Settlement offered in Delaware Place lawsuit

A settlement has been offered to San Mateo resident Jennifer Diamond in her lawsuit against the city over an apartment complex she says will literally and figuratively cast her quality of life into shadows.

Although details are not available, San Mateo City Attorney Shawn Mason said a settlement was presented to Diamond, who filed the lawsuit last June to stop the development of the Delaware Place housing complex at 2090 S. Delaware St.

“The settlement is more of a new proposal, at this point, not money,” Mason said.

Diamond said she had not fully reviewed the settlement by the end of the day Wednesday.

On behalf of her neighbors in the Ironwood Homes complex on South Delaware Street, Diamond sued the city to overturn the City Council’s May 15, 2006, decision that approved a 111-unit complex project just south of the complex. The four-story building would block the sunlight many residents enjoy and tower over their homes like a wall, the suit alleged.

“With four stories surrounding us, it really will plunge us into darkness,” said Diamond, whose apartment is two stories high. “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.”

On April 11, 2006, the Planning Commission voted to reduce the complex to just 104 units and shorten the height to two and three stories along the northern border with Ironwood to minimize the shading by the building.

But that decision — which Diamond said was a better choice in hindsight — was appealed for review, both by Diamond, on the grounds ofwanting to study the project’s impact, and by Councilwoman Carole Groom.

At the May 15 meeting, Groom moved to return to the 111-unit project in hopes of bringing more affordable housing units to the city. The seven units — while potentially blocking sunlight on the Ironwood homes — would only restore one below-market-rate unit.

Associate Planner Lisa Ring said the project is on hold during the lawsuit, and any decisions on construction and demolition of the buildings at the site will have to wait until it is resolved.

“The parties are working diligently to get it resolved, so it should be happening relatively soon,” Mason said.

jgoldman@examiner.com


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