A six-story condominium of 15 units with two designated affordable units in Burlingame at 1418 Bellevue Ave. was approved after being reviewed again by the Burlingame Planning Commission with new revisions.

The Planning Commission approved a design review for the building, a condominium permit, density bonus concession for building height over 35 feet, and waivers, modifications of development standards, including setbacks to the existing and proposed building block coverage for parking changes.

“I had written that it felt like an office building. And I think that those things have been mitigated pretty well. It no longer feels like an office building, which is a really positive thing. It feels considerably more approachable and much more in tune with the neighborhood,” Vice Chair William Loftis said.

It has wood siding at the plant boxes, painted stucco, woodform concrete at the ground level, no finish frames at the Fleetwood doors and windows, yellow cedar wood trim with the clear seal and vertical blinds at the east and west facade windows to mitigate bright sun and provide privacy. There will be a garden, bicycle parking and an individual unit storage in the rear of the building of the lot, Matt Hollis, applicant and architect said.

“The prior design was criticized at the last commission hearing for looking like a downtown office building with a glass curtain wall. The black metal frame that previously dominated the facade has been replaced with the wall assembly characterized by a stucco exterior with punched openings for windows similar to the Chateau apartments and other buildings in the neighborhood,” he said.

One of the waivers they’re asking for is to use a common easement so that both of the buildings will be able to use the same driveway, and is asking for one concession at this time to zone the height to 75 feet, Philip Lesser, project manager, said.

“A lot of the infrastructure work and there’s going to be an enormous amount, will have benefit not just for this property, but also the adjacent properties, which include City Hall, the Central County Fire Department, as required that the existing building be equipped with additional fire sprinklers. So that’s going to be an additional safety for the entire block,” he said.

They also worked with the city arborist to come up with a replacement plan for the eucalyptus trees that are suffering from limb failure and the melaleuca trees that are decayed, and to add additional trees.

An email submitted as public comment by Thomas Tealdi said, “I oppose the proposed building of a six-story condominium at 1418 Bellevue Ave. Six stories is too tall. I would support a three-story building as this has historically been the maximum height in the surrounding area.”

The condominium building is on a portion of the property at 1418 Bellevue Ave., currently a 49-unit apartment building on the property. No changes are proposed to that building. The new condominium building would be built in the side yard area, which currently comprises landscape yard space and uncovered parking. It would contain an at-grade parking garage and a lobby on the ground floor, five floors above the garage and a rooftop terrace. Of the 15 units, two would be below market, affordable to moderate income households including a one-bedroom unit and a two-bedroom unit.

The below-market rate units are in the new condominium building, but the waivers that would be deemed necessary for the development of that building are considered within the context of the project as a whole.

The project would involve a lot split with the existing apartment building and the new condominium. The new cross easement is proposed for the lot split to provide shared egress and vehicle circulation for both sites.

The environmental review under California Environmental Quality Act determined the project to be eligible for a Class 32 categorical exemption for infill projects.

The Planning Commission reviewed this application as a design review study item on Sept. 28, 2020, and the applicants submitted revised plans and the materials on July 16 to address the Planning Commission’s comments and concerns.

Action by the Planning Commission can be appealed to the City Council within 10 days of the Planning Commission’s action. If the Planning Commission’s action has not been appealed or called up for review by the City Council by 5 p.m. on the 10th day, the action becomes final.

(650) 344-5200, ext. 105

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