Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



November 18, 2003


December 2, 2003



Honorable Board of Supervisors


Neil R. Cullen, Director of Public Works


Formation of a Sewer Maintenance District - Edgewood Estates and Rathgar Court Subdivisions, et. al. - San Carlos Area




Determine if your Board wishes to consider the formation of a sewer maintenance district to finance the costs of maintaining a sewer collection system to serve properties in the proposed Edgewood Estates and Rathgar Court subdivisions as well as one adjoining parcel.



If your Board decides to consider the formation of a sewer maintenance district (Edgewood Sewer Maintenance District) for the properties described above, then adopt a resolution declaring your intention to form a sewer maintenance district and setting a time and place for a public hearing to consider any and all objections to the formation of said district.


Previous Board Actions


Adopted resolutions approving the Edgewood Estates and Rathgar Court Subdivisions.



Created other sewer maintenance districts in the past to finance the cost of maintaining sewer collection systems that were financed either by developers of subdivisions, or by assessments on properties that are now served by the sewers that were constructed.


Key Facts


The conditions of approval for the two subdivisions require that a sewer collection system be constructed to serve the property in the subdivisions.



The general area west of Edgewood Road where the subdivisions are located is within the sphere of influence of the City of San Carlos.



The City of San Carlos has adopted policies that provide for transporting and treating wastewater from areas within its sphere of influence. However, the City will not maintain sewer collection systems in areas outside its corporate limits.



Section 5820 et. seq. of the State of California Streets and Highways Code provides that a county board of supervisors may by resolution:



declare its intent to:



form a maintenance district; and



have all the expenses of maintaining a District's sewer system to be a cost to the properties located within said district; and



set a time and date of a public hearing where the board of supervisors considers any and all protests to the formation of the district and the levying of costs.



Alternatives to Maintain a Sewer Collection System to Serve the Subdivisions


Your Board approved the Edgewood Estates and Rathgar Court Subdivisions subject to the developers meeting the terms and conditions of approval which included the construction of a sewer system to serve the properties within the subdivisions.


We subsequently met with the developer and the staff of the City of San Carlos to discuss alternatives for providing sewer service to the area as the City has indicated that it will agree to transport and treat wastewater from the area, but will not by policy maintain sanitary sewer facilities outside its corporate boundaries.


We evaluated four alternatives:



Annexation of the area to the Scenic Heights County Sanitation District (Scenic). We do not believe that this is a viable alternative as Scenic is subject to the District Reorganization Act, and the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has determined that Scenic has a zero sphere of influence and that its boundaries should not be expanded. Annexation to Scenic would be contrary to the determination of LAFCO.



Contract with the City of San Carlos for sewer maintenance. We do no believe that this is a viable alternative as the City, as stated previously, has a policy of not maintaining sewer facilities outside its corporate limits.



Require the maintenance of the sewer collection system by a homeowners association. We do not recommend this alternative as our previous experience has been that homeowners associations will not provide adequate maintenance especially since down hill stoppages do not directly affect their properties.



Create a sewer maintenance district to finance the maintain and operation of the sewer collection system. We believe that this alternative is appropriate as the enabling sections of the Streets and Highways Code provide that the district may be dissolved upon annexation of the area to a city. It is also our understanding that the property owner, as a condition of obtaining treatment capacity for their property, must agree to annex to the City when annexation is feasible.


It is our understanding that the developers are in agreement with the maintenance district alternative.


Next Steps

We have developed a form of resolution for your consideration if you determine that it is your intent to form a sewer maintenance district to finance the cost of operating and maintaining the sewer system to serve the two subdivisions and the adjoining parcel. However, there are other steps that will also have to be completed before the district can provide service to the subdivision areas.


Your Board, as the governing board of the new district, will also need to enter into an agreement with the City of San Carlos for sewer capacity for the parcels within the district; and the four party agreement relating to the maintenance of the Hassler Sewer main- the serve main that serves the surrounding area- will also have to be amended, as a portion of the Hassler Sewer main will be used to transport wastewater from the subdivisions. We will bring these agreements to your Board, acting as the governing board of the new sewer district, if the new district is formed.


Vision Alignment

We believe our recommendation is consistent with the Shared Commitment to be a "responsive, effective and collaborative government," as the formation of a maintenance district provides an interim method of providing this city type service until the area can be annexed to the City as envisioned.


Fiscal Impact

The developer will reimburse the Department for the staff time associated with creating the maintenance district, processing the necessary agreements, and filing the map and description with the appropriate agencies. The developer or property owners will also be responsible for the construction of the sewer collection system serving the properties. Annual sewer service charges will be established once the design of the system is known and the cost of treatment capacity for the City is determined. The annual charges for maintenance will be levied on each lot after they are developed. There is no impact to the General Fund or other funds administered by the County.


A form of resolution and notice has been approved by County Counsel and we have sent a copy of this staff report to the City of San Carlos and to the owners and developers of the properties that are proposed to be included in the maintenance district.