Some supporters of San Mateo’s old Ice Center are gearing up for another battle as the owners of the Bridgepointe Shopping Center have submitted a second pre-application to amend the site’s general plan to construct retail space and defer a recreational use elsewhere.
Bridgepointe’s owner SPI Holdings submitted a pre-application to the city’s Planning Department March 12 citing the need to keep up with market demand and suggesting the city decide how much money it would like to see in lieu of the ice rink and how it would like to spend it.
This is the second time SPI submitted a pre-application after withdrawing its first in April 2013 citing the need to evaluate additional recreational uses that it could provide for citizens, according to a letter submitted to the city.
This second pre-application is slightly different and gives the city more authority and the public the opportunity to provide input, said Tricia Schimpp, planner for the city.
“It’s similar in that they would like to have recreational improvements built off site,” Schimpp said. “In the previous [pre-application] it seemed like there was some discussion about artificial turf and restrooms and other improvements such as that. This time there’s not specific improvements, it would be up to the city what kind of recreational improvements they would utilize the recreation fee for.”
The site’s master plan calls for an ice rink or a similar use as it was amended in 1998 when Fashion Island and the old Ice Chalet closed down. SPI ended its lease with the Ice Center closing it in May 2013.
Many members of the public were outraged and say the owners are trying to go back on their promise to abide by the terms of their use.
“The ice rink was the community benefit per [California Environmental Quality Act] that allowed Bridgepointe to be built,” said Julie McAuliffe, whose family used the rink. “This developer wants retail there because they’ll make a lot more money with retail, but they bought the property when there was an ice rink knowing that that was the land use’s restriction and it still is.”
McAuliffe’s son used to play hockey at the rink and she must now travel to Cupertino, Dublin and Vacaville each week so he can play. She and 10,000 others have signed petitions and joined a Facebook page supporting the rink remaining, McAuliffe said.
The city forbid Bridgepointe from tearing down the rink and the freezing equipment is still there, McAuliffe said. She and others will continue to push for it to reopen, McAuliffe said.
No specifics have been discussed as this pre-application stage is about gauging public and city input, Schimpp said.
“It’s really an opportunity for the public to make known what they want in these first steps,” Schimpp said.
Community meetings and planning study sessions will be held, the schedule of which will be outlined on the city’s website in the next few days, Schimpp said.
SPI Holdings representatives did not return calls for comment.
For more information visit the What’s Happening Page on the city’s site at www.cityofsanmateo.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106