Brisbane council approves homes on mountain

A developer of homes on San Bruno Mountain in Brisbane took a step closer to adding 71 homes to the environmentally sensitive site when the Brisbane City Council approved the development based on an expected endorsement by federal lawmakers.

City Council members unanimously approved the plan.

“I think the greater good would be approved by approving this,” Councilmember Clarke Conway said.

The development plan by Brookfield Homes, environmental groups and citizens say, poses a threat to the endangered butterfly habitat on the mountain’s northeast ridge even after the developer had scaled down its original plans from 151 homes.

Monday’s vote comes as environment watchdog San Bruno Mountain Watch filed a lawsuit against Brookfield Homes for discharging unacceptably high levels of sediment into storm drains, the Brisbane Lagoon and the Bay. According to Councilmember Cy Bologoff, most of the sediment comes from other mountain runoff and the watchdog’s lawsuit was “justanother way to stop the project.”

City Council members said the development was favored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which must grant the developer the necessary permits to build on the butterfly habitat.

“They are the ones ultimately responsible for whatever happens with the butterflies,” Bologoff said. “Our intent was always dependent on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ permit.”

The council member explained that it wouldn’t be wise for the council to approve the project before hearing from the federal agency.

“If they come out against this, then we’d have a mess on our hands because the developer will commit himself to building the project,” said Bologoff.

But Ken McIntire of San Bruno Mountain Watch said the council is deferring to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a way to put off the decision.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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