Monday, July 1, 2013

Alternative plan proposed for the quarry

Pacifica Tribune, Letters to the Editor, 6/25/13.  "Quarry" by Jennie Pitsch  (San Bruno).

Dreaming big 2006
Doesn't a big asphalt parking lot
at least deserve a "big box" store?
"Editor:  The quarry mountain is very beautiful to behold. The flat land there is sheltered by the ocean breeze. I can understand why the developers want to come in. But to destroy this beauty for housing and stores would  not, I think, be in the best interests of Pacifica.

People come to Pacifica for nature and a get-away from everything and everyone.....   At least I do, every Sunday. Peace and quiet. But parking, it seems, is an issue. Why not black top the flat land and make it for parking? ... A nice trail can be made to connect the quarry to Rockaway Beach to benefit the stores and restaurants. Some dealers, I'm sure, would spent the night in the hotels and motels. I can see only good come out of this idea."

Note:  Photographs,  Don Peebles from Hollywood, asphalt parking lot with pigeons by

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Ms. Pitsch is a remarkably spry and engaging senior citizen. Used to run into her walking the levee at Sharp Park. Always an interesting person to chat with and a true friend to Pacifica.

Anonymous said...

A nimby from San Bruno, telling us what to do. Why doesn't she raise money with the other hippies and gang of no and do what they want.

Put up or shut up!

Anonymous said...

3-4 groups passed on the quarry since Don left town

Anonymous said...

Premium. Outlet. Mall.

Anonymous said...

Livermore premium outlets

All off major freeways

People won't turn off 280/380/101 to come to Pacifica.

I thought you said you never post anon

Anonymous said...

Brothers, gambling, pawn shop and High interest rate lenders in the quarry!

Anonymous said...

Above my Damned I-phone auto correct

I meant to say


Anonymous said...

We covered this in a previous lesson. Unless you want to write, I will pay attention in class listen up.

Premium outlet mall builders have a lot of field scouts and research that goes into chosing a location. A bad location, like Fashion Island 1 in San Mateo-Foster City, millions lost. These builders and operators spend alot of money to find premium locations for the premium outlet malls. Walmart, had the Colma dump sign almost wrapped up and Home Depot snuck in and outbid at the last minute. These guys not only know what they are doing, but they know what everyone else is doing. Go to a developer conference or two and you will see. Not only do these people rely in house, but they rely on commercial brokers to bring them sites.

One guy keeps spouting off "premium outlet mall" on the blogs but he has either or both, diarhea of the mouth, and or extreme autism. Or he is starting to repeat, repeat, repeat.

Funds to build premium outlet malls is getting a little bit easier but you have so many lenders, insurers and pension funds chasing very few cherry deals. The solid guys are getting the money. Private money loans and equity based won't fill the void. Lenders really like well located apartments and low income housing right now.

The "gang of no" Pedro Point division chased away a small outlet mall for Pedro Point.

Nothing will change in Pacifica. The "gang of no" while starting to get older are being replaced with younger, better capitalized and better educated people. Look how many attorney's they have stacked up on their side. How many attorney's does the "group of yes"


Anonymous said...

1155 Forget the quarry! They're waiting for those improvements to Palmetto. Then they'll be right along.

Anonymous said...

Transit Village could mean millions for city
July 02, 2013, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

The Transit Village, a proposed mix of luxury housing units and retail space around the existing San Carlos train station, could mean just shy of $11 million in fees for the city.

Of the $10.69 million in total development impact fees detailed in a fiscal impact study of the project, $7.9 million are projected in affordable housing in-lieu fees and $954,919 in school impact fees for San Carlos Elementary and Sequoia Union High School districts.

The figures are part of a draft study that recently came before the city’s Economic Development Advisory Commission. A similar report last fall estimated $11.7 million in fees, with $8.5 million from affordable housing in-lieu fees. But the proposed project has since been modified, leading the city to request a new fiscal report on the new development proposal.

“Between the original report and today, we’ve had another year of city fee increases so there’s more revenue in the report. We’ve also fine-tuned expenses because last year was the first we gave employees salary increases. There were also increased costs in the sheriff’s contract,” said Assistant City Manager Brian Moura about the differences.

The biggest difference is in the affordable housing fees, in part because the number of proposed overall units has changed.

The original proposal called for converting a 10.53-acre strip of land within the existing Caltrain station into eight four-story 407,298-square-foot buildings with 281 housing units among a mix of 23,797 square feet of offices and 14,326 square feet of retail space. The project would also include 667 parking spaces and a new Transit Center on 4.29 acres.

In response to neighbor concern about height and mass, the new plan calls for smaller fourth floors on the eight buildings.

Jeff Byrd of Legacy Partners, the developer, has not confirmed if the firm will definitely pay fees rather than providing 15 percent of units at below-market rates but appears to be leaning in that direction.

Regardless, Moura said the EDAC’s conclusion is that the project will be revenue positive or revenue neutral for the city.

“Their opinion was that this project is a plus for the community even if it doesn’t bring in revenue because it provides commercial development around the depot, a gathering place and more housing units,” Moura said.

With the project still far from set in stone, the potential economic impact directly from Legacy Partners and indirectly such as meal spending by retail workers is still a moving number. That said, the latest analysis projects it would bring in $390,000 in annual revenue while increasing costs $204,000. The result is an extra $187,000 to the general fund. These figures do not include the more than $10 million in one-time fees including planning, building and public works.

An extra development agreement like that the Palo Alto Medical Foundation made with the city for its new medical campus is not necessarily in order or expected because the Transit Village is not tax-exempt and will generate property and sales tax among other revenue.

The fiscal report now heads to the Planning Commission for consideration in its discussion of the project’s actual merits. If the Planning Commission agrees to recommend the City Council approve the project, that body next takes up the issue.

No hard dates are set for either approval.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

Anonymous said...

Pot store

Anonymous said...

If we had any transit, then we could have a transit village. No Bart, no train, very few buses left. A little village on top of the new poop mega-pit would be cute.

Anonymous said...

They tried the pot store. On Palmetto said it was a flour shop, got busted and shut down.

They should have put meth production on the application, no one would have bothered to check it out.

Steve Sinai said...

"People won't turn off 280/380/101 to come to Pacifica"

Why not? Do you think people in SF and northern San Mateo County would rather go to a premium outlet mall in Livermore, Gilroy, or Pacifica?

Anonymous said...


Two companies that do outlet malls looked at passed on the quarry.

First hand information.

Maybe they can stop at McDonalds, Or maybe stop by the little meth lab by the sea when they come into town.

I have never seen a person in my life who argues this much when presented with facts.

Chris Fogel said...

Two companies that do outlet malls looked at passed on the quarry.

I spoke with the representative of one of them a couple years ago when after she spoke in front of council. Her company took a look at the quarry site and decided to build their outlet project elsewhere (I want to say the East Bay, but I'm not 100% sure).

Steve Sinai said...

You think people in SF and northern San Mateo County would rather drive an hour to a premium outlet mall in Vacaville, rather than driving 15-20 minutes to one in Pacifica? And you want people to think you're credible?

If you really believe what you're saying, put your name behind your comments.

Anonymous said...


Mr. Fogel, is correct.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Sinai,

This isn't Domino's. You can not get 35 years of Financial experience in 30 minutes or less.

Hutch said...

The problem with any large retail stores in Pacifica is you have no customers coming from the West. That's why TJ passed on Pacifica. But if people were drawn to come shop stores that are nowhere else close by it might work. How about a Wallmart? The nimby's would love that.

Steve Sinai said...

Anon@11:19, I suspect you're one of those people who pretends to be a big banker, but is actually living off food stamps.

Steve Sinai said...

I agree with Hutch about needing something unique in Pacifica in order to draw people here. A premium outlet mall this close to SF would be one of those unique attractions that would do that.

On the other hand, I've never bought into the idea that because we're on the coast, we're at some kind of disadvantage. Other coastal cities know how to take advantage of their location to draw people in.

People don't avoid Pacifica because we're hard to get to. They avoid coming here because there's nothing here.

Anonymous said...

Oh, are we playing the make believe game again? I want them to scrap Santa Clara and build a new home for 49ers in the quarry!

Sadly, people hoping and wishing on a blog don't make things happen. It sounds like the professional who actually does this for a living that Chris spoke with already rendered judgement on the viability of an outlet mall at the quarry.

Anonymous said...

Who would ever want to go to Vacaville, Livermore or Gilroy if right here on the beautiful coast was a great upscale outlet mall? Shoppers would come from all over the Greater Bay Area and make a day of it. Market it to SF tourists and get out of the way! The really nice outlet malls draw groups and even tour buses. Revenue, jobs, what's not to like?

City-owned property would help. Lacking that, it's all about the will to find a way. What are we doing? Futzing around with Palmetto and Beach Blvd.

Anonymous said...

1241 You're right. The statu quo is awesome! I'd much rather continue to pay more and more taxes to keep this wreck afloat. Who'd believe that, this close to San Francisco, our stellar development plan of the moment centers on a library. You think SMC will share those late book fines?

Anonymous said...

hey 1241 you want make believe? go to city hall. they'll tell ya a story or two. watch your wallet.

Steve Sinai said...

"It sounds like the professional who actually does this for a living that Chris spoke with already rendered judgement on the viability of an outlet mall at the quarry"

Conditions change. Developers didn't want to deal with Pacifica's previous anti-business councils and pro-traffic jam NIMBYs. Now that the business climate is changing in town, albeit slowly, I would expect developers to take another look.

Anonymous said...

You continue to believe the unsubstantiated fantasy that the reason outlet mall developers haven't been interested in the quarry is because of "previous anti-business councils and pro-traffic jam NIMBYs", rather than obvious facts about the property itself, such as its lack of proximity to major transportation corridors, or that half of its market area is underwater, or that there are numerous successful malls just over the hill, and things like the requirement of a reclamation plan before development can proceed. Blaming it all on past city councils is ignoring the obvious multiple factors that would make any commercial developer look elsewhere for a far better site. Besides, the money is in housing. Peebles knew that and so did Trammell Crow before him.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Trammell Crow and Peebles were going to get over those regulatory hurdles? They didn't seem like they were new to the game.

Steve Sinai said...

The "can't do it" attitude of 1:58 is one of the reasons this city is Nowheresville. It's why, whenever someone asks on TripAdvisor whether it's OK to stay in Pacifica, everyone from outside of town tells them to stay elsewhere.

For 30 years, the Gang of No has promised us a healthy economy based on the environment and tourism.

They failed.

It's time for them to get out of the way.

Anonymous said...

2:18 - don't you understand that local painters and artists know more about development than Trammel Crow and Peebles?

Anonymous said...

Jeez you people who are clamoring for an outlet store are sorely out to lunch. One word people.... Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Those aren't regulatory hurdles. Those are market concerns. And the way to get over them is to propose to build 350 houses. Then when you get approval, flip the property with the entitlements and make out like a bandit.

Of course, things like the property being in the coastal zone and having endangered species habitat does create regulatory hurdles. But that can be worked out ... can't it?

Steve Sinai said...

Anon:1:58, perhaps you can inform us why Monterey and Santa Cruz, two towns that are not near any major transportation corridors, have half their market underwater, and have to deal with the same coastal regulatory requirements as we do - manage to attract visitors and have vibrant economies, while Pacifica can't?

Anonymous said...

Imagine how many people would come over the hill for a Wallmart? And the hippies would have a kitten. Not to mention all the meth heads. The quarry is already zoned commercial and plenty of room for parking.

Anonymous said...

Diversification. That's smart, pragmatic leadership. Those towns didn't put all their economic eggs in one basket, unlike Pacifica. What basket? Vibrant economies in beautiful places. Even a hippie/yuppie nest like Santa Cruz can do it!

Anonymous said...

@258 Hitting the outlets, particularly nice outlets, with a couple popular decent restaurants in the mix, is the preferred leisure activity for a large segment of the population. They gather, they make a day of it, they go home. You can't get that on Amazon. That's a whole other high.

Anonymous said...

How about a Mental Hospital? We would be able to fill most if crackpots that live here.......

Anonymous said...

Gee, a Target hidden from view in the quarry would be nice. Maybe a little Home Depot? Walmart too? What's the harm? Be still my heart. The hippies can always save face, boycott ours, and keep shopping over the hill at theirs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:52 you need to change what you're smoking.

from CNBC
"Citigroup Global Head Of Real Estate Thomas Flexner said fears of the internet knocking off the weaker shopping malls are finally becoming a reality. More and more retailers are downsizing square footage or closing less profitable stores.

"Once you get away from those class 'A' malls, there is just more risk. It is getting more difficult for tenants to make money, generate and produce sales," said Flexner. "The vacancy rates in the regional mall business are increasing in the lower productive or lower quality malls. And that is also where we see the biggest impact of the internet."

The problems aren't just affecting smaller shopping mall operators. Earlier this year, public real estate investment trust General Growth Properties put a portfolio of secondary malls on the market. It was generally viewed as an effort to prune their less productive assets.

Flexner said the situation is worse for drug and food-anchored shopping malls in highly competitive areas and in difficult local economies.

According to Stern Agee Senior Retail Analyst Ken Stumphauzer, the internet has meaningfully changed behavioral characteristics of consumers."

Anonymous said...

If the quarry was a good site for a premium outlet mall, wouldn't developers already have figured that out?

Anonymous said...

Pacifica is the Bermuda Triangle of SMC. Defies explanation.

Kathy Meeh said...

What is the status of the quarry? And is the city able to work with the current owner or holding company to complete regulatory requirements?

The General Plan consultants advised the quarry should be developed to provide a better economic base for this city. And we all really know that, don't we?

The premium outlet mall would be a welcome development for our city, and our region. And of course viability studies would be done in advance.

Steve Sinai said...

"If the quarry was a good site for a premium outlet mall, wouldn't developers already have figured that out?"

Five years ago, you could have given the same reason for not having a Premium Outlet Mall in Livermore.

Then they built one.

Anonymous said...

So what? The same could be said about a football stadium in Santa Clara, but that doesn't mean they'll build one in Pacifica. Hope is not a strategy.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, it's Pacifica's weather that does not allow it to compete with Monterey or Santa Cruz in terms of drawing people to town. Sure, we get the nice days( certainly this summer!), but never as nice as Santa Cruz or Monterey. Even nearby Half Moon Bay usually has better weather. Oh, and they have a legitimate downtown. I've been in and around Pacifica for near 50 years and still can't figure out where our downtown is.

Kathy Meeh said...

"Hope is not a strategy." Anonymous 7:53 PM.

You may have noticed the current "we'll have nothing" strategy of removing land from Pacifica, the avoidance of smart development, the ton of forced fees, combined with the refusal to pay additional taxes and fees where possible is not working-out that well.

"Shop 'til you drop" sounds like a good strategy for Pacifica. Bring in the tourists (including the busloads), and vendors could also provide online mall shopping.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point about the weather. But towns like Mendocino & Ft Bragg have foggy weather and do alright.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, we understand you hate the prior councils as you've repeated ad nauseum, but what's your strategy? Hope an outlet mall drops down from the heavens?

And wtf does "vendors could also provide online mall shopping" mean?

Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous 9:52 PM.

Your words, "wtf does "vendors could also provide online mall shopping" mean?" Try premium outlet mall clothing vendors (or merchants). That was the subject. See Wikipedia. No reason the stores would not also offer their products/clothing as part of the premium outlet mall online.

Your words, "what's your strategy?" Guess you missed my 5:05 PM comment, figures. Or is there some obscure strategy you're tuned in to?

Your words, "repeated ad nauseum". So once again, the needed city focus to develop the quarry has been expressed by Pacificans who can count, and who understand civic economic and social synergy. Prior city councils (more recently from 2002) and their friends (you) have failed this city by sidelining and obstructing development opportunities.

The result over 32+ years is that a whole lot of permanent damage has been done to this city. So its time to stop coddling NIMBIES who refuse balance, and try to fix what's left.

Anonymous said...

412 Upscale outlet malls are different animals. Not at all like traditional malls. They draw an outlet customer and those customers tend to make an event out of a visit. Shop, lunch, shop, etc. or, they arrive on a tour bus. Your analyst's comments do not include the premium outlet malls several of us are advocating here.

Anonymous said...

The leader in these upscale outlet malls is a company called Premium Outlets. They're all over the US and in several other countries. Great stores, Polo, Coach, Barneys, etc. Restaurants. Serious outreach programs to conventions, travel agents, hotels, chambers, etc. as well as drawing regional customers.
What a difference something like that would make for this city. Of course we'd have to get on the radar first before anything will ever happen. Pretty clear, that won't happen without an economic development pro on staff.

Anonymous said...

The locals have to stop shopping in their bedroom slippers , comb their hair and maybe replace a few missing teeth before an upscale shopping center could take hold.

Anonymous said...

Yeah,yeah, but their tax dollars are real purty.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
In my opinion, it's Pacifica's weather that does not allow it to compete with Monterey or Santa Cruz in terms of drawing people to town. Sure, we get the nice days( certainly this summer!), but never as nice as Santa Cruz or Monterey. Even nearby Half Moon Bay usually has better weather. Oh, and they have a legitimate downtown. I've been in and around Pacifica for near 50 years and still can't figure out where our downtown is.

July 2, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Carmel is just as foggy as Pacifica, and tourists flock there. The difference between Carmel by Monterey Bay can be 60 and fog vs 80 back in Carmel Valley. The same micro climate in Pacifica. It was 85 degrees in the back of the valley today.

Anonymous said...


Sorry. $225,000 was my low $$ year in the big recession.

Life is good for Big Banker!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, comments about similar weather in Carmel, Monterey, Fort Bragg, and Mendicino are correct. However, each of those locales are destination towns; Fort Bragg, maybe not so much. Can we really say that about Pacifica that it's a destination? Perhaps the fact that our proximity to San Francisco limits our ability to ever become a destination. The other locales really have no large cities nearby unless you would consider San Jose as nearby; it's a bit of a drive from San Jose to Monterey or Carmel. Perfectly doable, but a drive nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

bring back Peebles!

Anonymous said...

We're just a 'burb. What used to be called a bedroom community. The sooner we realize that and stop trying to become a freaking nature park, the sooner we start climbing out of this really deep hole. More housing of all sorts and more businesses will bring us more money and make us a place people other than the aging hippie-brigade want to live.

Anonymous said...

Pacifica, is the only beach town on the West Coast that does not take advantage of being a beach town.

Carmel, has the same group of no and hippies and nobees and nimbys but they understand the city needs revenue.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:37pm said" Pacifica, is the only beach town on the West Coast that does not take advantage of being a beach town. Carmel, has the same group of no and hippies and nobees and nimbys but they understand the city needs revenue."

Correct, Carmel appreciates the scenic beauty of the location and that uniqueness draws people, not outlet shopping malls or same old same old cheap retail that is found elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

546 In truth, there's not much to take advantage of as far as tourists are concerned. We're really nothing special and we're right next door to SF which is seriously special. Tourist route is SF then the Monterey Peninsula, Wine Country or Marin. Might gas up in Pacifica or we might even get some city hotel overflow and a meal, but that's about it. We're minor league. Our value and our economy should be based on our proximity to jobs. That's the thing we have that people want. Small, quiet town with massive amounts of open space and an easy commute to job centers. That's a valuable commodity and we should be selling it.

Steve Sinai said...

Pacifica has some of the lowest home prices on the Peninsula. That doesn't jibe with the statement that people view Pacifica as a desirable place to live. When I tell people I live in Pacifica, they either give me a blank stare; or give me a look of pity, as if I told them I lived in Pyongyang or Port-au-Prince.

People aren't interested in living in "NoWhereville", where you have to drive five miles to buy anything other than groceries.

For 30+ years, the Gang of No has been telling us that tourists will flock here if we turn the city into a big park. Since that hasn't happened, the new story is homeowners will flock here if we turn the city into a big park.

Kinda like telling us we can't build in the quarry because traffic on highway 1 is too heavy, and then saying we don't need to increase highway capacity because there really isn't a problem.

Anonymous said...

Turn it into a big park? No. We're already a big park. How about build some nice places to live for renters and buyers, apts, condos, houses. Not block after block but some nice, new, housing stock. Might bring us a few more people to shop in our stores, help old businesses and attract some new ones. No reason we can't have a premium outlet mall, too. No reason at all. Anything to put us on the map.

Hutch said...

The one thing we do not promote as much as we should is the world class fishing right here in Pacifica. We are one of the only places in the world where you can catch King Salmon and Dungeness Crabs off a pier. And with no fishing license needed.

Our Striped Bass fishing is legendary. Also Perch can be caught in the surf and Rockfish in (yes) the rocks.

Sport fishermen travel from across the country and world to fish hotspots like Cabo, Alaska Australia. They spend big bucks on hotels, dining out even hiring fishing guides.

Pacifica could easily attract these tourists with money to spend with very little effort.

I notice on the city website there is little or no mention of the world class fishing here in Pacifica

We should at least let people know on our home page and promote this resource more than "trails" which bring us very little money. I think it's an industry we could easily develop into something that could attract 1000's more visitors a year.

The Tribune used to have a fishing report. I don't know why they stopped. And it wouldn't cost too much to put some little ads in the back of some fishing publications.

Anonymous said...

Knock yourself out, Hutch.

Anonymous said...

Our fishing was legendary up to about 1990-2002. The Southern California water grabbers wanted more and more water.

But your message is spot on Hutch. The only beach town on the west coast that does not take advantage of being a beach town.

Look at the Jersey shore?

big banker said...

Pacifica did have the lowest prices on the Peninsula. Some parts od Daly City and lower Menlo Park and East Palo had some shady areas.

Pacifica prices started to catch up in 2002 when people in the city and down the Peninsula, figured hey we can buy in Pacifica for 1/3 the price of down 101 or 280.

Linda Mar hit the mid $700K and Park Pacifica was starting to hit $1,000,000. Pedro Point and a couple area had sales over $1,000,000.

The great recession took prices down almost 50%.

Pacifica looks like an excellent choice to live on paper. 20 minutes from downtown SF. Right next to Daly City Bart. Over the hill from one of the biggest bio-tech centers in the world SSF.

People buy in town and do not have a clue how bad the city finances are. I talk to new families who move in and I ask them, well didn't you and your realtor talk about that?

In order to Pacifica to get out of this perfect financial storm they are in everyone down at city hall has to change. The old guards have to change and new blood has to come in. So far nothing I have seen from the new council tells me they want to improve things.

Anonymous said...

Wait until the city files bankrupt. All the people who purchased a home in the last 10 years will start a massive class action lawsuit against every realtor who didn't disclose the sorry state of Pacifica's finances and they will also sue the city.

Anonymous said...

10:48 the reason why Pacifica is bankrupt and the "gang of no" has run the town into the ground over the last 30 years.

Let someone else do it.

Anonymous said...


You know it would take a consultants report and $30,000 to Post on Stripers On Line, and the other fishing blogs.

The Gang of No will all come to city council saying all the fisherman are the cause of the highway 1 traffic problems and the back up during the commutes.