Pedro Point neighbors often deal with water drainage issues in the hilly neighborhood. To accommodate water on a property on Grand Avenue, the Pacifica Planning Commission unanimously required a retention basin as a condition of approval for a home remodel at 1515 Grand Ave.

Poor water drainage is an issue for the site that could lead to erosion or destabilization of the site, said Roshni Saxena, contract planner. Instead of a retaining wall as first proposed, a retention basin, not to exceed a 100-year storm event, will be designed by a civil engineer on the site and will release water into the city’s collection system on Grand Avenue, Saxena said at the June 7 meeting.

Project designer Brian Brinkman said the owners have been in discussions with the neighbors about drainage on the site hoping to stop water and mud from flowing off the site. The retention basin will most likely be built underground, he said.

“We will make sure not to direct the flow onto another neighbor,” Brinkman said.

The home sits midway down Grand Avenue near Olympian Way between Belfast Avenue and Athenian Way. The lot is 7,500 square feet with an upward slope of 13.5 percent, said Saxena. Neighbor Dina Micheletti commented at the meeting. She identified uncontrolled surface water drainage in the rear of the lot. She stated stormwater runs off the property onto 416 Athenian Way to the north.

The home in question is owned by Kathleen and Minden Beach, who said they have been there 11 years and want to accommodate their growing family and working at home. The project constructs an addition of 118 square feet to the first floor and adds a new 804-square-foot second floor. The existing master bedroom will be a playroom and the existing office a new bedroom. The second story will have a master bedroom and bath, lounge, office and deck. In total, the home would be 2,090 square feet when complete.

“We kept in mind the impacts to the neighbors. What’s proposed gives them the room they look for but doesn’t obstruct neighbors’ views,” said Saxena.

The Planning staff report states the second story will not affect privacy issues because the site is already higher with views downslope. But one neighbor stated that she felt her privacy invaded with the new second story. Micheletti thanked Brinkman for adding a retention basin, but said the second story will look right into her home.

“The neighbors have homes that are further set back. Maybe add some landscaping to soften it up?” she suggested.

“The drainage problem is broader than the applicant’s site,” said Christian Murdock, deputy director of planning. “The project could redirect the water.”

Planning Commissioner George Domurat asked for a study of the whole neighborhood to see where the water comes from.

“It doesn’t make sense for one property owner to have to pay for it. All the neighboring properties should do this cumulatively,” he said.

Commissioner James Godwin agreed and wondered if a French drain will be the solution the civil engineer chooses.

Commissioner Lauren Berman said she supports a full comprehensive community solution for the neighborhood to address drainage issues in Pedro Point.

“We don’t want to overburden. I think this solution is acceptable. We should take this up in our discussions about the local coastal program and the general plan,” she said. 

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