Supervisors unmoved by LCP pleas from Coastsiders

Why wait till Wednesday?

Posted by on Tue, December 13, 2005

After hearing more testimony from citizens this morning, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is moving ahead with its subcommittee’s recommendations for changes to the Midcoast Local Coastal Program. After an hour of testimony today and three hours last Tuesday, the supervisors made no concessions on the issues raised repeatedly by Coastside citizens: changing the 2% growth rate to 1% to be comparable with Pacific and Half Moon Bay, counting affordable housing units as part of Midcoast growth, rezoning the Montara Bypass as open space, or addressing infrastructure issues before authorizing more growth.

Today’s citizen testimony was weighted more heavily in favor of the subcommittee’s faster-growth (2% per year) recommendations than the slower growth (1% per year ) recommendations of the Midcoast Community Council and county Planning Commission.  Some 19 speakers supported the subcommittee’s recommendations to one degree or another, and 9 spoke in favor of the MCC/Planning Commission version. We’ll post a note when Coastsider’s album of speakers and positions has been updated, later this week.

At the conclusion of an hour of citizen testimony, the only modifications to the plan requested of the staff were to say that Highway 1 would not necessarily be widened continuously between Devil’s Slide and Half Moon Bay, check into the legality of income limits on affordable units at the request of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors, look into flooding and stormwater issues, avoid "checkerboarding" in mergers of substandard lots, look into giving failed wells a higher priority for water connections, and the apparently self-contradictory goal of maintaining the Burnham Strip in El Granada as open space while working with property owners.

Supervisor Rich Gordon said that while the supervisors wanted to preserve the Montara Bypass as open space, they want to work with Caltrans rather than rezoning immediately.

The supervisors will probably not return to the LCP before their meeting on January 24.  At subsequent meetings, the supervisors will make tentative recommendations on those items they have not already addressed and direct staff to draw up the ordinances. So, there will be at least two more public meetings before the whole thing gets sent to the Coastal Commission, but there will be no more public testimony.

Though the public testimony phase has ended it is my understanding that letters can still be sent to the Board of Supervisors. 

These letters will be part of the public record presented to the California Coastal Commission and may very well have a deeper impact than oral testimonies given at the BoS meetings.

If you have not written a letter you can still do so.  If you have already written a letter, and want to respond/comment on the recent meetings you can do so.  You can email your letter to all the Supervisors at once from (click on E-Mail in the star banner)


Keep in mind that our LCP impacts, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, and *ANY* Californian who wants to visit and enjoy clean public beaches in the Midcoast.  Any California resident who values access to clean state beaches and the coastline should be welcomed and urged to submit their comments to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors actions regarding the county’s LCP should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed their decision making on land use issues for 20 plus years.  Their behavior reflects a deeply-rooted political culture dominated by politicians, republican and democrat, whose primary allegiance is to the business community and to the construction trades, who generally have yet to comporehend, embrace and internalize the concept that healthy ecosystems are critical to human health and long-term economic benefit. As a result, the elected officials and councty staff gloss over the relationship between infrastructure and growth and the interrelationships among infrastructure, growth and the environment. Yes, there has been some accommodation of coastside environmental and residentialist/preservationist concerns over time—some very significant—but these have been motivated not so much by enlightened thinking as by the initiative and referendum process or the threat of such; or as by the long-standing relationships with forceful personalities such Lennie Roberts of the Committee for Green Foothills, and Ollie Mayer of the Sierra Club, who live over the hill and know how to litigate when push comes to shove; or as by an assertive Coastal Commission.

Changing the way people think takes a long time. You can try fat campaign donations, but all that is likely to get you is an ppointment to the beet root commission and requests for more money next year or next quarter. Your best bets continues to be to learn, educate, testify, network, organize, campaign, run for office and—as a last resort—litigate.

Deborah Ruddock