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Political pressure mounting for Half Moon Bay to build housing for retired farmworkers

Half Moon Bay facing pressure to approve low-income housing for senior farmworkers
Half Moon Bay facing pressure to approve low-income housing for senior farmworkers 03:24

The project to build a 40-unit housing complex for retired farm workers in Half Moon Bay has become a source of frustration for neighbors like Jeanette Chang.

"I feel like we don't have a voice. We go to these meetings, and it's just a rubber stamp.  The urgency and the need for it, I agree.  But how they're going about it is not right," Chang said. 

Disagreements over the size of the project and parking have caused delays and a postponement of a vote to approve the project by the city's planning commission.

"I need to spend a little more time, thinking through this," said Commissioner Rick Hernandez at a recent public hearing. 

But now, the political pressure on Half Moon Bay to act just got worse.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement saying, "Last year, a deadly shooting brought to light the squalid living conditions of farmworkers in Half Moon Bay. Rather than do the right thing and approve badly needed housing for the workers who feed us, a 40-unit complex for low-income seniors is being stalled by local officials."

Newsom added that the state could take legal steps to hold the city accountable if the project does not move forward.

"We've all seen the conditions that farmworkers are living in. I've worked to secure $3.2 million from the state along with Assemblymember Mark Berman," said State Senator Josh Becker. "And we need the housing built, so I hope the community can come together and find a project that everyone can agree on."

Pierre Beatty also lives near the proposed site in Half Moon Bay and said this project is one of many that have faced delays.

"There has always been a problem with getting stuff done in this town, money, politics, materials, people, whatever," Beatty said. 

"Some of the locals are worried about parking and traffic and noise, but you get that everywhere. I don't think it's a problem."

The city's planning commission will once again take up the housing issue at a meeting on Tuesday night.

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