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For the Record...

Have you heard something related to the City around town, on social media, or in the newspaper, and want to know if it's true?  The City of Pacifica's "For the Record" Page is dedicated to providing residents the facts about varying issues and concerns of broad interest within the Pacifica community.

When misinformation about important City projects or programs is widely disseminated in the community, the City will respond with available information and post it here under "Current Buzz."  To see past posts, please check out "The Last Word" below.


Current Buzz

Court Order Regarding Oversized Vehicle Parking Lists and Map

Please click the link below for a Factsheet, updated July 23, 2021:

Oversized Vehicle Ordinance Factsheet, updated July 23, 2021

July 21, 2021

The City of Pacifica has installed OSV (Oversized Vehicle) parking restriction signs throughout the City based on an engineering safety review, which determined where OSVs could park in the City without impacting the safety of roadway users. These signs are located at roadway entrances into the City, entrances to specific neighborhoods and along stretches of specific City roadway. Many streets where OSVs cannot park without impacting driver safety have sign restrictions in place; however, not every prohibited street has signage.  

The list of where OSVs cannot park is viewable here: Streets prohibited for OSV parking. In addition, pursuant to a court order, the City is required to make a map and a list of where OSVs can legally park available to the public in a specified manner. The list of streets available for OSV parking is viewable here: Streets allowable for OSV parking. The map showing the streets where OSVs can park is viewable here: Map of streets allowable for OSV parking. The City has also made the lists and a link to the map to be made available upon request at the Pacifica-Sharp Park Library, the Pacifica-Sanchez Library, and at City Hall.  Please contact those Libraries and the City for any access limitations put in place due to COVID-19. 

There are other ordinances, laws, or codes governing parking, such as restrictions on OSVs parking within one hundred (100) feet of an uncontrolled intersection on a public street [Pacifica Muni. Code Sec. 4-7.1205(a)(2)], 72 hour parking restrictions [Pacifica Muni. Code Sec. 5-2.01 et seq.], blocking driveways [Cal. Vehicle Code Sec. 22500(e)], parking in front of fire hydrants [Cal. Vehicle Code Sec. 22514], bus zones [Pacifica Muni. Code Sec. 4-7.1306], loading zones [Pacifica Muni. Code Sec. 4-7.1302], etc. that also may apply to parking on the City streets that are not specifically identified on the lists or map.   There may also be sections within the allowable street segments that the Traffic Engineer has determined are unsafe for OSV parking and has posted no parking signs.  Further, these lists and the map may be updated as changes are made to the City’s roadways by resolution of the City Council or pursuant to a finding of the Traffic Engineer identified by signage that may make the area either safe or unsafe for OSVs to park on.  [Pacifica Muni. Code Sec. 4-7.1204(b); Sec. 4-7.1205(a)]

The below bullet points offer more information regarding OSV parking in the City:

  • Due to traffic safety concerns, the City of Pacifica passed ordinance updates to section 4-7.1204 & 4-7.1205 of the City’s Municipal Code.
  • Effectively, outside of loading and unloading for less than 8 hours pursuant to 4-7.1205b, over sized vehicles as defined by the above code sections (22' Long or 7' wide or 8' high) are not allowed to park on a number of roads within the City’s limits. 

Should you have any questions regarding parking your oversized vehicle you may call the Pacifica Police Department at 650-738-7314.

Here are Frequently Asked Questions regarding OSVs.

Sharp Park Bike Lanes Project

June 22, 2021

This information is being provided in “For the Record” to clarify information regarding a statement in the June 9, 2021 Pacifica Tribune publication titled “Pacifica City Council Hears Capital Improvement Projects, Pier Troubles.”  The Tribune article noted that the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) included a project that would change Sharp Park Road to one lane in each direction to accommodate bike lanes.

Although the Sharp Park Road Separated Bike Lane project is listed in the City’s 5-year CIP program as a potential future project, it is not funded and there is no scheduled date for this project. The project is listed in the CIP because it was included in the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (BPMP) that was adopted by the City Council in February of 2020.  The development of the City’s BPMP included extensive public outreach, including public workshops, multiple presentations, popup events, social media outreach and online participation with interactive web maps.  This public engagement process resulted in hundreds of in-person and online comments that shaped the development of the BPMP.

However, a project of this magnitude would entail significant additional public engagement, a pilot study, and a robust traffic study prior to bringing the project forward for public input, City Council discussion and decision.

The BPMP includes separated bicycle lanes, with one shown on Sharp Park Road.  Separated bicycle lanes are on-street bicycle facilities that are physically separated from vehicle traffic.  These types of bicycle lanes were desired by the community because of the level of comfort they provide to less experienced cyclists.  Less experienced cyclists are willing to use separated bicycle lanes because of this increased feeling of comfort, thereby greatly increasing the number of bicyclists who will travel on a roadway. 

These types of bicycle facilities often require additional space through a “Road Diet”.  A Road Diet is when a roadway is reconfigured with fewer lanes to utilize that space for other types of travel modes.  As noted in the BPMP, Road Diets provide benefits such as reduction in accident rates, lower vehicle speeds and improved mobility for all users.  There are eleven bicycle recommendations in the City’s adopted BPMP that call for use of a Road Diet.  However, the Plan notes that prior to implementation of a Road Diet in these areas, additional public engagement and study is required.  Typically, a temporary pilot project is used to simulate the reduced lanes using removable traffic control cones.  A traffic study is then conducted while the pilot project is in place and this analysis is brought forward to the Council and public for further discussion prior to moving forward with a reduced lane project.  This is the process that would be followed with the Sharp Park Road Separated Bike Lane Project, should funding be identified for these improvements in the future.


Response to Christine Bole's Op Ed Regarding Application of the Hillside Preservation District Standards to the Fassler Avenue Project

June 4, 2021

 This a response to the op ed recently submitted by Ms. Christine Boles in the Pacifica Tribune, which can be found here, regarding application of the Hillside Preservation District (HPD) standards generally and how they were applied to a specific project under construction on Fassler Ave.  One message of Ms. Boles’ piece appears to encourage citizen involvement in the development review process, which City Staff also encourages.  An open and transparent public process to review development proposals provides an opportunity for the decision-makers to consider all viewpoints regarding the project, including from the applicant, staff and the public before the project is approved. However, Ms. Boles’ analysis of HPD regulations is not completely accurate and she leaves out some critical information about the Fassler project.  Additionally, she states that the Planning Commissioners and City Council were misled.  This is false and necessitates providing this “For the Record” response.

As a preliminary matter, it is important to note that the regulations can be found in Article 22.5 of the City’s Zoning Code.  Section 9-4.2257 sets forth a formula to determine the maximum allowable land coverage for development within the HPD.  Under that section, maximum allowable site coverage must include all areas of the site occupied or covered by buildings, pavement, and grading, except for recreation facilities and active recreation areas which can be utilized by all residents of the development. That Section also provides that the Planning Commission can recommend the exclusion of certain dedicated public streets from the definition of coverage, provided such public streets serve a major, City-wide circulation function and would not otherwise be necessary to the design and function of the individual project. Additionally, the HPD regulations recognize that the City must consider a property owner's Constitutional right to economic use of property.  Section 9-4.2257 states the following: “It is the intent of this section to allow the reasonable use of hillside lands consistent with the objectives of this article in such a manner so as not to be confiscatory.”

Based on the language in Article 22.5 the City's analysis of a development project within the HPD must consider more than just the slope.  As such, Ms. Bole’s statement that "Once you get to a slope of 40%, you can’t build anything" does not accurately reflect the language in the HPD regulations.   Additionally, the statement that only recreational features are exempt from coverage is not accurate.  As stated in Section 9-4.2257, the exemption is also provided for certain dedicated public streets. 

The HPD standards were correctly applied to the Fassler project.  In fact, many in the community may be happy to know that development regulations resulted in clustering of the development on a small portion of the site, protecting nearly 90% of the site from development of buildings in the future and nearly two-thirds of the site from any disturbance (including allowable recreational features).  The Fassler project also resulted in abandonment of future development rights for nine dwelling units that could have been proposed on the site (i.e., the project could have had 37% more units), and the creation of a new on-site trail network that can be accepted for public use by the City or another appropriate agency in the future.  These were all positive outcomes of the public process and expanded the City’s open space network which currently makes up approximately 50% of the land area within the City limits. 

 City Staff agrees that active public involvement is an important and a welcome part of development review in Pacifica.  To learn more about active planning applications, visit here on the City’s website.  You may also request to receive notifications of available Planning Commission packets by emailing permittech@pacifica.gov.



Mike Mooney's Liberty Garden - A Letter from the City Manager

Click here for PDF version

May 5, 2021

Dear Community Member,

Pacifica resident Mike Mooney has done a great service for the Pacifica community and visitors by creating and maintaining his “Liberty Garden” on City property along the Calera Creek Trail in the former quarry nearly two decades ago in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. His dedication to beautifying this area at the entrance of the Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant, as well as his passion for the symbolism of the garden, have been acknowledged by the community, City of Pacifica staff, as well as City Councilmembers over the years, and his garden has been featured in news coverage and more.

Gradually, voluntary garden plots started being planted adjacent to Mike’s Liberty Garden. And in recent months, many more plots began, now totaling more than 50 gardens beyond the original Liberty Garden. Recently, when the City’s irrigation pipe that supplies water to the Liberty Garden broke, the City learned the irrigation had been extended to some plots without permission and that some gardeners have been taking water out of the creek, which is prohibited by law unless that removal is permitted by the State. Additionally, removal of water from the creek for irrigation could cause the City to be in violation of various regulatory permits. The City has posted a sign advising people that water should not be taken out of the creek and is working to repair the irrigation pipe this week.

The Calera Creek area near the City’s Water Recycling Plant, including the areas where gardens have been planted, is a sensitive habitat area for certain species of animal and is subject to an extensive permit held by the City from the California Coastal Commission from when the treatment plant was built. The City is in the process of assessing the permit conditions and other relevant information to ascertain whether any of the gardens established since the original Liberty Garden can remain. However, due to sensitive habitat and environmental permit constraints, this area is unlikely to be appropriate for the number of gardens that have been created and gardens other than the original Liberty Garden may need to be removed. The City will reach out to known gardeners in this area to keep them apprised of the City’s determination. The City must take its permit requirements seriously to avoid Coastal Commission enforcement actions.

I understand and appreciate the good intent that gardeners have brought to these expanded garden plots, to beautify the area and, in some cases, serve as memorials to their loved ones. However, the sensitive habitat and Coastal Commission permit requirements are controlling factors in this area. Again, the City is in the process of assessing these permit conditions and other relevant information to determine next steps.

The City’s Beautification Advisory Committee (BAC) has worked tirelessly to identify and create locations of City-owned land that are appropriate for planting and beautification. If you are interested in the BAC’s work and where these activities are occurring on appropriate public land, please contact them at PacificaPride@ci.pacifica.ca.us. 


City Manager



Pacifica Pier Update

March 26, 2021

This Pacifica Pier update is being provided in “For the Record” to inform the public about the facts and timeline regarding the recent damage to the pier, the closure required for public safety, the assessment of damage performed, and the timeline for next steps.

On January 14, 2021, a combination of high tides and large waves damaged a forty-foot section of the Pacifica Municipal Pier’s west facing deck and concrete railing. The City’s Public Works Engineering Division assessed the Pier damage and determined the Pier was unsafe for users and visitors until further notice. The City released a Press Release at that time stating the Pier would be closed for a month or longer until a structural assessment of the Pier railing could be completed.

Following the closure, City Engineering staff pursued proposals from structural engineering consultants on an expedited basis for a safety assessment of the Pier railing and above deck elements. Based on the proposals received, GHD, who is the City’s coastal engineering consultant on the Beach Boulevard Infrastructure Resiliency project, was selected to complete the work due to their alignment of proposed scope with the project need and extensive coastal engineering experience. The agreement with GHD and the City was signed by the City Manager on February 12, 2021.

A final draft structural assessment report from GHD was received by the City on March 18, 2021 and City Engineering staff completed their review on March 26th. The report will be released to the public the week of March 29, 2021. Based on information in the report, the portion of the pier that runs perpendicular to the shoreline will be able to be opened safely to the public as long as railing sections identified as severely damaged are repaired within a year. The section of the Pier running parallel to the shoreline, where the railing was broken from the Pier deck, will need to be fenced off and closed to public access and the City will begin to seek funding through grants, the state, or other sources, to repair and reopen this section of the Pier. Railing sections are identified in the report as having damage from a range of minor to severe, with timeframes when these sections of railing need to be repaired. Although these sections are currently structurally safe, funding assistance from other sources than the City is essential to complete these required repairs and all of these areas will need to gradually be repaired and/or replaced. Reopening of the main portion of the pier is anticipated for mid- to late-week, sometime between March 31 and April 2, 2021. A press release about the reopening will be issued early during the week of March 29, 2021.

The City of Pacifica leases the land underneath the Pier from the State of California. Based on the lease agreement signed by the City with the State in 1971, the City is responsible for maintenance of the Pier. The City averages $60,000 per year on operational costs to maintain the Pier. Since 2017, the City has spent approximately $300,000 on six capital maintenance projects for the Pier. Not included in these costs is the most recent maintenance project to fix a hole that formed between the Pier’s north abutment footing and the existing metal sheet pile. The final cost for this recent repair is anticipated to be $250,000 to $300,000.

Should you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Department of Public Works – Field Services Division at (650) 738-3760 or email dpwassistance@ci.pacifica.ca.us. Thank you for your cooperation, and your patience while the City works diligently to ensure the pier is safe and can continue to be an important public amenity.

For updates on the Pacifica Pier, please visit: www.cityofpacifica.org/pier.



Enforcement Processes that Apply to Abandoned or Illegally Parked Vehicles

October 23, 2020

From time to time, residents inquire about the enforcement process for abandoned or illegally parked vehicles in front of their residence or in their neighborhood.  This “For the Record” entry is intended to inform residents about the basic enforcement processes that apply to abandoned or illegally parked vehicles.

Abandoned Vehicles:

An abandoned vehicle is one that has been left on a city street for more than 72 hours without moving or is otherwise inoperable.

To report an abandoned vehicle, please call (650) 738-7314 and be prepared to provide the following information:

  • address where the vehicle is parked
  • color of vehicle
  • make/model of vehicle
  • license plate number

Vehicles reported as abandoned or in violation of the 72 hour ordinance will be checked and marked by a Police Officer, Community Service Officer, or Police Volunteer.  Personnel will check on the vehicle after 72 hours to determine if it has been driven.  Per contract terms with our tow companies, abandoned vehicles will not be towed on weekends.

Illegally Parked Vehicles:

Vehicles that are illegally parked will receive a notice of parking violation, and can receive subsequent notices of parking violation for each day it remains illegally parked.

If a vehicle is found to have been issued 5 or more notices of parking violations to which the owner or person in control of the vehicle has not responded within 21 calendar days of notice, the vehicle can be towed.  In order for towing to occur, confirmation with DMV records must also indicate 5 or more unpaid notices have been reported.

Due to these Vehicle Code requirements, sometimes one vehicle may be seen with numerous notices of parking violations.

An illegally parked vehicle in the following circumstances can be towed immediately:

  • If a vehicle is parked and left standing upon a highway in a position so as to obstruct the normal movement of traffic and creates a hazard to other traffic upon the highway;
  • If a vehicle is illegally parked blocking access to a private driveway.
  • If a vehicle is illegally parked blocking access to a fire hydrant.
  • If a vehicle is left unattended on a bridge or tunnel where the vehicle constitutes an obstruction to traffic.



Business Compliance with the San Mateo County Health Order

May 11, 2020

Recent social media posts from a Pacifica business owner have suggested that the City of Pacifica is enforcing the San Mateo County Health Order unfairly and that the City has prohibited his business from selling hand sanitizer.  This information is not true.  The City has had multiple communications with the business owner about the requirements of the Order and how the City has been uniformly and fairly enforcing the Order in the interest of public health and safety in the community, much of which is clarified in the following Press Release about Business Compliance with the San Mateo County Health Order.  Despite these communications and the City clarifying that the business owner can continue to sell product via delivery, but cannot do so as a storefront, the owner has continued as of May 8, 2020, to distribute via email and social media information that is not true.

Every week during this health crisis, the City receives numerous inquiries about whether or how certain businesses are allowed to operate under the Order. The City is uniform in its methodology of considering whether or not the business is deemed essential by the Order, and if so, what manner they may operate according to the Order. To not uniformly apply the Order would be unfair to businesses that have been forced to close. While difficult for our community, the Order is in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 to a manageable level. 


Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force Recommendations

December 8, 2019

Misinformation has circulated through social media suggesting the Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force has recommended Fairmont Park as a proposed mobile dump site for motorhomes.  This is not true.  Task Force members have reached out to City staff and confirmed that the idea of using Fairmont Park as a mobile dump site has never been suggested or spoken about by the Task Force at any meeting.  At the recent Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force community forum, one community member brought up this idea, but the Task Force is not recommending it, nor has the City of Pacifica considered any plan for a mobile dump site in any location at this point.  On Monday, December 9, 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center, the City Council will consider a parking ordinance restricting oversized vehicle parking on some City streets and receive a presentation from the Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force.  Again, this ordinance or Task Force presentation does not include any mention of a mobile dump site at Fairmont Park.  Please help correct misinformation circulating through social media.


State Auditor's Fiscal Health Analysis

Click here for a guide to understanding the State Auditor’s Fiscal Health Analysis Report Regarding Pacifica


The Last Word

Here are the real facts, for the record, to some of the more common city business related questions you may have heard around town.  

Check our archives here.