The Foster City Planning Commission praised the plans for a public park in the Pilgrim Triton Phase C development, but some commissioners were concerned that the buildings are too monotonous and contain insufficient parking.
Those comments were made at a Thursday, Dec. 20, study session held several months after the controversial development was approved.
Pilgrim Triton Phase C is the last remaining phase of the Pilgrim Triton Master Plan Area and Sares Regis will develop the 4.78-acre site. The project is located at 551-565 Pilgrim Drive and 1159 Triton Drive, and entails 70 for-sale townhomes with 22 workforce-housing units for first responders and other city employees.
“The main concern I have is the lack of identification on the buildings on Pilgrim Drive, the monotony of it, the lack of variety on height and even articulation,” said Commissioner Noemi Avram. “It’s not a matter of changing any of the footprint, I think it’s a matter of treating the facades as identifying. If I were to live there I’d go ‘which one is mine.’ There’s not way of identifying because they’re all kind of the same. … Articulating the roofs would help.”
She also criticized the materials and profile of the workforce housing and compared it to a mausoleum.
Commissioner Paul Williams wanted to see more effort put into the ends of the townhomes.
“For me it’s about what you see from the streets and when you drive by it. … When I look down Hillsdale, I just see an end of a building. I don’t see something exciting, I don’t see the articulation as the fronts have, I don’t see height variation and for me that’s a problem,” he said. “To me it doesn’t have enough front-end of the building for me to say I’d like to be seeing that as I drive by.”
Several commissioners praised the colors of the buildings and described them as compatible with the neighborhood, but Chairman Dan Dyckman was not one of them.
“I’m so tired of earth tones,” he said. “I have no problem with a little color.”
He also wants to see the balconies enlarged so that they can at least accommodate a chair, for example, and be useful to residents.
“Something that you can barely fit a pot on just so we can throw up something that gives you articulation — I think you can cantilever stuff pretty good without having to use supports and actually make it functional rather than something to meet a requirement for articulation,” he said.
Dyckman also wants to see more internal parking in the development, echoing a concern brought up by Commissioner Rick Wykoff.
“I don’t agree with the concept of recommending to the council that they allow any waiver from what’s required [for parking],” he said, adding that he doesn’t want to see a segment of Triton Drive and the parking spots it provides to transition from public to private ownership, as is the current plan. “I would hope that there won’t be a waiver from the required parking. … If you have to reduce the townhomes by one to allow for more parking, that doesn’t bother me so much as to make sure we get the parking off the streets because there are real problems.”
The park, which will be privately owned and maintained but accessible to the public, is one feature praised by all commissioners. The existing park will be doubled in size to about one acre.
“Triton Park becomes the crown-jewel centerpiece of the neighborhood, it’s the thing that knits everything together, the different uses of the retail, housing surrounding it and also becomes the icon of the neighborhood,” said Andrew Turco, assistant vice president for residential multifamily development at Sares Regis.
The park is designed for unstructured recreation such as yoga or picnicking rather than organized sports; the layout would not accommodate a soccer field, for example. A hardscape plaza will be located within the park near existing retail spaces, complete with seating areas, tables and outdoor gathering spaces. And a play structure will be located near the townhomes. The park is also meant to accommodate pop-up events such as a farmers’ market.
Commissioners also agreed with staff that the workforce housing development should feature security doors or a gate, and they also feel a fence should be raised to 42 inches around the townhomes to cover up air conditioning units.
“Overall it’s a good working plan,” Williams said. “I think the bones are there.”
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102