SummerHill Homes will start work on a major housing project early next year, but without a controversial second entrance that simultaneously appeased nearby residents and riled a neighboring city.
The City Council this week unanimously approved the Palo Alto-based firm’s appeal against a Planning Commission requirement for a secondary entrance into the project.
Though more than 20 speakers expressed concern that a single entrance on Evergreen Drive was not enough to handle the increase in traffic, the council sided with traffic engineers and public safety leaders who said that one was enough.
"I’m confident we made the right decision," Councilman Ken Ibarra said.
SummerHill plans to build 70 single-family homes on the former Carl Sandburg School site at 2396 Evergreen Dr.
The planning commission had previously decided that the project passed muster but needed two extra features — parking on both sides of the streets within the project and a secondary exit and entrance on Albright Way in South San Francisco. The second entrance was initially only for emergency vehicles, but the commission, at the behest of nearby residents, eventually concluded the project needed more than one for the general public.
However, the move drew protests from neighboring South San Francisco, which said the entrance would increase traffic on their side.
A traffic report prepared by Oakland-based DKS Associates found that traffic would be more balanced with a secondary entrance and exit, but the absence of one would not create circulation problems in the area, according to DKS engineer Mark Spencer.
Fire Chief Dan Voreyer added that emergency vehicles would have adequate access to the properties and that the project had the support of public safety personnel in San Bruno and South San Francisco.
Evergreen resident Maria Jacobs was disappointed by the council’s decision, which she said would make traffic even worse on her street.
"None of them live up here," Jacobs said. "You can go through all the traffic studies you want but the people who live here know that people already drive way too fast."