Local advocacy group Midcoast ECO filed a lawsuit last month against the California Coastal Commission challenging its move to rezone a Moss Beach parcel that paved the way to begin permitting for eventual affordable housing.
Midcoast ECO Board Member JQ Oeswein said the group’s lawsuit seeks to stop forward progress on the project until a new environmental review is conducted that addresses the group’s concerns. The project, a proposed 71 units at the corner of Carlos and Sierra streets in Moss Beach, would be built and managed by MidPen Housing Corp.
Among Midcoast ECO’s environmental concerns are worsening traffic, habitat and ecosystem protection and potentially hazardous materials onsite. While a 2019 preliminary study looked at these factors, Oesewein said the group finds its analysis inadequate and its conclusion that the development will have little impact on the environment suspect.
Many of Midcoast ECO’s concerns center on the cumulative impacts of the many development projects set to go into the Midcoast, which it would like the Coastal Commission to review from a traffic and environmental standpoint. The group is also asking the Coastal Commission to take another look at alternative sites with more infrastructure to better fit a project of this size.
“It’s too early; you don't have all of the information,” Osewein said. “Let’s go back. …let’s see what's really there and what the actual issues are before we move forward.”
Oeswein said Midcoast ECO also believes that by certifying the changes to the Local Coastal Program before a full environmental review was conducted, the Coastal Commission violated the California Environmental Quality Act and the California Coastal Act.
Representatives from the Coastal Commission declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Before the housing project could be built, it would require a Coastal Development Permit, which would include a full environmental review. But Oeswein said that he and Midcoast ECO aren’t confident that the review will be sufficient.
“We’d have to see exactly what they’d be proposing to do,” Oeswein said.
“We think that’s a great first step to commit to a review.”