Foster City inches closer to development of publicly owned site 

Foster City is a few steps away from a possible recommendation to develop 15 acres of mostly vacant land into senior housing and commercial property.

The 15-acre development would transform a city-owned lot near the Foster City Government Center into a hub of 414 housing units — some of which will be designated for assisted living — and 70,000 square feet of retail space, as well as public open space that includes a town square.

Of the 414 units, 196 will be condominiums for sale — potential owners must be over 55 to purchase a unit — and the remainder will be rental units, carrying a minimum age restriction of 62. Of the rental units, 66 will be designated affordable housing and overseen by the Mid-Peninsula Housing Corp.

At a recent Planning Commission meeting, city staff presented the 440-page draft environmental impact report — a state-mandated step for such developments — that outlined the project's potential impacts on the surrounding community. Of the potential impacts, the commission found only two that were almost unavoidable after implementing mitigation measures.

The two impacts — noise from the construction, and the use of the land — are nearly unavoidable, according to officials.

Significantly, the commission found that there were no impacts of consequence to traffic or air quality, said Julie Moloney, a senior planner with Foster City. Because the development will impact neither, regional agencies will likely not be involved. Involving such agencies can often slow any proposed development, Moloney said.

The New Home Co., which is leading the proposed development, is likely to be one of many developers who will ultimately build and manage the project, Moloney said. Different phases of the project and different buildings will be managed by various entities, she said.

Currently the only structure on the site is a temporary firehouse, and as part of the plan the city would sell the lot to the New Home Co.

At an earlier point some residents had urged the school district to build a high school on the lot, Moloney said, but plans never went forward. The issue has not resurfaced, Moloney said.

"We've done a lot of outreach, and we've made a lot of people in the community aware of the project," Moloney said.

Planning Commission staff hope to hold a public hearing Aug. 15. Following the public hearing, the commission will make a recommendation to the City Council at the Sept. 16 session, Moloney said.

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