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Sue Digre: City Planning "Needs More Teeth"

248745541_74854da845_o Councilwoman Sue Digre has issued the following statement:

"I am concerned that Pacifica is facing its future in a wait-and-see manner. I am calling for two things:

(1) More and immediate emphasis on economic development planning via open forums, followed by a ”retreat” session for City Council, then back to the public with a proposed plan of action for public comment. Avoid piecemeal planning.

(2) Temporary moratorium on development while the above is being achieved, say 2-3 months. Our strategic plan needs more teeth."

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The fiscal woes of Pacifica, a cyclical and structural problem, need attention, as much as piecemeal planning. Too bad the local paper can't do revenue and expenditure comparisons over a period of years. This would give us a better idea about current fiscal woes, with at least a little more perspective.

The cuts to crucial programs—now in the the planning stages—mean that "revenue" needs revisiting, considered distinctly from the panacea "economic development" touted by many across various spectrums of interest, concern, and opinion.

Boosting sales taxes and Tenant Occupancy Taxes, their cousins, are the most common deduction of those whose immediate default is that "we" need "economic development."

These should NOT be rejected out of hand; but they should NOT be the default of citizens or civic leaders.

How do we raise revenue for cities, in a manner that is progressive and seeks from those most able to pay who live here; from the state, for a fairer apportionment to municipalities??? Sales and TOT are the likely benefit of capturing the $$ of visitors to our fair town, but should these sources be the basis for basic and expanded revenue for public services?? Etc.

We need curbs, gutters, sidewalks, parks, schools, public safety services (police and fire), libraries, recreation programs, and services—that are adequately funded.

We need a diverse community economically, with a government that assists those in need AND nurtures and provides services that enhance community life. We need businesses that serve the community that can be part of the fabric of community life—NOT merely to rescue us from fiscal woes.

Planning for "economic development" is a default that does not ask what kind of community we need, what kind of government we want that should be able to provide WHAT services—but instead defaults to an assumption that we need "economic development."

We need revenue. We need planning that supports and enhances community life, including appropriate mixes of businesses that serve the community.

AND we need to look at revenue POLITICALLY, not simply assume "economic development."

Bruce, how does the process of changing the general plan begin? I have heard this statement from various people, but I haven't a clue to how this action would take place. thanks for the info.

My point is not that the Hillside Preservation Ordinance needs to be altered, au contraire. My point is that there should not be a conflict between the Ordinance and the General Plan, which has not been updated since forever.

Honestly, I have trouble making sense of anything Councilwoman Digre says.

This is the woman who, as mayor of Pacifica, claimed during the election that she just couldn't make up her mind on whether the Quarry should be developed or not. The woman who, to ease traffic, created a "Gold Line" shuttle which circles Linda Mar empty during hours when there is no traffic. The woman who, incidentally, was mayor when the Strategic Plan was adopted.

I don't even really understand what she wants. She wants there to be some kind of overall plan for the development of Pacifica, but then she complains that the strategic plan has no teeth. How will the plan she's proposing have any?

She wants the public to comment on the plan, but obviously everyone in Pacifica's not going to agree. So will the people who have time to come to forums and meetings decide what's going to happen with our city? Or will the City Council just arbitrarily decide "what Pacifica wants"? What if the Manor doesn't want the same things as Linda Mar? Or will it go to a referendum? What if the referendum fails? What if this new plan disagrees with the Strategic Plan?

Time changes everything. Why should the city councilmembers who are in office today get to enact laws that will bind future city councils? For that matter, why should today's residents get to bind future residents?

Is there really so much development going on in Pacifica that we need some huge Five-Year Plan? Development happens "piecemeal" because that's the way it should happen. What law could we possibly write that would cover what to do with the Seavue, the Quarry, and the lots on Fassler?

It has no teeth because nobody can agree on anything. Look at the back-and-forth between Bruce and Todd to see why. Even environmentalists are divided over "The Prospects," the highway, and other things. The environmental community needs to get together, hash out its differences, and then bring that forward to the rest of the community with a unified voice.

A house divided against itself can stand, but it can't move forward.

Pacifica has clearly said it wants to keep its scenic beauty. It has done so through the Hillside Preservation District ordinance, put in place to protect our scenic hillsides. This ordinance was put in place after full public discourse and was clearly ratified by the majority.

Keep Pacifica Scenic.

Once the Strategic Plan drops the language that supports the widening of Highway 1, I would be happy to give the plan some teeth. As it stands, with that statement in suppport of highway widening, I'm glad to hear it has no teeth.

Councilmember Digre is fully aware that Pacifica's General Plan is woefully out of date. What Pacifica needs to do is update its General Plan NOW! What Pacifica needs is something with more teeth than a feel good Strategic Plan, it needs a complete revision of its General Plan. It is stupid to have Zoning requirements that are in conflict with the Hillside Preservation Act. One says yes while the other says no. Once and for all Pacifica needs to clarify what it wants and where it wants it.

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