Burlingame residents fight senior center

A four-story senior care facility proposed in the heart of Burlingame is meeting with stiff opposition from nearby residents and store owners, who say the building would ruin their neighborhood.

The proposed 66-unit, 24-hour nursing home at 755 California Drive, near residential neighborhoods and small businesses downtown, has prompted some residents to petition the city with a movement called “Stop 755 California.” They say the large building would decrease their property value, increase traffic and parking problems, block the sun and invade their privacy.

“Everybody isconcerned about the size and the scope of the project,” said Brian McGinn, who lives on Palm Drive by the proposed site. “It will tower over pretty much the whole neighborhood. It’s going to take away the light of day.”

McGinn, his wife and other residents have sent a letter with dozens of signatures to the Planning Commission and set up a list of 50 e-mail addresses of people who are against the estimated $8 million project.

The building was proposed in February and planning officials are weighing methods to appease both the developer and residents. Community Development Director Bill Meeker said the Planning Commission had shared many of the neighbors’ concerns and felt the building seemed out of context for the area.

Meeker said one of the suggestions the commission had to deal with residents’ concerns was to explore a design that would provide a buffer between residential areas and the 51-foot-tall building.

Developer Dale Meyer said he’s looking at ways to increase landscaping and lower heights in the back of the building, which would be close to residents’ backyards. He’s also working to verify that the underground parking garage of 22 spaces would be sufficient before meeting again with the commission next month.

“We’re working on these changes,” Meyer said. “We’re trying to make everybody happy.”

Bob Frudenberg, who has lived on the corner of Palm and California all 57 years of his life, said the proposed height of the building would totally obscure views in his neighborhood and darken the community, thereby decreasing property values.

Toni Montgomery, co-owner of Blue Ribbon Cleaners next door to the proposed site, said parking would be even more difficult to come by if the nursing home is approved. She also expects a loss of business during construction, which Meyer said would last about 14 months.

“It’ll ruin us,” Montgomery said. “If I can stayin business, it’ll be amazing.”

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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