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July 06, 2021

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Carl May:

Okay, Carl, where is your description "of the rules, the 'facts,' and social propriety." All I see coming from you are
sarcastic comments with nothing to back them up.

Why don't you tell us what you think are "the rules, the facts, and social propriety." It is easy to be negative about everything with nothing backing it up.

Kumbaya.

Straight out of the developer's playbook: pretend that you, the developer, are the knower and keeper of the rules, the "facts," and social propriety, implying all who have experience and knowledge beyond the developer's highly selective, incomplete, artificial, simple-minded, self-serving, conveniently defined, parochial, imaginary little game are lacking in perspective and fundamentals. This ruse might work with those locals who just fell off the turnip truck and with politicians who cater to the overblown real estate industry, but it doesn't make it out of the vapor onto solid ground with citizens who have extensive real-world experience with con jobs and the negative consequences of gullibility and short-term thinking in places where they live and intend to have a future. Places like Pacifica.

John: What are you, the developer -- (despite your insistence on referring to "the developer" in the third person, it is you, right? The developer and the community outreach voice are, oddly, one and the same, right?) What are you, the developer, actively doing to make this development less car-dependent?

The Woods is not near any transit, not near a highway, and is on the top of a steep hill that makes walking entirely impractical (I'm talking about walking from Safeway, not walking the dogs). Consequently your development is totally car dependent (and yes, Uber and Lyft and Teslas are all still cars, so don't bother pointing to those again). So what are you, the developer, actively doing to make this subdivision less car-dependent than the average 1971 subdivision?

Don't point to coincidental externalities (like hybrid work), or your faulty wishful thinking (like your entirely incorrect claim that there are fewer school-age children in Pacifica's future). There is nothing in the lindamarwoods website other than paper-thin greenwashing, so don't bother pointing there either. What are you **actively** doing? Or are we stuck in 1971 thinking with all the consequent problems that generated? Thanks in advance.

Carl May:

You will not win hearts and change minds with strawman arguments that depict the developer and this property in a false light. Sarcasm is the weapon of the weak. Better to argue the merits based upon facts and the law.

Generally, if you have the facts on your side, you argue the facts. If you have the law on your side, you argue the law. But if you have neither the facts nor the law on your side, you attack the character of your opponent. I guess we know where you are -- no facts and no law.

Julie:

The City Council is obligated to follow state law and the Pacifica Municipal Code. It has no discretion to ignore the law.

You need to look at the Housing Crises Act of 2019. It freezes the development policy, standards, or conditions that apply to a particular property designated for residential real estate development to those in effect on January 1, 2018, and prohibits any changes as applied to a particular project whose application for approval is pending. The City Council cannot change the current land use designation under the General Plan for this property, which is for residential development, since we have made an application for approval that is pending.

We will follow state law and the Pacifica Municipal Code to the letter.

John, let’s not parse.

The City Council appoints Planning Commission members.

I’ll use a phrase from modern mythology.
The voters’ influence “trickles down” from there.
Eliminating the council members who’d approve this will decide who sits on Planning.

District Council elections mean that the people most affected by the increased inconveniences will decide this.

Have a nice day

https://library.municode.com/ca/pacifica/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT2AD_CH2COCO_ART1GEPR

“So long as a development conforms to state law and the Pacifica Municipal Code…”

HPD, cough.
https://library.municode.com/ca/pacifica/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT9PLZO_CH4ZO_ART22.5HIPRDIHP

Show us your calculations. You’re going to have to do them eventually according to the new “fact sheet” that happens to be missing some critical facts, like this one: « All areas not considered coverage shall remain undisturbed in their native or natural state, with the exception of the recreational areas. »

Eye roll. The benevolent, "conversational" developer sticks doggedly to trying to get others to play the game with the rules s/he imposes, using the terms and interpretations s/he prefers. How lucky for weak-minded, downtrodden Pacifica and its naive denizens to have a great one from beyond to explain how things are and how they ought to be.

Julie:

You are both wrong and right! The Planning Commission is appointed, not elected. The City Council is elected.

Both are subject to state law. The state government has made it its mission to break the barriers to the construction of new housing. So long as a development conforms to state law and the Pacifica Municipal Code, it cannot be turned down. It does not matter how loud you scream at public meetings or post protests on social media sites. The law is the law. If you hire a lawyer and try to overturn a lawful project approval, the property owner will lawyer up and fight the lawsuit.

The smart move for people concerned is to study the developer's ideas and have a dialogue with him that results in a better project for all. This mindless opposition with no engagement will lead to long unhappy faces at the end of the process. The Don told Michael in The Godfather, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." This means you talk with your enemies, not shun them. That is good advice for everyone.

This developer loves to talk with people about his developments to hear their criticisms and ideas. Good stuff comes out of these conversations.

Julie:

The new state laws encouraging housing development are not limited to transit hubs. They go a lot farther than you know.

Learn about hybrid work. It is the new norm.

https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwig9KP3tLPzAhUZPq0GHR-TD4oYABAAGgJwdg&ohost=www.google.com&cid=CAESQeD2kOHCh8QJYyu7vSDe4apaJgE0p_c-y5q9QjLyOR0YJvMD2vg-P7l6Lmndo7Rk6BKcRnquzzudI0En0W_9SCP4&sig=AOD64_2g7Oth8BgI6HeEjypU08dEx2vloA&q&adurl&ved=2ahUKEwjwopv3tLPzAhXSvp4KHdVBDC4Q0Qx6BAgFEAE

https://www.google.com/url?a=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjwopv3tLPzAhXSvp4KHdVBDC4QFnoECAkQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shrm.org%2Fhr-today%2Fnews%2Fhr-news%2Fpages%2Fhybrid-work-model-likely-to-be-new-norm-in-2021.aspx&usg=AOvVaw1Q_2oX4PAnFnNOUuJ7S6rU

See my reply to Rocky Raccoon for my side of the bandit sign controversy.

Rocky Raccoon:

Nick Lusson complained to the Pacifica Police over a $2 bandit sign. Duh? He could have called me or sent me an email because he has my contact information, but he did not.

I returned the bandit sign to Mr. Lusson, but he did not re-install the bandit sign in the middle of the path. Maybe he should not have put it there in the first place.

I have done more to clean up the trailhead at Old San Pedro Mountain Road trail than Nick Lusson and his Protect San Pedro Mountain group. True. They have done nothing to protect San Pedro Mountain.

So why is Mr. Lusson posting a video of me on Instagram and on his website? Weird.

"I was performing a public service by removing the sign from the pathway." A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Hahahahaha. *Whew*

There is a need for new housing. The new law will make it hard for cities to turn down projects NEAR TRANSIT HUBS.

Unless you have sky buckets, a cable car, or shuttle, you are nowhere near a transit hub. The students in school, and most of your residents, will be using Peralta, Linda Mar Blvd., and surface streets to get to already crowded Highway 1.

You keep throwing statistics about working from home that have no basis in fact. Like someone who doesn't actually live here.

You have cried foul at graffiti, and blamed the other side without proof. You get caught on camera stealing a sign, and dismiss the value of the object stolen.

Wow.

Tim Stein:

I have been working to clean up the trailhead at Linda Mar Woods. I have installed a new monument sign, painted the gate, replaced all the rusted-out signs, installed a new sign with distance markers to various parks, installed an e-bike sign, installed a new no-parking sign, placed a garbage can at the gate, and picked up a lot of garbage and dog poop bags.

Unfortunately, my good works have not always been appreciated. The monument sign was vandalized with graffiti and the e-bike sign was destroyed. I have renovated the monument sign, removed the e-bike sign, and installed a trail camera to keep an eye on the entrance to Linda Mar Woods. Since installing the trailhead camera, at the recommendation of the Pacifica Police, and announcing it on social media, there has been no more vandalism.

During this time, a group calling itself "Protect San Pedro Mountain" has posted bandit signs along both sides of Higgins Way promoting themselves and their cause. The organizer is Nick Lusson and they are classic NIMBYs. The property is nowhere near San Pedro Mountain and their real agenda is to preserve Higgins Way as their private dead-end street by stopping any residential development in Linda Mar Woods. Members of this group also posted bandit signs on the Linda Mar Woods property. When I asked Mr. Lusson to remove them, he refused, so I did so myself. I learned never to expect cooperation from Mr. Lusson, so I no longer consult with him on anything.

One day when I was visiting the trailhead at Linda Mar Woods, I noticed a new bandit sign was placed in the middle of the pathway near the gate. It was obvious to me that it interfered with the path the mountain bikers and hikers use to enter the property. I knew it was going to be knocked over and turned into trash sooner than later, so as I was departing I removed the sign and put it in my car. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from the Pacifica Police Department informing me that Nick Lusson had lodged a complaint against me for stealing a bandit sign. I discussed the situation with the police officer and told him he was being played by Mr. Lusson who was attempting to create a controversy over a $2 bandit sign. The officer said Mr. Lusson graciously offered not to press charges if I returned the sign and apologized to him. I then returned the sign to the police and the matter was dropped, until Mr. Lusson posted his video on Instagram and made accusations against me. Mr. Lusson does not seem to understand that I was performing a public service by removing the sign from the pathway. I imagine he understands now because he did not put the sign back where it was previously located. His posting the video is just one more skirmish in his guerrilla warfare campaign against Linda Mar Woods.

The more interesting question is why would someone go to the Police Department over a $2 bandit sign? You will have to ask Mr. Lusson.

Peter George:

No streetcars. I was describing the history of residential development and how we ended up with tract housing. It was the development of the automobile that resulted in tract housing where every house is the same in design. Streetcars did not create mixed-density neighborhoods. They have existed since the time of the Greeks.

I am making arguments about Linda Mar Woods based upon factual evidence. I have completed studies in civil engineering, biology, geology, traffic engineering, etc. I am also speaking more broadly in my posts about the rapid increase in change caused by the impact of Covid and the evolution of computer technology. Most employers with large staffs of office workers have switched to hybrid work where the employee works from home 40% of the time. This cuts commuting time by 40%. I am also noting the transition to electric cars and the evolution of Uber and Lyft and the impact on car ownership and use. Finally, I have offered my thoughts on how Pacifica can improve the quality of life for its residents.

“Fortunately, it is the Planning Commission and City Council that will approve the project. They will take the time to investigate the facts and judge the project on the merits. They are obligated to approve projects that conform to the law. Our application when completed will conform to both state and Pacifica law applicable to the project. We will not be asking for variances or changes in the law to get approval.“

Last time I checked, City Council and Planning Commission are subject to the will of the voters. Not out-of-town developers.

“From 2010 to 2019 the Pacifica population of infants (<5 years old) increased by 48%. And the number of people 25-34 (for the sake of argument, we'll call that child-bearing age) increased by 14%. And yet you say that that the schools of Pacifica will be LESS burdened by enrollment in the future? Very odd.”

Thank you, Peter George.

I wondered if the couple with the new baby moving in next door to us, and the couple who moved into the home on the other side of them, with a preschooler, were figments of our imagination.

Waiting breathlessly for the cable car news, first responder/minimum wage jobs you can do from home (all this time these emails went to spam, who knew?), and the rest. As told by someone who doesn’t live here, and never lies.

Also the theft of the sign. Already a drain on our resources, like the Pacifica P.D.

Following the developer's playbook is designed to get approvals from government for projects. Statements by developers do not need to be factual or perceptive. So-called "visions" do not need to incorporate local or historic knowledge. Self-cloaking oneself with a mantle of authority and expertise is done without credentials or a record of competence relevant to the project or locale at hand. The goals sought by doggedly maintaining the fictional babble in the face of real-world conditions on the ground and people who have seen this game played multiple times before followed by the negative consequences of allowing developers to have their way are to get approvals by government and to keep public opposition dampened somewhat by directing attention to rosy-colored holograms in the fictional vapor.

At this stage of the game there is a lot of wet cement being slung against walls to see what sticks. One is likely to see some minor concessions made as a result, with the developer touting its flexibility and sensitivity. Those concessions might well be ones the developer had in mind from the start as part of the PR effort, and they give persons in local government already chin (or double-chin) deep in local real-estate-industry favoritism little excuses, largely without substance, to look favorably on a project. The developer's playbook contains a lot on greasing the skids.

One can't even tell what the developer's eventual bottom line might be. This game is, after all, played in pursuit of as much profit as eventually can be squeezed out of the effort. The vagueness in the plans, the ignorance of local conditions, all allow for adjustments down the line. Map lines might be moved a bit. The number of units might be reduced modestly, with accompanying inflated statements about being less of a burden on local resources (the water questions alone comprise a sub-game) and more amenable to local infrastructure. Nowadays it is so common for developers to ask for more than they actually expect at the end of the approval that anyone familiar with the gambit is left to eye-rolling as the oh-so-"generous" plays are made along the way.

Further down the line, as projects gain approvals and permits, many developers will consider their job done and sell developments to builders. The people responsible for all the grandiose language put in play might not be around when the bulldozers roll, walls go up, and hardscaping covers a place. And as contractors and subcontractors are farther and farther away from the creation of the magic pictures painted to get approvals, many details that once seemed vital will be overlooked and anything--such as concocted feel-good philosophies and generous personal assurances--not pinned down in written specifics with no room between the lines will become immaterial, if not completely forgotten. Regulatory inaction rules once an approved project gains sufficient momentum.

Pacifica is full--overflowing, actually. Vital resources, such as freshwater, are already insecure and their sources unsustainable. Infrastructure is already clogged on a daily basis and impossible for periods when huge numbers of outsiders visit. Almost all food must be imported in competition with the vast majority of Californians who must also import food into their urban enclaves; and this food is grown in vast, water-sucking, chemically embellished, environment-degrading (and, thus, unsustainable) monocultures. One can go on and on for every aspect of existence needed for a decent quality of life. Yeah, that includes housing. The time is long past when Pacifica, like almost all other California cities large and small, should have redirected its efforts to getting better instead of bigger. Many Pacificans are well aware of this.

John, so are you now suggesting you will build a streetcar to "The Woods"? Will it serve all of Pacifica, or just that hill? Odd, because I see no mention of that on www.lindamarwoods.com. Is this coming as part of the Vision?

No, as usual you use false equivalence to try to support a flimsy argument. Pacifica is not San Francisco. And you are building a neighborhood wholly car-dependent on the urban fringe in a Tier 3 Wildfire zone -- a sprawl development very much at home in 1971.

Incidentally, you are entirely wrong when you say that the future Pacifica has fewer children, not more. I really wish you would do your research before you just post claims based on your gut instincts, John. For example, compare the following:

https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=pacifica,%20ca&tid=ACSDP5Y2019.DP05

https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=pacifica,%20ca&tid=ACSDP5Y2010.DP05

From 2010 to 2019 the Pacifica population of infants (<5 years old) increased by 48%. And the number of people 25-34 (for the sake of argument, we'll call that child-bearing age) increased by 14%. And yet you say that that the schools of Pacifica will be LESS burdened by enrollment in the future? Very odd.

John, your insistence on offering viewpoints based on your gut instincts and not facts (you've now done this for traffic, parking, sewer, wildfire risk, and now school enrollment) calls into question every single claim you make. It's very unprofessional, and frankly downright odd. It took me literally three minutes to find the above facts, and yet this is supposed to be your job! You are the one making millions from this -- and yet you can't be bothered to search the web for 30 seconds before you type? It is easy to see why the community treats your outreach with some skepticism, even with you as the developments' community outreach professional.

So, John Kontrabecki, I'm sure many of us Pacificans would love to hear your side of the story regarding the video of you stealing a Protect San Pedro yard sign from someone's property on Higgins, and then how the PPD got you to return it?

Rocky Raccoon:

"You can fool all the people part of the time, or you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool all people all the time." (Abraham Lincoln)

I intend to have this conversation for as long as it takes to have the facts known among the majority of people in Pacifica who are interested in learning the facts. Eventually, the misinformation out there about Linda Mar Woods will be overcome with facts. There are already plenty of people who are generally in support of what we are proposing. They are not posting on social media.

Fortunately, it is the Planning Commission and City Council that will approve the project. They will take the time to investigate the facts and judge the project on the merits. They are obligated to approve projects that conform to the law. Our application when completed will conform to both state and Pacifica law applicable to the project. We will not be asking for variances or changes in the law to get approval.

Julie:

I am not insulting, demeaning, or embellishing reality. I am politely offering my understanding of conditions in Pacifica. This is supported by studies I have had performed by professionals in biology, traffic engineering, civil engineering, etc. I have also pointed at Half Moon Bay as an example of a community that has tackled the problem of community vitality to create a pleasant downtown with locally owned shops, a new Civic Center, housing choices, a variety of nice restaurants, etc. You clearly have a different point of view and I respect that. But I do not insult you because you do.

You are looking at the world through a rearview mirror. Life is changing and the change has been accelerated by Covid. Transportation is moving to electric cars, Uber and Lyft, and car-sharing services. Work has already moved to a hybrid model for office workers, where they work from home two out of five days a week. It will take time, but families will find owning three vehicles per household to be a waste of money and will revert to one vehicle per household. Family members love being able to spend more time off the freeway at home, even if it means working at home.

The homes we are building will be targeting people who live in Pacifica who enjoy outdoor recreation. After all, we are developing the homes in a forest that we are going to preserve with hiking and biking trails we are going to expand. There are already hundreds of people who walk and ride there every week. These people are my future customers.

The Pacifica population is aging rapidly. The majority of residents are over the age of 40, so more housing does not translate into more school attendance. The existing infrastructure can support more housing. We will have to submit for public review and comment an economic impact report that will substantiate this.

Peter George:

Thank you for posting such good questions. They reveal that you have not visited our website at www.lindamarwoods.com. On the website, we talk about the kind of housing we want to develop. Because of the Planned Development zoning, we have to start with getting a single-family detached housing map approved. But this is not the ultimate outcome we are pursuing. Our intention is to create an economically integrated community with a variety of housing types. These will include single-family detached, duplex homes, groups of attached townhomes, and homes with flats. The total number of homes will be capped and the way they will be built will be in mixed clusters. By increasing the density, we can lower the cost per unit and sell them at lower prices. The idea is to create a variety of structures that are architecturally harmonious while offering different housing choices. This is not a novel idea. It is the way we used to develop in the 19th century when streetcars were prevalent before the automobile became the dominant source of personal transportation. If you drive down Pine Street or Fell Street in San Francisco, you will see single-family, duplex, and flats intermingled. The new legislation coming out of Sacramento is encouraging more density in housing to address the housing crises. Linda Mar Woods is consistent with this goal.

"Read the room." Great comment. Advice to developer about holes: When you're in one, stop digging.

John: You are quick to accuse people of being on the "wrong side of history." But what of "The Woods" as a Single Family Residential development (or something very much like it)? The drumbeat we are hearing from Sacramento is that the SFR zoning so prevalent in the past century was a mistake. And SB9 and SB10 are aiming to dismantle that. Why then are you adding to this mistake with your sprawling SFR proposal? Surely that puts "The Woods" on the "wrong side of history," no? All things considered (SFR zoning, car dependence, water stress, sewer stress, wildfire danger, grading footprint, traffic stress, environmental degradation, etc.), your proposal looks far more at home in 1971 than in 2021. Why not read the room and apply your talents to a development a little more in step with the 21st century and the challenges we are all facing? Maybe then the host community would actually support it? And please don't point to contrived online surveys to try to prove that the community does support "The Woods" as it stands -- just don't. You, in your community outreach role, have near-zero credibility left playing that tune. And I have a survey that proves it :-)

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