Why do I support the Cypress Point family community proposed for Moss Beach? There are many reasons, but above all, because I value service workers and their contributions to this community.

Teachers, hairdressers, mechanics, fishermen, police officers, nurses, waiters, checkers and park rangers all work here on the coast and serve the people who live here. When you go out to dinner, grab a coffee on your way to work or buy your weekly groceries, you’re served by local, working-class folks. And based on the current data, the majority of them are struggling to find a room or pay their rent.

Many concerned neighbors want to know: Who exactly are the low- and middle-income people who would live in Cypress Point? They don’t have to look far. Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., a five-minute drive from the proposed project, employs more than 120 people. Seton Medical Center Coastside is less than a two-minute drive away, where 160 medical professionals work every day, and hopefully will continue to do so.

According to the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau website, 85 percent of Coastside residents currently work outside of the Midcoast in the greater Bay Area. It would be hypocritical for the majority of Coastsiders like myself, who commute “over the hill” for work, to block local housing for people that actually work here.

If any doubt remains regarding the need for this project, let’s take a look at some economic realities here on the Coastside. First, we have a high concentration of lower income jobs; of the more than 10,000 local jobs in the Midcoast region, 68 percent pay less than $40,000 per year. Secondly, there’s limited affordable housing stock. The 160 units at Moonridge give preference to farmworkers, and the senior housing downtown is for, well, seniors. Thirdly, according to a 2017 report by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a renter would need to earn an average of $103,000 a year to afford a one-bedroom apartment in San Mateo County. And that was three years ago.

Some Coastsiders say that people don’t have a right to live in their preferred ZIP code. I’d like to counter that access to services isn’t a right, either. Responsive emergency care, quality, committed teachers, and cozy-cute coffee shops where the barista knows your order are a privilege, not a right. We have a choice whether to welcome affordable housing, and this choice will have real and serious consequences to our quality of life and the character of our community.

As a Coastsider who appreciates our local economy, I wholeheartedly support MidPen’s Cypress Point family community in Moss Beach, and would encourage those of you who feel similarly to voice your support at the next San Mateo County Planning Commission hearing.

Erin Ralston


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