Group declares intent to file suit vs. tunnel

Half Moon Bay Review, April 16, 1997

By Eric Rice

Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday afternoon in San Mateo County Superior Court seeking to block a tunnel from being built to repair Highway 1 at Devil's Slide.

Half Moon Bay resident Oscar Braun and Coastal Family Alliance, a small group of property rights residents which he founded, filed the lawsuits seeking declaratory relief against the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and a writ of mandamus against the California Coastal Commmission. The suits aim to overturn Measure T, the ballot initiative that passed by a nearly 3-1 margin in November. In January the Coastal Commission and Board of Supervisors adopted findings that a tunnel is in conformance with the Coastal Act.

(The full text of the lawsuit can be found online as of Thursday at Braun's diving Web site, Oscar Knows.

Previously, when told Braun intended to file a suit, staff members with the Coastal Commission and California Department of Transportation said they believe he has missed a 60-day window to file his suit. Braun said Tuesday he believes he has until this Friday to file.

Braun asserts the tunnel would illegally restrict public access to the coast because it would not provide enough access to McNee Ranch State Park, thereby not maximizing coastal access, a goal of the Coastal Act. He also believes Measure T violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Coastal Commission staff has asserted that the tunnel is the preferred alternative to permanently repair Devil's Slide because it has fewer environmental impacts than the inland Martini Creek Bypass. The bypass was dropped from consideration by county officials and CalTrans following last November's nearly 3-1 vote in favor of Measure T, which mandates either a tunnel or permanent repair of the existing road for Devil's Slide.

The Coastal Family Alliance is being represented in the suit by the law firm of Newton, Kastner & Remmel, Braun said.

Half Moon Bay Review