Denial of  Water Rights, Fire Protection, Use & Enjoyment of SOB's Moon Acres Ranch

California Watershed Posse vs Anti-Community Alliance  ``An Historical Overview"

  • May 12, 1973: Letter from the Loma Prieta chapter of the Sierra Club and the Peninsula Regional Group to California Department of Public Works. ``Sierra Club believes it is unnecessary to urbanize the mid-coast side of the San Mateo County because county reports indicate that expanding population can easily be accommodated in already existing communities well provided with community services.  It is unnecessary to sacrifice a priceless scenic, esthetic regional, recreational resource to create a new community. ABAG has recommended, in its coastal plan, that growth on the mid-coast side be limited by limiting road access as well as the water and sewer systems.."

1986 Devil's Slide Hwy 1 Improvement Project:

Subject
: Letter April 2001 Regarding Federal Permits and Funding of Devil's Slide Hwy 1 Project

Dear Mr. Secretary Mineta, This letter is to update you on the Foundations efforts to secure Federal funding for the 1986 Devil's Slide Highway 1 Improvement Project.  In my letter of  January 4, 2001, I requested your immediate attention and assistance as Secretary of Transportation , by directing the FHWA to submit the 1986 Devil's Slide Highway 1 Second Supplemental EIS/EIR study just concluded to the  U.S. District Court (Judge D. Lowell Jensen) so the Court  could conclude the judicial review of the Devil's Slide Hwy 1 Improvement Project (Tunnel Alternative) SSEIS/EIR.  Litigation regarding the project was commenced in U.S. District Court  in the Northern District of California in June 1986 (Sierra Club, et al. v. United States Department of Transportation , et al, Civ. No. 86-3384-DLJ). The project has been enjoined since September 1986, prior to the commencement of any construction .  It is with great regret and frustration that I must inform you that Caltrans has violated the U.S. District Court injunction by building a Tunnel mitigation habitat breeding pond  in  the path of the current FHWA Record of Decision holder and partially funded 1986 SEIR/EIR Martini Creek alignment alternative. The Martini Creek alignment alternative did not put listed species at risk. There are a total of six other feasible and reasonable alternatives that fulfill the goals of this highway project and none which jeopardize listed species or destroy statutory delineated critical environmentally sensitive habitat areas.    The Devil's Slide Hwy 1 improvement project requires Federal permits and funding. Caltrans Tunnel construction mitigation actions have caused the loss of obtaining Federal permits or highway funding for the following reasons:

  • In 1986 a license agreement between the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST.. who's President Audry Rust was the former Sierra Club fund raising director) and the Department of Parks and Recreation was notarized and recorded on February 13, 1986 with the County of San Mateo Recorders Office ``with the objective of stream clearance within the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve." It was further recorded that  `` The Owners (California Department of Parks and Recreation) and POST agree to develop and Owners agrees to implement, a long-term maintenance program which maintains the project…" The implementation of this agreement for a long-term stream clearance and maintenance program has not been carried out.  The Butano Creek flood level in 1986 was a ``forty year flood" plain.  Because POST never implemented the stream clearance and maintenance , the Butano Creek in 2001 finally silted up to  a ``one year"  flood level. The Butano Creek over flows  and closes Pescadero Road an average 30 days a year in normal rainfall years and 60 plus days during El Nino years. The flooding of Pescadero Road blocks CDF emergency services from  the CDF sub station (3/4 mile from Pescadero ) located immediately west of the Butano Creek.Pescadero Road bridge. It is a 32 mile round trip to bypass the Butano Creek flooding of Pescadero Road. Fire and Emergency Services ¾ mile direct access to  Pescadero via Pescadero Road is block during the rainy season  and the community health and safety is at risk.
  • 1988 Lennie Roberts on behalf of the Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) files lawsuit against Don and Leatha Pretre and the County of San Mateo demanding that their new legally permitted constructed home be abated on the grounds that the County did not require a grading permit for an existing driveway.  The CGF lawsuit blocked the County from issuing  the Pretre family their new resident occupancy certificate for two years.  The family had to rent a house in town for those two years in addition to paying over a $100,000. in legal fees and court costs. Superior Court Judge John Bible characterized the CGF suite as ``extortion" and ruled in favor of the Pretre family.
  • 1989 Oscar and Richard Braun purchased two undeveloped RMCZ parcels (approximately 88 & 2 acres most easterly upland portion of the historic Johnston Ranch) over looking (but not adjoining) statutorily  delineated environmentally sensitive areas(ESA) and steel head streams Mill Creek and Arroyo Leon. The Braun's adjoining neighbors are Don and Leatha Pretre 40 acres, Albert Fernandez 10 acres, historic Johnston Ranch 860 acres and Burleigh Murry Ranch State Park 1250 acres.
  • 1991 Planning Commission grants Oscar and Richard Braun a Certificate of  Compliance, Lot Line Adjustment, Access Road and Driveway Grading Permit, Building site # 1a for Oscar Braun and #7 for Richard Braun and a Coastal Development Permit for Oscar Braun.  The Sierra Club, Committee for Green Foothills and California Department of Parks and Recreation  appealed the Braun's legalization and CDP on the grounds that `` As currently designed and sited, the Braun home will be highly visible to visitors to Burleigh Murry Ranch State Park, a unit of the California State Park System and will significantly intrude on the rural character of the unit."  The Board of Supervisors held five appellant hearings before denying their appeal.  The Braun's spent over $100,000 in legal and consulting fees fighting to retain their legally approved permits to build their home.
  • 1992 The owners of the Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving, without benefit of a CDP, move their heavy industrial road sealing & paving facility  across the road from Moon Acres ranch adjoining the southern riparian of Mill Creek and Arroyo Leon steel head creek.
  • September 10, 1992 Lennie Roberts of the Committee for Green Foothill ,State Department of Fish & Game and California Sports Fishing Protection Alliance filed a public protest petition with the Division of Water, Rights State Water Resources Control Board to deny the renewal of appropriation rights of the Arroyo Leon for farming 200 acres located on  the Johnston Ranch.  The public protest was based on  its contention that the  property owners use ( agricultural irrigation) of Arroyo Leon and Pilarcitos Creek, and other existing diversions, will have potential adverse, direct and cumulative impacts to steelhead trout population and their habitat, aquatic populations and their habitat, water quality and water quantity….In 2002, the new owners of the Johnston Ranch, POST, required the Giusti family to stop using the water from the Arroyo Leon for irrigation after 50 years of uninterrupted use.   The Johnston Ranch had used the waters of the Arroyo Leon since the Civil War and the steelhead showed not signs of cumulative adverse impacts.
  • 1993 Oscar Braun and neighbor/former mayor of Half Moon Bay Albert ``Kittie" Fernandez requested and were granted permission from San Mateo Farm Bureau and Growers Association to provide farm labor trailers  for their full time agricultural workers .  The Braun's  Moon Acres ranch full time farm laborer Bernie Neves mobile  home was provided water from two  existing wells for residential use, a certified sewage disposal drainage site and fire protection storage by an 8,000 water tank.   Also in 1993, Oscar Braun, acting on behalf  to the off-shore neighbor owners of the 850 historic Johnston Ranch filed a Notice of Violation against the tenants of the ranch for illegal dumping of thousands of yards/tons of fill material and garbage into the ESA, wetlands and Arroyo Leon Creek (Water of the U.S. Sec. 404 violation) and the operation of an unlicensed landfill. Oscar Braun testified in local court and facilitated the tenants eviction and a State Fish and Game order for remediation.
  • 1994 The County Coastside Water District (CCWD) was granted approval to connect to the SFPUC Crystal Springs Reservoirs. In San Mateo County, 99% of the residents receive their water from the Hetch Hetchy regional water system of which 91% is imported from the Sierra's with only 9% being provided by  local water resources. February 1994 the SFPUC conducted a certified survey of their Bay Area Water Users on What watershed management goals are most important to the public? ``The people surveyed placed water quality and environmental protection first. Asked to say which goal of watershed management they thought most important, 71% chose insuring water quality; 21% said protecting the natural environment; 5% reducing costs to the customers; 3% providing access for recreation and education.  CGF's Lennie Roberts and the Sierra Club launched their 1994 Coastside Protection Initiative  campaign to be enacted by the Board of Supervisors or submitted to the voters of San Mateo County.  Section 1. Purpose of This Measure states in part… ``Reduction of Government Expenditure.  To reduce costs to San Mateo County taxpayers of roads, law enforcement, fire protection, and other government services for scattered and remote development." Section 2 Findings declared what kind of Development Threats are impacting the coastal region: `` Pressures for extensive development on the Coastside are severe, especially with the proposed construction of increased water supplies, additional sewage treatment facilities, and larger highways. Coastside farmland, forests and open space are scarce resources. Water is in particular short supply; demand now exceeds the reliable flow in several watersheds."
  • 1995 In response to the 1994 Coastside Protection Initiative , Oscar and Andrea Braun joined coastal Rural Lands families and founded the Coastal Family & Property Rights Alliance in opposition to the legislative lobbying  efforts of the Sierra Club and CGF to deny government services such as safe and adequate  roads, water, sewage treatment facilities, sheriff and fire protection to the residents of the unincorporated coastal communities.  The Brauns  joined the Higgins Canyon Homeowners Association in May 1992. Oscar Braun co-founded the Half Moon Bay Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and implemented the internationally renown Blue Water Taskforce water testing program.  U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown personally  invited the Brauns' to found a 501c3 community based non-profit foundation in support of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and to become a member of the NOAA Water Quality Protection Program coalition committed to  protecting the marine and watershed areas of San Mateo County. The Brauns' chartered the Half Moon Bay Coastside Foundation aka Save Our Bay. The Foundation sponsors the California Watershed Posse, Coastside Fire Safe Council, Coastside Coordinated Resource Management and Planning Council (CRMP) and tenured member of the San Mateo County  Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program.  Oscar Braun also joined the United Anglers of California in 1995. In 1995, Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving partially collapsed the small wooden bridge across the Arroyo Leon creek and installed a railroad flatcar without benefit of EIR or CDP permits on this ESA steel head stream.      1995 Oscar Braun, on behalf of the HMB Heritage LLC (Johnson Ranch owners) accepts a  reconveyance  of the property.  Resource Conservation District Director and former tenant and Westinghouse employee Tom Procheco resumes his cattle grazing lease on the un-cultivated portions of the Johnson Ranch. Mr. Pacheco confided to Oscar Braun on the day of reconveyance that the Johnston Ranch had been used as a unlicensed landfill for over twenty years by Westinghouse and others locals including  himself. Tom Pacheco disclosed that approximately two hundred acres of wetlands that drain into the steel head stream Arroyo Leon have been used as a illegal landfill. There is a large clean and high quality water aquifer approximately 15 feet beneath the landfill area and lands adjoining the central portion of the City of Half Moon Bay.
  • February 14, 1996. The San Mateo Planning Commission after a year spent considering proposal to curb coastal development, angered the Committee for Green Foothill and the Sierra Club by deciding that many existing controls are already enough. ``The decision making is still only half complete, but after prodding through months of testimony on density credits, building heights and water development, the commission finally hunkered down, and environmentalists accused the commission of gutting their plan to save the coast." ``We are very concerned, said Lennie Robert of the Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) , an author of the Coastside Protection Initiative. The commission's decision to ignore the initiative's water-use controls leaves the plan toothless to protect against large scale coastal development, Roberts charged. ``If the Board of Supervisors follows, we will be very likely to go back to the voters," she added.. Oscar Braun, (Coastal Family Alliance) responded : ``The Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors and the state have created an impoverishment zone.  Our infrastructure is coming to a grinding halt on the coast and I am thrilled that the unneeded restrictions and property devaluation will be postponed.      February 18, 1996 the San Mateo County Planning Commission  adopted the CGF proposed New Septic Ordinance. Lennie Roberts stated that the Planning Staff and Director of the Department of Environmental Health, Brian Zamora had done a superb job in crafting the package of new restrictive ordinances on ``Individual On-Site Wastewater Treatment" Systems Mr. Zamora thanked Ms. Roberts for her guidance and support and went on to say the ``departments actions were not based on health and safety issues, the current septic ordinances  were not broken and had served us well for forty years." Under the current ordinance, the septic drain-fields could be  minimum of ten (10) feet from property lines. The new ordinance mandates  a minimum of fifty feet from property lines; effectively making it difficult , if not impossible to develop a sub two-acre parcels. Commissioner Vasquez added for the record, ``that these new restriction contained no planning issues either." Mr. Braun asked the obvious question: ``What is the basis for the down zoning of all small mid-coast parcels?" ``Fairness. It's a matter of fairness" said Commissioner Jon Silver. ``That's right. It's a matter of fairness" said Nadia Holber, the issue is fairness, not health and safety." ``Fairness is the reason",  affirmed Paul Koenig, County Director of Environmental Services.  February 23, 1996: Letter from Coastal Family Alliance to Brian Zamora re: Health Warning Posting and Notification Protocol  On March 26, 1996, Oscar Braun spoke before the State Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region and demanded that they assess the maximum fines and penalties against San Mateo County for their unlawful discharge pollution and for placing the publics health and safety at risk. The Regional Board assessed a $1,000 per day fine until such time the sewer plant was expanded. Alan Beaven was United Anglers, SOB Foundation's Clean Water Act legal counsel and co-founder of the California Watershed Posse.
     
  • April 1996: Board of Supervisor Ted Lempert (sp?) called Oscar Braun and left a voice message complaining  and demanding that we stop posting the SAM polluted water test samples results in the press. Mr. Lempert protested it was bad for tourism.
     
  • August 1996:  Oscar Braun as co-chair of the Half Moon Bay Surfriders Foundation and as a  member of the United Anglers of California supported the filing of a Clean Water Act law suit (Alan Beaven Esq.) against the Sewer Authority Mid-Coast (SAM) which forced expansion of the sewage plant ( SAM had been discharging raw sewage into the waters of the U.S. since reaching capacity in 1986). Local Loma Prieta Chapter Sierra Club President and Mayor of Half Moon Bay Debra Ruddock also chaired  the Sewer Authority Mid-Coast Board of Directors. Oscar Braun and John Plock co-founded HMB Surfriders Chapter refused to endorse the Sierra Club and CGF sponsored Measure-T initiative  because it proposed the placing of fill into the waters of the United States (Section 404 violation of the CWA) by filling San Pedro Creek, ESA and wetlands. Oscar Braun authored the first sewage pollution alert protocol ever used by the San Mateo County Health Department.    October 1996 The  narrow 10 foot wide privately owned wooden bridge crossing the Arroyo Leon providing access to the  Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving property partially collapses. It is replaced by the HMBS&P with a railroad flatcar without benefit of permits or EIR. November 1996 www.SaveOurBay.org goes live and launches the postings of their water testing results for all coastal San Mateo County recreational waters. The County of San Mateo did not test the coastal waters up to this point and the SOB Blue Water Task Force testing program literally forced the County to fund and begin  water testing.
  • 1997 In January of 1997, the County of San Mateo Health Department certifies  that the ``clean up" of 1993-94 Johnston Ranch landfill dumping violations have been completed regarding the 1993-94 Oscar Braun dumping NOV.    Oscar Braun and  Coastal Family Alliance filed a lawsuit against the County of San Mateo's adoption of Devil's Slide Tunnel Alternative to prevent violations of the Clean Water Act (Sec 404), Endangered Species Act and California Coastal Act. by the Sierra Club & CGF  proposed filling of San Pedro Creek, ESA's and wetlands at Devil's Slide Tunnel Shamrock Ranch location. August 1997 Towne Pacific Half Moon Bay LLC  ask Oscar Braun to assist in their real estate  due diligence review of the environmental resources/hazards and assess surface/subsurface water resources for the Johnston Ranch.  Braun does assist the due diligence team as well as introduces them to POST to discuss possible sale.  December 1997, San Mateo County  Resource Conservation District (RCD)  is granted $1.6 million dollars in funding from fines assessed against BFI for silt pond violations that degraded Pilarcitos Creek .  The RCD  signed a MOU with the California Department of Fish and Game and Regional Water Quality Control Board for providing the $1.6 million funding and regulatory oversight. The RCD's first two efforts are steel head stream restoration projects located on Mill Creek within the Bureigh Murray Ranch State Park and the Arroyo Leon Creek, site of the collapsed bridge at HMBS&P, that was now blocking steel head from getting up stream.   September 1997 City of Half Moon Bay agrees to provide the  $5,000 public education funding under the STOPPP for the SOB sponsored `` Clean Water for Bay and Communities" campaign.  The SOB Foundation had 20,000 copies of NOAA's authored ``Citizens Guide to Clean Water and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary" and the `` Incredible SOB Story" to be distributed throughout the San Mateo Coastside.
  • January 1998: Committee for Green Foothills introduces Wildlife Associates (located at Devil's Slide Shamrock Ranch for 17 years) to the Higgins Canyon Homeowners Association.  The Homeowners are told that the wild exotic  species breeding and exhibition center  will be relocating from Pacifica facility and be housed  near the steel head stream Arroyo Leon and environmentally sensitive areas containing federally listed endangered species. `` Detrimental Species" require special State & Federal permits because ``these exotic animals pose a treat to the natural environment, the agriculture of this state and the publics health and safety."  Lennie Roberts, Jack Olson of the Farm Bureau, and County Planning Dept. never disclosed to the Ag advisory committee, the Higgins Canyon Homeowners Association, or the  public that these animals are classified/certified by the state as ``Wild Detrimental Species".
  • February 9, 1998: On behalf of Save Our Bay, Oscar Braun filed Notices of Violations with the State Fish & Game, U.S. Fish & Game, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and SMC Code Enforcement.  The dumping of 100's of tons of slide and fill material directly into the steelhead streams of the Arroyo Leon and Mill Creek by SMC Public Works and State Park & Recreation employees is a clear violation of the CWA and ESA.
  • February 11, 1998: On behalf of the Coastal Family and Property Rights Alliance and the Higgins Canyon Homeowners Association, I faxed a letter to Bill Rozar, SMC Planning Review Manager and Gary Warren, SMC Code Enforcement Officer. The letter asked a series of questions regarding the legal status of the heavy industrial road/paving construction company Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving Inc operating in the Rural Lands residential area zoned PAD and a statutory delineated ESA.  Did the owners of HMBS&P have a CDP to operate their business at the Arroyo Leon ESA location etc?
  • February 27, 1998: Cynthia J. Giovannoni, owner of HMBS&P, writes the County and complains about a beautiful horse barn, arena and horses without a CDP.  The property also has a farm labor trailer without a use permit.  It is also Ms. Giovannoni belief that there is hazardous materials and other debris that has been buried on the Moon Acres ranch. Letter requests that the County ``investigate these allegations as soon as possible and issue a response to these code violations."
  • March 2, 1998: Response letter from Willian Rozar, Development Review Manager for the County of San Mateo regarding my fax of February 12, 1998 in which I listed several concerns regarding the Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving business facility at 1780 Higgins Canyon Road.  The letter states ``It is our understanding that your complaints consist of the following activity occurring on the property: (1) the property zoned for Planned Agricultural District (PAD) is being used as a commercial equipment yard, and (2) the owners of the property do not live on the property. You have inquired whether the owners have ever applied for permits to legalize the operation.  In response to you complaint, the Code Compliance Section conducted a site inspection of the property.  Below, I have address the relevant findings of the inspection in regard to each of you concerns."
  • March 4, 1998: Oscar Braun receives telephone call from Dirk Jensen and Gary Warren requesting access to Moon Acres Ranch to conduct Giovannoni complaint investigation .  The investigation was conducted on the same day that it was requested . Dirk Jensen report of 3/4/98 states ``"I didn't observe any violations. Since Mr. Braun operates an agricultural operation, he must file a hazardous material business plan with the County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. I didn't observe any signs of on-site disposal of hazardous material/waste.  Some solid waste debris had been placed in a drainage channel below repair shop.  I recommended that Mr. Braun remove debris and dispose of it at BFI Ox Mountain Landfill." I told both Dirk Jensen and Gary Warren that we  would apply for all the required development permits immediately from the County and requested to be assigned a Planner.
  • March 12, 1998: Letter from Gary Warren to Ms. Giovannoni confirming the receipt and initial processing of your complaint about a zoning violation at 1589 Higgins Canyon Road. ``It is my understanding that your complaint consists of the following activity occurring on the property: development on the property without the required (1) RM permits, (2) horses without a stable permit, and (3) farm Labor housing without a use permit. I have conducted a preliminary investigation and inspection of the property. I have sent a Notice of Code Violation by certified mail to the property owner requesting that the violation be corrected within a specific time frame. Failure on behalf of the owner to comply will result in further action against him/her.  At this time, it appears that the property owner will voluntarily eliminate the violation in the near future. However, I will continue to monitor the situation until the violation is eliminated."
  • March 16, 1998 : Letter to Giovannoni from Eric Kastner re: ``Hazardous Material and other debris has (sic) been buried on the property" located at 1589 Higgins Canyon Road. ``If your belief that hazardous materials have been buried on the Braun property is based on mere suspicion or in retaliation for Mr. Braun's complaint regarding your failure to obtain the requisite permits for the operation of a non-agricultural business on your property, Mr. Braun would like the acrimony to end.  This letter is not intended to escalate the dispute.  Clearly, it is in everyone's best interest to thoroughly investigate and finally resolve the issue you have raised. We would appreciate your input and thank you in advance for your cooperation."
  • March 19, 1998: I responded to the March 12, 1998  Rozar letter by noting that   `` All three of these inspection findings are erroneous. Since receiving your letter, I have compiled a list of historical events that have transpired since Half Moon Bay Sealing and Paving established their place of business in this PAD zoned location." I concluded the letter by stating: ``The above information clearly illustrates that the Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving Co. has caused property and environmental damage and continues to put the publics heath and safety at risk.  The County's lack of speedy mitigation only escalates their liability by allowing these illegal activities to continue. I respectfully request that the County of San Mateo evict Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving until such time they have been granted the necessary Coastal Development Permits." The letter was signed Oscar Braun, Executive Director of the Save Our Bay and was written on SOB stationary. The letter noted the violations of the CWA, CA and ESA as part of SOB continuing  efforts on behalf of the Water Quality Protection Program MOU coalition.
  • March 27, 1998: Letter to William Rozar, Zoning Hearing Officer from Oscar Braun, Co-chair of the Coastal Family Alliance. The CFA is requesting that the application for a CDP pursuant to Section 6328.4 of the Zoning Code be DENIED.  Reasons: The establishment of a firearms training range has had a negative impact not only on the Burleigh Murray State Park but also on adjoining neighbors. There has been a loss of real estate value for homes next to an outdoor shooting range. Homes adjoining a shooting  range have  virtually no value. There has been the loss of tranquility for families in our rural wildlife habitat areas and  a serious disruption of the wildlife corridors around the park..  The loss of peace and quiet destroys what scenic value the park may offer to it's visitors.  On several occasions my horses have been overwhelmed with panic and lost control while running from the shooting noise.  In the event of any harm or damage, the State Park and the County would be held liable. The CFA appeal was denied.
  • April 2, 1998: I filed a formal complaint with the San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney John Wilson regarding the dumping of hazardous material on Moon Acres Ranch.
  • April 20, 1998 County Planner Joe Sordi conducts a Field Visit to Giovannoni property 1780 Higgins Canyon Road. Field notes identify side by side rail cars in creek and other  violations and recommends that Building Dept. and Health Dept. inspectors conduct full inspection of other alleged violations and those on the record. The report lists provides a partial list of develop without benefit of CDP.
  • April 23, 1998 Final Notice of Code Violation letter from Gary Warren .  Oscar requests an appointment with Planner to fill out application for stable permit etc.  I'm told someone will get back to me.  A few days later, I receive a call from Paul Koenig asking if Richard and Oscar Braun are willing to try to work things out with the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center. We agree to participate. 
  • April 30, 1998; Half Moon Bay Review: Front Page story ``Trust locks in open space. The Review's feature story is about how POST acquired the historic Johnston Ranch and concludes with these comments: ``One neighbor of the Johnston Ranch property is less concerned with what POST may do with the property than what it may not do.  Oscar Braun said he is glad that the property was purchased so that it will not be developed. But he doubts POST will do any more to clean up the dump that was left in and around the Arroyo Leon Creek than its two previous owners did.. Braun took the managers of the property to court in 1993 and had them evicted.  According to court testimony, an estimated 240 tons of concrete, dirt and construction debris were dumped in and near Arroyo Leon Creek.  A partial cleanup removed about 140 ton of concrete. I'm extremely concerned that POST is not going to clean up the wetland and all the stuff that's been dumped there said Braun,. whose home is located on a hillside above the creek. My intent is to press the issue with federal authorities if necessary. Rust declined to respond to Braun's comments. The purchase of the properties by POST brings to nearly 10,000 acres that the group has acquired in the past 20 months under its campaign Completing the Vision: The Campaign to Save Essential Open Space.
  • May 1, 1998: Re: Alleged Hazardous Waste Disposal  letter from Parker S. Kelly Deputy DA states in part: `` I am aware of a number of circumstances concerning you property and that of the Giovannoia at 1780 Higgins Canyon Road. (1)County Planning and Building is aware of code violations and will attempt to bring the property into compliance…. (2) Stream Alteration problems at the Giovannoni property are being managed by the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District… (3) Inspections by Dirk Jensen of County Health Department at the Braun and Giovannoni properties have not been revealing of any obvious or even reasonably suspected hazardous waste violations…. (4) The suggestion in Cynthia Giovannoi's letter of February 27, 1998 of hazardous materials and other debris on your property has not ben substantiated, although we and your lawyers have tried. By copy of this letter, I am asking that she provide the missing information….I trust this bring you up to date." May 1, 1998 Letter to Gary & Cynthia Giovannoni from Eric Kastner Esquire re: their assertion in February 27, 1998 letter to Mr. Gary F. Warren that ``some hazardous materials and other debris has(sic) been buried on the property" located at 1589 Higgins Canyon Road."  The letter closing paragraph states: ``We demand the retraction and the debris removal and land restoration to be complete by the close of business May 8, 1998. If you fail or refuse to take such action we have been instructed to take the necessary legal action to compensate the Braun's for the damage you have caused their reputation and property."
  • May 7, 1998: Letter to Ms. Ana Navarro, San Mateo County Mediation Program from Planner Joe Sordi requesting that she arrange mediation for the Braun and Giovannoni's.
  • May 18, 1998: Letter to Giovannis' &  Brauns' from Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center inviting parties to the dispute to participate in their program. All parties agree to attend  June session.
  • May 18, 1998. Accompanied Ann J. Jenson, REHS Hazardous Materials Specialist, Environmental Health Services to the Johnston Ranch while she conducted a Level One survey and I acted as her photographer. I provided the County Health Department a album of photos on May 20th with the enclosed cover letter: ``Enclosed please find a total of 41 photographs that I took under your direction during the survey and site inspection that you conducted at the historical Johnston Ranch on Monday 18, 1998. The picture cover areas of the Arroyo Leon, adjoining streams, riparian and wetlands."
  • June 18, 1998 Conflict Resolution Center meeting in Half Moon Bay at 12 noon at Ted Adcock Community Senior Center. At conclusion of first meeting, the Giovannoni's declared they would not continue to participate.
  • June 26, 1998: The Higgins Canyon Homeowners Association sends Planning Administrator Terry Burns  letter strongly opposed to issuing of any Coastal Development Permits to the Wildlife Associates and Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving. Letter is sign by seventeen members of the Higgins Canyon Homeowners Association.
  • July 6, 1998: Faxed Final Notice of Code Violation from Gary Warren. Called Joe Sordi and requested an appointment to make CDP application and pay fees.  Joe said he was leaving the County and would ask Laura Thompson to schedule an application appointment.   Laura Thompson called me and said she was over loaded and would ask Terry Burnes to assign me a Planner.
  • July 13, 1998: Wrote a long letter to Edward Ueber , Superintendent Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary regarding the SOB progress of the ``Clean Water For Bay & Communties" and the disturbing happenings regarding the Arroyo Leon pollution and lack of code enforcement.  Letter was copied to the media and widely distributed. 
  • July 20, 1998:  Emailed Laura Thompson: ``Hi Laura, I talked to Gary Warren today and he has sent me a copy of a March 12, 1998 notice of Code Violation. File No. V98.25; APN 064-370-240 The letter from Gary states ``you are in violation of Section 6500,6903 and 7700.2"  I would appreciate it if you would: 1) Provide me with an application for the needed permits. 2) A copy of Section 6500, 6903, & 7700.2  3) I am requesting that you be assigned as the planner on this application…..you'll end up being the expert planner for Higgins Canyon Road, 4) A brief description explaining the application protocol and fees involved to clear up these violations Thank You, Oscar  Laura sent me copies of the codes, Jim Eggemeyer assigned her to handle my application and she gave me an appointment to complete the application on September 15, 1998.
  • August 17, 1998 Oscar Braun, on behalf of the SOB and seven neighbors, attended a Zoning Officer hearing for Giavannoni's Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving driveway bridge CDP application and Wayne Pastorino Trucking CDP application to operate out of the Johnston Ranch. I presented a protest letter signed by nine (9) adjoining neighbors opposed to commercial and industrial businesses operating without any permits in our rural residential area.  The letter listed the continuing violations by landfill operators Tom Pacheco & Gary Giavannoni on the Johnston Ranch..  The neighbors letter protested having to live with lawlessness for nearly a decade. Illegal shooting & poaching, trespassing, destruction of our property at the hands of some of the tenants.  Very serious environmental damage to the steelhead stream Arroyo Leon and to the over all quality of like in this sensitive Rural Lands area. Higgins Canyon unraveling from all the excess traffic of big oversized heavy trucking operations with no use permits. County Code Enforcement refusal to enforce compliance.  Tenant and illegal landfill operator Tom Pacheco is also a director for the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District. (appointed by the Board of Supervisors.)
  • August 21, 1998:  Letter from Terry Burnes to Oscar Braun re: Various projects in you neighborhood.  The letter cites a meeting I attended with Mr. Burnes and staff in June 1998 to discuss my concerns.  Terry Burnes met with Michael Murphy, Assistant County Counsel and Paul Koenig on July 28 to review my concerns. The letter reviews the County's current position on the Half Moon Bay Heritage (Johnston Ranch) property, Replacement bridge on Giovannoni property, Half Moon Bay Sealing and Paving and Wildlife Associates.
  • August 31, 1998 :  I file a formal  compliant with the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury regarding the lack of Code Enforcement by   Environmental Services.
  • September 9, 1998: The Half Moon Bay Review runs a front page story ``Braun to be cited by county".  The paper quoted Bill Rozar, the Planning Department Zoning Administrator for the County `` The county code enforcement division sent Braun two notices warning he would be cited, the most recent on August 6, when it said he had 30 days to act." Since Rozar said he has not, Braun will be fined ``$136. plus court costs.  The Review states `` For his part, Braun does not dispute that he does not have the required permits.  He said he has not fought  the county, and he asserts that it is county officials who have dragged their feet.' I am also quoted as saying:: `` I have not fought the county.  I have asked them to process me. I have no control over how fast they do that.  It's a matter of writing a check at this point….I'm not going to get heartburn over this. I always call for full compliance and that includes me."  The Review goes on to say that ``Braun believes that a package he sent to the civil county Grand Jury on August 31 is behind the code enforcement division's ``counter offensive" citation."  
  • September 14, 1998:  Code Enforcement Officer Gary Warren and a Sheriff Deputy unlawfully enter my property and home without Court warrant and attempted to issue me a Continuing Nuisance citation. I demand that they leave the property immediately or arrest me.  I show Gary Warren my appointment book with a scheduled appointment with Laura Thompson for the next morning at 10am in the Planning Department. 
  • September 15, 1998. Arrive at the Planning Department at exactly 10am and proceed to fill out the application in the conference room with Laura Thompson. At approximately 10:30am Code Enforcement Officer Gary Warren, Margaret Hernandez and Sheriff Sgt. DelPordo enter the room and asked Ms. Thompson to leave the room.  I believe you know the rest of the story from this point on...
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