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What Will Chop Keenan Do With His New Windfall?

Original post made by Mike on Dec 1, 2007

It appears that Palo Alto developer Chop Keenan is in for a windfall, based on this last week's court ruling.
Web Link

Here's a precursor story, from 2005
Web Link

Past and present Half Moon Bay policy makers have let their city become developed in a way that is disgraceful, given the pristine beauty of the Half Moon Bay Coastline. It appears that their misguided efforts to frustrate a developer (not the first time this has been done) by nefarious means has finally come to payback. What a sad legacy.

Hopefully, Mr. Keenan will find a way to work this out in a way that doesn't cause extreme duress for the City Of Half Moon Bay.

This is what happens when amateurs are placed in policy making positions. Half Moon Bay can do better than its current policy making crowd.

Comments (19)

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2007 at 9:48 pm

This is far from a done deal. The Appeals have yet to start.


Posted by No judge-nudge?, a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm

When Mike didn't like a court verdict in Palo Alto because it went against the developer he implied there was a "judge-nudge."
This ruling is in favor of the billionaire developer so Mike doesn't suspect a judge- nudge.
Clear thinking there, Mike.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2007 at 11:10 pm

There was no "judge-nudge" in PA; it was pure meddling in a process that will end in favor of the developer. 195 Page Mill will be built.

Anonymous, there's pretty egregious behavior on the part of Half Moon Bay. I'd be surprised to see Keenan loses, altogether. In any case, bad policy is causing Half Moon Bay residents lots of consternation.


Posted by No judge-nudge?, a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2007 at 12:16 am

You most definitely did say there was a "judge-nudge". You have forgotten what you said just the other day. Mike said:
"Following a 'nudge-nudge' by certain citizens - anyway, 195 will br built, sooner or later, " etc
Web Link


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2007 at 7:19 am

I'm flattered that you'd remember everythng I've written here, but was then, and this is now. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, says Emerson.

Some here can't recognize that facts as they're used in discussion here must fit the situation being discussed. These are two different situations. Two different sets of facts.


Posted by no pity for HMB, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2007 at 8:33 am

Geez....just leave the poor guy alone.

He bought something expecting to play by the rules and eventually develop some housing...taking a huge risk and risking millions.

I am appalled at the dirty politics that tried to simply cheat him out of the due process of capitalism. Either the rules should be clear and transparent "No more development" if that is what the people want, or there should be a process for getting land approved.

I have no pity at all for Half Moon Bay. The consequences for this kind of thug tactic, a sneak "wetlands", must be heard throughout California.

Of course, this guy still must sit on the land, paying for it with no hope of return any time soon, and now keep paying for all the legal fees that I am sure he has already paid as he now gets mugged by appeals.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2007 at 9:43 am

It is his money, I hope he enjoys it. Condemnation by restrictive zoning has always been criminal. I am unhappy only becaus the officials and politicians who brought this down are not as exposed to financial ruin as was the developer.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2007 at 11:54 am

"nudge-nudge" is not a "judge-nudge" :)

The whole thing could have been settled out of court, that's what the "nudge-nudge" was - a push to the courts.

All that aside, Keenan deserves compensation, and I'm *fervently* hoping that individual citizens here (and elsewhere) who think they can use legal chicanery and delay - delay that costs their fellow taxpayers MONEY - will begin to think twice, or have the same kind of legal decisions move against them, personally.

What needs to happen is to have one or two people lose their *personal* funds (it's a shame that HMBay's policy makers are not made *personally* responsible for this debacle). If I was the victim of the stuff that goes on around here, my attorney would be naming *individuals* in private lawsuits. Rule by minority is beginning to wear thin.


Posted by joe, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Anyone looking at that property before he bought it, and I think we can assume Keenan did that, would have seen the "wetlands" and should have at least investigated their state in doing due diligence. Yet another case of a zillionaire developer trashing anything that stands in his way of paving over everything, the devil with open space.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm

joe, your statement shows a severe ignorance of the facts. Read the press release, and look at the details. I have, because I'm interested in preserving wetlands.

Those lands were NOT water bound when Keenan was negotiating. HMB policy makers are the ones who paved something over, and brought this thing down on themselves.That "something" was transparent negotiation and following the *spirit* of the law. They got what was coming to them.

btw, you'll note that Keenan says he is willing to work with the City to ease any financial pain; I wonder, if the decision had gone the other way, what HMBay's policy makers would have said.


Posted by Tommy Trump, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 2, 2007 at 8:43 pm

This is a funny story for those anti-development tree hugger types., but nonetheless a take note moment for city councils all around California.

MESSAGE: When you play with fire you can get burned.


Posted by a long time resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 2, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Wake up Mike and others:

Palo Alto has a long history of "Down Zoning" of property promoted by developers who don't own it and if it isn't ours it shouldn't be developed.

It appears "Green-belt" alliance developers are a current supporter of down-zoning of property in Palo Alto.

Wasn't there a recent effort to prevent Stanford from ever using the "Dish" land for any development by claming it really belonged to the hikers who use the land.
There seemed to be great hostility toward Stanford when their plans were before the County . Stanford land dosen't belong to the local developers so it shouldn't be allowed to be developed with housing and other academic uses.


Posted by Jon Newton, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2007 at 3:22 am

To the Half Moon Bay City Council:

Stop holding meetings, it bespeaks of your silly past actions. If you seek an answer, ancient history can help you with why you must pay the piper.

"The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold."  ~Aristotle




Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2007 at 4:37 am

Palo Alto also has a history of paying for downzoning. I believe we paid seven million for some downzoned hill property.


Posted by Wondering, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 3, 2007 at 12:08 pm

""The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold." ~Aristotle"

Just goes to show the folly of most aphorisms (even though there is a grain of truth in many of them).

If why Ari said was true, why isn't George Bush in a Guantanamo cell?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2007 at 10:00 am

A continuing development in the Half Moon Bay/Chop Keenan situation, brought about by Half Moon Bay official's egregious - and flaunting of civil law - behavior.

Web Link

My hope is that Mr. Keenan will find a way to bring himself to negotiate with Half Moon Bay officials. No doubt, Mr. Keenan could negotiate for prime development land, or some other alternative that would not cause HMB to dissolve its municipal franchise. The latter serves no good purpose, and puts many, many citizens at disadvantage for something most of them had no control over.

My regret in this case is that personal, financial, judgments were not made against those policy makers (and a few others) that permitted this fiasco to happen in the first place. They should all be ashamed of their behavior. It's also a shame that the press doesn't name every one of the officials that let this fiasco occur. It should be public knowledge that certain officials left this sorry legacy in their wake.

If Mr. Keenan does manage to negotiate in a way that permits the city to go forward, and if that negotiation results in a land deal, my hope is that he will be sensitive to the surrounding environment, as he has been in prior developments.

Finally, it would be a good thing if Mr. Keenan was permitted - as part of the negotiation - to help HMB officials create official code that keeps this kind of thing from every happening again - including automatic financial penalties for any policy maker that obfuscates fair process and legal due diligence put forward by any second party that is attempting to show good faith efforts toward commercial (or any other kind) of development.


Posted by Venice Beach, a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2007 at 11:26 am

Half Moon Bay has suffered too long from bad politicians.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 15, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Here's more on this continuing development.

Web Link


Posted by Long Time Resident, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 16, 2008 at 12:03 am

I feel so sorry for Half Moon Bay. Don't they have insurance to cover something like this?


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