New Urbanism

New Urbanism and Pacifica

We've been hearing a lot about the pros and cons of Measure L in Pacifica. Supporters describe it as "Smart Growth," using New Urbanism concepts developed by some very good urban planners. As a professional geographer I've heard a good deal over the years about New Urbanism, and have even served as an advisor on Masters Theses examining transit-oriented development, a common component of New Urbanism designs.

"High-stakes poker"

John Maybury serves it up straight in his Wandering and Wondering column of September 13th, 2006:

[Peebles] is a businessman with a huge investment to recoup, and an even bigger loan to pay off. He is not a charity. He is not here to rescue us from our fiscal dilemma. He is here to play high-stakes poker, win big, and cash in his chips. Don't fall for the sweet talk.

The Real Mr. Peebles

The owner of the Rockaway Beach Quarry, R. Donahue Peebles, was profiled by The San Francisco Bay Area Guardian issue of 8/29/06. Their profile of his meteoric ascent in the real estate business in D.C. and Florida stated, "He earned a reputation for resorting to multimillion-dollar litigation when those relationships went bad." But did Mr. Peebles mellow after arriving in California? Apparently not. Mr. Peebles' partnership filed suit against the California State Mining and Geology Board in March 2006, a month after being fined a tenth of the maximum fine for failure to file an acceptable assurance instrument for the reclamation of the Quarry. (Rockaway Beach Ltd. v. SMBG et al.) At the "charrette" meetings I attended in May, Mr. Peebles described himself as completely cooperative with the State regarding reclamation of the formerly quarried property. Curiously, he and his agents made no mention of the fact that aspects of the reclamation matter were in litigation.

Pacificans for Sustainable Development says NO to Measure L

After much thought and analysis, including meetings and many conversations with Quarry owner/developer R. Donahue Peebles, Pacificans for Sustainable Development (PSD) steering committee has decided to oppose Measure L.

Quarry Concerns

My two concerns about the Peebles plan for the Quarry are 1) the number of housing units and 2) the nature of the retail stores proposed. I checked both the web sites of R. Donahue Peebles and Andres Duany and neither contained retail store specifics. I emailed Mr. Peebles about six weeks ago and received no response.

Debunking the Highway Widening and "Town Center" claims

Lionel Emde debunks several common misconceptions about the Quarry. The full text of his Letter to the Editor published in the 7/5/2006 Pacifica Tribune is posted below with his express written permission. (The letter was a response to a Guest Column called "Goodbye Pacifica" by Julie Weismann.)

The Quarry Charade

During March 2005 Melissa Hippard, Lennie Roberts, & myself met with R. Donahue Peebles of the Peebles Atlantic Corporation at the Conservation Center in Palo Alto. The subject of the meeting was a proposed development by Mr. Peebles of the landmark quarry in Rockaway Beach; the quarry is adjacent to the Pacific Ocean & SR 1.

"New Urbanism" -- middle class need not apply?

The New York Times featured a long piece on Andres Duany of DPZ and his New Urbanist design movement:

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