Saturday, July 25, 2015

Harmony@1 development, may not LEED to harmony (but it's approved)

Image result for Cow picture
Harmony@1 projects were first approved
8 years prior.  Since, green "best practices"
for rating have broadened.  Practicality happens.
Regulations change. So, why "have a cow" now?
Pacifica Tribune, Letters to the editor, 7/21/15.  "Lack of Harmony"  by BJ Nathanson.

"I am a former Planning Commissioner. Years ago, we spent a great deal of effort and time working with the developer and the public to fashion an acceptable project for Harmony on Roberts Road. It appalls me to hear that City Council tossed aside all of our work for this new developer. What is the point of going through the system if it means nothing? Why pretend that conditions of approval have any teeth if Council can renege on them at will? Why must some people obey the rules and others get a free pass?

This cannot stand. This sets an alarming precedent for all developments to follow. This decision must be stopped and appealed immediately."
Note: BJ Nathanson was an excellent, appointed City of Pacifica Planning Commissioner for many years. She formerly lived in Pacifica, East Sharp Park.  Interesting Zoominfo link.

Note.  Graphic from an Allen B. West/Steadfast and Loyal article, 4/24/15. Caption definitions: "Best practice" from Dictionary Reference. "Have a cow", slang idiom from The Free Dictionary.  

Related, Fix Pacifica reprint articles.  Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, Staff Writer, 7/14/15. "Council affirms Harmony@1 green building requirements." "The original conditions stated the project will be built to achieve LEED certification, a gold standard whenever possible. Instead, the developer, Javier Chavarria proposed, and the planning commission agreed, for the home to obtain a score of 152 on the green point rating system; the home will be built to LEED gold standards but not certified."    Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, 5/5/15, "City Council member (John Keener) appeals approval of Harmony@1 home." 

Reference, City documents and process.  City Council meeting 7/13/15, Item 11,  Lot 2, Harmony @1 single family residence, Fassler and Roberts Road (APN 022-150-460), approved prior the Planning Commission.  "Call up for review" by City Councilmember, John Keener.  Minutes from the City Council meeting, 7/13/15, pdf pages 1-31. For Item 11,  see pages 5 - 27.  From the Minutes, Item 11, it seems that Harmony@1, lot 2, was approved by City Council, at LEED Gold standard (with inspection, but not with audited Certificate); and the GreenPoints minimum rating was stated as 100. (Mayor Karen Ervin comment, page 24, second to last paragraph). 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

But she left Pacifica.

Tom Clifford said...

Jane got it wrong the Planning Commission approved it with the condition that it meet LEED Gold without a certificate and achieve 100 points on the green point rating system.
what Council did by approving this bastardized green rating system is give, both the Developer and the people who work so hard to create a special project the worst of both.

The cost to meet the nineteen Leed prerequisite and then achieve enough verified LEED points for a Gold rating (A house with that much sq. footage will need about 75 LEED points) will be only $475 cheaper that if you went ahead and got the certification. So the developer will have all the cost but no bragging right.

The highest LEED points achievable is a little more then 100. The highest green points rating system achievable is about 350. The systems are not comparable.

The slap in the face by Council to everyone that worked so hard to get this right in 2007 should never have happened.

Kathy Meeh said...

Tom 614, page 24 of the City Council meeting 7/13/15 Minutes. Isn't this what happened?
Mayor Ervin last sentence, second to last paragraph. "She was comfortable with that decision as long as it can be verified that they are getting what they want, ie., LEED gold standard and 100 points of green and will meet green standards."..etc. Also see City Attorney Kenyon, page 25.

On the Harmony@1 article above, a note has been made about the 100 GreenPoint rating. Javier Chavarria representing the developer did say at the Planning Commission and at City Council, the intent was for the lot 2 house to achieve a GreenPoint rating of 152. 100 to 152 GreenPoint rating and LEED gold standard, with an inspection, not the Certification audit, still seems substantially green.

There is an outstanding question (and conflict) about the total cost to implement LEED Certificate standards, Chavarria mentioned $25,000-$30,000 per house, rather than just the cost of the $475 certificate itself. And he said with GreenPoint, the project could include additional efficiencies.

Tom Clifford said...

The problem with Mayor Ervin's statement is that without the LEED's certificate you have no proof that you have meet the standard. Leed audits the result of the onsite inspector before it issue the certificate. This is how they verify that that the inspector did his/her job correctly and the home is truly up to leed gold standards.

The cost for the inspector will be the same with or without the certificate.

The 15-40 thousand dollar difference per house Mr. Charvarria talked about appears to be the cost difference between obtaining a Green point rating of 152 (a much lower bar)instead of the LEED Gold certification. He asked to replace LEED with greenpoint and wound up with having to meet both standards but without the need to get the certificate. All the cost but none of the marketing benefits.

City council clearly did not understand the issues

Anonymous said...

That's our council!

Anonymous said...

I hope all LEED auditors decide to boycott this project so that the developer is unable to fulfill the phony certification process. Let him come back to the planning commission and start the process over.

Anonymous said...

Karen Ervin is a researcher at Genentech. Which means she is paid well to google and look up stuff. She doesn't understand LEED. No one on the city council does.

Lap boy Javier, is the engineer he isn't the developer like the city council called him

Hey Tom I triple dog dare you to find a contractor's licence for the contractor of this project. Oh and the out of town realtors who are selling the project don't even have their license number on the website and sign.

Where is the outrage from the local contractors and realtors? said...

Having sat through that meeting, Tom Clifford's description of the commitment /evolution of the LEED vs Green Point process cleared up a lot of the issues for the average person:

Both the issues of the Asphalt vs Permeable concrete issue and the "berm height" directly affect the flooding issues of Linda Mar neighborhood.

If we think of that hill as a giant sponge that soaks up water, when it is covered with anything it soaks up less water. Asphalt sheds more water than concrete and lower berms typically shed more water in a heavy flood than higher berms.

The goal is to leave that water on the hill, not to funnel it into a giant mudslide behind the Cabrillo School and into the Linda Mar storm sewer collection system.

(the diagram below is from a project I was involved with two years ago but explains the situation very well):

The height of the berms directly affects the amount of water that is temporarily held there as it soaks into the hill, and the concrete by default (without specific additives) is water permeable).

It's my understanding that both the sanitary sewers and storm drains from Fassler will be routed to Rockaway Beach, not Linda Mar, right?

Anonymous said...

Pacifica is the home of unintended consequences. Look out lower Linda Mar! Hardly Harmonious.

Anonymous said...

502 Outrage from local realtors and contractors? Not a chance. They smell an extra nickel on the table for their future deals "in the shadow of Harmony@1". LMAO.

Kathy Meeh said...

950, unfortunately in this City, Harmony@1 is what passed as consensus at that time.
Something commercial or mixed-use might have been a better consideration.

What kind of work do you do? Go ahead, let us know, so that an Anonymous Realtor may make fun of you at your expense. LMAO.

Anonymous said...

Pacifica Realtors won't make a dime from harmoney @ 1. It's listed with coldwell banker down in San Jose. Exclusive listings. With mean no broker co-op.

Anonymous said...

Duh, of course something commercial or mixed-use would have been better for Pacifica in terms of much needed revenue. A fully built 55 million dollar Harmony@1 generates less than $100K yearly in property tax share for Pacifica. And a few bucks of fee-in-lieu money paid by the developer for the lack of affordable units. Very few thanks to our inept council. A hotel complex would have been terrific. Easily over a million dollars a year in TOT, plus jobs and other spending by visitors. But private property in a town without an economic development strategy is going to become whatever the owner wants. We're limited by the owner's vision and resources as well as those of this city. That's a deadly combination. Thanks to all our permanent open space, we are just about out of developable parcels. If they go the way of Harmony instead of commercial, this town is done.

Anonymous said...

1148 Old news and no one said otherwise. A rising tide lifts all boats, even the modest little ones. That would benefit local sellers and realtors. Unless the old bubble bursts, again. Chop, chop, Coldwell Banker, chop, chop.

Anonymous said...


This bubble will pop before the next Presidential elections.

We currently have:
debt bubble
real estate bubble
stock market bubble

Personal Incomes are only going up about the same as our inflation rate, under 2%. Houses are up 25% in the last year or more!

Anonymous said...

139 Yeah, I think it's got about 18 months to run--barring catastrophe. Hang on to your rabbit's foot!

Anonymous said...

Kathy, Thumbs up on the cows!