Author: Catherine

Official Groundbreaking Ceremony For $23M Big Wave Project in San Mateo County

Official Groundbreaking Ceremony For $23M Big Wave Project in San Mateo County

August 15, 2020 


Contact Sarah Sherwood: 650-380-9102



Half Moon Bay, CA – Dozens with masks gathered this morning on the Half Moon Bay coast, in El Granada, CA, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Big Wave Project, a 20-
year effort to build a $23 million dollar affordable living community for adults with
special needs. Since the year 2000, when the Bay Area saw a significant jump in cases of
autism and other developmental disabilities, the numbers of adults who will need affordable housing has climbed significantly. The CDC estimates that one in 54 U.S. adults has autism.


Government officials stood alongside private companies with dozens of adults with
disabilities and their families.


The project, which will provide not only safe housing, but a variety of jobs, and a peer community for adults with special needs, will allow local businesses on the adjacent property to employ and support adults with autism and other developmental disabilities
so that they can experience the dignity of work and the support of their peers in a
specifically-designed housing complex built for their needs.


“The question where will they go? is both a serious and logical one,” says Jeff Peck, CEO of the Big Wave Project. “Our parents are in their 60s and 70s. The number of adults
with special needs is growing. Our current system, which does not provide community
for these vulnerable and often lonely human beings, will soon be overwhelmed without a
creative initiative such as this.”


Experts estimate that people with developmental disabilities have an unemployment rate
of 87 percent. Many of them believe that adults with special needs can and even need to
work. Big Wave will now contract with local employers to pay these adults a living
wage. In addition, Big Wave provides peer support by contracting with local
organizations who provide day programs for adults with special needs.


“My daughter Sarah will be able to work and learn on site at the culinary academy,
flower shop or any other local business or training facility. It will help her feel useful and
fulfilled. But what is most exciting is that now she will be able to live and interact with
her peers,” says Jeanne Carlson, a Woodside resident. “I can finally relax knowing that she will be cared for throughout her adult life in a meaningful way.”


Adults with special needs includes Autism, Aspergers, Williams Syndrome, Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Deafness, Downs Syndrome, Medically Fragile, Syndrome X, Speech/Apraxia and other Intellectual/Cognitive Disabilities.


The Big Wave Project estimates it will begin construction on September 1, 2020. “Big Wave is a community-driven project for our most vulnerable adults,” said San Mateo county supervisor Dave Pine. “These families have come together with the community to
achieve what many thought was impossible. We are inspired by what they


For the last 20 years its principals have spent $23 million and followed the legal path to approval after approval, including meeting all environmental regulations. Half Moon Bay area residents acknowledged the support they have received from County officials as
The Big Wave Project model met its requirements.


“Today, we look beyond this field and this farm and we see a new community with 43
adults and families realizing a dream after 20-years of hard work and unbreakable hope,”
said Pine. “This community will be a unique asset to the county, providing a stable
model of housing and the services these adults need. And the very special residents who will live there will continue to teach us about love, compassion, dignity and the resilience of the human spirit.”

# # #

About the Big Wave Project


The Big Wave Project provides the venue and family support for adults with special needs, as well as ensuring that they have affordable housing, job and career opportunities, as well as emotional support, by contracting with organizations that have a proven record of innovative programs. These programs incorporate vocational, residential, and peer support in a comprehensive and nurturing environment to help each person achieve new skills and
confidence, ensuring local families the best chance of success for their adult children. The new Big Wave property is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2021. Visit to
learn more.


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200809 SLM big Wave Renders 11x17 .pdf
By Jeff Peck

By Jeff Peck

Founder and CEO of Big Wave


It has been a twenty-year journey, but we will finally have an initial groundbreaking ceremony on the Big Wave property on August 15.

It was approximately twenty years ago that Steve and Jamie Barber and my wife Valerie and I came up with the idea of Big Wave and began to lay the groundwork. 

We have owned the property for more than twenty years. We asked other families in our community to join us in our effort to use the land to provide affordable housing, meaningful employment and community to adults with special needs. They heard our call and we quickly built a strong coalition of local support. Over the years, we successfully built support throughout the county. We have had to jump through many state and local hoops in order for us to build Big Wave. We were prepared to meet the many regulations and fees, and we did, finally, after twenty years of waiting, hoping and believing in our mission. 

When we introduced the Big Wave idea to the community, most understood the need for what we call “intentional community” for our most vulnerable adults. With the encouragement of the families, San Mateo County supervisors, mayors and countless parents, we began the process of applying and reapplying and applying and reapplying for the necessary permits. It took twenty years, but the county agreed once they saw how many families on the Coast support Big Wave.

I have a lot of people to thank for getting us to this point—of course, Kim Gainza, my right hand, Scott Holmes, each Board of Director for their incredible patience and determination, our familes, and to my daughter Elizabeth whom has given me such a wonderful purpose in life. And thank you to our government officials, especially Supervisors Horsley and Pine, and Planning staff Steve Monowotz and Camille Leung, who approved the plans and supported us through it all. Thank you for working with us.


What’s Next?

We’ve been farming on the property since 2010, working with sixty adults with special needs each day. We are developing, maintaining, and improving a sustainable, year-round food production system that will help supply the daily requirement of fresh fruit, salad greens, vegetables, and eggs for our future residents. We are learning how to grow our own food and raise chickens in an organic and sustainable manner. Our residential plan calls for more than 8 acres to be available for farming and egg and honey production.

We will be starting the water and sewer main lines this September. 

We want to continue supporting local team sports– including Challenger Baseball and 50 players on the Coastside Special Olympics Basketball teams. We can hardly wait to resume these successful programs after things return to normal. 

Our goal is to break ground for actual construction this fall. Keep your fingers crossed because we have many local families and businesses that are eager to join us as soon as possible, for the sake of so many adults with special needs.

So welcome to Big Wave. We are an organization that believes that we are only as great as the communities that we serve. Alongside with One Step Beyond and several other programs that support adults with special needs, we continue to work together to help create a community in which everyone has a place to call home. 

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10th Annual Harvest Festival Oct 1st

Big Wave’s 10th Annual Harvest Festival


Join us as we celebrate this milestone, our 10th annual Harvest Festival!


You’re invited to a fun-filled autumn celebration with

friends, family and supporters of the Big Wave Project!


There will be fun for all ages, including pumpkin decorating, flower arranging, water balloon toss, pie-eating contest, an old-fashioned cake walk, silent auction, raffle, cork pull, live music, dancing and much more! Plus for the first time we will have an on-line auction (see details on next page). Visit the Big Wave Farm where you can meet the chickens and check out what’s growing! Don’t forget to purchase the perfect Halloween pumpkin from Big Wave’s bountiful pumpkin harvest!


When: Saturday, October 1, 2016, 11:00-3:00pm (note new time).

Where: Big Wave property in Princeton-by-the-Sea

(near 335 Airport Street). See below for map and directions.

Questions: Contact Kim at

or call (415)-517-9447.


Event Details and Announcements


Dance the day away to the sounds of The Back Pages, an awesome 60’s rock and roll cover band!



We have some wonderful items for this year’s auction, including gift certificates to local hotels, businesses & restaurants, hand-made jewelry, golf, artwork, wine, Disneyland tickets, themed baskets, and so much more!

New feature for 2016…..we have included an online component to our auction, which will be active

September 1st through September 27th. Most of the items online will not also be available at the Harvest Festival, but there may be a few which will carry over. Please visit our auction site at:          




Every year the potluck gets more and more amazing! Do you have a favorite family dish? Please bring it to share. Last name A-M, please bring a side (ex. rice dish, raw or steamed veggies, cut fruit) and N-Z, a salad (ex. potato, leafy greens, fruit). Consider bringing something gluten free as there will be a separate table for gluten free dishes. No chips or bread, please!

Big Wave will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and all the fixings, plus home-made carne asada, and pumpkin pie for dessert!



Bring a creative, homemade cake for the Cake Walk. Everyone can participate, fun for all ages!


NO DOGS, PLEASE!! (Except service dogs)


Donations can be sent to PO Box 1901, El Granada, CA 94018 or via PayPal on Big Wave’s web page (


The Harvest Festival will be held on the Big Wave property, at 335 Airport Street in

Princeton-by-the-Sea, California.

From the North (San Francisco)

  1. Head south on Highway 1
  2. Turn right onto Capistrano Road (at the traffic light). You will pass the Oceano Hotel and the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company on your right.
  3. Turn left onto Prospect Way (you will see Mezza Luna on the corner).
  1. At the next stop sign, turn right onto Broadway. Broadway will turn into California Avenue and then into Cornell Avenue.
  2. Turn right onto Airport Street at the stop sign. 
  3. The Big Wave Harvest Fest will be on your left in 200 feet (immediately past the first warehouse at 333 Airport Street)

From the South Bay or the Peninsula

  1. Head west on Highway 92
  2. Go north on Highway 1 (take a right turn onto Highway 1 from Highway 92) for approximately 4 miles.
  3. Turn left onto Capistrano Road (at the traffic light). You will pass Oceano and the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company on your right. 
  4. Follow above directions from #3 on.

NOTE: If you choose to use MapQuest directions or a GPS, type in “335 Airport Street, Princeton by the Sea, CA” as the destination address. MapQuest will likely change the city name to Half Moon Bay, but don’t worry, it will take you to the right place! Ample parking will be available at the site. Remember to dress in layers, it can be chilly on the Coast!

Farm Lunch Workshop

Are you a farm volunteer? Are you interested in volunteering at the farm? Or do you just want to know what the farm goals and objectives are?!

The farm committee is hosting a work lunch to share our mission-aligned goals, objectives to meet the goals and how you might be able to help! We are welcoming the community to join us for this workshop to cultivate ideas and volunteer for our upcoming projects.

When: Sunday, November 15th, 2015
Lunch: 1:00-2:00 pm, $5 asked to help cover lunch fees.
Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm

Where: Mariner’s Church, 100 Stone Pine Rd, Half Moon Bay.

Please RSVP, especially if you want to come for lunch, so we will have enough food.