Glencree Added to Beachwood Affair at Literal Last Minute; Total Cost More than $18 Million

Experts on the sinking of the Titanic can probably visualize the mechanical details of the ship as it sinks–they can see the gash in her hull and the water roaring in, they can sense the stress on the bulkheads and feel the boilers as they flood.

We can do much the same, in real time, with Beachwood and Half Moon Bay.

For most readers who have tried to pay attention as the Settlement abomination emerged dripping and stinking from the swamp that is the Beachwood Affair, the addition of the neighboring parcel of Glencree was something of a surprise and a puzzle. Up until then no one had even whispered the name “Glencree” in connection with Beachwood, let along imagined it might cross-breed in some unspeakable way and become a yet more abominable, hemophagic life form.

According to Half Moon Bay Mayor Bonnie McClung, mixing in the Glencree parcel was an example of her team’s subtle grasp of the negotiation process. “…the City was required by the plaintiff, Mr. Keenan, to include Glencree…” she wrote.

So, unless God himself comes down from heaven and carries AB 1991 through the California legislature (AB 1991 is the bill that would exempt Beachwood/Glencree from all laws in the way of maximum development) Half Moon Bay will have to try to pay $18 million to Charles “Chop” Keenan, whose nickname grows ever more appropriate.

What hasn’t been made clear about Glencree before is the timing of Keenan’s obtaining the rights to Glencree and the true cost of the Settlement.

First, many had been led to believe that Keenan had obtained the option to buy Glencree at some mysterious point in time lost in the distant past. However, recent records made available to Montara Fog show that Keenan’s option on the Glencree parcel started on March 27–the same day that the Beachwood Settlement took effect.

Click here for a pdf showing Keenan’s March 27 option on Glencree.

In other words, Keenan was negotiating about property that he didn’t yet have rights to but which will now yield him handsome profits. No wonder he “required” Half Moon Bay to include it in the deal. One can only wonder whether the HMB legal team, during the negotiations, was aware that Keenan did not yet have rights to the property.

Even more disturbing is the question of the overall cost to Half Moon Bay should they fail to pass AB 1991. The Settlement spells out a cost of $18 million, which is the number being bandied about by the Mayor, her legal team, and the press.

But that is not the true cost–the true cost might be a million dollars or more higher.

The key is to remember HMB’s rationale for including Glencree in the first place: to stop an existing lawsuit on that property and to prevent future ones, since that parcel had experienced much of the same history as Beachwood and thus might use the Beachwood ruling as precedent for its own devastating victory at some point in the future.

That’s where the $18 million comes in. For that mountain of money Half Moon Bay gets two things–the Beachwood parcel and the option to buy Glencree. They don’t get Glencree, just the option to buy it that Keenan apparently paid $100,000 for on March 27.

But options to buy land don’t stop lawsuits. Options to buy land don’t prevent future lawsuits. And options expire. To actually obtain the property itself Half Moon Bay will be required to pay an undisclosed additional amount of money, above and beyond the $18 million. (Note, the transfer tax for the option is $1,100 which, given a rate of $1.10 per thousand, suggests that Glencree will cost an additional $1 million dollars.)

The Settlement grows ever more expensive.

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