Update 5/8 8:03 a.m.: San Mateo County Parks Superintendent Scott Lombardi tells Half Moon Bay Patch that the logs at Redondo Beach Road will be removed today.
Update 12:38 p.m.: Assistant County Manager David Holland told Half Moon Bay Patch that the logs at Redondo Beach Road will be removed on May 8 or 9.
In the wake of a four-wheel drive off-roading incident on March 18 and 19 at Wavecrest — which resulted in the disruption of protected land in south Half Moon Bay — San Mateo County Parks placed logs at three locations on Redondo Beach Road to block further access to the area.
Yet one Half Moon Bay resident is publicly disputing the legality of the action, saying that the logs should only have been placed with a Coastal Development Permit in hand first.
According to Parks Superintendent Scott Lombardi, his agency placed the logs on March 27.
“After the off-roading incident took place, Jo Chamberlain at the called me to see if we could block access with logs,” Assistant San Mateo County Manager David Holland said, who in turn contacted the county’s parks department.
That action was taken as an emergency measure to prevent further damage being done by additional off-road vehicles in an environmentally sensitive habitat home to frogs, the , and endangered plants, said Holland.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer money,” says Redondo Beach Road resident , who filed a complaint with the for the action on April 6. Muteff says that because the logs were set in place without a Coastal Development Permit, the action violated the California Coastal Act.
“These are people who pay no taxes, yet they use our money to protect their assets,” Muteff said.
The Half Moon Bay resident says he is referring to the Half Moon Bay-based Coastside Land Trust and Palo Alto's — two groups that own portions of Wavecrest in the vicinity of the off-roading incident, along with hundreds of individuals who own 25 ft. by 100 ft. plots of land.
Both groups say they were not involved in laying down the logs. POST spokesperson Nina Nowak declined to comment any further about the matter.
Muteff disputes both groups, saying that he witnessed representatives from POST and CLT inspecting the damage at the location of the off-roading incident in March.
Chamberlain says that she did not know whether the logs were placed after calling Holland. According to her, no one at the county contacted her about whether the request was implemented.
Sending Coastside Land Trust staff out to the scene of the incident was to protect the organization’s property, she said.
“It would be irresponsible for CLT and POST not to follow up on our own property and not to immediately follow up on a report of habitat damage,“ she said.
Holland says the placement of the logs was not illegal.
“In an emergency situation, we can put some structures in to prevent additional damages — as long as we remove them after 45 days or get a Coastal Development Permit after the fact,” he said.
The logs will likely be removed today or tomorrow, Holland said.
With a penalty of just $30 for vehicles running off-road illegally, additional incidents are sure to take place at Wavecrest each rainy season unless a long-term solution is implemented, Holland said.
Last year, the county also blocked access from vehicles by placing logs down at Wavecrest in February 2011 after another off-roading incident took place.
“The only long-term answer is to run a fence all the way down Redondo Beach Road,” Holland said.
Chamberlain said that her organization is focusing on how much it will cost to repair the damage done to the land by the off-roaders.
“We can’t do it now because the California red-legged frog and the tree frog have laid their eggs,” she said.
City officials did not respond to a request for comment on the incident.
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