View from the treetops of Linda Mar Woods looking north to the waves breaking on Linda Mar Beach with Mount Tamalpias in the distance.
LINDA MAR WOODS
Linda Mar Woods is a new residential subdivision planned in the Linda Mar Community of Pacifica, located at the end of Higgins Way. The envisioned residential subdivision will be highly integrated with the open space and recreational areas to provide a stunning natural setting to live and world-class recreational amenities that inspire and support healthy active lifestyles for the community. We are proposing to develop a large scale public recreational property that is open to the public at no cost. How do you get this?
The property which consists of 58.87 acres is designated under the General Plan for very low-density residential development. This allows ½ to 5 acres per lot. The property is zoned for Planned Development, which allows for development consistent with the Pacifica General Plan. A Hillside Preservation District designation for the property controls development based on slope and topography.
Conservation & Open Space
Consistent with the Preservation District and the General Plan, a substantial portion of the property will be dedicated as conservation and open space easement areas to preserve the ecosystem and the beauty of the natural landscape, while also improving and enhancing the recreational access and experience for the Linda Mar community.
Based on the slope and topography constraints and the terrain on the property, consistent with the General Plan and Preservation District, the property is envisioned to be developed with 60 percent set aside as dedicated Open Space and Preservation Area and 40 percent dedicated for the development of the home lots, roads, and sidewalks of the subdivision.
Integrated Residential & Recreational Community
With 34 acres of open space dedicated as parkland designed around 25 acres of highly integrated residential development, our vision is to improve and enhance recreational access for the community while providing new housing opportunities that will also allow for the community to grow. The government either does not have or is unwilling to spend the money to create a large-scale recreational property open at no cost to the public and maintain it. So, the capital must come from a private source. A private source will only fund a large scale public recreational property if it is developed in conjunction with a private investment opportunity.
View from high above the Pacific Ocean with Linda Mar Beach in the foreground with Linda Mar Woods in the middle ground and Montara Mountain in the background.
Current Situation is Not Sustainable.
The physical condition of the property as a recreational resource is deteriorating. It is only a matter of time before sections of Old San Pedro Mountain Road are washed out and no longer accessible. The forest is filled with invasive species that are over-growing the pathways and creating a thicket. The eucalyptus trees are shedding bark and branches and have laid a blanket of kindling to fuel a forest fire. This will be a conflagration that will reach across the boundaries of the property and burn the homes surrounding it. No vehicular access makes controlling a forest fire originating on the property impossible.
While the property feels like a public park it is really owned by private investors. The investors have no obligation to keep it open to the public. Public access and use of this property are not guaranteed in its current state. The only way to guarantee the long-term protection of the property and public access is to go forward with a development that provides these assurances.
Improved Road Access & Parking
The vision for improving road access and traffic includes repairing the pavement and curb on Higgins Way south from Adobe Drive, and creating a new road branching off Higgins way after the Montessori school and before the current gate that extends into the hill to form a loop road that circles the crest. The new road will feature a 44-foot-wide entry way with public parking for 30 vehicles and a truck turn-around for delivery vans and emergency responders. We will ask the City to make Higgins Way from Adobe Drive south a no parking street from 7 am to 7 pm to force the people parking for recreational purposes to use the public parking lot. This will unclog Higgins Way for normal neighborhood uses and the free flow of traffic. It will also enable delivery vehicles and the fire department to circulate properly.
Higgins Way will also be rebuilt and extended north from Adobe Drive to Peralto Road along Shamrock Ranch. This will create improved traffic flow, more on-street parking and enable access to Linda Mar Boulevard for Adobe Drive and Higgins Way residents using an alternative route instead of Adobe Drive.
Improved Gateway to the Pacifica Mountain Parks
The vision for improving and enhancing trail access to the Pacifica Mountain Parks includes developing a formal trailhead area with improved parking, a trailhead kiosk with maps of the surrounding parks and trails, trailway signage, bench, bike rack and boot brush.
Improved Community Hiking Trail Network
The vision for improving and enhancing the informal hiking trail network includes developing the perimeter trail for walking, jogging, and biking and improving interior trails for both hiking and mountain biking that are pleasant, safe, and open to the public to enjoy.
Interactive Ecosystem Interpretive Trail
The vision for enhancing the trail experience is to provide an interactive ecosystem interpretive trail that offers a dynamic range of interpretive experiences and information. Outdoor recreational users will be able to enrich their knowledge and learn more about the natural history, resources, conservation plan for the area, the freeride trails, how to improve their riding, and the cutting-edge integrated recreational community that is Linda Mar Woods.
Improved Freeride Mountain Bike Trail Network
The vision for improving and enhancing the freeride mountain bike trail network includes the maintenance and improvement of existing trail alignments and features, establishing new more sustainable trails with alignments and features providing more progression for beginner level riders, improving trail drainage, removing abandoned trail features and potentially armoring and or amending the trail treads to be more sustainable and rideable across the range of typical coastal weather conditions in the area. Boy Scouts will be preserved and enhanced for the advanced mountain bikers.
OHLONE-PORTOLA HERITAGE TRAIL
The San Mateo County Parks Department has organized a cooperative effort of State and local governments to create the Ohlone-Portola Heritage Trail. The Ohlone-Portola Heritage Trail comprises a regional trail network of recreational trails and roadways extending north from the San Mateo Santa Cruz County line to the City of Pacifica, eastward over Sweeney Ridge and then South to the City of Menlo Park. The Heritage Trail generally follows Ohlone trade routes that linked Ohlone villages with one another and with other Indian tribes to the east. These routes are also those that Gasper de Portola travelled in 1769 on his mission to explore an overland route to Alta California from San Diego.
A portion of the Heritage Trail wraps around the Linda Mar Woods property. It is the path of Old San Pedro Mountain Road that ends at Higgins Way. The Heritage Trail project will improve the trails to create a recreational route system for bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians with proper trail beds and a sign system for consistent trail recognition and pathway finding. The owner of Linda Mar Woods supports the Ohlone-Portola Heritage Trail project and will cooperate with the Pacifica and San Mateo County Parks Departments to implement the plan creating the Heritage Trail on the property
This is a video created by San Mateo County Parks that presents the Heritage Trail project.
View of current neighborhoods with Linda Mar Beach in the foreground.
The Vision for the project is to improve the property with a road that connects Linda Mar Woods to Adobe Drive via Higgins Way and winds into the hills forming a looped street that circles the crest. Along this crest will be 125 residential lots where a variety of new homes will be constructed. Linda Mar Woods will become an economically diverse outdoor recreation- oriented community.
The vision for Linda Mar Woods is for a new kind of community in Pacifica with a variety of homes of different sizes and prices to create an economically diverse neighborhood. At least 30 percent of the homes will be affordable for moderate income families. The subdivision will include single-family detached homes, two-flats, duplexes, clustered townhouses, and single-family homes with accessory dwelling units. This approach will help maximize choice in the types of housing available in Pacifica and create variety in the development pattern of the hillcrest. It will also allow the owner to offer a range of for-sale affordable housing at a variety of prices. Phase 1 of the development will subdivide the property into 125 lots of varying sizes representing the maximum number of structures that are proposed to be built in the project. Subsequent development phases will offer a mixture of home types in an architecturally harmonious planned community.
The inspiration for this approach comes from older neighborhoods found in towns and cities throughout the U.S. developed before the automobile became an essential part of daily life, when streetcars were the primary means of public transportation. For example, in parts of old San Francisco, within a single block, you can find a mixture of single-family, two-flats, duplexes, and townhomes all built at the same approximate time in complete architectural harmony to meet the needs of an economically diverse community.
Hillside Preservation Integrated WITH Environmental Conservation
Protection of the hillside has been considered throughout the planning of the project. The plan concentrates the homes by clustering them on the flat terrain at the top of the hill leaving the hillside’s sloped portions undisturbed. Consistent with this approach, a substantial amount of the property is dedicated as conservation and open space easement areas. These easements will preserve and enhance the natural landscape’s beauty by maximizing the retention of natural topographical features and maintaining the landscape for recreational use. The road is to be constructed away from San Pedro Mountain Road and will follow the natural topography wherever possible. Imaginative and innovative building techniques will create buildings suited to natural forested hillside surroundings. Finally, the recreational elements of the property will be renovated, expanded, and enhanced for the use and enjoyment of the public.
First all the infrastructure needed to create the development, including all roads and utilities, and to renovate and expand the property’s recreational elements will be constructed. The road will run above the San Pedro Mountain Road path used for walking and biking and be shielded by existing forest and landscaping to be invisible from the pathways and residences nearby. The hillside below the lots will be undisturbed and dedicated as open space. A forest management best practices plan will be implemented to control invasive species and remove the fire hazard. Within the residential development, tree removal will be minimized, and fencing will be prohibited to retain a forest-like feeling. From the surrounding residential areas, the appearance of the hillsides as a forest will remain the same.
Over the past three years, the price of housing has exploded in Pacifica. A three-bedroom single-story home in Linda Mar costs over $1.3 million. This is beyond the reach of many potential home buyers in our community. People who have grown up in Pacifica cannot afford to live in the community they call home. Public service workers, including teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and city staff are forced to live outside of the community they serve. This needs to change.
Linda Mar Woods will be an economically diverse community by design with at least 30 percent of the homes built as affordable for moderate income families. A planned phase at Linda Mar Woods may include 10-housing structures on 10-lots. There might be six single-family detached homes and, interspersed among them, four more designs that may consist of two-flats (homes stacked horizontally), duplexes (homes stacked vertically), or a cluster of four townhomes. Architecturally, these structures will be similar in scale, design, finishes, and quality, but the individual homes will vary in size and price. By changing each home’s size and construction, the project will achieve economic diversity within the community without significant variation in the scale and quality of each structure. It is possible to create a community with affordable homes, mixed with homes sold at market prices. Economic diversity is the primary design goal for the homes built in Linda Mar Woods. When completed, Linda Mar Woods will become an economically inclusive outdoor recreation-oriented community.