Half Moon Bay, developer deal hinges on passage of law

Months of hand-wringing by residents, speculation about bankruptcy and legal wrangling by both sides of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit could be over — if a bill passes the state Legislature, city officials announced Tuesday night.

A judge previously awarded Palo Alto developer Charles “Chop” Keenan $41 million, saying the city was responsible for creating delicate wetlands on property owner Joyce Yamagiwa’s land. Yamagiwa, a trustee for Keenan, purchased the property, known as Beachwood, for $1 million in 1993.

The existence of wetlands created a string of permit problems that derailed Keenan’s plan to turn the 24 acres into an 83-unit subdivision.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker awarded Keenan $36.8 million, later amending the judgment to $41 million.

Tuesday night, a settlement was announced that would allow Keenan to build 129 single-family homes on the property and allow the city to avoid an appeal of the judgment against it.

The deal, however, hinges on the state Legislature passing AB 1991, which is being carried by Assemblymember Gene Mullin and state Sen. Leland Yee, according to a press release from a spokesman for Keenan.

The bill, which is a “one-of-a-kind” piece of legislation specially drafted to authorize development on the Beachwood property, would avoid further litigation, according to the press release. It would most likely also keep Half Moon Bay from declaring bankruptcy, which was feared after the judge’s ruling.

The legislation would also preserve existing state laws that protect and prohibit development on wetlands in the state.

“Of primary importance to the city and its citizens, this bill is a one-of-a-kind act that sets no precedent because, in this instance, the court found that the wetlands here were created in the course of construction that was never completed and, in addition, this property had already been approved by the City Council in 1990 for development,” Mayor Bonnie McClung said in the press release.

Tuesday night’s announcement comes five days after City Council members authorized the settlement offer.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Christina Najjar, 30, a TikTok star known online as Tinx, is one of the social media influencers tapped by the White House to help promote COVID-19 vaccines among young people. (Alyson Aliano/The New York Times)
How an ’influencer army’ is fighting vaccine lies

By Taylor Lorenz New York Times Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator… Continue reading

Vickie Gaddy, a nurse at the intensive care unit, with a 44-year-old patient who later died, at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, July 27, 2021. Doctors at the hospital say more younger people with COVID-19 are being sent to the ICU. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
A new COVID surge at a California ICU

By Isadora Kosofsky and Shawn Hubler New York Times Two months ago… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Most Read