CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 24
Meeting Date: May 8, 2001
Subject/Title: Endorsement of Habitat Conservation Plan Principles of Participation
Submitted by: Mitch Oshinsky, Community Development Director
Winston Rhodes, Senior Planner
Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager
Review and approve the attached Principles of Participation (Attachment1).
On November 10, 1998 the City Council directed staff to work with other East County jurisdictions and State and federal agencies to explore creation of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). On March 28, 2000 the City Council declared the City’s interest in cooperatively developing a HCP with other government jurisdictions in East Contra Costa County and authorized the City Manager to sign an interagency agreement forming the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservation Plan Association (“HCPA”) to manage preparation of the HCP. On January 9, 2001 the City Council appointed Council member Hill to serve as the City’s representative on the HCPA Executive Committee.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FW) and the California Department of Fish and Game (FG) expressed an interest in working with East County jurisdictions to develop and implement an HCP in order to address regional endangered species issues by establishing a streamlined review process to obtain required federal and state permits.
The City agreed to participate in the preparation of an HCP for east Contra Costa County with the understanding that this does not obligate the City to adopt the HCP or provide any further funding without Council authorization.
The following agencies have agreed to participate in the preparation of the HCP: Antioch, Clayton, Oakley, Pittsburg, Contra Costa Water District, and the East Bay Regional Park District. FW has indicated that the HCP will be consistent with the Principles of Participation. The cities of Antioch and Pittsburg approved the Principles in Summer 2000.
On March 29, 2001, Mayor Freitas of Antioch forwarded the attached letter (see Attachment 2), which indicated that Antioch’s participation in the HCP Association would be contingent upon: 1) adoption of the Principles by the other cities; and 2) agreement by the Contra Costa Water District to pick up any fu nding shortfall in preparing the HCP. The Executive Governing Committee decided to address these concerns as follows (see Attachment 3).
v The cities of Clayton, Brentwood, and Oakley would be asked to consider approval of the Principles; and
v The wording in the HCP Association Agreement adequately addresses funding for preparation of the HCP.
1. Principles of Participation
2. Letter from Antioch Mayor Donald P. Freitas, dated 3/27/01
3. Letter from Frank Quesada, dated 4/6/01
PRINCIPLES OF PARTICIPATION
EAST CONTRA COSTA COUNTY REGIONAL HABITAT
1. Development consistent with local plans should be allowed to proceed as before, in accordance with existing permitting requirements, until any HCP is implemented.
2. The plan must be based on respectable biological surveys and sound scientific analyses, i.e. the need exists and the program will produce the intended result.
3. USFWS must agree in advance not to unreasonably withhold approval of the HCP nor insist on modifications after all parties have agreed to the process and local agencies have approved the resultant HCP.
4. USFWS and the plan sponsors shall agree to hold periodic reviews during the development of the plan to avoid any major disagreements later.
5. The Incidental Take Permit must be totally consistent with the approved HCP.
6. Any HCP must have a “no surprises” clause consistent with the current federal policy.
7. Consistent with the “no surprises” policy, the plan should not impose costs of any contingent mitigation on private property owners.
8. The plan should not include any provision for the use of eminent domain.
9. Priority for habitat areas established by the plan should be given to property outside the urban limit line.
10. Properties bordering lands to be used as mitigation must be protected from any impacts caused by the mitigation program.
11. Participation in the planning process by any property owner does not constitute agreement that use of the property produces any impact on endangered species.
12. Opportunities for site–by-site planning and permitting by individual property owners should be continued.
13. The plan must be economically feasible to implement and the total cost of implementation of the plan, including “soft” cost, land acquisition, maintenance and monitoring must be known prior to adoption.
14. The plan should provide for the issuance of a programmatic 404 permit and identify any required wetlands mitigation. Alternatively, the HCP must be accepted as tacit approval by USFWS of any 404 permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers within the affected area and consistent with the HCP.
15. There must be a committee of stakeholders established in advance of the planning process which includes local elected officials, landowner representatives, and environmental interests.
16. Funding of the HCP proposed for East Contra County should be as broadly based as practicable, possibly including a public bond measure for the acquisition and maintenance of open space/habitat lands.
17. The HCP’s conservation strategy should provide full recognition of past and future public and private habitat and open space acquisition and other mitigation efforts.
18. There should be Federal participation in HCP funding since this effort is a pass-through of obligations imposed by USFWS on other federal agencies under Section 7 of ESA.
19. Public infrastructure projects, such as those for roads, highways (such as Hwy 4 improvements and the Hwy 4 Bypass), storm drainage (such as East Antioch Creek), sewer, water, shall be allowed to proceed in accordance with existing permit requirements in an expeditious and timely manner before an HCP is implemented.