Mirada Surf History

This property was used for cattle grazing until converted into dry-land agricultural use (hay, red oats, and root crops) as early as 1861. The present day east and west Granada parcels came into being in 1906 with the Burnham Plan for the town site of Granada. The Burnham Plan of 1906 shows the east Granada parcel as a single purpose parcel that was a railroad serving South Granada freight station and train yards. On the 1910 town-plan-as-built, this area is labeled "50 acres reserved for a car shop and power house." Today, El Granada Elementary School occupies the site of the South Granada freight station and the remainder of the property occupies the site of the then proposed round house, train yards and power plant.

Mirada Surf West and East were split by the development of the Ocean Shore Railroad in 1908, of which the prior railroad alignment runs along the Mirada Surf West property. The properties were later split again in 1949 by the development of Highway 1. The name Mirada comes from Mirada Road, which ran along the El Granada Beach bluffs until the late 1960s when, because of rapid shoreline erosion, it fell into the ocean. Segments of Mirada Road can be seen in the surf at low tide.

In 1978, the Mid-Coast Community Plan approved by the County Board of Supervisors designated this site as a community park in the General Plan.

In 1990 a development proposal involving 86 homes was proposed for the east parcel. A two-story, 104-unit motel with restaurant, shops, museum, art galleries, tennis court, pool and parking for 250 cars was proposed for the west parcel. Fourteen houses were proposed for the eastern “hammerhead” parcel but those plans were immediately withdrawn. Mirada Surf was the developer's name for the east and west Granada parcels. On March 13, 1991, the Half Moon Bay Review editorialized, "Mirada Surf would be the development equivalent of a tsunami. It would turn one of the coast sides most scenic and accessible open-space corridors into one of the most densely developed."

In September of 1991, the developer proposed Mirada Beach Park. The west parcel would have 195 RV camp sites, 25 tent sites, a restaurant, a fast food kiosk, a convenience store and parking lot. The east parcel would have 68 RV sites, a golf driving range and a parking lot. The concept plans were subsequently withdrawn at the Planning Commission level.

In 1997 a residential subdivision was proposed for 18 acres of the east side parcel to develop 35 single family parcels. The west side parcel and hillside “hammerhead” parcel were proposed as permanent open space. Since any development proposal would require rezoning and changes to both the General Plan and Local Coastal Program designations, there was no guarantee that the owners would succeed in their plans. The owners also announced they would bring an inverse condemnation suit against the County - on the grounds that for 24 years the land had been designated as a park, and the owners had been deprived of the use of their land, since the County had failed to purchase it. Either way, it was clear that a long and difficult battle would lie ahead, and once the battle began; there would be little incentive to find middle ground. In 2001 the County subsequently acquired the Mirada Surf East property and in 2002 acquired the Mirada Surf West property through a combination of a California Coastal Conservancy grant and funds raised through the San Mateo County Parks Foundation.

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