In all my years on the Pacifica Planning Commission, I never saw a more useless map (click link above to see project proposal). Therefore, I have added a third page, highlighting as best I could figure out (having seen the dog-and-pony-show drawings presented to us earlier) to make it more readable. It bears no resemblance to what we were shown, so some of the highlighting is guesswork.
Reading the first page, you get some numbers in absolute contradiction to the neighbor-friendly drawings shown to us quite some time ago: 16 houses on the ridge, not five or six. Farther down Gypsy Hill Road, 10 more houses; then even farther down, 16 below-market homes (required by law to include affordable housing). A "paper road" would have to be paved.
This is a grossly larger development than we were originally presented with, and in my personal opinion, the intent was to placate the neighbors into thinking this was no big deal so there would be no opposition. One of the “selling” points to our community was that the Campagnas themselves would be the architects, with their intimate respect for the community and environment.
Here is the truth, which I have heard directly from an inside source: The Campagnas do not have the money to develop this project. They hope to get all permits in place so they can sell to some outside company that will obviously build it to make a profit. Adamo Campagna would like to be the architect, but there is nothing to say that this would happen or what that would really mean, anyway.
Another glitch in the plan is that the required noticing area does not include the people on the hillside across the valley of Brighton (e.g., Talbot), who would be the most visually impacted, but because of the code, are not required to be noticed.
Additionally, there is the reality of a history of mudslides on this hill. Because we have had no hard winters in a long time, that may have faded into recent memory. But at the top of Brighton (under Grace’s Vista Point) is a very steep, bare hillside, which has repeatedly slid in wet winters.
After the recent disastrous news from Washington state, where a massive mudslide occurred where they knew mudslides had occurred in the past, how dare we put people at risk? For those on Brighton, whose backyards face the steep hill but have so far been protected by the dense vegetation, what will excavation do to the stability of the hill? The proposed houses are large and set somewhat downhill, dug into the hillside; the extent of excavation required is of major concern.
I’m not even going to go into the various species of wildlife that live here, including many varieties of birds in particular, at the risk of being labeled some kind of environmental extremist.
If any of this matters to you, please be at the study session at City Council Chambers on Monday evening, April 21. Now is not the time for apathy.
BJ Nathanson, Former Pacifica Planning Commissioner
2014 Left Coast Annual Juried Exhibition. Juror Jenny Gheith of SFMOMA gives a talk and presents awards on Sunday, April 13 at 1 p.m. Showing concurrently is the 2013 LCA Awards Exhibition, featuring work by 2013 award winners Ellen Little and Lucy Traeger. Both exhibits run through May 18. Sanchez Art Center is at 1220 Linda Mar Boulevard, Pacifica. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. during exhibits. For more information, call 650-355-1894 or visit www.sanchezartcenter.org.
Photos above courtesy of Sanchez Art Center: Ellen Little, Urban Bird no. 13, watercolor on paper, 52” x 75” (bottom); Lucy Traeger, National Palace, Haiti, acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24” (top).
What can you say about two adults who take their two toddlers sailing around the world, then having a mechanical and medical emergency requiring a U.S. Navy and Coast Guard rescue operation that cost taxpayers at least half a million dollars? On top of that, the couple does not apologize or thank anyone, though the wife apparently said on Facebook that it was one of the stupidest things they had ever done. Well, duh! How about fessin' up and paying up?
Darryll Fletcher is one of several administrators for the wildly popular local Facebook site called You Know You Grew Up in Pacifica When??????????
Darryll says, "The site was started by people who grew up from day one and love the town they were blessed to live in. Thankful to their parents to pick such a beautiful place that made everyone feel like family—so much so that (I don't know if you noticed) all the guys say, 'I love you, man,' and truly mean it."
It’s interesting that Pacificans want Pacifica to remain beautiful, in good shape financially, and its infrastructure intact. Folks see that happening in different ways. Most people who live here stay because they want the open space and to be away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco or Daly City. In fact, I know one person who says we Pacificans are spoiled because our town is so beautiful – that made me smile.
We don’t need to fill up our “empty space” with buildings in hopes that businesses will come here and stay. We have empty business spaces, for instance, Eureka Square. I’ve been told that rents there are very high; rumor has it the owner wants to sell that or build condos, but who knows. We do need more business, but basic businesses that will stay, not simply niche businesses. Niche businesses are good and fun, too, don’t get me wrong.
Folks who think that building is the answer to our problems should ask themselves why they think empty space is “wasted” space. Someone actually said that to me. If buildings attract business, then why do we have empty storefronts? If that’s true, then just move up to Daly City or SF.
As for widening Highway 1, I’ve driven to San Mateo for nearly 17 years now for work. I leave before 7 a.m. to get there without the hassle of traffic. I can honestly say two things: When school is out, I can leave 10 or 15 minutes later; and widening a part of Highway 1, then narrowing it again, does not truly solve traffic woes – it would be like a heart surgeon cleaning out part of your artery but leaving the rest of it clogged.
“Gang of No” is a label meant to segregate and isolate a specific group of people and give that group a negative connotation. That does not help anyone because it turns ideas into conflict. It is not productive. People will argue. Big deal. But ALL sides need to realize there will be give and take. It’s not a contest; it’s a process to reach a mutual goal.
Gary Hanauer says this one (above) is a "male Anna's hummingbird—a common, year-round resident in California, and the only type of Western hummer with a song (squeaky, metallic-sounding). The females don't sing."
"Thanks for maintaining the best blog in Pacifica."(John K.)
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Stuckey's Sustainable Seafood and Meat store opens soon at the corner of Francisco and Clarendon in Sharp Park. Click the link below for an idea of what might be offered. Thanks to Alan Wald for the link.
Pacifica has a long history of infighting, probably a function of our disparate neighborhoods without common interests. Scattered along 10 miles of coastal hillsides, deep valleys, beaches, and floodplains, our 40,000 residents range from blue-collar workers to white-collar professionals, and self-employed entrepreneurs to retired civil servants.
Lots of new money is coming into town, while lots of old money desperately hangs on. There is plenty of friction, resentment, bitterness, and distrust. This atmosphere engenders a kind of McCarthyism in which groups that have nothing in common blame other groups for Pacifica’s woes, demonizing and dehumanizing them with silly labels.
Reading comments on the four blogs of the apocalypse (Riptide, Index, Fix, Patch) and Pacifica Tribune letters to the editor, you may have seen a “Gang of No” label applied to various local environmentalists and conservationists because of their principled opposition to the highway widening and other public or private development/construction proposals.
As one of the aforementioned bloggers, and as a Tribune columnist, and as a member of the much-maligned “Gang of No,” I would like to ask for a timeout.
I do not claim to speak for my fellow gang members. They are fully capable of speaking for themselves, and many of them do so on the blogs and in the Tribune's inky pages.
I simply want to say that as a green-to-the-gills enviro, I am not primarily a naysayer. I love Pacifica’s green hillsides and blue waters. I moved here and I stay here because of the natural beauty of this little burg, just over the hill yet worlds away from the mad, mad mess of San Francisco.
Okay, I do say “NO” to anything that I think would endanger all this great scenery or all this laid-back small-town vibe. To me, bigger and faster is not better. I want to fix the town’s problems as much as anyone does. I may not share the same ideas as you about what is good for Pacifica, but make no mistake: I belong to “The Gang of Yes.”
I say “YES” to slow growth, smart development, small business, and green initiatives. From my deeply felt opposition to bad ideas and poor planning comes a wealth of positive alternatives and creative solutions.
Now if only I could get the powers-that-be to listen to me and my gang members once again, as they finally did with the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide. That brilliant and popular transportation solution came from the very same people who are now unfairly smeared as “The Gang of No.”
(A slightly different version of this op-ed ran in my April 9 Pacifica Tribune column "Wandering and Wondering.")