FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
California Coastal Commission Sued by Coastal Families of Individuals with Special Needs
Big Wave, LLC and the Big Wave Group File Legal Actions Against the California Coastal Commission
SAN MATEO, CA – OCTOBER 4, 2012 –A local non-profit, the Big Wave Group and Big Wave, LLC, and Devon Yoshimine filed complaints against the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”) today. Both suits are related to the Coastal Commission’s decision to revoke the Coastal Development Permit issued by the County of San Mateo to create the Big Wave Project – a privately funded project designed around the needs of adults with special needs.
“Our organization is dedicated to providing housing and work opportunities, in a sheltered environment, for developmentally disabled adults,” said founder, Jeff Peck. “Typically, as parents of these adults age and become unable to care for them, the developmentally delayed become a burden to the public. By developing this program, with both housing and work opportunities, we create a system where they are able to give back to their community. After seven years of working tirelessly to vet the program through a grueling and thorough permit process, we’ve been forced to take legal action. It is our hope the courts will see the clear benefits of such a solution – and prevent this ongoing discrimination by the Coastal Commission.”
The complaints filed today include a Petition for Writ of Administrative Mandamus and for Declaratory Relief challenging the Coastal Commissions actions in San Mateo County Superior Court.
Additionally, Devon Yoshimine, as a representative of a Class consisting of developmentally disabled persons is filing complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by the California Coastal Commission for its denial of Big Wave’s Permit. The complaints allege that the CCC’s denial results in illegal discrimination against developmentally disabled persons as it denies them equal access to housing and employment. In response to a public records request the CCC could not identify any housing project it had approved for affordable housing for the developmentally disabled in its forty year history.
Big Wave Project
Big Wave is a privately funded innovative project to provide housing and work opportunities in a sheltered environment for persons with developmentally disabilities. These individuals require special services throughout their lives. All too often, however, this responsibility and public duty is left unfulfilled and these special needs citizens are left to cope on their own.
The Big Wave Project is two synergistic developments zoned for commercial use west of the Half Moon Bay Airport. A five-acre parcel on the southern portion of the property, the Wellness Center, will provide 57 condominium units exclusively for the developmentally disabled.
Big Wave has been thoroughly vetted during a six-year permit process within San Mateo County, after an extensive review which generated a 5,000 page Final Environmental Impact Report. The Planning Commission approved the project and issued a Coastal Development Permit (CDP).
After opponents appealed, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors held additional hearings on the project and unanimously determined that the Planning Commission acted properly and sustained the CDP. During the appeal, the Supervisors commended the project for using private resources to address a public social responsibility and for addressing the need for commercial office space on the San Mateo coast. The writ of mandamus filed today contends that the Coastal Commission acted illegally in revoking the CDP granted by the County of San Mateo and in so doing violated The California Coastal Act.
About the Big Wave Project
Founded in 2000 by Steve and Jamie Barber and Jeff and Valerie Peck, the Big Wave Project will provide a place where individuals with developmental disabilities are able to reach their full potential while providing local coast-side businesses with the commercial space to thrive and grow. Big Wave Group is a non-profit group, led by a Board of Directors chosen from a cross section of community leaders. For more information, please visit www.bigwaveproject.org or call 415-999-0145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.