Half Moon Bay City Council is considering banning the sale of plastic bottles, allowing deed-restricted accessory dwelling units and installing backup power sources, such as microgrids.

Annually the City Council meets in March to discuss what priorities it would like to accomplish for the following fiscal year. Several of the priorities from the previous year are issues the council still wants to address. They include the lack of affordable housing, managing traffic on the Coastside and implementing sustainability measures.

Housing remains a top concern for residents in Half Moon Bay. In 2019, efforts from both the state and city addressed aspects of housing affordability, including a statewide rent control bill and rental security measure approved in Half Moon Bay.

Councilman Harvey Rarback said that he would be in favor of the city providing some kind of incentive for people to build ADUs that would be deed restricted for lower-income residents. He also wants to focus development in downtown, a sentiment shared among many of the council members. One project proposed is to create a sign that directs motorists driving on Highway 92 to visit downtown.

“We want to promote our downtown core and build affordable housing in that area,” Rarback said.

Another area the council wants to focus on is making the city more sustainable. As the city prepares to join San Mateo County in banning disposable foodware, Mayor Adam Eisen said he wants to also look at prohibiting the sale of plastic bottles.

“I think that is a great idea,” he said. “The plastic in our oceans is increasing at such an alarming rate, and the oceans support Half Moon Bay through the fishing industry.”

Councilwoman Deborah Penrose also was in agreement of banning plastic bottles at stores such as Safeway or New Leaf.

Other concerns from the council related to preparing for an emergency.

“Emergency preparedness is going to start at the neighborhood level,” Penrose said. She’d like to see the city provide walkie-talkies to allow people to communicate during disasters.

Council members also said they would like the city to be resilient in times of emergencies, such as during power shut-offs.

“I want this to not just be a bedroom community that accesses most of its services elsewhere,” she said. “I want us to become as self-sufficient as possible and resilient as we can.”

Ruddock mentioned looking into the use of microgrids or solar batteries to create a backup power source for the city.

“To source as much of our power as locally as we can is a good thing,” she said. “The way things are headed we want to control as much of our resources as possible.” 

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