New pipelines are in the ground and most of the underground work on Sprowel Creek Road has been completed, Garberville Sanitary District's capital projects manager Jennie Short told the board of the directors at their monthly meeting last Monday evening, Aug. 19.
Two air exhaust valves and a vacuum-relief valve need to be constructed and installed, and then GSD's contractors will be out of the roads. County road maintenance crews will then complete improving and repaving Sprowel Creek Road, so overall the roadway should be improved.
This phase, the first step in GSD's $3.3 million project, which will include construction of an entirely new drinking water treatment plant, should be completed in three weeks, Short said.
The open session at last week's meeting was brief, consisting of Short's progress report and some public comment.
The financial report for the month of July was postponed until the September meeting because GSD's accountant had not returned the district's books by the time of the meeting.
A half-dozen members of the public were present and several persons made public comment.
One speaker requested that the GSD board provide minutes of meetings with state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations to the public for review.
"These unreported outside meetings help determine what will be added, subtracted, or created for the current annexation Mitigated Negative Declaration... and should be shared with the public," she said.
"The future growth of Southern Humboldt is being determined with this current annexation document and it does a disservice to the community to not share the decision-making process with the public."
Another speaker referred to a comment made by a member of the community during the previous board meeting on July 23, who said that GSD's mandate is to provide water and sewer service to the district.
"That is my point," said the second speaker, who had previously addressed the need for the board to complete a full Environmental Impact Report on its annexation project. "Your mandate is to provide service to all these many acres that you are seeking to add to the district in the annexation... The district needs an EIR to assess how the growth inducement from the annexation will affect the river."
Representing the Southern Humboldt Community Park, SHCP executive director Kathryn Lobato recalled that she had attended many GSD meetings to ask for annexation of the entire park property, although the GSD board decided to annex only a five-acre area encompassing the two residences and their curtilage.
"We still believe that it would benefit the community to have water in the park," Lobato said.
She pointed out that SHCP was in the process of completing its own EIR as part of its application for a General Plan Amendment and rezone on the park property to permit a wider range of activities, including large events.
It would be a misuse of the community's money for GSD to also do a full EIR, Lobato said.
Another member of the community responded that GSD should hold off on annexing any part of the park until SHCP completes its EIR. SHCP can apply for annexation after that, he said, but right now consideration of annexing the park is what's costing GSD money.
Since the board was scheduled to go into closed session in consultation with their attorney to discuss the topic of annexation, chair Dennis Bourassa adjourned the regular meeting after this exchange.
[Note: See related story about GSD's annexation project in this issue.]
The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. in the district offices.
For more information, including minutes from past meetings, as well as the entire Mitigated Negative Declaration with maps of the proposed annexation, see GSD's website at www.garbervillesd.org, or call the office at 923-9566 during business hours Monday through Thursday.