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Wetlands’ future key issue for developer

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Parks officials seeking several mitigation efforts to protect Tideland Park

SAN MATEO — Parks officials want to make sure that a 76-unit condominium project on Mariner’s Island Boulevard won’t interfere with the city’s plans to protect and restore 10 acres of wetlands and open space on Marina Lagoon.

Tidelands Park, which hugs Marina Lagoon near East Third Avenue, is currently an open piece of land with a path that connects Fathom Drive to Anchor Road, according to city landscape architect Dennis Frank. It is one of 10 parks identified in San Mateo’s Shoreline Parks Master Plan as good candidates for wetlands restoration.

Centex Homes is proposing to build 76 condos on a 2.87-acre parcel at the edge of Tidelands Park. To protect the park, San Mateo is asking Centex to build a 6-foot-high wrought-iron fence along much of the property line and a wood-and-wire fence along the rest. The developer’s plans also restrict nighttime lighting to within 20 feet of the property line.

“I think through landscaping, making sure night lighting is controlled and fencing, the developers have done a good job of mitigating [the effects of the condominiums on the park],” Frank said. There are no known protected species in Tidelands Park, he added.

“We’ve chosen all our landscaping from the Shoreline Park Master Plan list,” such as willows, according to developer Devin Hassett. The buildings will also use earth-tones and natural materials to blend in with the marina.

When the project was first introduced in 2005, many neighbors objected to the buildings’ initial 45- to 51-foot height, which they feared would obstruct their views of the Bay. Centex has since reduced the project’s size and height, and the city has not heard from project neighbors in several months, planner Julia Yeh said.

Centex’s application is being reviewed by San Mateo planners before returning to the Planning Commission, probably in January, according to Yeh. The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission will review Centex’s plans to separate its project from the park in a public hearing tonight.

The San Mateo Parks and Recreation Commission meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 330 West 20th Avenue.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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