The San Mateo County Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on Jan. 22 to discuss the proposed affordable housing project in Moss Beach.
The meeting will be held at the Half Moon Bay Library and will consider changes to the San Mateo County Local Coastal Program and the General Plan zoning designation for the revised MidPen Housing Corp. project, which has been downsized from 148 units to 71 in response to local input from open houses.
Other changes to the project, made based on community feedback, include an
increase in the parking ratio to 2:1 and a decrease in the height of the units from three stories to no more than
two. The proposed project would house residents with incomes of 30 to 80 percent of the area median income of $136,000 and would be deed-restricted to maintain affordability.
The project has been a source of contention across the Midcoast. While housing shortages and homelessness plague the Bay Area and surrounding communities, some neighbors worry about the effects the new development may have on traffic in the area, among other things.
Karen deMoor, board member of local advocacy group Resist Density, listed issues with the proposed project, including concerns about increased traffic, asbestos on the site, fire escape routes and changes to the coastal character.
Going into next week’s meeting, deMoor said her top priorities are to call for a transparent and communal process, a more complete environmental impact report of the site and clarity on MidPen’s stated goal to give people who work and live on the Coastside preference in the application process.
Resist Density board member Dolores Silva stressed that an updated Environmental Impact Report, which would evaluate effects of the project, is necessary.
“We don’t see how anyone can make a recommendation one way or the other until there is a more complete EIR,” Silva said.
DeMoor also said she is concerned about the fast turnaround under which the planning committee will have to make a decision on the zoning rules.
“The process is flawed,” deMoor said. “I think one of the things we’re going to ask the planning committee is to delay their decision on this until they can be adequately informed.”
Leora Tanjuatco Ross, organizing director of the Housing Leadership Council, a nonprofit advocating for affordable housing and this project, said she hopes the meeting will help clarify questions residents still have about the project. She thinks the developer will explain the changes in the proposal and spur discussion of affordable housing as a necessity.
“I hope that there is an awareness of the affordability issue and how to solve it,” Tanjuatco Ross said.
HLC organizer Alexander Melendrez said the reason the plan appears to have so much pushback is because the most vocal residents are those who oppose the plan, and that residents who may be in favor — and even those who may qualify for the housing — are not typically able to make meetings during the workweek in Redwood City.
Melendrez said housing opponents are usually the most vocal following any development plan. “That’s almost inherent among any affordable housing development in this county,” he said.