In March 2017, Pescadero residents attended a town planning meeting during which they discussed how to meet the needs of everyone in the community — especially those who may be underrepresented at such a meeting. Puente published the results this month.
“The report is not necessarily a report for Puente only or a report for the people that participated ... the report belongs to anyone who wants to make use of it,” said Puente de la Costa Sur Executive Director Rita Mancera.
The most popular ideas included more trails, housing, a community center, a laundromat, a publicly accessible pool, and solutions for septic and water issues. Mancera said the next immediate steps are to secure funding for a water treatment study since many projects are contingent on that, and to present the results to the Board of Supervisors and the Silicon Valley Foundation.
“I was pleased to note that people are aware of their neighbor’s needs,” Mancera said.
“It was a group effort,” said Lynne Bowman, a member of the Pescadero Town Planning Steering Committee who is also president of the Pescadero Foundation.
“It was several of us working really hard, hours and hours and hours every day. It was a monumental effort. We’re proud of it. It’s a thing few people manage to do.”
The event followed a 2004 attempt that was criticized for not taking the next steps to make the feedback a reality. This time around, the report details specific action steps for the near, medium and long term. “We had no organization, no money, no community will, even to move it into being,” Bowman said. “Even though, philosophically, we knew we needed to do it, we didn’t have a way to do it.”
“I see my job right now as grabbing elbows and pulling people into the process who might be able to really move this forward,” she added. “... The next step is to take the statistics and turn them into actions.” For near-term action items, such as training grant writers and commissioning studies, the price ranges from $10,000 to $40,000. Bowman said it will require more grant funding, donations and government funds to accomplish these goals.
The report also included an appendix of participant evaluations of the event. These responses discussed how similar efforts could be improved in the future, what people learned from the meeting and what surprised them.
“Today I discovered that the community is big, and we have a lot of important and basic needs,” one participant wrote.
“This is an organized effort to make positive changes,” another respondent said. “People of all walks of life are interested and motivated in an integrated way.”