The Half Moon Bay Planning Commission held back Tuesday on approving a two-story office and commercial building at the Highway 92 entrance to the city, suggesting the developer should take more time to consider visual and parking impacts of the structure.

City commissioners largely agreed the mixed-use building would be a positive way to use a vacant lot at the Pilarcitos Square shopping center at the corner of Highway 92 and Main Street. But planning officials hesitated on granting the plans a coastal development permit, recommending instead that developer Keet Nerhan needed to ensure that the building would be as attractive as possible because it would go in such a prominent location. They suggested Nerhan should gather ideas and possibly extra funding from local business groups or City Hall to help build an attractive structure at the entrance to the Coastside.

The parking lot at Pilarcitos Square is often packed full with cars, and nearby merchants have raised concerns that the new building would worsen the congestion problem. The new building would add 14 new spaces to the lot, meeting city requirements. Planning commissioners asked Nerhan to review the parking at the property and return with the best way to circulate traffic.

Speaking on Wednesday, Commissioner Les Deman said the planning officials largely endorsed the idea for the building but wanted to make it as well-designed as possible.

“The Planning Commission generally was in favor of the project and thought it would be a positive for Half Moon Bay, particularly compared to what was there before,” he said. “This should be a gateway that welcomes people into town.”

The project is expected to come back before the planning commission in November, according to city staff.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed when the Planning Commission would reconsider the proposal.

(1) comment

Zack B
Zack B

Why does the planning commission place the "monkey" entirely on the back of the developer? If the city had a plan and architectural standards, it could work with developers to craft the kind of town we want. But by saying no or delaying everything, Half Moon Bay has become a patchwork quilt of a town. Consider, for example, when Holiday Inn wanted to build one of their hotels in Palo Alto at El Camino Real and University. The city told the company what they expected and Holiday Inn complied creating a unique Holiday Inn like no other in the country.

Does Half Moon Bay have a vision and a plan to achieve that vision?

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