Meeting Date:

October 16, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:


Prepared By:

Henrietta Stern

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval:  reviewed and concurs

Committee Recommendation: N/A

CEQA Compliance:  MPWMD is relying on Negative Declaration adopted by Monterey County for Page-La Mont Subdivision; Class 3 Categorical Exemption also applies.


SUMMARY:  The Board will consider approval of an application by co-applicants California American Water (Cal-Am) and Lombardo & Gilles (attorney for Lavielle La Mont and Loni Ison, property owners) to annex the entire parcel APN 187-021-034 into the Rancho Del Monte Unit (RDMU, formerly known as “Water West”) of the Cal-Am Water Distribution System (WDS) to facilitate construction of a single-family home and associated landscaping.  An estimated three acres of the 20-acre parcel is currently within the RDMU service area, while most of the parcel lies outside of the RDMU boundary.  No changes to Cal-Am system limits are requested.  The parcel is located on Country Club Heights Road in Carmel Valley.  MPWMD Rule 22-E requires that a written permit be obtained from the District Board to amend a Water Distribution System service area.


It is notable that the RDMU was the subject of litigation in Monterey County Superior Court (Currier vs. MPWMD, Case #M59299).  Court documents refer to the system as “Water West.”  The Currier decision set aside 12.76 acre-feet per year (AFY) to be used for new construction and remodels in the Water West system until that quantity is fully assigned.  As of September 30, 2006, 7.267 AFY are available according to the MPWMD Water Demand Division.  District Counsel believes that the Currier ruling does not prohibit annexation of property into the Water West system; however, approval of an annexation request is at the discretion of the MPWMD Board.  The applicant addresses this legal question in the cover letter to the application (Exhibit 11-A).


Application #20060705PAG to amend the Cal-Am WDS is provided as Exhibit 11-A.   The entire package of application materials and related correspondence is available for review at the District office (see “Discussion” section below for a listing of application materials).  This public hearing has been properly noticed via mailed notices to property owners within the RDMU and within 300 feet of the affected parcel, posting on the District website, and posting onsite and at the District office. 


Pursuant to MPWMD Rule 181, Board members must disclose any oral or written ex parte communication on this quasi-judicial decision.  


RECOMMENDATIONS:  District Staff recommends that the Board of Directors take the following actions:


Ø      Adopt the MPWMD Findings of Approval for Application #20060705PAG provided as Exhibit 11-B.  The Findings state that the Board, as a Responsible Agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), has reviewed, considered and is relying on a October 4, 1999 Negative Declaration adopted by Monterey County on March 9, 2000 for the Page-La Mont Subdivision (Exhibit 11-C).  It is noted that the District also believes the application also meets the criteria for a CEQA Categorical Exemption under Guidelines Section 15303.


Ø      Approve Application #20060705PAG and issue Permit #S06-04-L4 with the Conditions of Approval specified in Exhibit 11-D.  These conditions would not increase the Cal-Am WDS production limit and are consistent with the Superior Court Ruling.  MPWMD does not set a numerical connection limit on the main Cal-Am system, or which the RDMU is a part.  The Conditions ensure compliance with MPWMD Rules & Regulations, including conservation and retrofit requirements, signing a Permit Acceptance Form, signing an Indemnification Agreement, and recording a deed restriction (see “Discussion” below.)


Ø      Direct staff to file a Notice of Determination and the accompanying Certificate of Fee Exemption (De Minimis Impact Statement) with the Monterey County Clerk in compliance with CEQA.  The Certificate waives a substantial fee normally charged for environmental document review by the California Department of Fish & Game for projects with minimal environmental effects.


Rationale for Staff Recommendation

Roughly three acres of the affected 20-acre parcel are already within the RDMU service area, and water service to a new home within those three acres is already available.  Annexation of the entire parcel enables the property owner to site the home in a preferred location outside the three-acre RDMU area.   Annexation of the entire 20-acre parcel into RDMU is not anticipated to result in greater water use than would occur within the existing three-acre area due to existing deed restrictions on the property established by Monterey County on March 9, 2000 (Minor Subdivision No. 980343, Resolution #2007) and the MPWMD permit conditions (Exhibit 11-D).  Because only one single-family home (and no other structures/subdivision) is proposed, the MPWMD permit conditions will specify water service for one connection.  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in January 2000 stated that there is no prohibition for annexing the remainder of a legal parcel into the RDMU system if a part of a parcel is already within the water system.


DISCUSSION:  The following paragraphs address various aspects of the application based on information known as of October 5, 2006. 


Administrative Record to Date

A Pre-Application Form was submitted on January 17, 2006 to amend the Rancho del Monte Unit.  In a February 6, 2006 letter, the District confirmed that the application would be processed as a “Level 4” hearing before the MPWMD Board, and requested a concise legal review of the implication of the Currier vs. MPWMD litigation as it relates to this application.  In a letter received on July 5, 2006, the applicant’s attorney provided a brief legal synopsis along with the formal application materials on behalf of Cal-Am and Lavielle La Mont/Loni Ison, property owners.  An August 4, 2006 MPWMD letter itemized several information gaps and requested that this information be provided.  The information was received in a letter received August 9, 2006.  The letter clarified that the application is for one single-family residence on the 20-acre parcel APN 187-021-034.  No additional structures or subdivisions are contemplated at this time.  The application was deemed complete on September 18, 2006.


Key application materials on file at the District office include:


Ø      MPWMD Application to Create or Amend a Water Distribution System dated July 5, 2006;

Ø      Supplemental Questionnaire; 

Ø      Parcel map showing the 20-acre parcel partially within the RDMU service area;

Ø      Cover letter with brief legal synopsis of Cal-Am’s ability to serve water to parcel;

Ø      Correspondence from CPUC about location of portion of APN 187-021-034 (and APN 187-021-033) in former Water West service area and potential for water service;

Ø      Deed to property;

Ø      Initial Study/Negative Declaration filed by Monterey County October 4, 1999;

Ø      Monterey County Minor Subdivision Committee Resolution #2007, Minor Subdivision No. 980343, including conditions of approval affecting the subject parcel. 


Existing Setting  

Cal-Am owns and operates the RDMU as part of its main Carmel River-based system.  It is not operated as a separate water system, but metered water consumption is tracked and accounted for separately by Cal-Am in its annual reports.  The 2004-2005 Cal-Am water consumption report indicates 130 AF of water consumption by 428 customers (99% single-family residential), an average of 0.3 AFY per home.  An estimated three acres of the 20-acre parcel APN 187-021-034 is currently within the RDMU service area.  The exact acreage within RDMU is not known because the original determination of 2.24 acres was made in January 2000, when the parcel was 16 acres in size (Source: Bestor Engineers, January 5, 2000 letter and map).  Due to a subsequent lot line adjustment, the existing parcel is now 20 acres (Source: Real Quest parcel map dated April 16, 2004). 


Proposed System

This application and subsequent clarifying correspondence state that the proposed project is to annex the entire 20-acre area of APN 187-021-034 into the RDMU for the purpose of building one single-family residence.  No additional structures are contemplated at this time; no subdivision of the property is currently planned (Source: August 8, 2006 letter from Lombardo & Gilles). 


Findings and Conditions of Approval

Unlike most WDS applications, technical issues relating to the ability of a well to serve the La Mont

parcel are not the controlling factors in this permit decision.  Cal-Am has been adequately serving the RDMU service area for many years.  The Findings of Approval (Exhibit 11-B) are based on evidence provided in the application materials and supporting attachments on file at the District office).  Staff believes the application meets the criteria and minimum standards required by District Rule 22.  Pertinent information includes application materials, zoning and existing land use, the Currier litigation, as well as conditions to be imposed on the approved application. 



Annexation of the La Mont parcel does not change the Cal-Am production limit set by the MPWMD Water Allocation Program or supersede Carmel River diversion limits imposed by SWRCB Order 95-10.  Annexing the La Mont parcel would not change the number of potential Cal-Am connections because a part of the parcel is already deemed to be part of the RDMU. 


Staff believes the following conditions found in Exhibit 11-D protect the community and environment as well as the integrity of MPWMD Rules & Regulations.  Examples include:


Ø      The Cal-Am production limit will not be increased by reason of this annexation. 


Ø      One connection will be allowed on the parcel as part of this permit, which reflects use currently allowed.


Ø      Water-saving fixtures will be required.  Drip irrigation, where reasonable (best management practices), and other means to conserve water will also be required.


Ø      Any new construction, remodeling or expansion of the home will be subject to MPWMD rules.


Ø      The applicant shall indemnify MPWMD against all third party claims and lawsuits, including MPWMD defense costs. 


Ø      The applicant shall execute a deed restriction that includes Permit #S06-04-L4 and associated conditions of approval.


CEQA Compliance

The District must comply with CEQA as well as MPWMD regulations.  The Board, serving in its capacity of a Responsible Agency, should review, consider and rely upon the Negative Declaration adopted by Monterey County on March 9, 2000 for the Page-La Mont Subdivision (Exhibit 11-C). It is noted that the application also meets the criteria of CEQA Guidelines Section 15303, “New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures.” This Class 3 exemption applies water service to allow construction of one single-family home on one legal parcel, part of which is already within an established water service area with available water as determined by the Superior Court. 



11-A    Application #20060705PAG dated July 5, 2006.

11-B    Draft Findings of Approval for Application #20060705PAG.  

11-C    Negative Declaration/Initial Study for Page-La Mont Subdivision filed by Monterey County.

11-D    Draft Conditions of Approval for Application #20060705PAG, Permit #S06-04-L4, including Attachment 1 (service area) and Attachment 2 (Indemnity Agreement).




Revised October 10, 2006 per DCL and DAB review