Board of Ed Approves BB Funds Earmarked for Malibu Campuses
• Middle/HS Septic System Plan Costs Raise Red Flag
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
Several Malibu-related Measure BB issues were on the agenda of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board of education meeting in Santa Monica last Thursday. The board voted to approve $306,000 in Measure BB funds to replace Webster Elementary School’s fire alarm system, and $265,000 to replace the Point Dume Elementary School gas line and furnace.
The board also approved $102,005 more in BB funds for the consultant firm of PBS&J for additional California Environmental Quality Act environmental document services at Cabrillo, Grant, McKinley, Rogers, and Webster elementary schools.
According to the district’s chief financial officer Jan Maez, the district anticipates that categorical exemptions will be required for the majority of BB work at most of the elementary schools, but Webster is expected to require a more complex process that calls for a mitigated negative declaration for plans that involve changes to the parking lot and new perimeter fencing, according to the district.
On another Malibu-related BB project issue, the board voted to approve $10,000 for consultant services from IPC, Inc. for “septic system construction, operations, and maintenance and consulting services at Malibu Middle/High School for the Measure BB program,” according to the agenda.
Asked to clarify the necessity for the expense, BB project consultant Tom Tomeoni explained that “A member of the BB Advisory Committee, [Malibu Bay Company’s David] Resnick, has extensive experience with development in the Malibu area, including the procurement, design and construction of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, and in discussing how we will go forward with the project it became apparent that the operating costs, the maintainability of the system, was going to be a critical factor.”
Tomeoni described the role of the IPC consultant as a “peer reviewer,” who will review the design team’s conceptual design and “make recommendations about the type of treatment system.” Tomeoni added that “At the end of the day we need to install a reliable system that will be cost effective to maintain and operate over the life of the system.”
“So, this $10,000 buys us the expertise to get to the point where we know how much it costs,” board member Kelly Pye asked, summing up the issue .
Board President Ralph Mechur requested that staff provide a report on the OWTS project at the May 7 meeting in Malibu. “I know this is something we weren’t completely aware of the scope of the work,” Mechur said. “We keep seeing pieces of it, we need some kind of review.” He added that the Malibu community also needs “to see the scope of the work.”
Malibu residents have repeatedly raised concerns at MHS Measure BB public workshops that the wastewater improvement plan had the potential to be more complex and considerably more expensive than the district’s consultants initially estimated.
The consultant said monitoring wells were scheduled to be drilled over the weekend of the March 21-22, and groundwater identification would be commencing. “We’ll have significantly more info by May 7,” Tomeoni added.
After brief discussion, the board agreed to wait until the May 7 meeting to vote on whether to continue the planning process for the controversial MHS Measure BB field lighting project. The athletic improvement plan, which includes four to six 70-80-foot-tall lights, is an “add alternative,” which means it can only be budgeted if there is BB money still available after all necessary or core projects at the campus are completed.
The school district faces a major obstacle with the lighting plan because lights of this type are prohibited by both the City of Malibu’s Local Coastal Plan and the school’s Coastal Development Plan issued by the California Coastal Commission. The lighting plan has also met with stiff opposition from many in the community.
The school’s recent use of temporary field lighting has violated a special condition imposed by the Coastal agency in the form of a deed restriction on the school property that bans athletic field lighting. The district plans to seek an amendment from Coastal to legally permit temporary lights for the 2009-2010 football season. The amendment appeal is expected to also be on the agenda for the May 7 meeting in Malibu.