This week, we devote considerable space to pending development on the coast. Our goal is to update readers on the status of projects that could shape the future of life on the coast.
These proposals are often polarizing from the start. As we close this decade, there are few words that conjure stronger feelings — on both sides — than “Big Wave.” From the very beginning, Coastsiders saw this unusual project proposal as either an excuse for an industrial park that was out of scale with the environs or a caring attempt to provide housing for people who desperately deserve it.
Some of the projects we highlight expose a disconnect between the way many people talk about development priorities and what they actually want for their neighborhood.
Take the Cypress Point project from MidPeninsula Housing. It promises what is now envisioned as 71 affordable housing units on the Midcoast. While most agree we need affordable housing, few in Moss Beach have come forward to support this project. In fact, a group calling itself “Resist Density” organized effectively to oppose a development members might support elsewhere but find out of place in their own community.
The public process — often for completely valid reasons — has left more than one of these developers exasperated, to say the least. Decades passed before Ailanto Properties was allowed to develop its single-family home lots at the top of Terrace Avenue. And there is no chance anything will be built at Dunes Beach without a protracted public fight.
Compared with development in beach towns elsewhere in the country, change comes slowly to the Coastside. That is probably for the best. Everyone reading these words considers coastal San Mateo County one of the Bay Area’s jewels. It may need polish in the form of affordable housing or better infrastructure, but it does not require strip malls and freeways.
Thankfully, the California Coastal Act assures that change here is measured and planned. Nearly a half-century on, the state law that created the California Coastal Commission and its plodding process continues to protect beach access and coastal settings from what would surely otherwise be a gold rush at the expense of towns like Montara and Moss Beach.
Land use and development will always be the most important issues on the San Mateo County coast. Wise decisions require your diligence. Today, we offer a reminder of what remains in the pipeline.