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July 21, 2015


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Re up-front costs, nothing on potential costs is published, but having placed food trucks at similarly sized events, it would be common for the city to guarantee Off the Grid a minimum event revenue and maybe pay a onetime setup fee ($5K to $7K).

Eventually, a successful repeating event would probably pay for itself after five to seven events.

Re the survey, it's interesting that they omitted the most popular location in Off the Grid history, their Fort Mason location (The Presidio is an entirely different venue).

Also, since traffic/parking was a major concern of many, perhaps a question should be added to the bike valet section about whether Linda Mar or Pedro Point residents would consider walking to the event, and if not, whether they would consider walking to the event for a $5 event-specific family gift certificate. (Expect to pay about $17 per person for adults and $9 per child for food/drink.)
#1. Do you like the idea of Pacifica hosting Off the Grid at Linda Mar Beach?

#2A. Have you been to an Off the Grid event?

-->IF YES on #2A, go to #3.
-->IF NO on #2A, then
---->#2B. How many times?
---->#2C. What locations? (Presidio, Serramonte, Burlingame, Belmont).

#3. Would you bike to Off the Grid at Linda Mar Beach if there was a bike valet service?

#4. What suggestion or concern should be addressed to make this event successful?

Not much of a survey, at least not an honest survey. The questions are leading the survey taker and not allowing for honest input. The survey is even challenging, asking how many Off Grid events you've attended and where you attended them. This type of questioning is for no other purpose than to disregard objection.

There is an online feedback form for this proposed event here:

"You people will open your wallets for anything."

Are you referring to opening the city's wallet to receive some much-needed tax revenue? Because I've seen little if any direct costs to the city associated with something like this.

It's not like this is some big housing development or some frog-threatening construction project, so one would hope that there would be more consensus. It's discouraging that the immediate and almost instinctive reaction of this particular community is to whine and complain anytime anyone suggests anything at all to do something to bring in people to our gorgeous city to hopefully spend some money here.

"Man, you people will complain about anything."

You people will open your wallets for anything. After all the shenanigans and bad projects, thought you'd at least ask for a little accountability.

Man, you people will complain about anything.

"Seems like this event is something that should be discussed at the City Council where these types of questions can be answered."

Any project where public monies and resources are used should be put together with cost-benefit analysis like any other business pitch. If that's not routine, let's ask it to be routine going forward. Doing so, even on projects that fail, will help us improve and understand our approach.

I'm troubled that neither Stedler nor her staff had the foresight to consider parking and traffic congestion prior to making this proposal. The traffic issue in particular is extremely obvious given the ongoing bridge construction. Do any of these people actually live here? If not, it might behoove them to start familiarizing themselves with Pacifica and its residents before making any more plans for this city. I want Stedler to succeed, but she is off to a shaky start. Hopefully, she will own her misstep and come up with a way to make this idea work.

Thanks for the link to the Planning Commission meeting video, Jay Bird. What Ms. Stedler said regarding the food truck event was: "I've learned over the last few days that there were considerable concerns about congestion, for both traffic and parking."

"Based on the information on page 7 of the Planning Commission staff report, the trucks would take up a total of 29 of the 406 available parking spaces -- not ideal, but certainly not 'half' the available spaces."

According to the staff report, the 406 number includes all the public parking spaces in the area, including the Community Center and SamTrans Park & Ride lots. From the diagram in the agenda packet, the trucks are going to take up about one-third of the spaces in the north parking lot.

It looks like this is being treated as any other applicant seeking permits for a similar event, and I wonder if the Planning Commission can even take forecasted revenue into account. (My guess is that it's not going to be much, based on the projected number of attendees.) It seems like this event is something that should be discussed at the City Council where these types of questions can be answered.

Finally, Sharp Park Beach is not being considered as an alternative venue for Off The Grid. It's being considered for an entirely different event that has no event operator, and is vaguely described as being for "On-going community gathering and socializing..."

According to today's Pacifica Tribune, Anne Stedler, Pacifica's economic development manager, "told the planning commissioners Monday that she had already heard so many concerns from residents about how the outdoor events could create traffic congestion and parking problems."

Video of Planning Commission meeting July 20, 2015:

Peter, there was no discussion whatsoever by Anne, the public, or the Planning Commission. Anne just stated she wished to have the items continued to a future date.

"The city manager made some strides toward a fully public, open accounting, and promised to account for the missing $4 million."

According to the city's budget documents, it's $4.75 million.

The Off the Grid items were pulled and continued to a date uncertain.

I'm told that there was significant opposition to this proposal at the Planning Commission meeting, primarily concerns about traffic and congestion, so the item was continued.

"What is the forecasted revenue to the city from this activity?" Rather than just desperately thrashing about trying to grab money from anywhere, how about a cost-benefit analysis, a thrifty process, no more profligate spending, an honest public budget instead of what is beginning to be veils and mirrors?

The city manager made some strides toward a fully public, open accounting, and promised to account for the missing $4 million. About a year later, it is still an open question. In its place, a fairly large spending program with no specified revenue goals, costs, benefits, mitigations.

The city manager and recent hires are qualified professionals who are compensated accordingly; do they have everything they need to set up and follow ethical best-practice processes that deliver high-quality results Pacifica deserves and so desperately needs?

How may we help them achieve these goals?

The Earth Day event used the portion of the paid parking that is south of Taco Bell. What is different about this proposal is that it will be on the parking lot north of Taco Bell.

What's unusual about this project is that the city is the applicant (not Off The Grid) and the city can issue its own Coastal Development Permit. Apparently, Coastal Commission approval is not required.

I agree that the idea of bringing something fun and family-friendly to Pacifica is worthy of support. I also think the concerns expressed in this thread need to be addressed before approving the project.

I wasn't able to watch the Planning Commission meeting tonight. Can somebody report on what happened?

So what is the forecasted revenue to the city from this activity? We have an estimated 65+ Airbnb rentals in the city producing (presumably) far more in terms of taxable city dollars than food trucks.

I have no problem with food trucks; it's a service and should be encouraged, but this city seems to have a problem with ordering priorities, like what happened to $4.75 million in city funds, and what sort of multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue could be gained from short-term rentals (Airbnb).


Based on the information on page 7 of the Planning Commission staff report, the trucks would take up a total of 29 of the 406 available parking spaces -- not ideal, but certainly not "half" the available spaces.

Aside from the fact that this will be happening every week, how is the concept of blocking a portion of the parking lot to offer food and entertainment any different than the Earth Day celebration held in the same spot each year?

As for the effect on local restaurants, if it turns out they support the proposal, would those of you citing their interests as a basis for opposing the trucks change your minds?

I still think the city is nuts for trying to implement the truck idea before the bridge project is complete (all but ensures failure), and I agree with the suggestion that this should be implemented on a trial basis to ensure that all kinks can be worked out before deciding whether to make it permanent, and I even agree that other locations should also be explored, but the overall idea of bringing something fun, family-friendly, and not tacky to Pacifica is exciting and worthy of support.

A bigger issue has been the directive to planning staff to facilitate proposals and hurry them through to the Planning Commission rather than work on proposals to make sure they comply with codes/zoning/laws. This proposal is no different. This is not a single event but a scheduled weekly event equal to a part-time structure on the parking lot. You know no one at City Hall gives a rat's ass about process anymore.

It was more a rhetorical question. The city had to jump through so many hoops to get the Coastal Commission to approve the beach parking lot, and now a private company wants to take over half the lot every Saturday for a year. The point is that implementing the plan is even more complicated that it looked at first blush. All the more reason that other locations such as the Community Center parking lot or the Sea Bowl parking lot should be considered.

Here's an idea: Let's tell 7-Eleven it cannot move into Pacifica, but instead it can operate one of the trucks at "Off the Grid," selling Doritos Loaded®, 7-Select Burritos®, Big Bites®, Corn Dog Rollers®, and Go-Go Taquitos®, along with Gulps® and Slurpees®.

One would think so, Peter, but if it needs to be appealed to the CCC, lack of public input and removing public access to the beach are two good reasons. Those and logistical concerns for litter.

Unfortunately, the person(s) devising this plan worked in landlocked cities that thrived on not having public oversight or input, and just going for it.

If this proposal doesn't require a Coastal Development Permit, it will most certainly be appealable to the Coastal Commission.


From how I understand the Coastal Commission, every permit in the Coastal Zone goes to Coastal Commission for review. The permits get delivered by the cities in said zone.

From what I have seen over the years with the Coastal Commission, it's everything from Highway 1 to the high-tide line. Sometimes they try to flex their muscles and try to claim anything or any property that has an ocean view.

The Coastal Commission looked at the Linda Mar Beach parking issue and information signs. Didn't they get involved in the Peebles Corporation trying to block access to the quarry trail at one time also?

Also the emergency repair permits (that are a danger to lives or properties) with the city get fast-tracked through the commission, or they can agree and allow emergency work to commence on coastal properties without a full inquiry.

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