Land can't be donated to schoolsBy Heather Murtagh
A potential 5-acre land donation to the San Bruno Park Elementary School District turned out to be a bit less appealing than it looked on paper.
The Board of Trustees heard information about the possible donation of 5-acre parcel close to Rollingwood School. The hillside property, however, could be a liability to the district and is a block away from Rollingwood Elementary School. That would leave board members in favor of a monetary donation if the site should be sold but hesitant to take on legal responsibility.
Currently the vacant lot, located on Fernwood and Fleetwood drives, is the property of Sensory Awareness in Language Learning. Started in the early 1980s, the center was a nonprofit that worked with autistic children. The land was donated by a developer whose child was helped by the program, but never developed, said Michael Pearson, the lawyer representing the group.
"Even if the district wants to find a developer and sell it for the money, that's OK," said Pearson.
The learning group has since finished its work and will soon be disbanding. Donating the land would be the easiest way for the group to get rid of the property. If the group sold it there would need to be a purpose for the money, but the group would be dissolved, said Pearson.
However, the hillside property brought on legal problems in the past when it was the subject of a lawsuit in 2001 due to slippage and failure to support the uphill neighboring properties. The case was settled in 2003.
Superintendent David Hutt read a letter from City Manager Connie Jackson which said city workers who surveyed the area found some slide activity which showed some slope instability of the property still.
The school district was not the first group approached for a possible donation, said Pearson. San Bruno Mountain Watch didn't want to take on the liability of the property. The San Bruno Park Board of Trustees agreed, but would still love to see a donation.
"If you sell it, we'd still like a chance to take the money," said Board President Chuck Zelnik.
Copyright ©2006 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 04/06/2006.