Dear Editor:

The city of Half Moon Bay is planning to install 50 prefabricated houses at the city’s corporation yard at 880 Stone Pine Road. This location is arguably the worst among the sites available. Major concerns are:

Traffic and pedestrian infrastructure collapse: The only access road to the area is Stone Pine Road, a narrow street with only one sidewalk. In the event of affordable housing construction, the consequence for this single ingress/egress route will be many dozens (if not hundreds) of cars congesting this route daily. At rush hour (and beyond), access will become a parking lot, thus severely limiting access for the residents of Cypress Cove, to the U.S. post office and to local businesses.

Public safety: A further consequence of traffic congestion will be the impediment for emergency vehicles to access Cypress Cove and the 880 Stone Pine property, thereby threatening public health and safety when essential emergency care is needed. No traffic impact assessment has been conducted.

Ethics and morality: The push for affordable housing development is a reactionary action to the shooting at the Half Moon Bay mushroom farm. The crime was perpetrated by a Chinese national, Chunli Zhao, outraged by a $100 bill from his supervisor for equipment damage. It became apparent later that the farmworkers lived in deplorable conditions provided by the farm owner, one Xianmin Guan, of California Terra Garden Inc. This incident was the second shooting at California Terra Garden in seven months. This was a warning; yet nobody in Sacramento paid attention. Instead of stopping this suspicious and very likely illegal activity on American soil, the California government decides to appease these farm owners by advocating for “affordable housing” for farmworkers only. This is highly immoral, unethical and un-American.

Environmental hazards: Pilarcitos Creek is a unique natural environment, sensitive to its geotechnical conditions, with protected riparian species and plants. The existing environmental report is only related to the corporation yard and does not assess the environmental impact of the proposed “low-cost dwellings.”

Pilarcitos dam: This dam was built in 1864. There is another dam two miles downstream called Stone Dam, built in 1871. In case of these dams’ failures, downstream inundation will occur that may affect the potential of the 880 Stone Pine site. This event can be life threatening. The property is within an identified flood zone.

Tsunami: The project is approximately 1.2 miles from the Pacific Ocean. According to the Department of Conservation San Mateo County Tsunami Hazard Areas, tsunami floodwaters would travel up Pilarcitos Creek to within 100 feet of the project site.

Jack Dvorkin

Half Moon Bay

Recommended for you

(9) comments


An earlier planning report asserted that the site could accommodate 240 apartments. It could be argued that an opportunity to address a longstanding affordable housing deficit is being missed. There have already been numerous environmental studies and the buffer zone being planned is twice the distance at 100 feet as is the standard 50 feet for creeks. There is also a requirement for a trail parallel to the creek. Yes, the Coastal Commission would need to approve a zoning change but, in this particular case in the current political environment, it might well set a speed record for approval. Although this is a significant reduction in potential density, transportation should still get attention. Although farmers work hours that are outside regular commute hours most of the year, things such as carshare, charging stations, bike-friendly infrastructure and Samtrans shuttles should be serious planning issues. In addition to safe and secure housing we should want our farmworker community to have reasonable access to schools, shopping and health services.


Don't know that I can swallow the arguments the OP presents.

My concern? I just want to be able to get to the Post Office and Jersey Joe's without any more difficulties that I now have.

There is no question that HMB & surrounding coastside needs more housing. That has been the case for decades, yet nobody wants it in their neighborhood.

So, what do we do?


This location is not good for high density housing, whether it be for affordable housing, teacher housing or even more Cypress Cove townhouses.

This site is going to make a traffic nightmare not only for the residents who live on this narrow road with just one sidewalk, but it is going to cause major traffic backups on Main St as there is a 3 way stop sign at Stone Pine and Main. Traffic is already terrible on weekends and during rush hour, sometimes backing up traffic all the way down to Pasta Moon.

Compounding this problem is the other affordable 40 unit building proposed on Kelly Ave near Hwy1 making 2 of the entrances and exits from town overly congested creating long backups on Hwy 1.

Also at a recent town hall meeting I attended, the City Manager stated up front the many challenges the City faces in trying to add housing to their recent purchase of Stone Pine such as the commercial loan to buy the property does not allow residential housing and may not be abled to be modified. Secondly, the 2 old dams up upstream make this area a potential flood zone making getting flood insurance very difficult if not impossible for the special financing needed.

Hopefully the City can quickly resolve these issues before they spend too much money and years of time chasing something that can't be built or isn't economically feasible. Otherwise we may find ourselves repeating the mistakes of the Main St Bridge where almost $1 million was spent on studies and 7 years of time to find out it is just too expensive.

If the goal is to create more farm labor housing, why not expand Moonridge, which was built for just that purpose, and put these mobile homes on the various farms where people live now. This has to be a cheaper faster solution.

Tyler Durden

The site is not zoned for residential housing I believe. There are nontrivial sensitive habitat issues on the site (CRLF and SFGS habitat). A change of zoning would seem to be required thus triggering the need for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and also the need for a zoning change in the City's Local Coastal Program that I would think would need to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. But hey I could be wrong about all this.

Nevertheless, the City Council wants to put housing where it was never envisioned by the City's General Plan. It should be no surprise that there is major push back against this idea. The cost to build the units will be very high and they will only benefit a select few.

John Charles Ullom

Traffic and pedestrian infrastructure collapse: Probably not. And inevitable as the city was and is going to build infrastructure and a base for operations. No more likely than the Main Street Bridge collapsing.

Public safety: No more impact than the rehab of Carter Park. Not a very big project.

Ethics and morality: Wow! Really? The nationality of those involved means nothing. What is suspicious about a mushroom farm on American Soil? Nothing illegal about it. Nothing wrong with being a Chinese investor in America. The government is not appeasing Farmers. At least not on this one. The reason the housing is even needed is because folks who have housing refuse to allow housing for those who don't. The decades long effort to prevent construction of housing, by those who already have housing, is un-American. The artificial shortage that has resulted is un-American. The soft core bigotry is un-American.

Environmental hazards: Oh come on. Have you seen what is going on along the creek? It's already a Hooverville. Some of the men living along the creek are farm workers. Geotechnical conditions? What Geotechnical conditions?

Pilarcitos dam: Seriously? You are worried about a Johnstown Flood situation? Hmmm. Can't argue with that kind of logic.

Tsunami: There it is. The Big Wave Theory. A bit recycled. It's the same argument for exclusion made against The Big Wave Project. I find it sweet how people who don't want low income housing in their neighborhood are mostly motivated by their fear a big wave is going to come within 100 ft of "those" poor people.

Not to worry. There is a man, who was and might be President who has your back:


I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!

Tyler Durden

The Big Wave Project: The project was originally pitched in 2005! The delays and legitimate environmental opposition to the project actually did the developer a huge favor.

The world has changed. The Big wave business model of coupling housing with commercial office space is obsolete. The demand for commercial office space is never coming back to the point where it could sustain the business model. It would have been a financial millstone around the developer's neck.

John Charles Ullom

I am sure the people Big Wave is meant to serve appreciate your concern.

You might be right. Peck has promised the Wellness Center will be occupied by last fall. Now he is using kids with a promise to go vertical this year.

Looks like the kids who are being used will be disappointed.

Cid Young


Sadly, I think they are out of money. They promised to break ground on the Wellness Center first, but suddenly decided it would be more prudent to build one of the 8 Unit Commercial Condo Buildings first. But all they have done, so far, is extend sewer and water to the site. They would have so much more community support had they been honest in the first place. But, "It's for the kids" did not fly with the Coastal Commission the first time around, and that was in what ... 2012? Here we are a decade later and still "Nuttin' Honey".

John Charles Ullom

Cid. I am afraid you are right. They pulled the video where they were using kids to give the impression Big Wave was going vertical this year. They are using a contractor with direct ties to the organization. They are begging for more money.

Looking more like a scam everyday. Honesty would serve them well. Promising hope challenged families while collecting money and labor from them.

The scam worked until they got the permits. Three years ago they promised the Wellness center would be occupied in 14 months. Then they blamed the delay on Covid. Now, they ain't saying why.

Giving vulnerable people false hope is incredibly cruel.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories