Proposal for former County Times lot met with concern

Concerns about parking and traffic loom over the 81 town homes, seven commercial buildings and two duplexes proposed for the 3.5-acre lot inhabited by the vacant San Mateo County Times building in San Mateo.

If the plan were approved, the Times building would be demolished. A San Francisco-based developer has filed a preliminary application to develop the lot, which can be seen from Highway 101 near the Third Avenue interchange, and will present its plan to nearby residents tonight at a neighborhood meeting.

Phil Kerr, vice president of developer Intracorp, said he didn’t yet know how the two- to three-bedroom town homes might be priced, but said they would be comparable to homes in the surrounding neighborhood, which he said go for $500,000 to $1 million.

The seven commercial lofts would be lined up along Amphlett Blvd, facing the freeway, to serve as a noise barrier and “transition” between the industrial area on that street and the town homes behind it.

It’s unclear so far what reception the proposed development may receive.

Former Planning Commissioner Bertha Sanchez said she’s concerned that San Mateo is losing too many of its commercial spaces to housing developments.

“Always putting in more housing, housing, housing in is not helping us, because housing costs us more in terms of city services, whereas businesses bring the city tax revenue,” she said.

Chris Bruce, president of an engineering firm about a block away from the Times building, said his initial reaction to the project is that it would be OK, as long as it didn’t affect the already difficult parking situationon the street. But, he said, he wants to learn more about the proposal before making a final judgment.

“I’m not necessarily against it, but I think the devil’s in the details a lot of the time,” he said.

Residents interested in learning more about the project are invited to attend a neighborhood meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at the Central Park Recreation Center.

kworth@examiner.com

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