Changing plans
MidPen Housing has addressed some of the concerns of neighbors, but those changes to the plan for the Cypress Point community don't go far enough for some opponents of the concept. Illustration courtesy MidPen Housing

The Moss Beach housing discussion resumes this week as zoning amendments for the 71-unit Cypress Point project are set to come before the San Mateo County Planning Commission on Wednesday morning.

After tabling the issue in January, the commission plans to revisit amendments to the Local Coastal Program and Planned Unit Development for the Moss Beach site, now with a few changes to the project plan. But statements from a local group known as Resist Density and a letter from the Midcoast Community Council show some still have concerns about the proposed amendment and the project as a whole. The virtual meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

The most significant change is an increase in the percentage of units — from 51 percent to 75 percent — that give a preference to residents who live or work on the Coastside. Also altered is the building height, which is now limited to 28 feet, and its setback at a consistent 20 feet from Carlos Street. Documents from MidPen Housing, the developer, clarified that the project remains 100 percent affordable.

Project Planner Mike Schaller said the changes are mostly in reaction to community feedback and concerns raised at the January meeting. One major issue was the live-work preference, which residents hoped would be increased to 100 percent. Schaller said the preference is limited because the project uses Measure K funding, which all San Mateo County residents pay into. But MidPen was able to negotiate with the county Housing Department to increase the live-work preference to 75 percent because of the limited options for affordable housing available to Coastsiders.

Another major concern MidPen and the county heard from the community was the effect of the additional housing units on traffic. To address that, Schaller said, attached in the staff report for Wednesday’s meeting are proposed mobility improvements for the neighborhood that are low-cost and can be executed in the short term. They include converting a section of Carlos Street into emergency vehicle access only, improvements to bus stops and additional bike and pedestrian infrastructure like sidewalks and crosswalks. Schaller stressed that these proposals are not set in stone.

While the county’s Connect the Coastside plan addresses similar issues, Schaller said it is important to zero in on improvements closest to the project area.

“There has been a lot of focus on the Connect the Coastside project in Moss Beach,” Schaller said. “Everyone has their eyes on this project at this point.”

After reviewing the changes, some opponents of the project remain unsatisfied by the changes outlined in the staff report. The MCC addressed its concerns in a letter addressed to county leaders and members of the California Coastal Commission. It asks for clarification on the Coastal Development Permit appeals process and outlines concerns about the interim traffic mitigation proposals.

Resist Density sent a letter to the MCC on Monday echoing their concerns and outlining some additional issues with the project. Their six-point letter reiterates concerns about the size, location and traffic impact of the project. It also calls for a comprehensive environmental impact review and a focus on addressing safe evacuation routes for Coastsiders.

“Coast evacuation concerns have been voiced, yet the staff report downplays existing threats of natural disasters and fails to consider the impact on visitors,” the letter reads.

After the Planning Commission reviews the amendment on Wednesday, its next step is to make a recommendation to the County Board of Supervisors.

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