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The Pedro Point Basin – Heart of our Community


Key ideas:
  • The parcel was owned by the Archdiocese of SF
  • Despite community interest in buying the land, it was sold to Ronald W. Calson 
  • The approved zoning at the time of the acquisition was—and remains—Commercial Recreation.  

Despite persistent illegal infill and ditching, the Basin was—and remains—a wetlands.  Historically, the Pedro Point Field has been a wetlands owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which was leased out for recreational uses such as a golf driving range. These uses are compatible with the seasonal flooding inherent in a coastal wetlands.

In 1996 and 1997—despite community interest in acquiring this property to complement the Pedro Point Firehouse and shopping center—these parcels changed hands in three private transactions by "Calson Ronald W", "Calson Ronald W & Sheryl W", and "Calson Ronald W & Sheryl W Trs." for $550,000, total. (Ron Calson of RC & Associates in Millbrae has also represented the Archdiocese of San Francisco as their Realtor.) 

The approved zoning at the time of the acquisition was—and remains—Commercial Recreation.  

Key ideas:
  • Upzoning will limit resident's access to the coast and negatively impact quality of life
  • Upzoning will endanger future homeowners who unwittingly purchase new homes built on a flood plain and wetlands, subject to liquefaction

This parcel is a designated wetlands and Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA).

Unfortunately persistent illegal diking, dumping, and infill activities have eroded the native plant species and habitat. 


Opportunities for restoration abound, consistent with State law, which requires cities to identify natural infrastructure that may be used for adaptation projects including the restoration of wetlands and coastal floodplains. 

The PPCA has been, and remains committed to ensuring that any new projects, and in particular, large-scale land-use changes are sustainable and consistent with state law.

Decades of Community Input and Efforts
— 1980 to the present


1980 General Plan
(in effect)

Key ideas:
  • Community surveys show residents want park amenities that include areas and equipment for active play, children's play areas and equipment, some open space for passive recreation, restrooms and street improvements

Waterskiing on the field, 1970s


January 19, 2006 and ongoing: A crew excavated multiple parallel drainage ditches in the flooded field to destroy wetlands habitat (no record of a Coastal Development Permit.)


October 2021: The rains will continue to fall, and the water table will continue to rise with the adjacent sea.    

"The use of private lands suitable for visitor-serving commercial recreational facilities designed to enhance public opportunities for coastal recreation shall have priority over private residential, general industrial, or general commercial development" (Page 24, 1980 General Plan)

The designated land use for this area is commercial with emphasis on coastal related and/or visitor-serving uses:

  • The small, oceanside commercial center could be rejuvenated and expanded to become an attractive visitor destination, as well as provide for neighborhood retail needs.

  • Building on the design character of some of the older homes along Danmann and San Pedro which have been converted to shops, adding a cultural center for performing arts and an attractive motel could, if carefully designed, enhance the appearance of this area and provide visitor services near the shoreline.

  • After appropriate study of the protective character of the railroad berm, this area might be linked directly to the beach by removing a portion of the berm; however, alternatives to berm removal for access are preferred. An Environmental Impact Report should be required for removal of the berm. 

Other concerns:

  • Adequate public access through the development to the shoreline and a general orientation to coastal related/visitor-serving uses within the project would be appropriate in this location.

  • Given these criteria, commercial use of this portion of the neighborhood is consistent with the following policies of the Coastal Act:

    • 30212 (Provision of Public Access in New Developments),

    • 30222 (Priority of Recreational/Visitor-Serving Uses),

    • 30250 (Concentration of Development),

    • 30251 (Scenic Resources) and 30253 (Special Neighborhoods). Page 24 


  • Pedro Point contains no established neighborhood park.

  • While the neighborhood does contain significant scenic resources, an improved park site is essential for this physically isolated community, bordered by the ocean, steep hillsides and the Coast Highway.

  • This area may be feasible within the undeveloped San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese property located on San Pedro Avenue. The Pedro Point Improvement Association and community surveys have indicated that park amenities should include areas and equipment for active play, children's play areas and equipment, some open space for passive recreation, restrooms and street improvements. p.137

Community Plan

"Pedro Point residents have registered strong support for preserving a major portion of the Archdiocese property in some form of open space.


It would be a major setback to the entire Pedro Point community if any development calling for intensive coverage of the land with buildings and pavement were to take place without a generous reservation of land for open space use. The community would look with favor on an adequate provision for open space and a compatible mix of visitor-serving uses appropriate to the Point’s oceanside setting." 1995 Community Plan

The City and current owner propose a change to 70 new houses in the Pedro Point Field along with some token commercial businesses, as taken from the developer's own lobbying materials. The owner acknowledges this property had previously been a golf driving range, a compatible use of this site.
Key idea:
  • "It would be a major setback to the entire Pedro Point community if the land is covered with buildings and pavement, without a generous reservation of land for open space use."


Key idea:
  • PPCA strongly opposes any re-zoning of the field as Residential, Hotel or Mixed-Use/multi-family residential
  • The Pedro Point Community Association rejected the Draft GPU's proposed Land Use Designation change, and recommended that it adopt "Commercial-Recreational," the designation most similar to the existing land use. 

  • The PPCA also supported a change in the land use designation to Open Space. 

Letter in Support of Commercial-Recreational Uses

  • In 2012, the PPCA again, after extensive community input and discussions which included inviting the current land owner to serve on the PPCA board, submitted comment letters to the Pacifica City Council supporting the field’s land use to remain in its current designation of Commercial-Recreational. 

  • The proposed Commercial Recreation designation in the current Draft General Plan is intended for land use that would remain in a primarily undeveloped state but would allow for limited commercial establishments supporting recreational uses in keeping with the enjoyment of the beach and community character.


  • In 2014, after extensive neighborhood evidence was ignored, the PPCA unanimously voted to hire experts and an attorney, citing deficiencies in the City's General Plan Update and draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). 

  • After receiving extensive negative feedback, the City of Pacifica deferred voting on the General Plan update, so the Proposed Land Use change did not happen, and the Land Use Designation remained as it was defined in the 1980 General Plan which was Commercial Recreation.

  • PPCA Comment Letter Summarizes the PPCA's official position opposing the addition of Residential Mixed Uses to this parcel.

What experts say

"The DEIR fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. Errors found by the PPCA's witnesses are materially tied to the legal inadequacy of the plan."
"It is essential that the City fully consider site values and constraints prior to re-designating sites, not after the site is re-designated. This General Plan Update fails to do that, and the EIR fails to adequately or accurately assess impacts of the proposed re‐designation of the Pedro Point Field site." 
"The Draft Environmental Impact Report fails to recognize the parcels as an Environmentally-Sensitive habitat for Endangered Species."


  • Between 2015 and 2019, the GPU stalled as staff time was constrained due to "multiple appeals and Council call-ups of Planning Commission items, and response to severe winter storm damage including the City’s demolition of apartments along Esplanade Avenue. Therefore, the General Plan and LCP update process was delayed until FY 2017-18 when significant work and public engagement began on the sea level rise adaptation policies portion of the LCP."

  • As part of the renewed Plan Pacifica Process, the City hosted feedback meetings, including one in Pedro Point. The neighborhood was represented by Realtors, the landowners, and citizens. Yet, the overwhelming preference in Pedro Point was for a community that is Sustainable, Natural, and has Open Space, to support Pacifica as a vibrant destination for recreation.

  • The feedback taken from the City's own hired consultants (see image, left) was ignored in the City's own recommendation.

  • Neighbors submitted 82 letters of opposition to the proposed land use change.  

  • The Pacifica City Council approved the latest General Plan Update in July 2022, yet the Coastal Commission, which has jurisdiction over the coastal zone, never approved those changes. 

  • In February 2023, the City received notice that there would be a Coastal Commission hearing on March 8 regarding Coastal Commission certification of a comprehensive amendment to the existing 1980 Local Coastal Land Use Plan (LCLUP). The City responded with a letter asking for an extension to July 2023 to respond. 

  • July 2023 Update: ​As many Pedro Point residents are aware, there was supposed to be a March 8, 2023, Coastal Commission hearing to discuss the Coastal Commission Staff's recommendations on The City of Pacifica’s proposed complete update of our Local Coastal Land Use Plan (LCLUP). Because the Coastal Commission recommended extensive modifications to the City's plan, the City requested and was granted an extension to work with the Coastal Commission on its recommendations. At the time of this article, the City has not yet scheduled that meeting with the Coastal Commission to discuss the modifications.  

  • Recently, members of the PPCA Planning and Development Committee had their own meeting with the Coastal Commission. The PPCA's committee commended the Coastal Commission for its extensive review and recommendations on Pacifica’s proposed LCLUP update which noted that the Pedro Point Field is “known to contain wetlands and ESHA*-supporting California Red Legged Frog habitat, and the presence of such coastal ecological resources could significantly constrain the development potential of this site.” Because of the known ecological resources and the potential presence of multiple hazards that have been documented and verified via multiple scientific sources, the PPCA’s opinion is that the best Land Use Designation for the Field is 'Low-Intensity Visitor-Serving Commercial' or, more likely, "Conservation" and presented this view to the Coastal Commission. 

  • New development in the Field could potentially lead to flooding in the current neighborhood putting many homes at risk, and flooding of our only roadway in and out of our neighborhood which could hamper emergency responses/evacuations. This view is also backed by the opinion of a CEQA^ expert with 40 years of experience who notes that any Land Use Designation Update must use baseline conditions describing physical environmental conditions as they exist under CEQA Guidelines, Section 15125. 

  • For further information on the PPCA’s comments to the City’s LCLUP, please visit the PPCA’s website under “Pedro Point Field."  For the Coastal Commission's recommendations on Pacifica's Plan, please visit here and search “reports” and “LCP-2-PAC-20-0036-1.”   -- Samuel Casillas, Planning and Development Committee

    *ESHA - Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas
    ^CEQA - California Environmental Quality Act

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