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HALF MOON BAY, CA-State officials have allocated $1.5 million to acquire land previously slated for residential and retail development for the purpose of preserving coastal bluffs and open space here. The land, which is adjacent to Half Moon Bay Beach, lies entirely within the Half Moon Bay city limits, running parallel to the coast between Kelly Avenue and Poplar Street along part of the Half Moon Bay seven-mile recreation trail.

Gov. Gray Davis vetoed budget funding for the preservation of the land due to fiscal constraints and diminishing resources in the Safe Neighborhoods, Clean Water, Clean Air and Coastal Protection Bond Fund. However, the coastal bluffs will be protected from future development.

The money will come from a $15-million budget for urban parks, with priority given to public agencies and nonprofit organizations that are willing to match funds. The city of Half Moon Bay and the Half Moon Bay Open Space Trust have agreed to raise the matching funds.

The property was originally acquired for a rail line from San Francisco to Santa Cruz but recently subdivided into about 130 individual parcels for residential and retail development.

However, most of land still remains vacant, providing critical habitat, open space and scenic views.

Assemblyman Joe Simitian, (D-Palo Alto) says protecting the land from development was among his top conservation priorities this year.

“We’re lucky to live in an area that understands open space and conservation are essential to quality of life,” Simitian adds. “This property will continue to provide open space, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and wonderful coastal views. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.”

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