Just how big a problem is the dearth of available housing on the Peninsula these days?
It’s reached the point where the recent approval of a modest South San Francisco development drew effusive praise from a City Council member — who actually voted against it.
Mark Addiego was the lone dissenter at last month’s meeting where the five-member council approved the 35-unit development on a patch of farmland at 1256 Mission Road that’s practically a stone’s throw from the city’s BART station.
The vice mayor supported an alternative proposal that he said would have mitigated some of the anticipated congestion concerns of neighbors on adjacent Edgewood Way, as well as offered emergency responders better access to the area.
But with developers eagerly trying to cash in on a torrid tech-fueled rental market, even those with some reservations about the new housing project have been encouraged that the Industrial City can now claim to be one of the few Peninsula towns rolling out the welcome mat to some middle-class families.
“The great thing about the project is that of all the projects planned in South City — and there must be like a thousand planned for the next couple of years — this is the only one that’s going to be for sale,” Addiego said. “Everything else is rental because everyone else is chasing the crazy rental market.”
He continued: “City Ventures [the developer] I think is good for South City generally because they’re going to build homes that [middle-class] people can actually buy hopefully. They’re talking in the $700,000 range, so hopefully some ‘real people’ can afford those homes.”
The developer expects to break ground on the 1.7-acre parcel by the end of this year, South San Francisco Mayor Richard Garbarino said. The project will take about 18 months to complete.
The development will feature a mix of townhomes and single-family dwellings. Of the 35 total units, seven will be sold below market rate as designated affordable units.
The below-market-rate component triggered a state-mandated density bonus allowing the developer to exceed the city’s zoning regulations limiting new Mission Road developments that abut existing housing units to 25 feet.
Developers who designate at least 20 percent of the proposed units as affordable qualify for the bonus. The approved development will reach 35 feet in some areas. Some Edgewood Way neighbors had voiced concerns about the height of the project that Addiego said he shares.
“I understand what the state’s trying to accomplish, but at the same time, the zoning that the city put together I think was more workable for this neighborhood,” he said. “The city couldn’t control the height of the entire project. We were preempted by state law.”
That’s the main reason he had hoped to persuade the rest of the council to move towards an alternative proposal that would have diverted traffic to Mission Road, he said.
“They’ll still have the complete impact of the 35-foot height alongside their single-story, single-family homes, but they wouldn’t have had to deal with the traffic up and down their street,” Addiego said. “I thought there was a balance there that would have been more equitable.”