Neighbors could keep green home from being built

Burlingame, a city that prides itself on being environmentally friendly, faces a decision tonight on whether to approve construction of a resident’s green home or side with his disgruntled neighbors.

After a year of work and more than a month of Planning Commission meetings, Mike Kerwin was given approval to substantially upgrade his hillside home on Margarita Avenue off Skyline Boulevard. The house would feature recycled blue-jean denim insulation, wooden floors made from reclaimed mine timbers and solar panels to heat domestic water.

Kerwin, a San Francisco green builder with LORAX Development, is set to become the first Burlingame homeowner to comply with the GreenPoint rated system, an environmental grade given by a third-party organization called Build It Green.

But before Kerwin can renovate the home for himself, his wife and his daughter, the City Council must block appeal efforts made by his neighbors who say the changes would block their views and disturb the “rhythm” in the neighborhood.

Neighbors also thought their efforts to “preserve the neighborhood” were being overlooked because the city is pushing a so-called green agenda, they alleged.

It should, however, be especially difficult for the neighbors to win because new Councilmember Jerry Deal will not be able to vote. Deal was on the Planning Commission during the initial review and voted against the project. If the vote is tied, the Planning Commission’s ruling for Kerwin will stand because a majority is needed to overturn the ruling.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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