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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

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.