Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Develop for the economic benefit of our city, hear, hear!

Bells ring the day city council
addresses serious city development
Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 4 /1/14.  "This little place we call home" by James de la Rosa

"Editor: In response to "Planning Commission Studies Proposed Development on Fassler Avenue," I think that developing parts of Pacifica that are currently unused will benefit everyone who lives here.

Developers have shown interest in the past to build homes, businesses, and even improve city infrastructure, but they have been shot down because people want to keep Pacifica scenic. These are opportunities to bring in money that the city desperately needs.

The additional funds can go into improving schools and parks so that the children living here can enjoy the same things that other towns on the peninsula provide to their citizens. Other cities like San Carlos and San Mateo have large sports complexes with little league fields, tennis and basketball courts open to the public, and large fields that don't say "No Dogs Allowed" or "Property of Pacifica School District."

If the city of Pacifica is allowed to expand there will be an influx of money and new faces. As more people move here businesses will follow. Pacifica doesn't just have to be a sleepy suburb between Half Moon Bay and Daly City. Imagine how nice it would be to not have to go over the hill or down to San Mateo to go to places like Home Depot or the movie theater. We place ourselves at an immediate disadvantage by choosing to be secluded and not allowing anything new to move into our little town that we call home."

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Hutch said...

You nailed it James. Pacifica's population has stood stagnant for 30+ years at around 39,000. We need to increase at least 5% a year to create more jobs, help current businesses, create more businesses and for the city and thrive.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, another nail in the coffin! We can't even pay for the rather bare-bones but expensive services required by the current population. Those costs and the bill for our crumbling infrastructure aren't going away. They're going to grow. And there isn't enough land left or the demand to build the significant retail tax base needed to pay for services for more population. Mom and Pops aren't ever enough and we're too out of the way to attract crowds of shoppers. We don't get much of the fluctuating property tax and our sales tax goes over the hill to places like San Mateo's Hillsdale Shopping Center (pays a lot of their city services and amenities)or whatever's convenient to where our jobs are. Be that as it may, it's obvious that small developers and realtors love this scenario. For the rest of us, the math doesn't work. And since no one is clamoring to build anything big here, even though the door has been open for years now, it looks like the math doesn't work for anyone with real money. Visitor serving facilities and services make better economic sense for Pacifica. Not much else we can do with what's left.

Hutch said...

552 The city also gets money from sales taxes, fees, fines, permits etc. All of which would increase when you have more people working, living, shopping, opening businesses, hiring, building etc. There is more purpose and advantage to added bodies than just paying more property tax.

Besides those studies saying that more housing costs more in services than what it generates in taxes were not done on the Peninsula where we have some of the highest home prices and highest taxes in the nation.

Anonymous said...


Try explaining this to the turnips on city council. You will hear nothing but crickets.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Even this Council knows it isn't true and Hutch knows it, too. He's seen the proof laid out for him in simple language on Riptide, and I think on here as well, but it doesn't fit his worldview so down go the blinders. Feebly grasping at fees and fines and permits as a way of paying for city services is something the Nobees are accused of on a regular basis. Any port in a storm, huh? Yes, property taxes on the peninsula are among the highest in the country, but that doesn't offset the cost of services for residents of new development. Ask any city manager or county executive. It's retail magnets like Hillsdale that pay the bills for San Mateo. Several other peninsula towns also benefit from industry like SSF and San Carlos or retail and light industry like San Bruno. We have none, no retail, no industry, no hospitals, nada. And land is scarce. But worst of all, we also don't have the central corridor location of the peninsula with transit and jobs to drive growth. Probably why somebody thought this town would make a nice, quiet little commune and set about making it happen. We all slept through that part but we're wide awake now! Housing isn't the answer unless major retail or industry comes with. That isn't going to happen people. Find another way. The other alternative back in the 50s was that we become the refuse dump for other towns. So they incorporated and we were saved!

Kathy Meeh said...

1103, I don't know what was put out on Riptide, but this city needs both residential and retail/commercial revenue. Done right, a synergy of business supporting business, and residential supporting business occurs.

Hutch 743 made the correct "residential supporting business" synergy point, whereas NIMBIES usually cite wrong rural and farmland studies to make their point. Rural and farmland studies are not applicable to this city located on the edge of the San Francisco metropolitan area.

"We can do nothing" has been too long the sad, sorry whimper of this city. Put a big box in the quarry and watch our city revenue soar. That's worked for our San Mateo County city economic competition, East Palo Alto.

You probably didn't support the mix-use developments proposed for the quarry in 2006 and 2002, but those proposed developments would have boosted our city revenue as well.

Anonymous said...

Besides those studies saying that more housing costs more in services than what it generates in taxes were not done on the Peninsula where we have some of the highest home prices and highest taxes in the nation.

April 3, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Those studies come from the "gang of no"

Anonymous said...

Ms. Meeh, I voted for both quarry measures because I thought they might ultimately result in what you call 'big box' retail development for Pacifica. If not within the quarry then somewhere else in town. Older and wiser now and I don't think we'll ever see anything in the quarry. Placement of the WWTP there was a brilliant move by the enviros. It insured a regulatory nightmare for any developer. Only the big guys could take it on and they can make more money easier elsewhere. Building out the highway won't change the scenario on that side of the road. Housing does not pay its way without major retail or some type of industry to provide tax revenue. True, even on the 'pricey' Peninsula. Financially healthy cities on the Peninsula have that--San Mateo for example. The ones that don't, like Millbrae and San Carlos have struggled. Property tax isn't enough unless you have extremely high home values and little population growth as in Hillsborough or Atherton. Even there the special assessments needed to keep up with the ever-rising cost of services are endless. Of course that's not a developers concern. Build it and bounce! But when the bills don't get paid, and the cost of services climbs, and you have no way to generate revenue, you end up with a mess like Pacifica. Next stumble of the economy and we could officially be the ghetto of SMC. Maybe sooner.

Anonymous said...

647 Ding ding ding! We have today's first mention of "the gang of no". Gawd, to think someone woke up with that on their mind. And, clearly, so very little else.

Hutch said...

1103 There has been no proof presented on Riptide or here to support the claim about new housing costing more in services than the taxes it generates here ON THE PENINSULA.

Sure the NIMBY's showed studies done in farm areas, Michigan, Texas, rural California. But nothing here that PROVES theory because it does not apply here with these high home prices and taxes.

And even if it did apply here there are many other benefits to increasing housing like lower rents, prospering businesses, new businesses, more jobs, increased sales tax, TOT tax, UUT tax, fees, permits, fines etc..

If every town had the mentality Pacifica has about not adding housing we would have a 100 million homeless in the US.

Anonymous said...

Pacifica has grown since it incorporated and added a lot of housing--Park Pacifica, Vista Montara, parts of Linda Mar, apts and condos in Manor and Fairmont, etc. How come all this housing and population growth haven't made us financially stable? We added population and housing but over time we lost our ability to generate sales tax revenue. It went over the hill. During this growth this city made it a habit to cover operating costs with gov't handouts, one-time windfalls, looting the sewer fund.
Why? Because we were already broke and unable to cover the cost of services. Why would significant housing growth now bring us financial stability? How's that work? Really, how does that work?

Anonymous said...

225 It's just different now. Can't you see that? How many times must we tell you?

Hutch said...

225 I know this goes against the NIMBY religion but try to pay attention.

Benefits of increased housing in addition to increased property tax, sewer assessment are lower rents, prospering businesses, new businesses, more jobs created, increased sales tax, TOT tax, UUT tax, fees, permits, fines etc..

We were doing fine in the 60's and 70's after massive home building occurred.It was only after we stopped growing in the 80's, 90's & 2000's that we stagnated.

And we are broke now due to overspending and wasting money.

Anonymous said...

Hutch, no one is handier with the obvious than you and no one floats on the surface of an issue quite as well as you. I salute you!

One question. Why are you so concerned about rents? High rents usually go along with rising property values which are good for Pacifica. Markets expand and contract. Rents get too high, people start buying, which BTW means a new owner paying post-Prop 13 taxes. As a landlord, why shouldn't I be able to enjoy excellent return on the property I invested in, pay taxes on, improved, and have maintained in good condition? I'm not in the business of providing affordable housing. That's best left to the city if it chooses to act, charitable organizations, or investors in that business. Unfortunately, affordable housing gets a bum rap in Pacifica and needs advocates who really understand the issue. Couple of councilmembers of good conscience, O'Neill and Digre, are very familiar with the issue. For what it's worth, since it seems important to you.