Development key issue in Belmont election

Newcomers and veterans are squaring off in Belmont this year, as two City Council candidates with a combined total of three years in the city take on a Planning Commissioner and one of the leaders of the Belmont Library Project.

In the next four years, Belmont will have to deal with growing tensions between Notre Dame de Namur University and the city, the aftermath of this year’s controversial smoking ordinance and the need to find room for 399 new homes in a city without much wiggle room.

With the smoking ordinance slated for re-examination in a year, Christine Wozniak and David Braunstein said they have not decided on any sections that need changing, but would leave it up to public input to decide any changes that need to be made.

Broderick Page and Jason Born are both supported by Van’s Restaurant owner Loring De Martini, who says they’ll help repeal an ordinance that could harm local businesses. Page said the “litigious” language of the ordinance needs to be changed, and Born said he would support the ordinance being put on a public ballot at some point.

The candidates are also divided on a plan for development in Belmont, specifically in terms of height.

“One of the great things about Belmont is that as you drive in. you can see the canyon,” Braunstein said. “If that’s all blocked out, that’s going to start to degrade what our town is.”

Page suggested that the mixed-use developments of 12-13 stories could help Belmont grow without sprawling, but Wozniak said that from her time on the Planning Commission, heights of no more than four or five stories would be the limit, even in the areas between El Camino Real and U.S. Highway 101 already identified for new developments.

As those redevelopments take shape, Born said he would support an emphasis on sustainable programs — something Belmont is currently working to implement in the city — including expedited solar energy system permits, and a reduction permit fees if sustainable means are used.

The candidates all agreed on Notre Dame however, and all said that if elected, they would work to open up better lines of communication between the city and the students and staff at the university, to stop problems like those that have arisen around Koret Field before they take shape, and find a balance between the residential living expectations on one side of Ralston Avenue and the traditional college experience on the other.

Jason Born

» Age: 37

» Occupation: Financial consultant

» Time in Belmont: seven months

» Political experience: None

David Braunstein

» Age: 40

» Occupation: High school teacher

» Time in Belmont: 12 years

» Political experience: None

<big>Broderick Page

» Age: 51

» Occupation: Air-traffic controller

» Time in Belmont: two years

» Political experience: None

Christine Wozniak

» Age: 55

» Occupation: High-tech consultant

» Time in Belmont: 30 years

» Political experience: Three years on Planning Commission

jgoldman@examiner.com

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