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Board Meeting Minutes

4444 East Ave.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005
5:45 p.m., Council Chambers
3575 Pacific Avenue
Livermore, California


LARPD BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Steve Goodman, David Furst, Scott Kamena, Dale Turner and Chair Maryalice Summers Faltings (5)


STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT: Tim Barry, Pat Kasberg, Brian Tibbetts, Rich Lange and Barbara Kraybill,



Meeting was called to order at 5:46 p.m. by Chair Furst, who led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.


2.1 Board Minutes

2.1.1 Regular meeting of January 12, 2005.


On a motion by Director Faltings, seconded by Director Turner, approved the Consent Agenda, passing 5-0.


General Manager Barry reported that LARPD and Zone 7 Water Agency have jointly funded the first phase of the Sycamore Grove Recovery Program and the Board has received the final technical report. Marylee Guinon of Sycamore Associates, who coordinated this effort is present, along with Nelda Matheny and Greg Kamman to present the report and findings to the Board and answer questions.


Ms. Guinon stated that the primary questions that the report aims to answer are:

* What were the causes of the sycamore decline during the 1980s-1990s?

* What is the current condition of the sycamore grove?

* What adaptive management alternatives can be considered by LARPD and Zone 7 to restore and sustainably manage the sycamore grove over the long-term?


Ms. Guinon introduced Nelda Matheny of Hort Science who presented a summary of Phase 1 findings:

1) The hydrologic regime of Arroyo del Valle has been modified post-dam. These changes may affect sycamore growth, distribution over the site, and ability to regenerate.

2) The sycamores underwent a period of extreme physiological stress that nearly eliminated the stand in 1985-1993, but tree growth and appearance have improved since 1993. It is premature to suggest that the sycamore grove has recovered from the damage that occurred 1985-93. Recovery considers a long time-frame and includes the ability of the stand to regenerate itself and replace lost canopy.

3) It is unlikely that significant seedling germination and establishment will occur under the current managed water regime. Sustaining the grove long-term will most likely rely on planting programs to replace trees as they die.

4) The tree-ring data suggest that a single or small number of environmental variables are responsible for driving tree growth. Those variables have yet to be clearly defined.

5) A clear link between tree growth and climate was not observed and comparing the sycamore grove trees to off-site trees is planned for Phase 2.

6) Annual defoliation due to anthracnose disease does not appear to have a significant affect on tree growth. The sycamores have evolved with the disease and have likely adapted strategies to survive with it.


Ms. Matheny outlined the remaining questions that need to be addressed in Phase 2:

1)  How has hydrology within Sycamore Grove Park, independent of climate, affected sycamore growth.

2)  How has the water releases from the dam affected the creek.

3)  What tolerances do the sycamores have for flow rates and water levels on the arroyo under a range of climatic and environmental conditions, and at different times of the year.

4)  How will changes in future water delivery operations affect Sycamore Grove Park  (e.g., Chain of Lakes Project).

5)  How can LARPD and Zone 7 restore and manage the sycamore grove in the future.

6)  What are the operational constraints to managing the grove.

7)  What steps can be taken to foster regeneration in the sycamore grove.

8)  Evaluate the Arroyo Valle recharge data supplied by Zone 7 to provide insight into hydrology/tree growth relationships.


Director Furst thanked Sycamore Associates for a concise presentation and solicited questions from the Board. Ms. Matheny answered questions posed by Director Kamena regarding the hydrology and dendrochronology data in the report:

* Affects of historic droughts

* Flooding to control anthracnose disease

* Water flow altered by the dam

* Sycamores vs. Oaks

* Primary and secondary channels

* Seasonality of creek flow and its affects

* Tree-ring data

* Affects of anthracnose disease

* Zone 7 water releases

* Alternatives to convey water to the Chain of Lakes (turnout)

* Regeneration of trees

* Post-dam growth years


      Director Faltings asked questions pertaining to:

* Equalization of water flow in the arroyo

* Natural vs. planted seedlings

* Suggested locations for planting seedlings

* Natural vs. managed seedlings


Director Goodman questioned what the primary focus is for developing Phase 2 of the report. Ms. Matheny stated as a resource manager Sycamore Associates cannot devise a sustainable system unless they understand what the factors are that upset the system, and understand the conditions during 1982-93 that caused the stand to almost die. Then they will be able to predict if those conditions are starting to develop again and intervene.


Director Turner stated that the key players need to work together to correct the situation  and expressed interest in hearing comments from Zone 7. Director Turner also questioned how long it will be before the trees start to decline further. Ms. Matheny indicated that she feels there is about a year and a half before there will be significant change in the trees.


Chair Furst questioned what affect the Chain of Lakes will have on the sycamore trees. Mr. Kamman responded that it poses an adverse impact on the trees, but he is not sure if it will manifest as he has no calculations at this point. There are components in Phase 2 that are aimed at specifically answering that question. Chair Furst stated that the Resource Management Plan accepted by the Board in 2002 discussed having controlled burns throughout the park to get rid of the leaf litter and questioned if the burns would have an effect on the sycamore trees. Ms. Guinon stated the controlled burns could be managed in such a way that they would not have any negative effect on the mature trees and actually would favor natural regeneration of all the plants. Ms. Guinon indicated however, there are other ways to achieve sycamore seedling establishment.


Director Kamena questioned if the seedlings would be bought or come from the stand in Sycamore Grove Park. Ms. Guinon strongly recommends that the seedlings should be collected from the trees within the park to capitalize on genetic variation.


Director Kamena stated that one of his concerns is if LARPD were to find an alternate way to move the water around the park to prevent abnormal high amounts going through, the low amounts of water are controlled by Zone 7. During drought years there will still be less water for the trees and there’s nothing we can do about that because Zone 7 cannot release water under drought conditions.


Chair Furst opened public comment.


Dale Myers, Zone 7 General Manager, 538 Rachelle Street, Livermore, stated that at this point in time Zone 7 is looking at the Phase 1 report in a simplistic approach because they are  still trying to reconcile precise hydrology from the study with their own records. Zone 7 agrees with LARPD about the need to preserve the grove. Mr. Myers stated that Zone 7 feels that if they can maintain water levels as they are now, and the conditions have been okay for 10 years, is it necessary to go forward and develop additional information on what happened in order to manage the water. Zone 7 questions the need for additional information since they have enough water to keep the levels where they are. Mr. Myers indicated that Zone 7 would like to continue discussions with LARPD to determine if they want to move forward and participate in the Phase 2 report.


Dick Quigley, Zone 7 Board Member, stated that he feels the water is not the culprit because the trees are doing better. Mr. Quigley suggested scheduling a joint meeting between Zone 7 and LARPD to discuss the need for the Phase 2 report.


Bill Stevens, Zone 7 Board Member, 4289 Colgate Way, stated that he feels the report should have included more graphs, and that the Zone 7 directors support the studies as long as it makes sense to them.


Keith Rothernberg, 23 Diamond Drive, Livermore, representing Friends of Sycamore Grove, addressed the Board, stating he feels it is important for Zone 7 and LARPD to meet with the Department of Fish and Game, Department of Water Resources, Department of Water Rights, and the Army Corps of Engineers to determine what the options are for moving forward to preserving this grove.


Donna Cabanne, representing the Tri Valley Sierra Club and a resident of Livermore, stated she feels it is critical to get further information and urged the Board to continue with Phase 2. Ms. Cabanne stated she attended the Zone 7 meeting and in a summary it appears Zone 7 feels the trees are doing better because of the current water practices. However, they were unable to say what an optimal or minimal range would be. She thinks it is critical to find out at what level water released hurts or helps the trees and other variables. Ms. Cabanne stated she feels to get a clear understanding of how to prevent this in the future we need further studies. She requested that the Board address what the Department of Fish and Game’s requirements are for the arroyo. Zone 7 indicated it has to be a live stream. If this is correct, are there certain levels of water and could they be reduced in the summer to avoid some of the problems that have occurred. Ms. Cabanne also requested that the Board take a look at what would entail finishing the turnout that Zone 7 suspended construction on.


Janice Turner, 749 Hazel Street, Livermore, stated she would like the consultants to include in the Phase 2 report how the seasonal flow affects the trees. She feels this is a very necessary issue.


Chair Furst closed public comment.



Sr. Supervisor Tibbetts reported to the Board that the City of Livermore Design Review Committee approved an application to construct a new metal roof structure over the Show Arena in Robertson Park in October 2004. Staff has amended the project due to the fact that the Board had to reject all bids submitted in May 2004 because the bids  received exceeded the budgeted amount set aside for this project. Staff has reevaluated the project and amended the project design by increasing the height and width of the roof structure, adding siding, roof vents, and skylights (with the elimination of the light system). A row of interior steel columns has also been eliminated. Staff has reviewed the amended plans and the City of Livermore Design Review Committee approved the plans in December 2004, and finds the project is still consistent with all applicable standards and design guidelines. The revised roof structure remains compatible with the use and environment of the park and equestrian area. Staff  recommends that the Board approve the revised plans and specifications originally approved by the Board in January 2004.


Director Kamena stated he would like staff to inquire if the City can waive the requirement to have vents in the roof since this structure consists of a roof cover and no  walls and is constructed of steel. He understands the code requirement is for fire safety purposes but feels the Fire Marshall is interpreting the sprinkler law that was not designed for a structure like this. Director Kamena feels this represents a significant savings and it is worth pursuing.


Director Goodman expressed his concern regarding the cost of the structure and the public perception.


The Board expressed their concern over losing construction time while challenging the city code on the roof vents. Sr. Supervisor Tibbetts suggested going to bid and issuing an addendum item at the pre-bid conference for bids to keep in or delete the roof vents.


Director Kamena expressed his concern regarding the cost of the structure that will be used primarily by a group of non-residents who have come to board meetings and stated that they do not want to pay for the cover. Director Kamena feels the money would be better spent on renovating district parks. If the Board approves going to bid, he feels asking the City to waive the fire code for the roof vents is vital.


Directors Turner and Faltings both feel that there will be enough money generated by the rental of the covered arena to equestrian and non-equestrian groups to justify the cost.


General Manager Barry reported that staff is skeptical that the covered arena is not meeting the needs of enough people for the dollar value. During meetings where the project was discussed many of the people attending are from out of town or out of the district. Staff is concerned that the facility will not generate enough revenue to justify the expense, but understands that is not the mission of the project, it is to suit the needs of a segment of the community.



            On a motion by Director Faltings, seconded by Director Turner, adopted Resolution No. 1946, approving the revised plans and specifications for the Robertson Park Equestrian Center Show Arena Cover, and authorizing call for bids, by the following roll call vote:

            AYES:             Directors Goodman, Turner, Faltings, and Chair Furst (4)

            NOES:             Director Kamena (1)

            ABSENT:        None (0)



General Manager Barry reported that there are two options for the smoking policy for the Board to choose from.  In considering this policy, there exists a rare occasion where the staff and Facilities Committee respectfully disagree on the approach the District should take on a smoking policy for District facilities.


Option A:  Facilities Committee recommendation

No smoking on or in any District facilities. This includes buildings, parks, swimming pools, trails, open space parks, playgrounds, ball fields, rodeo arenas and grounds, etc.


Option B:  Staff recommendation

No smoking inside all District buildings, swimming pool areas, playgrounds and sports fields (including snack bar/restrooms and grandstands areas). Smoking is also prohibited within 100 feet of the public entrance/exit of District buildings and grandstands/covered arenas of sports and rodeo facilities. Smoking is also prohibited in all District open space parks and trails.


General Manager Barry stated that staff felt their recommendation was a better policy for enforcement purposes, particularly inside the buildings where an attendant could point to a particular place outside where smokers could go to smoke. Staff felt that was better than total prohibition where people may sneak to smoke in places that a fire could occur.


Director Kamena inquired how either ban would be enforced and was informed by General Manager Barry that people would call upon staff to enforce the policy. The staff person would approach the smoker and identify the policy and ask them to comply. If the smoker refused staff could ban them from the facility.


Director Kamena asked about posting signs. General Manager Barry stated that a signage plan will have to be implemented.


Director Kamena asked if the Rodeo is included in the policy given the terms the District was given title to the land. General Manager Barry indicated he will take a closer look at that.


Director Turner asked if the policy recommended by staff regarding trails would include both City and LARPD trails. General Manager Barry stated that LARPD would only have jurisdiction over the trails managed by the District.


Director Goodman indicated that he feels it is important to have a policy that is enforceable and reasonable and feels most people will self police and recognize that smoking is prohibited inside buildings.


Director Kamena made a motion to approve Option A with the exemption for Robertson Park during the week before and after the Rodeo. The motion was seconded by Director Turner.


Chair Furst opened public comment.


Marilyn Carter, a long time resident of Livermore and President of the Ravenswood Progress League, addressed the Board, stating she recognizes the value of a smoking policy at Ravenswood. She does not advocate smoking but feels a total ban would be punitive to those people who smoke. She does not feel it is realistic to ban a large portion of our community. She feels it is more reasonable to have a designated smoking area that staff can control. Ms. Carter feels it is the right thing to do for the people in the community who smoke and highly recommends that the Board find a way to do that.


Chair Furst closed public comment.


Director Kamena called for a roll call vote on the motion he made to approve Option A with the exemption for Robertson Park during the week before and after the Rodeo. The motion failed by 3 noes, 2 ayes, no absences, no abstentions.


Director Turner restated his position for a total ban on smoking and urged the Board to support his position.


Director Faltings stated that she supports the staff’s recommendation because it is a policy she feels that staff will be able to enforce and regulate.


Chair Furst stated that as a member of the Facilities Committee he had supported Option A but he has been concerned about staff’s ability to enforce it. He now supports Option B because he feels smokers are going to smoke and he wants to be able to designate an area that is safe.


Director Kamena stated that he supports Option A because he feels it gives people the opportunity to ask a smoker to stop smoking and they would have to comply.



            On a motion by Director Faltings, seconded by Director Goodman, adopted Resolution No. 1947, the District Wide Smoking Policy (Option B staff recommendation), by the following roll call vote:

            AYES:             Directors Faltings, Goodman, and Chair Furst (3)

            NOES:             Directors Kamena and Turner (2)

            ABSENT:        None (0)





Superintendent Kraybill reported that Becky Salamon,  full-time ESS Coordinator is resigning. There is a need to assign Kathy DeRosa, the ESS full-time teacher to the duties of Acting Coordinator at Jackson ESS during the hiring process which takes 2- 3 months. The temporary assignment would include a 10% pay increase and a commensurate increase in job duties.


On a motion by Director Turner, seconded by Director Faltings, approved the temporary assignment of higher duties for Kathy DeRosa to Acting ESS Coordinator, passing 5-0.





Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.








            Chair, Board of Directors






General Manager and ex-officio

Clerk to the Board of Directors

Livermore Area Recreation and Park District
4444 East Ave.

Livermore, California 94550-5053
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