Study all the options-- Vote NO ON L

A few thoughts on Measure L. In the front page photo of R. Donahue Peebles at the Fog Fest, Mr. Peebles wore a shirt that read: "Study all the options." I agree with Mr. Peebles in that regard. But, to this point, I don't think that's been done. I think that the scenario created by Mr. Peebles' promises and by Mr. Peebles' artists is only one option. What is lacking to this point is an objective study of the highest and best use of the Quarry site. What has been proposed is the highest and most profitable use for the developer, not what may be best for the city of Pacifica.

In 1992 my wife and I went house hunting and looked at a house that backed to vacant and natural Mori Point lands. I thought it would be great to have a house that backed to open space. I asked the Realtor: Who owned the land? and, Were there plans for development? She told me that many development plans had been put forth, including a 230-unit condominium, hotel and convention center plan. She assured me one day that house would back to some sort of development like that.

At a certain point, an appraiser was hired to study Mori Point. His name was Greg Harding. He studied Mori Point and concluded that its highest and best use was as publicly owned open space. We now know that Mori Point was not inevitably slated for development as the Realtors in town would have me believe in 1992. And, these days, Greg Harding is second in charge of the state Office of Real Estate Appraisers.

One of the biggest underlying assumptions being drummed into us is the taking for granted that the Quarry site will inevitably be developed. This is not necessarily so. If anyone wants to "study all the options," perhaps an impartial appraiser should be engaged to perform a highest and best use study of the site. What is the highest and best use of this site, for the city and people of Pacifica? Perhaps Greg Harding would do it.

I believe everyone can be trusted. You can trust an honest man to turn in a lost wallet and a larcenous man to keep it. And, you can trust a developer to be a developer. A developer will do what a developer deems necessary to do to achieve their development. Make no mistake about it. This is about money and little else. And, a lot of money. The residential component would yield huge profit to the developer though the cost to the city in services may be equal to or greater than the return in property taxes. And, additional "quality of life" problems would be created or intensified in our city.

Heck, if an honest and impartial highest and best use study was performed by an independent appraiser, it might conclude that the highest and best use of the Quarry would be for a smallish hotel, smallish non-chain retail and restaurant center, 8 or 10 soccer fields or 3 or 4 baseball fields. Who knows?

I will vote no on L, just as I did on E, the smaller project proposed by Trammell Crow in 2002. In my opinion rezoning the Quarry site to include a large residential development is not in the best interest of Pacifica. I don't think all options have been studied and no out-of-town phone-bank mercenaries, charming proponents, or ultra sophisticated million dollar public opinion campaign can convince me what is inevitably going to happen or what's best for Pacifica.

Brian Grey
Linda Mar

The above was printed as a Letter to the Editor in the October 25th, 2006 Pacifica Tribune, and is republished here with the author's permission.