Colma BART development near gets boostBy Matthew Artz
A proposed development that would replace a mobile home park with 170 affordable apartments beside the Colma BART station got a $500,000 boost from county lawmakers last week.
"This gives us the capital to really move this project forward," said Ben Metcalf, project manager with BRIDGE Housing, the nonprofit developer behind the proposed Colma Transit Village housing project.
BRIDGE envisions breaking ground in mid-2007 on a $58 million, four-story apartment building that would house families earning roughly half the county's average income, including many residents at Meadowbrook Mobile Home Manor, which has been at the development site for decades.
County leaders are bullish on the proposal, citing the goal of building high-density housing near BART stations.
But several of the 83 mobile home residents have been reluctant to leave, and Colma officials, who have no say over the development on county-controlled land, are concerned the project is too dense. "I think we're pretty congested already," Vice Mayor Frossanna Vallerga said.
At 170 housing units over 2.7 acres fronting El Camino Real, Colma Transit Village would be more than twice as dense as any project permitted under city zoning rules, Colma City Planner Andrea Ouse said.
The project, though, is still a long way from being built. BRIDGE must now use the $500,000 grant to leverage money from private donors. Metcalf said rising construction costs will force BRIDGE to request more than $1.2 million in additional county funding.
Although he could offer no guarantees, Metcalf presumed that residents at the mobile home park would get first options on renting apartments at the development. "We will ensure that everyone will be made economically whole," he said.
Copyright ©2005 Peninsula Examiner. Published 12/15/2005.