definition of “Residential” as shown in Rule 11, and the residential purpose of the RLS dormitories.  Rule 11 provides the following definition for “Residential”:  “Residential shall mean water used for household purposes, including water used on the premises for irrigating lawns, gardens and shrubbery, washing vehicles, and other similar and customary purposes pertaining to single and multi-family dwellings.”  According to the applicant, “the dormitories are where students live, and (the dorms) are used for their “household” purposes while away from their home.  They include all the incidents of a “household” use (sleeping rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, etc.).” 


Water use in a dormitory appears to meet the definition of “Residential” water use and may be more appropriately characterized as residential use.  However, staff does not support changing to the fixture unit methodology to calculate water demand for dormitories due to the unique living situation and the use of common facilities (i.e. shared bathrooms, laundry and kitchen facilities).  Although the water use factor is non-residential, the type of use could still be characterized as “residential” and a footnote added to Rule 24, Table II that identifies the nature of the use.  A single characterization of dormitory water use as either commercial or residential should apply consistently throughout the boundaries of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD.  District Counsel has indicated that that the Board has the discretion to make this interpretation, without need to amend the District Rules or Ordinance No. 109.    


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends the Board:

              (1)   Adopt the proposed Negative Declaration;

              (2)   Grant the appeal;

              (3)   Adopt the Findings of Fact to Support Approval (Exhibit 11-D), and

              (4)     Direct staff to add a footnote to Rule 24, Table II, indicating that dormitory water use is residential in nature.  This footnote will be added to the permit-related revisions proposed in a draft ordinance that will be presented to the Board in February.

As a result of this interpretation, staff will consider dormitories (a.k.a. residence halls) at educational facilities as Residential users with a Residential connection.  This interpretation will also facilitate calculation of water rations for dormitories as a residential use in Regulation 15, Expanded Water Conservation and Standby Rationing Plan. 



11-A    Application for Appeal

11-B    Ordinance No. 109, Section 3

11-C    Initial Study and Proposed Negative Declaration

11-D    Findings of Fact to Support Approval