October 22, 2014
Final Reports

 

COUNTY OF SAN MATEO

Inter-Departmental Correspondence

 

County Manager’s Office

 

 

DATE:

May 27, 2003

 

BOARD MEETING DATE:       

June 10, 2003

 

 

TO:

 

Honorable Board of Supervisors

FROM:

 

John L. Maltbie, County Manager

 

SUBJECT:

 

Proposed Responses to the 2002-2003 Grand Jury Report

 

 

Recommendation
Accept this response to the 2002-2003 Grand Jury report and recommendations concerning the following: Assessor’s response to Revenue Enhancement Recommendations, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Proposed Coastal Annexation, Wildlife Management and Redi-Wheels Paratransit Service.

 

Discussion

The 2002-2003 Grand Jury issued four reports during the months of March and April 2003 that require response by the County Board of Supervisors. The County is mandated to respond to the Grand Jury within 90 days from the date that reports are filed with the County Clerk and Elected Officials are mandated to respond within 60 days.  The report pertaining to the Assessor’s response to Revenue Enhancement Recommendations requires a direct response from the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder.  The reports pertaining to Redi-Wheels and the proposed coastal annexation require direct responses from SamTrans and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, respectively. 


 



Administration & Fiscal

 

Assessor’s Response to Revenue Enhancement Recommendations

 

Recommendation:

 

2.         The Assessor’s Office should immediately:

 

a.   Review and estimate the revenue potential of each Board of Equalization (BOE) recommendation shown in Appendix “A”.

b.   Estimate the cost of implementation for each BOE recommendation in Appendix “A”, and

c.    Identify any additional personnel and resources necessary to implement any recommendation that will return a positive cash flow to the county, and report their findings to the County Manager.

 

3.     The County Manager should, within thirty days following completion of recommendation 2, review the Assessor’s report and allocate any additional personnel and resources necessary to implement BOE’s recommendations.

 

Response: The County Manager’s Office will review the Assessor’s report within 30 days to determine whether additional resources are warranted. The Board of Supervisors, not the County Manager, appropriates funds. Considering the State and County’s fiscal crisis, additional resources would only be considered if the Assessor’s report can demonstrate that a net gain, through increased revenues, would be achieved by adding resources.  Findings will be provided to the Grand Jury in a future quarterly update.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Environmental Services Agency

 

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Proposed Coastal Annexation

 

Findings:

 

Concur. San Mateo County supports the preservation of agricultural land and has numerous policies in place which do that, but the issue of agricultural buffer zones is currently under discussion between the County and agricultural and environmental interest groups and will be evaluated further as those discussions proceed.

 

Recommendation:

 

1.     The County should amend the Local Coastal Program to ensure agricultural land preservation is prioritized over competing uses, including public access. Trail permits, for example, should require buffer zones and construction of physical buffers as needed between the proposed trails and ancillary uses and any agricultural operations

 

        Response: San Mateo County has enacted specific protective policies and requirements to preserve agriculture. These include the Agriculture component of the Local Coastal Program, the Planned Agricultural District zoning regulations, the County's policies and procedures for participation in the California Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act), participation in the State Department of Conservation’s Important Farmlands Inventory Program, and the establishment and operation of the Agricultural Advisory Committee. Together, these provide a strong policy basis, strict requirements and specific procedures for preservation of agricultural land.

 

        The Planned Agricultural District (PAD), in particular, places strict limits on the division of agricultural land to keep agricultural parcels intact; limits uses to agriculture and uses which have been determined to be compatible with agriculture; makes the division of agricultural land and the establishment of compatible uses subject to special permit requirements, procedures and findings; and requires agricultural land management plans, buffer zones and agricultural notices and easements in various circumstances. More specifically, agricultural uses are allowed by right anywhere on all parcels zoned PAD, while public recreation uses requiring a conditional PAD permit are allowed on prime agricultural soils only when no alternative exists and are allowed on non-prime soils only when located in a manner protective of agriculture. All Planned Agricultural District permits are subject to review and recommendation by the County Agricultural Advisory Committee and public hearings by either the County Zoning Hearing Officer or Planning Commission.

 

        Land use policies in the Coastal Zone are set by the California Coastal Act (Act), with which the County Local Coastal Program (LCP) must be consistent. The Act establishes a number of priority uses for the Coastal Zone, including but not limited to agriculture, sensitive habitats, coastal dependent resources, visitor‑serving resources and public recreation.  While agriculture does not have greater priority over all other priority uses in the Act, it has a limited priority over some, such as public recreation, visitor‑serving uses and public access. For example, Section 30212 of the Act establishes requirements for public access to the shoreline “. . . except where agriculture would be adversely affected.” Section 30222 says visitor‑serving uses have priority over certain other uses, “. . . but not over agriculture . . .” County LCP Policy 5.7 prohibits conversion of prime soils to conditionally permitted uses, such as recreation, unless it can be shown that there is no alternative, agricultural buffer zones are provided and adjacent agricultural productivity will not be diminished. LCP Policy 11.11, dealing with recreation and visitor serving facilities adjacent to agricultural operations, adds further emphasis to these policies.

 

        The resolution of land use conflicts is a major reason land division and the establishment compatible uses in the Planned Agricultural District are subject to special permits, review by the Agricultural Advisory Committee and public hearings by the Zoning Hearing Officer or Planning Commission. It is through that process that any conflicts with agriculture are evaluated and balanced and final requirements for any given project established.

 

        The LCP and PAD do require buffer zones between compatible uses and agricultural uses. The exact location, extent and nature of those buffers are established during the processing of a PAD permit. This includes staff review and analysis, referral to affected agencies, review and comment by the Agricultural Advisory Committee, and public hearing by the Zoning Hearing Officer or Planning Commission. To the degree any party, such as a neighboring farmer, believes the buffer provisions for a specific use are inadequate to protect neighboring agricultural uses, they can be raised and resolved through the hearing process. While buffer zone requirements could be more specific, such as a specified numerical distance, circumstances vary widely throughout the agricultural district and the flexibility provided by the current standards allows establishment of buffer zones that match the conditions on the ground.

 

        The issue of agricultural buffer zones is, however, currently under discussion between the County and agricultural and environmental interest groups along with a number of related issues (rural house size and right-to-farm regulations) and will be evaluated further as those discussions proceed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Environmental Services Agency

 

Wild Life Management

 

Findings:  Concur, with several exceptions.  Several County agencies offer information and assistance to residents regarding nuisance wildlife.  Residents who call County Animal Control are counseled over the phone and sent literature regarding deterring wildlife from private property.  County Environmental Health staff counsel residents regarding the spread of vectors and diseases by nuisance wildlife. 

 

Recommendation:

 

1. The Board of Supervisors should immediately initiate a public education effort to:

 

a)                  Explain the public health, safety, and economic loss effects of raccoon infestations within urban areas.

b)                  Provide suggestions for preventing wildlife problems on residential properties.

c)                  Make available lists of resources for managing nuisance wildlife problems, including animal control options and the names of trappers.

d)                  Instruct residents on what to do in the event of wildlife confrontations and attacks.

 

Response: Concur. Several County departments offer educational assistance/literature regarding wildlife issues. The Environmental Health Division of Health Services, the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer, UC Cooperative Extension, Animal Control Services and its contractor, the Peninsula Humane Society, all distribute literature and advice to residents concerning the management of nuisance wildlife. The distributed literature provides suggestions for preventing wildlife problems in residential settings and lists resources for controlling and trapping wildlife.  Such educational efforts are in response to questions or concerns residents have with wildlife.  Over the next quarter, the Animal Control Services Division of the Environmental Services Agency will bring together the involved divisions in order to coordinate efforts and streamline literature.  The literature may be updated and expanded to include information regarding public health and safety, particularly focusing on wildlife confrontations.  Due to current budgetary restraints, a wide-scale public education effort is not possible at this time, but County divisions will continue to respond with literature and advice on an as-needed basis.

 

2. The Board of Supervisors should renew the relationship with the USDA to provide animal control services including monitoring and trapping, unless it finds a more cost effective approach.

 

Response: Disagree.  There are several private companies that provide trapping services to citizens that are troubled by animal pests.  Due to budgetary restrictions and the private availability of service, renewing the relationship with the USDA to provide monitoring and trapping services should not be considered at this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Health Services Agency

 

Redi-Wheels Paratransit Service

 

Recommendation:

 

5.         The Board of Supervisors should address the transportation needs of the indigent elderly and disabled by:

 

·     Developing and implementing a process to allow the community to address the issue and pursue a community-wide solution. This process should include holding public hearings to solicit input from experts and community members.

·     Maintaining ongoing dialogue with SamTrans management to ensure that the demand for service is being met.

 

Response: Concur.  San Mateo County Aging and Adult Services received a grant in the amount of $93,760 from the California Department of Aging via the Governor’s Golden Challenge Long Term Care Innovation Grants program. Although the grant period ran from February 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002, Aging and Adult Services and the San Mateo County Transportation District continue to work together to produce a final report to present to their respective Boards and begin implementation of recommendations. This grant was awarded due to the innovative methods identified to obtain information from seniors and adults with disabilities.

 

The purpose of the Strategic Plan for Accessible Transportation Services (SPATS) was to survey the needs of un/under-served populations and create an enhanced transportation plan that meets the access needs of all County residents. The project’s goal is to reduce the number of instances in which older adults and adults with disabilities are placed in institutional care because the County lacks the accessible transportation alternatives to link them with services to help them maintain their independence.

 

The SPATS project represents a unique partnership between two public agencies, based on a social service model designed around the needs of common clients.  The two partners -- the San Mateo County Health Service’s Aging and Adult Services Division (AAS) and the Transit District (SamTrans) – formed the core of the project Working Group.  While SamTrans is the county’s key public transportation provider, the Plan is not intended to be a SamTrans Plan, but rather goes beyond the commonly used transportation resources to include other potential partners such as local municipalities and social service agencies.

 

The SPATS report outlines a continuum of transportation needs of transit dependent seniors and individuals with disabilities, identifies transportation options currently provided by public and private carriers, identifies gaps between available options and needs, and develops strategies for meeting those needs.

 

Developing innovative approaches to identify the transportation needs of traditionally overlooked and underserved communities was a key component of this study.  Over the course of almost a full year, the study’s working group implemented a variety of approaches to “getting the word out” to these communities.  These included:

 

Focus Groups

Intercept Surveys

Open House

Forums held at committee meetings

Stakeholder Interviews

Videos Distributed to Social Service Agencies

TV programs

Transportation Hotline

Individual Input

 

Of all these approaches, the focus groups and the Open House proved to be the most effective.  The project consultant trained staff from over a dozen agencies in techniques to facilitate focus groups with their client population in order to assess their particular transportation needs.  As a result, more than two hundred and sixty people participated in 24 focus groups that were conducted in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish; to people with a variety of physical, cognitive, and visual disabilities, to caregivers, and to a group of Filipino seniors.

 

An Open House, attended by over 60 people, was held at SamTrans in October 2001.  The Working Group chose the Open House format rather than a traditional public meeting to encourage more widespread participation than usually occurs when there are speakers and comments from the floor.  Most of the Open House program was devoted to small groups that gathered around “stations” with specific themes, such as “Seniors giving up their car keys,” and “Redi-Wheels riders.”  A group of about ten individuals also received simultaneous translation in Mandarin and Cantonese.

 

A video was also produced that included interviews with seniors and people with disabilities discussing their specific paratransit and/or public transportation concerns. The video was shown on public television in several languages, distributed to appropriate social service agencies and groups. An 800 telephone number was provided (also in several languages) so people could give direct feedback and input.

 

Some of the key themes that emerged through all of the outreach efforts included:

 

1.      Seniors who stop driving need more mobility options

2.      Security is a concern for seniors and people with disabilities

3.      Public transportation is not convenient or available to many seniors and others who live in the hills and other less densely populated areas

4.      Non-English speaking seniors and others find it difficult to use public transit

5.      Many seniors and others are not aware of existing transportation resources

 

6.      Residents of skilled nursing facilities may require a higher level of service than is provided by public transportation

7.      Children with disabilities are subject to long rides on special education buses

8.      Residents of Coastside areas have a lower level of public transportation service

9.      Redi-Wheels riders do not have all their transportation needs met by ADA-level paratransit service

10.  Some people with mental health issues and cognitive disabilities have difficulty using public transportation

 

The recommendations from the study were divided into immediate (FY 2003-04), short term (FY 2004-06) and long term (FY 2006-14) time frames for completion. Study recommendations primarily related to education, service improvements, general transportation assistance and additional research. The recommendations were far reaching and included collaboration not only with SamTrans and Redi-Wheels but also Paratransit Coordinating Council, CalTrain, BART, AARP, Department of Motor Vehicles, social service agencies working with seniors and people with disabilities, skilled nursing and residential care facilities, individual city governments and their respective city shuttle services, volunteer drivers, taxis and other public/private transportation entities.

 

The SPATS project and resulting recommendations are being incorporated into the SamTrans ten- and twenty-year Strategic Plans. This will allow for continuation of efforts that have already been started.

 

As with any study the follow-up implementation is significantly impacted by the availability of funding. It will be critical for Aging and Adult Services and SamTrans to continue to work together to secure any available public or private funding for implementation purposes. Redi-Wheels would then have the opportunity to improve paratransit services to their customers by implementing recommendations outlined in the SPATS report.

 

Findings and recommendations developed in the community input process will be presented to the Board of Supervisors and SamTrans in July. It is anticipated that these recommendations will be incorporated into SamTrans’ ten- and twenty-year Strategic Plans.

 

 

© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County