(from Norina Tang's post on NextDoor.com's Rockaway Beach site; edited for clarity and space)
I am writing to provide an update on The Rock. Last October, I received a notice about a proposed development on The Rock (the hill between Fassler Avenue, Sea Bowl Lane, and Highway 1).
The proposal was for a mixed-use development consisting of two buildings with 20,000-plus square feet of commercial space and 63 condominium units (two to three bedrooms each). The notice mentioned a study session with the Pacifica Planning Commission on this topic in one week.
After receiving the notice, I put together a petition opposing this development. With the help and support of many Pacificans, we quickly gathered 75+ signatures on the petition. Many also attended the study session, resulting in a record turnout for such a meeting.
Since then, Todd Bray has spoken to the owner/developer Guru Thalapeneni, and I have spoken to our State Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and Pacifica Mayor Mary Ann Nihart. I am happy to report that for now it appears that Guru is dropping his proposed development and that no future proposals are on the table.
We are safe for the time being! Yippee! Thank you all for your help and support on this matter, which will undoubtedly help preserve the beauty and quality of life we all enjoy here in Pacifica. I will keep you posted about any future proposed development of The Rock. If another unsuitable proposal is on the table, I hope I can count on you again for your support in opposition to it.
(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide, Pacifica, California)
Just as the highway-widening debate heats up, an out-of-town
developer proposes to build a nine-story colossus on top of The Rock at
Highway 1 and Fassler. The architect's renderings look like San Quentin or Alcatraz.
The property owner (applicant) is Guru Thalapeneni, 1920
Glenbrook Road, Glenbrook, NV 89413. He apparently also has or had an address
in Woodside, California. He is the founder, president, and CEO of
Remoba, a mobile technology company, with almost 3,000 Google entries.
You could look him up.
The City of Pacifica Planning Commission met in a public Study Session on October 21 to look at this
controversial proposal. Inexplicably, the city had ham-fistedly posted a confusing and misleading notice on its website about the Study Session. The headline for that date said the regular commission meeting was cancelled. Nevertheless, dozens of citizens found their way to the unfriendly confines of Council Chambers to hear the Planning Commission's concerns about the proposal.
What a long, strange trip it's been through the city website's "mind." Hope you survived the trip. Meanwhile, see Todd Bray's three-story alternative (below) to the nine-story proposal.
Bray's alternative (top), applicant's proposal (bottom)
By Todd Bray, Riptide Correspondent
To further the debate, I offer this to the Pacifica Planning
Commission, the general public, and the applicant: a three-story
alternative to the nine-story proposal for the Sea Rock condos (aka The
Rock) at Fassler and Highway 1.
By losing the top building and two floors of the bottom structure, I
think a proposal of this scale, with an iconic coastal veneer of
shingles, would not have much, if any, opposition. It's one-third the
size of the project to date but still would allow for seven units and
(possibly) a rooftop bar and grill.
On October 21 the city Planning Commission held a heavily attended Study Session about "The Rock,"
that humble outcropping (above at left) across from Sea Bowl. Also above are architectural renderings for "The Rock" proposal at 4545 Coast Highway, or to us locals, the southeast corner of Fassler and Highway 1.
Looking at the elevation and the four computer simulations above, the proposal is nine stories tall after all. Planning Director George White misrepresented the scale of the project in his study session notice by declaring the proposal to be only 41 to 45 feet tall. The proclaimed 22,000 square feet of commercial would be less than 9 percent of the overall project, which means the proposal is not a mixed-use development as claimed by White.
The proposal is a nine-story condo development with a five-story detached parking structure. Judging from the simulations, the applicant (who lives in Woodside) has put no thought into our surrounding community, as the project looks like it's on the Mendocino or Carmel coastline, not at the corner of Fassler and Highway 1.
The building is presented as two separate structures, but they share all utility and mechanical, so they are really one building, not two. The current proposal has 63 residential units, with two to three bedrooms each.
This proposal is a direct consequence of Caltrans' proposed Calera Parkway Project to widen Highway 1. In previous interviews, city planner Lee Diaz has stated that the proposal was always put off because of traffic issues associated with the project's residential units.
Even without possible highway widening, this new project should be shelved. But, of course, we now have a rubber-stamp planning director and a rubber-stamp planning commission, so this monstrosity is a real threat.
Harmony @ One is a proposed development above Roberts Road. Read this real estate website and ask yourself if the writer had any idea where this property really is. A dictionary might have helped, too.
Erasure of California's local redevelopment agencies and
redistribution of their revenues and assets resulted in nearly $4
billion in payments, according to a new report from the state Department of Finance.
K-12 schools and community colleges received about $1.5 billion from
the redistribution. That indirectly lowered their payments from the
state's general fund -- the main rationale for dissolving the local redevelopment agencies. Most of the
redevelopment agencies had been operated by cities, which also received
redistributed funds, as did school districts, counties, and special districts. Cities got $605 million, the report said, and counties $862
million. The report lists payments to each local government and school
district, along with county totals. Read more here:
As long as I have been paying attention, there has been a certain faction in Pacifica that considers ecological and wildlife considerations to be somehow at odds with business and commerce.
Many of these same individuals promote building more housing because of the very short-term boost that gives the economy, and I guess they think that the property taxes will offset the additional burden on city services.
It has been proven again and again that "bedroom community" is NOT an industry. I am a plumbing contractor. I make my living designing, installing, and maintaining plumbing systems. If anyone were going to make money from a period of indiscriminate building, it would be contractors such as myself.
Pacifica needs industry, not more residences. The rights of people who already own property zoned residential should, of course, not have their rights violated. We have many empty storefronts, so we don't really need more commercial buildings, either, until we come up with businesses to put in them.
Pacifica is particularly well situated for tourism, and especially for eco-tourism, and we aren't very well situated for anything else unless some Pacifican has just (I hope) invented the next Gotta-Have-It in their garage and plans to keep their business in town.
The City Council's upcoming appointments to the Open Space Committee are essential to having a City Council and an electorate that are adequately informed on open-space issues. There is a great deal to know about our open spaces and without the counsel of a strong Open Space Committee, we could well be burning our bridges in front of us, and undoing our prospects for the future.
I spoke to council member Mary Ann Nihart about it last week, and she said that the Open Space Committee issue will be addressed in March. She also suggested that there will be some structural changes to the Open Space Committee, having to do with liaison with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Here is a link about the impact of parks and open spaces on various economies:
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.
What's remarkable about this ad is that the home "for sale" does not exist. If it were an ad for an undeveloped lot, or other reference were made to its undeveloped state, that might be OK, but the inference is that this "dream home on an ocean side bluff" actually exists. No reference is made to its nonexistence.
From the ad in the Mercury-News: "HARMONY ESTATES: Imagine….A breathtaking 180 (degree) view of the Pacific Ocean… Described as 'Coastal Green Architecture' by designer Field Architecture of Palo Alto, home is 4300 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, on a 1.27 acre lot."
The ad goes on, spewing copy: "This dream home is in a unique development with 9 other homes not seen anywhere on the West Coast. The 10 homes in Harmony Estates run on a sunny ridge over-looking [sic[ the Pacific Ocean, with only a short walk to the beach."
The listed price for a totally imaginary home within a totally imaginary development is $3.495 million.
I am part of an environmental group called Protectors of San Pedro Creek. We are trying to stop developers from constructing the multi-building, multilevel Oddstad Assisted Living Center at 721 Oddstad Boulevard in Pacifica. We are not against assisted living as such. It is just that this is the WRONG location! They want to build this where many semi-endangered and endangered species live: steelhead salmon, red-legged frogs, garter snakes, deer, bats, raptors, and more.
Also, the construction period (up to two years) would severely and negatively impact the mating habits/cycles of these creatures, quite probably upsetting or curtailing this activity, causing their extinction. If this project were allowed, the added air, land, and water pollution would be truly devastating, not only to the aforementioned wildlife but also to residents of the area.
Read the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) and final draft environmental report (EIR), both at Sanchez Library, Planning Commission office (1800 Francisco Boulevard), and online at the city website (www.cityofpacifica.org). Contact Kathryn Farbstein, assistant planner, at 650-738-7341. Of course, we have many issues with the accuracy of these official statements and findings.
(Editor's Note: On November 21, the Planning Commission approved the project 4-1, with Commissioner Leo Leon opposed. The project now goes to City Council.)