San Mateo resident alters development’s construction

One homeowner’s persistence has prevented her neighborhood from being cast into the shadows by an 111-unit housing project planned for next door.

Monday night, the San Mateo City Council unanimously approved a revised site plan for the Delaware Place project that would lower the north end of the site, the section that borders resident Jennifer Diamond and her neighbors in the Ironwood Homes complex.

The 111-unit complex of primarily two-bedroom homes will now be four stories on the south end and two or three stories at points along the north end.

The new design resolves Diamond’s lawsuit against the city that alleges residents were misled by the notice from May 15, 2006. Although the Planning Commission had approved the 104-unit design, appeals by residents and Councilwoman Carole Groom allowed the council to approve the original 111-unit design, which Diamond said came as a shock to residents who believed they had been spared the extra seven units.

“That was a very difficult vote that we took last time,” said Mayor Jack Matthews. “And here we ended up with what is to me the best of both worlds. We still got the extra units and the one below-market rate unit.”

Had the council not approved the new plan — which Diamond agreed not to contest as part of the lawsuit resolution — the city wouldhave needed to start the entire project process over from the May 15 approval stage, where the alleged infraction occurred, City Attorney Shawn Mason said.

Diamond — unable to attend the meeting because of a business travel commitment — said she is still concerned by the overall density of the project and the time and money she had to spend fighting the plan.

“This settlement will reduce, but not fully mitigate, the considerable shadowing effect on the south side of Ironwood. It does nothing to stop the shadowing on the west side of Ironwood, and it does nothing to remove my concerns about the direction and motivations of this City Council,” Diamond said in a written statement.

In June, Diamond, whose apartment is two stories high, said “we’ll have no sunshine for three seasons out of four, none in our homes through our windows, none warming our cold houses in the winter, spring or fall, none on our plants.”

Delaware Place project details

ADDRESS: 2090 S. Delaware St.

SIZE: 2.73 total acres

» 190,753 square feet of building space

» 19,908 square feet of open space

HEIGHT: 35-feet tall along South Delaware Street, 42-feet elsewhere

Units:

One bedroom: 23

Two bedroom: 74

Three bedroom: 14

jgoldman@examiner.com

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