Questions remain
A plan to develop a 71-unit affordable housing complex in Moss Beach goes on to the Coastal Commission. Illustration courtesy MidPen Housing

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to recommend that the California Coastal Commission rezone the Moss Beach parcel where an eventual affordable housing project may one day sit.

While no project plans were under consideration today, the recommendation is a significant step toward ensuring MidPen Housing’s 71-unit development planned for the site would be consistent with zoning laws.

The development proposed for Moss Beach has been controversial on the Midcoast ever since its inception. Opponents of the project, including local group Resist Density, have expressed many concerns about the project, including its effects on traffic, the local environment and emergency evacuation routes. While project planners and board members emphasized that only the proposed amendment was under consideration, many were focused on the problems or merits of the project plan itself.

Many Moss Beach residents spoke in opposition to the project, including Midcoast Community Council member Dan Haggerty. Moss Beach resident Chris Davis was one resident who said parking and traffic effects of the additional residents will be deleterious, and worried how the project could alter his community.

“Do not change our neighborhood,” Davis said.

Karen deMoor, board member of Resist Density, emphasized the effects of additional residents on evacuation routes on the Coastside and the lack of infrastructure nearby, concerns echoed by other speakers.

“This proposed project is just too big,” deMoor said. “We have just one highway in and out there are no additional routes.”

In support of the project, Stewart Highland from the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County said low-cost housing is critical for current and future residents, and a handful of residents and local affordable housing advocates agreed.

“It is not a huge development but it is a huge opportunity,” said Jordan Grimes of housing advocacy group Peninsula for Everyone.

Supervisor Don Horsley spoke in support of amending the LCP, saying he agrees with residents’ concerns that the Highway 1 and Carlos Street intersection, which prospective residents could use to enter and exit the site, is dangerous. He said he is open to other traffic options and improvements to SamTrans in the area.

The LCP amendment will now go to the Coastal Commission for approval, followed by a full Coastal Development Permit process for the project plan.

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