Wednesday, January 27, 2010

REPORT BACK: BOS meeting on 1.25.10

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors (BOS) reviewed Item #53 Proclamation of Local Emergency at Ocean Beach (South of Sloat) at approximately 7:15PM last night. Yes, it was late and the BOS was tired but proved themselves to be professional and gave Item #53 its required attention.

A crew from the San Francisco Surfrider Foundation Chapter and Save the Waves Coalition, and Lara Trupelli, the Chair of the 2000-2005 OB Taskforce and the Ocean Beach Vision Council, spoke to the BOS regarding concerns with the short-term solutions that the SF Department of Public Works (DPW) has proposed. The DPW proposes the placement of riprap (rock) along 900-feet of Ocean Beach's shoreline (three football fields in length). The rock is proposed to protect the Great Highway from erosion and prevent additional coastal erosion around a sewage pipeline that is 40-feet under the Great Highway ---

BUT this rock WILL NOT protect Ocean Beach - it will degrade the beach and likely cause more erosion issues in the area.

Surfrider, Save the Waves and Ms. Trupelli spoke quickly (each person had two-minutes only) to express the issues with the current proposal and made suggestions for what the BOS could do. Ideas had been being thrown out all day: can the current emergency proclamation be amended to include clauses limiting the type of solution? Can the decision be postponed so that there is more time to evaluate other options?

The crew got up and professionally and heartfully explained that the coastal erosion issues had not been appropriately addressed over the last 10-years by the DPW and the OB Taskforce recommendations had not been fully incorporated into planning, and ROCKS ON THE BEACH would only cause additional problems. So it was suggested to the BOS to re-evaluate the option of using sandbags (this was one of the options that DPW evaluated) and not use hard structures. The crew encouraged the BOS to delay the decision so that more thought could go into the options.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarini led the discussion with the BOS and expressed concerns with the proposed short-term solution (thank you!!!). For clarity, the importance of the declaration of emergency by Mayor Newsom is that there is potential state funding available for reimbursement for "emergencies." So, obviously, the BOS did not want to mess with the City of SF getting additional funding - SF is BROKE.

So, in the end, it comes down to $. The City of SF has about 2M $ available to control the erosion at Sloat - just enough to fund the rock placement (the other options are more expensive). The BOS declared the situation an emergency and the DPW has to return next Tuesday for a follow-up hearing with the BOS. DPW has agreed not to start work until after they return to the BOS next week. This gives us ONE WEEK to do the following:

(1) Determine if the cost estimates are accurate for the proposed rock placement
(2) Determine cost estimates for sandbag placement (does the whole 900-feet of the shoreline really need to protected - or can we use sandbags in the most critical areas)
(3) Understand the existing permitting requirements at Sloat (what do past Coastal Commission permits require or prevent?)
(4) Get the BOS to give additional guidance to the DPW (based on the fact that past ordinances did not allow rock, a long-term strategy should be developed, and the recommendations of the OB Taskforce should be looked at!)

Last night the BOS realized that SLOAT erosion is a problem. This was an accomplishment!

More information to come...

AND IF YOU WANT TO COMMENT
or have expertise in the area
please email:

oceanbeach@beachchalet.com
-and-
erosionOB@gmail.com

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