City of Pacifica
California

Staff Report
2522
Adopted as Amended
Mar 26, 2018 7:00 PM

Approve goals for the Draft Local Coastal Land Use Plan Update and Adaptation Planning project, receive report on expansion of the project’s community engagement plan, and authorize use of existing Planning Department budget to expand the contract scope and budget in the amount of $41,000 with Environmental Science Associates and their subconsultants to conduct expanded community engagement.

Information

Department:Planning DepartmentSponsors:
Category:Policy Discussion

Attachments

  1. Printout
  2. A. Goals for the Draft Local Coastal Land Use Plan Update and Adaptation Planning (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)
  3. B. Pacifica Stakeholder Engagement Plan Nov 2017
  4. C. Frequently Asked Questions

Meeting History

Mar 26, 2018 7:00 PM  City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

City Manager Woodhouse stated he would like to make an introductory comment which he thought was important in the Council’s consideration of this item which was the distinction between establishing a goal for a project and the actual project approval which comes later in the process. He stated that it is done for numerous policy issues which the Council takes up, explaining that the Council is considering clarifying goals related to sea level rise in the Local Coastal Plan update. He stated that, through the complex project, the different phases and all of the public input later in the schedule for the project, the Planning Commission will be hearing all the data presented and making decisions about it as well as City Council. He was drawing the distinction between establishing a goal for a project up front before all the detailed information was in front of them as opposed to the actual project decisions down the line.

Planning Director Wehrmeister presented the staff report.

Mayor Keener opened public comments.

Sam Casillas, Pacifica, stated that, as a member of the Pacifica Sea Level Rise Work Group, he appreciated the level of civic engagement and communication that Council, staff and planning consultants have done with working with the public for this plan to ultimately enhance the General Plan update. He felt that the SLR planning process has been very transparent. He understands that there has been requests for additional data information but the flexibility of city staff to expand the public input process was recognized. He also realizes the difficulty in the process because the decisions are ultimately tied to people’s homes and making it a personal and emotional driver for many in the community. He stated that, when misinformation is out there, it was not helpful to the process. He stated that people making statements about people in the flood zone not being allowed to put a roof on was disingenuous and would not help. He felt that needed to stop. He stated that a sound plan should consider all scenarios where only data is taken into account for the process. He agreed with the goals that preserving existing neighborhoods and infrastructure should be their most important over arching goal as it was talking about homes, adding that they also have to understand how that goal will impact the vitality of their local economy as it pertains to the city’s recreational assets like the beaches and was the main driver for the future economic vitality of Pacifica. He stated that every economic development study conducted for Pacifica has stated that the future economic viability of the city depends on our recreational assets being developed to drive the tax base with tourism. He stated that, if the beaches are decimated, this economic driver will also be decimated. He also mentioned that stating that the goal will protect existing development and retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development could be counter productive, such as south of the pier where there was an agreement that the first line of defense was fortifying the beach as much as possible and creating a buffer between the newly fortified sea wall. He asked what happens if that fails and they have to go to the next one. He stated that, if the sea wall gets breached, it didn’t make sense to build additional berms on the south and north side of the golf course because what is important is that is essentially managed retreat. He stated that it was important and critical for them to separate existing infrastructure and housing from what has not been developed yet. He stated that they need to consider open space that could be considered as buffers for mitigating sea level rise.

Jim Kremer, Pacifica, stated that he was a resident of Sharp Park and a member of the community working group. He stated that he was surprised with some the text in the staff report at the end of packet page 191, specifically that the adaptation plan will protect existing development and retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing developments. He felt that was ill advised as it violates the charge they accepted in the grant from the Coastal Commission where it states the city will evaluate new accommodation protection and retreat strategies and will include an in depth assessment of the cost and benefits of implementing each strategy, and it weakens the relevance of the whole process. He stated that the goal of the state mandate charge was long term planning for a broad range of contingencies in the amount and rate of sea level rise over time. He stated that the value to the city was to identify extreme scenarios that may be unpleasant even though very unlikely. He stated that the grant also specifies that three sea level rise scenarios will be studied, including no sea level rise. He explained that, while they have contracted to consider extreme scenarios, they should also consider the lowest risk baseline case of sea level rise of zero. He stated that the draft vulnerability assessment mentions the case on page 27, but the result does not seem to be in the report. He stated that it gives them balance and should be in there. He understood that it was new language from the goal setting meeting and Council still needs to determine if this language and direction was acceptable. He stated that he was concerned that changing policy, in addition to contradicting both the letter and intent of the contract was under the radar for most of the interested community and for the CWG. He then referred to the wording of “areas of existing development” was so imprecise as to be nearly meaningless, as development could apply to the entire coastal zone or something else. He then referred to the pressure from a few vocal critics to do this, and stated that he understood the pressure but stressed that it is only a few when considering all the residents and stakeholders on whose behalf this process was being done and who will pay for whatever they do. He worried that the critics goal seems to be to sow fear and impede the process rather than to improve it. He hoped they can convince the majority of Pacificans that the process was sensible, appropriate and consistent with the Coastal Act and authority of the Coastal Commission. He asked that they stick to the plan and do a good job. He referred to Item 3, preserving existing coastal neighborhoods and item 4 preserving and enhancing public coastal access. He stated that prevailing science says that these as written are mutually exclusive. He stated armor the beach, lose the beach, concluding you can’t do both in the long term.

Hal Bohner, Pacifica, stated he was speaking on one point. He agreed with the prior speakers concerning managed retreat. He stated that it was disappointing to see that some people are applying pressure to the Council to rule out a discussion of managed retreat. He thought that was ridiculous, asking why they would rule out a possible option at this stage of the process as they haven’t completed the technical analysis. He felt they should at least leave the option of managed retreat on the table for consideration as it could be ruled out later. He didn’t think anyone had a clear definition of managed retreat and felt ruling it out was a very bad thing. He also felt the matter of cost was not even beginning to be addressed, questioning what it would cost the city to not do managed retreat in terms of what Pacificans will have to bear to not do managed retreat and put up giant sea walls or other options instead. He hoped they do the right thing and leave the question of managed retreat on the table until they come to a place where they have technical guidance.

Richard Harris, San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, stated that they gave them a short letter which he hoped was passed to them that summarizes their points. He stated that they support staff’s proposed language in the goals statement that retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development. They felt that was consistent with what the Coastal Commission itself did the previous November in its decision on the Sharp Park sea wall as they were presented with evidence that the sea wall was protecting homes, businesses, the golf course, etc., and were very clear that the sea wall was now being maintained. He stated that there was an item omitted between the current goals set forth on the website and the draft goals, specifically the environmental justice point which they think is an important point. He stated that there was a lot of affordable and low cost housing in the West Sharp Park district. He felt that the environmental justice point was an issue set out as one of their goals in their Coastal Commission application and has been omitted in this. He stated they felt there was an easy way to do it, explaining that he gave them a draft attachment which takes the staff’s proposal and adds an environmental justice reference. They also thought the mailing should include notice to people in the at risk areas that their properties are within the at risk areas. He stated they gave them a short letter that sets that out, asking them to look at their exhibit 1.

Stan Zeavin, Pacifica, stated that eliminating managed retreat was a very bad and potentially costly idea. He felt it was another scare tactic to derail their LCP process by SAMCAR and a few locals who do their bidding. He stated that they feed false information to the understandable fearful people in the at risk areas and now this “monkey wrench” is dropped into the mix. He stated that the LCP decision should be based on what is best for the common good of Pacifica. He stated that, given the scope of the LCP, it was probably the single most important document the city will write into the foreseeable future, driven by sea level rise. He stated that the information they will use was collected from the latest scientific data including a cost benefit analysis. He stated that the more choices Pacifica has the better its decisions will be. He stated that the decisions need to be based only on the science and available funds and not political agendas. He stated that, given the monetary state of the city and number of coastal and bay communities across the U.S. who will be asked for a piece of the pie and the sheer quantity of at risk areas in Pacifica, to expect to have the funding to be able to protect all of the vulnerable spots indefinitely, including the infrastructure, was folly, and he thought it would probably lock the city into a position which could lead to bankruptcy. He stated that the county was using managed retreat and all the cities on the coast of California are incorporating some form of managed retreat into their LCPs except Del Mar which was small, very rich and 50% of its property in the coastal zone, stating that Pacifica was approximately 15%. He asked what SAMCAR know about managed retreat that no other county or the CCC seems to have figured out. He asked that they not corrupt the process by refusing to include alternatives which will eventually be faced by every single at risk neighborhood. He felt that, at this point, no one knows the time line and the need to all the information, adding that this information was already paid for by the CCC and he asked why they should pay for it again down the road. He was most concerned that the city was making a policy decision before the adaptation step was even close to being completed. He thought, in the future, Pacifica may need to float a bond for adaptations. He stated that, to vote yes, the 88% of the citizens not in a vulnerable area will need to know that all choices were examined and the choice made was the fairest for the entire city. He asked that they not bend to the fears of a small group of misinformed people.

Margaret Goodale, Pacifica, thanked Council and staff for emphasizing transparency as they work together to enhance their adaptive capacity, adding that this new proposal saying they should not consider retreat was the opposite of transparency. She stated that the LCP funded by the Coastal Commission offers them a choice to consider all the options currently available and be prepared. She thought it was unlikely that the CCC will fund Pacifica to do this assessment again in 20 years if they fail to keep the contract and use the grant wisely. She stated that they should make the most of the funding now and find out everything they can. She stated that they can prepare to be prepared. She stated that, while they have no control over sea level rise, it was in the interest of all Pacificans that they manage our response to sea level rise to avoid potential future liability and irreparable harm to our community. She stated that, to do that, they need information. She stated that, if they turn a blind eye now, they reduce options and flexibility for the next 20 years. She thought we may not like what was happening but were irresponsible not to look clearly at all the possibilities. She stated that we were not a sitcom and refuse information we do not want to hear. She stated that, at this time, only the north dunes, Mori Point and Rockaway Headlands were truly undeveloped and, if they choose to remove retreat from consideration every where else, they choose to commit the people of Pacifica to do battle against the ocean along most of our coast for next 20-40 years. She stated that, if they choose to deny them full disclosure of vital information, they put Pacifica at a financial risk and she asked who will pay. She concluded that she wants her taxes to work toward a sustainable future that will keep Pacifica alive as a city for as long as possible. She stated that the city was not “them” but all of us from the coast to Skyline. She asked that they not deny us the right to all data and commit Pacifica to bear the potential financial burden without understanding all the possible ways to respond to the risks ahead. She asked that they keep transparency and withdraw this terrible proposal.

Cynthia Kaufman, Pacifica, thanked them for an amazing process. She was very impressed with the public meeting, documents prepared by staff and she also was upset when she heard about the sentence added that took managed retreat off the table. She stated that they have to do the science and then do the policy. She stated that what was powerful about the process as laid out was that they will get all the information and then have policy alternatives and make some hard choices with practically no money. She stated that they all know the power of the real estate industry in Pacifica which spent $500,000 spreading lies about the ballot initiative and they were also spreading misinformation about what managed retreat means and what the city’s intentions were in sowing fear among those who live on the coast. She thought that was upsetting, adding that one of the goals of the industry was to shift the cost of sea level rise from private landowners to the public. She stated that they don’t want the city to be obligated to pay for the protection of property they can’t afford to pay. She felt they needed to think systematically and holistically and decide where they are going to have to put their very scarce resources. She hoped that sentence gets taken out or modified and they work together for a process that was smart and the best strategies. She stated that they can’t allow for private gain at public expense. She concluded that we have to be vigilant in this process and she appreciated Council being vigilant and paying attention to the details. She stated that she was a member of the Pacifica Progressive Alliance and at their next meeting on April 17 they will be showing a film called “Facing the Surge” and they will talk about sea level rise.

Amy Caplan, Pacifica, stated she was from the landslide zone. She stated that Florida was ground zero for sea level rise and Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has been relentlessly mocked when he was banning discussion of climate change in his state. She stated that the United States, California, the County and the city will have very limited funding to adopt or mitigate for sea level rise. She stated that Pacifica was one of the least economically productive cities in the county, and nationwide, limited funding will be prioritized for major infrastructure, such as airports, harbors, roads, etc. She felt not considering discussion of managed retreat was unrealistic, absurd and dangerous because it dismisses the reality of critical national, state, county and city priorities. She stated that we are not Florida and we need to be realistic about Pacifica’s ranking in the national state and county’s economic priorities and support discussion of retreat strategies.

Cindy Abbott, Pacifica, stated she was a resident of West Sharp Park and a member of the community working group on sea level rise. She thanked Council for listening to members of the working group and community for the opportunity for stakeholder engagement. She was concerned about changes proposed to some of the goals, specifically goal #1 and added language to address public safety efforts in response to a catastrophic event, and goal #3's added wording that retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development. She mentioned a transcript from a piece from WGBH in Boston beginning on the beach below Manor Drive and reflects a conversation between a reporter and a local geological oceanographer who has worked for various agencies on coastal projects in our area, and read the version addressing previous attempts to protect the cliffs and delay erosion, mentioning sheets stapled to the front doors stating the obvious of being unsafe for human occupancy, then on Pacifica State Beach where nearby houses were pummeled during storms and the state decided to retreat from publicly owned part of the beach and asked nearby homes and businesses to do the same. She stated that the whole project took out a lot of development on the beach and then the waves had somewhere to go with many homes saved along with infrastructure. She was now asking Council to lead by bringing people together and allowing them to wrestle with the complex issue of sea level rise unrestrained by limitations of options, mentioning the CCC funding they might not have gotten if all strategies weren’t on the table. She asked that they take on the challenge and not be satisfied with a one dimensional fix which can often result with unintended consequences. She stated the conclusion of WGBH stated that the damage has taught California officials a valuable lesson that it was easier and cheaper to prepare rather than react to the incoming seas. She asked that they develop the right plan for Pacifica.

Robine Runneals, Pacifica, stated she was a member of the community work group. She thanked staff for their willingness and response to public input on the process. She agreed with the suggested changes, adding she hoped letters to the public would include letters to property owners and residents within the specified zones, as well as commercial properties. She agreed with the definition to protect existing development but added that it also includes other locations in the city and coastal zone that have been developed such as trails, etc. She thanked them for adding meetings, but she felt the GIS is a very complicated piece of technology and she appreciated the city or ESA doing a demonstration at one of the public meetings with the life GIS and explanations of the areas, etc., with trial runs to show how data is located and what it means. She stated she had concerns about enhancing environmental justice removed from the goals as it was a fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies and questioned taking that out of the process as a goal. She referred to comments regarding removing the option of managed retreat, and she felt they should be planning to preserve the city we have and keep is viable, mentioning the Coastal Commission voted 9-2 to save the neighborhoods by supporting the maintenance of the golf course berm.

Ron Maykel, Pacifica, stated he supported the managed retreat option, adding that he is on the sea level rise working group. He referred to city exercising the managed retreat on the state beach, mentioning some of the specifics. He thought there was ambiguity about what managed retreat was specifically, adding that it might be worthwhile to provide examples of where and how managed retreat has been used. He stated that, as mentioned by other speakers, this early in the game he didn’t think they want to fast track this as it was complicated and expensive with a lot of concern from the community. He referred to sea water undercutting the bluffs by Esplanade as well as wind and rain, etc. He concluded that they should maintain the managed retreat option.

Mayor Keener closed public comments and called for a short break then reconvened the meeting.

Councilmember Digre felt they spent a lot of time in deep and thorough discussions and she was concerned that they were trying to go away from that. She believes that each of them are intent on protecting the feasibility of the city which would include infrastructure, residents, commercial areas and our economy. She didn’t think they have expressed any thoughts against that, and were clear about spending time on all possibilities. She was concerned that, if they move away from that, they have robbed themselves of a total picture. She would like to know if they were cutting anything because of the amount of money, she would like to know that. She was talking about expansive knowledge and research based on reputable people and data and she would not want to see the words managed retreat taken because this Council has not accepted a specific definition of what managed retreat was and using other terminologies about managed retreat such as what was done at Linda Mar Beach. She then referred to estuary and wanted to take a moment to read it, briefly mentioning that it was talking about living shore lines and was greener and sometimes cheaper and more reliable than hard infrastructure which marks thousands of miles and was embraced as an alternative to concrete sea walls and bulkheads in many east coast cities and states and more recently the concept has gained momentum along the west coast, particularly in California. She referred to living shore lines which was a nature based shore line protection, man made coastal infrastructure and landscape design that offers a range of benefits for both physical erosion, flood control, ecological and best defined by not sea walls, bulk heads, riprap, which use concrete. She stated that more places are saved while reducing optimized coastal erosion processes and protecting inland development from floodings, storm surges and sea level rise. She stated the same thing was done in 2010 when they had Linda Mar flooding despite the use of stabilizing structures in the San Pedro Creek has been a recurring problem and they worked towards a managed retreat strategy that reduces flooding and erosion threats and restored the habitat and provided a buffer system, but the city remained at risk from flooding, erosions, etc. She then asked why she would want to take away a potential way of protecting infrastructure, homes, businesses, etc., and the ability to be a coastal city. She felt it was too early to cut that off without any data and she was eager to see more public input and discussion and work together to find solutions that will fit the city. She stated that they would want to know all the possibilities, the consequences for each one of them or not and the cost of both. She felt they needed to have that information.

Councilmember Martin thanked the community working group who showed up and expressed their comments. She was concerned with the community’s perceived definition of the words managed retreat, often perceived as bad words. She stated that Sloat Boulevard and Ocean Beach were also good examples of managed retreat, and she didn’t think they could know the meaning of managed retreat in each of our sections of the city without listening to the data and figuring out what it means for each area. She liked Robine Runneals’ suggestion of not only alerting property owners but residents and commercial business owners during the marketing campaign. She thought the GIS trial runs were a good idea and a demo from the experts would be helpful. She also thought Robine Runneals’ comment about being clearer about what infrastructure means would also be helpful.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that when the City Manager first spoke he said they wanted to establish a goal, and we are not making project decisions. She referred to comments that there was no managed retreat, and she referred to managed retreat that happened at Linda Mar when they bought the homes on the beach and removed them. She questioned buying one of the houses on Beach Boulevard, stating that the city doesn’t have the money for that. She thought they need to study everything but it was a goal to keep Pacifica as Pacifica. She stated that, if you don’t live on the beach or Sharp Park, you might not care what happens to those who live there, but it matters to them, and it affects a lot of people.

Mayor Keener stated he would like a definition of existing development as he thought the adaptation plan would be to protect existing development and he thought the first thing he thinks of was protecting houses, then businesses and infrastructure. He asked if that was everything or was there more.

Planning Director Wehrmeister thought he covered it but it would also include more passive uses, such as developed trails, parks, etc.

Mayor Keener concluded that retreat strategies won’t be considered for those areas and he thought managed retreat or retreat strategies suggest that they plan in advance to back off and let nature take its course.

Planning Director Wehrmeister responded affirmatively.

Councilmember Digre asked if that was a definition of managed retreat.

Mayor Keener stated that it was sort of a definition.

Councilmember Digre asked that he repeat the question so she was sure what she heard.

Mayor Keener stated that it sounded like managed retreat and he thought of it as retreat from the ocean that was planned in advance.

Planning Director Wehrmeister responded affirmatively.

Mayor Keener stated that there was another kind of retreat which would be forced retreat which was what they had with the apartment buildings on Esplanade.

Planning Director Wehrmeister stated that it wasn’t necessarily managed ahead of time.

Mayor Keener stated that he thought that it was the houses on Esplanade and the buildings hanging over the edge further down on Palmetto that were examples of forced retreat but he thought the idea was to draw a distinction between managed retreat and something else that they have as a consequence of not taking on managed retreat but are forced into it by actions of the ocean or lack of funds to further protect homes, businesses and infrastructure. He assumed retreat strategies do not include forced retreat because there was nothing they could do about that.

Planning Director Wehrmeister thought the goal would be to manage them ahead of time.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that he read the information from the Golf Alliance and he liked some of the additions he wants to put on there, environmental justice, single family and multifamily residential and rental properties, and the adaption plan will be to protect these assets and existing development in retreat strategies. He thought they have to protect by law public property and public infrastructure, and by protecting public infrastructure they would be protecting private property or other things. He thought adding the fact that it could be $8 or $9 million to remove the pump station from the present building and how much to build the green shoreline. He read the residential guidelines of the Coastal Commission and what their definition of what managed retreat is, stating that removal was required pursuant to LCP policies for sea level rise adaption planning and in the next section it mentions removing some existing shoreline protective devices that are no longer allowed or needed in remediation of the site. He thought the change was consistent with the Coastal Act which already incorporates managed retreat and the action plan will be to protect existing development and was standard, adding that most people would want as a lot of those who spoke were south of Fairway Park. He asked if they were willing to drive over 92 to go to San Mateo and we let Highway 1 go. He thought they have to have a statement that they will make every effort to protect current homeowners and infrastructure for Pacifica. He stated that, if they can’t financially, to alleviate the fears of West Sharp Park, Fairway Park, parts of Linda Mar and Pedro Point, they need to look at that.

Mayor Keener agreed with his last statement that they need to state the intent of their adaptation plan will be to protect existing houses, businesses and infrastructure but the other component was where they get the money and will it be enough. If not, and they only get enough for one project, it could be a problem. He would like to ask if it is consistent with the Coastal Act to say the intent of their adaptation plan will be to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Planning Director Wehrmeister stated that one goal of the Coastal Act or a charter of the Coastal Commission was to protect existing development and she would say it would be consistent.

Mayor Keener stated that someone said the Coastal Act may sometimes require removal of coastal armoring.

Councilmember Martin stated that there was mention if they would be asked to consider more updated or more recent adaptations.

Planning Director Wehrmeister asked if Councilmember O’Neill could confirm it was from the draft residential adaptation policy guidelines.

Councilmember O’Neill responded affirmatively.

Planning Director Wehrmeister stated that they were guidelines. She read from the document on how to use it, stating that it was an interpretive guideline with examples to modify and not all policies are applicable in every jurisdiction. She stated that the document was policy options for consideration, and not all the content will be applicable to jurisdictions as the jurisdictions should consider the policy options relevant to their specific situation rather than view the option as a check list of requirements. She stated that it was careful to say the document was not regulations but guidelines and suggestions to jurisdictions for different adaptation policies they can consider.

City Attorney Kenyon clarified that when the goal refers to the Coastal Act, it was not referring to the guidelines she just mentioned.

Planning Director Wehrmeister responded affirmatively.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that the Coastal Act was adopted and was the policy in law and the guidelines are the published guidelines for public comment and at some point will be voted on by the Coastal Commission.

Planning Director Wehrmeister clarified that it would be as guidelines, not as law.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that it would not be as policy.

Planning Director Wehrmeister stated that they would be voted on as a final guideline document.

City Attorney Kenyon stated that it would not be technically part of the act.

Councilmember O’Neill understood but asked what it would be the same as.

Planning Director Wehrmeister asked if he meant design guidelines.

Councilmember O’Neill agreed.

Planning Director Wehrmeister stated that there was a variety of ways that you can design your building to be consistent with the community character and design guidelines but they are not mandates.

Councilmember O’Neill understood, stating that the General Plan would be the charter from the Coastal Commission and the design guidelines would be the preference we want in a certain area.

Planning Director Wehrmeister agreed, adding that there were a lot of different options from which to select.

City Attorney Kenyon explained that, in interpreting the act versus the guidelines, the act would be deemed as the law.

Councilmember O’Neill suggested supreme.

City Attorney Kenyon agreed, stating that in a hierarchy, the act would come first like the General Plan and the guidelines would be there to assist in either interpreting items that are not covered in the act or add more illustrative guidelines to provisions that are in the act.

Mayor Keener referred to the notion of armoring bluffs, and he stated that most of Pacifica’ bluffs are armored, and those that are not are in Mori Point. He couldn’t imagine a situation where they would plan to remove that armoring. He asked if they could agree on that.

Councilmember Digre responded negatively.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus responded affirmatively.

Councilmember Digre asked where the data was to prove that they were going to save that with armoring when they don’t know whether the data for something else could do the same thing in a more reliable, longer term. She didn’t know where the data was that he was using to compare this so that she can make that decision. She didn’t say they should keep managed retreat to get rid of stuff, but because of the bit that she knows they can save things longer, better, cheaper, and she didn’t want to lose that option.

Councilmember Martin stated that she was finding it hard to understand why they were having the conversation because they were basically asking the community work group that has been put together that everyone has been praising for being transparent to take out an entire piece of data that we need to be good community working group participants. She feel offended that she is being asked this question and make this decision at this time. She was not going to vote to take out the verbiage managed retreat as she thought they need that data point. She wants this to work as it has been designed and make a few revisions by the community working group and suggestions made by the members and public. She thought people were scared. She didn’t want to see any homes, infrastructure or businesses be lost and she thought they were all going to do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen. She thought everyone there was going to do their best also. She asked, if they can agree on that, why they need to change a policy to agree on that.

Mayor Keener stated that he would be in favor of keeping the phrase consistent with the Coastal Act, the intent of the adaptation plan will be to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure, replacing the word development with the specific. He stated that the rest was still up for discussion in his mind.

Councilmember O’Neill stated he was okay with that part also.

Councilmember Martin asked if they were changing the work intent to favors, because it was not their intent.

Councilmember O’Neill asked if she was saying it was not our intent to save.

Councilmember Martin stated that it was their intent to make Pacifica have a really good plan to make sure that we have what we need to be a sustainable community.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that, if it was not their intent to save, there won’t be a Pacifica to save and have any intent of. He stated that the statistics was that 12% of the city’s population, 80% of the affordable housing.

Councilmember Martin didn’t think they work on a Coastal Plan with the intent every time to save. She didn’t think they should ask their consultant to go into something with that mind set as she thought that was the wrong mind set.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that one of the consultants already said he will recommend managed retreat. He stated that by voting for him it was her intent not to save Pacifica.

Councilmember Martin commented that the mayor was a scientist and stated that her intent was to get data points that are correct and whole for the community working group to make good decisions for our community.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that the community work group was an advisory group and not making decisions.

Mayor Keener stated he was a scientist but he was a pragmatist and he believes their intent is to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure. He stated that the community needs to hear that loud and clear.

Councilmember Martin stated that a lot of the community working group showed up at this meeting.

Mayor Keener stated that the part he heard them objecting to was that retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development and they object to that phrase and he was okay with deleting that.

Councilmember Digre asked what he would delete.

Mayor Keener stated that it was the phrase “and retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development,” at the end of #3 on packet page 191 and would end with “consistent with the Coastal Act intent of the adaptation plan will be to protect existing homes businesses and infrastructure.” He stated that he should go further, not in what will be written, but in his thinking. He stated that they will try to protect the homes, businesses and infrastructure, adding that in some cases that will depend on either attracting funds from the feds or possibly the state or possibly our own Pacificans through a bond or something of that nature. He stated all of that was chancy and that was why he was okay with the intent of the adaptation plan to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure. He stated that they can’t guarantee that they will be able to as it depends on the granting agencies as one speaker pointed out that Florida was coming first and we were a blip compared to them, and he thought that was probably true. He stated that there will be difficulties in getting sufficient funding for some of their protective structures, including the sea wall. He didn’t know if we will be able to get funding or not, but a certain number of houses, businesses and especially infrastructure will eventually be destroyed. He stated that the sewer lines underneath Beach Boulevard will go first if they fail to get funding for replacing the sea wall. He hoped they get funding but, if not, he questioned what they will do. He stated that they need to say their intent of the adaptation plan will be to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus asked what if it says retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development unless absolutely necessary.

Mayor Keener stated that it expresses the intent very well but they won’t know that it was necessary until something terrible happens.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that it doesn’t say managed retreat but retreat.

Mayor Keener likes it better without that phrase altogether as the intention is the same. He honestly cannot see where managed retreat would be a useful strategy for most of Pacifica. He stated that the parts where there is urban development is up to the bluff’s edge. He stated that for 20-30 years into the future we have to hold the line. He stated that they already have armoring, they won’t rip it up and they hope it buys them time. He still favored deleting that part of the sentence of retreat strategies, even with absolutely necessary, because they wouldn’t know if it would be absolutely necessary until it actually happens.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that it could be funding related and you would know that ahead if we weren’t going to get any funding, couldn’t pass a bond, etc.

Mayor Keener agreed, but stated that it didn’t add much to the intent of the adaptation plan which is to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Councilmember Digre asked why he says that when #1 says it.

Mayor Keener stated that it says something slightly different, that it will assist the city to protect human, life, property and critical infrastructure in response to a catastrophic event.

Councilmember Digre asked if putting a period after infrastructure would take care of it.

Mayor Keener stated that he likes the sentence that their intent is to protect homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Councilmember Digre asked where the word intent was.

Mayor Keener pointed it out to her.

Councilmember Digre stated that she liked taking away that retreat strategies will not be considered for areas of existing development. She stated that putting that into people’s minds not to go there when going there might be the best thing to protect something including houses and infrastructure.

Councilmember Martin agreed, asking, if they are saying their intent is to protect existing development, why even make it be about retreat and just leave it at that. She stated that was what she said at the goal setting session and she stands by it not being about retreat.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that so many from the public got up and said they believed in managed retreat and they have done it before and should do it again.

Councilmember Digre stated that they are not the decision makers.

Mayor Keener also wondered what scenario they were thinking about with managed retreat. He didn’t know if that would take out existing houses, businesses and infrastructure.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that the example was Linda Mar and they took out houses.

Councilmember Digre asked how many houses they took out and what they gained by doing that. She basically asked what the consequences are.

Mayor Keener stated that the consequences were pretty real for those living in those houses.

Councilmember Digre stated she was not trying to say to get rid of them. She asked how many houses were gone in Linda Mar, and she stated they were assuming they were going to take a bunch of houses and say goodby. She didn’t get where that was coming from.

Mayor Keener stated that he didn’t know what the deal was with the houses on Linda Mar Beach, and whether they were half destroyed.

Councilmember Digre stated that they lost 300 houses because of the flooding and once they did the managed retreat, a whole bunch was done. She stated that was then and this is now, and they have a process. She stated that they had the discussions, they chose a consultant, had fears expressed, and she added that the consultant they picked was horrible and everything is going down the drain and while they laid off the consultant they were still having the same fears which they already addressed. She stated that fear will be there but they have a process and they were talking about enabling the community to continue to talk and work things out She asked why they were trying to achieve something that is not possible because they would be cutting off all public opportunities and she asked what was the point and why would they bother to come and talk when they have already made the decisions. She stated that some of them were trying to say to leave the data collection time open with more time for the public to express their fears and hopes.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that since it was 10:30 and he was going to make a motion and see what happens. He would make a motion that they change the goals to say, consistent with the Coastal Act, the intent of the adaption plan will be to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructures in Pacifica.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus asked if they want to add some verbiage.

Mayor Keener stated that it was up to her.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that they need a second for discussion.

Councilmember Digre stated that, before they did that, she would like to add one more thing, especially in the Palmetto area. It is a historical area and in #3 it is not mentioned at all.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that it was a good reason to save it.

Councilmember Digre stated she was not against things.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated she would second for discussion, and asked if they can add the term environmental justice.

Councilmember Digre asked where would environmental justice be.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that existing neighborhoods promote environmental justice and local economic vitality.

Councilmember Digre asked if that was in the original one.

Mayor Pro Tem Vaterlaus responded affirmatively.

Councilmember Digre stated she was fine with the original.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that the definition of housing stock was defined in the letter from the golf course but she didn’t know if that has to be defined as housing stock is broad.

Mayor Keener agreed.

Councilmember O’Neill asked if she was amending his motion to preserve existing neighborhoods and promote environmental justice and local economic vitality. He accepted that change.

Councilmember Digre stated that what they are saying was what was in the original.

Councilmember O’Neill thought that part was.

Councilmember Martin asked them to clarify what went down.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that he made a motion seconded by Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus. His motion was to vote to change the goals to say consistent with the Coastal Act the intent of the adaption plan will be to protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure in Pacifica, which is below item #3, and #3 preserve existing neighborhoods and promote environmental justice and local economic vitality.

Mayor Keener stated that was the part in bold at the beginning of #3.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that it has been first and seconded for discussion.

Councilmember Digre stated that she added historical and asked if they were going with that or not.

Mayor Keener asked where she was adding that.

Councilmember Digre stated it was #3.

Mayor Keener agreed.

Councilmember O’Neill suggested it be significant public recreational and historical assets including beaches, coastal trails, etc. He accepted the amendment and asked if the seconder accepted the amendment.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus stated that she accepted it.

Councilmember Martin asked, under recommended action, if they were just covering #1 at this point.

Mayor Keener stated that it was #1 through 4.

Councilmember Martin stated that she would like to discuss #2 under recommended action.

Councilmember O’Neill stated that he just did #1.

Mayor Keener apologized, stating he was looking at something else. He suggested they do this one separately. He stated that the motion as it stands adds the language, environmental justice and to #3 it adds recreational and historical assets to the last bullet and deletes the last phrase in the paragraph following bullet points in #3 and ends the sentence with protect existing homes, businesses and infrastructure in Pacifica.

Councilmember O’Neill agreed that was the motion.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus didn’t wish to have that removed but she will go forward on it.

5-0

Councilmember O’Neill stated that, unless there is an issue, he would like to make a motion to approve 2) move to receive and file report on expansion of the project’s community engagement plan; and 3) authorize use of existing Planning Department budget to expand the contract scope and budget in the amount of $41,000 with Environmental Science Associates and their subconsultants to conduct expanded community engagement as described in this staff report.

Councilmember Martin stated that she would like to amend #2 community engagement plan to include making sure the property owners, residents and commercial owners are alerted that their properties are in the hazard zone. She didn’t know if it would be in #2 or #3, but she asked if they could have a training session on the GIS or a trial run.

Councilmember O’Neill accepted the amendments.

City Manager Woodhouse asked clarification and a couple of points to consider. He stated, if he understands what is being suggested, staff would have to do specialized mailers to different property owners that are indicating different information to them and that will be a very costly endeavor.

Councilmember Martin stated that wasn’t what was suggested, but under packet 189 there was a mailer. She understood his question. She stated that the mailer mentioned was only alerting people to public engagement and a request has been from several community members that the property owners in the hazard zones are alerted that they are in a hazard zone.

Mayor Keener stated that she specifically said residents because she assumes that property owners would be notified although he didn’t know if that was true, but she wants tenants to be notified also.

Councilmember Martin agreed, not that they have to be alerted to something different but the general mailer would say where the property was.

City Manager Woodhouse thought they were thinking that there would be a citywide mailer to residents, property owners, business owners, etc., stating that it was a significant expense to do a citywide mailer. He stated that this issue affects the whole city and everyone should be notified the process they are undertaking, but to do different kinds of mailers to different neighborhoods will double and triple that expense as they weren’t considering that type of delineation of the mailers. He stated that the intent was a notification about the public engagement schedule and hearings coming up and what the process was. He stated that it was not to send the particular mailers in West Sharp Park saying one thing and mailers to the back of the valley say another.

Councilmember Martin stated she knew they can do that but it was an added expense which was not including the design, and her suggestion was that in that mailer goes out there be a map showing the hazard zone and people can look at it and consider going to the meeting.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus suggested a link to a map.

City Manager Woodhouse agreed with a link to a map. He stated that part of the mailer was to draw people to the website for meetings, links to maps, etc. where they can discern that information, but trying to include that in a mailer would be a larger and much more expensive mailer. He stated that it was a monetary and staff time to develop those.

Councilmember Martin thought links were a great idea, but several people pointed out that even the link to the GIS was difficult for people to work. She stated that they could have that one picture.

Mayor Keener stated that the GIS viewer is not atypical of the maps.

Councilmember Martin understands, but stated that people can’t even find the sea level rise posting. She felt the visual with the mailer and they see a map, that was her suggestion.

Mayor Keener asked where they stand on this motion.

City Attorney Kenyon stated that they need to figure it out.

Councilmember O’Neill moved to receive and file report on expansion of the project’s community engagement plan to include mailer to property owners, residents, renters and all commercial businesses in the hazard zone and one for Park Pacifica.

Mayor Keener disagreed, stating that one mailer to all the “doors” in Pacifica, that was relatively cheap to mail, whereas the crux of the argument presented by Robine Runneals is figuring out which addresses are in the hazard zone and which are not and mailing something specifically to addresses in the hazard zone.

Councilmember Digre asked if community service people and flyers would help.

City Manager Woodhouse stated that another point was that those are estimates, and you have two neighbors next to each other and one gets a particular flyer and the other gets another flyer, and that was a determination that property owners make for themselves when they come to the meetings, but that was a concern in drawing that distinction.

Planning Dir. Wehrmeister responded affirmatively.

Mayor Keener stated that a further issues was that with the distinction between neighbors in a hazard zone they may draw the line carefully but the real hazard is unknown to them and it may fall short or both of them or go past both of them. He stated that it also depends on what kind of hazard they are talking about, such as bluff erosion which is not realistic because it doesn’t take into account the armoring already in place. He stated that mailing something based on that would be foolish. He stated that another hazard is flooding which is speculative as well. He would strongly be in favor of keeping it to one mailer for the whole city to get people into the meetings and at the meetings have the maps present or on the website and let them figure out for themselves where they lie with the understanding that the bluff erosion doesn’t take into account the armoring in place and the flooding is imprecise in that it depends on how much sea level rise you have.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus agrees with the mayor. She stated that the flood zone maps in Canto goes down the middle of the street with some in the flood zone and some not. She stated to be that precise to tell them they might be in the zone, she thought you were looking for trouble.

Councilmember Martin asked if they should at least solicit them to try and get them out with a picture. She stated that they would have to show up to the meeting to figure out what it means. She stated that a website works but for most people it doesn’t. She stated that everyone who showed up at the last meeting got something on their doorstep and it was different. She applauded who did that. She agrees it can be one to keep the cost low, and her suggestion was to put a map in the mailer or go with Councilmember O’Neill’s motion.

Mayor Keener asked if they have deleted the separate mailers to the hazard zones.

Councilmember O’Neill responded affirmatively.

Mayor Keener asked about the GIS help for assistance.

Councilmember Martin stated that the trial of a demo.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus assumed at one of the meetings, not a separate meeting.

Mayor Keener stated that it was just the GIS addition and items 2 and 3.

Councilmember O’Neill moved to receive and file report on expansion of the project’s community engagement plan and do a citywide mailer to all property owners, residents, tenants and commercial businesses with a map in mailer and on city website; and 3) authorize use of existing Planning Department budget to expand the contract scope and budget in the amount of $41,000 with Environmental Science Associates and their subconsultants to conduct expanded community engagement as described in this staff report; seconded by Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus.

Mayor pro Tem Vaterlaus moved to extend the time to 1:00 a.m.; seconded by Councilmember Digre.

5-0

RESULT:ADOPTED AS AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Mike O'Neill, Councilmember
SECONDER:Sue Vaterlaus, Mayor Pro Tem
AYES:John Keener, Sue Vaterlaus, Sue Digre, Mike O'Neill, Deirdre Martin