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September 26, 2013

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The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce has no ownership of this document.

Sounds good to me. "Make economic development a citywide priority." Increase hotel rooms, space for technology (quarry?). What IS missing is increasing new housing units. Pacifica's population has been stagnant for 30 years, while most other Bay Area Cities have added 2 percent to 10 percent. I know some people don't want any change, but we need to allow a little more development or we may not survive as a city anyone wants to live in.

(Editor's Note: Hutch, I agree with you about Pacifica's need for revenue, but more housing is not the answer. It is a proven fact that more houses cause a drain on city services and infrastructure. Where I think we might agree on economic development is tech and hospitality: light industry plus good food and lodging. You would think that a town of 40,000 with four blogs and five beaches would be a mecca for some software or social media companies.)

There are portions of this thing that are heavily politically tinged -- to put it politely -- and if City Council members accept them, then they should wear them as their political platform during the next election. The obsession with Rockaway and the criticism of local citizens for daring to have other ideas is almost worthy of the Colbert show.

The Economic Development Committee has submitted a document that is asking to circumvent a public vote -- and the last two years of work on the General Plan. It advocates developing Rockaway Quarry, Shamrock Ranch, the Pedro Point Calson property, and moving the Fog Fest to Rockaway Beach.

All with no public input. This is not democratic, it's not America, and it is not Pacifica.

The "Economic Development Plan" has a number of flaws in content, assumptions, and execution -- and none of the folks on the "Economic Development Committee" are professional planners; a few are the same people who want to put a massive chunk of highway as wide as a freeway in the middle of Pacifica -- also with no public input.

There was no outreach to or input from stakeholders in Pacifica -- except a few folks who are involved in the real estate industry.

The consultant -- paid for by the taxpayers in Pacifica out of the general fund -- advocates developing the quarry, relocating the Fog Fest to Rockaway, virtually ignores the tourism potential of what is now "old Highway 1" -- soon to be a bike path.

The plan is an attempt to change the General Plan -- and land use policy -- with no public input.

This is the letter I just sent to City Council:

I can’t be at the Monday, September 23, 2013 meeting so I’m sending this letter by email to comment on the agenda item regarding adoption of the Economic Development Plan. My concern is that the plan as presented to Council is the consultant’s recommendation and has not been commented on by city staff, the Economic Development Committee, and the Planning Commission. However, the agenda item says that the proposed action is “Acceptance of the plan with a direction to staff that it be considered during future land use decisions.”

This document is proposed as land use policy but it has several errors, inaccurate or incomplete analyses, statements that haven’t been vetted by members of the community, and recommendations that have not been reviewed and revised based on a public hearing process. The agenda memo for this item says, “Before Council for consideration tonight is the final draft of the Economic Development Plan, designed to offer guidance to the community towards future development.” Then it says, “The Plan was reviewed by the Economic Development Committee, which unanimously recommends its acceptance by Council.” I believe this last statement is not correct. I’m told that at the meeting of the Economic Development Committee that reviewed this plan, the committee voted for several changes, but they were told that the report should go to Council without revisions because it represents the consultants’ report and recommendations, not the committee’s. Because the report has not been revised in response to the committee’s recommendations, it should not be adopted as the Economic Development Plan. Instead, it should be the subject of a public hearing by the Planning Commission for their recommendation and proposed revisions, then considered by the City Council in a public hearing for final approval.

The Economic Development Plan is proposed as an important land use policy document. It should not be adopted without a public process to correct the incorrect information and analyses and the unsupported recommendations in the document.

Moving the Fog Fest from Sharp Park to Rockaway Beach. Sorry about the incomplete sentence; that's only one of the idiocies cited in this document, apparently written by the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce.

What's wrong with these people? Another key phrase used repeatedly is an "owner emerging" to somehow develop Rockaway Quarry and/or the Pedro Point "field" (as we used to know it) into an office park/lab/whatever. Is the owner going to be emerging from some chrysalis to wow the locals? WTF is wrong with the people writing, and worse yet, even THINKING such thoughts onto city stationery?

Sweeney Ridge: IT'S NOT NEAR PEDRO POINT!

Yeah, I've read the Wahlstrom Report. It's full of a number of errors, including a plan to build out Shamrock Ranch and Rockaway Quarry, bypassing public input. The consultant actually said, "You can force a landowner to do what you want."

There is a public process that Pacifica should follow.

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