PRESS RELEASE. Montara Water and Sewer District’s (MWSD) General Manager, Clemens Heldmaier, Demands CalTrans Clear Fire Hazards From Martini ByPass Right of Way (ROW) to Protect Watershed.
Montara Water & Sanitary District
Serving the Communities of Montara and Moss Beach
P.O. Box 370131 Tel: (650) 728-3545 8888 Cabrillo Highway Fax: (650) 728-8556 Montara, CA 94037-0131 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit Our Web Site: http://www.mwsd.montara.com
July 16, 2021
Mark L. Weaver
Deputy District Director
Acting District Director
California Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 23660
Oakland, CA 94623
On behalf of the residents of Montara and Moss Beach, as well as other adjacent property owners in San Mateo County, we feel compelled to bring to your attention a matter of great concern; the untended, hazardous conditions on Caltrans property within Montara, California. Reports of hazards on this property through illegal activities have increased and not only pose physical risks, but have been and continue to be a financial burden to this community.
Caltrans owns the Montara Bypass Lands, locally known as the Caltrans Right of Way (ROW), in Montara, CA. These lands have been left vacant and untended for decades under Caltrans’ ownership. The Bypass lands parcel is primarily forested sections consisting mainly of Eucalyptus trees, shrubs and heavy undergrowth. Some sections contain untended, unofficial trails that are used by locals and tourists. Other sections allow and even invite illegal dumping. Montara Water and Sanitary District (MWSD), the sole local public jurisdiction in Montara and Moss Beach, has frequently cleaned this parcel at our community’s expense. This work has been undertaken to avoid a catastrophic fire within the critical local watershed which supplies all of our community’s water.
The numerous condemned premises on the property are decaying, used as drug dens, and harbor other illegal and dangerous activities. Some of the premises remain illegally connected to the MWSD water system without proper safety features, posing a substantial health and safety risk to our public water supply.
PG&E powerlines are located within the parcel in an area of unmanaged and highly flammable fuel materials. Powerlines connected to the decaying structures are partially damaged and can ignite an inferno at any time.
Caltrans has not taken any action. MWSD is aware that the local Fire Department has raised concerns to Caltrans without Caltrans taking the responsibility that any local property owner must take. The local community is taking all the risk. The existence of this entire community is at risk due to Caltrans irresponsibility.
MWSD has repeatedly communicated to Caltrans our interest in acquiring these lands to benefit the local community. Given MWSD’s known interest in acquiring the ROW, we have received a high number of complaints about the imminent dangers on the parcel, particularly the high fire risk.
To support our community, MWSD asked the State’s largest tree maintenance company to provide a cost estimate to reduce the most imminent vegetation fire danger on the property. That quote is $800,000 and does not include tree removal or long-term fire strategies. This significant cost represents simply what must be done IMMEDIATELY as of July 2021 to address this significant fire risk.
Montara Water and Sanitary District is a critical community and county asset, providing domestic water and fire protection to approximately 1,800 connections in our small, isolated Coastside communities. We are a locally elected body charged with representing and taking action for our community members. We are prepared to continue the critical stewardship of our local lands, including safeguarding the watersheds that protect our local water resources for our community, now and in the future.
We ask that Caltrans address this hazardous situation immediately or initiate immediate discussions with MWSD on a collaborative solution that addresses both hazards and property ownership. Otherwise this community will hold Caltrans liable for past current and future damages and risks to our livelihood.
We look forward to your response to this urgent issue.
President Scott Boyd
On behalf of the Montara Water and Sanitary District Board of Directors
Director Peter Dekker
Director Jim Harvey
Director Ric Lohman
Director Kathryn Slater-Carter
cc: Via electronic transmission
CA State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin
CA State Senator Josh Becker
County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors:
President David J. Canepa
Vice President Dennis Horsley
Supervisor Dave Pine
Supervisor Carole Groom
Supervisor Warren Slocum
Lennie Roberts, Committee for Green Foothills
Steve Monowitz, San Mateo County Planning
Jeannine Manna, California Coastal Commission
Marthy Poyatos, San Mateo Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) Midcoast Community Council.
Montara Water and Sanitary District (MWSD) Meetings ~ 1st & 3rd Thursdays @ 7:30pm
Watch remotely. Comments and questions by email.
If you experience technical difficulties or have technical questions prior to or during the meeting, please contact MWSD’s IT support at (650) 728-7843.
Regular meetings are 7:30pm on the first and third Thursday of each month. They used to held at the District office at 8888 Cabrillo Hwy, next to Pt Montara Lighthouse and Hostel.
To receive agendas by email, send a request to email@example.com
In addition to email, we post agendas before each board meeting:
- On the District website here
- Montara post office
- Moss Beach post office
- the bulletin board in front of the MWSD office
Who is on the Board of Directors?
|Kathryn Slater-Carter — President||Term 2016-2020|
|Jim Harvey — President Pro Tem||Term 2018-2022|
|Ric Lohman — Secretary||Term 2018-2022|
|Peter Dekker — Treasurer||Term 2019-2020|
|Scott Boyd — Director||Term 2016-2020|
Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside (SAM) – MWSD is a member of SAM, the agency that collects and cleans our Coastside community’s wastewater before it enters the ocean. SAM meets monthly on the 4th Monday at 7:30pm. Jim Harvey and Scott Boyd presently serve as SAM board members.
Recology of the Coast – MWSD has contracted with Recology of the Coast for trash pickup, recycling, and waste hauling.
Visit County Solid Waste Department for more information about recycling, composting, etc.
In an Emergency
Water Emergencies: Call MWSD at (650) 728-3545
Sewer Emergencies: Call SAM at (650) 726-0124
For emergencies that affect life, health or safety: Dial 911
- 8888 Cabrillo Hwy
Montara, California 94037
- Office Hours:
8:30AM to 5PM Mon-Fri
- (650) 728-3545
Note: Public participation is not permitted during closed session discussion items.