San Mateo County is officially taking over a previously cash-strapped Moss Beach park sold at auction earlier this year after its nonprofit operators failed to pay roughly $8,000 in back taxes.
Paul and Julie Shenkman, owners of Sam’s Chowder House on Cabrillo Highway, covered the outstanding tax debt in September which paved the way for San Mateo County to add Moss Beach Park to its system. In doing so, the county also absorbs responsibility for approximately $30,000 in annual operations and maintenance. Any future capital improvements will also be the county’s responsibility. The money will come out of the Parks Department budget for fiscal years 2013-2015.
County supervisors Tuesday are scheduled to approve the agreement which will add the first “pocket” park to the system which otherwise includes regional parks.
The park is approximately 26,000 square feet at the intersection of Etheldore Street and Virginia Avenue in unincorporated Moss Beach. As one of only five parks in the midcoast area and a popular draw for children, families and local Boy Scout troops, it is “an important community center and asset,” County Manager John Maltbie told the board in a staff report for its meeting.
The nonprofit group Coastside Preservation and Recreation Inc. owned Moss Beach Park since 1975 and even constructed a playground in 2004 but hadn’t paid taxes in several years. In April, the board unwittingly approved the parcel for public auction to recoup the money owed and developer Michael O’Connell of Pacifica purchased the park at the end of July for just shy of $100,000.
Once the residents and county realized the park was sold, the supervisors rescinded the transaction on the basis that the sale was not in the county’s best interest. The Shenkmans then donated the tax debt balance.
Once the county acquires the park, it will install a prefabricated restroom purchased in 2012 using money from the Midcoast Park and Recreation Fee Fund but never positioned.
The Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 in Board Chambers, 400 Government Center, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102