Residents decry housing numbers included in midcoast area plans

Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on coastal program; large crowd expected

REDWOOD CITY — As seven years of work to hammer out a new development plan for the midcoast area come near to an end, several groups are still making last minutes pushes for changes.

Tuesday’s vote by the Board of Supervisors on the Midcoast Local Coastal Program, or LCP, is expected to be attended by a large number of residents, many of them still unhappy with aspects of the plan. Perhaps most contentious is a provision allowing 75 new homes a year to be built in the area, resulting in the doubling of houses to as many as 7,153 homes in the next 30 years, residents say. Some say they believe there is not enough sewer or water infrastructure to support that many new residents, according to Kathryn Slater-Carter, a board member on both the Montara Water and Sanitary District and the Midcoast Community Council.

Supervisors, however, argue that 75 homes a year is a compromise between the 125 allowed and the average 52 that has occurred in the past 10 years — a lower number which is favored by many who want to protect the small-town feel of the coast.

Another concern is that more houses will mean more commercial development, and therefore fewer green areas.

“[The plan] is taking what is used for recreation and open space and allowing it to be developed,” Slater-Carter said. Of particular concern to her is the possible development of 33 acres of airport property into a strip mall, she said.

Allowing commercial development with the goal of bringing jobs to the coast and reducing commuter traffic has always been part of the plan, Supervisor Rich Gordon said.

“I think we’re more concerned about jobs and trying to provide additional places where commercial activity could occur,” said Gordon, who represents the unincorporated areas of the county.

Among the plan’s opponents planning to attend Tuesday’s meeting are representatives of the county Harbor District.The district is opposed to restrictions on a 6.2-acre property it owns, called the Burnham Strip near El Grenada, that has been used to secure loans and could be devalued by the plan, said Harbor District General Manager Peter Grenell.

“As currently written, the LCP would allow for development of less than one-tenth of an acre, where a little more than half-an-acre is currently allowed,” Grenell said.

The county is required to maintain and update a Local Coastal Program, a plan to guide development in coastal areas, under state law. If approved by supervisors Tuesday, the plan will have to receive final approval from the state Coastal Commission before taking effect, officials said.

Group wants plan to have disabled housing

More than a dozen supporters of a residential development for the disabled called Big Wave are among those expected to call for changes to the Midcoast Local Coastal Program at the supervisors’ meeting Tuesday.

The plan would include 36 condos and apartments, as well as a community center with a commercial kitchen and a home movie theater, basketball court and gardens for the disabled, all located across from the Half Moon Bay Airport. Warehouse and office space of 155,000 square feet would be built nearby and rented out to companies with the goal of finding jobs for the disabled there, according to developer Jeff Peck.

The proposed 15-acre office complex would consist of four two-story buildings. With a capacity of up to 500 employees, Peck has had interest from law firms, doctor’s offices and the biotech industry, he said.

“There’s a huge need for offices over on the coast because people are commuting over the hill and that would cut down on the commute, fouling of the air and congestion,” he said.

Funding for Big Wave is dependent on securing water rights for the offices, as well as the residences, Peck said. Although he plans to donate more than $3 million in land and construction work toward the project, rent from the commercial office space will pay for the rest of the estimate $3.5 million project, Peck said.

For more information on Big Wave, visit the Web at www.bigwaveproject.org.

ecarpenter@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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