CCF asks Coastal Commission 25 questions


Posted by
Tue, June 13, 2006

In an open letter to the local Coastal Commission program manager Chris Kern, Coastside Community First President Charlie Gardner has responded to Kern’s earlier letter to the city of Half Moon Bay with (by my count) 25 questions.

Kern’s letter said it is not possible to mitigate the taking of wetlands to build a road. Five of the questions in the letter are about whether it is indeed possible to mitigate the taking of wetlands to build a road. The remainder focus on a new issue: the Pacific Ridge settlement, which resulted in Coastal Commission approval of a traffic light on Highway 1 at Terrace Avenue.

Gardner has asked Coastsider to publish CCF’s letter as an open letter to the Commission. We’re running his letter on the second page of this story, as we did with Kern’s letter.

June 11, 2006 

Chris Kern
Coastal Program Manager
North Central Coast District - California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000 
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219 

Dear Mr. Kern: 

Thank you for your same-day response to HMB City Manager Deborah Auker concerning Foothill/wetlands issues. Coastsiders have been asking a number of questions about these and related issues, which you’ve certainly demonstrated an alacrity in answering. Coastside Community First respectfully requests your response to the following Foothill-related questions: 

1. Your June 6th letter to Ms. Auker states that wetlands can be mitigated for eight reasons, which do not include roadbuilding. How then did Caltrans receive Commission approval to go through wetlands at Shamrock Ranch, and mitigate them with wetlands restoration a few miles away, at Montara? Is that proscribed by the Coastal Act and Bolsa Chica decision, as your letter would indicate? 

2. Your quote in the May 3rd HMB Review mentions a ‘conflict resolution’ process whereby wetlands mitigations for roadbuilding can occur. Why is this process not mentioned as a possibility in your letter? 

3. Is it the Commission’s opinion that it is not possible to build a roadway bypass linking Highways 92 and 1 that avoids wetlands? If that is the case, is there some reason that HMB could not receive Commission approval through ‘conflict resolution,’ as Caltrans did, to mitigate any unavoidable wetlands intrusion? 

4. A number of questions have been raised concerning the Pacific Ridge settlement agreement, to which the Commission is signatory. As you know, the agreement requires your staff, regardless of any EIR findings and in contradiction to your staff’s prior recommendation, to recommend in favor of a permanent stoplight at Terrace. Is it customary for the Commission to require of its staff a particular recommendation on an application? Are there circumstances under which you consider it appropriate to require staff to make a recommendation contrary to their actual opinions? In the past, has your staff recommended for or against applications before the Commission according to its prior instructions? If so, which applications had predetermined staff recommendations? Were the applicants and the public made aware of such arrangements? If no applications have had staff recommendations dictated by the Commission, does that mean that the requirement in the Pacific Ridge settlement agreement is unprecedented? 

5. Are you required to publicly support the settlement agreement? If so, is your June 6th letter colored by that requirement? If you disagree with elements of the agreement, in particular its restrictions on your or your staff’s freedom to recommend on applications, are you free to state so in response to this CCF query? 

6. Would you permit your staff to create a recommendation against a stoplight at Terrace, if that was their considered professional opinion? If you did, would the Commission publish that recommendation, or would it be publicly suppressed as contrary to the terms of the settlement agreement? Would you or your staff be subject to disciplinary action from the Commission if you or your staff recommended against the Terrace stoplight? 

7. If you or your staff recommended against a Terrace stoplight, and that recommendation was publicly suppressed by the Commission as contrary to the agreement, would you consider releasing it to the public anyway? Do you believe that you or your staff would then be subject to civil actions from the parties to the agreement for doing so? Is there a whistleblower status that might protect you or your staff in that event? 

8. The Commission of course does not need to follow your staff’s recommendation when considering an application. Since it is not necessary to have your staff’s positive recommendation to approve a stoplight at Terrace, why in your opinion does the agreement contain an unnecessary requirement that restricts your staff’s expression of professional opinion?  Do you agree that it appears to be an attempt to suppress predictable staff criticism of a Terrace stoplight? Are you aware of any other explanation for such an extraordinary restriction? 

9. The Commission voted unanimously in favor of the settlement agreement, despite controversial elements as described above. Are the minutes, transcripts or the like of the Commission’s deliberations, as well as your staff’s contribution to that process, available to the public? If so, could you provide links to those documents for public perusal in your response to this query? 

Coastside Community First, and the Coastside public in general, very much appreciate your willingness to answer questions on these and other subjects. CCF requests that you publish your response to the above questions on coastsider.com, so that the answers can be widely studied and commented upon. 

Thank you in advance for your timely reply. 

 

COASTSIDE COMMUNITY FIRST 

 

 

Charles M. Gardner
President


If only Mr. Gardner would show this type of energy and enthusiasm towards his elected position on the CUSD, we might see some in improvement int the educational challenges facing our children. 

As the parent of two children in our school system, I am deeply disappointed and troubled by this apparent lack of focus on the part of Mr. Gardner.  What about the kids?

What are you going to do, Mr. Gardner,  now that Measure S did not pass, to help improve funding and reduce class size in our public schools here in the coastside?

Steve Skinner

Can someone explain what/who “Coastside Community First” is?  That title seems awfully strange in association with someone pushing a road development project through wetlands.

Anyway, it might be useful to present such a letter and request for information from a public agency as opposed to a lobby group, if that is what CCF is.  Chris Kerns is an extremely busy man, handling coastal development projects over several NorCal counties.  It is all he can do to try to respond to actual genuine development proposals (like Big Wave, Wavecrest, Pacific Ridge, Pacifica Quarry etc.) and educate people regarding the legal necessity of protecting coastal resources.  Anwsering 25-question letter demands seems a bit excessive.

And BTW, the tone of CCF’s letter is somewhat offensive.  You don’t use the bypass tunnel as an excuse to destroy other wetlands.  You engage in an exhaustive analysis of alternatives, competing coastal protection policies and the law requiring that coastal wetlands be protected.  Rather than request Chris furnish you with a phone book of information, why don’t you just go up to the Coastal Commission office and spend a week in their files of 20+ years of work on the bypass project?

Interesting letter from CCF, almost lawyerly in its dissembling tactic of questions. I’ll skip the concerns raised under 1 through 3 about the conditions under which wetlands may be violated, being confident Mr. Kern will address these authoritatively. My comments regard the remaining batch of questions under numbers 4 through 9.

Like most people, my eyes tend to glaze over when viewing legal documents, so I may be missing something, but all of the concerns posed by the questions appear bogus rather than nettlesome.

The Ailanto Settlement agreement is not legally connected with Foothill as anyone can see by looking at it on CCF’s site; Foothill is not mentioned.  Because questions pertaining to the Ailanto agreement comprise 70% of Gardner’s response to Kern’s letter about wetlands, this is an obvious attempt to shift the ground and put Kern on the defensive.

Much has been made of the language of the agreement that says staff will approve permits, and that that makes the whole process a done deal, even if staff or anyone else objects. Sorry, but that is not the language of this agreement or how it works in real life. One thing ought to be born in mind in even considering this negotiation, and that is that its purpose was to get to an agreement so that the applicant could exercise its rights. Of course the resulting agreement has to assume that the parties to it will proceed in good faith to make it work. That explains why the staff, which operates at the direction of the council, has to do its bidding. The body does what the head tells it to, no surprise there.

Contrary to claims by CCF and others, there are clear contingencies in the Settlement agreement. Unless the applicant assembles all of the required information on all of the forms, the staff does not have to recommend approval. Secondly, in paragraph 7a, after saying the staff will approve the permit etc., it continues, “If the city denies etc.” That means the city can deny the CDP. Why would it do so? For one thing, the planning commission is not bound by the agreement, and could conceivably vote to deny the permit. The council then has to review that decision and might uphold the planning commission’s recommendation, provided it remains in the boundaries of the agreement.

Yet another contingency is the approval of the signal by Cal Trans. If it does not approve the signalized intersection, Ailanto is free to relitigate.

That leaves enough contingencies to conjure a reminder of that old saw, “There is many a slip between the cup and the lip.”

ken king

“Chris Kerns is an extremely busy man, handling coastal development projects over several NorCal counties.  It is all he can do to try to respond to actual genuine development proposals (like Big Wave, Wavecrest, Pacific Ridge, Pacifica Quarry etc.) and educate people regarding the legal necessity of protecting coastal resources.  Anwsering 25-question letter demands seems a bit excessive.”

Are you serious? Why did Mr. Kerns take the time to respond to a mis-informed news article regarding community-based discussions in the first place?

Since we citizens pay his salary, explain to me why he should not answer questions from the community in a timely manner?  I don’t care if it is 50 pages.  Sorry, but it is his job and I have no idea why you think you are a gatekeeper to his daily calendar.

Hopefully you are not too busy do to your own research.  here is the CCF website:

http://www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org

Hello Mark,
Thanks for your attention to this item.  I agree with you that it shouldn’t be necessary to answer all 25 questions because the bulk of those questions are petulant red herrings (that take me back to my college days where we learned about the fallacies of “leading” and “wife-beater” questions in Logic classes).  But I do think it would be instructive to the readership of Coastsider, if not CCF, if Mr. Kern could reply to the initial questions regaring “balancing” regarding wetlands so that we Coastsiders could have a ready reference on the subject.
If you have the occasion to recommend that to him we’d all appreciate it.

Mike Ferreira

BTW Congratulations on the Pebble Beach retreat…

Mr. Ginna,

Did you mean to say: “explain to me why he (Mr. Chris Kern) should not answer questions from the community”. As I read the letter, it is signed by Mr. Charles M. Gardner, President of CCf. 

I, for one, am not willing to concede that the signatory of the letter represents the “community” nor stipulate that CCF represents the “community” in this matter!

I have dealt with the California Coastal Commission since its inception on a number of matters representing significantly more people. I have always found staff there most helpful and willing to go the extra effort even when they initially disagreed.  I would never consider the ‘tone’ of Mr. Gardner’s letter helpful and he ill serves his very limited constituency in this matter. 

Ken Johnson

Mark:
I think we all need to be informed about what our current wetlands really are. I haven’t yet seen the area that is currently at issue as being “wetlands”. But, by looking at the map, my guess is that is probably no more a wetlands than some of the vacant lots that are in my neighborhood. Does the current piece of land in question support any sort of wildlife? Is it even environmentally clean at all? And the big question, How much of an impact will a road actually make? I don’t know the answer, but I think we should all be informed, and I have to say that I question some of the motives regarding prohibiting development such that I think we shouldn’t assume anything.
Ray

Hi All—

This is my first posting on coastsider, for reasons apparent below.

I would hope that we all could meet a minimum acceptable level of civility on this website since we are all neighbors on the San Mateo Coast. 

I see no merit in hurling invectives, casting aspersions, denigrating the opinions of others, or snide remarks.

If any person is totally happy with life as it is on the coast,  please let them speak up.

If others have ideas that they feel need to be considered and that may improve our lives here together, WHY cannot they also speak up without fear of being attacked?

For others that like it here just as it is, I am interested in their opinions too. Especially regarding traffic, water, schools, housing, and the environment.

your neighbor,

terry gossett, moss beach

Chris Kern, whose May 3rd and June 6th public statements contradict each other, owes everyone an explanation.  He entered this discussion of his own accord.

Or did he?  Why would Mr. Kern and the Coastal Commission, who once required Foothill, now so eagerly attempt to hammer nails in its coffin?

All of the most dedicated opponents of Foothill – the Commission, the developer, some past and present HMB officials – have one thing in common: a vested interest in fulfilling the Pacific Ridge settlement agreement.  That is what drives their vehemence against Foothill.

Because if Foothill is admitted to be physically possible, or (even worse) potentially desirable, for that reason alone the settlement agreement should be scuttled, because fulfilling the agreement’s terms would permanently eliminate the possibility of Foothill.  So if you have a vested interest in that agreement, you have to convince the rest of us that Foothill is dead, or the end of western civilization.  Otherwise, why conclude an agreement that will kill the possibility of a road HMB might want, and need, in its future?

So let’s keep this debate as simple as possible.  If you support the settlement agreement, you’re against Foothill.  And if you think Foothill is a good idea whose possibility should be preserved, you’re against the agreement.  I ask every participant in this debate to declare, if they’ve made up their mind, whether the terms of the settlement agreement should be fulfilled.  Let’s vote.

To refresh people’s memories, the details of the agreement are discussed in prior coastsider.com articles, including my “Terrace Stoplight” and “Fear of Foothill” pieces.  Briefly, in order for the agreement to be fulfilled, the City, Coastal Commission and Caltrans would have to approve a Terrace stoplight and adjacent Highway 1 widening as traffic mitigation for 63 supersize houses at Pacific Ridge.

I vote against completing the agreement, for all the reasons I’ve given here over the last six weeks.  And if the agreement gets pushed through, as some past and present HMB officials, the Coastal Commission and developer so keenly desire, don’t blame Coastside Community First.  They’ve shown the courage to question an unprincipled contract that left our community’s best long-term interests on the cutting room floor.

Don:
You’re setting up a false dichotomy. The discussion has been about whether the Foothill “bypass” will help traffic flow or not. In order for that discussion to take place, people have to consider how many houses might be built along the “bypass” route.

That’s where the settlement agreement enters the discussion—because it affects how many houses might be built. You talk as if people should vote on the merits of the settlement agreement and then vote on the merits of the Foothill “bypass.” These two concepts cannot be separated as you imply.

Having ignored all of the important criticisms of CCF’s Foothill plan, Don Bacon still hopes that a popular vote on Coastsider may help salvage a doomed idea.

Mr. Bacon has given up trying to persuade us but now demands we simply vote our preference without the prejudice of facts or logic. But despite his urghing, let’s review some of the facts anyway.

* Foothill/Bayview is a HMB city street, not a county or federal road.

* It would be paid for exclusively by the developer(s), or a combination of the developer(s) and the city (HMB taxpayers).

* The cheaper version has two new stoplights, one on SR 1, the other on SR 92. New signals will slow traffic flow. Throw in Louis Foster and you’re looking at $30 to $40 million. (Costs are NOT subjective, btw, they might be off by some amount, but they are always real.)

* CCF proposes engineering without signals, using underpasses (exit ramps?) instead—that is more expensive than signaling intersections. With Louis Foster added, say $50 million.

* If only developer(s) pay, hundreds of homes need to be built to pay for the road. There are four other developments besides Ailanto along the Foothill/Bayview corridor. They’d all have to build homes to support the road.

* Each new home brings not less than two new vehicles onto the roads, this to solve the claimed congestion problem.

* Because it would not be a highway, but a residential street for high-end homes, those owners would oppose routing traffic through their neighborhood as a safety issue.

* HMB residents would be stuck with a bill because the road could not be financed by even a few hundred houses. Mrs. Bacon and Muteff have averred that State and County might be tapped for $$, a baseless hope given the funding shortfalls on our highway projects.

* CCF’s Foothill cuts south of 92 through the planned buffer zone of the new park and turns west down into Stone Pine. These residents lobbied hard for a quiet park, but now would have major traffic in place of the quiet buffer zone that was designed to protect them. (It’s astonishing no Cypress Cove resident has raised any dissent about this proposal yet.)

* The Settlement agreement could fail for a number of reasons—see my June 14 post above. It is not locked in as Mr. Bacon argued earlier.

* Ailanto ponies up around $3.5 million for building 63 homes, a subsidy to HMB. Throwing out the agreement gets us back to at least 126 houses. More homes mean more traffic.

* Traffic flow continues to improve. Once the Slide opens in September, we’ll get back to a tolerable zone.

* Foothill/Bayview offers no benefit to residents living downtown or in the southern half of HMB, who will be called on to help pay for it anyway.

Notice that wetlands is not indicated as a fact. Why bother when that call is not in the hands of local officials? There is enough telling evidence to show why the Review’s June 14 editorial on Foothill concluded, “Foothill will never get a toehold.” This from the pro-development paper that supported Wavecrest to the bitter end. It’s nice to see that some people can still learn.

ken king

Don, my vote is AGAINST the present “Out of Court Ailanto Settlement Agreement..

Your articulation of the issues is, in my opinion, accurate and focused.
The Agreement needs to be re-negotiated for many reasons, including:

1. 2000+ users of Highway 1 have signed a petition asking the City Council of Half Moon Bay to NOT approve a traffic light at Terrace and Highway 1.

2. The traffic signal cannot be warranted based on safety.  The CHP records indicate one injury accident during the past 10 years.  (a vehicle struck a bicycle going in the wrong direction )

3. The agreements “shell game” approach of maintaining the same total buildout of 285,000 sq ft by halving the number of homes but doubling their size up to 5000 square feet on 100x 100 square foot lots.

4. The onerous “gag” order placed on staff design professionals (both the City of HMB and Coastal Commission staff)
a. I am waiting for a response from Adam Lindgren, Contracted City Attorney of Half Moon Bay asking for the precedents upon which such a restrictive agreement is based. I believe that the gag order is in conflict with the California State licensing laws for Professional Engineers and in obvious conflict with the major Engineering/Architectural Organizations codes of ethics.  In particular because this involves public works that are safety related.
b.  I plan on raising this issue with the California Coastal Commission attorneys.
c. I will submit these responses to the California State Licensing Board and the major professional organizations for review, comment and further action as required.

5. The provision for the developer to build 23 additional homes by installing an unwarranted traffic signal that will affect several thousand folks using highway 1 is an insult to the intelligence of coastside residents.


Jerry Steinberg, CE
Half Moon Bay

Recently, Ken King was asked by CCF to submit a paper dealing with Foothill to be published on the Coastside Community First website.

Apparently he declined to do so because of the time it would take.

I suggest that Mr. King go through his comments here at coastsider.com, put them in some sort of logical order and submit them to CCF.

Since he has typed them out here, most of the work is already done!

I think the definitive piece so far on problems with the bypass is Mike Ferreira’s three-part piece on Coastsider.

CCF has Coastsider’s permission to reprint that piece (with credit) on their site in the interest of furthering their educational mission.  I’m sure Mike won’t object.

I have several question I have not seen addressed here:

How many new stop lights will be added as a result of the Bypass? 

At the petition table I was told no stop lights would be added if the Terrace light did not go in.  Was that petition drive associated with the CCF Bypass proposal?

What differrence will altering the placement of the new light a few hundred feet on Highway 1 make to traffic flow on Highway 1?

Kathryn

Mary Bordi apparently goes by hearsay. This is excerpted from my reply to Mr Gardner’s request:

“Having looked at CCF’s site, I find issue with every argument for Foothill, so I wonder how you see my piece fitting into the format, as I’d want to rebut those points while making some others. This goes a little beyond your invitation, doesn’t it? My home phone is 726 **** if you’d like to talk about this or anything related.”

Does that sound like I was unwilling because of the time it would take? His quick note back seemed to lay the matter to rest, saying instead that maybe we could work on water recycling in the future.

ken king

Ken,
I am interested in knowing if you even agree to the original problem that the proposal is trying to address. Which is, that our current road infrastructure is inadequate for the current population and for the planned growth that we must accept? Do you disagree that this problem is real?

On a similar note, did anyone try to drive to HMB business from around 3 - 6pm yesterday? It was absolutely horrible. Tourist traffic from both ends clogged everything up. I understand that the slide is mainly to blame but still. Tourists have every right to come over here and enjoy the coast, and for our local businesses we want them to come over.
Ray

    Mr. Steinberg, the Attorney for the Coastal Commission is the California Attorney General’s office.  That’s who participates in such negotiations and who drafts such Agreements for the Coastal Commission
.
    As to your fixation with what you label as a “gag rule” let’s discuss some elementary political science as to the role of City staff in such matters.  The City Manager form of government under California law requires that the City Council makes policy decisions during agendized open sessions and closed sessions and gives direction to just two subordinates; the City Manager and the City Attorney.  The Senior Management staff report to the City Manager or, looked at in another light, to the Council through the City Manager. That’s the hierarchy of the California system.

     When City Councils negotiate lawsuit settlements they don’t do it on their own.  The City Attorney, of course, is the primary staffer
due to legal expertise, but the City Manager - together with appropriate Senior Staff - provides substantial context, advice, and
execution. As a practical matter, although not mandatory, this process tends to be collegial in nature and I’d think it would be a rare
settlement that would go forward with significant dissent from Staff.

    There’s always the possibility, of course, that a new City Attorney, City Manager, or Senior Staffmember might come upon the
scene, or that an existing one could have a change of heart or mind. In such a case,  one appropriate step could be to request a rehearing of the matter with the Council (probably in closed session) and to present such newfound conflict for resolution by the Council.  Policy matters, after all, are the Council’s call.

     In the event that the Council’s call would create some professional, political, or even personal barrier for that staffer then I would think that most Councils would be OK with the idea of a recusal, a stand-to-the-side so to speak. Councils are usually sensitive to that sort of thing.

    What probably would not fly - either in government or private industry - is the notion that a staffer would publicly oppose a
settlement agreement in direct opposition to a Council. That would be insubordinate in every sense of the word.

    So, no, it doesn’t seem extraordinary to me that the Agreement contains a clause that requires staff to perform in an executive - as
opposed to discretionary - capacity.  There is plenty of room in the Agreement for discretionary decisions by Planning Commissioners and/or Councilmembers, who still possess their discretionary authority.

Mike Ferreira

Mr. King has excerpted from his reply to Mr. Gardener’s invitation to write a “white paper” for CCF’s website. As I respect his right to the privacy of the email that he sent, I will only quote what he has posted here.

In his response to the invitation to write the paper for the website, Mr. King did mention something about the time factor and Foothill. I apologize if I misinterpreted your meaning, Mr. King.

However, Mr. King was approached by CCF because CCF wanted to make available alternative and varying opinion. He was invited to post his perspective for those who might be interested in his thoughts, and any related links he might propose.

However, to Mr. Gardener’s emailed question, “What do you think?” about writing the paper, Mr. King replied, as he stated (and you can read) above, “This goes a little beyond your invitation, doesn’t it?”

Doesn’t sound like it to me.

Kevin: My point about the settlement agreement is that if it is fulfilled, Foothill becomes forever impossible, due to the agreed site plan.  Closing that door in perpetuity clearly runs counter to the public interest.  The agreement has every appearance of an improvisation, in order to extricate the parties from legal proceedings whose outcomes all the parties had become increasingly apprehensive about.  The key elements dealing with access and the lot retirement program are truly clumsy, and wouldn’t provide the best outcome for the public.  The only way we can get to a proactive renegotiation that more squarely treats the public interest, is to scuttle the settlement agreement.

As for the number of houses, I cleave to the Coastal Commission’s 2001 finding, that Pacific Ridge needed its own access: that is, existing streets like Terrace won’t do.  The ‘first 40 homes’ provision for Terrace access was clearly granted with the understanding and intention that permanent alternative access was to follow.  My opinion is that if Pacific Ridge cannot provide its own access, which the developer now contends, then no subdivision should occur.  That is consistent with the 2001 approval, and if the parties return to court, the Commission should argue accordingly.

Kathryn: Based on the traffic studies, the Coastal Commission concluded there was a significant difference in ‘stacking’ impacts between a light at Terrace and one at Bayview.  If there were underpasses at both ends of Foothill/Bayview, no lights would be added.  As it stands, if the settlement agreement is fulfilled, one light (at Terrace) would be added.

Ken: I’m having a problem with the accuracy of the statements you’re making.  For example, you state that I’ve argued that the settlement agreement is “locked in.”  As you know, I’ve been pointing out just the opposite, that the settlement agreement is contingent on City, Commission and Caltrans approvals for a Terrace stoplight.  I’m unmistakably arguing that the public should militate against those approvals.  If you mean to say that I believe the parties exhibit momentum toward granting Terrace stoplight approvals, undoubtedly.  I’m hoping the public will stop that momentum, so sober decisions in the overall public interest can be made here.

Another example is your statement that “Throwing out the agreement gets us back to at least 126 houses.”  Certainly you are aware that if the agreement falls apart, at most 40 homes would be allowed.  Even those are in jeopardy, if the appellate court sets aside the 2001 approval, which is predicated on alternative access that the developer now contends is impossible. 

Concerning wetlands, Mr. Kern responded to CCF on June 15th by correcting his June 6th assertions that wetlands could not be mitigated for the purpose of roadbuilding.  Admitting that such mitigations are occurring for the tunnel construction, his position is now that similar mitigations for Foothill “appear unlikely.”  He did not contend that Foothill/Bayview could not be routed around wetlands.  He also declined to answer any questions about the settlement agreement, citing “attorney-client privileged communications regarding ongoing litigation.”  CCF’s questions pertain to the settlement agreement, a public document affecting the public welfare, not privileged communications.  They need to be addressed.  The sooner and more thoroughly, the better.  Finally, citing “Commission staff’s practice,” Mr. Kern declined CCF’s request to post his reply letter and relevant Commission documents on coastsider. com.

Mike, your post misses/ avoids and sidesteps the basic issue of my vote AGAINST the present “Out of Court Ailanto Settlement Agreement”.

As a child growing up in New York City in a small apartment in a tenement building, I would sometimes be awakened at night by my Fathers screaming in his sleep.  When asked about his “scary” dreams he would never talk about it.
When I was 12 he died.  At the funeral my mother took my brother and me aside and wanted us to know how fortunate we were to have such a great Dad and told us of his being a farmer and escaping a country that didn”t have a belief in democratic processes. His screams in his sleep were from thugs using pitch forks being plunged into a haystack he was hiding while trying to escape that country.

Yes, I love clean air and open space, but I hold the value of free speech and the democratic process as much more important. And not open to compromise.
I think Don’s asking for a vote from those involved in posting in this discussion is a further example of the democratic process.

We have all been following the democratic process for some time…you have been voted in as an elected official. You have been voted out as an elected official.  David Gorn resigned from his appointment to a position on the HMB City Council because his employer recognized “a conflict in interest” with the democratic process.

Mike, I can’t amuse you with stories about “cargo cults” and “bird metaphors”.  As I indicated in my post I will be forwarding responses from the attorneys representing both the City of Half Moon Bay and the Coastal Commission on the precedents upon which they are basing the “gag rule” imposed on the HMB city and Coastal Commission staff..  It will go to the California State professional licensing board and professional Engineering and Architectural organizations boards of ethics for their comments and any required further action. It will also be forwarded to the local ACLU for their review and comments.

If ,as a licensed engineer,  I were employed by a public agency and my input on life safety issues were “gagged” I would be “conflicted” and I would seek help from the State licensing board and the codes of ethics committees of my career professional organizations….and I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to do otherwise.


Jerry Steinberg, CE
Half Moon Bay

Don:
When I read your arguments closely, I get the distinct impression that your main goal is to kill that settlement agreement. All of the talk about the Foothill “bypass” and claims of addressing traffic problems are just a sideshow, it would appear.

If that’s your goal, then fine. But it would be helpful if you would just state the true goal upfront.

Just to be clear: I’m not rendering any opinion on the the merits of the settlement agreement here.

Don Bacon’s argument (May 11) that the Settlement agreement is “unprincipled” in requiring the Coastal Commission staff and the city’s planning staff to recommend approval of the Terrace signal implies that it is (my words)locked-in. Mike Ferreira’s discussion above about the “gag rule” is apt commentary. I accept Mr. Bacon’s ammendment that he does see it as possible to reverse.

Nullifying the Settlement agreement puts the prior agreement into play with 126 approved houses. 40 are permitted with “temporary” access from Terrace, but the odds are good the builder would complete the infrastructure (i.e. more streets and lots with utility connections) for the 126 permitted houses. With those streets and lots waiting, it does not take a fertile imagination to envision the pressure building to complete the subdivision. At a minimum, that doubles the traffic impact of Pacific Ridge.

I won’t speculate about the legal issues around the word “temporary” (as in using Terrace Avenue for temporary access for 40 homes etc.), but both sides of this debate have reason to be wary of the durability of the word in either agreement. The Coastal Commission’s decision to approve Pacific Ridge was only slowed slightly by its consideration of overall traffic impact. In the end it showed no concern for Terrace Avenue. It was the city, not the Coastal Commission, that negotiated the number of houses to 63 in order to reduce overall traffic impact.

ken king

Kevin Lansing wrote: “When I read your arguments closely, I get the distinct impression that your main goal is to kill that settlement agreement. All of the talk about the Foothill “bypass” and claims of addressing traffic problems are just a sideshow, it would appear.” 

Kevin: Preserving the possibility of a bypass is my central concern here.  Because the settlement agreement systematically attempts to eliminate the possibility of Foothill forever, and yet that possibility should be preserved, I oppose the settlement agreement.  There are other reasons to oppose it: a gummed-up lot retirement program, and the fact that the parties are so concerned to railroad through the agreement that they can’t risk unfettered staff recommendations on the Terrace stoplight CDP application… 

Mike Ferreira and Ken King have no problem with the settlement agreement’s requirement that Coastal Commission and City planning staff recommend approval of the as-yet-unsubmitted application for a Terrace stoplight.  As Ken wrote: “…the staff, which operates at the direction of the council, has to do its bidding. The body does what the head tells it to, no surprise there.”

Mike: You served for years as an HMB planning commissioner and councilmember.  Since you agree with the practice of requiring planning staff to recommend a specific way on applications before the City, I have some questions.  In your years as an HMB public official, did you ever require, or attempt to require (or simply exert influence over) a specific recommendation from planning staff on an application before the City?  If so, what applications were those, and were you requiring or influencing for or against the application?  Do you know of any instances where other City councilmembers, planning commissioners, planning director, manager, attorney, or department head attempted to require (or influence) a specific recommendation from planning staff on an application?  If so, what applications were those, and what requirements or influence were brought to bear?  Were any of the official requirements or influences upon planning staff publicly acknowledged, and made a part of the public record?

    Incessant nitpicking of the Settlement Agreement will not refloat the concrete submarine that is Bayview/Foothill. You’d never get a permit because of wetlands, it would be prohibitively expensive if you could, and it wouldn’t function as a traffic benefit. Time to find a real cause.

Mike

Ken King wrote: “The Settlement agreement could fail for a number of reasons—see my June 14 post above. It is not locked in as Mr. Bacon argued earlier.”

Of course I had to contradict the false assertion that I ever argued the settlement agreement was “locked in,” since on May 11th, in “Terrace Stoplight: Recipe for Traffic Disaster,” I wrote: “There’s a big catch to the settlement agreement.  If the City and Commission don’t agree to a stoplight at Terrace, the agreement is nullified (p.12) and the parties resume litigating.”

Undeterred by the facts – that I’ve been pointing out for six weeks now that the settlement agreement is not “locked in” – Ken replied: “I accept Mr. Bacon’s ammendment that he does see it as possible to reverse.”

Ken offered another inaccuracy this weekend: “Nullifying the Settlement agreement puts the prior agreement into play with 126 approved houses. 40 are permitted with “temporary” access from Terrace, but the odds are good the builder would complete the infrastructure (i.e. more streets and lots with utility connections) for the 126 permitted houses.”

Ken: To build more than 40 homes, the developer would need to build either Foothill or Bayview.  As you have educated us through the Parable of the Cowbirds, the Parable of the Cargo Cults, etc., Foothill is dead.  So how is it “the odds are good the builder would complete the infrastructure” to build more than 40 homes?

Also, last Thursday morning you posted a brief comment on CCF’s letter to Mr. Kern that referred to “good ol’ Charlie Gardner.”  Two hours later it was gone, and hasn’t reappeared.  Since Barry approved the comment and posted it, it must have been you who decided to remove the comment.  Why? 

A related question for Barry: do you give people the privilege of removing or editing their prior posts at will?  Shouldn’t posts (once published) have permanence, so that nothing is “disappeared,” and people think twice about hitting the “submit” button?

I did get a request from Ken to replace one comment with another a couple of hours after the first one had been posted.  I didn’t read either the new or the old comment too closely, so I don’t know what the differences were. Generally, I’ve got better things to do than edit everyone’s posts, so lets not make this a habit.

Sounds like Ken thought better what he wrote, which was a weak reference to “good ol’ Charlie Brown”. Good for him.

The goal here is enlightening discussion, not scoring points.  Please keep that in mind.

I think the goal should also be a freedom to post what people’s opinions are, without fear of being slammed or put down. Barry, you do an AWESOME job on this site, but please keep this in mind also. I say this because “Good Ole Charlie Brown” sounds alot like name calling.

Ray

Mike: You have endorsed the practice of HMB public officials dictating to planning staff whether to recommend approval or denial of an application before the City.  Please answer my questions: did you or (to your knowledge) any other HMB public officials ever require, attempt to require, or otherwise influence a specific recommendation from planning staff on an application before the City? If so, please provide details of which applications, how planning staff was instructed to recommend, disclosures to the public, etc.

Barry: I strongly disagree with allowing anyone posting comments on this website from removing those comments, once they have been accepted and posted by the moderator. Contributors to publications who have second thoughts about their submissions have a clear, accepted path: publicly retract the statement, along with an explanation or apology if desired.

Allowing contributors to disappear their published comments invites abuses.  It invites hit-and-run attacks, allowing contributors to write something negative, then deny they wrote it.  It allows people to quietly edit and improve their prior comments, purging any inaccuracies, etc.  It can be selectively applied by the moderator, who may be tempted to allow his friends to purge ill-considered comments, while denying the same privilege to those with whom the moderator disagrees. 

Everything published by coastsider.com should be treated like what it is: a part of our community’s public record, that should be faithfully preserved like any local history.  Besides, it is a civilizing influence when people know that what they publish will be carefully preserved in perpetuity, exactly as they wrote it. 

Kathryn

Your comment referring to the petition insinuates that it was circulated under false pretenses and that citizens were misinformed on the issue.  Actually it was a positive learning experience for many Coastsiders who thanked us for informing them of the proposed signal light project.  Furthermore, I was there outside of Longs, when you were asked to sign the petition and you refused. You were not told that “no stop lights would be added if the Terrace light did not go in”.  Your comment, even then, was that you knew what we were up to and that you knew the real story behind the petition and you walked away. 

The 2000+ concerned citizens who signed the petition did so in exercising their right to request the City Council of HMB to not approve a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 1 and Terrace Avenue.  The proposed signal is only being considered to accommodate Ailanto Properties, who chose to purchase an essentially “landlocked” piece of property to develop.

In answer to your question, “what difference will altering the placement of the new light a few hundred feet on Highway 1 make to traffic flow on Highway 1” please refer to Coastal Commission Revised Findings, dated July 26, 2001, page 44.  This Coastal Commission report notes, “that the distance between the signalized North Main Street/Highway 1 intersection and Terrace is approximately 1000 feet.  Spacing signalized intersections on Highway 1 this close could increase congestion on the highway because of insufficient “stacking” space on the highway.  Better intersection spacing would be accomplished through the provision of Bayview Drive as the consolidated signalized intersection”. This report can be viewed on the CCF website.

Lucy Lopez  

 

 

Don Bacon chooses a wise debate tactic in his losing cause, ignore the overwhelming evidence presented and look for a nit to pick. It’s called shifting ground in fallacy chapters of logic texts.

The grounds are the untenable cost of Foothill Lite, the fact (omitted above) that the major property owner in the area doesn’t want to play, and the ESHA that not even the Coastal Commission can permit to be violated (see Bolsa Chica decision against the Coastal Commission).

Mr. Bacon fails to refute my claim that Ailanto could be forced to build infrastructure for 126 houses by rolling back the Settlement agreement. He says the only way that could happen is by having Foothill, but that is a naive belief, if he does believe it. Terrace was set up from the beginning for all of the houses even if none of the other roads happen. The Bolsa Chica decision wasn’t imagined affecting things back then. 86 lots with sewer, water and electricity sitting there, just waiting. That would create insuperable pressure on any city council seated at that time. This is the one ponderable that the Terrace Avenue residents have not calculated in their attempt to stop the signal, and hence the Settlement agreement.

Changing the subject for a minute, I wonder if I am the only reader surprised by Mr. Bacon’s imperious demand that Barry run his service according to Bacon’s rules of order? The alleged “catch” by Mr. Bacon concerned a one or two sentence post that I extended into a longer a somewhat longer one. Because it was redundant with the first one, I asked Barry to replace it. Good ole Charlie was trite and I edited it. So what? Now Barry has to suffer through another course in journalism and free speech. Condolences, Barry.

ken king

“Wetlands could be eliminated if needed for a road or highway”(Bolsa Chica decision, p. 2).  That is not a misprint.  The appellate court, in the 1999 Bolsa Chica decision, upheld the lower court’s ruling that “wetlands could be eliminated for a road or highway,” so long as there is a finding that the need for the road outweighs the value of preserving the wetland.  Notice that the ruling does not require any mitigation of the wetland: it can simply be eliminated.  That is why the tunnel project can eliminate the Shamrock Ranch wetland.  Providing a comparable wetland was a result of “conflict resolution” negotiations, not something dictated by (or conversely, in conflict with) the Bolsa Chica decision. 

Concerning Foothill/Bayview, it’s an open question whether a road could be routed around areas that have been designated as wetlands.  If not, the Bolsa Chica decision, a seven-year-old decision widely regarded as providing case law precedent on wetlands intrusions, clearly upheld the ruling that “wetlands could be eliminated if needed for a road or highway.”

This discussion has degenerated into a version of Sartre’s No Exit, in which the participants continually reiterate what’s been said already.

To wit, Foothill is not a road or a highway, but a residential street. It won’t pass the Bolsa Chica test because it doesn’t help solve any problem, just agrivates existinng ones. Period.

There is no way around the wetlands behind the highschool, just not enough room between the massive hillside and the riparian habitat.

Jack Liebster announced last night that the EIR for the Terrace signal will be out at the end of July or early August. That will make this discussion a lot less academic. Until then, please dispense with the repeated claims already refuted.

ken king

Ken: If Ailanto was required to build homes, wouldn’t they be required to comply with the 1% growth like everyone else (thus no additional homes in the city)? And, can I ask why you consider the road a residential street and not a highway? Isn’t Highway 1 a highway? If your opinion is that the foothill bypass is residential street, than what do you think would need to change for it to become a highway?

What is very eye-opening to me is the definition of a wetlands. It seems ridiculous to me. The definition really boils down to if a plant is growing in a field and that plant is likely to grow in a wetland area, then the field is considered wetlands? I did read through the entire Yamagiwa document that Mary had posted, and read through Jimmy B’s comments in another thread, and that is what I took away. I believe there should be better science applied to that determination (including supporting wetland wildlife, how contaminated the field is, etc).

I think that when most people hear something like “a wetland is being developed” emotions kick in based on a vision of wetlands such as what you see in Pescadero. But there is no comparison in my mind.
Ray

Oh and one other thought.. Look at highway 1 down by Pescadero. It runs right through a wetland I believe. Pescadero road also runs adjacent to a wetland. To me those wetlands are thriving and healthy. Should those roads be taken away?

Mr. Olson,
1.) Caltrans builds highways, not small cities. Foothill is not proposed by Caltrans.
2.) There are many categories of wetland under established State and Federal laws and regulations.  If you believe you can change those laws and regulations then exercise your rights as a citizen to pursue those changes.  But, until the laws and regulations change we’re supposed to follow them.
3.)  I’ve never heard any suggestion that Highway #1 or Pescadero Road be taken away, or that any existing road be taken away.  In fact, Highway #1 has a special status under the Coastal Act. It’s not understandable why you feel that’s a point of argument.

Mike Ferreira says:

Caltrans builds highways, not small cities.

Imagine if Caltrans did build cities!

Seriously, addressing Mike’s #2 above: (emphasis added by me)

Wetlands Definition in Law
As legal protection of and scientific attention to wetlands have increased, so have the number of wetland definitions contained in State and Federal law. Most of these definitions vary slightly but share common terms and concepts. Both State and Federal governments, as well as, wetlands advocates, agree that a single, legally accepted definition of wetlands would be helpful to ensure effective wetlands regulation. The current State/Federal system of wetlands regulations and definitions is fragmented and cumbersome.

Governor Pete Wilson acknowledged this predicament in his California Wetlands Conservation Policy (August 1993) and promised that “the State will work toward the adoption of a consistent wetlands definition to address this situation. This definition will, to the greatest extent possible, be consistent with the definition and wetlands delineation manual used by the Federal government. The definition will also recognize California’s unique wetlands types, and not apply to prior converted croplands currently exempt from federal regulation.”

From http://ceres.ca.gov/wetlands/introduction/defining_wetlands.html

It was last updated in 1998 so I don’t know if anything more has been done.

Ken King wrote: “There is no way around the wetlands behind the highschool, just not enough room between the massive hillside and the riparian habitat.”  Riparian?

The Coastal Commission wrote, in the 2001 Ailanto approval: “According to a preliminary biological study conducted for the Draft EIR prepared for the City for the proposed construction of Foothill Boulevard, it is possible that Foothill can be realigned to avoid wetlands.”  That left the door ajar, so the City got itself another study.

Also in the 2001 approval: “The applicant, the appellants, and City staff have all indicated that the Half Moon Bay community supports the deletion of Foothill Boulevard….” That’s exactly what it says: the developer, four appellants, and unnamed City staff have somehow learned that “the Half Moon Bay community supports the deletion of Foothill Boulevard.”  Who knew?  How and when did they poll the citizenry on this important matter? 

We all have to ask: Why would the Coastal Commission accept, and print as good coin, such an unsupported claim?

I didn’t mean to say that Highway 1 or Pescadero Road is part of the argument. It was merely to note that highways or roads can be built and have no adverse effect on the surrounding area, specifically a wetland area.

I am asking these questions because I want to understand the point of disagreement. I’m guessing that other folks would like to know as well so I am asking.

Regarding your point 2: It seems to me that actually we are under the City’s definition of a “wetland”.. at least that is my understanding from reading the Yamagiwa document, is that correct? You also bring up a good point.. How different is our city’s definition from the State and Federal?? I know it would be very difficult to suggest a change to a State’s definition, but what about the City’s?

I am asking about the difference between a highway and a residential street because that is one of the reasons Mr. King is arguing that the Foothill proposal is a bad idea. I would like to know your (or others) opinion of what a residential vs. a highway is. Are you saying that the only difference is who builds the road? So, if Caltrans builds the road then in your mind it would be called a highway? My tone is not sarcastic (please don’t take it as such), I really would like know, and I think others would like to know too.

And then finally, I don’t see that the housing development is really much of an issue. We have a 1% cap on growth, and growth is happening as we speak. If the new developments must abide by the cap, then I don’t understand what the problem is.

HMB has been unable to produce the so-called preliminary biological study for the old draft EIR, but the Coastal Commission staff recommended against Foothill anyway. Speculation is a waste of time since there is a new draft EIR due next month, a portion of which covers Foothill. 

Interesting conspiracy theory that the city ordered the expensive EIR to close the door that “was ajar” regarding realigning Foothill to avoid wetlands. With such an expectation, it’s clear that you won’t appreciate ANY evidence the EIR contains regarding wetlands short of saying it’s a veritable DESERT up there.

ken king

Ray, 1% is the rate at which you speed towards the train wreck.  Adding houses increases the size of the train wreck.

The growth rate and the growth limit are two totally different, nearly unrelated concepts.

The repeated claims that the 1% growth rate protects HMB from overbuilding are simply incorrect.  All the 1% limit does is delay the disaster by a few decades.

Half Moon Bay grew at 2.6% in 2004, mainly due to exceptions made by the city.  We don’t know what it was in 2005.

http://coastsider.com/comments/678_0_1_0_C/

Two things:

Leonard Woren wrote:

The growth rate and the growth limit are two totally different, nearly unrelated concepts.

Some of us have not studied statistics. Many times I’ve heard that the nebulous “they” can make statistics say whatever “they” want. (Not calling anyone a “they” here!)

Since we hear so much about the 1%, gowth or limit, good or bad, I was wondering if anyone could give us (or point us to) something like a “HMB Growth Rate/LImit for Dummys.”

Rather than argue about it, let’s try and learn something.

The second item goes back to the “Foothill is not a highway but a residential street” statement. I’m not really expecting an answer to this one, but it might be worth pondering.

We have been told the difference between a highway and a residential street (I think). Since “road” was also mentioned (Bolsa Chica: “Wetlands could be eliminated if needed for a road or highway”) what is the difference between a road and a residential street?

Is the difference that cities have streets and counties have roads? 

Why are some of the residential streets in HMB called roads, or is that just a generic term like “avenue” and “street” (oh no, is there a difference between a generic street and a residential street?)?

What about the streets in El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara or are they roads?

My head hurts…

 

The completion of the 60 unit Lesley Gardens Senior Housing complex - a wonderful addition to the City - is what caused the appearance of a percentage spike in 2004. 

[url=http://tinyurl.com/hy9ug[/url]

Thanks for the info Barry. Very good article in that in includes the reasons for the exceptions, mainly the senior housing apartments and that homes that were authorized in past years actually completed in 2004. If you take out the senior housing apartment numbers then the percentage comes back closer to the average. Seems reasonable to me, though it would be interesting to see annual trending (to see how many exceptions have been granted). One side comment.. I had no idea coastsider.com has been around this long!

Leonard, why do you call it a train wreck? And I don’t understand how growth rate and growth limit are not related? Anyways, you state that the claim of 1% growth rate protecting HMB from overbuilding is incorrect. But, you don’t supply evidence of this. Can you support that claim? Honestly, I’m not trying to be confrontational, I want to understand the point you are trying to make.

Hi Barry,

I’m not sure what figures you are quoting as far as growth goes in HMB.

Here’s the data that comes from our MLS for both the Coast and HMB covering 2004 - 2006 that I have reporting on in the HMB Review over the years.

HMB sold 189 homes in 2004, up 13% while the entire Coast sold 402 homes, up 9%.

HMB sold 155 homes in 2005, down 18% while the entire Coast sold 328,  also down 18%.

With the first half of 2006 unit volume being off so much,  it is highly unlikely that we will sell over 275 homes on the Coast.  This will be 2 years of negative growth. I personally think we will be testing the lows recorded when Devil’s Slide went out in 1995 when only 255 homes sold.

Hope this helps.

Steven Hyman

Steve:  I’m talking about new home construction, not home sales.

Mike & Ray: I mentioned Lesley Gardens as the reason for the growth surge in my story.  I believe that certain parts of the city (downtown?) are exempt from the 1% limit as well.

Clearly, Lesley Gardens doesn’t place as much burden on the Coastside as a subdivision, especially in terms of cars or land use. But, as you can see from its parking lot, it is not impact-free.

I have always maintained that affordable housing should be allocated a portion of the 1% and not allowed to slop over as an exception.

My point is that we shouldn’t be speaking of the 1% growth limit as if it’s some sort of hard limit. It isn’t.

Barry,

There could easily be double counting going on with new construction.  Some new homes are built for spec and may go through the MLS while others that are owner occupied will probably never be included in the data I use.

Also,  if you are looking at permits issued,  it could be a long time from when someone gets a permit till they start construction and actually complete the home.  For a non-professional that could take at least 1 year if not more.

Steven Hyman

The state’s statistics are based on certificates of occupancy.  I checked with Jack Liebster when I wrote the story and he confirmed that the number was accurate.

So, yes, a house could be permitted in one year and occupied in later.

It is also my understanding that Wavecrest has accumulated the ability to build a lot of houses under measure A (Do I have the correct measure?) that it has not yet exercised for obvious reasons.  I don’t know if those are transferrable.  When (if?) Wavecrest gets built, the annual growth rate would likely exceed 1%.

So, the growth rate would vary from year to year, but should average 1% , if there were no exemptions or exceptions.

Thanks again for the info Barry. It is very informative to find out that some parts of HMB might be exempt for the 1% growth rate. I (and others) would also be interested to find out any and all exemptions that the city may provide. Still there is a requirement that the city stay within the 1% growth rate. The point here is that development does not have unbounded ability, and that as a community proper checks and balances are put in place to ensure that. I think this reasoning would be applied to Ailanto as well.

In addition, nobody has commented on the definition of a roadway vs a highway. Can someone clarify that point of disagreement?
Thanks
Ray

Why the “gag” rule is in direct conflict with the laws governing licensed engineers.

On June 22nd the San Jose chapter of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) sponsored an update presentation by CalTrans On the Tunnel Project at the Distillery.  Representatives of the local community, Sierra Club   and civil engineers from the local and San Jose area attended.

At the meeting I had the opportunity to discuss with several engineers how they would react if they found themselves under a “gag”  rule as presently stated in “The Out of Court Pacific Ridge/Ailanto Settlement Agreement”.
Their comments summarized:  Disbelief that such a “gag” rule could be placed on an engineer in Public Service dealing with a life safety issue.

As soon as I receive the requested precedents upon which this “gag” rule is based from Adam Lindgren, HMB contracted city attorney I will (as fully disclosed to Adam)send it on to the State Licensing Board for their review and comments.

My objective is to obtain clarification to:
Rule   475. Code of Professional Conduct – Professional Engineering:
(Department of Consumer Affairs – State of California)
“To protect and safeguard the health, safety, welfare, and property of the public, every person who is licensed …, including licensees employed in any manner by a government entity or in private practice shall comply with this Code of Professional Conduct. A violation…constitutes unprofessional conduct and is grounds for disciplinary action’(i.e. you lose your license and when your job description requires the license you lose your job and may be open to civil lawsuits.)

(d) Confidential information obtained by a licensee, in his or her professional capacity, concerning a client, employer, or other related party shall not be disclosed by the licensee without the permission of the client, employer, or other related party EXCEPT for the following:
(5) Disclosures made upon discovering a hazard within the licensee’s field of professional expertise which may threaten the health, safety, and welfare of the public
(e)(1) A licensee shall not misrepresent the completeness of the professional documents he or she submits to a governmental agency.
  (2)  A licensee shall not misrepresent the completeness of the professional documents he or she prepared to his or her client or to other involved parties.

Maybe the writers of this settlement agreement should add a clause (and fund) for the support of engineers who lose their jobs over a basic ethics issue. Such a clause would complement the other illogical parts of this agreement.

Jerry Steinberg, CE
Half Moon Bay

Ray: The Bolsa Chica decision, in upholding the lower court’s finding that “wetlands could be eliminated if needed for a road or highway,” pertained to an arterial street within the city of Huntington Beach, which is closely analogous to Foothill Boulevard within Half Moon Bay.  The Coastal Commission’s 2001 approval for Pacific Ridge required that even the portion of Foothill constructed within the subdivision be “consistent with the design criteria specified for arterial streets, with no direct driveway access to any of the proposed lots”(p. 43).  The approval referenced the City’s Circulation Element in defining arterial streets like Foothill as “’Limited Access Facilities’ designed to carry traffic from collector streets and to and from other parts of the City”(p. 42).  The Commission also preserved Foothill’s 80 foot right-of-way, consistent with HMB’s certified Local Coastal Program.

The bottom line is that the Bolsa Chica decision clearly applies to Foothill.  Also, contrary to what you have read on this website, the decision is not confined to major roads or highways constructed by Caltrans, because it did not rule on a situation involving Caltrans.  Bolsa Chica was about an arterial street within a small city.

Here’s the link to the 1999 Bolsa Chica decision:

http://tinyurl.com/jqlsj

Mr. Steinberg continues to joust with windmills. His lecture on ethical standards for engineers is irrelevant regarding the Settlement agreement: it doesn’t apply. To see why, reread my June 14 post about why his complaint about the “gag” rule is a red herring.

Steinberg recounting the reaction of some engineers he told his biased version of the Settlement agreement to in order to confirm his conceptions is laughable as evidence. CCF proponents are consistently tailoring the truth throughout this and other discussions about Foothill, as well as other issues on Coastsider. It is a shame.

ken king

Don Bacon’s interpretation of the Bolsa Chica court decision is the opposite of what the decision says.

Contrary to what Mr. Bacon claims, the court found “neither residential development in the wetlands nor destruction of the pond (for the widening of Warner Road) are permitted.” The court disallowed the developer from removing or mitigating habitat for economic purposes. The only thing that Mr. Bacon is right about is that Bolsa Chica does apply to Foothill, but not in a way he would like.

ken king

 

Ken,

Perhaps you and Don Bacon are both correct. If the court found in the Bolsa Chica decision (which seems analogous to Foothill)that,“neither residential development in the wetlands nor destruction of the pond (for the widening of Warner Road) are permitted.”and, that “wetlands could be eliminated if needed for a road or highway,” As long as houses are not placed in the wetlands, and no ponds are destroyed, a route could be found that provides a road that skirts the majority of the established buffer zones, and has minimum impact to the areas adjacent to the high school.

I think you both raise good points.

Charlie

Ken: In quoting the Bolsa Chica decision, you conveniently left off the earlier part of the sentence.  It states that “ON THE RECORD DEVELOPED BY [Coastal] COMMISSION, neither residential development in the wetlands nor destruction of the pond are permissible”(emphasis added).  On the next page the decision explains that “although wetlands could be eliminated if needed for a road or highway, Commission had not made a required finding that the need to widen Warner Road outweighed the value of preserving Warner Pond.”

Simple enough: with the required finding – that the need for the road outweighed the value of preserving the pond – the roadway improvements could occur.  Without the finding, they could not. 

Anyone contending that the Bolsa Chica decision prohibits roads through wetlands needs to explain why the Coastal Commission permitted Caltrans to destroy the wetland at Shamrock Ranch.

Bolsa Chica is about the impact of a court decision in underscoring existing law—ESHAs are not fungible, which is not what Don Bacon keeps saying. Instead of pointless speculation about what’s possible behind the high school, why not cool it until the EIR is out? Then we can analyze that to death.

ken king

Ken, per your recent post I know you will applaud my recent submission of the “ ethical conflict”  which is contained in the Ailanto/Pacific Ridge Settlement” to the National ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Ethics Board for their review and comments.
ASCE represents over 100,000 Civil Engineers.

In another action which should please your suggestion of greater review of the issue I have submitted the following correspondence to CalTrans to alert them of the conflict in their consideration of an encroachment permit for the traffic signal at Terrace Avenue and Highway 1. (see below)
NOTE this blogging software only allows 3000 characters so I have had to abreviate the letter.

————————————————————————-
Mr. Bijan Sartipi
District Director
State of California
Department of Transportation


    June 25, 2006

Dear Mr. Sartipi,

Thank you for your letter dated June 20, 2006 acknowledging receipt of our recent correspondence.

In your letter you indicate, “We continue to await the city of Half Moon Bay’s submittal of appropriate technical analysis and documents before any decision can be made on the proposed encroachment permit.” This would be for the proposed signal light at Terrace Avenue and Highway 1.

This letter is to alert you to a conflict in your accepting any data or documents from the City of Half Moon Bay on this encroachment permit.
The City professional staff is bound by an “out of court settlement agreement” that includes a “gag” order which does NOT allow them to disagree with the proposed signal light.

This agreement   was concocted by a sub-committee of a previous city council that found it expedient to agree with this condition in order to obtain their goals.

In an exchange of comments with the senior signer of this agreement it was painfully clear that there was a complete lack of familiarity/understanding of the code of professional conduct required of a licensed professional engineer.
i.e. Rule 475 Code of Professional Conduct – Professional Engineering
(Department of Consumer Affairs – State of California.

Jerry Steinberg, CE

=============================================

P.S. (1) I have not received a response yet from Adam Lindgren on the precedents for this “gag” order. Hope to receive before the coming holiday weekend.

P.S. (2) I did review your June 14th post and found it misses/avoids the issue of the ethical laws governing a licensed engineer working with a public agency involved with life safety issues.  From your previous posts concerning the definition of a licensed Architect vs someone working in the architecture field I can only assume you are not clear as to the rules governing the licensing of folks involved in public safety.

Have a great 4th of July.

Jerry Steinberg
Half Moon Bay

Mr. Steinberg’s pumping the ethical standards of the engineering profession is harmless fun considering all of the engineers in the employment of HMB, one in total. You have to credit Mr. Steinberg for creatively playing out his hand, even though it’s a dismal one. I wonder if he is even aware of the role Paul Nagengast plays in the process of the Coastal Development Permit, or if he has ever talked with Paul about it? There is reason to believe he hasn’t.

ken king

Mr. Steinberg’s pumping the ethical standards of the engineering profession is harmless fun considering all of the engineers in the employment of HMB: one. I wonder if Jerry is even aware of the role Paul Nagengast plays in the city’s Coastal Development Permit process, or if he has ever talked with the Paul to learn about it? Had he, he might have looked for a more productive use of his time than pursuing this particular nit.

MODERATOR’S NOTE: Ken wrote this on Thursday, but it just got released from moderation on Sunday night.

On June 17 Kevin Lansing posed the question would Foothill Blvd. connecting to HWY 1 north help traffic flows? He implied that future houses built along these new streets might negate any circulation improvement generated by Foothill Blvd. How credible is this fear?

There are approximately 8000 households on the coast side today from the south end of Half Moon Bay to Montara on the north. The 2000 Census concluded that the average household contains 2.75 people or a total coast side population of approximately 22000. Many households have two workers and most workers commute. If we assume that the average household produces 1.25 commuters 3 times per week that would be 60,000 commuter trips per week or 12,000 per day. With Devils Slide closed more than half of these trips originate north of HWY 92. A large fraction originate there when Devil’s Slide is open.

Foothill Blvd. would offer an alternative route for 6000 commuters every day. If half of them chose to use it, there would be 3000 daily commuter trips down Foothill Blvd. on the average weekday. It is unlikely that even 150 houses built along this new route would reduce the benefit Foothill Blvd would provide.

Jim Larimer

In response to Mr. Larimer’s post:

1. I think we all know that the official Census figure of 2.75 persons per household is a gross underestimate for the Midcoast and HMB. As a result, the true population growth rate of HMB and hence the true growth rate of the number of cars on the road is significantly higher than the 1 percent figure called for under Measure D.

2. I would dispute the description of Foothill Blvd as an “alternate route.” It would serve only to split traffic flow for a brief distance. All cars would then have to merge back together at the intersection of Foothill and Hwy 92 to follow the same route as today. That intersection/merge point would create a new traffic bottleneck that does not exist today.

I have more faith in accuracy of the US Census than Kevin Lansing, but if he were correct more commuters would use Foothill Blvd. Foothill will increase the route options available to commuters and people driving within our community; that will improve circulation and traffic flows.

Increasing access to roadways improves traffic flows. Traffic engineers know how to design intersections with off and on lanes to improve fan out or fan onto major roadways. These are engineering issues that would be solved as the new roads are constructed.

The issue of Foothill Blvd is not a growth issue. Over the next 10 years approximately 840 new residences will be built in our community from Half Moon Bay to Montara consistent with our 1% growth limitation. The issue before the community is whether or not this growth will come with improvements to problems or simply add to them? Foothill can help to solve the traffic problem we face today and it could be paid for in part by the wealth generated by the new homes that will be built near the high school.

Jim Larimer

On June 23, Mary Bordi mused about what are streets vs roads, etc.  I don’t have an answer to that, but maybe we can use the California Vehicle Code definitions.  “Road” is defined in VC 527:  http://leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=04869711091+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve
(scroll down to Sec 527.)  “Street” is defined in VC 590 (same URL, scroll further down.)  One notable difference in the definitions is that a “street” is “publicly maintained and open to the use of the public.”  Also, “Street includes highway.”  [Since it’s a search result, I don’t know how long that URL is good for.  If it stops working, go to http://leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html check the “Vehicle code” box and enter “527” in the search box.]

Mary concluded with “What about the streets in El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara or are they roads?”

Many of them are just jokes, due to County neglect.  In a city, the city repaves the streets out of general city revenue.  San Mateo County expects the property owners with street frontage to pay for repaving, therefore streets in the Midcoast are essentially never repaved.  Therefore, I would argue that in the unincorporated area, we have mostly roads and a few streets.

Ray Olson asked “Leonard, why do you call it a train wreck? And I don’t understand how growth rate and growth limit are not related? Anyways, you state that the claim of 1% growth rate protecting HMB from overbuilding is incorrect. But, you don’t supply evidence of this. Can you support that claim? Honestly, I’m not trying to be confrontational, I want to understand the point you are trying to make.”

Think of driving from HMB to Woodside.  You can drive on Canada Road (1%) and get to Woodside in a certain amount of time.  Or you can drive on I-280 (3%) and get there in less time.  The distance (“buildout target”) doesn’t change just because you drove slower to get there.

It’s a train wreck because at “buildout” under existing land use plans for HMB and for the unincorporated Midcoast, there will be far too many houses and therefore people and therefore cars and water use and whatever than the local environment can handle.  The 1% growth rate doesn’t protect HMB because the land use plan isn’t changed, and the buildout target of 8500 houses remains.  So all that happens with the 1% is that you reach the limit of 8500 houses in 75 years instead of the ~25 years that the Midcoast will take to reach its buildout.  The “Train Wreck” is that buildout of the current land use plans is just too many people here.

Mr. Larimer,

In your comment earlier today (July 4th), you say:


  “The issue of Foothill Blvd is not a growth
    issue…Foothill can help to solve the
    traffic problem we face today and it could
    be paid for in part by the wealth generated
    by the new homes that will be built near
    the high school.”

I attended one of the recent presentations by Ailanto, and aside from any issues of wetlands, funding, or what-have-you, there is one issue that stands out:

The City of HMB - after years of back-and-forth on Ailanto’s Pacific Ridge development (decades, actually) - settled a trio of lawsuits between Ailanto, the City, and the Coastal Commission, through a year of negotiations, which all three parties undertook in good faith.  Over 20 years ago, the City granted a Vesting Tentative Map for over 200 house sites.  That has been reduced - first to 120+, and then to 63.  75% of the land will be a mix of parkland and open space.  Ailanto will pay over $1 million for the widening of Hwy 1 to north of Terrace Ave and the installation of a traffic light there (assuming the EIR due soon support doing so), and Ailanto will give the City of HMB roughly $2.85 million to be used by the City to purchase and retire development rights on the open market from willing sellers, further reducing the ultimate buildout numbers and keeping Half Moon Bay more livable and enjoyable to visit.

Regardless of whatever theoretical public benefit your wished-for “Foothill Boulevard”, you ought to realize that the Pacific Ridge development is just as much a “done deal” as Frenchman’s Creek and all the other existing subdivisions that line Hwy 1.

Calling for undoing the Pacific Ridge settlement with Ailanto is urging the City to act in bad faith.  The three lawsuits would come back to life.  Why do you and your fellow “property rights” advocates want to bring this about?  Your clique berates the City for expenditures on litigation, and yet you seek to cause settled litigation to reappear under what appears to be the very worst of ways.  In my estimation, your position lacks integrity.

Hal M. Bogner
Half Moon Bay

There is no doubt in my mind that the bypass would make for a more efficient flow for the northside of the coastside (going both North and South). The question really is how much would it help. By separating the North bound and South bound cars earlier (before hitting Main st) it will also help out the folks south of 92 as well. This has been proven by the fact that HMB prevented any traffic onto Main st in the morning, which is really a “bypass” in itself.

The best solution of course would be to have no lights when connecting 92 to highway 1, which should be our long-term goal. And, we should turn to the county to pay for this since they are the ones dictating the growth rate for the coastside.

Leonard: I’ve read your post above. It seems that you keep falling back to the “too many houses, too many people, too many cars, etc” argument. I don’t see it that way, since all these things will be happening, regardless of a bypass. Growth is happening today, and will continue for the years to come. In addition, today we have unacceptable road infrastructure, let alone 5 years from now. A bypass is desparately needed to support today’s population, and the population 5/10 years from now. Do you disagree with this?

 

CCF folks,
I have a few questions for the CCF folks that they have declined to answer.
Road width? How many stop signs [at least 1 at Lewis Foster Drive and Foothill STREET]? Where is a cross section of roadway showing driving lane width, shoulder width, bike path, sidewalk and curb and gutter?  Where are the ‘holding lanes’, ‘holding lanes’ length and what are their length on SR 92 and SR 1? How many driveways would enter/exit directly on the roadway. Is the shoulder width sufficient to pull a disabled vehicle off of the roadway? How many lanes are at the lights – straight, left turn, right turn?

“Foothill/Bayview, with nonstop dedicated right-hand turn lanes at both westbound 92 and northbound 1, would divert more than half the returning afternoon commuters from the Bottleneck.” CCF web site description.

Are there any traffic studies to support the claims?

Ignoring for the moment, who might pay for ‘underpasses’; try sketching out a rough geometry of the proposed ‘underpasses’ and overlay with property that would have to be taken. Try just drawing a circle the radius of a similar identified ‘underpass’ system sufficient to go safely under 4 plus lanes of traffic. 

It is one thing to wave your arms around gesturing in the air and another to make a real proposal!

CCF – Can’t Communicate Factually.

Only after determining IFF Foothill STREET is an improvement, then it might be worthwhile to discuss on the CCF website “CCC Response to the CCF Open Letter”.

Ken Johnson

Jim Larimer,

I pictured you in the old cartoon of the guy who started to paint a floor by starting at the doorway and working backward to a closed corner, when I read: “These are engineering issues that would be solved as the new roads are constructed.” It does serve to explain the rate increases at CCWD, the new middle school at Wavecrest decade long saga, and now Foothill STREET.

“Increasing access to roadways improves traffic flows.” – Really?!

I have noted that those who have been subjected to studying Circulation Element alternatives; reviewing development traffic studies; traffic simulation models and software come rapidly to the conclusion that Foothill/Bayview is DOA.

Let me try to give an analogy to those who may be of good will but lack an analytical starting point for judging the CCF proposal.

Most people are aware how traffic flows on 280, 101, El Camino Real, and the Frontage Road between Wave Ave and Kehoe Ave.

Traffic flows best the further apart the entrance/exits are apart.

Entrance and exit ramps that are insufficient to hold traffic cause a backup to the normal flow of traffic, i.e. SR 92 at 280 merge north backs up SR 92 during evening rush hour for those who wish to continue westward on SR92. At some points the deceleration lane becomes a ‘holding lane’ and as a worse case the road becomes a miles long ‘holding lane’ or Level F traffic.

Stop lights function at best case as a flow direction mechanism when properly timed – this is rare. More often they serve to back traffic up, El Camino Real.

The next worse case is stop signs. At the bottom of the scale are residential driveways.

A normal model has residential streets with driveways transiting to a ‘collector road’ and that road entering a larger roadway through a stop sign or stoplight. The larger roadway, SR1 or SR92, merging on to 280 as an example.

The CCF Foothill/Bayview is a residential street with stop signs and driveways that they would like people believe that it can pretend to be an alternative to SR1 or SR92. Worse yet, it would function to negate planed improvements to SR92 and result in traffic backed up at a new four way light. 


Regards,
Ken Johnson

According to Hal Bogner we should accept the tentative settlement agreed to by the Ailanto property owners, the former City Council majority, and the Coastal Commission because the litigation has been ongoing for a long time. The Ailanto suit is not the only developer suit the city will have to litigate over properties near the High School. The owners of the Beechwood property are also suing.

A good resolution of any suit happens when the major parties to the suit are able to each achieve some or even all of their legitimate goals. Since the community is a major antagonist in these disputes it is reasonable to question what the community will achieve with these agreements.

The community needs many infrastructure improvements; for example, affordable housing, new roads to improve traffic circulation, parallel water distribution lines, a Community Center, etc. Foothill Blvd would add needed alternative routes for commuters traveling north from HWY 92, it would also be the route of a parallel water pipeline that would add circulation and redundancy to our currently single tread water distribution system.

The tentative agreement will not improve our traffic flows; it will not build even the section of Foothill that would be on this property. Ailanto will build 63 high-end houses averaging 4500 square feet each. The people living in the Terrace Avenue neighborhood oppose the proposed stoplight on Terrace at HWY 1 the road access to this development.

A survey of current MLS listings of houses for sale in our community today revealed that the average asking price per square foot of residence for houses listed with at least 1000 of interior space is $500/sq. ft. For houses with more than 3000 sq. ft. of floor space the average asking price per sq. ft. is $470. If Ailanto builds 63 McMansions with an average of 4500 sq. ft. of floor space, his expected profits at current asking prices for homes for sale today in our community is somewhere between 50 and 70 million dollars.

The negotiators of this agreement should be privy to more accurate costs estimates than my crude estimates based upon current market values and an estimated construction cost between $225 and $275 per sq. ft. The potential wealth generation of this project is significant and substantial. The benefits to the community, the lot retirement program and the stoplight, appear to be small and of little consequence to the problems facing our community.
Jim Larimer

Hi Ken,
It would be great if you can try and refrain from any name calling or labeling, as it is not really constructive to the discussion.

I would also like know how the foothill bypass is currently designed, however. Can anyone comment on the amount of driveways that might be attached to the road, are there any stop signs, or intersections (in the current design that is)?

Ken, you make the following statement:
“Foothill/Bayview, with nonstop dedicated right-hand turn lanes at both westbound 92 and northbound 1, would divert more than half the returning afternoon commuters from the Bottleneck.” CCF web site description.

“Are there any traffic studies to support the claims?”

I see it as analogous to the current morning commute where HMB has blocked off entry/exit to Main St. This was done to increase traffic flow, and it has helped. I can’t really think of a reason for any negative effects on traffic flow with the bypass.

  On June 25th I wrote:

“The Coastal Commission’s 2001 approval for Pacific Ridge required that even the portion of Foothill constructed within the subdivision be “consistent with the design criteria specified for arterial streets, with no direct driveway access to any of the proposed lots”(p. 43).  The approval referenced the City’s Circulation Element in defining arterial streets like Foothill as “’Limited Access Facilities’ designed to carry traffic from collector streets and to and from other parts of the City”(p. 42).  The Commission also preserved Foothill’s 80 foot right-of-way, consistent with HMB’s certified Local Coastal Program.”

  Yesterday Ken Johnson wrote:

“A normal model has residential streets with driveways transiting to a ‘collector road’ and that road entering a larger roadway through a stop sign or stoplight.”

  Clearly, the Commission’s 2001 requirement for Foothill followed Ken’s ‘normal model,’ as does CCF’s 2006 proposal, which revives and closely advocates not only the Commission’s 2001 Foothill conditions, but those placed on the City’s approval of Pacific Ridge in 1999.  In order to criticize CCF’s proposal for Foothill/Bayview, one must contradict the reasoning behind the Commission’s 2001 and City’s 1999 approval conditions.  Here’s the language the City used:

“Until such time as other permanent access is available, temporary access shall be provided to the site via Terrace Avenue.  Within nine months of the approval of the Coastal Development Permit, the City shall determine the permanent primary access to the site, consistent with Vesting Tentative Map.  UPON SELECTION OF THE PERMANENT PRIMARY ACCESS, THE APPLICANT SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY ALL COSTS RELATED TO PROVIDING PERMANENT PRIMARY ACCESS TO THE SITE”(emphasis added).

  Foothill and/or Bayview was the City’s and Commission’s requirement, which the developer opposed, and opposes to this day.  That’s why he sued over the approvals.  All along, the developer has insisted that a stoplight at Terrace was sufficient access mitigation.

Don Bacon,
as a CCF Director, you are now advocating Foothill to the standards defined by CC and City’s Circulation Element, etc.? That is significantly different from the “two-lane route about one mile long” and rough alignment in the CCF original proposal!

Please confirm this major change!

Ken Johnson

Jim Larimer,
You are advocating abrogating the agreement with Ailanto to settle in favour with the “owners of the Beechwood property”? That does seem to answer part of an original question of mine, thank you. Would you like to identify any other previously undisclosed beneficiaries?

I find it also interesting that you seem to be suggesting a steep ‘progressive’ taxation plan. And the use of class warfare terms like “high-end houses” and “McMansions” is sort of new. I had always thought of you as an ultra conservative republican – sorry, I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, your calculation ignores the development relative to the total land area in question.

Are you suggesting an “excess profits tax” on all new development? Or a fixed rate of return on new development for the community?

You described SOME of the benefits of Ailanto. What are the community benefits of Beechwood and the other undisclosed beneficiaries?

As a CCWD Director, please elaborate or give a reference for the “parallel water pipeline” projects you cited.

Regards,
Ken Johnson

Ray Olson,
You almost got it. You were close. Let me try one more time. You wrote: “current morning commute where HMB has blocked off entry/exit to Main St. This was done to increase traffic flow, and it has helped.” Now, if it were reopened, it would hurt – right!

Turns from a roadway, SLOWS thru traffic flow. Entry to a roadway SLOWS thru traffic flow. OK. Now, if in the mourning [spelling intentional] Foothill exists with traffic turning into it from South bound SR 1 – thru traffic will be impeded. Also, if in the mourning [spelling still intentional] Foothill exists with traffic turning onto east bound SR 92 – thru traffic will be impeded. Got it?

The case of the evening commute on westbound SR 92 is even more disastrous! It is sort of the difference between eating dinner before going home and asking whether I should try to go home!

The questions I asked of CCF was not to determine WHETHER it would be a detriment to the commute times; but to determine the order of magnitude of a disaster they want to impose on us!

You can probably go to City Hall and ask the Planning Department to read the stacks of relevant traffic studies and proposals.

Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson wrote:

Don Bacon, as a CCF Director, you are…

Please check out the CCF website for a list of CCF directors.

http://www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org/contact.html

  Ken: the “stacks of relevant traffic studies” at City Hall and the Coastal Commission were the basis for their Foothill/Bayview requirement.  Please wade through their approvals, which are posted on CCF’s website, and then show us where the City’s and Commission’s findings and conditions requiring Foothill and/or Bayview are in error.
  The City and Commission did envision that “Foothill would be designed as a four-lane arterial street with a median, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks” (p. 42, Commission’s 2001 Pacific Ridge approval).  In its May 2nd outline, CCF did not see the need for four lanes.  Pretty much everything else around here is two lanes.  If you retain elements like bicycle and pedestrian paths, parkways, and center turn lanes as necessary, Foothill would be scaled nicely with other local thoroughfares.
  So there is no major change in proposal for I or CCF to report.  While we agree with the City’s and Commission’s fundamental finding that Pacific Ridge needs its own access, we remain free to form our own opinions about implementation details.
  Finally, I don’t believe it is fair or accurate to imply that Jim Larimer’s opinions re Foothill/Bayview are on behalf of developer “beneficiaries.”  For over two months a number of people have vigorously defended the Pacific Ridge settlement agreement and a Terrace stoplight, while lambasting the need for Foothill and/or Bayview.  All of these positions are precisely those of the developer, Ailanto, yet I cannot remember anyone associated with CCF ever accusing those people of shilling for the developer. 

Sorry Ken but I don’t get your logic. Here is what you stated:

“Turns from a roadway, SLOWS thru traffic flow. Entry to a roadway SLOWS thru traffic flow. OK. Now, if in the mourning [spelling intentional] Foothill exists with traffic turning into it from South bound SR 1 – thru traffic will be impeded. Also, if in the mourning [spelling still intentional] Foothill exists with traffic turning onto east bound SR 92 – thru traffic will be impeded.”

This is no different than today’s morning traffic flow. If you were driving North on highway 1 and merging onto 92 you have to merge into the southbound traffic that has just turned onto 92. This merge will only be moved eastward on 92. Sorry, but no disaster. And same thing for the evening commute. What it really means is that instead of a temporary bypass (like the one you see each morning around 92 and main st) it will be a permanent one with less lights for the southbound 1 commuters.

In reply to Ken Johnson my comment should be taken at face value. The agreement made by the former City Council majority appears to be quite profitable for the Ailanto developer without much benefit to the community.

This is the issue that motivated David Iverson many years ago to build a political collation to demand more community improvements from developers for the right to generate wealth here. It is common practice in most of America today for developers to make significant improvements for the right to make signifcant profits.

The original master plan for the community included Foothill Blvd and a parallel water main that would be located in its ride-of-way.

A parallel pipeline would add redundancy to our water system and the circulation it would provide would also eliminate dead ends. Dead ends in a water distribution system require higher levels of disinfectant to assure that the water is safe to use. Water in dead ends is not mixed or consumed at the same rates as water in systems with circulation.

Therefore a parallel pipeline would reduce our risk of catastrophic failure and would have a health and cost benefit as well. That is why a parallel pipeline would be a good addition to our system.

Jim Larimer

Don Bacon,
No difference between requiring “a four-lane arterial [etc.]” and a two lane residential street! Are you serious?

“CCF did not see the need for four lanes” – just Who and How was that determined?
If it wasn’t that a few misguided somehow take you seriously, I would simply laugh at that. Just what is CCFs track record – oh yeah, it has none! So everyone should just take CCFs “did not see the need” as reliable dependable evidence – you can’t be serious.

“Pretty much everything else around here is two lanes.”
That is precisely why there is a string of REAL improvements waiting in the queue for funding to upgrade. You would have us walk, no make that run, backward from progress!

You also apparently don’t think ‘holding capacity’ nor the additional lanes for exit/entrance or holding lanes are necessary? How about the required changes to SR 92 and SR1? The inadequacy for the original doomed it as well as the cost to do it right.
CCF non-proposal isn’t even in the game!

”So there is no major change in proposal for I or CCF to report.”
You don’t think the above is enough?

I don’t have to go through the documents now – I did it when they were first done!
I was also there as it evolved.

CCF refuses to provide ANY detail in their non-proposal because it would expose just how absurd it is!

Ken Johnson

Mary Bordi, Don Bacon may not be a Director of CCF, but it’s clear to anyone who reads the original letter and all of his subsequent posts that he, and not Charlie Gardner, is the author of the correspondence to the Coastal Commission. Is it important that Mr. Gardner signed his name to it? Not particularly, but I think it says a lot about Don Bacon’s standing in CCF, does it not?

Don Bacon and Jim Larimer, you need to put your collective heads together with your engineering and accounting friends at CCF and come up with a believable figure for the cost of Foothill Street as you envision it, and then tell us how you intend to finance it? I’m certain that you don’t want to keep this information secret from the public. Oh! And Mr. Larimer, I hope that you will be sure to include the cost of your redundant pipe. Thanks.

ken king

Ken, are you saying that if it were 4 lanes you would be more supportive (I really would like to know)?? You know, it really is too easy to be critical of every idea or solution that comes to fruition. Which reminds me.. How about that effort for an alternative to measure S?

Ray Olson,
Once again Ray, “go to City Hall and ask the Planning Department to read the stacks of relevant traffic studies and proposals.” While there, examine the plans for SR 92 at Main St and beyond.

Now, draw your self a pretty picture of the intersections with all the lanes including turn lanes and lights. All the way back beyond Frenchman’s Creek.  Do it to scale.

Now, CCF claims that Foothill STREET as 1 mile long. DO you have any idea how far traffic going south on SR 1 backs up waiting to merge? Now, where will that traffic sit – hint, it doesn’t fit into a one mile single lane residential street—it will back up from the proposed light at Foothill STREET to Frenchman’s Creek and beyond.  Traffic wishing to go south will not be able to proceed – like those wishing to drop kids of at Cunha!

The worse case: [Ray, try this one, it is easier to understand!]
Evening westbound SR92 would have NO HOLDING CAPACITY waiting to turn right onto Foothill STREET nor the TURNS at Foothill STREET and SR 1. Traffic wishing to turn or to proceed straight can’t proceed.
Today, traffic fans out and can proceed north or south on SR1.
Foothill STREET would back up traffic intermixed with north and south traffic each waiting to go a different direction at a new traffic light – think it is bad now, you can’t even imagine it with this fiasco!

Does the word GRIDLOCK ring a bell!

Ken Johnson

 

I have several questions to ask to anyone willing to answer and who has some facts to back up their statements I am not for or against the new road plans at this time and the semantics of weather it is a road a super highway or a 2 mile long driveway basin are moot in my eyes.

Before I get to them I think it would be a good thing for everyone to review some communities on the California coast that are thriving I was lucky enough this weekend to drive down to San Diego and I drove US-1 as much as possible and after driving and seeing San Luis Obispo, Newport Beach, Carlsbad, Laguna Beach to name a few HMB has a lot to get fixed if it ever plans on being a coastal hub for bay area residents. These communities are not just thriving they are excelling at being great places to live and visit. I have read on this site and others on how the people of this community want it to flourish yet much of what is said by many (not all) is along the lines of not giving a lawn water or sunlight and telling it to be beautiful the not so happy truth is that in order to have the money to support and grow a community you need business not just more customers to go to the shops in town I am talking 24x7x365 businesses doing business in and out of HMB but their tax money needs to go into town coffers to build a town. A quick look over the hill East proves this you think Palo Alto Mountain view or Redwood city have good schools / community programs / infrastructure because of the people who live there… its a warm fuzzy thought but no.. they have businesses that pay Taxes and a lot of them, or in PA’s case they have a world class college too.. Well, enough of my rant and on to my questions..

1. Wouldn’t connecting to stone pine just make a larger mess out of the stone pine & main intersection?

2. Through out the above comments there is talk of removing the bottle neck but looking at the drawings instead of having 2 bottle necks on 92 being HWY1 & main this would just make 3 Hwy1 Main and now foot hill.. I hope the lights stay timed right or people are going to be looking for the nearest gun store and a clock tower to climb. think of it… you hit the red light turning onto 92E then you hit a red at main then BAM red again at foothill.

3. This road is to help alleviate the Ailanto subdivision traffic through terrace drive so now instead of metering traffic on just highway 1 you now have a light slowing traffic on 1 and on 92 how does this help anyone coming or going?

4. If 92 is such a big problem why not just fix 92? make it 4 lanes or 6 or whatever and not slow down hwy1 even more?


I know this came off as a blasting to the foothill road idea but its not I am just trying to find out where the help from it is. Even if these benefits are not there; it may be a very needed road just for the Schools and expansion of HMB to become the place it seems many residents want it to become..

-Matt

Matt, your instincts resonate with most of the points of my June 17 post above. Starting with your Stone Pine observation, I can tell you as someone who served on the citizens’ park committee that the Stone Pine residents would stand up in mass to fight the creation of Foothill through and around their homes. The developers at Cypress Cove likely back CCF’s idea, but they are seriously mistaken if they think they can get the homeowners to buy into a plan that would increase the ambient noise and pollution around their homes by several hundred percent.

Your second and third points are almost exactly right. CCF claims their plan creates a surface road to ease traffic flow, but that is feasible only if the number of vehicles is held constant. Their plan adds several hundred new homes (with double that number of vehicles) to finance Foothill. So the question becomes will more vehicles and more signals actually be worth the cost and improve traffic flow? It plainly doesn’t compute.

A light at Terrace and Hwy 1, as the Settlement agreement now calls for, will interrupt flow on 1, but there is a trade off of an extra lane in each direction to ease vehicles in and out of town quicker, as well as added stacking capacity north beyond the Main Street/1 light. The fact that any building at all takes place near Terrace is to our street’s disadvantage, so no outcome is ideal. As a Terrace Avenue resident of 30 years, I prefer the fewer homes/fewer vehicles scenario for our coastside community. 

If you are familiar with where HMB’s city limit is on 92, then you know how far the city’s responsibility for widening the road extends. San Mateo County plans to widen the eastern slope of the hill above the watershed, but only plans to do some straightening of curves on the western valley side to the HMB city limit. While there is two hundred million $$ set aside for this dual project, costs have already outrun the county’s timeframe for the work. It is impossible to hazard a guess about when that work will be approved and completed. Funding will be a huge problem once the permits are in place.

The bottom line though is 92 remains a 2-lane road even after the slated improvements by the County. So there is nothing we on the coastside can do about this at all, except be wary about any proposal that will add substantially to our existing traffic. That’s just one of the reasons that Foothill is such a terrible idea.

ken king

 

Mr Johnson,
Again, your logic does not make sense to me. Let’s look at the ideal scenario first (in my opinion anyways).

Hwy 1 is 4 lanes, hwy 92 is 4 lanes. Going south on hwy 1 (from say El Granada) you have 2 options: drive into town, or connect to 92. 92 connection is no lights like what we have connecting 92 to 280 today. Same thing if you were to drive north on 1 (say from the golf course). Also, the same thing would exist driving west on 92 in that you 3 options: Connect to hwy 1 North, connect to hwy 1 South, or visit downtown HMB (just like what you see in many coastal towns today). I feel this should be our long-term goal.

Now the bypass doesn’t provide this ideal solution, but would be a good first step. You would have that connector between 92 and 1. It would bypass the downtown lights that everyone has to go through today. Driving south on 1 (since there is currently only 1 lane), as you state, folks wishing to drop their kids off would still deal with some traffic. However, the traffic would be flowing more than today since there will be less lights for the majority of the cars trying to get onto 92. That is where the gridlock mainly comes from: the fact that southbound 1 traffic hits 3, four-way lights (McDonalds light, Burger King light, and then Main St light) before merging to 92. The Bypass would reduce the amount of red light time to just 1 red light. This has been proven by the temporary bypass that is in place each morning.

In regards to your westbound 92 scenario.. it is the exact same logic. Less red light time for those wishing to go north 1 means the cars can get thru the area quicker, which means the overall traffic flow of west 92 will increase.

 

 

Jim Larimer,
CCWD hasn’t embraced the concept that new development would pay for its costs. That you are now claiming that development should go beyond and provide benefits for the community that it is impacting is encouraging. Of course I support that, I got David and the others at the then Neighbors Alliance to join us in our Homeowners Association to put forth Measure A with the economic goal of having development proposals compete for a scarce resource—development allocations. Free market competition. Unfortunately, many politicos never got their degrees in Economics or Law. Anyway, I was asking you questions in a previous post to see if you had a better idea for evaluating and funding impacts – apparently by your reply [Jul 09, 06 | 1:20 pm] you don’t!

There for, if there is no public benefit, the public should not pay for it. There is no public benefit to Foothill STREET. So the public should not pay for it. Likewise the water lines associated with the development represent no public benefit so the public should not pay for it. The portions that would only benefit the public in general should be paid by a combination of the two.

If you are referring to the proposal portion that includes tanks and gravity feed reduces power consumption, etc. – that portion may be public benefit to the degree of representing reduced operating costs, etc. Cutting dead ends or mitigating them is a design and implementation issue. I believe strongly in ‘cost benefit analysis’ and proper ‘cost allocation’ – I haven’t often seen that done locally; and particularly at CCWD.


I understand that you want Ailanto to pay to pay for a Foothill STREET boondoggle.

Once again, “WHAT ARE THE COMMUNITY BENEFITS OF BEECHWOOD and the other undisclosed beneficiaries?”!


Regards,
Ken Johnson

I have a question for Mr. King. You state the following:
“The bottom line though is 92 remains a 2-lane road even after the slated improvements by the County. So there is nothing we on the coastside can do about this at all, except be wary about any proposal that will add substantially to our existing traffic.”

What if we could do something about it (and there was funding for it). Would you want to make the necessary improvements? And if so, what would they be?

The following comment was posted by ken king on Jul 10, 06 | 12:13 pm

The bottom line though is 92 remains a 2-lane road even after the slated improvements by the County. So there is nothing we on the coastside can do about this at all, except be wary about any proposal that will add substantially to our existing traffic. That’s just one of the reasons that Foothill is such a terrible idea.


Ken,

First I would like to say I am not sure Foothill is a terrible idea but trying to ride it on the back of fixing traffic seems to be a long shot.

  This Statement above is a really nasty catch 22. We can all pretty much accept that yes traffic stinks on 92 but accepting the fact that there is nothing we can do is the wrong way to approach the problem.
  It seems that San Mateo as a county is politly letting 92 go by the wayside because they figure that after the slide is fixed everyone will be happier and that is very short sighted. The fact of the matter is traffic will contiune to grow in numbers till we will be back where we are right now even with 1 open. Think about it how many more vehicals will it take to reach this point even at 1% a year growth. Below are some numbers from the Y2k census I am including pacifica because I am sure some people would use 92 than fight 101 to get further at times, in my calculations I used 1% of Pacifica’s total population.


Population Numbers
HMB 11,842
Montara 2,950
El Granada 5,742
Moss 1,953
Pacifica 38,390

so we have a total with of 22,870 with pacifica’s 1%

now add 1% a year which I am guessing would be compounded I am not sure as I could not find data on this growth rate online.
In 10 year which we are almost already at we have 25,262 residents that would be using that road area. In 15 years we have achieved 26,551. This is not including any new out of area labor and business needed vehicals or greater numbers of tourists.
So we now have a larger multipul community area that is at the breaking point for traffic and instead of pursing fixes we are bashing most ideas placed fwd. And letting San Mateo ignore the problem is olny setting us up for an even larger problem later. Can anyone imagine what would be like if they were expaning 92 right now during the slide or when traffice reaches the same levels slide or not?
  Does anyone know how to approach San Mateo on this or even the state, as many people have said this is a State road.

-Matt

Ray Olson,
Fair question. The original approved and conditioned by CC and the City with the required changes to SR 92 and SR 1 effected a ‘no negative impact’ – no reason to oppose, no reason to support. It wasn’t going to improve traffic flow; it just wasn’t going to make it worse! No one would fund that. Why would they? The primary developer wasn’t going to take bullet either. Ergo, dead.

I supported all the improvements currently waiting for funding. Key word – IMPROVEMENTS!

Personally, I don’t like the ‘straightening’ of SR 92 – I love driving it in cruise control. I love flying at the edge of the envelope when alone – it is just not good policy. So I grudgingly supported the ‘straightening’.

Regarding your question on:
“THE CITIZEN’S ALTERNATIVE PARCEL TAX”

At the 29 June CUSD Board meeting, I addressed the board requesting an update on the progress to a solution to the no school bussing on the coastside. Mr. Dwight Wilson announced that at the next meeting he would be announcing their solution. The Next CUSD Board meeting is Thursday, 13 July. I hope to see you there!

Ken Johnson

Matt, it’s good to have someone asking questions that can lead to discussion. You wrote:

now add 1% a year which I am guessing would be compounded I am not sure as I could not find data on this growth rate online.

Not sure if this is the type of thing you were looking for. Here’s a PDF chart showing the buildout differences between HMB and Midcoast: http://www.c4pr.org/file_download/13

(Please no comments from the peanut gallery about property rights advocate. When folks point at me and say that its sort of like when they point at me and say she has curly hair!)

My conclusion about the prospects for SR 92 are based on the twin facts that little seems to occur in the scale of our lifetimes here on the Coastside, and that dollar$ already budgeted for improvements are inadequate for their purpose, let alone the real demographic challenge facing us down the road. (Matt’s figures are conservative, if anything, because the census was purposely designed to undercount the lowest economic class. But that’s another story.)

I live my life as an optimist and don’t usually preach gloomy views to others, but I think realism is important or you cannot begin to solve problems. CCF has decided to attack the problem piecemeal without a strategic thought about the overall picture. If you’ve got a problem and only so much time to tackle it, you are better off spending most of that time thinking about how to solve it rather than just plunging in wildly as they are attempting.

For the record, Foothill is going nowhere because of the wetlands at Beachwood, and those soon to be highlighted in the new EIR on Foothill (due in a month). Faith that Foothill can still be pushed through despite this obstacle is still analogous to cargo cult psychology.

ken king

Matt Wrublewski wrote:
“And letting San Mateo ignore the problem is only setting us up for an even larger problem later.”

To be fair, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors are not just ignoring the problem, they are actively pursuing a buildout plan that will makes things a lot worse.

http://coastsider.com/comments/1038_0_1_0_C/

http://coastsider.com/comments/1488_0_1_0_C/

By the way, the 1 percent growth rate employed in your calculations should only be used when talking about HMB. The Midcoast currently has a 3 percent growth rate limit and the Supervisors are proposing to drop it down to 2 percent (plus many exceptions of course).

Matt wrote

“If 92 is such a big problem why not just fix 92? make it 4 lanes or 6 or whatever and not slow down hwy1 even more?”

“Does anyone know how to expand 92 and (sic) to approach San Mateo on this or even the state, as many people have said this is a State road.”

There is only one thing the BOS of the county has the option of doing—-by a county wide initiative that they could propose to ALL of the voters of San Mateo County to expand Hwy. 92.

Why?

Measure A in 1986, a county wide citizens initiative passed that stated Hwy. 92, outside of the HMB city limits must remain a TWO LANE ROAD. In that initiative it stated that there was no sunset clause and could only be changed by a majority vote of all the registered voters in the county.

Rather unlikely, but one could start a citizen’s initiative.

This is precisely why CalTrans is going with only straightening Hwy. 92 east of HMB.

John Lynch

Mr Johnson,
You had made a post on july 9th @ 10:44pm with a concern over gridlock. Well, please read my reply I had made on 7/10 at 1:48pm (it seems to be a little delayed in getting on the discussion board).

Thank you to Kevin, Mary, John & Ken on getting some facts and details on the table for myself and others to ponder.
  On that note after reading all of the data it looks like if the time to act has not past the coastside may have some very good points to fight the BOS and or the citizens vote not to widen 92. I say this in that you can fight both or be for both but not allow them to have it one way or the other. In that if they are going to force the expansin down our gullets they better well fix the main road in and out of the coastside.

Just a thought….

-Matt

On July 5 Ray Olson wrote: Leonard: I’ve read your post above. It seems that you keep falling back to the “too many houses, too many people, too many cars, etc” argument. I don’t see it that way, since all these things will be happening, regardless of a bypass.

You missed my point entirely.  The land use plans need to be revised to reduce the final buildout numbers down to something which can be handled by the amount of resources we have and the amount of infrastructure which can be built within various constraints.

Ray continued: Growth is happening today, and will continue for the years to come. In addition, today we have unacceptable road infrastructure, let alone 5 years from now. A bypass is desparately needed to support today’s population, and the population 5/10 years from now. Do you disagree with this?

I can’t easily answer that briefly.  I don’t think that Foothill is a viable solution to anything.  Explaining why would largely be a rehash of things which numerous people have previously posted here.  Regardless, your fundamental assumption is the problem which needs to be fixed—we need to reduce the amount of growth which will happen, and slowing it down to 1% is not a solution.


On July 7 Jim Larimer wrote: The benefits to the community, the lot retirement program and the stoplight, appear to be small and of little consequence to the problems facing our community.

Yes indeed Jim, the benefits of the Pacific Ridge project are small and of little consequence… 

Jim, I’ve asked this before and never gotten an answer from anyone:  If a developer pays to build infrastructure to serve those already here, and the latent demand uses up all that capacity but then the developer adds demand, then the next developer builds infrastructure to handle the demand from the previous project, and so on, where/how/when does it end?

Matt Wrublewski - when you drove down SR 1, did you conveniently skip Santa Monica / Venice / Marina del Rey and Manhattan Beach / Redondo Beach / Hermosa Beach?  They are all examples of packing too much development (too many people) into an area.  And if I recall correctly, Lincoln Blvd is SR 1 and it’s 6 (sometimes 4) lanes, and nearly always totally jammed.  In fact, *every* through N/S street in the above list of cities and communities is virtually always jammed.  And it was that way 12 years ago when I left; I shudder to think what it’s like now since development continues but there is no more room to build new roads or lanes.

Don’t get me wrong—I loved visiting those areas, but I was glad that I could escape back to my home in Playa del Rey (later, in Westchester), the two less congested communities sandwiched between those grossly congested communities.

Also, in response to “If 92 is such a big problem why not just fix 92? make it 4 lanes or 6 or whatever”.  First of all, changing 92 like that would rather drastically change the character of the Coastside into something different from what it is and what so many of us liked when we moved here.  Second, that would be a complete disaster for the businesses along 92.  It’s difficult enough to turn left in and turn left out of those businesses now.  It would be completely impossible if 92 had more lanes.  What I think 92 needs is (only) a center turn/merge lane as now exists on SR 1 in part of Montara, plus wider shoulders and a respectable bike lane.  What you’re asking for is to increase the capacity of SR 92.  That can be done either by adding through lanes, or improving the flow on the existing lanes by various methods such as what I suggest here along with the curve straightening project.  Obviously I prefer the latter rather than adding lanes.

Mary Bordi,

CCF home page has: “my name is Don Bacon … I’m speaking as a director of Coastside Community First”. So I believed, Don Bacon was a director of Coastside Community First.
http://www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org/
Don Bacon’s Speech to the Half Moon Bay City Council on May 2, 2006
http://www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org/documents/db_speech_05_02_2006.html

You wrote [Jul 09, 06 | 9:28 am]:
“Please check out the CCF website for a list of CCF directors.”
http://www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org/contact.html
Indeed, Don Bacon isn’t listed as a Director of Coastside Community First there.

Put Community First – your sister organization with the same web templates as CCF - understands disclaimers.

At your next Board of Directors meeting, you might want to discuss with Mr. Bacon the appropriate disclaimer.

Regards,
Ken Johnson

Ken: I assisted in the formation of CCF, and served as one of its founding directors.  After CCF’s public launch in May, I stepped down in favor of others who had demonstrated commitment and leadership during the formation period. 
  As I understand it, only written statements released under CCF letterhead, or on its website, should be considered an expression of the CCF directorship.  With that understanding, statements by individuals – here or anywhere else – are only expressions of personal opinion, and should not be construed otherwise.

Leonard,
Thanks for your response. I do respect your comments and point of view.

Now, you state the following:
“Regardless, your fundamental assumption is the problem which needs to be fixed—we need to reduce the amount of growth which will happen, and slowing it down to 1% is not a solution.”
I can only then assume that you want the growth rate for our coastside to be a negative rate?? The term “fixed” is quite subjective and I really think that the reality in our county is that the growth rate will be positive. We must accept that fact, and take as much control of it as possible (or else the county will). In addition, the need to improve our road infrastructure is based on today’s population, regardless of the future growth of our communtiy.

Then you state the following:
“First of all, changing 92 like that would rather drastically change the character of the Coastside into something different from what it is and what so many of us liked when we moved here.”

I agree, but with a different vision of yours. I believe it would totally IMPROVE our character.. It would allow folks to not be afraid to visit our coast. It would improve the revenue of our local businesses. It would allow all of the citizens of our coastside to have quality family time.. time to watch our kids sporting events and volunteer more often in our schools. It would alleviate our current fears if a disaster happens. Just think of what would happen today if a disaster happens?? And.. we can get ALL of these things and still have a coastside that has plenty of open space, and a thriving ecosystem. We are definitely not unique and many coastside towns in the US have been able to accomplish this. When I read your statement above I just assumed the following: more people would be living here and so I would have to share this beauty with too many people. Or, I won’t be able to find parking at my favorite beach. Or, maybe even… I will no longer have a view of the ocean. Or probably, my quaint little coastside town will no longer exist. Well, I see these as separate issues, and are definitely addressed by our policies and civic codes as separate issues.

 

 

 

Ray, you are still not making the correct distinction between growth rate and growth limit.  The rate is the 1% (HMB) or 3% (County).  The limits are the 4000 more houses in HMB and 4000 more in the unincorporated area.  I am saying that 8000 more houses is too much and the Land Use Plans need to be revised to reduce those numbers.  That 8000 additional houses number has nothing to do with the 1% and 3% growth rates.  Reducing the number of additional houses to be built is not “negative growth”.  Negative growth would mean removing existing houses.

We’re going to have to agree to disagree on the issue of the character of the coastside as it relates to the number of lanes of the primary roads.  But I would ask you to explain how WB visitors will be able to turn left into the business on SR 92 if they had to cross two lanes of high speed traffic, and how will they will be able to turn left out to continue on WB to HMB if they have to cross two lanes of high speed traffic?  As I said, it’s hard enough now when there is one lane to cross.  I would really like to see the improvements I mentioned in my previous comment done ASAP before we consider any additional lanes.  Similarly for SR 1.  Now, it’s not that difficult to cross SR 1 on foot.  But if it’s expanded to 4 lanes it will be much more difficult, increasing the cry for more traffic signals, which as we all know slows down traffic, negating much of the improvement from the additional lane.  So what exactly would be the improvement?  SR 1 needs to be widened a bit for a set of safety improvements but that widening doesn’t need to include more through lanes.

In my business, when someone says “I need you to do ‘x’”, I always ask “What is your bottom line need?”  I then look for the best solution to provide that need, which isn’t necessarily the “x” in the original request.  You’re saying you want more lanes.  I’m saying that you really want to increase the capacity and service level.  Why not first consider other methods of increasing the capacity and service level, which can be done with less money and therefore more quickly?  Do you really care which method is used, as long as your bottom line objective is met?

Leonard,
  In response to your’ comments to Ray and myself you stated:

In my business, when someone says “I need you to do ‘x’”, I always ask “What is your bottom line need?” I then look for the best solution to provide that need, which isn’t necessarily the “x” in the original request.  You’re saying you want more lanes.  I’m saying that you really want to increase the capacity and service level.  Why not first consider other methods of increasing the capacity and service level, which can be done with less money and therefore more quickly?  Do you really care which method is used, as long as your bottom line objective is met?

While I do like the current small town feel and do not wish to lose it here in the coast side this I believe a faulted view as follows. Weather it is roads schools houses or widgets giving the absolute minimum is a lose lose situation. If you have a customer that wants 500 widgets this week and may want another 1000 later and it costs 5 dollars a widget for 1500 or 12 dollars a widget for 500 would you not at least try and buy 750 and save a buck? Granted the 4 or 6 lane super highway comment of mine is extreme but as I have seen there is very little money to be had for improvements on any of the projects in the coast side with a very small business tax base so why would you do the absolute minimum only to have to try to fund and fix it again in a short time period. I think this rings true to a comment on another article about the CCWD trying to push a larger water pipe retrofit in El Granada. People have stated that the CCWD is using this as a means to get more connections into the area for more housing as the CCWD’s motivation. Instead these persons want the absolute minimum to get good water services for them selves and forget the future; this is more than a little selfish. I mean come on, $15000 dollars as a start for bidding to get 1/2 non priority water service I find this to be almost criminal to use a public service to hold a towns growth hostage. Who is going to want to move here when it costs $30,000 for a water permit for a $900,000 home that is 3%  OUCH!!!

  On your comments about Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and others, yes they are traffic nightmares but they are also different in that almost all of the mentioned cities are passageways North and South for other Major communities and I do not believe that level of traffic would be in this area with the level of growth being metered in the coast side area. On another level those city’s also have booming tourist industry and large business base.


-Matt

  If the way I have read what other stated is wrong or misinterpreted please feel free to correct and comment.

Hi Leonard,
So maybe there is a semantic issue when you say Growth Limit? Are you saying that HMB cannot buildout more than 4,000 homes, and the unincorporated areas cannot build out more than 4,000 homes? If so, then I now understand what you are saying (though to me I guess I wouldn’t term it as growth limit but maximum home amount or something). From reading the LCP I think we might be at half that right now? I am saying our infrastructure cannot even support this amount, let alone this housing maximum you state. We basically need to DOUBLE our capacity in at least our road infrastructure, and I think many folks would agree with this.

I also agree that we will agree to disagree on the character of our coastside, even though I don’t see how anyone could argue with the positive points I had made.

Now the tough questions. You ask how could we widen 92, and not impact the businesses adjacent to the highway. That is certainly a tough question and ultimately there would be a certain price to pay. In looking at the highway going WB I think there could be a road that runs parallel to 92 on the SB side. This road would be on the opposite side of the businesses. 92 should have a few off/on ramps, specifically an area just to the west of the nursery (past the home that is next to the nursery). That intersection could then connect to the road that runs parallel to the SB side businesses. That road partially exists I think, and I think could be upgraded to support a little more traffic. Then, the businesses on SB side do not need to connect directly to 92, rather they would connect to this road. I am sure there are many other options, and Caltrans would definitely need to be involved to figure out the best connectors. My solution would allow the road to be widen around Lemos Farm where part of the SB side land could be used to widen. I also think that we could connect the road going to the dump to the Lemos farm parking in the back so that folks have a better entry/exit.

As for highway 1.. We need to create overpasses just for foot/bike traffic. This is done all the time on highway 1 in Southern Cal. so it can be done. Highway 1 needs to be 4 lanes for most of our area, and we need portage streets (not sure of the term) that run parallel to 1 on both sides, where it makes sense (like connecting tracts). This can all be done and still have plenty of open space, etc. Meaning, I feel there is no valid argument that says by doing this we hurt our environment or ruin our coastal ecosystem. I know it seems like alot of money to accomplish but I think the County and State need to support this in order to meet the current growth rate dictated in the LCP. Look how much is spent just on Slide Repairs?? All of this was unplanned monies.

Ray, your post and many others illustrate that there is no shortage of ideas about how to go about expanding the coastside road infrastructure.

However, the financial and regulatory reality that we live in is quite different: the options for expanding highways 92 and 1 over the next 10 to 20 years are extremely limited.

Unfortunately, neither the County nor the City of HMB have adequately adjusted their land use planning to reflect this reality, in my opinion.

Ray,

Sketch out your plan for widening SR 92. Take it to the effected adjacent businesses property owners. Let us know what they had to say.

Ken Johnson

Don’t worry about the local businesses—just use eminent domain to acquire the right-of-way.  ;-)

JUST KIDDING!

—Dan

Responding to Ray Olson’s comments of July 17 (in two parts due to length limit) (not length rate!):

So maybe there is a semantic issue when you say Growth Limit?

I don’t consider it semantics.  There is a specific amount of growth allowed.  The total amount of growth allowed is the limit.  Limit = how far can you drive on a tank of gas?  Rate = how fast can you empty the tank?

Are you saying that HMB cannot buildout more than 4,000 homes, and the unincorporated areas cannot build out more than 4,000 homes?

Yes (I didn’t look up the numbers so I could be off by 500 in either direction on both numbers.)  But to clarify what you wrote above, it needs to be stated as “can’t build more than 4000 additional homes.

From reading the LCP I think we might be at half that right now?

Simply counting houses, yes, or close enough for discussion purposes.  However, the County LCP for the midcoast projects a certain population at buildout.  Population-wise, we’re easily at 65-70% of buildout So if only half the houses have been built so far, we will be at 150% of the projected population if all the allowed houses are built.

I am saying our infrastructure cannot even support this amount, let alone this housing maximum you state. We basically need to DOUBLE our capacity in at least our road infrastructure, and I think many folks would agree with this.

I can agree with your statement of the situation, but not your solution.  The solution MUST involve reducing the future demand for infrastructure by reducing the target number of people who will be living here at buildout.  As Carl May has put it, “you can’t build your way out of a problem caused by overbuilding.”

Now the tough questions. You ask how could we widen 92, and not impact the businesses adjacent to the highway. That is certainly a tough question and ultimately there would be a certain price to pay. In looking at the highway going WB I think there could be a road that runs parallel to 92 on the SB side. This road would be on the opposite side of the businesses.  [...]  That road partially exists I think, and I think could be upgraded to support a little more traffic.

I thought of that in 1995.  I have asked more knowledgeable people about it.  It’s a private road.  Also, it’s not physically possible to make it as long as required.  Hopefully one will chime in here and expand the explanation of the dificulties with the parallel road.

[...]I am sure there are many other options, and Caltrans would definitely need to be involved to figure out the best connectors.

As others have pointed out, it would take a countywide initiative to widen 92 in the unincorporated area.  If you parallel part of 92, you eventually have to connect to the existing 2 lane part and then you’ve just MOVED the bottleneck.  And left to CalTrans, we’ll have an 8 lane double-decked freeway there.  No Thanks.

... continued ...

... continuation of response to Ray ...

As for highway 1.. We need to create overpasses just for foot/bike traffic. This is done all the time on highway 1 in Southern Cal. so it can be done.

Agreed.  However, you’ll discover as I did that there are some very vocal opponents to overpasses.  The locations will be difficult so that views aren’t blocked, particularly in El Granada and probably some parts of Moss Beach and Montara.  With some very careful and sensitive analysis of the view issue, and minimalist designs, I think we CAN find acceptable places to build the overpasses.  I’d want to see buy-in from most of the community for each proposed location in that community.

Highway 1 needs to be 4 lanes for most of our area,

Again, you’re defining the need by the flawed buildout land use plan.  Fix the land use plan and we won’t need 4 lanes.  Don’t fix the land use plan and we’ll need 6 lanes.

and we need portage streets (not sure of the term) that run parallel to 1 on both sides, where it makes sense (like connecting tracts).

I agree, and there is probably broad agreement on this need.  (I think they’re called “frontage roads”.)  However, one sticking point is that there needs to be some way to prevent significant through traffic from using the frontage roads instead of staying on the highway.  Maybe making them somewhat serpentine through the communities instead of parallel to the highway?  I.e., be sure that you can’t go long distances faster on the frontage road system when the highway is jammed.

[...]I know it seems like alot of money to accomplish but I think the County and State need to support this in order to meet the current growth rate dictated in the LCP.

The growth is not DICTATED in the LCP, it’s ALLOWED.  And again, it’s not the RATE that’s the issue, it’s the LIMIT.

Look how much is spent just on Slide Repairs?? All of this was unplanned monies.

That’s lunch money compared to how much it would cost to do what you’re suggesting.

I was merely suggesting one option (there are many) and my suggestion is rather incomplete. I am not responsible for the strategic plans for highway 92. My only point is this: There should be a strategic (ie long term) plan for expanding 92 and 1, with short term steps to get us to that objective. The goal is to satisfy the needs of the community, including the businesses, for the planned population count of our coastside.

In fact, I think the local businesses would fine favor with my suggestion. The reason is to induce traffic onto the second street to make it easier for a customer to get into and out of the business. For example, as I drive WB on 92 each day I often think of buying flowers at one of the flower stores. But, I think about and so no way cause it is so difficult to try and get back onto WB 92. So, I might end up at Safeway (cause it is easy). I’m thinking there are many folks that think the same way as I (what do you think readers?). But, if you could get in and out of these businesses in a safe and timely manner, would you visit more often?

Oh by the way Ken.. How is that Alternative Tax Measure coming? Our children and our schools could really use those some additional funds.

Ray Olson

Please reread my post of July 11 as regards Hwy, 92

John Lynch

Hi Leonard
The above 2 posts were not meant to be a response to your last 2 posts.

So what your argument seems to be is that the growth limit (or maximum houses) is too large and should be reduced. If we were to reduce this number then we wouldn’t have such a serious problem. It also sounds like you are in agreement with improving our road conditions, but not necessarily to the extent that would support the current planned buildout amounts (and population). Based on this, there are 2 issues: 1. Is the growth limit acceptable? What should the maximum amount of homes be set to?
2. What needs to be done to increase the throughput and safety of our roads, for the current population, and for the planned population?

I’m saying this just to make sure we don’t confuse the two.

I like what you have said above. I recognize that my ideas for increasing capacity on 92 and 1 would be expensive, but I really don’t think we are unique: other counties have done this and much more so why can’t San Mateo county? Again, it is assumed it would be built in stages so the cost would be stretched out in time. And I truly believe we should create a strategy for this (or like you said CalTrans or some other government agency will take over).

As far as what is an acceptable growth limit… I really don’t think we have a right to state only a certain number of homes should exist, and no more. Are we really that special (just because we are lucky enough to live here right now)? Now.. I am not saying that the whole coast should be built up, and having a specific growth rate does imply a limit.

However, I know the LCP defines how many empty lots there are in the coastside, and that is part of the growth limit. I need to read the LCP again to find out what this amount is, but I truly feel all of those lots should have homes on them (assuming an annual limit of course), and we must plan for them accordingly.

Thanks for your comments Leonard.

 

 

John: I understand that there was a county wide measure passed to limit the size of 92. There could also be a measure to expand it again. I wonder how Measure A actually got started? Perhaps from folks on the coast that wanted to keep the coast to themselves?? Does someone know why it was even created (and what was the argument back then for passing this measure)?

One other comment regarding overpasses on highway 1. One argument against this idea is that folks oceans views would be impacted. Of course this is not a legitimate reason for not creating these: Nobody made guarantees that a person’s ocean view would be protected, and that homeowner is not paying the community extra to have this extra feature. Plus, when you consider the fact that an overpass could save lives then I think it is more than appropriate to state that they need to be built.

The following comment was posted by Barry Parr on Jun 23, 06 | 8:06 am

Half Moon Bay grew at 2.6% in 2004, mainly due to exceptions made by the city.  We don’t know what it was in 2005.

http://coastsider.com/comments/678_0_1_0_C/


It is now August 2006.  Do we know at this point what the growth statistics are for HMB in 2005?