Neighbors’ worries stunt San Mateo condos' height

Like many of his Tilton Terrace neighbors, Doug McCool is concerned that the 51-unit, three-story Tilton Apartments project will tower over his two-story home, block sunlight and bring more traffic to the area around Tilton Avenue and North San Mateo Drive.

The project’s architects — John A. Matthews Architects, owned by Mayor Jack Matthews — have modified the plans following study sessions, the latest on Tuesday night. They have reduced theheight on two corners to two stories and changed the shape of the complex from an “O” with a center courtyard to an “I” with courtyards on two sides. Matthews said they may also trim one or two units off the project before it returns to a Planning Commission meeting.

Although the project is only 30 feet tall and developer Tim O’Riordan was commended for improving the project, residents and commissioners are still concerned about the size of the building.

The commission asked O’Riordan and Matthews’ architect John Lucchesi to work on improving what commissioners call a “blocky” roof line on the design plans. The project currently is broken occasionally by chimneys and “dormers,” lofts with windows that jut out from the roof.

“Putting dormers just gives you a monolithic roof with bumps on it,” Commission Robert Gooyer said.

The area around Tilton Avenue and North San Mateo Drive also has two other high-density projects in the works: the Monte Diablo and North San Mateo Drive condominiums. At each meeting for those projects, residents have expressed similar concerns.

“I think the city really needs to take a look at what they’re trying to do,” McCool said. “I know they’re trying to better the area … but I think they better slow down and smell the roses, they’re allowing too much.”

Tilton Apartments by the numbers

33,587: square feet

3 : tories, excluding corner units

51: units

37: one-bedroom units

14: two-bedroom units

98: parking spaces

2: levels of underground parking

– Source: City of San Mateo

jgoldman@examiner.com

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