Brendan P. Bartholomew/Special to the S.F. ExaminerThe "Transit Village" project would construct townhomes and single-family dwellings on a 1.7-acre parcel of former farmland.

Some neighbors object to proposed transit village on farmland parcel

One of the last remaining patches of South San Francisco farmland may soon be replaced by a 34-unit housing development, but it's not the potential loss of local history that's stirring up concerns for some neighbors.

The proposed development at 1256 Mission Road would transform the adjacent Edgewood Way from a quiet cul-de-sac into a thoroughfare serving as a point of entry to the new housing complex, say some Edgewood Way homeowners who have voiced objections to the plan.

Designed by developer City Ventures to be a “transit village,” the project would construct townhomes and single-family dwellings on a 1.7-acre parcel of former farmland about a block south of a nearby BART station. In addition to using the 1200 block of Edgewood Way, motorists would also access the development via entrances on Mission Road and Baywood Avenue.

Adam Ornellas is among the homeowners who oppose turning Edgewood Way into a through street, citing safety concerns, as his grandchildren often play in front of his home. Ornellas also fears that the value of his home would drop if his street ceased to be a cul-de-sac. “I bought this home 38 years ago because it was on a dead-end street,” he noted.

Another resident opposing the proposed alteration is Laura Fanella, who said a city staff report on the matter incorrectly referred Edgewood Way as “Edgewood Avenue.” She said this creates the impression that the change from a dead-end to a through street is inevitable.

Fanella, Ornellas, and others have also complained that while the city has always placed a 25-foot height limit on proposed add-ons to their homes, City Ventures is receiving a concession and being allowed to build to a height of 35 feet in exchange for including below-market-rate housing units in the project.

Some neighbors adjacent to the property have taken issue with the proposed 35-foot height, saying it would block views from their homes.

The South San Francisco Planning Commission recently approved the project in a 6-1 vote. Commissioner Carlos Martin, who voted against the project, acknowledged that it is consistent with the city's plan to add density to transit-friendly locations in order to meet sustainability and affordability goals.

However, Martin said he opposed the project because he felt it didn't include enough open space.

Mayor Richard Garbarino said he supports the development, partly because its close proximity to BART and SamTrans routes has the potential to keep many cars off the road. He stressed, however, that the proposal has not yet been approved by the City Council, and that approval might depend on how well City Ventures addresses residents' concerns about the project.

“We're not a rubber stamp,” the mayor said.

City Ventures did not respond to multiple interview requests.

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