Planning has resumed for the Station Park Green site near San Mateo’s Hayward Park Caltrain station after financing delayed the large-scale transit-oriented development.
EBL&S Development submitted a pre-application to the city March 19 with a few changes, said Lorraine Weiss, a contract senior planner with the city. With the massive development regaining traction, the public will have more opportunities to weigh in on the specifics.
In January 2011, the City Council approved 12-acre Station Park Green’s Specific Plan, Design Guidelines and Development Agreement, Weiss said.
The original application called for 599 residential units, between 10,000 and 45,000 square feet of office space and between 25,000 to 60,000 square feet of retail space at 1700 S. Delaware St. and Concar Drive.
The proposed number of residential units still stands, but the developer has narrowed its plans for the Kmart site down to 10,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of retail space and has changed its parking configuration, Weiss said.
Parking was originally proposed underground, however, the pre-applications marks enclosed above-ground-wraparound parking, Weiss said. That means some parking would be within the interior of office or residential buildings, Weiss said.
The proposal also includes a 1-acre park and approximately 2 acres of open space throughout the site, Weiss said.
The pre-application looks at modifying portions of the 2011 plans, while also providing specific designs for buildings and site improvements, Weiss said.
In 2010, the developer sought to postpone construction until it could secure financing in the range of $300 million. EBL&S was unavailable for comment, however, Weiss said the annual development agreement review took place earlier this year.
As part of that 2011 agreement, EBL&S paid $1.7 million to the city, which went toward improvements along Delaware Street, said Councilman Jack Matthews said.
Station Park Green, along with a handful of nearby transit-oriented development projects such as Bay Meadows and the proposed office development near State Route 92 called the Hines project, aligns with the city’s Rail Corridor Plan, Matthews said.
With Station Park Green back on the table, Matthews said he wants to see a vibrant transit-oriented community amidst quality architectural designs.
He was active in the city’s approval of its Rail Corridor Plan in 2005 and thought it could take decades to see progress. Matthews said he is astonished at how far Bay Meadows, Station Park Green and other transit-oriented developments have come in just nine years.
“So when we made that vote [for the Rail Corridor Plan], we weren’t sure when any of this would happen. It actually happened in a much more accelerated way than we had thought,” Matthews said. “We have our vision being fulfilled more quickly than I think anyone imagined and that’s great and I’m excited about it,” Matthews said.
Parking and traffic were significant concerns during Station Park Green’s first go-around and Matthews said he’s interested in the city following up after projects are completed.
Large-scale developments typically increase traffic, however, what’s concerning are studies and projections that underestimate actual impacts, Matthews said.
“I think it’s important to follow up and see what actually happens. To see what your study says it would be, and if we find out that there’s actually more traffic than projected, then we figure out what we can do about it,” Matthews said.
Ben Toy, president of San Mateo United Homeowners Association, knows many resident naysayers fear increased traffic but says it’s time to plan for a pedestrian-centric future.
He spent many years living on 19th Avenue near the site and believes transit-oriented development will eventually alleviate the traffic Station Park Green opponents fear, Toy said.
“Do it right, a step at a time. It’s painful because as long as people still drive there’s going to be traffic. But you’ve got to start somewhere,” Toy said. “We have to be good stewards of every opportunity when we have a sizable space like that to do it right for the 21st century.”
The Greenbelt Alliance earlier endorsed the Station Park Green project and agrees contained development is better for the environment, said Matt Vander Sluis, Greenbelt Alliance regional director.
“This is an example of a well-planned development that allows for easy walking and biking creating a vibrant neighborhood while taking development pressure off of our natural lands,” Vander Sluis said.
Many residents were extremely outspoken against the project and, although some have moved away, Toy said he’s confident controversy will surface at the revival of Station Park Green plans.
No decisions are made during the pre-application stage, however, the public and the Planning Commission will be give a chance to weigh in, Weiss said.
There will be a neighborhood meeting 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 at the San Mateo Marriott, 1770 S. Amphlett Blvd. in Inspire Room 2.
The public is also invited to comment at the Planning Commission Study Session starting 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13 at City Hall.
For more information visit www.cityofsanmateo.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106