On April 15, we celebrated a victory for the coast when the California Coastal Commission certified the Half Moon Bay Land Use Plan Update as submitted by the City of Half Moon Bay. With their unanimous vote, the Commissioners listened to our voice – and those of the 926 people who responded to our call to action – rebuffing a last-ditch effort by developers for amendments to the Plan that would have facilitated a proposed 212-unit luxury hotel/conference center and 171-space RV park at Dunes Beach.
Dunes Beach Protections Prevail
The newly certified Land Use Plan has stronger protections for prime agricultural lands, environmentally sensitive habitat areas, and scenic views throughout the city which we advocated for throughout the process. Large open space and farm fields west of Highway 1 are planned to be maintained in these uses, and new coastal hazard policies will ensure that the city’s beaches and coastal bluffs are resilient in the face of sea level rise.
At Dunes Beach, an open space area beloved by coastsiders and visitors alike, the Land Use Plan allows agriculture, agricultural compatible, and residential uses; the latter is unlikely due to extraordinary costs of providing roads, water, sewer and other utilities. Most new residential and commercial development will be directed to a new “town center” that includes the historic downtown area inland of Highway 1 and south of Highway 92.
Next Steps for the Land Use Plan and Dunes Beach
Half Moon Bay is now beginning the second phase of the city’s Local Coastal Program Update, which will include revisions to the city’s Zoning Regulations and other implementing ordinances. While there is always a possibility that the Dunes Beach developers may pursue amending the Land Use Plan to enable them to build their massive project, the city does not have to approve these amendments. We are confident that the City Council members have been listening to the public, even though they are procedurally prohibited from signaling support or opposition, as the project has not yet been agendized for their consideration.
We are Staying the Course: Our Commitment to Protecting Dunes Beach is Stronger than Ever!
We continue to urge the developers to work with the Coastside Land Trust and other organizations and agencies to permanently protect this iconic site for farming and equestrian uses. And we’ll continue to speak up for Dunes Beach and all the other important open spaces in Half Moon Bay as well.