The California Coastal Commission has approved an effort to protect an apartment building on Mirada Road and the California Coastal Trail against sea level rise and erosion. 

In July, the commission approved a coastal development permit for a 50-foot-long seawall and a stairway for beach access, but it did not approve extending the seawall to protect the trail. 

Last week, the board reaffirmed its decision by voting to adopt the revised findings on the project, which had to be heavily modified from staff’s initial suggestion. The original application asked for a 257-foot seawall that would have covered the bluffs entirely in that area. Proponents of the project argued it would protect the Coastal Trail.

However, the Coastal Commission decided against that proposal, arguing it would be less damaging to the environment to relocate the trail. 

“It’s difficult to say that we’re going to armor coastal trails when we’re asking homeowners or businesses to forgo seawalls and armoring,” Commissioner Donne Brownsey said at the July 11 meeting. 

While there are other instances of hard armoring in Half Moon Bay, most of the shorelines are natural. There are places with rock revetment, but this would be the first shotcrete seawall, according to city officials. 

Robert Glynn, who spoke on behalf of the Casa Mira Homeowners Association, did not respond to requests for comment. However, he argued against relocating the trail at the July meeting, saying travelers would lose the ocean views. Showing the board photos of the lack of ocean views where the trail could be rerouted, he said, “It doesn’t look like a coastal trail.” 

Half Moon Bay resident Paul Shapiro, who lives on Mirada Road, echoed similar concerns at the Coastal Commission’s meeting at the Oceano Hotel and Spa last week. 

“I believe (rerouting the trail) will severely, profoundly diminish the public’s use and enjoyment of the coast,” he said. 

The application came after heavy winter rains that caused 20 feet of bluff failure during 2015 and 2016. This resulted in emergency permits for temporary riprap to armor the bluffs and prevent further erosion. This riprap will be removed to make way for the seawall no later than July 2022. 

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