South of the Slide

One of the Peebles/Davies arguments is that the midcoast south of the slide is planning to double their population, and supposedly that means we should be happy to shoot ourselves in the foot by adding 355 houses to the two most congested intersections in Pacifica.

But that assumes that there are no citizens south of the slide attempting to rein in uncontrolled buildout down there.

However -- and unfortunately for Peebles's argument -- there are, and they're fighting hard against the Board of Supervisors:

For those keeping score, that makes it four-out-of-four key elements of the Coastside infrastructure (roads, water, schools, and sewers) that cannot possibly handle the Supervisor's buildout plan.

The Supervisors aren't taking into account the cumulative effects of all this development, as CEQA requires. Not that this will necessarily stop them from being lobbied by real estate agents and developers to approve runaway growth on the coastside, but it could. Notes Stephen Lowens of Montarans United Against Flooding:

We note a particularly insidious aspect of San Mateo County policy, which is that development in the Midcoast is happening on a parcel-by-parcel piecemeal basis. There has been no analysis of the cumulative impact of development as required by CEQA, and thus no serious attention given to the problem. CEQA requires an EIR when a project of any size can be considered 'cumulatively significant.' We believe the County may be in violation of CEQA requirements by NOT considering the cumulative impacts of Midcoast development.

One cumulative effect that should be noted here in Pacifica, is that Highway 1 will be a 2-lane road for the foreseeable future.

But even if the Midcoast grows (at a more modest pace), the impact of a house in Montara on traffic in Pacifica is far less than the impact of a house in the quarry. It's harder to quantify this without real traffic studies, but, for example, the development projects on Fassler/Roberts are likely to have a greater impact on traffic in Pacifica than 1-2 years worth of growth south of Pacifica.

Plus, the argument should work in reverse: 300+ units in the quarry is a significant number compared to what already exists in Montara, etc. (~10-15%) so why didn't the 2002 Trammel Crow EIR consider the impact of traffic growth from south of Devil's Slide? The answer is probably that it was insignificant.