Most of the 35-acre city-owned San Juan Hills property in Belmont will likely be preserved as open space if the council votes in that direction tonight but Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach wants to make sure the action will protect the land forever from development by future councils.
Feierbach also wants the extra income generated from the sale of about two developable acres in the hilly area to be set aside to purchase even more land in the Skymont area to preserve it as open space.
The city bought the property by taking out a $1.5 million loan in 2009 and is currently under contract to sell about eight acres of it to potential buyer Shikui Chen for a little more than $2 million.
Feierbach wants the extra $500,000 generated from the sale to go toward purchasing more open space land in the Skymont area and/or to use the money to improve Marsten Avenue.
“I don’t think this money should be spent outside of that area,” she told the Daily Journal Monday.
She also wants to know what degree of legal protection the land will have if it is designated open space as compared to parkland.
The property has a total of 87 plots included in the purchase that the city bid on in an auction held by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Much of the property is on steep slopes and is considered undevelopable and the remainder of the open space will be connected to Belmont’s trail system in the hills. About 22 acres are actually suitable to develop on Bishop Road and Marsten and Ralston avenues, according to city staff.
Chen plans to build three homes on the two acres on Bishop Road and preserve the other six acres as open space, according to city staff.
Feierbach’s main concern is that a future council does not undo all the work councils in the past have made to permanently protect the canyon lands.
The Belmont City Council meets 7:30 p.m., tonight, City Hall, 1 Twin Pines Lane, Belmont.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106