Coastal trailer users, surfers, local residents and beachgoers all showed up at a recent San Mateo County Harbor Commission meeting to express their desire for a publicly accessible restroom just south of Pillar Point Harbor.
The current restrooms at the Pillar Point RV Park are set back into the parking lot, making them difficult to access. Now, the district, working with the city of Half Moon Bay, is presenting preliminary designs for a new restroom and shower station near the entrance of the Coastal Trail by Surfer’s Beach.
“We’ve been constrained by legacy leases, but I am very happy the current board and city have been working well together,” said Board Vice President Ed Larenas. “We all have the same mission in mind.”
The proposed restroom design includes three all-gender restrooms and an outdoor shower to allow surfers and beachgoers to rinse off. There will also be open green space, benches, free parking on eight ADA-compliant parking spaces and three water stations, including one for pets.
The land, leased by K&N Properties for an RV Park, has a history with the district. In 1987, the district received a permit from Half Moon Bay for a parking area for recreational vehicles. About a decade later, the district entered into a lease agreement with K&N Properties for the operation of an RV park.
“When the development occurred it was unknown at the time a Coastal Development Permit was necessary,” said Interim Harbor District General Manager John Moren. “Now, it later came to our attention a CDP is necessary.”
By virtue of its Local Coastal Program, the city of Half Moon Bay can issue a CDP, which is why the district opted to work together with the city.
“It is not necessary to have a new restroom to get a CDP, but there would be a need to bring the existing bathroom up to date,” Moren said. “But the current restroom is not in an ideal spot, and it would be better for that one to be designated for RV park users.”
The district worked with the city to present site improvement alternatives, landing on this most current design.
People who attended the meeting on June 19 largely spoke in favor of the new restrooms, with a few comments on particular design aspects.
“I support your plan. I am just concerned about the size for the space,” said El Granada resident Jean Knight. “I also think the parking there is not used by people visiting here, so it is a good trade off for the ADA parking.”
“Thank you for getting this to the point where it is at,” said Eric Nelson, who works at a surf school in the area. “We are always looking for bathrooms for our kids who go to surf school.”
Several people applauded the idea of eliminating the current parking spaces in favor of free ADA parking.
Moren noted the parking for the public in the RV lot is not often used because there is a $10 fee and most visitors park along the highway.
Once the project is complete, the district will take responsibility of maintaining the bathrooms, including the trash cans, according to Moren. K&N Properties is the party responsible for the upkeep of the current bathrooms in the park.
Moren said there is no estimate on the cost of the project because plans are still preliminary. The board authorized an application for a Priority Conservation Area Grant, which, if accepted, will cover one-third of the project costs.
Board President Sabrina Brennan said within a few weeks the district is installing one or two temporary bathrooms near the RV Park.
“The idea actually originated from the Harbor Patrol on a suggestion to do something quick in the meantime,” Brennan said.
The restroom design plans will be presented at the July 9 Half Moon Bay Planning Commission for further consideration.