Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Contra Costa Supervisor Burgis recovering after successful pacemaker implant

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

Second surgery in past three years to address heart defect since birth

By Mark Goodwin, Chief of Staff, Supervisor Diane Burgis

Supervisor Diane Burgis. Herald file photo.

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Chair Diane Burgis is recovering at home following successful surgery to implant a pacemaker as a precaution to help steady an irregular heartbeat. Doctors discovered the irregular heartbeat during a series of routine preventative medical visits.

In a post on her Facebook page on Friday, Burgis, who remarried earlier this year, wrote, “All is good! Had a pacemaker put in this week. I am home recovering. Thanks for all the well wishes.”

The surgery went very smoothly, and while she will need to take it easy for a few weeks during recovery, she will not skip a beat in fulfilling the duties of her office. The residents of Contra Costa County, particularly those in District 3, will continue to receive the same high level of service, sound decision-making, and representation they depend on and deserve.

Since birth, Supervisor Burgis has been living with a congenital heart defect and was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve, and had a successful valve replacement surgery in February 2019.

She thanks the medical team at Kaiser Medical Center in Walnut Creek and her physicians for their care and encourages everyone to keep up with their regular medical visits, especially during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I hadn’t gone in for my routine preventative appointments, I wouldn’t have known that my heart was not doing its job to its full capacity,” Burgis observed. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been encouraging people to keep up with their regular exams and tests rather than waiting to get medical care. I’m glad that I followed my advice.”

Cards and well wishes may be sent to the supervisor at her main office, 3361 Walnut Blvd., Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.

Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, including Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, Oakley and parts of Antioch in Eastern Contra Costa County, and Blackhawk, Diablo, and Tassajara Valley in the San Ramon Valley portion of the district.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Supervisors aim for all electric, no natural gas for new houses by 2026

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Could add more than $2,200 to cost of a home; revise nepotism policy

NOTE: This article was inadvertently overlooked due to the publisher being sick at the time it was submitted. However, the information is still timely. Apologies for the delay in publishing it.

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By Daniel Borsuk

Will all new houses built in Contra Costa County feature all solar powered electric appliances and lights with no natural gas by Jan. 1 2026?

That’s the game plan of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors who, on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, instructed the county’s Department of Conservation and Development (CCCDCD) to draft an ordinance that would require home builders to construct residential buildings with all electric powered appliances. (See Subcommittee Report and staff presentation)

Just when CCCDCD will have an ordinance ready for supervisors to consider is up in the air, but the supervisors’ action demonstrates their keen interest in environmental issues. Should the supervisors eventually pass an ordinance calling for all solar powered, electric new housing, natural gas-powered water heaters, heaters, stoves and clothes dryers will be taboo.  From then on, everything will be solar powered. (See Cost-effectiveness Study)

Supervisors expect the proposed ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2026. (See Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainability Committee’s recommended Building Electrification Ordinance for New Construction)

Just when planning officials will have an ordinance prepared for supervisors to review and act on is up in the air, but Area 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville raised questions about the cost effectiveness of such a proposed ordinance.

“I have serious reservations about the California Energy Commission’s recommendations to replace natural gas with all electric powered homes,” said Andersen. “We need better cost analysis.  There are some estimates going around that all-electric could add $2,000 to the cost of a house.”

Andersen cast the one dissenting vote in instructing CCCCDP officials to draft an all-electric new residential ordinance.

Lisa Vonderbrueggen of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area also cautioned supervisors about the genuine costs associated with electric powered versus natural gas-powered houses. She said a California Building Industry Association study found that an all-electric home is $421 less expensive to build, including the cost of appliance, “but estimates from homebuilders show increased costs of more than $2,200 per home.”

Vorderbrueggen wrote: “Will California’s aging electric grid hold up under an all-electricity design.  The state is already anticipating major demand increases from electric vehicle charging needs.”

While a letter from PG&E supporting the county’s move to promote all solar-powered electric homes generated scant interest from the general public, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said,“I appreciate PG&E’s statement and it has provided in-depth analysis. But I am very hesitant to move forward on it.”

“Do everything you can do to eliminate gas,” pleaded Richmond City Councilmember Eduardo Martinez. “I liken natural gas to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We need to act quickly,” said Lisa Jackson, an environmentalist.  “We cannot wait for the state to act. PG&E even supports this.  Let’s move forward to eliminate this potential safety hazard.”

Before casting his vote, District 1 Supervisor Gioia, who drives an electric-powered car said: “It’s all about full electrification as our main source of power.”

Nepotism Policy Revised

After not updating its nepotism policy since 2011, supervisors took the plunge and loosened its the rules on appointments on boards, committees and commissions for which the board of supervisors is the appointing body.

Supervisors voted 4-1, with supervisor Gioia casting the dissenting vote, brother-in-law and sister-in-law from the prohibited relationship list.

The revised policy now states:

“A person will not be eligible for appointment if he/she is related to a Board of Supervisors’ Member in any of the following relationships:

  1. Mother, father, son, and daughter.
  2. Brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter.
  3. Husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepson, and stepdaughter.
  4. Registered domestic partner, pursuant to California Family Code section 297.
  5. The relatives, as defined in 1 and 2 above, for a registered domestic partner.
  6. Any person with whom a Board Member shares a financial interest as defined in the Political Reform Act  (Gov’t Code 87103, Financial Interest), such as a business partner or business associate.”

 

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Contra Costa to hold Community Redistricting Workshops for Supervisor districts October 23-28

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors 2021 Redistricting Draft Map 1. Source: CCC Department of Conservation and Development

East County workshops Oct. 24, 26 & 28

By Susan Shiu, PIO, Office of Communications & Media, Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County’s Redistricting effort is a once-a-decade process of redrawing the boundaries for Supervisorial districts after the U.S. Census. As part of that process,

a series of Community Redistricting Workshops to be held in each region of the County will take place October 20 – 29, 2021. To register for mapping workshops and to learn more, visit CoCoRedistricting.org.

The county is also offering easy-to-use mapping tools for public input. Five proposed maps have been created for review by the public and Supervisors. See Redistricting Concept Maps 1-5.

Redistricting is the regular process of adjusting the lines of voting districts in response to accordance with population shifts within the County. Every ten years, after the decennial census, supervisorial districts must be redrawn so that each district is substantially equal in population. This process is important in ensuring that each Supervisor represents about the same number of people.

Redistricting is based on the U.S. Census data, which was released in legacy format on August 12, 2021.  The actual drawing of Supervisorial District Maps requires the official California State Adjusted Redistricting data, which was released September 20, 2021 and includes updated data to ensure that individuals in the prison population are counted by each jurisdiction.

“The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors welcomes your engagement and input in this important process,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We are committed to a robust Redistricting and public outreach process with public hearings, a dedicated website at CoCoRedistricting.org, and public workshops.”

Workshop Schedule

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 2, San Ramon City Hall

October 23, 2021, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road. Hosted by Supervisor Candace Andersen

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 3 Zoom Workshop

October 24, 2021, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM This workshop will be by zoom only. Hosted by Supervisor Diane Burgis

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 4, Pleasant Hill Community Center

October 25, 2021, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Pleasant Hill Community Center. Hosted by Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

Community Redistricting Workshop – East County Zoom Workshop

October 26, 2021, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM This workshop will be by zoom only. Hosted by Supervisors Diane Burgis & Federal Glover

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 1, San Pablo City Hall

October 27, 2021, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ San Pablo City Hall, 1000 Gateway Avenue, San Pablo 94806 Hosted by Supervisor John Gioia

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 5 Zoom Workshop

October 28, 2021, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM This workshop will be by zoom only. Hosted by Supervisor Federal Glover

For more information about Redistricting and how to provide input, visit www.CoCoRedistricting.org or the County website’s homepage at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa supervisors end moratorium on rent hikes, eviction prohibition for residential, small commercial tenants on split vote

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Gioia and Glover vote in favor of extension; will expire Sept. 30; rent and utility relief funds for tenants, landlords available

“At some point this has to stop!” – Supervisor Mitchoff

I think we need to move on. The economy has not improved. I want us to get back to work.” – Board Chair Burgis

By Daniel Borsuk

On a 2-3 vote, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday closed the books on its state-backed ordinance banning rent hikes and evictions potentially impacting 3,200 residential and small business tenants unable to make payments because of complications linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been the board’s ninth extension of the moratorium. CCC BOS 46990_urgency ordinance – 9th continuation of eviction moratorium

Supervisors John Gioia of Richmond and Federal Glover of Pittsburg voted to retain the program that would have ended through the end of the year, unless extended again.

Previously supervisors had easily passed ordinances without much difficulty, with only District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville usually casting a negative vote like she did again on Tuesday, Supervisors had acted on similar residential and small commercial rent freeze and eviction ban ordinances on April 21, 2020; May 26, 2020; July 14, 2020; Sept. 22, 2020; Nov. 17, 2020; Feb. 2, 2021; March 23, 2021 and June 22, 2021.

Before Tuesday’s vote, supervisors had extended the commercial/residential rental assistance -eviction ban ordinance nine previous times with overwhelming support especially from the hard-hit Latino community, a minority group most impacted by the economic, health and housing ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supervisors Candace Andersen of Danville, a foe of such rent assistance programs, cited how such programs can financially backfire and not fully assist constituents, especially in her district, mostly a high wealth area.

“There are tenants who are abusing the system,” cautioned Pittsburg realtor Wolfgang Croskey. “I know of one tenant who use the money to run another daycare operation. How long is this going to last?”

But Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, who had supported previous ordinances surprised most observers and colleagues saying, “I won’t extend this ordinance. At some point this has to stop!”

Upon casting the swing vote, board chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood said, “I am sympathetic to the folks. It’s not perfect. I think we need to move on. The economy has not improved. I want us to get back to work.”

“A disproportionate rate of people remains worse off,” said Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. “It is possible we’ll run out of this rent relief money. We should extend this moratorium to the end of the year.”

Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said, “I am in agreement to extend this program to the end of the year so that citizens can get relief.”

“Tenants don’t know their rights,” said Debora Ballinger of Monument Impact. “Black and brown single mothers, especially recent immigrants need these protections.”

Monica Thomas, an artist who rents a studio where the landlord wants to raise the rent 23 percent, told supervisors she’s managed to pay her rent from her dwindling savings account.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “I don’t want to pay $6,000 in rent.”

Rental, Utility Relief Funds for Tenants, Landlords Available

As of March 15, the county had $75 million in rental assistance available from federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds. The program assists income-qualified renters impacted by COVID-19 who need help to pay for rent or utilities. Eligible household income may not exceed 80% of the local median income.

Eligible renters whose landlords do not participate in the program can still receive 25% of unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Eligible renters can also receive future rent assistance equal to 25% of their monthly rent. The program also provides up to 80% rent reimbursement to landlords for unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

Check eligibility and apply online for COVID-19 Rent Relief and in Spanish Ayuda con la Renta. Tenants and landlords can contact the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center at 1-833-430-2122 for assistance to apply. To learn more and find state resources, visit Housingiskey.com.

In a related action, supervisors, on a 5-0 vote, approved the county’s proposal to Assembly Bill 832 – Eviction Protections. The state legislation imposes a 2.5 percent cap on rent increases.

85 Percent of County Residents at Least Partially Vaccinated

Eighty five percent of Contra Costa County residents have taken at least one vaccine, supervisors learned from Dr. Sergio Ursuyo, Contra Costa County Medical Center Medical Director, that hospital personnel are becoming increasingly tired from the rising number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients coming to the Martinez hospital.

“This is our fourth wave,” Dr. Ursuyo said. “We are tired. This is a different type of fatigue.” He said many of the new patients come from out of the county, mainly Central California.

Dr. Ursuyo told supervisors about how a former 61-year-old nurse had recently died of COVID-19 because she was unvaccinated.

“She could have taken the vaccine,” he said. “We could have helped. The vaccine can make this thing go away.”

Some 175,000 Americans have died because of COVID-19, now exceeding the number of Americans who died from the 1918 Spanish Flu remarked Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth.

Contra Costa Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano dispelled rumors spread mainly via social media.

“These vaccines do not change your DNA. They are very safe,” he said.

Authorize 2021-2022 Property Tax Rates

Supervisors approved as a consent item the 2021-2022 property rates. For the current fiscal year Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell projects the property rates will generate more than $2.6 billion in property tax revenues. Those funds will be apportioned to the county, cities, schools and other eligible agencies.

 

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Supervisors approve $75 million budget for new county office building in downtown Martinez

Thursday, September 9th, 2021

Rendering of approved new county office building and plaza. Source: Contra Costa County staff presentation

On the site of the old 12-story McBrien Building

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors reacted swiftly to increasing interest among county workers to work in downtown Martinez by approving a $75 million budget and a $58,238,551 Design-Build Contract with Webcor Construction to raze the 60-year-old former 12-story administration building at 651 Pine Street and to erect a three-story office building and plaza that calls for the demolition of the old county jail. (See presentation)

Supervisors approved the contract on a 5-0 vote during their regular meeting on Tuesday. (See complete agenda)

Video screenshot of Eric Angstadt, Chief Assistant County Administrator in front of the old McBrien County Administration Building. Source: Contra Costa County.

The new, four-story County Administration Building on Escobar Street and Pine Street was completed last year, to replace the old, 12-story McBrien Building across the street that is slated to be demolished for the new three-story, 65,000 square foot office building. The new building will offer about 40,000 square feet of office space and 80 covered parking spaces on the ground floor and will be built. Both buildings were designed by the same firm, KMD Architects.

Over the muted protests of building preservationists like Sherill Grover of the Contra Costa Historical Preservation Coalition, Supervisors had already decided the costs were too far great and out of reach to rehabilitate and bring the present jail up to code.  The jail was constructed in 1901.

When District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen asked why the jail cannot be preserved like old churches are preserved, Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt answered by saying “it is cost prohibitive.” It would cost $1.2 million to $1.5 million to “fully remediate” the former jail, he said.

“A jail is a little bit different than preserving a church,” Angstadt added.  He said the City of Martinez is not interested in preserving the old jail.

The new County Administration Building, across the street, was completed last year and dedicated in December. Source: KMD Architects

“This is really exciting!” exclaimed District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. She proposed that the new administration building exhibit somewhere photographs of all the supervisors in the county’s 171-year history and that a new time capsule be installed in the new building.  The county was founded in 1850.

Angstadt said the Vermont granite used to construct the old jail could be cut and reused for the proposed plaza across the street from the 651 Pine St. office building.  Plans are on the drawing boards to permanently close Pine Street to vehicular traffic, but that proposal requires City of Martinez approval.  County officials expect the City of Martinez to close Pine Street.

“We have had strong interest for downtown office space,” said Angstadt. Among some of the potential tenants moving into the new 65,000 square foot three-story building are the County law library, sheriff, and probation.

Demolition of the old 651 Pine St. building will begin in November and should be completed by September,2022 said Angstadt. The new office building should be completed by April 2024.

COVID-19 UPDATE

Contra Costa County’s Deputy Health Officer Ori Tzvielli issued an optimistic picture on the COVID-19 scene in the county saying, “Our case numbers are coming down.”

According to the Contra Costa Public Health Department, the county’s COVID-19 case load is down 36.8 percent with 2,910 cases.  The department also reported 186 persons are hospitalized with COVID-19. The hospitalization rate is down 11.2 percent.

On the vaccination front, the county is showing progress.  The county’s vaccination rate is 84.4 percent in comparison to 73.1 percent nationally.

“The best thing you can do is to get vaccinated,” said Tzvielli.  He expects five- to 11-year-olds to soon get the vaccine.

Set October 6 as Clean Air Day

To encourage Contra Costans to use public transit, supervisors passed a resolution setting October 6 as Clean Air Day.  Last year more than 1.5 million persons rode free transit in the Bay Area.

Recognize Tom Aswad

Supervisors also recognized the retirement of Tom Aswad and his 22 years of service as founder of Discovery House, a 41-bed men’s residential treatment program.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

Photo cutlines: Rendering of new county office building. Source: Contra Costa County staff presentation

The new County Administration Building, across the street, was completed last year and dedicated in December. Source: KMD Architects

Video screenshot of Eric Angstadt, Chief Assistant County Administrator in front of the old McBrien County Administration Building. Source: Contra Costa County.

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Supervisors approve two home developments, one outside the Urban Limit Line

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Tassajara Parks General Plan Amendment land use maps. From presentation.

Tassajara Parks in the San Ramon Valley and Pantages in Discovery Bay will add 417 single family homes in Supervisorial District 3 with support of environmental groups

Approve Ameresco Renewable Natural Gas Processing Facility and Pipeline at Keller Canyon Landfill

Flash green light for further study moving Byron boys ranch to former Martinez Juvenile Hall

Tassajara Valley vicinity map. From presentation.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors worked on solving the county’s complex housing shortage during their meeting on Tuesday by approving two major housing developments, the 277-single family housing unit Pantages residential project in Discovery Bay and the controversial 125-housing unit Tassajara Parks residential project near San Ramon, both in District 3, board chair Diane Burgis’ turf.

The more controversial Tassajara Parks Residential Project drew the support of major environmental groups like Green Belt Alliance, Save Mt. Diablo and East Bay Regional Parks District mainly because the developer’s moved to do a “fee simple transfer “of 727 acres of land to the East Bay Regional Park District.

“This fee simple conveyance to the EBRPD will ensure that the Dedication Area is protected and preserved in perpetuity for the following non-urban uses only: agriculture, open space, parks, recreation, scenic uses, wetland preservation and creation, and habitat mitigation,” the supervisors’ background information states.

Save Mt. Diablo Land Conservation Director Seth Adams called the land transfer “a great trade off” and will go a long way in the preservation of wildlife, especially raptors and eagles.

“It’s a 30-acre adjustment to the Urban Limit Line which is allowed by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors based on at least one of seven findings,” Adams shared with the Herald. “Here it was the creation of an ag preserve by two more agencies.”

The Danville city council opposed the project contending the open space trade offer was inadequate especially when California is in a drought. “The city council felt that the scope and magnitude of the project with 125 homes in exchange of open space was insufficient.  The city council did not feel it was worth the trade off, “said City of Danville Manager Joe Calabrigo.

The approved Tassajara Parks Urban Limit Line realignment. From presentation.

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of San Ramon, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said she was concerned any action by the supervisors would require approval of the voters to adjust the urban limit line.

“I know we need the right mix of housing,” said Andersen. “If we move the urban limit line, that is up to the voters.  I have strong reservations about the environmental impact report.  Then there is no source of water for this project.”

Before supervisors approved the Tassajara Project on a 4-1 vote, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia successfully added to the board’s resolution several conditions, one that included that the developer must install solar panels and EV charging stations inside the garage or carport.  In addition, he added the installation of high efficiency appliances and insulation to zero net energy and to meet the standards to be solar-ready as defined by the California Building Standards.

The developer agreed to Gioia’s additions to the project’s resolution of approval.

Pantages Bays site map. From presentation.

The Tassajara Parks project also garnered support from parents of Tassajara Hills Elementary School parents who were pleased the developer plans to make safety corrections to the school’s parking lot. The school is immediately west of the project’s northern side.

Pantages Bays General Plan Amendment maps. From presentation.

Dave Rehnstrom, EBMUD Manager of Water Distribution Planning, said contrary to the developer’s proposed water conservation efforts, “EBMUD finds this project’s water conservation measures are insufficient.”

Mainly because developers of controversial the Tassajara Parks Residential Project have proposed to dedicate 727 acres of land to the East Bay Regional Park District, that move won the support from a few environmental organizations especially Save Mt. Diablo.

After several failed attempts to obtain state and federal regulatory permit approvals since 2013, developers of the proposed Pantages Bays Project near Discovery Bay, the new project proposed would subdivide the same site into 277 residential lots, which is 15 lots less than the original 2013 project.

With two public trail systems providing 5,200 linear feet of trails and walkways, the proposed project consists of two lakes, Lake South approximately 23 acres in size, and Lake North, about seven acres in size.

Of the 277 units planned for Pantages Bay Project, about 42 units are required to be set aside as affordable housing units. Eighty percent of the affordable units, 33 units, would be affordable to Moderate income households and 20 percent of the required affordable units, 8 units, would be affordable to low-income households. “An in-lieu fee will be paid for the remaining 0.55 units,” the county planning department document states.

“This project will help alleviate a lot of the illegal dumping that occurs in that area,” Burgis observed.

Approve Amersco Natural Gas Processing Facility and Pipeline

Without receiving any public comments either in favor or in opposition, supervisors approved on a 5-0 vote Ameresco Renewable Natural Gas’s (ARNG) proposal to construct a new 48,000 square foot renewable natural gas facility on the Keller Canyon Landfill site in Pittsburg.

The publicly traded Ameresco that has been operating on the Pittsburg landfill site a RNG operation since 2009 now proposes constructing a newer RNG processing facility of about 48,000 square feet or 1.1 acres on a level pad of about 84,000 square feet. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the operation would be overseen by two operators for 40 hours per week.

According to a press release from Republic Services, which owns the landfill, “The dedication of the Keller Canyon Landfill gas-to-electricity project marks the second time this year that Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) and Ameresco have partnered to develop and expand renewable energy sources for California and to provide power to residents of and businesses in Palo Alto and Alameda.”

“Most of the equipment would be less than 10 feet high except for the proposed enclosed flare, and a few larger pieces of equipment that would vary in height from 25 to 35 feet,” the Conservation and Development Department background document stated. “The proposed enclosed flare would be approximately 50 feet in height, similar to the two existing flares at the Keller Canyon Landfill enclosed flare facility.”

The project also calls for a new RNG underground pipeline to a proposed PG&E metering station located near the eastern edge of the Keller Canyon Landfill.  The Ameresco project has drawn some concern from Concord-based Discovery Builders that the proposed pipeline will be near a proposed residential development in Pittsburg.

A spokesman for Ameresco would not answer how much the new RNG facility and pipeline will cost.

During the supervisors’ meeting, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said through his office, Ameresco has agreed to pay the county at least $50,000 a year into the Keller Canyon Land Fill Mitigation Fund to help moderate any economic or environmental impacts stemming from the RNG project.

Every year, millions of dollars collected from Republic Services, operation of the Keller Canyon Landfill, are distributed to nonprofit organizations in the Bay Point and Pittsburg area through Supervisor Federal Glover’s office.

Supervisors Seek More Information on Orin Allen Youth Rehab Center Closure

Supervisors also instructed Contra Costa County Chief Probation Officer Essa Ehmen Krause to proceed and collect additional information, including cost figures, about a proposal to potentially move juvenile inmates at Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron (Byron Boys Ranch), closing that facility and transferring the inmates to a renovated former juvenile hall on Glazier Drive in Martinez.  The former juvenile hall facility is now used or storage.

The proposal was presented to supervisors who are attempting to figure out how to best use resources and address the educational and psychological needs of juveniles at the aged Byron Boys Ranch, constructed in 1960 and is now out of compliance with the American Disability Act.

Due to state legislation and local juvenile rehabilitation efforts, there are now about 15 youths housed at the Byron Boys Ranch, which is used for youths convicted of non-capital crimes.  For youths convicted or charged for capital crimes, they are housed at the 209-bed John A. Davis Juvenile Hall constructed in 2005.  There are now about 24 inmates at juvenile hall, Krause told supervisors.

Expect Krause to give periodic updates on the potential closure of Orin Allen and the reuse of the former juvenile hall facility.

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors approve Regional Housing Needs Allocation

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Source: MTC-ABAG

Extend ban on residential rent increases through September 30; inadequate county housing policy fuels crisis

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to extend the prohibition on residential evictions and rent increases through September 30 even though a driving factor for the county’s housing crisis can be linked to the county’s preference to permit the construction of more high-income housing than low-and-moderate-income housing.

While supervisors heard citizens make requests that the rental moratorium be extended through December 30, supervisors resisted those pleas and preferred that extension go through September 30.

“If another extension is needed after September 30, we can then take it up at that time,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

The action the supervisors took on Tuesday marks the fourth rental moratorium that the elected officials have passed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2019.

“The trouble is we already have a blanket moratorium on any rent increase,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen.  “I don’t want to go through this again at the end of the year.”

Approve Housing Needs Allocation

But supervisors did not publicly comment on an approved consent item that reflects the county’s longstanding preference to have far more above moderate-income housing units – 3,147 units – constructed in the unincorporated areas of the county from 2023 to 2031, according to the recently released Association of Bay Area Government’s (ABAG’s) Final Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

The ABAG RHNA item was passed as a supervisor’s consent item and was not publicly discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

RHNA also shows Contra Costa County is designated to permit 2,082 very low-income housing units, 1,199 low-income units, and 1,217 moderate income units from 2023 to 2031.

Conservation and Development Department Director John Kopchick said the county will appeal ABAG’s RHNA findings on grounds the Draft Allocation is 5.59 times as high as the county’s allocation for the prior period (which was 1,367).

“As of the end of 2020 the County had issued building permits for 1,881 new housing units,” Kopchick wrote in a memo to the supervisors. “While we have met the overall allocation for the 2015-2023 period, we have so far met only 16% of the allocation for very-low income and 53% of the allocation for moderate income. Staff is concerned that an allocation that significant change is likely not achievable.”

Kopchick added, “The increase in the county’s allocation from prior cycle is larger than the increase for the Bay Area as a whole (5.59 times higher for the county versus 2.35 times for the region as a whole). In the view of staff, the amount of the increase relative to the region may not be equitable. The county’s draft allocation is almost 2,000 units higher than the largest allocation for any city in the county. The county’s allocation is the second highest allocation for a county in the Bay Area (only San Francisco is higher) and is the 9th highest among the 110 jurisdictions in the Bay Area.”

The county and cities have until the July 9th deadline to submit an appeal of the Draft Allocation.

ABAG will conduct public hearings in September and October on the RHNA appeal. ABAG will act on the final RHNA in January 2023.

Other Board Action

Among consent items supervisors approved were:

·         Sanjiv Bhandari of Alamo was appointed to a (District 2 – Supervisor Candace Anderson) four-year term to the Contra Costa County Planning Commission.  Bhandari is president and chief executive officer of BK BC Architects, Inc. of Walnut Creek.

·         Discovery Bay resident Bob Mankin was reappointed to the District 3 seat on the Contra Costa County Planning Commission.  Recommended by Board Chair Diane Burgis, he will serve a four-year term.

·         A $100,000 contract with Loomis Armored US, LLC for armored cash transportation services for the County Treasurer-Tax Collector for the period July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024 with two possible one-year extensions. This marks the first time that the County Treasurer-Tax Collector has used another vendor for armored courier services to transport cash/check deposits because over the past several years, the County Treasurer’s Office became “increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of service provided by that vendor….”

·         Authorized Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston to applied and accept the United States Department of Justice Programs, DNA Program Backlog Reduction Grant in an initial amount of $250,000. This grant will reduce the number of backlogged DNA tests in the Sheriff’s Criminalistics Laboratory for the period of Jan. 1, 2022 through the end of the grant period.

·         An update on the formation of permanent regulations for the cultivation of industrial hemp will be presented to the board of supervisors by June 30.  Kopchik said a draft ordinance is scheduled to be considered by the County Planning Commission at a public hearing on June 23.  Subject to the Planning Commission’s review of the draft zoning ordinance, staff expects that it will present both draft ordinances to the board of supervisors in July or August.

Supervisors Select September 14 to Reopen In-Person Sessions

Supervisors set Tuesday Sept. 14 as their first in-person session meeting to be conducted in the new David Twa Public Administration Building in Martinez.

At a price tag of $60 million, the new building with 72,000 square feet will be open to the public with COVID-19 public health safeguards in place, in other words face masks if required.

Supervisors also promoted the hybrid meetings with both in-person and virtual or telephonic public comments.

 

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors pass fireworks ordinance, prepare for hot, dry summer

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

Photo by CCCSheriff.

Mitchoff questions holding July 4th parades; approve funds to address illegal dumping

By Daniel Borsuk

Fourth of July celebrations are around the corner and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday took a strident step in minimizing fires by unanimously passing a stronger fireworks ordinance that pins financial liability on owners of property and vessels where fireworks are used in unincorporated areas of the county.

Recognizing the extreme dry vegetation conditions the county now faces due to low winter rain fall, supervisors passed the ordinance as a consent item without hearing citizen comments on Ordinance No. 2021-19 that amends the county’s fireworks ordinance, Chapter 44-2 of the County Ordinance Code.

Contra Costa County received only 30 percent of average rainfall, said Brian Garcia, a National Weather Service meteorologist.  “The fuels that we have for fire this year are already at record levels. It’s really bad already and we’re not at the peak of the fire season.”

Conditions are so dry, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Deputy Fire Chief Aaron McAlister said, “Whether its moderate, high or very high, the risks are here in this county. We definitely have that potential that existed south of us and north of us in previous years. That potential now exists here in Contra Costa County.”

Under the new ordinance, property and vessel owners are responsible for ensuring that the use of illegal fireworks does not occur on their property.  Owners may be liable for ordinance violations if illegal fireworks are used on their property or vessel.

Board Chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood was the supervisor who shepherd the tougher fireworks ordinance, citing an increase in fireworks violations in her District 3 area.

“Illegal fireworks are a drain on our system,” Burgis said. “We simply don’t have the resources to address this continued problem. I would encourage cities and towns to adopt stronger ordinances and send the message that illegal fireworks will not be tolerated in Contra Costa County.”

“Due to unseasonably dry fuel conditions in Contra Costa County, we urge the public to take every precaution to prevent wildfires,” said Contra Costa County Fire Department Chief Lewis T. Brouschard III. “The use of illegal fireworks caused a recent fire in our county that destroyed two apartment buildings and displaced 30 residents. Playing with illegal fireworks is dangerous and poses the very real possibility of causing wildland fires that could easily destroy homes and threaten lives in this time of critically high fire risk.  We urge everyone to follow the regulations and stay safe.”

“Illegal fireworks in our county continually pose a threat to the safety of our communities,” said East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Fire Chief Brian Helmick in a press release. “On behalf of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, we would like to thank Supervisor Burgis for taking these necessary actions to curb the use of illegal fireworks and for helping to protect all citizens who have been impacted by illegal fireworks.”

Passage of the fireworks ordinance, a supervisors’ meeting consent item that did not draw public comment.

According to the supervisors’ agenda background information:

“Chapter 44-2 of the County Ordinance Code prohibits the possession, manufacture, sale, use and discharge of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the County. The Sheriff and fire department in the County receive numerous calls for service each year stemming from illegal fireworks, including calls to address vegetation fires, structure and exterior fires, personal injury or death, and noise or other public nuisances.

“The proposed ordinance would amend Chapter 44-2 and authorize the Sheriff to arrest and cite a responsible party as defined in the ordinance, for violations of Chapter 44-2.   The proposed ordinance established that a responsible party is required to maintain, manage and supervise the property or vessel for which they are responsible to prevent violations of Chapter 44-2. A responsible party is liable and violates the prohibition on fireworks under Chapter 44-2 if any person possesses, manufactures, sells, offers to sell, uses, or discharges, any fireworks at the property, or on the vessel, for which the responsible part is responsible, regardless of whether the responsible party is present when the violation occurs.

“The proposed ordinance defines a responsible party as any of the following:

  1. A person that owns, rents, leases, or otherwise has possession of, or is in immediate control of a residence or other private property or a vessel.
  2. A person that organizes, supervises, sponsors, conducts, allows, controls, or controls access to the possession, manufacture, sale, offer for sale, use, or discharge of fireworks at a residence or other private property or on a vessel.

“If a residence or other private is rented or leased for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, the landlord or lessor is not a responsible party unless the landlord or lessor: has possession of, or is in immediate control of, the residence or other private property; or has knowledge of the possession, manufacture, sale, offer for sale, sue, or discharge of fireworks at the residence or other private property.

The owner of a residence that is rented for a period of 30 consecutive days or less (a short-term rental) is a responsible party and is liable for violations of Chapter 44-2 if the short-term renter, or any other person, possesses, manufactures, sells, offers to sell, uses, or discharges, any fireworks at the residence, regardless of whether they owner of the short-term rental is present when the violation occurs.”

Mitchoff Questions Holding July 4th Parades

At one point during the meeting, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill questioned the wisdom of cities permitting July 4th parades at least this year even though the county and all other counties will be off the Centers for Disease Control color tier system effective June 15.

“If you have not been vaccinated, people need to take this seriously for one more year,” said the supervisor. “There are communities that think they can handle this.  I am not so sure that is the case. The public needs to take this seriously. People will show up at parades and will be unvaccinated.”

Contra Costa County Deputy Health Director Ori Tzvilell said the state’s mask mandate will be relaxed effective June 15 “only if everyone has been vaccinated.”  Mask requirements will remain in place for retail businesses, he noted.

County Chief Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas said the health department will conduct a mobile vaccination unit in a census tract in Antioch (North of Highway 4 from L Street to Sommerville Road) to vaccinate about 16,000 unvaccinated persons on June 11.

Salinas said future mobile vaccination activities are planned for Antioch Park, Antioch Middle School and Pittsburg City Park.

Stormwater Utility Assessments Approved

Even in severe drought conditions, supervisors had to think about the potential of stormwater pollution issues, especially funding. Supervisors approved assessments for Stormwater Utility Areas 1 through 18 that will provide $15,914,283 in funding for the cities and county for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program and drainage maintenance activities during fiscal year 2021-2022.

Approve Initial Illegal Dumping Funds

In other action, supervisors launched the county’s Illegal Dumping Initiative with the allocation of $350,000. “This is exciting,” said Burgis, who served as one of the key catalysts to jump start the initiative three years ago.

The board’s action instructs that $200,000 of the $350,000 will be spent for the installation of lighting and $150,000 will be directed to remove 50 derelict boats and recreational vehicles during the current 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Burgis and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover were key players in initiating in 2018 the formation of an interdepartmental “Think Tank” team of professionals from county departments to propose how to address the illegal dumping problems.  County departments involved in the Think Tank are the Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Public Works, the Environmental Health Division of the Health Services Department and the Department of Conservation and Development.

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