LAFCo issues “certificate of completion” for MROSD expansion

posted by Barry Parr
Wed, September 8, 2004

The San Mateo Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) yesterday issued its “Certificate of Completion”, formally adding the San Mateo County Coastal Area to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s jurisdictional boundary.

Yesterday’s action clears the way for MROSD to buy land from willing sellers for the purpose of protecting the region’s coastside from inappropriate urban sprawl.

UPDATE: On the same day, September 8, Oscar Braun’s Save Our Bay, issued a press release declaring their intentions to “file a validation action against” LAFCO’s action.


The CUSD board puts off a Wavecrest deadline decision

posted by Barry Parr
Tue, September 7, 2004

Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD) board took no action on the deadline for Wavecrest at their secret meeting last Thursday. Despite rumors that the board has extended the deadline for Wavecrest to get its approvals, board member Dwight Wilson told me that they discussed the contract, instructed their attorney to look into the matter and took no action.  He says they’re waiting to see what the US Fish and Wildlife Service is going to do. 

The current contract with Wavecrest says the developer must obtain final approval of the development from the Coastal Commission and all challenges and appeals before the CCC must have have expired before October 31. If not, the district has the option of cancelling its agreement to swap its land in El Granada plus some cash for a school site at Wavecrest. Wavecrest has been removed from the agenda for the September 8 meeting of the Coastal Commission at the request of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the next CCC meeting is October 13 to 15 in San Diego. The next School Board meeting, the last before the election, is not scheduled until October 14.


A seat is open on the county Resource Conservation District board

posted by Mary Bordi
Mon, September 6, 2004

There is a seat open on the board of the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District (RCD). You do not have to be a farmer or rancher to apply. The RCD is a Special District, first organized in 1939,  that partners with land owners, land users, individuals, agencies and organizations to conserve natural resources in the unincorporated rural lands of the San Mateo coast. The SMC RCD is one of the oldest environmental organizations in the county, first formed in 1939 in San Pedro Valley. The district presently covers over 157,000 acres of mostly rural, agricultural and open space lands in the western half of the county. The district runs nearly the entire coastline of San Mateo County and includes all watersheds draining into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The RCD works in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in providing technical assistance and in delivering locally led conservation programs. To be eligible to serve on the RCD board, a candidate for appointment must reside within the district and either own real property in the district or alternatively have served for two years or more as an associate director, or be a designated agent of a resident landowner within the district.

Here are web links for legislative language on district directors and the general powers of the district.

The RCD Board members generally have a strong interest in conservation, community involvement, agriculture, ranching, working lands, erosion, runoff, wildlife, watersheds, water quality, and the environmen. RCD Board members serve voluntarily. District board meetings are held once per month and board members participate on committees and in projects.

To apply or find out more, contact the RCD at 650-712-7765 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Fire destroys a house on Higgins-Purisima; Coastside under “red flag” fire warning

posted by Barry Parr
Mon, September 6, 2004

Although no injuries were reported, a fire destroyed a ranch-style house on Higgins-Purissima road Sunday, according to the San Mateo County Times.

Fall is fire season on the Coastside and we’re going to be at high risk until we get a couple of inches of rain, according to Larry Whitney of the La Honda Fire Department:

It’s unusual to receive a Fire Weather Watch that is so encompassing [as the one being called this weekend] and
with this being Labor Day Weekend extreme care is called for. Last Labor Day
Coastside Firefighters were truly taxed keeping up with all of the calls for
assistance from holiday visitors. We had three Cliff Rescues in a 7 hour
period requiring eight Engines, three of which had to come from over the
hill. Area residents are being asked to report any sign of Fire or Smoke


Monterey County’s modern ghost towns

posted by Barry Parr
Sun, September 5, 2004

Monterey County Weekly

Southeast Monterey County is a world away from Monterey, Carmel, and the vineyards on the coastal hillsides. The Monterey County Weekly took a trip to some of the towns that have been left behind by Highway 101 and coastal development. Towns that are vestiges of the days when El Camino was a principal artery from one end of the state to the other. It’s a little far afield from the San Mateo County coastside, but worth reading.


Santa Cruz County won’t dump near our county parks after all

posted by Barry Parr
Sat, September 4, 2004

Santa Cruz County Public Works Department eliminated two possible landfill sites that would have routed garbage through San Mateo County parks.  The difficulty of getting access to the parks was the reason for the decision, according to the SMC Times.


Judge says MROSD expansion can go ahead

posted by Barry Parr
Fri, September 3, 2004

Superior Court judge Carl Holm rejected a request by opponents to either halt or put to a vote the annexation of the coastside to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD).

Annexation opponent Oscar Braun plans to take the matter back to LAFCO by incorporating the rural coastside as the town of Los Pueblecitos. His plan includes the transfer of all MROSD property in Los Pueblecitos to the new town.

The district says it has 60 days from the issuance of LAFCo’s Certificate of Completion to appoint an Ombudsperson, begin public participation, and plan for amending its Good Neighbor Policy. MROSD says it will solicit public input to determine how the District’s wards should be redrawn so that coastside residents are represented.  They say they’ll include workshops on the coastside.

A couple of days ago, I asked Oscar Braun if he’d like to comment once Judge Holm delivered his decision.  he replied in email:

As stated in the letter brief to the Court, we are already gathering petition signatures from the more than 5,500 disenfranchised Coastsiders to qualify the incorporation & detachment of Los Pueblecitos for the March 25, 2005 ballot.  Regardless of the determination of the Court regarding the LAFCO Protest balloting, the FINAL decision will be made by the voters of the Rural Lands (South Coast) area residents. In short, the Courts ruling will be moot.

UPDATE: you can now download the decision from Coastsider [pdf].

UPDATE:  Oscar Braun says he plans to sue. In Merc he says: “It’s neither a victory for us or them—it will continue on in court. The court has just said that, in order for us to challenge the annexation, we must do it a different way.” In the SMC Times: “We’re off to court.”

Click on the “read more” link to see MROSD’s press release.


The Chron has a better map of Los Pueblecitos

posted by Barry Parr
Fri, September 3, 2004

There’s a better map of “Los Pueblecitos” at SF Gate. It’s much better than the hand-drawn one that accompanies the petition. It makes clear something that I missed in my original story: the town would be bordered on the east by either Highway 280 or Highway 35 from roughly north of Highway 92, including the Crystal Springs Reservoir.

It amplifies the important point that the town would incorporate (in both senses of the word) a vast amount of land that is not so much rural as it is uninhabited.


The Kings Mountain Art Fair is this weekend

posted by Barry Parr
Fri, September 3, 2004

The Kings Mountain Art Fair

The Kings Mountain Art Fair is not another schlocky collection of vendors on a sweltering main street. Located in the redwoods, the KAMF is one of the most selectively juried events of its kind in the Bay Area.  Because of the tranquil outdoor setting and non-commercial purpose of the fair, Kings Mountain attracts a number of artists who appear nowhere else.

Hiking trails surround the site. “There are no sound stages or wine tastings like at other art fairs. There is just the restful sound of the breeze in the trees and extraordinary art. You’ll feel renewed as if you took a trip to Tahoe, but without the drive,” says Sybil Plank, KMAF Chairman.

Full breakfast under the redwoods with the artists starts at 8AM with lunch, wine, beer and beverages served from 11:30AM. Supervised children’s activities and games take place all day in “Kiddie Hollow.” Staffed by high school age (and up) volunteers, kids enjoy spin art, glitter, games, reading or tree climbing allowing parents of older kids the freedom to browse the fair while their kids play. There is a nominal charge of less than $2 per child per hour. Younger children are also welcome and parents can supervise from afar in a special parents’ rest area.

The Fair will take place at Kings Mountain Community Center on Highway 35, 6 miles south of Highway 92 [map & directions]. Started in 1963, KAMF benefits the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade and other community charities. Call (650) 851-2710 or see for information.



Abrupt Farallone View schedule change leaves coastsiders hanging

posted by Barry Parr
Thu, September 2, 2004

Farallone View Elementary School changed its start time this year from 8:00 am to 8:25 am, but the district neglected to notify parents or any of the dozens of local merchants, tutors, or child care providers who were affected by the change. “I apologize for it,” said superintendant John Bayless. “We should have sent a letter to parents, and there’s no excuse for it.”

The only notifications were street signs and notices posted at the school the week before classes began. Because the school is on a dead-end street, no one who didn’t visit Farallone View the week before school would have seen the sign. As parents trickled in to read the postings of class assignements, they found out.

Monday morning, on the first day of school, one parent says she found principal Mike Bachicha “surrounded by unhappy parents” when she arrived to drop off her son. Gymtowne Gymnastics in Moss Beach has had to move their afternoon students and classes, and only found out about the change when one of their employees, whose child attends Farallone View, called the school. Jari Chidester, a tutor in Moss Beach, says that five of her afternoon students needed to be rescheduled.

The change was made because the January redrawing of elementary districts made it necessary to have two school bus runs from Half Moon Bay to Farallone View each day, according to principal Bachicha. The decision to have two bus runs, he says, was made the first week of July. But no one was in the Farallone View office until the second week of August, when everyone was so busy putting class schedules together that there was no time to write, review, translate, print, and distribute a letter to the community.

The only other public notice was in the third paragraph of a story in the Review with the innocuous title “Bell set to ring in new school year”.


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