Everyone in town seems to have been mailed a packet from Pacifica Residents for Preserving the Quarry. Whether or not you're in favor of having 206 apartments built right next to the Rockaway Beach area, the information that accompanies the enclosed petition is misleading.
Pacifica Residents for Preserving the Quarry is not a local environmental organization. Rather, it is funded by the people wishing to develop the quarry. They also fund astroturf-type solicitors who have been appearing at major grocery stores seeking signatures for the petition.
If you sign the petition, you're calling for an initiative on the November ballot that would allow up to 206 residential units (apartments) near the Rockaway end of the quarry property.
A vote of the people to approve housing in the quarry was democratically established years ago, hence a ballot measure is required to proceed. There have been several attempts in the past to develop the area with housing, but all of them were rejected by the voters of Pacifica.
The initiative also mentions a hotel with a conference center, and retail/commercial space, both of which would generate tax revenue for the city, although there is no commitment to build them, and the initiative is not required. The 206 apartments are the chief money-makers for the developer, and if the initiative passes, they are almost certain to be built. At least 36 apartments would be affordable to persons making less than about $99,000 a year.
The initiative provides that at least 75% of the quarry will be open space, but much of the area must already be protected or restored by the developer, with or without housing.
The most unusual provision says that no further public vote would ever be required to build housing in the quarry, so long as the development is consistent with what is laid out in the initiative. This would seem to allow a sale of the development rights for housing.
Among the objections to the initiative are traffic. Residents and customers of the apartments, hotel, and retail establishments would enter and exit either by a new quarry road that parallels the creek, or by surface streets in Rockaway Beach, which are poorly equipped to handle additional traffic. They would then access Highway 1 at either the Fassler/Rockaway or Vallemar intersections. This would add significantly to the congestion during commute times.
Another objection to the initiative concerns recreation. The quarry is a very popular space for walking, running, biking, and dog walking. Most of those folks would be traveling beside the new road through the quarry. With the hotel, housing, and retail establishments in the area, dogs would seem to be especially unwelcome.
If you have already signed the petition, but didn't realize it was for housing in the quarry, you can withdraw your signature. You must file a written request with City Clerk Kathy O'Connell, including your name, address, and signature. No reason is necessary, but you may wish to note that you found the materials or people circulating the petition to be misleading. Drop it off in person at City Hall, or mail it to Kathy O'Connell, City Clerk, 170 Santa Maria Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044.