Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Beechwood threatens the Coastal Commission.

Half Moon Bay is looking to a settlement with Yamagiwa in its 15 year dispute with Keenan over wetlands. Keenan developed the Whole Food's site in Palo Alto and knows how to do good infill development.

However the Beechwood settlement is flawed and threatens to runaround the Coastal Commission. A pro development majority on the Half Moon Bay City Council has embraced the flawed Yamagiwa decision and dragged their feet on the appeal.

Either way there were upsides to an appeal. The threatened bankruptcy would have benefited the coast and residents by reverting authority to the county. And appellate courts reduce judgments anyway. But the council sees an opportunity to bypass the Coastal Commission and under cover of the judgement give away large tracts for development.

The Coastal Commission while allowing some development has been the strongest landuse authority in the state protecting peoples health. In San Mateo the evidence is clear to see with miles of beautiful coastline, low pollution and clean air. This has also made the San Mateo coast the desired second home destination of wealthy people which has raised the stakes between large scale sprawl and coastal preservation. Weakening the coastal commission will improve sprawl's profitability with AB1991 at the expense of existing agricultural practices

Come on what’s not there to like here. The view of brussel sprouts and the smell of sea breezes? Or stop and go traffic, carbon monoxide and killer roads?

Agricultural land prices has continued to suffer as state subsidies for roads and infrastructure favor toxicity and imports at the expense of farmers. By not valuing environmental services from farmers such as carbon sequestration, wetland filtration, soil preservation, etc. the state forces landuse turnovers.

Created by ballot initiative to protect the coast and resident’s health the Coastal Commission is now seeing its authority eroded by two Sierra Club supported legislators. Both Leland Yee and Gene Mullins are rushing to support the Half Moon Bay city council in their misguided effort to rescue the city and the development deal. The council sees itself as the preserver of toxic development to erode our food basket. Steadier heads need to prevail. If for no other reason than that AB32 requires us to re-imagine how we use energy and build cities. Don’t rush AB 1991 through. The city should make the settlement work without AB 1991.

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