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Agricultural Advisory Committee Final Report

City Administration
Meeting Minutes
Action Notes 
Brentwood Agricultural Advisory Committee
Meeting #4
December 6, 1999
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Delta Community Center
730 Third Street 

Members Present: Jack Adams, John Chapman, Mark Dwelley, Nancy Holloman, Quintin Kidd, John Kopchik, Marty Maggiore, Edward Meyer, Tom Mooers, Ron Nunn, William Putnam, Richard Vrmeer, Peter Wolfe

I. Introduction & Welcome
Jeff Loux opened the meeting.  

Winston Rhodes announced the December 9 California Oak Foundation Estate Planning Workshop and December 13 Draft Storm-water Runoff Ordinance meeting.  

Jeff Loux led the Committee in reviewing the agenda. 

II. Review of the November 11, 1999 Meeting
The Committee revisited the criteria for conservation sites and confirmed that sites within the City would be eligible to participate in a program. The group agreed that the priority order for site eligibility would be: 1) City Agricultural Core Area, 2) County Agricultural Core Area, and 3) sites inside City limits. The action notes were then approved.

III. Discussion of Agricultural Mitigation Program
The Committee discussed the appropriate length of conservation easements. The committee narrowly favored the use of only permanent easements rather than both permanent and 30 year minimum term easements. EPS explained that certain estate tax and income tax benefits are available to grantors of permanent easements. Furthermore, most federal and state grant programs are only available for permanent easements. 

Vote on Easement Length.  Easement Length Option Member Votes:
Permanent Easements Only 6
Both Permanent and Term (30 year minimum) Easements 5
Abstain 1

The Committee discussed how a mitigation fee would be calculated. The Committee agreed that it should be calculated on the basis of gross acreage. The Committee decided that mitigation fees need to be based on the actual impact of projects. The Committee agreed that no administrative costs should be included within the mitigation fee. It was agreed that the City should cover the administrative costs out of the General Fund. The Committee agreed the mitigation fee should be between $4,000 - $5,500 per acre and based on a 1:1 ratio (1 acre protected for 1 acre converted). The Committee agreed that City and County residents should also contribute to the mitigation program.

The Committee discussed the institutional arrangements of the mitigation program. The Committee agreed the City needs to adopt an agricultural mitigation ordinance and collect mitigation fees. The City should also provide staff resources to support the program. The Committee agreed that a land trust is needed to negotiate easement agreements, monitor easements, and apply for grants. The Committee agreed that the City needs to be involved in holding easements but that a land trust should also be an easement holder.

The Committee discussed the need for enhancing the existing Agricultural Trust of Contra Costa County or developing a new land trust, focused on the east county. The Committee discussed some guiding principles for a successful land trust to serve the Brentwood area. 
*assure strong local representation; 
* be politically independent;
* focus on the Brentwood area;
* keep money raised for Brentwood land protection in a separate secure fund;
* be administratively efficient;
* have a high degree of expertise, local knowledge, and credibility with farmers.

The Committee discussed the need for a full-time qualified executive director to manage the land trust and it was suggested that the City and the County could share the costs of the position’s salary. 

The Committee asked for information about the existing Contra Costa County Agricultural land trust. Ed Meyer, the Contra Costa Agricultural Commissioner, will provide this information to the Committee. 

IV. Next Meeting 

January 31, 2000 6:30 p.m. (This has been changed to February 17)

City of Brentwood Agricultural Advisory
730 Third Street
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5444
Fax (925)516-5445