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Opinion: We Need Open Space AND Economic Development

Why has the City Council allowed Pacifica’s long-standing Open Space Committee (OSC) to languish? The committee has not been able to meet for lack of a quorum, and the city has done nothing to appoint new members.

This is important. The OSC and the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA) Advisory Board are the main connections between Pacificans and public officials on critical open-space issues. Here, concerned citizens are not just limited to three minutes at a public hearing. Issues can be thoroughly discussed before recommendations are made to the Planning Commission and City Council.

The OSC was formed decades ago. If you remember, there were plans for big housing developments all over Pacifica, with little real concern for open-space impacts. It was the era of “condomania.”

The public was alarmed. In response, the City Council, led by Councilmember Chuck Curry, formed an Open Space Task Force to identify and evaluate the open-space resources of the most important private parcels and government-owned public lands. The Task Force was made up of folks from all over Pacifica, along with two planning commissioners and two councilmembers.

The system worked well, and many potentially ugly confrontations between citizens and the City Council, not to mention potential referendum elections, were avoided.

The current City Council has announced its intention to focus on economic development, and has appointed a citizens committee for that purpose. I applaud that.

Pacifica needs an Economic Development Committee and an Open Space Committee. I hope that, working together, Pacifica will have beneficial development that complements the open space we all love and value.

John Curtis

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