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Posted on: April 19, 2021

City of Half Moon Bay Land Use Plan Certified by California Coastal Commission

Read the latest News Release regarding the Coastal Commissions certification of the City of Half Moon Bay's Local Coastal Land Use Plan.

On Thursday, April 15, 2021 the California Coastal Commission certified the City of Half Moon Bay’s updated Local Coastal Land Use Plan. This is a significant milestone, as this Land Use Plan is a comprehensive update and is expected to serve as the City’s land use policy foundation for at least the next two decades.  

Half Moon Bay’s first Land Use Plan was drafted in the early 1980s, was approved by the Coastal Commission in 1985, and has not changed significantly since 1993. This update has been a seven-year process, which included working directly with many local community members, visitors, a community advisory committee, a Planning Commission ad-hoc committee, and Coastal Commission staff. The Planning Commission held numerous study sessions on the draft Land Use Plan update over the past few years. The City Council adopted the Land Use Plan at a public hearing on October 20, 2020. 

Notably, the Coastal Commission certified the Land Use Plan as submitted, with no changes from what the City Council adopted in October. This adoption as submitted is a significant achievement for such a comprehensive update.

Half Moon Bay takes coastal stewardship seriously. The approval of the Local Coastal Land Use Plan by the Coastal Commission is a great step in our continued efforts to preserve and improve our rare and beautiful Coastside,” said Half Moon Bay Mayor Robert Brownstone. “Community involvement at every step was integral to the development of this Plan, and we are grateful to the many people throughout our community who participated. We’re very pleased to now have an approved blueprint for the future as we continue the critical work to protect our Coastside.”

In 1976, the California Coastal Act was established in part to protect coastal resources and maximize public access to the sea within the State-designated Coastal Zone. The City of Half Moon Bay is one of the few cities located entirely within the Coastal Zone, and as such, all of the City’s land use planning must be consistent with the California Coastal Act and is subject to review by the California Coastal Commission. In making their motions and certifying the Land Use Plan update, the Coastal Commission acknowledged the hard work, collaboration, and thoughtful process undertaken.

Coastal Commissioner and member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Carole Groom had the honor of bringing forward the motion to certify the Land Use Plan. In seconding the motion, Coastal Commissioner Dr. Caryl Hart reflected on the “…incredible collaboration, especially given the challenges that the community and the entire coast are facing with sea level rise.” Noting the remarkable character of Half Moon Bay and its coastal resources, and went on to say she is “…grateful to know that going forward we will see land use that makes sense there.

The comprehensive update honors the Coastal Act, supports local community priorities, and advances environmental preservation and enhancement. Coastal Act priority uses, including agriculture and coastal recreation, along with neighborhood integrity and the City’s beloved small-town character, are afforded support and protections within the updated Plan. A defined Town Center establishes a priority area for concentrating new development, while outside the Town Center, infill development and protection of coastal resources are supported. The plan also creates new opportunities for affordable housing and emphasizes support for the City’s small agriculture and equestrian operations. 


Half Moon Bay Vice Mayor Debbie Ruddock, who has been working toward Half the City’s Land Use Plan update for some two decades, noted that this lengthy, in-depth, and community-based process has provided a remarkable, first-rate document.  “Our precious coastal resources and this community deserve the best possible Local Coastal Land Use Plan,” she said. “After so many years of work toward this goal, we now have a long-range coastal planning document we can all be proud of. It’s a badge of honor for Half Moon Bay, for the Coastal Commission, for the people who live and work here, and for all who value and appreciate what our coastal community has to offer.” 

The adopted Half Moon Bay Local Coastal Land Use Plan is available on the City’s website

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