Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



October 31, 2003


November 18, 2003


Honorable Board of Supervisors


Neil R. Cullen, Director of Public Works


County Initiated Road Reconstruction Projects in the MidCoast - Montara, Moss Beach, and Miramar Areas



Adopt a resolution authorizing the Director of Public Works to:



determine if property owners on four roads (three project areas) wish to have the roads improved to the minimum standards as adopted in the MidCoast Community Plan (Community Plan);



finance the construction of minimum improvements with a combination of Road Funds and Roadway Mitigation Fees provided that the reconstruction of encroachments in the public rights-of-ways such as driveway and walkway conforms, will not be constructed as part of the project but will be the property owner's responsibility to finance and construct.


Previous Board Action


Adopted an amendment to the Community Plan that specifies minimum road standards for the reconstruction of roads in the various areas of the MidCoast.



Established a policy that describes the road and drainage improvements to be financed by the County and the property owner.



Authorized the levying of mitigation fees on new development and the use of the mitigation fees to finance road and drainage improvements in the various areas where mitigation fees are collected, including the MidCoast.


Key Facts


Road reconstruction projects in the past have been financed in part with property owner assessments in conformance with your Board's policies.



However, the provision of the Constitutional Amendment (Proposition 218) and subsequent State legislation effectively precludes the formation of an assessment district to finance the property owners' share of improvement costs.



The Community Plan allows County initiated projects to move forward if they meet the standards of, or to a standard as may be modified in keeping with, the policies of the Community Plan.



We are recommending that we initiate three projects in the MidCoast to determine if property owners are supportive of having improvements constructed on their streets, with the provision that they would be responsible for financing and making arrangement for reconstructing or constructing driveway or walkway conforms or other improvements which are encroachments in the public right-of-way.



We have reviewed this proposal with the MidCoast Community Council and they support the initiation of projects that provide for a sequential improvement of access into the MidCoast areas, or which are considered visitor serving in keeping with the Local Coastal Plan.



The MidCoast Council selected the project areas that we are recommending be evaluated.



Members of the MidCoast Council's Public Works Subcommittee and the Department have been investigating ways to improve the roads and drainage in the MidCoast since the changes in the State Constitution and associated State statutes have essentially precluded the use of assessment districts to finance these types of improvements.


The Department had previously identified roads that it believed should be at least resurfaced to improve access to the sub-areas of the MidCoast. However, we were concerned that resurfacing substandard roads may not be in keeping with the standards adopted in the Community Plan.


We confirmed with County Counsel that the Community Plan policies allow County initiated projects to be constructed if they meet the Community Plan standards, or a standard as may be modified in keeping with the policies of the Community Plan. However, financing was still an issue.


We discussed alternative financing at a recent regular meeting of the MidCoast Council, and the Council agreed that using mitigation fees to finance minimum drainage improvements and requiring property owners to pay for relocating encroachments was an acceptable alternate method to finance improvements, and should be implemented. The Council also reviewed the list of projects that we had previously submitted and recommended that we survey the property owners on the following streets and move forward with construction if there is property owner support:



Kanoff Avenue from Le Conte to Acacia, together with Fourth Street from Le Conte to Main Street.



Mirada Road - Medio Avenue to Magellan Avenue



Cypress Avenue - Highway 1 to Airport Street.


Attached is a map indicating the roads as recommended by the MidCoast Council and a typical section of the minimum standard from the Community Plan. We will survey the owners of property adjacent to the streets as described above to determine the property owners' interest in the proposed projects; and will report the results of these surveys to your Board.


The sequencing of design and construction will depend on the response from the property owners as well as street dependent issues. As an example, we will need to contact the providers of sewer and water to determine if they propose facility upgrades in these roads in the near future, we will need to discuss improvements with the City of Half Moon Bay on Mirada Road as one-half of the road right-of-way is within the City, and we will not know if there are Local Coastal Plan or environmental issues until we begin those permitting processes.


Other Issues

Considering the reconstruction of streets that provide access into the sub areas of the MidCoast without property owner assessments is a departure from our previous practice of only evaluating reconstruction projects that were initiated through a property owner petition process. We believe that this is a prudent course of action supported by the MidCoast Council given the expense and risk of initiating and processing assessment districts.


Our recommendation does not preclude your Board from considering an assessment district if that is the desire of the property owners. However, we would recommend that the property owners advance the funds necessary to bring an assessment district to an election. These funds would be lost if the assessment district fails. There is also a risk that the assessments, if approved, could be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction as the State Constitution provides that the burden of justifying assessments lies with the agency levying the assessment (i.e. the County).


Vision Alignment

We believe our recommendation is consistent with the Shared Commitment to "ensure basic health and safety for all" and Goal Number 7 "maintain and enhance the public safety of all residents and visitors," as the revised process of financing road improvements may result in the improved conditions of the roads' surface for the benefit of the residents and the general public that use these roads.


Fiscal Impact

The estimated cost of reconstructing the three roads to a 22-foot paved width with 3-foot valley gutters on each side is $1.2 Million based on past construction costs. The average cost to the property owners to reconstruct a typical driveway approach is between $1,500 and $3,000 depending on the width and surfacing of the driveway (i.e. asphalt, concrete or rock). The road work is proposed to be financed with Road Funds, and the drainage work with Mitigation Funds collected in the MidCoast. Property owners' costs will be financed by the property owner. More detailed estimates of costs will be developed if your Board directs us to move forward with these projects after considering the results of the property owner surveys.


There is no impact to the General Fund.


A form of resolution has been approved by County Counsel.