Cruisers provide input on July 10th Public Workshop

President Parravano and Members
San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners
(via email)

I am pleased to learn that the San Mateo County Harbor District  (SMCHD)
Board of Commissioners is reaching out to stakeholder for input to the
Pillar Point Harbor Strategic Business Plan.

My husband and I are cruisers who travel aboard our sailboat.  As such, we
have many opportunities to visit a variety of harbors and anchorages
everywhere we go.  Presently we are sailing in Alaska, so we cannot
provide input in person at the planning workshop.  We have used the
anchorage, slips, and harbor facilities of Pillar Point during several
visits to the Bay area in the last four years.

Bay area boaters do visit the Pillar Point Harbor as a destination. They
use the anchorage and slips just as traveling cruisers do.  However, for
cruisers, the Pillar Point Harbor is not a destination location but rather
it is used by many travelers who are waiting for more favorable weather
before continuing on a lengthy coastal passage or for ideal tides and
winds for entering the San Francisco Bay.  The Harbor is strategically
located so that boaters traveling both up and down the Pacific coast may
stop in, anchor, pick up a mooring or slip, or simply refuel before
continuing along the coast. The natural environment around the harbor
invites these travelers to stay and experience the beaches and to walk
along the surrounding trails enjoying the vistas.

I find the Pillar Point Harbor to be captivating and have concerns about
the harbor's future. The Harbor resources are limited and I am most
concerned about the Harbor District's poor record (over the past two
decades) of maintaining a focus on public trust use activities and of
following through on harbor planning and development projects.  At this
point, I hope the District, with the help of community stakeholders, will
put in place a realistic strategic plan with measurable outcomes and will
progress towards those outcomes in a timely and cost-effective manner
all-the-while communicating the progress with all community stakeholders.

Input for the District's Strategic Business Plan:

1. Establish a realistic, timely, and effective maintenance program for
the existing harbor facilities and infrastructure.  Put in place
preventative maintenance protocols to prevent more costly repairs and
replacements.  Communicate the details of the program openly to all
stakeholders and invite input. Listen and take corrective action when
boaters, the fishing fleet, and other harbor users take the time to
communicate complaints about facilities and infrastructure. The
maintenance program should consider coordination of dredging activities
and beach nourishment projects.

2. Make the use of Pillar Point Harbor's resources and facilities, for
water-dependent, or harbor- related activities a priority.  Retain and
encourage all efforts to strengthen the working waterfront and support the
local fishing fleet.  Some examples where change is needed:  Romeo Pier
remains in a deteriorated condition.  This harbor asset should be included
in the strategic business plan such that rebuild and re-use to support the
working waterfront and increase harbor revenues will take place in
coordination with other harbor business.  Similarly, derelict boats
Bahemian moor indefinitely in the open anchorage, essentially squatting in
the navigable waterway and  creating hazards for transient boats who
commonly use single-point anchoring techniques.  The Harbor District
should encourage long-term users of the anchorage to relocate into a
harbor-managed mooring field will reduce hazards, increase harbor
revenues, and open up the anchorage for visiting boaters. At this point,
dredging, mooring maintenance, maintenance of floats for the fishing
fleet, as well as restrooms and showers for the recreational boat slip
holders should heavily take precedence over consideration of new
administrative support spending.

3. Keep use of the navigable waterways and supporting harbors, the
public's right to use public trust lands, and the retention of the natural
environment in the forefront of the Strategic Business Plan.  With these
things in mind, harbor activities should support the fishing fleet,
discourage in-fill and development of harbor-controlled lands for anything
other than the working waterfront, as well as promote recreational use of
the waterways and adjacent public trust lands.

4. Advances in technology provide increasing efficiencies everywhere.  The
District should carefully consider daily administrative practices which
may not have changed for decades--and consider how they might be improved
to be more cost-efficient and to provide a better customer experience.

Thank you for consideration of this input.

Brenda Hattery
Schooner Mahdee