Gallery:  Supervisors continue hearings on Midcoast LCP update

By on Thu, March 16, 2006

Darin Boville
Chris Kern, the North Coast District Manager of the California Coastal Commission told the supervisors, "Despite the oft-heard contentions that the LCP and the Coastal Act have stifled growth on the coast, in fact, the Coastside is one of the fastest growing regions of the county and will continue to be under this plan.� Click on the photo to see our gallery and more on Chris Kern's testimony.

MCTV will show the tape of the meeting Monday, March 20, at 10am.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors continued the process of revising their Midcoast Local Coastal Program on Tuesday morning.  Coastsider features our third of Darin Boville’s galleries of the testimony. As always, if you have any corrections on names or additional notes, please let us know.

About half the testimony was from supporters of the Big Wave project for developmentally disabled adults.  The County Times has a good summary of the meeting. Here are some highlights:

  • The subcommittee of supervisors Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon reduced the growth cap from 125 to 75 units per year, which is still higher than the current growth rate of 52 units per year.
  • The subcommittee withdrew its proposal to widen Highway 1 to four lanes, recommending that the plan focus on improving traffic flow with more turn lanes and bike lanes.  Chris Kern, the North Coast District Manager of the California Coastal Commission, told the supervisors that widening the highway to more than two lanes would cause the LCP to not be approved by the Coastal Commission.
  • Forty water connections will be set aside to serve homes with failed wells.
  • The supervisors will consider whether the Big Wave project should be considered for a separate LCP amendment.
  • The supervisors will look into balancing the needs of the Harbor District for revenue generation from building on the Burnham Strip with the needs of the community to maintain the integrity of its original plan. The Harbor District has been pushing hard to develop the property and sent several people to testify at the meeting. Harbor Commissioner Sally Campbell stated, �We have used that property…to collateralize our $19 million worth of loans from the California State Boast and Waterways. A hit like that would be devastating…we need absolutely every asset and every part of revenue we can get.�

The board will return to the LCP revision in late spring.

Other actions regarding the growth rate:

There will be no community sub-limits;

It eliminated the provision authorizing the Board to increase the limit up to 200 new units per year;

Now permit limits will apply to units, not building permits;

It did not add the proposed exemption for mixed-use units (CCR District) and caretakers quarters (W district) at Princeton;

It reduced the annual limit on residential development from 125 to 75 units per year, i.e. 40%;

It added an exemption for residential units units occupied by disabled persons and their caretakers (not to exceed 50 units per year)

It retained the existing exemptions for affordable housing and second units;

Thus the Board did not reduce the growth rate.  It simply created a special interest group (disabled and their caretakers) entitled to 50 residential units per year as a subset of the 125 units. 

I am not sure what this all means as the midcoast has averaged slightly over 30 residential permits per year.  It does mean that the big affordable/market rate housing projects (totaling over 469 units) will not be subject to the residential unit limits.

Kathryn Slater-Carter




The purpose of the Midcoast LCP update is to formulate general plans and policies to ensure that growth and development over the next several decades is consistent with the California Coastal Act—-The purpose is not to provide a means to insert special rule changes that will benefit somebody’s pet project, i.e., Big Wave.

The backers of Big Wave are seeking to exploit people’s natural compassion and concern for those with disabilities in an effort to push through LCP changes that will facilitate a major commercial/housing development project.

A similar strategy was employed by the Wavecrest developers. Their proposal for huge residential subdivision (to be constructed on wetlands) was linked to a promised new middle school and a promised new Boy’s & Girl’s club.

Anybody who raised objections to the Wavecrest subdivision because it violated the Coastal Act was automatically labeled “anti-school,” or “anti-kids,” or an “obstructionist.”

A similar PR campaign is being used to push the Big Wave project.

It’s obvious Big Wave, as it is being presented, is being used as an emotional Trojan Horse to get around yearly limitations on number of new units and to shoehorn in an office park.

First, it is just stupid to exempt affordable housing of any kind from yearly permit figures or design limitations. The midcoast is already overpopulated. Most of its governmental (including infrastructure) and community problems are those of an urbanizing area and tied directly to shifts in size and character that come with overpopulation and, in our case, an accompanying urban mindset. All additional population will increase the overall stresses on the coastside, so all planning for growth is planning for how much worse our situation can get before buildout.

I can’t imagine a group I would welcome more to the midcoast than developmentally disabled people in housing for independent living. Just stop the associated scam. Stop using the disabled as fronts for weakening restrictions that are already too generous. Simply count their units in whatever figure is chosen as the pace for getting worse, population-wise. Drop any cries for developer-serving exemptions and for associated commercial projects. If their housing uses up a year’s worth of permits, so be it. Why would the developers, contractors, politicians and others advocating Big Wave have a problem with that? From the standpoint of people with positive attributes and minimal negatives in terms of impacts on the midcoast, the permits for their units are guaranteed to be the best-allotted of any under the midcoast’s revised LCP.

Carl May