Lawsuit decries proposed building’s height

A lawsuit against the city of San Mateo over a proposed apartment complex is set to go before a county judge next month, as one resident fights a development she says will keep her home in the dark.

Jennifer Diamond, a resident of the Ironwood Homes townhouse complex, has filed a lawsuit to halt the construction of the Delaware Place complex on Delaware Avenue northwest of Bay Meadows.

In preparation for the lawsuit — to be reviewed by a judge on June 16 — the city held a closed meeting Monday night with the City Council and legal counsel.

If Delaware Place is built, Diamond and someof her neighbors say, the four-story, 111-unit complex will block their exposure to the sun for much of the year. It may also damage the jasmine and other flora that line the center walkway of the community.

While darkness is a concern for neighbors on the south side of Ironwood, Debra Rosenfeld on the north half says her privacy may be threatened by four-story windows with a direct view into her home’s second story.

While Diamond originally sued on grounds that the city was damaging her quality of life by allowing the project, her lawsuit was amended to focus on what she says was the city’s misrepresentation of the May 15, 2006, meeting during which the council approved the project.

“The public did not know that the four-story version was on the table, if they were going to bring it back. They should have let the community know it, because we would have had a lot more support at the meeting,” Diamond said.

Prior to the meeting, the San Mateo Planning Commission had approved the site plan of the project but added a condition that the project would be seven units smaller and that the part bordering Ironwood would be only two or three stories to prevent shading.

Ironically, it was the neighbors themselves who allowed the council to overturn the Planning Commission's compromise.

“They warned them, ‘If the City Council votes with you, it won't get built, but if they vote against you, the compromise is no longer an issue, it would go back to the original proposal,’” Planning Commissioner Robert Gooyer said.

Because the commission’s decision — including the lower height and density — was appealed, the council was tasked with discussing the project as presented by the developers, Toll Brothers. At that meeting, Councilwoman Carole Groom said the 111-unit complex would better serve San Mateo’s housing needs, and the council approved the project without any reduced heights or densities.

“If it had stayed with the planning commission and not gone further, then the only thing they would have been able to build was the 104-unit complex,” said City Attorney Shawn Mason.

jgoldman@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

From left, Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th president as Trump era comes to an end

Todd Spangler Detroit Free Press Taking over the reins of government at… Continue reading

San Francisco City Hall is lit in gold and amber to remember victims as part of a national Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco joins national COVID memorial ceremony

San Francisco took part Tuesday in the first national Memorial to Lives… Continue reading

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
With executive orders, Biden to reverse Trump policies on environment, immigration

Evan Halper Los Angeles Times President-elect Joe Biden will move swiftly to… Continue reading

Private vehicles were banned from much of Market Street in January 2020, causing bike ridership on the street to increase by 25 percent and transit efficiency by as much as 12 percent. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board approves new Better Market Street legislation

Advocates say traffic safety improvements don’t go far enough to make up for lost bikeway

The S.F. Police Department has canceled discretionary days off and will have extra officers on duty for Inauguration Day, chief Bill Scott said Tuesday. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SF ‘prepared for anything’ ahead of inauguration, but no protests expected

Authorities boosting police staffing, security at City Hall

Most Read