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What SF's Tanaka Design Group has Planned for the Palmetto Streetscape

Thursday Apr 21, 2016

EDITOR'S NOTE: (Just click on the map to see a larger version) Today's images are just from Salada to Santa Maria, but we'll be sharing the whole project online with the best blog in town, so check there or check back if you're looking for a particular street.

Blueprints of the Palmetto Streetscape were displayed at last night's EDC meeting.

The city got a $1M grant for this project and took $1.5M from the gas tax-funded 2008 COPS Lease Payment Fund to start Phase 1 of this project.

It's estimated at $5M and will run from Clarendon to Paloma.

Coastal Commission to Hear Fish Bowl Appeal April 13 2016 at Veteran's Auditorium, 1351 Maple Avenue Santa Rosa

Wednesday Mar 30, 2016

Appeal No. A-2-PAC-15-0046 (Blackman/O'Connell, Pacifica)

Appeal by Victor Carmichael, The Committee to Save the Fish and Bowl and Hal Bohner of City of Pacifica decision granting permit with conditions to David Blackman and Mike O'Connell for construction of 4 detached 450 sq.ft. apartment units on vacant lot, on 4000 block of Palmetto Ave., Pacifica, San Mateo County. (PF-SF)

COASTAL COMMISSION:  Pacifica Fish & Bowl Appeal April 13, 2016

Seven Submitted Designs for the 2212 Beach Blvd Project

Friday Mar 25, 2016

In response to a records request we filed 24 days ago the City of Pacifica released seven submissions for 2212 Beach Blvd as part of the Monday Mar 28 2016 City Council Agenda.

Seven 2212 Beach Blvd Proposals

San Mateo County Ocean Side North Maps Show New Library, Palmetto Streetscape as Only Pacifica Areas Underwater

Thursday Mar 17, 2016

San Mateo County showed these maps briefly at their Sea Level Rise forum, but only posted them online in the last few weeks.

Download the full size PDF, and take a look at how Pacifica's planned new downtown could be underwater... according to San Mateo County, that is.

San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Maps

Dark Secrets: City Leveraging 2008 Deal to Lease Police Station and Community Center to Deutsche Bank to Pay for Palmetto Streetscape

Monday Mar 14, 2016

UPDATE: While the stated intention was to save us $2M in interest, this deal ended up costing us more money than had we not consolidated our debt into a single loan but done nothing. at all.

Each of the separate funds were individually 25% revenue-supported by the Gas Taxes, and after that the General Fund.

It was a Pawn shop of a deal when Pacifica had no credit and money was tight in 2008 so we probably won't speculate further about why Pacifica did it, but transparency is essentially when using public assets as collateral until 2037. Statistically four of our five council members probably won't still be with us by the time this is loan is paid off.

Long story short, Councilmember Mary Ann Nihart recused herself for a conflict of interest, Mike O'Neill, Karen Ervin, and Sue Digre voted to give the Palmetto Streetscape $1.5M of the funds, and John Keener voted against.

In 2008, the City of Pacifica leased the rights to use our Police Station and Community Center to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company until 2037 for $19.5M. (p21) in a deal that was never made public.

We still owe $16.7M in principal and lease the properties back on annual basis using the first 25% of the gas tax funds and other monies.

Monday's City Council agenda consideration item #3 obscures that dark secret with the language:
"Accept the report, direct staff to allocate the approximately $1.5 million in funds from the 2008 issuance of Certificates of Participation to the Palmetto Streetscape project;".

P10 defines the purpose:
The proceeds of the Certificates are being used to (i) fund an escrow to cause the mandatory tender and Conversion (as described below) of all outstanding City of Pacifica, 2006 Certificates of Participation originally executed and delivered in the principal amount of $15,725,000 on May 16, 2006 (the “Original Certificates”), as originally described in the official statement relating thereto dated May 9, 2006 (the “Original Official Statement”), (ii) provide funds relating to the acquisition, construction and equipping of certain City public street improvement projects (the “2008 Improvements”), (iii) fund certain costs relating to termination of a swap agreement relating to the Original Certificates, (iv) fund capitalized interest, (v) fund or otherwise satisfy the Reserve Fund Requirement, and (vi) pay the costs incurred in connection with the execution, delivery and sale of the Certificates. See “THE FINANCING PLAN” herein.

The Original Certificates were executed and delivered primarily to refund and defease three (3) of the City’s previously issued lease obligations, and also to finance the acquisition, construction and equipping of certain previous City public improvement projects (collectively, the “Original Improvements”), as further described under the caption “THE FINANCING PLAN” herein. Proceeds derived from the sale of the Original Certificates were also used: (i) to obtain an insurance policy (the “Certificate Insurance Policy”) issued by Ambac Assurance Corporation (the “Certificate Insurer”) guaranteeing the scheduled payments of principal of and interest with respect to the Original Certificates (including the Certificates), (ii) to finance a reserve fund surety, and (iii) to pay the costs of executing and delivering the Original Certificates. See “THE FINANCING PLAN” herein."

P21 defines the collateral: Public Safety Building and Community Center.

In tommorrow's Consideration Item #3, City Council is being asked to "direct staff to allocate the approximately $1.5 million in funds from the 2008 issuance of Certificates of Participation to the Palmetto Streetscape project", even thought that is not the intended purpose of the fund, and indeed nowhere in the document does the word Palmetto even appear.

The document is 266 pages long, email us anything else you find at

ORIGINAL DOCUMENT: City of Pacifica 2008 Certificates of Participation Leases Public Safety Building and Community Center to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company for $19.5M

The Calm Amid The Storm... Construction Equipment Waits out High Tide on Palmetto Ave

Saturday Jan 23, 2016

Construction equipment from Michael Roberts Construction received maintenance as it waited out the high tide about 10:15AM Saturday Morning.

Cliff repairs and the placement of multi-ton boulders is expected to continue during daylight low tide.

SMC's Time Lapse GIS Overhead View Shows Massive Erosion at Recology Location

Friday Jan 15, 2016

Recology at Palmetto recently received an Emergency Coastal Permit CDP-359-15 1046 Palmetto Av from City of Pacifica to install four storm water tanks that will probably weigh around 150 tons.

1046 Palmetto Ave has suffered spectacular erosion in the last 10 years, and the excessive weight being placed on the property(which may qualify as a coastal bluff) by this business is likely a factor.

This permit seeks to add four water tanks to the property, with weight calculated strictly by displacement (assuming concrete or metal exterior volume equal to weight of same water capacity) at approximately 153.05 TONS.


1. Tank #1 Rectangular at 25.5' L x 8.2' W x 7.0'H = 1463.7 CU FT

2. Tank #2 Square at 5.0' L x 5.0' W x 5.0' H = 125.0 CU FT

3. Tank #3 Cylinder at 11.9' W x 14.9' H (5.95' Radius) = 1657.2 CU FT

4. Tank #4 Cylinder at 11.9' W x 14.9' H (5.95' Radius) = 1657.2 CU FT

4903 CU FT = (Total displacement of all four tanks including exterior walls and floor).

306,100 LBS = (Total weight of all four tanks fully loaded (Multiply 4903.1 cu ft x 62.43 lbs / cu ft)

153.05 TONS = (Total tonnage of all four tanks fully loaded(Divide 306,100 lbs x 2000 lbs / ton)

Buy yesterday's Pacifica Tribune for an excellent article about this permit.

2016 Date for Palmetto Streetscape Construction
Establishes Palmetto as "Downtown Pacifica"

Tuesday Nov 17, 2015

The 2212 Beach Blvd proposal drops word that the $1.7M phase 1A of the Palmetto Streetscape project, poised to begin construction in Jan 2016, will probably begin later in the year, effectively establishing Palmetto as ‘Downtown Pacifica’.

Palmetto "Main Street" & Streetscape

“The community has developed plans for an evolution of Palmetto Avenue into a Main Street with retail and restaurant on the ground floor and other uses behind and above. Streetscape upgrades from Clarendon in the south to Paloma in the north are scheduled to start construction late 2016. The streetscape will include improvements adjacent to the Beach Boulevard hotel and library site, with special emphasis at the corner of Montecito and Beach Boulevard, next to this site.”

Page 11 of the Beach Blvd RFQ details Palmetto Streetscape

Guest Opinion: Victor Spano riffs on Increasing Awareness of Palmetto Avenue

Tuesday Nov 17, 2015

By Victor Spano

Palmetto Avenue was once a "Main Drag" in old time Pacifica, connecting this area to Daly City and San Francisco prior to the construction of Highway One. It was the “Old County Road”. Old pictures hanging at City Hall reveal a quaint business district once existed and extended between Francisco and Oceana. But since the highway was built in the 60s, the visibility of Palmetto has diminished and many in town do not know it is there save for the Fog Festival. What might enhance year round curiosity and explorations by passers-by?

Business Route

Former City Manager Steve Rhodes had a great idea to work with Caltrans in installing “business route” signage which would direct traffic onto the Paloma and presumably Clarendon off-ramps Before he retired, he said that the timing of this signage would be dependent on Streetscape Improvements. I hope this idea is brought back, it was a good one. “Business Routes” are recognized by many travelers as places where they might find shops, services, lodging, etc. Designating Palmetto as a Business Route, and bubbling it into GPS systems will increase traffic onto Palmetto, and increase interest in the Pier, the promenade, the coming new Library, and other improvements along Palmetto.

Monument Sign for Highway One:

Up until a few years ago, there was once a monument sign at the intersection of San Mateo Avenue and El Camino Real in San Bruno, which gave a “branding” to San Mateo Avenue. I’m reminded that Palmetto Avenue needs such a monument sign saying something like “Historic Palmetto Avenue!Next Exit” installed along the highway on the IBL Middle School property’s eastern edge.

Joint Marketing Program for Palmetto

During the early 1990s, I helped organized a joint marketing program along Mission Street, Daly City We walked the street, visiting all merchants and recruited as many as we could to buy ads for a colorful map of Mission Street that was sent to all residents. It is a task to herd the cats of a bunch of merchants, but maybe this is something the Pacifica Economic Development Committee members could take on along Palmetto challenging some sort of joint advertising product which increases the awareness of Palmetto. A joint advertising campaign could also take the form of a Tribune ad or simple fliers listing and describing all Palmetto businesses.

Themed Directional / Informational Signage

One of my favorite experiences working in Economic Development was working a bit on the Daly City Top of the Hill Directional Signage project, also during the early 1990s. The design firm, Harry Murphy and Friends was very famous, he had designed many iconic San Francisco logos and interiors for retail stores, including Zim’s Restaurants. For Daly City he designed the white seagull on blue background motif, which was ultimately adopted for all the street signage. It was one of the last projects he would ever do, he passed away shortly after completion of the designs. You could not have met a nicer guy, he was a consummate post 60s/70s Porsche driving friendly hippie. The signage he designed on Top of the Hill directs drivers to public parking, and other amenities. A similar Themed Directional / Information Signage project could direct people around “downtown Pacifica”. It could feature the Mermaid logo or something equally catchy to Daly City’s seagull to capture imaginations and draw people to Palmetto.

[Editor's note: The "Mermaid Logo" belongs to the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce.]

Victor Spano: Full Text and Additional Pictures