Though it is early in plans to build a pair of housing projects in and around Pacifica, a new nonprofit has formed to challenge the development and protect the southern hillsides of the valley along San Pedro Mountain.
The people behind Protect San Pedro Mountain say they want to assure land that has traditionally been enjoyed as open space continues to be available to all. They also want to make sure residents know the building proposal could be formalized in the weeks and months to come.
Linda Mar Woods is a 125-unit residential subdivision project on two parcels, one currently in Pacifica and one in unincorporated San Mateo County, said Deputy Planning Director Christian Murdock.
“The Linda Mar Woods application is incomplete so no hearings are scheduled at this time. The timeline for the application to become complete and for any future hearings is unknown at this time,” he wrote in an email to the Tribune. “We’ve had discussions with the developer about presenting to the Open Space and Parkland Advisory Committee, which can occur before the application is complete, but have not identified a date that would work for the developer at this time.”
The developer, John Kontrabecki, said he is at the very beginning of the development process that could take two years to get to a hearing.
Kontrabecki notes that Old San Pedro Mountain Road is a trail that runs from Montara to Higgins Way. It is the original coastal highway and was abandoned as a road in 1940. Since then it has become a heavily used hiking and off-road biking trail.
“This makes Linda Mar Woods the gateway to what we call Pacifica Mountain Parks, which is a collection of state and county parks and (Golden Gate National Recreation Area land) which together make up the largest contiguous outdoor recreation area in the Bay Area,” Kontrabecki wrote in an email to the Tribune, “We want to make it better.”
Kontrabecki wrote that he would widen the road and push back bushes and weeds, repair the trail where it is eroding and resurface the road so it is smooth and easy to walk or ride. He wants to construct overlooks with benches so people can take in the view of the ocean and the valley. He wrote that he will preserve the Boy Scout mountain biking trail and construct new trails for mountain bikers.
Some area residents don’t see that as an improvement.
Nick Lusson is president of Protect San Pedro Mountain and a resident of Higgins Way. He said support for Protect San Pedro Mountain has grown to about 750 people who have signed up to receive a newsletter.
“We have a large coalition of supporters that includes the Montessori School and historic Shamrock Ranch who both would be very negatively impacted by this. There’s also heavy support for us from the hiking, mountain biking, equestrian and environmental communities,” he wrote in an email to the Tribune.
“Shamrock Ranch has a deep history in Linda Mar and our family has worked for generations to preserve it,” wrote Zoe Ahlgren of Shamrock Ranch in an email to the Tribune. “We stand against the plans for the proposed development. … The project would have a number of significantly negative impacts on our community.”
Ahlgren worried that the project would add traffic to small neighborhood streets and that the construction would harm the environment.
Lusson said the developer of Linda Mar Woods has represented the project as a pro-environmental proposal with hiking and biking trails, but he simply sees it as a large housing development that would do environmental harm.
Lusson notes there is another adjacent development being proposed called Hillside Meadows, which would include 18 units and be built by the same owner, developer and engineer.
“The coalition of different interest groups opposing this project seems to grow by the week, as do the reasons why this is an ill-conceived project,” he wrote.