Supes set to approve coastal plan


By Chris Cooney

Bay City News Service

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved one step closer to resubmitting the county's Midcoast Local Coastal Program Update to the California Coastal Commission.

The document, which began development through a series of community scoping meetings more than 10 years ago, will update county ordinances regulating land use, water rights and zoning designations in the unincorporated Midcoast communities of El Granada, Miramar, Moss Beach, Montara and Princeton-by-the-Sea, said Steve Monowitz, interim deputy director of planning.

A prior version of the document was approved by the board and sent to the Coastal Commission in 2006. It was denied certification in December 2009, Monowitz said.

The Coastal Commission sent the document back to the board with 72 suggested modifications to be incorporated before the agency would reconsider certifying the document, which contains more than 100 pages of revisions to 15 ordinances.

The board has until June 10 to resubmit a revised program update, Monowitz said.

At a meeting on Nov. 30, 2010, the board held a public hearing on a newer version of the update, which was reviewed again Tuesday.

"I think it's a really important document," Supervisor Don Horsley said. "I think it's important for the future of coast."

More than a half-dozen speakers showed up at Tuesday's meeting to speak on the issue of private wells, which the Coastal Commission suggested prohibiting in the Midcoast area until the county was able to develop a groundwater management plan, which could take up to five years.

Private well hookups are necessary to develop properties that are not able to connect with municipal water supplies, and prohibiting private wells could create an unintended moratorium on coastside development within the Midcoast area, Monowitz said.

Montara Water and Sanitary District board member Paul Perkovic said the water district, which serves approximately 1,750 customers in Montara and Moss Beach, is available to establish water supply connections to new customers for the first time in 30 years.

Perkovic said the water district believes that conservation efforts and infrastructure improvements have increased the agency's water supply.

The revised program update reflected the change in water sources for development, Monowitz said, satisfying the Coastal Commission's suggestion to restrict private wells while preserving landowners' opportunities for development.

"Hopefully our plan reflects the community's desires," Monowitz said.

The board voted to review final changes to the document -- including zoning recommendations along the state Highway 1 bypass north of Montara and growth limits on new development -- before adopting the document at a May 24 meeting and resubmitting it to the Coastal Commission.

Supervisor Adrienne Tissier lauded the community and the planning department staff for their efforts over the years and expressed hope that the final document will be certified by the Coastal Commission.

"I think what you've done, I'm comfortable with," Tissier said. "I just want to be sure that when it goes there, it gets accepted," she said.

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