The developer of a mixed-use project in Pedro Point and a neighbor who vehemently opposed those plans reached a compromise for a smaller building.
The ground floor at 1300 Danmann Ave. will now have 3,050 square feet of commercial space. Any business is possible, with the exception of a fitness center or restaurant. Restaurants and fitness centers were excluded due to their expected high traffic volume.
Four instead of six condos will be built above in a two-story building, not a three-story building as originally proposed, said Helen Gannon, assistant city planner. Natural stone and cedar shingles will be used instead of brick. Property line setbacks of 10 feet will surround the building. The prior draft had no setbacks. The compromise plan provides 12 covered parking spaces instead of the 20 off-street parking spaces used by neighborhood residents.
“The Point is my neighborhood. All this concern is from the heart,” said the appellant, Stephen Clements. “The original plan was such a big development. We reached a compromise I feel better about, although it is not ideal. I’m OK with what is proposed.”
The developer, Mike O’Connell, said the new building fits in with the neighborhood.
“It’s a bit higher than the other neighbors, but it fits in,” he said. “In the past we have not had anyone willing to talk. We will be less hesitant now.”
All council members except Mayor Deirdre Martin supported both the revised project and the spirit of cooperation evident during the City Council hearing for Clements’ appeal of the earlier Planning Commission decision. They passed it, 4-1, with Martin casting the “no” vote.
Martin said she was once the emergency evacuee from her apartment building on Esplanade Avenue when bluff erosion led to city red-tagging and demolition. That experience left her wary about building in a coastal area.
“I think there is rubber stamping in the Planning Commission’s coastal development. I appreciate the compromise, but I want to protect the future of the coast and the need to protect ourselves,” she said.
Clements sought more protections on the project site against coastal
erosion because of its location directly above Shoreline Drive. Project engineer Dan Dyckman of GeoForensics Inc. supported his original plans, but agreed to 10 feet of setback.
“We are further away now from the bluff. We use conservative estimates. We went back to 1955 to calculate the rate of retreat,” he said.
Clements stated in his appeal that the city should not approve development in this area “due to the real threat of man-made climate change.” He noted that Pacifica taxpayers have already had to pay millions of dollars to remove buildings under evacuation orders. Gannon countered, saying the project provided for a “100-year geotechnical hazard event.”
A neighbor, Shari Chan, said at the hearing, “You must consider climate science. The setbacks are not adequate. There will be four families there by the coast.”
Clements said the compromise addresses neighborhood concerns. “This took a lot of work,” he said. “We made this process easier for the community. Maybe form an advisory council for development in the future.”