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Belvedere California Notifications

   March 1, 2012
Belvedere E-Notifications

Lagoon.jpgPlanning Commission Special Meeting on Flood Zone Land Use Amendments

The Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday, March 7 at 6:30 pm in the City Council Chambers to discuss possible amendments to the Belvedere General Plan and Title 19 of the Belvedere Municipal Code to increase permitted building heights within flood plain areas as drawn by the 2009 Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) prepared by FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

That's the technical and legally required explanation.  In plain English the Commission is meeting to gather public comments on the challenges that homeowners in the FEMA Flood Zone face when trying to develop their property in compliance with the FEMA requirements to elevate the finished floor of the home if they remodel more than 50 percent of the fair market value of the home.  Note, if you are not remodeling more than 50 percent of the fair market value of your home, you do NOT have to elevate the finished floor.  Elevation challenges include trying to maintain a connectivity to the Lagoon and water elements (one of the main reasons homeowners purchased along the waterfront), designing an architecturally distinct home while still complying with the City's existing height limits, trying to maintain interior elements such as ceiling heights, entryways, and other features consistent with existing designs, and trying to maintain and protect neighbor privacy. 

The Commission will also debate whether to recommend to the Council that when the City considers changes to the land use laws for affected properties in the FEMA flood zones that the City consider all flood zones in the City where finished floors must be elevated - not just the Lagoon areas.  This would mean that there could be changes to the measurement of height for properties along West Shore Road and in other areas of Belvedere.   If the Commission recommends that the City consider expanding the scope, such an expansion will trigger an expanded environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.  That means that there will need to be additional funding allocated to conduct the study and eventually modify the City's General Plan to be consistent with the outcome. 

The Flood Zone Committee continues to work with FEMA through a Cooperative Technical Partner Agreement on the Local Hydrology Study (nearly complete); yet, FEMA still has not produced its updated numbers for new flood elevations.  The new numbers are expected soon, just how soon, is anyone's guess.  The expectation is that with FEMA's new numbers for flood elevations, the current requirement of 9 feet NAVD will be increased.  There is also a move afoot through FEMA to re-validate the City's (and the Nation's) levy systems.  These two factors could change what would be required for finished floor elevations (positively or negatively depending on the new elevation numbers).

Nevertheless, the Planning Commission's charge for Wednesday night is to provide one of the following:

  1. A recommendation to the City Council that the City consider expanding the flood zone land use analysis thus triggering the potential requirement for a General Plan Amendment and Environmental Report (this will then go proceed to the Council for concurrence and a budget amendment or a policy decision to maintain the current General Plan solution and focus solely on the Lagoon)
  2. A recommendation that the City maintain the focus on the Lagoon and focus deliberation on land use amendments to address the known issues.

If the Commission chooses to focus on the Lagoon, consistent with the City's current General Plan, subsequent Planning Commission meetings will be scheduled to delve further into the details of potential land use changes - height measurement, design issues, privacy concerns, etc.  It is anticipated that either option will result in changes to the City's land use and zoning for affected properties by the end of the calendar year. 

However - and this is a significant however - all of this could be augmented should the new FEMA changes be significant (positive or negative).    

If this topic interests you, please plan to attend the meeting.  No final decisions or recommendations with respect to actual land use amendments are expected to be made at this meeting or at any meeting in the next couple of months.  The Commission and Council have numerous policy decisions to weigh and your input into any final solution(s) is important.


George Rodericks
City Manager

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Senior Access Caregiver Connection Releases Annual Report
MMWD Proposes 6 Percent Increase
MMWD Proposes Extension of Fire Flow Fee
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Caregiver_College.jpgSenior Access News
Caregiver Connection
Saturday, March 10 - 10 am to 2:30 pm
70 Skyview Terrace, San Rafael

Do you care for a friend or family member who lives with chronic illness or cognitive impairment?  Then back is where it's at!  Back to school that is!  Caregiver College, designed by Family Caregiver Alliance, is a FREE half-day workshop with experts on a variety of topics.

Topics will include:

  • Caregiver Self-Care
  • Understanding New Behaviors
  • Hygiene/Grooming
  • Incontinence
  • Dental Health

Sign-up today - by RSVPing to Mimi Schreiber @ (415) 491-2500, extension 19 or via email to  The program is FREE of charge and takes place on Saturday, March 10 from 10 am to 2:30 pm @ Senior Access, 70 Skyview Terrace in San Rafael. 

Senior Access and its programs are a grant recipient of the Belvedere Community Foundation in support of their site at St. Stephen's Church where they operate a social club for folks with memory loss.  The "club" is available to clients with memory loss who live Marin.

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CMCM_Annual_Report.jpgCMCM.TV Releases Its Annual Report

What is CMCM-Marin TV?

Marin TV provides southern Marin County with its own non-commercial community, educational and governmental cable channels. Available on Comcast 26, 27, 30, AT&T U-verse 99 and online on this site. The channels cablecast programming 24/7 to over 70,000 Marin households. We offer all residents of Marin low-cost training and the latest digital tools so they can create cable TV and online media. For schools, non-profits and government agencies, we provide special organizational services and fee-for-service production assistance. Marin is watching Marin TV – are you what’s on?

View the Annual Report HERE.

Visit for more info!

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MMWD.jpgMMWD Proposes 6 Percent Rate Increase
First Hearing - April 19

Customers and property owners in MWMD's service area will soon be receiving information in the mail from the district announcing two public hearings set for this spring. At the first hearing, scheduled for April 19, the MMWD Board of Directors will consider approving a proposed 6-percent rate increase. At the second hearing, on May 17, the board will consider approving an extension of the $75 per parcel annual fire flow fee (see article below for more information on the fire flow fee).

The rate increase, if approved, would apply to meter readings taken on or after May 1 and would be reflected in water bills issued on or after July 1. The average customer's bill would go up by a maximum of $5.63 per two-month billing period, increasing from $94.44 to $100.07, or slightly less than $3 per month.

Even though MMWD has cut costs considerably in each of the last three years, expenses are going up starting July 1. In addition, the district can no longer tap into reserves. Since 2006 MMWD has been spending down reserves to minimize the impact of higher costs on water rates; however, reserves are now at a minimum level and need to be restored to keep the balance from dropping lower and to fund current and future capital improvement projects.

MMWD is holding a public workshop on the rate increase proposal on Thursday, March 29, 6:30-8:00 pm.

The board proposed the rate increase at the February 16 board meeting. The original rate increase proposal was for 6.5 percent; the board reduced that to 6 percent at the meeting.

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MMWD.jpgMMWD Proposes Extension of Fire Flow Fee

At a public hearing scheduled for May 17 the MMWD Board of Directors will consider approving an extension of the $75 per parcel annual fire flow fee. The Fire Flow Fee is dedicated to capital improvement projects that improve the fire-fighting capacity of the district's water system. The fire flow fee funds raised since the program began in 1997 have supported the investment of approximately $70 million for the replacement of more than 60 miles of fire-flow deficient (undersized) pipelines, the installation of 750 hydrants and seismic retrofits of the water treatment plants, critical storage tanks and pump stations.

But there is still more to be done, which is why the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association (MCFCA) formally requested last November that MMWD extend the fire flow fee and program beyond 2012. The extension would allow MMWD to replace 12 miles of pipe from the original fire flow program that were not funded due to inflation and would also fund an additional 40 miles of fire-flow deficient pipes as well as other related projects.  

MMWD is holding a public workshop on the fire flow fee extension proposal on Thursday, April 26, 6:30-8:00 pm.

The board proposed the extension at the February 16 board meeting. 

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Sincerely ,

George Rodericks
City Manager
City of Belvedere

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