Big Wave is bigger than health care, bigger than Moby Dick

UPDATED: The County, responding to public pressure, has extended the comment period to December 22.

The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the controversial Big Wave project has been released for public scrutiny and comment–and its size is staggering.

You can download the entire report in a single pdf file here. (Warning: It is a big download. Very big.)

Big Wave is the project designed to add a quarter million or more square feet of office and R&D space–essentially doubling that of the entire San Mateo Coast–in a difficult-to-access lot in back of the airport. The project’s proponents boast that they will also support a small number of developmentally disabled people with the proceeds from the business complex, the largest development ever in the region.

The report sprawls well over two thousand pages, may of them dense charts and maps.

The public is supposed to read all of this material, digest it, and make their comments to the County by December 7th, just six weeks after the report was released. And if you want to offer your thoughts directly to Rich Gordon and the other Supervisors you had better be ready by their November 12th meeting in Redwood City.

Citizens better get busy. At the average adult reading speed it would take a full-time worker two and a half weeks straight to read through the document. At this speed they would not be able to pause long to study any of the complex tables or photographs included as evidence.

If staring at your computer screen for two and a half weeks makes you dizzy just to think about it why not have a look at a printed copy? Unfortunately there are only two copies on the entire midcoast–one at the Half Moon Bay library and the other in the custody of the Midcoast Community Council.

Given the commitment required to read this massive tome there will only be time before the end of the comment period for four citizens, two on the Midcoast Council and two in the general public, to read the printed versions through.

Perhaps we should print out more copies at home?

Not at my home. My HP Laserjet 1200 would take three and a half hours running non-stop to print it, assuming all of the pages are text, which they are not. (Graphics, like maps, charts and photos are much slower to print.) If I upgraded to’s top selling laser printer I could cut that time to two hours (again, text only), using four and a half reams of printer paper for each copy.

The Big Wave EIR is big. Bigger than the bill to overhaul the entire health care system of the United States. Bigger than Moby Dick. The Big Wave EIR is bigger than the Bible.

Illustration by Darin Boville

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