Sierra Club questions HMB over Beachwood

By on Sun, August 2, 2009

Lines are already being drawn in the next big battle over Beachwood. Half Moon Bay will take possession of the property at the end of August. At that point, the city will have a strong incentive to maximize development of the property.

On July 20, the Sierra Club’s Mark Massara has sent Half Moon Bay mayor John Muller a sharply-worded letter seeking clarification about quotes from Muller and city manager Michael Dolder about the future disposition of Beachwood in the County Times.

In particular, Massara took issue with Muller referring to the city’s 100 foot wetlands buffer as arbitrary and outrageous, and the city manager’s reference to repackaging Beachwood for sale.

You can see the letter after the jump.


John Muller, Mayor    
City of Half Moon Bay City Council
501 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, California 94019   July 20, 2009
Re: Beachwood Wetlands

Dear Mayor Muller:

The purpose of this letter is to seek clarification regarding your unfortunate comments broadcast in various news outlets last week in which you disparage wetlands, natural resources and your own past planning history and environmental policies covering the Beachwood property.

As quoted by Julia Scott of the Bay Area News Group, in a story entitled "Half Moon Bay Begins Bond Sale to Solve $18m Debt to Developer" you are referenced as saying that the City intends to clear natural vegetation along property edges as well as drain new wetlands and erect new boundary fortifications in an attempt to restrict public access and sell Beachwood for future development.  Worse, you call your own existing policies ‘arbitrary’ and ‘outrageous.’

We hope you have been misquoted.  We trust you will clarify that natural resources and wetlands at Beachwood have been long studied and well established and are protected by existing law.  We assume you realize that any work proposed by the City, or any other owner of Beachwood must occur as a result of sound, sufficient biological analysis and lawfully issued coastal development permits (CDPs) consistent with past planning efforts of both the City and the California Coastal Commission and allowable under the California Coastal Act.

We also hope the City will rethink statements attributed to your City Manager, Michael Dolder, who is quoted saying the City is seeking to ‘repackage’ the proposed wetlands park for sale to a developer for the highest price possible.  For the many state elected officials and coastal activists throughout California who had been assisting the City in working to achieve a coastal wetlands park and open space area at Beachwood, those statements and recent bluster by you and the City to pursue drainage of wetlands and destruction of natural resources at the site would be considered offensive and counterproductive. 

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.

Mark A. Massara, Director
Sierra Club Coastal Programs
cc: Marina Fraser, Councilmember
Jim Grady, Councilmember
Bonnie McClung, Councilmember
Naomi Patridge, Councilmember
Michael Dolder, City Manager