Brendan P. Bartholomew - correspondent
February 15, 2015
link to original article
In a unanimous vote by the City Council, Daly City has passed a resolution supporting the establishment of a priority conservation area around San Bruno Mountain.
Other Peninsula cities that have either passed similar resolutions or are expected to include Colma, Brisbane and South San Francisco.
San Bruno Mountain Watch Executive Director Kris Jensen said San Mateo County is petitioning the Association of Bay Area Governments to create the priority conservation area to protect and enhance open space, and having those cities on board could make it easier to win approval.
The association's application process is opened every few years, Jensen explained, and the current window of opportunity will close in May. If the application is approved and the conservation area is created, it would give the county potential access to various funding sources that could be used for improving access to the state park located on the mountain, as well as conserving and promoting it.
Improving access is a top priority for Daly City Councilman David Canepa, who said he supported the resolution because it might make funds available to create contiguous bicycle and pedestrian paths that would connect the mountain to the Bay and Pacific Ocean.
Canepa noted that while it is currently possible for bicyclists to take advantage of bike lane improvements on John Daly Boulevard and ride from the ocean to Mission Street, the path those bikers would then need to follow to get to the mountain is "very convoluted."
If the priority conservation area is established, additional funding sources might become available through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, said Canepa, who sits on that organization's board of directors.
No new developments should be allowed adjacent to San Bruno Mountain's state park, according to Canepa, who said the resolution sends a message that his city values open space and will fight to prevent development from encroaching on the mountain.
But Jensen noted that the potential conservation area would not prevent private-property owners from developing their land. He noted, however, that in cases where a government might be interested in purchasing land in order to protect it from being developed, having the property be part of a priority conservation area can make it easier to obtain funds for the purchase.
One area where such a purchase might be considered is on the north side of Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Jensen said. While Sign Hill is not considered part of San Bruno Mountain, some community members and activists interested in preserving the mountain have also taken an interest in Sign Hill, which currently contains plots of privately owned land that are for sale and could be developed.