Support the Coastal Commission staff recommendation for Midcoast


By on Wed, December 2, 2009

Fax Your Letter of Support by 5 pm this Friday, December 4

After nearly 7 years of local public hearings and meetings, boxfuls of written testimony from citizens, and just plain hard work on the part of countless public officials and others, the California Coastal Commission will consider on December 10 whether to approve a major amendment to the Midcoast Local Coastal Program (LCP). This comprehensive planning document will shape the future of Midcoast for the next several decades.

Your help is needed to urge the Coastal Commissioners to adopt the recommended document prepared by the Commission’s professional planning staff. A sample letter that can be faxed to the full set of Commissioners for inclusion in their meeting packets can be found at the end of this article.

Anyone who cares about preserving California’s coast for future generations can and should weigh in, not just residents of the Midcoast.

The Coastal Commission staff’s recommendations include the following:

  • An allowable growth rate for the Midcoast of 1 percent, as recommended by the San Mateo County Planning Commission on the basis of numerous local public hearings, and consistent with Half Moon Bay’s 1 percent growth limit.
  • A requirement for traffic analysis and mitigation for new development.
  • A prohibition against new private residential water wells and new private septic systems until San Mateo County adopts a comprehensive groundwater management plan for the Midcoast.
  • A rezoning of the Burnham Strip in El Granada to allow public parking, trails, and public restrooms with an appropriate permit.

A December 2, 2009 article in the San Mateo County Times by Julia Scott describes how the County Board of Supervisors is objecting to the 1 percent growth rate recommendation. The Supervisors, acting in response to heavy lobbying by realtor/developer interests, are seeking to overturn the will of the people and the recommendations of the County’s own Planning Commission. This is wrong.

As stated in the executive summary of the 403-page Coastal Commission staff report:

"The County’s [namely, the Board of Supervisors’] proposal does not sufficiently address the significant public services issues that have arisen since original certification of the LCP in 1981, including physical changes to the environment resulting in significant adverse effects on public health and safety, coastal resources, and coastal access. These changes include significant cumulative development over the last 20 years; increasingly inadequate public works capacities; new water supply issues and constraints, including failed private wells in the urban area; systemic sewage overflows and water quality problems; and severe congestion on the major coastal access routes that is adversely impacting public access to and along the shoreline."
A sample letter follows.

Please don’t wait. Fax your letter of support to 415-904-5400 before 5 pm Friday December 4.

—————————- Sample letter to the Coastal Commission———————————

  December 3, 2009….................Agenda Item TH18.a, [Your Name Here]

  Bonnie Neely, Chair & Members
  California Coastal Commission
  c/o North Central Coast District Office
  Charles Lester, Senior Deputy Director
  45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
  San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
  Via Fax: (415) 904-5400

  Subject: San Mateo County LCP Amendment No. SMC-MAJ-1-07 (Midcoast LCP Update)

  Dear Chair Neely and Members of the Commission:
As a resident of California living in [your town], I support the preservation of our state’s coastal resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. We owe a tremendous debt to the wisdom and foresight of the many dedicated people who worked together to enact the California Coastal Act more than thirty years ago.

The proposed amendments to the San Mateo County LCP, as recommended by the Commission’s professional staff, will update this important planning document to reflect the many changes that have occurred over the past 20 years and will help to address the constraints and limited resources that exist in the Midcoast today.

I strongly urge you to adopt the staff’s recommendations, which are consistent with the proposals of the County’s own Planning Commission, based on numerous local hearings.


[Your Name]
[Your Address]