The San Mateo County Tax Collector’s Office agreed on Friday afternoon to cancel the sale of the Moss Beach Park, provided the property’s outstanding tax bill can be paid within about two weeks.
County Supervisor Don Horsley made the announcement Friday afternoon in an email, calling for the park’s supporters to begin a renewed fundraising effort. He said the new deal came after reviewing details of the sale with county counsel and the Tax Collector’s Office.
Coastside residents were appalled to recently learn that the Moss Beach Park had been sold last month in auction to a Pacifica developer. It was revealed that the former custodian of the parcel, the nonprofit Coastside Preservation and Recreation Inc., was negligent for years on paying its property taxes. The park, identified only by its parcel number, was approved for sale in April by the county Board of Supervisors.
Park supporters have pointed out that the sale never would have gone forward if the county had informed the Midcoast community in advance. A spokeswoman with the County Tax Collector’s Office said her office followed standard protocol, publishing notice in the San Mateo County Times and sending a letter to the nonprofit’s last address on file. However, the Coastside Preservation’s last address, a Moss Beach P.O. Box, was no longer in use.
The property was put up for sale in July by a private online auction company, Bid4assets.com. It was later learned that the auction sale listed the Moss Beach Park by its parcel number, but it included a picture of a completely different property. All buyers on the auction site are required to agree to a disclaimer that the county can reverse the sale before the deed is recorded.
If the sale were reversed, the Pacifica buyer would receive a refund. But the park would still be considered in default for more than $8,000 in property taxes.
In his letter, Horsley pointed out that the community and county would need to hastily find ways to raise money to pay this bill. He announced a new meeting to discuss the park, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 4. at the Farallone View Elementary School.