Letter: LCP prefers low-cost housing at Beachwood as part of a solution


By on Sun, April 19, 2009

The San Mateo County League for Coastside Protection greatly appreciates and thanks Senator Leland Yee and Assemblymember Jerry Hill for their efforts (AB/SB 650) on behalf of Half Moon Bay’s residents in trying to craft a solution to the city’s financial problems due to its ill-considered Beachwood settlement agreement. Besides expressing appreciation, we would like to offer a few ideas we think would help move their bill beyond the mounting opposition from various individuals and groups.
The most obvious problem stems from our legislators’ good intention in trying to obtain $10 million for the city with as few strings attached as possible. This could only occur absent an appraisal of the land’s worth, a nonstarter with the park and environmental folks: they object that this presents a potential abuse of Proposition 84 park bond funds, and we agree that this is problematic. However, there is another way to go that should garner less opposition from this quarter, and that is by reverting back to the funding source for Senator Yee’s previous bill, SB 863, which relied on Proposition 1C housing/park funds.
SB 863 foundered last year because of opposition from housing advocates who objected to the funds going solely to park development. They might well have become allies if housing, particularly lower-cost housing, was proposed on some of the property. Currently the city is updating its housing element and like much of the San Francisco Bay area, seeks to improve the potential for affordable housing. In 2001, the California Coastal Commission approved a Coastal Development Permit for houses on the southwestern portion of Beachwood where there are no wetlands. The city has an opportunity to close ranks and solve several problems at once.
We support limited building in non-resource areas on the Beachwood property as a way to accommodate an objective appraisal process – it is not conscionable that the property be acquired for more than it is worth, and its worth should be fairly determined by an independent agency, such as SB 863 anticipated in designating the Coastal Conservancy, the state agency that specializes in coastal property acquisition and administration. Finally, we believe that SB 863 correctly anticipated the city’s financial needs regarding park acquisition and development.

Respectfully submitted,

Dana Kimsey
Co-Chair, SMC League for Coastside Protection