Category: Community News

Harvest Fest 2013


Thanks for coming out and celebrating the Big Wave Project with us!  We had a really great time!  Check out some of the pictures.


(Click on the picture to see it larger.) 

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What is the North Project Alternative (NPA)?

What is the North Project Alternative (NPA)?

The NPA is an addendum to the County approved project to address various environmental concerns that have prevented Big Wave from receiving Coastal Commission approval. The project changes reflected in the NPA resulted from a year-long negotiation between Big Wave and Committee for Green Foothills (CGF), the major environmental opponent to Big Wave.

Although neither party got everything it wanted, the concessions each provided in good faith ended in an agreement with which both are comfortable. The NPA, which ultimately we will take to the Coastal Commission for approval, addresses of the issues the Coastal Commission used in its denial of Big Wave in August, 2012.


Here are the changes included in the NPA:

The NPA moves the Big Wave Community Center to the north parcel (previously all commercial buildings). The size and the amount of people the non-profit Community Center can serve will remain the same. This will require a reduction in the for-profit commercial development to make room for the Community Center.

This reduction will reduce potential financial and employment benefits available from the for-profit commercial to the Community Center. However, the loss of revenue and jobs to the Community Center may be reduced with development rights for storage space that the Community Center will retain on part of the southern parcel.

Reduction of commercial project in NPA:

  • Reduces buildings from eight to four
  • 28% reduction in sq. ft. floor space
  • 21% reduction in parking
  • 28% reduction in lot coverage
  • Max height reduced from 48’ to 33’
  • Grading cut reduced 78%
  • Grading fill reduced 52%

Open space: allocates 3.4 acres on the southern parcel for open space.


Any questions about these changes? Write us a letter:

P.O. Box 1901

El Granada, CA 94018

or send us an email on our contact page:


Big Wave Reaches Agreement with Committee for Green Foothills

 BIG Big Wave news!  Big Wave reached an agreement with Committee for Green Foothills and CGF has dropped the lawsuit!  

Read more below:

The Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) has agreed to dismiss its lawsuit challenging the County’s 2011 approval of the Big Wave project. The attorney for CGF stated in its letter to dismiss the lawsuit that “In the committee’s view, the NPA (North Project Alternative) as currently described by the Big Wave parties appears to satisfy the LCP requirements and address the concerns of the parties to the Coastal Commission appeal and pending lawsuits.”

Since November of 2012 Big Wave and the CGF have spent a great deal of time in negotiating a settlement. Both parties acted in good faith to achieve a global resolution during this process. The NPA satisfies environmental concerns and gives the Wellness Center what it needs to be successful.

We should give special thanks to Scott Holmes and Lennie Roberts for remaining so diligent in reaching an agreement.

Jeff Peck 

First Autistic Miss America Contestant

” Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana, is to become the first autistic Miss America contestant.   Wineman will make history on Saturday night when she takes the stage at the 2013 Miss America Competition, becoming the first autistic contestants to ever participate in the pageant.

She told Fox she was diagnosed at the age of 11, with Aspergers, a mild form of Autism. She said she struggles to communicate at times. She also said she often takes things too literally.

“We cannot cure what is not a sickness,” Miss Montana says in the video. “But we can begin to understand autism, and help those with the condition to unlock the potential that lies within all of us.””


Click the link to read more and watch her video at:


Text taken from Janruary 10th, 2013.



BW Residents as Adovcates

Future Big Wave residents have stepped forward, wanting to be advocates for this great project.


Here is a picture of the gang at Sacramento, CA, fighting for The Big Wave Project.

 (Click on the picture to view it larger.)


“Experts brace for wave of autistic adults” from SF Chronicle

Article copied from: October 6th, 2012.


Saturday Oct 06, 2012 9:38 AM PT

Experts brace for wave of autistic adults

Erin Allday
Published 11:05 p.m., Thursday, October 4, 2012
  • Guido Abenes, 25, who is autistic yet making it on his own, heads into Peet's Coffee on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. "I'm resourceful," he says. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle / SF
    Guido Abenes, 25, who is autistic yet making it on his own, heads into Peet’s Coffee on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. “I’m resourceful,” he says. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle / SF
Guido Abenes appreciates their concern, but he’d really like his parents to stop worrying about him.  He’s 25, he says, and he’s doing fine. But he’s also autistic, part of the generation of young adults who were born during the first big wave of autism cases in the United States two decades ago and are now struggling to strike out on their own.

“I tell them sometimes, ‘Stop it, I’m doing things, I’m resourceful,’ ” said Abenes, who is a student at Cal State East Bay. “They’re getting the message, I think. But they still worry.”

Abenes, who wants to be a therapist someday and travel the world, is fortunate. He joined the College Internship Program in Berkeley, which provides him with a two-bedroom apartment he shares with a roommate, along with intensive, daily academic and developmental support to help him continue to thrive into adulthood.

But Abenes’ situation is unusual, say autism advocates and experts, who are bracing for a flood of adults with autism who lack the support they had as children, and are entering a world that isn’t ready for them.

Guido Abenes (left), a 25-year-old who is autistic, checks out cards at a game store in Berkeley with his social mentor, Ben Nomura-Weingrow. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle / SF       

  Skyrocketing rates

It was in the late 1980s and early ’90s that rates of autism started skyrocketing in the United States. A condition that once was considered rare, with fewer than 2 cases per 1,000 births in the United States, is now thought to afflict 1 in 88 children, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s unclear exactly what has caused the increase, but factors could include greater awareness and better diagnosing of the condition, as well as an actual rise in cases, perhaps related to environmental factors.  


For those born in that first wave and now entering adulthood, it’s a tough, uncertain future. Some, like Abenes, will go to college or find jobs and eventually move out on their own.

But most will not, studies show. Most will continue to live at home and will, at best, find part-time, minimum-wage work – or no work at all. Many will suffer setbacks in their condition. Two recent studies found that only about a third of autistic young adults had jobs or went to school. 

 “A majority of our adults are underserved or not served at all. They can’t access the same services as adults that they had as children,” said Jim Ball, board chairman of the Autism Society, a national advocacy group. “We are doing a lot for our kids, but these kids are going to live to 80 or 90 years old – they’re going to live the majority of their lives as adults. What are we doing for them in that realm?” 

Guido Abenes (middle) walking with his social mentor Ben Nomura-Weingrow (right) to Peet's coffee in Berkeley, Calif., on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle / SF

Twenty-two years old is an important turning point for many young people with autism. That’s when they officially age out of the public school system that offered them educational and other supportive services.


Kids in the middle

Kids with intellectual disabilities – most notably, an IQ under 70 – often have post-high school opportunities for continued improvement and some measure of independent living. Most of them will continue to get supportive care daily for the rest of their adult lives from state and federal programs.

And the young people at the opposite end of the spectrum – the ones identified as having Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, who may have above-average IQs or skills that will aid them in college and careers – often manage adult life just fine.

It’s the ones in the middle who suffer the most, autism experts said. They don’t have enough of a disability to get major supportive care, but they’re clearly disabled enough that they have a hard time finding, and keeping, jobs or attending college classes.

“These are kids who seem like they could do things and be successful, and they just end up staying at home because there are very few resources for them,” said Dr. Carl Feinstein, director of the Stanford Autism Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

“Their parents are frustrated because they don’t know how to help and they aren’t so happy with their kids living in their home,” he said. “Meanwhile, these kids grew up thinking they would have a driver’s license and an apartment of their own, and they’d get married and have all these things that aren’t happening.”

That’s where something like Berkeley’s College Internship Program comes in. The program was started in the 1980s on the East Coast by a man who was diagnosed with Asperger’s in his 50s. It serves young adults ages 18 to 26 who have autism or other types of learning disabilities, many of whom fall in that middle range of needing support.


Preparation for life

The goal of the program is to provide the support services these young people may need to be successful in school and start a career, as well as teaching life skills to help them become independent adults.

The students live in housing provided by the program in downtown Berkeley, and they usually attend classes at nearby community colleges. At the program center, students get lessons in cooking and banking and other basic living skills. They learn how to budget their time, how to apply for jobs and how to get along with co-workers and bosses.

But it’s expensive: The program costs $30,000 to $70,000 a year, not including housing or tuition at other academic institutions. Scholarships are available and insurance may cover some or all of the expenses.

For those who can afford it, or whose parents have the time and energy to seek the help, there are other, similar programs. Many college campuses, including Cal State East Bay, offer extra services for autistic students.

Some businesses are starting special programs for hiring autistic employees, especially if those employees possess skills like focus and an attention to detail that can come hand-in-hand with autism. One company, Palo Alto-based Semperical, is based entirely around a model of hiring high-functioning autistic employees as test engineers.

But those jobs and support programs aren’t large and there aren’t many of them. Meanwhile, the group of autistic adults needing these services is only going to grow. The first generation is entering its 20s – but they’ll be hitting middle age soon enough, and there are even larger generations on their heels.


Worried parents

It’s not just a problem for the autistic children and adults, but for their families – especially for the parents, many of whom worry they won’t be able to care for their adult children much longer.

“I hear from parents in the Baby Boomer generation who have kids in their 30s now,” said Kurt Ohifs, executive director of Pacific Autism Center for Education in Santa Clara. “They come to me and say, ‘I’m afraid to die, because who’s going to care for my son or daughter?’ “

Erin Allday is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

Press Release: Next Step


Press Contact:
Jeff Peck
(415) 999-0145

California Coastal Commission Sued by Coastal Families of Individuals with Special Needs
Big Wave, LLC and the Big Wave Group File Legal Actions Against the California Coastal Commission
SAN MATEO, CA – OCTOBER 4, 2012 –A local non-profit, the Big Wave Group and Big Wave, LLC, and Devon Yoshimine filed complaints against the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”) today. Both suits are related to the Coastal Commission’s decision to revoke the Coastal Development Permit issued by the County of San Mateo to create the Big Wave Project – a privately funded project designed around the needs of adults with special needs.

“Our organization is dedicated to providing housing and work opportunities, in a sheltered environment, for developmentally disabled adults,” said founder, Jeff Peck. “Typically, as parents of these adults age and become unable to care for them, the developmentally delayed become a burden to the public. By developing this program, with both housing and work opportunities, we create a system where they are able to give back to their community. After seven years of working tirelessly to vet the program through a grueling and thorough permit process, we’ve been forced to take legal action. It is our hope the courts will see the clear benefits of such a solution – and prevent this ongoing discrimination by the Coastal Commission.”

The complaints filed today include a Petition for Writ of Administrative Mandamus and for Declaratory Relief challenging the Coastal Commissions actions in San Mateo County Superior Court.
Additionally, Devon Yoshimine, as a representative of a Class consisting of developmentally disabled persons is filing complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by the California Coastal Commission for its denial of Big Wave’s Permit. The complaints allege that the CCC’s denial results in illegal discrimination against developmentally disabled persons as it denies them equal access to housing and employment. In response to a public records request the CCC could not identify any housing project it had approved for affordable housing for the developmentally disabled in its forty year history.

Big Wave Project
Big Wave is a privately funded innovative project to provide housing and work opportunities in a sheltered environment for persons with developmentally disabilities. These individuals require special services throughout their lives. All too often, however, this responsibility and public duty is left unfulfilled and these special needs citizens are left to cope on their own.
The Big Wave Project is two synergistic developments zoned for commercial use west of the Half Moon Bay Airport. A five-acre parcel on the southern portion of the property, the Wellness Center, will provide 57 condominium units exclusively for the developmentally disabled.

Legal Challenges
Big Wave has been thoroughly vetted during a six-year permit process within San Mateo County, after an extensive review which generated a 5,000 page Final Environmental Impact Report. The Planning Commission approved the project and issued a Coastal Development Permit (CDP).
After opponents appealed, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors held additional hearings on the project and unanimously determined that the Planning Commission acted properly and sustained the CDP. During the appeal, the Supervisors commended the project for using private resources to address a public social responsibility and for addressing the need for commercial office space on the San Mateo coast. The writ of mandamus filed today contends that the Coastal Commission acted illegally in revoking the CDP granted by the County of San Mateo and in so doing violated The California Coastal Act.

About the Big Wave Project
Founded in 2000 by Steve and Jamie Barber and Jeff and Valerie Peck, the Big Wave Project will provide a place where individuals with developmental disabilities are able to reach their full potential while providing local coast-side businesses with the commercial space to thrive and grow. Big Wave Group is a non-profit group, led by a Board of Directors chosen from a cross section of community leaders. For more information, please visit or call 415-999-0145 or email

Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert

Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert

      Organized by musician Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, the Bridge School Benefit Concert is an annual, all acoustic, non-profit charity event held every October at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. All proceeds directly benefit the operations of The Bridge School.  

Our Mission

The Bridge School is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that individuals with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of augmentative & alternative means of communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) applications and through the development, implementation and dissemination of innovative life-long educational strategies. The Bridge School is an internationally recognized leader in the education of children who use augmentative and alternative communication and has developed unique programs and trained highly skilled professionals in the use of state of the art assistive technology.

The first concert was held October 13, 1986 and, with the exception of 1987- the year the educational program was launched- it has become a highly anticipated Bay Area favorite.


The 26th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert will be on October 20, 2012 at 5pm and October 21, 2012 at 2pm!

Announcing the lineup for the 26th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert:

*All acts are subject to change. Not necessarily in order of appearance.

  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  • Jack White
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Foster the People
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
  • k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang
  • Gary Clark Jr.

 Information about ticket sales, pricing, seating charts, parking, etc. can be found on the Live Nation site.