February 15, 2021: New Video of Bluff Erosion
Check out the latest video by Mike Kirk at FlyinCameras.com
At 10:30, you'll see a great shot of the cliff collapse right next to the Thornton Vista.
February 1, 2021: Have you seen this plant on the bluff?
Name: Gilia capitata ssp. chamissonis
Lifeform: annual herb
Blooming Period: Apr-Jul
• Coastal dunes
• Coastal scrub
California Rare Plant Rank: 1B.1
Rare or endangered in California and elsewhere
.1: Seriously endangered in California
January 19th vs 29th: Bluff Erosion
Jennifer K. sent in these photos showing increasing cracks in the cliffs near TBBP due to the earthquake Jan 18th and continued landslide activity. She notes:
"I noticed what appears to be an active landslide on the south side of the park where the mid-level bluff ends, and the trails go down to the beach. Perhaps this is not new news, but I do find it fascinating to watch the ground actively changing in a matter of 10 days. And also most certainly give pause to anyone considering developing in the adjacent area. I first noticed cracks and slippage on the 19th, after the earthquake from the evening of January 18th. Today (Jan 29th), after the recent storms, I observed parts of the bluff had been washed away and the cracks are growing up the bluff. I wanted to share a few photos. The easiest change to notice is how the human walking trail disappears between 1/19 & 1/29. I also drew a line where one of the significant cracks is growing."
Jan 19th cracks developing:
January 29th: path eliminated
From the beach 1-19-2021:
From the beach 1-29-2021
Phillip S. also sent these in:
January 15, 2021: Earthquake Risks and Landslide Locations
For those of you who have asked about the current location of the San Andreas (and neighboring San Geronimo) earthquake faults vis-a-vis Daly City and the history of landslides in the area, please see the below maps showing these locations.
According to the the California Earthquake Authority:
"The communities of Daly City, Point Reyes Station and Bodega Bay lie squarely on the San Andreas. "
Enlarged view of map of San Andreas Fault location near Daly City, CA (darker orange line):
Scientists project the San Andreas Fault line could cause a devastating earthquake in California by 2030. Scientists predict that within a 30-year period, there’s a 51 percent chance that the San Francisco region specifically will experience one or more magnitude-7.0 or greater earthquakes. They also say there’s a 98 percent chance of one or more magnitude-6.0 or greater quakes occurring in the San Francisco area during that same timeframe. "
Here are the locations of landslides on the Daly City Coast:
January 7, 2021: California Coastal Commission Appeal Filed
We have appealed the Coastal Development Permit for the geotechnical testing with the Coastal Commission. A copy of the appeal is here. During the period of the appeal, the testing will be postponed. The Coastal Commission anticipates they may be able to put us on their March meeting agenda.
Here are the Great Blue Herons who have taken up residence on the land in question:
We have over 317 supporters from Daly City.
December 15, 2020: City Council Narrowly Approves CDP for Testing
Despite 77 emails from the public all in opposition to the project (with only one in support), the Daly City Council voted 3-to-2 in favor of granting the Coastal Development Permit for geotechnical testing of the land at Thornton Beach Bluff. While this was a disappointment, this meeting showed that some members of the Council are listening to our objections and we need to keep up the pressure to stop this project from proceeding.
Daly City Council Meeting 12-14-2020 (our section begins at 4:47:49 and public comments at 5:18:18)
You can email them about your concerns about their position at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new mayor Juslyn Manalo, the former Mayor Glenn Sylvester and Councilman Raymond Buenaventura were the three who voted to proceed with the testing. Councilwoman DiGiovanni and Dr. Rod Daus-Magbual were the two who voted against the testing.
We will be closely monitoring the testing process which will only increase the public's ire at this proposal. The media has contacted us and we will be launching our PR initiative later in January. Any community members interested in assisting our efforts on the Organizing Committee should contact us here. Please also sign up for our e-list!
7,360 petition supporters. Thank you!
December 7, 2020: Please Email the Daly City Council before 12-14 at 7pm and again after 4pm on 12-14.
November 18, 2020: Planning Commission Recommends Approval of Use Permit & Coastal Development Permit for geo-technical evaluation of land
Watch the video (agenda item starts at 31:00 minutes in to the broadcast)
Despite significant public opposition to this project (as noted by one of the Commissioners), last night the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the use permit and CDP. The next step is consideration by the Daly City Council at their upcoming meeting on December 14th, 2020 at 7pm.
Please WRITE THE City Council members before 12-14-2020 if you want to oppose this project and approval of the use permit and CDP (please reference the project as "Olympic Way Retreat Center" and UPR 09-20-014692 - Coastal Development Permit)
POINTS YOU CAN MAKE:
- Bluff should remain as open space for recreational use, to maintain views, "choose nature over development" for the California coast.
- Bluff is unstable: in an earthquake zone, sandy, eroding. Not suitable for building/underground utilities and dangerous for the public.
- This project would be better built somewhere else in Daly City (or elsewhere).
- Why a religious retreat? Or is this really a hotel project in disguise?
HOW TO CONTACT THE DALY CITY COUNCIL:
Write a letter to the Honorable City Council, City Hall, 333 90th Street, Daly City or call at (650) 991-8008 or email email@example.com. You may also write a letter to the City Council, c/o City Clerk, City Hall, 333 90th Street, Daly City or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to advocate on behalf of our community members, outdoor enthusiasts and open space supporters.
November 13, 2020: Public Comments at the Public Hearing can only be submitted in writing!
Please note, Daly City Planning has confirmed that public comments must be submitted in writing only and either in advance of the meeting or at the meeting. The public can only be "heard" at the meeting when staff read aloud written comments submitted at the meeting. No verbal comments by the public will be allowed at the meeting itself.
You are advised to submit any comments in advance to Carmelisa Morales (email@example.com) before the meeting or submit these at the meeting via the link below (meeting website) otherwise they will not be read into and included in the record.
If you attend the meeting, it is "view only" for the public.
PLEASE PLAN ON ATTENDING THE HEARING
NOVEMBER 17 AT 7PM
Use this link at 7PM on Tuesday evening, November 17th:
The meeting agenda is here.
Here is the public hearing notice.
November 3, 2020: A Daly City Planning Commission Public Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday November 17, 2020 to review a Coastal Development Permit for Geologic and Seismic Evaluation for the Olympic Way Project on Thornton Beach Bluff.
Here is what the developer intends to do on this land during testing:
Soil Borings. Six soil borings approximately 10 to 250 feet in depth and up to 10 inches in diameter are proposed. Two soil borings would be drilled to a depth of approximately 100 and 250 feet for an evaluation of bedding planes using a tele-viewer. A grouted-in-place vibrating wire piezometer would also be installed in one of the two borings to evaluate the depth conditions over time. The borings would allow ENGEO to gather data on bedding plane orientations within the Merced and Colma Formations as well as groundwater depth fluctuation for use in a slope stability analysis. The four other soil borings would be advanced to a depth between 10 and 50 feet to characterize the subsurface conditions for foundation design purposes.
All vertical soil borings would be permitted through San Mateo County and/or the City of Daly City and abandonment would be performed in accordance with permit requirements under regulatory oversight. The cuttings from the soil borings would be scattered onsite after completion of the exploratory work.
Test Pits. Five exploratory test pits approximately 5 feet wide, 5 feet long, and 5 feet deep are proposed for infiltration testing. Vegetation would be removed in the areas of proposed excavation, but no more vegetation would be removed than is necessary for the purpose of this investigation. The test pits would be backfilled with the test pit spoils.
Trench. The exploratory trench would be approximately 5 feet deep, 5 feet wide, and approximately 300 to 350 feet long extending inland from approximately 20 feet from the top of the bluff. At 20 feet from the edge of the bluff, ENGEO would be able to identify how cracking frequency, if any, changes near the bluff and inland toward the proposed development. The trench would allow ENGEO to attempt to identify tension cracks and other recent features
indicative of landslide formation. An ENGEO geologist would accompany the trenching subcontractor and map observed lithology, bedding plans, slide plans, and/or cracking, as appropriate. ENGEO does not anticipate that the shallow grading operations would pose a risk to the stability of the bluff at 20 feet from the edge. Vegetation would be removed in the areas of proposed excavation and there would be minimal disturbance of vegetation to mobilize the excavator to and from the proposed site of excavation. No more vegetation would be removed than is necessary for the purpose of this investigation.
Daly City Planning has informed our Organizing Committee that the CDP will be discussed at this meeting of the Planning Commission. We intend to express our many concerns with the DCPC about this project at that meeting including:
- Public opposition to the Olympic Way Retreat project on land which is unsuitable for anything other than Open Space due to "steep slope, geotechnical hazard (Daly City is Seismic Category E), bluff retreat/erosion, soil composition (stiff sandy clay), land instability" (refer to Daly City Open Space Statutes and Coastal Element - Daly City General Plan).
- Inconsistency between the intent of this project and the intent of the provisions and standards of the base C-1-RP District. DCMC Section 17.27.050.C.2 (if a development is on a blufftop) “No grading or filling operations shall be permitted except for required drainage or erosion control and, if required, the same shall meet the standards and requirements of the state and city in connection with grading and filling operations."
- Interruption of access to the only trail available for both the public and for Daly City Fire Department for emergency assistance on Thornton Beach.
- Seasonal issues with digging/drilling in Winter Season on land with a known presence of groundwater and underground streams. Disruption of existing storm water flows due to drilling/digging for testing.
- Destabilization of land used by residents and riders to access the only trail to Thornton Beach caused by digging and drilling and creating dangerous and unsafe conditions .
- Animal Welfare: Concern around disruption and noise of digging and drilling immediately next to a Daly City business, Mar Vista Stables, and an outside corral housing 20+ Mar Vista Stables horses and a stable housing an additional 20 horses. Prevention of business by Mar Vista Stables during the period of geotechnical testing.
On a side note, we have 3,162 signatures on our petition (so far). Keep em coming!
August 31, 2020: Developer Prepares to Conduct Geologic and Seismic Evaluation of property next to Barn
We have just received word that Sand Hill Properties is finalizing their CEQA proposal and their revised plans to develop the 48,650 square foot Olympic Way Retreat which would be built on the vacant land to the south of Mar Vista Stables.
A sign has just been posted on the property as a notice to begin geophysical evaluation of the land for construction.
The evaluation includes boring holes and trenches right next to the Marvista Stables corral holding 20 horses and on the land providing access to the trail for public rides to the beach.
Per the Coastal Commission 5-1-2020 letter:
"We anticipate that a supplemental exploration would include at least two 300- foot-long exploratory trenches extending from the top of the bluff, and a number of continuous-core borings extending to depths of approximately 200 to 300 feet below ground surface. Selected deep-core borings would be logged with a downhole televiewer camera system to measure in-situ bedding and joint inclinations. In addition to these explorations, we anticipate that additional shallow borings will be required for the design of building foundations and improvements, based on a detailed development plan..."
We need to keep up the pressure against the destruction of open space next to the barn.
This area is heavily used by hikers, dog walkers, fishermen, photographers, surfers, hang gliders, parasailers and many parking at the southern Thornton Beach Vista overlook and walking down the sole beach access trail to the Thornton State Beach in addition to being used by equestrians.
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL THE COASTAL COMMISSION, DALY CITY SUPERVISORS AND DALY CITY PLANNING IMMEDIATELY ABOUT YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE OLYMPIC WAY RETREAT CENTER
Coastal Commission: julia.koppmannorton@coastal.
Daly City Planning: Carmelisa Morales, Associate Planner: firstname.lastname@example.org
For San Mateo Supervisor (David Canepa): Tony Bayuden, Chief of Staff email@example.com
Please share the link to our petition especially if you have connections to dog walkers, owners and others who care about open space and use the bluff currently.
June 30th 2020: Mar Vista Stables is REOPEN but Olympic Way Retreat Center project continues.
This area is heavily used by hikers, dog walkers, fishermen, photographers, surfers, hang gliders, parasailers and many parking at the southern Thornton Beach Vista overlook and walking down the sole beach access trail to the Thornton State Beach in addition to being used by equestrians. Our next line of action will be marshaling the support of this community (many of which discovered Thornton Beach Bluff while Fort Funston was closed during the SIP due to COVID-19) in support of opposition to the Olympic Way Retreat Center project.
October 11, 2019: Time to rally AGAIN!
Sand Hill Properties has submitted a formal application to Daly City Planning for an "Olympic Way Retreat Center" to be built on the vacant lots to the south of Mar Vista Stables. This area is heavily used by hikers, dog walkers, fishermen, photographers, surfers as well as by trail riders and equestrians, many parking at the southern Thornton Beach Vista overlook and walking down the sole beach access trail to the Thornton State Beach. This area is also used by the Fire Department, Park Rangers, Police Department to access the bluff and beach.
This application includes a request for rezoning and a CEQA/EIR review (requesting a mitigated negative declaration e.g. "no environmental impact") and an amendment to the Daly City Local Coastal Plan. This project would require a new use permit and Coastal Development Permit. The CDP can be appealed to the Coastal Commission.
Daly City Planning has responded to the pre-application request from Sand Hill with this letter including:
The project will require preparation of an Initial Study (IS), which will then determine the need for either a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) or Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Upon submittal of the UP/CDP application, the City staff will request a third-party estimate for the IS and request a check in the amount of the estimate plus a 25 percent administrative charge. If an EIR is required, additional funds and overhead charge will be required. The California Coastal Commission and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) may be responsible agencies in relation to this project under CEQA. Although we will begin early consultation with the Coastal staff, it is highly recommended that you consult with these two agencies prior to submitting formal entitlement applications to learn what, if any, separate process you might need to go through with their agencies for final approvals.
Our next steps will be to meet with DCP and the Coastal Commission again to understand the process, next steps re public hearings and their perspectives. Stay tuned.
July 11 2019: Did you catch this insightful article in the Los Angeles Times about the effects of climate change on the California Coast? A great read!
June 28 2019: It's official! The landowner's and developer's deal to purchase the land at the Mar Vista Stables did not go through. We are hopeful that the landowners will ultimately take us up on our original proposal to buy the land so that we can protect it and our beloved barns forever.
We want to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of support for our efforts. Without your signatures on the petition, ongoing offers to get involved and commitment to saving the last public access to horseback riding in the Bay Area, we might be facing a very different situation a year an a half later. Please accept our grateful appreciation.
Life at the barn is in full swing. Zach has purchased about 10 new horses and is making upgrades on the property. Summer camp, riding lessons and trail rides are thriving and for you riders, even the cut is beautifully groomed thanks to a recent tractor run. Do stop by for a ride, trailer up and join us to celebrate!
We will keep this website and our e-letter going because... we will jump back into gear the minute another developer shows up. Onward!
May 8 2019: Earlier in April we met with Daly City Planning: As of our meeting date, our petition was at 1,356 signatures on Change.org. To date, Daly City Planning has not had a formal application from either developer for a CEQA Review or LCP Amendment (local coastal plan). The 2 amendments the developers want to the Local Coastal Plan are alleviation of the 10% maximum building allowable on the land and the height restrictions (20 feet or one story, whichever is less) currently permitted.
Planning staff confirmed that a categorical exemption to CEQA (environmental) review is not possible for these parcels. They also noted that the parcels might require rezoning due to the parking requirements in existing codes vs what the developers have planned. Rezoning also requires Coastal Commission review.
For our plan, they said we would need to present any renovations to the Building Dept to see if demo permits and building permits were required. Ditto for a possible Coastal Development Permit (which also requires land owner consent of course) and would need to be reviewed with the Coastal Commission. Maintenance/refurbishment of existing structures is typically pursued without the need for building/demo permits.
We obtained the Torgon Group documents and are now reviewing these.
A public meeting for our supporters is to be scheduled most likely in June. Date to be announced shortly.
March 26 2019: Members of our Organizing Committee met with Coastal Commission staff on March 25th to review the requirements the developers would need to satisfy from a CC perspective to proceed with their projects (CEQA/EIR, amendment to LCP, CDP permit etc.). We also clarified the current extent of recreation taking place at Mar Vista Stables and provided data supporting this to the Commission. We further relayed our specific concerns with the proposed development proposals vis a vis the Coastal Act.
Staff confirmed that they would typically not review a project until the full application for a development is submitted, however, as in the Torgon Group's case, this review could be requested earlier. The Coastal Commission has some concerns that Daly City is moving rapidly to try to simultaneously request to amend the LCP and issue a Coastal Development Permit. This cannot occur, however, without the CEQA recommendation and we will be staying on top of Daly City Planning regarding the status of that environmental review. Meanwhile, the developer, Harbinger, awaits their geological study.
Our petition to the Coastal Commission was also delivered to staff. We have 835 signatures in 3 weeks.
February 26 2019: The two developers, Harbinger Development and Sand Hill Properties, shared their proposals with Daly City Planning staff and the Coastal Commission who then reviewed the process for project review. Coastal staff recommended that the applicants conduct community outreach early in the process. They did not take a position on the proposals. They confirmed that the developers’ proposals both require an amendment to the current Daly City Local Coastal Plan (LCP). Here are the steps the developers will need to take if they decide to move forward:
STEP 1: CEQA Environmental Impact Review
The developers first need to request from Daly City an environmental review according to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (as well as a request to amend the current LCP). As of last week, no requests have yet been received by Daly City. We will continue to stay in touch with Daly City, the Coastal Commission and the developers through this stage.
The applicants will then need to conduct various technical studies such as a biological assessment, geotechnical study, and traffic and parking studies to determine the feasibility of the proposals on the subject sites and to guide site planning and design. In addition, Coastal staff conveyed that this will help them understand the constraints on the sites from a Local Coastal Plan (LCP) perspective. The CEQA environmental analysis on the Mar Vista/Palomar sites as well as Sand Hill Properties project on the vacant lot (for a conference center) will be processed concurrently.
Daly City Planning and their CEQA consultant will evaluate the projects from a CEQA standpoint and issue a recommendation in their CEQA report of either a Mitigated Negative Declaration (no environmental impacts) or an Environmental Impact Report. If there are impacts, the developments would have to address/mitigate these impacts in their proposals.
STEP 2: Project Adherence to Daly City Local Coastal Plan
- The projects both include a building height and lot coverage in excess of the maximum (10%) permitted under the Daly City General Plan’s Coastal Element (i.e. Daly City LCP). Coastal staff stated a Local Coastal Program (LCP) Amendment would be required to increase the maximum height and lot coverage permitted on the properties.
- Daly City staff indicated they would present both a proposed LCP Amendment and environmental document to the Daly City Planning Commission for a recommendation and subsequently to the City Council for approval of the LCP Amendment and certification of the CEQA environmental document at the same time.
- At this point in the process, a public hearing would be required. If necessary, we plan to challenge recommendations to proceed with the projects.
STEP 3: Zoning and Coastal Development Permit
- If a zoning change is requested for either or both of the properties, this would require certification by the Coastal Commission.
- If the LCP Amendment is certified by the Coastal Commission, the applicants would then apply for a Coastal Development Permit (CDP), Design Review Permit (DR), and Zone Change (if a Planned Development (PD) is proposed) through the City for each project.
- If a zoning change is requested for either or both of the properties, this would require certification by the Coastal Commission.
- And if a Coastal Development Permit is issued by Daly City, this can be appealed to the Coastal Commission.
The Coastal Commission and Daly City Planning are aware of our concerns with these two projects and will continue to work with us.