Coastside businesses brace for ADA lawsuits

The Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau and the city’s Downtown

Association are hosting a public roundtable discussion regarding a recent slew of allegations that area businesses are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. today at Mac Dutra Park in Half Moon Bay.

ADA lawsuits can result in fines up to $75,000 for the first violation and $150,000 for additional violations, but costs can rise even more when plaintiffs win and request their legal fees to be covered by the defendant.

A statement from the chamber said that it received a call from a local business that warned that ADA lawsuits could be hitting Half Moon Bay. The chamber requested that anyone who has experience with ADA lawsuits, received a lawsuit notice, or are professionals with expertise in this area join the meeting.

— August Howell

County to host South Coast climate meeting

A meeting to discuss the effects of sea level rise on the South Coast, hosted by San Mateo County’s Office of Sustainability, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight, July 14.

The discussion will center on a sea level rise vulnerability assessment that the county conducted on the Coastside and Bayside, and is currently expanding to the South Coast with the help of the San Mateo Resource Conservation District. The assessment would map the sea level rise risk and potential effects, including flooding and erosion, to develop a cost-benefit analysis of inaction to planning for sea level rise.

More information about the meeting and study is available at

— Sarah Wright

Coroner confirms April drowning

The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office confirmed last week that Tessie Milenewicz, who was reported dead at San Pedro Creek in early April, died of drowning.

The death of Milenewicz, 47, was first reported to the Pacifica Police Department around 10:20 a.m. on April 4 when a passerby found her body in San Pedro Creek underneath the Highway 1 overpass.

A Coroner’s Office report states that Milenewicz was found in the creek and that authorities had determined that the death was an accident.

— August Howell

State funds Cloverdale Ranch purchase

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will purchase and preserve Cloverdale Ranch in southern San Mateo County after the state approved $8 million for the property as part of its $262.6 billion budget passed last week.

The property, over 6,200 acres of undeveloped land, stretches south from Pescadero to the county line and is home to the endangered San Francisco garter snake. The funding will allow Midpen to establish a preserve and provide public access to the property in the future.

— from staff reports

County updates ADU regulations

New rules for accessory dwelling units in the unincorporated coastal zone are now in place after the California Coastal Commission approved the changes last week. Planners hope the moves result in “infilling” existing housing with minimal strain on coastal resources.

The changes include eliminating short-term rentals by instituting a 30-day minimum stay, removing the 5,000-square-foot minimum lot size for an ADU and creating specific standards for setbacks, height, size and parking, among other regulations. The most significant change requires ADU owners to provide off-street parking in certain areas of the unincorporated coastal zone where maintaining adequate street parking for beach visitors is a priority.

According to the staff report, the new parking rules affect just 8 percent of the county’s coast.

— from staff reports

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