Big Wave supporters announced last week they were taking two separate legal actions to force the California Coastal Commission to grant clearances for the group’s proposed office and housing campus on the Midcoast.
Big Wave developers filed a civil lawsuit on the morning of Oct. 4, requesting a San Mateo County Superior Court judge overturn the Coastal Commission denial of the controversial project. A separate complaint was also filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, arguing that the Coastal Commission discriminated against developmentally disabled persons by rejecting the Big Wave campus.
The new actions follow an August meeting during which the Coastal Commission unanimously revoked county-issued permits for the Big Wave development. Commissioners agreed with appellants who said Big Wave would have adversely affected utilities, environment and traffic in the area.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors reached the opposite conclusion last year when it unanimously approved the project.
The Big Wave development would include 225,000 square feet of office space and housing for 50 developmentally disabled adults, which would be built behind the Half Moon Bay Airport in Princeton. Big Wave supporters describe the office-space component as an “economic engine” that would subsidize the nonprofit housing.
For Big Wave developers, the denial was the latest in a series of delays they’ve encountered since the project was first put forward in 2006. Taking legal action was the next natural step, said Jeff Peck, Big Wave founder.
“The way the Coastal Commission ruled permanently killed the project. We had no recourse but to sue,” he said. “Our goal is to get this project built.”
The civil complaint, made available on Friday, alleges the Coastal Commission “deliberately misinterpreted” the Coastal Act and did not give the Big Wave campus an unbiased review. The complaint requests a coastal development permit for the project and compensation for attorney’s fees and other legal costs.
In a separate action, Devon Yoshimine, a prospective resident at Big Wave, filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of all disabled persons under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The complaint alleges the Coastal Commission’s denial constitutes discrimination because it denies disabled persons equal access to housing and employment. A press release from Big Wave developers also noted that a public records request showed the Coastal Commission has no record of approving any affordable housing for the developmentally disabled in its 40-year history.
Big Wave developers are already involved in a separate lawsuit filed by Midcoast utility agencies and the Committee for Green Foothills. The suit challenged the environmental impact report for the project compiled by San Mateo County.