Carl Sandburg property escrow closesBy Todd R. Brown
The San Bruno Park School District is $30 million richer, and the pool of affordable housing in the city should grow, thanks to a deal to develop an old school site into a new subdivision.
Elaine Breeze, senior vice president for developer SummerHill Homes, announced at Wednesday's school board meeting that the company closed escrow on the Carl Sandburg School property last week, paving the way for 70 elite homes to go up in the Rollingwood neighborhood.
The three- to five-bedroom houses will sell for more than a million dollars each, but SummerHill will deposit nearly $30,000 per home into the city's affordable-housing fund to offset the lack of below-market-rate (BMR) units on the property, officials said.
"It doesn't make sense to subsidize a person to move into a million-dollar home," said Mark Sullivan, San Bruno's housing and redevelopment manager.
He said the per-home fees likely would go toward transit-oriented development near the downtown intersection of San Bruno and San Mateo avenues, where a rebuilt Caltrain station is planned, possibly by 2011.
There are only 60 below-market-rate units in the 40,000-population city, but Sullivan said about 325 more are in the pipeline, and he is drafting an ordinance that would require 15 percent of new housing developments in San Bruno to be designated as affordable. The proposal could go before the City Council in the next few months.
Most of the affordable units being built will be clustered at The Crossing, a transit village on El Camino Real near I-380. Elsewhere, more than 60 of the 510 apartments to be built near Skyline College at the demolished Treetops Apartments will be affordable.
The 60 BMR units now available at The Crossing are for very-low-income residents, Sullivan said, meaning occupants have to make 50 percent or less of the median income in the county, currently $95,000 for a family of four.
Some neighbors of the Sandburg school site, at 2396 Evergreen Drive, have objected to the development plan because of worries about a potential parking crunch and increased rush-hour traffic.
Maria Jacobs of Evergreen Drive called Merimount's design "a 70-home cul-de-sac" because it will have only one entry and egress for the public, but planning officials and the council signed off on the layout in the fall.
Besides adding to the affordable housing fund, the SummerHill project will contribute $2.5 million for the city's parks, according to Aaron Aknin, San Bruno's interim community development director. That includes a spruced-up, 10,000-square-foot public park at Merimount.
San Bruno schools Superintendent David Hutt said the $30 million infusion for the district is earmarked for capital improvements, from building upgrades to field improvements.
A study session to get public input on how to spend the money is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at the district office, 500 Acacia Ave.
In the meantime, Hutt said the money is accruing 4.25 to 4.5 percent interest annually.
"Today, we're good," he said.
Copyright ©2007 San Mateo County Times. Published 01/19/2007.