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July 23, 2016


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I think the initiative is designed to guarantee choice #3. The courts will decide. The way the whole thing is written by design by a law firm that says it specializes in these things (more than 400 initiatives to date) says to me loud and clear that the issue is how many actual units the "up to 206 multi-family units" will be. If passed, this will end up in court at some point, but only if a concerned citizen or group files a suit against any future developer and/or the city.

@ Todd_Bray, there are only three likely answers from the city attorney, as follows:

#1. 206 "units of multi-family housing" legally DOES NOT ALLOW those "units" to be apartment building of three or more families each.

#2. 206 "units of multi-family housing" legally ALLOWS those "units" to be apartment buildings of three or more families each.

#3. The courts will decide if the ballot initiative passes.

It has been seven days with no response from City Manager Lorie Tinfow or City Attorney Michelle Kenyon. If after 31 days there has been no response, it is likely that I may publish an independent legal opinion on the Quarry Ballot Initiative from a law firm that is NOT employed by the City of Pacifica.

Thank you, Dan, it will be interesting to see if you receive any sort of reply.

On July 30 we sent the city manager, the city attorney, and every City Council member the letter below. We'll update it when we receive any response:

Dear City Mgr Tinfow,

The Quarry's 9212 report punts on the most important question in the entire 9212... Does the ballot measure's language of 206 "units of multi-family housing" legally allow 206 apartment buildings of three or more families each?

There is a monumental difference between 206 apartment units and 206 apartment buildings, and I strongly urge you to direct the City Attorney to investigate this specific question and report the results to both City Council and the Public in easily understandable layman's terms to protect the City of Pacifica from potentially catastrophic financial and legal exposure.

"108 (Q) What are multi-family units? Are they apartments? Condos? Houses?

108 (A). The Initiative uses the term "units of multi-family housing." However, it does not define the term. The term “multiple dwelling” is defined in the Pacifica Municipal Code as “a building, or portion thereof, used and designed as a residence for three (3) or more families living independently of each other and doing their own cooking in such building, including apartment houses, apartment hotels, and flats, but not including automobile courts, motels, hotels, or boardinghouses” (see PMC Sec. 9-4.235)."

Sincerely, Dan Stegink

Jay, good get on that Eenhoorn/unicorn reference. Quite apt.

The developer's attorney who spoke in the July 25 City Council meeting said that his firm specializes in these initiatives and that they have done more than 400 of them. As Larry says, it's very poorly drafted. If the attorneys who prepared it are so experienced, I have to believe that it's poorly drafted by design. So many people have commented about how confusing it is, including the city attorney, that it appears that the intent was to confuse.

Practically, I don't think there can be 600+ individual units, because the initiative restricts the housing to a designated part of the site. (But I could easily see the developer try to get a few more than 206.)

The important takeaway is that the initiative is poorly drafted and doesn't even define something as simple as what kind of housing units it covers.

These massive human population numbers of 2,000 or so individuals
may force a widening of Highway 1 -- not just a segment but a freeway down the coast.

Given the uncertainty of massive sea-level rise, this is simply not something taxpayers or emergency systems (FEMA, etc.) can pay for. It is unaffordable.

Please pass the salt:

To add a short note to Jay Bird's math, regardless of the multiples of 206 multi-family units that would potentially be built if the ballot initiative passes, we are talking about an entirely new neighborhood being built in West Rockaway. 206 of anything is a larger number than the homes in my neighborhood just across the highway in East Rockaway. This Michigan property manager (rent collector) would like to build us a new neighborhood, then walk away, leaving us property owners to subsidize the city services a new neighborhood would require.

There just isn't a way to make the math work for us as a city.

Doing a little more research, the document 9212 report says a "'Multi Family housing Unit' is a structure that houses three or more families…."
("Rezone the Quarry 9212 report released, or 'It’s not the size, it’s the frequency'")

So the ballot initiative is for 206 times 3 or more families in the quarry. At a conservative average of 3 people per family, that's 3 x 3 x 206 = 1,854 new apartment residents in the quarry.

Hotel visitors, and bungalow owners, guests, employees will bring that number up to 2,000.
2,000 people in the quarry, every day. That is an unsustainable amount of traffic and garbage for the coastside.

More important, most voters are not being told that this is how many people Mr. Heule, whose company name Eenhoorn is Dutch for unicorn. In the business world, a unicorn is a startup company valued at more than $1 billion.

Maybe this is Mr. Heule's huge deal.

206 buildings, not 206 apartments -- representing an increase in people of from 2 to 10 -- sky's the limit! The developer initiative represents a small city, located in the quarry.

Buildings instead of apartments -- represents a huge hoodwinking of the Pacifica public, who will be on the hook to pay for all public infrastructure serving those buildings -- and of course, live with new crowded conditions and traffic.

Wow. So it's not 206 high-end apartments. It's 206 multi-family dwellings of 3 to 4 families each? That's as many as 2,500 new residents in the quarry. Plus hotel, conference center, single homes -- representing when full perhaps as many as 3,000 or so people in the quarry every day.

This means EVEN MORE traffic, more roads to support even more roads driving in and out --

And it means little open space, lots of traffic on foot, bikes, cars. No WONDER they want to take away creek setback space by 200 feet on each side!

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