South San Francisco Staff Reports on inclusion of parts of Sign Hill in PCA
February 20, 2015
San Bruno Mountain Watch (SBMW) has taken a lead position and has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to see that local cities utilize the benefits offered by the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) which has been put in place by Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Del Schemari, a resident of South San Francisco and a boardmember of SBMW and Friends of Sign Hill (FoSH), has been the point person on this endeavour and has logged hundreds of hours and has covered much ground.
Full support has come from the town of Colma and the City of Daly City as they have voted in favor of the recommendations made by SBMW as this process moves through San Mateo County. This item will now come before the South San Francisco City Council on the regularly scheduled council meeting at 7pm on Wednesday February 25, 2015 at 33 Arroyo Drive South San Francisco. We encourage those who understand the importance of open space, especially in South San Francisco as this city continues to see high density growth, to attend.
Below is the staff report which recommends support for part of the area yet does not include the three privately held parcels on the northern and eastern sides of Sign Hill. While we greatly appreciate the City approving Sign Hill Park and surrounding areas in the PCA, we need to take advantage of this limited opportunity to include ALL of Sigh Hill . Per the staff report, the City wants the private property owners on Sign Hill to agree to being included in the PCA. Schembari has continued to reach out to the property owners to encourage their support as there is no negative effect on any developer should that decison ever go forward. However, if and when, the property is transfered to public lands, having this property included in the PCA would allow the City to apply for funding that would otherwise not be available. This funding could be used for trails, signage and even for possible purchasing of these properties. It does not guarantee that a private owner could not develop their parcels according to current zoning.
While the report states there was a mutual agreement that SBMW would 'take the lead in trying to secure the agreement of private property owners on Sign Hill' it is disappointing the City did not offer assistance to help bring this to a reality as this would be a huge benefit to the residents and would in no way be a negative for the current property owners. We see this as a lost opportunity for this valuable open space.
The SSF Staff report below explains in detail the benefits of the PCA.
SUBJECT: RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE DESIGNATION OF SAN BRUNO MOUNTAIN AND ASSOCIATED PROPERTIES WITHIN THE CITY OF SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO AS A PRIORITY CONSERVATION AREA
Itis recommended that the City Council adopt the attached Resolution supporting the designation of San Bruno Mountain and associated properties within the City of South San Francisco as a Priority Conservation Area.
BACKGROUND I DISCUSSION
Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) are part of the Association of Bay Area Governments' (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC) broader effort to implement Plan Bay Area, a state mandated long-range integrated transportation and land-use/housing plan for the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, PCAs are areas of "regional significance" that "provide important agricultural, natural resource, historical, scenic, cultural, recreational, and/or ecological values and ecosystem functions." The purpose of designating an area a PCA is to protect, preserve, and enhance natural lands and resources in the San Francisco Bay Area as mandated by the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. Adoption of a PCA does not change the zoning, general plan, or other land use designations of the geographic area encompassed by the PCA.
Benefits of the PCA designation include ensuring that Plan Bay Area considers farmland, open space, and resource areas for preservation and protection, complementing Priority Development Areas (PDAs) by taking development pressure off the region's open space and agricultural lands, ensuring a more compact development pattern of future development efforts, and qualifying for state and federal funding to preserve and protect designated lands.
The four categories of PCAs are the following:
Natural Landscapes: Areas critical to the functioning of wildlife and plant habitats, aquatic ecosystems and the region's water supply and quality.
Agricultural Lands: Farmland, grazing land, and timberland that support the region's agricultural economy and provide additional benefits such as habitat protection and carbon capture.
Urban Greening: Existing and potential green spaces in cities that increase habitat connectivity, improve community health, capture carbon emissions, and address stormwater. Many existing and likely Urban Greening areas are not within PDAs.
Regional Recreation: Existing and potential regional parks, trails, and other publicly accessible recreation facilities.
Process for Priority Conservation Area Designation
Jurisdictions or special districts, such as open space and park districts, may submit applications to nominate new PCAs to ABAG through May 30, 2015. The nominating agency must send notifications to all of the jurisdictions in which the PCA is located. These jurisdictions will have ninety (90) days from receipt of the notification to adopt a resolution of opposition to the PCA. An adopted resolution of opposition invalidates the nomination.
The application requires that new PCA nominations include:
An adopted resolution of support from the jurisdiction(s) in which it is located;
A map and text describing the general area and boundaries of the PCA;
Selection of one or more of the PCA designations, with supporting text and data; and
Discussion of the regional and local importance of the PCA.
San Bruno Mountain (Natural Landscape/Regional Recreation) Sign Hill Park (Natural Landscape/Regional Recreation) Orange Park (Regional Recreation)
Centennial Way (Regional Recreation) Oyster Point Marina (Regional Recreation)
San Francisco Bay Trail (Natural Landscape/Regional Recreation) Connecting Bike Trails/Routes (Urban Greening):
Grand/East Grand Avenue
Oyster Point/Veterans/Sister Cities Boulevards
Therefore, staff recommends that the City Council adopt the attached Resolution supporting the designation of San Bruno Mountain and associated properties within the City of South San Francisco as a Priority Conservation Area
Notably absent from the list/map are the privately owned parcels located on the north slope of Sign Hill. By mutual agreement with SBMW, staff has focused its efforts on identifying and linking publicly held properties, and SBMW has taken the lead in trying to secure the agreement of private property owners on Sign Hill. SBMW continues to work with the property owners of these sites to gather their support, but as of this writing, no such support has been secured.
There is no fiscal impact associated with this request.
Staff, in consultation with SBMW, has developed a network of open spaces that it recommends be included in the broader application being developed by SBMW for designation of a PCA in northern San Mateo County, focused in and around San Bruno Mountain. It is hoped that successful designation will enable the City to compete for associated grant funds as they become available for future conservation, restoration and recreational projects dedicated to the preservation of the region.
Orange Avenue (El Camino Real to Sign Hill Park)
Spruce Avenue/School Street
South Linden/Linden Avenue
Potential Priority Conservation Areas
In mid-2014, San Bruno Mountain Watch (SBMW) received a grant from MTC to aid in their outreach efforts to gather support for designation of San Bruno Mountain and other nearby important open space lands. Since that time, in addition to meeting with Planning and Parks and Recreation staffs, SBMW has been working individually with neighboring jurisdictions, including Daly City, Pacifica, Colma and Brisbane, to coordinate a comprehensive PCA nomination application for northern San Mateo County.
As shown on the attached map, staff has proposed a network of open natural lands, public parks, bayfront and multi-use trails, and bikeways intended to connect the City's two PDAs (Downtown and the El Camino Corridor) and regional transit hubs to open space amenities as listed below and shown on Exhibit A of the attached Resolution: