After five hours, Big Wave hearing continued to Tuesday, Nov 23

Image credit Barry Parr
Planning Commissioners hear five hours of testimony at Wednesday's meeting

By on Wed, November 17, 2010

After hearing about five hours of testimony from more than 60 Big Wave supporters and opponents—and not hearing testimony from another couple of dozen members of the public who gave up and went home to bed before they got their turn to speak—the San Mateo County Planning Commission adjourned its hearing on the Big Wave development until Tuesday, Nov 23. About 120 members of the public attended the 6pm hearing at El Granada Elementary School.

The commissioners voted to continue the hearing until they and the public had a chance to review a study of Big Wave’s latest traffic plan. County planning staff had just received a draft of the study at 4pm Wednesday, the day of the hearing. Staff was unable to promise the final study until Friday, Nov 19.

Traffic was one of the consistent themes of the meeting, with Princeton and Pillar Ridge residents testifying that the only two roads connecting Big Wave to Highway 1 (Prospect Way in Princeton and Cypress Ave in Moss Beach) are already bottlenecks, particularly during major events—or simply on sunny days.

Other issues raised by Big Wave opponents included its location in a tsunami zone, its location in an area near the airport where the county had contractually committed to restrict development, the fact that neither Montara Water and Sanitary District nor Granada Sanitary District were consulted in the EIR’s development, and Big Wave’s impact on nearby residents. Many opponents noted that they didn’t object to the wellness center for developmentally disabled adults, but had serious problems with the plan for the office park.

Supporters stressed the fact that many of them have been waiting for ten years and it was time to build Big Wave. Big Wave partner and attorney David Byers drove that home by repeating his threat to sue the county if the commission did not approve the EIR by December 7.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Commission could potentially vote not just on the EIR, but on a use permit for the wellness center as a "sanitarium", a subdivision of the property, a Coastal Development Permit, a Design Review Permit, a Grading Permit, and a Development Agreement for the project.

Most of the commissioners said that they would be prepared to vote at next Tuesday’s meeting.  They implied that once they had an opportunity to talk to staff in the interim, they’d be ready to vote without a lot of discussion and seemed committed to keeping next Tuesday’s meeting short.