Affordable housing on the table 

Plans to develop the former site of the San Mateo Police Station are moving forward as the city’s planning commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday about the site.

San Mateo hopes to build up to 120 apartment units on the 2.1-acre site, located at 2000 S. Delaware St.

The city purchased the land for $6 million in 2007. Officials had decided to create affordable-housing units after the Police Department moved to its $58 million facility less than one mile away last year.

Currently, the project will have 54 affordable-housing units and 60 market-price units, according to plans on San Mateo’s Web site.

Darcy Forsell, associate planner for the city, said concerns over space for parking brought the number of units down by six, but noted the City Council wants to have the maximum number of affordable apartments.

“Mixed use is what the council is looking for,” she said. “But when you start looking at projects, you need to fit everything in, such as open space, setbacks and parking. The project allows for 1.54 parking spaces per unit, which cuts into the number of apartments.”

Affordable apartments are typically for those who earn 30 to 40 percent of the median income for the entire Bay Area, Forsell said.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Bay Area’s median income is $91,900.

Sandy Council, interim manager of San Mateo’s Department of Neighborhood Improvement and Housing, said the need for affordable housing in San Mateo is huge.

“For some sort of government assistance with housing, there’s a waiting list of three to five years,” she said.

Mike Wiley, a private developer with Palo Alto Partners, said the market-rate units will be affordable to working individuals and families, instead of luxury apartments.

Wiley hopes to begin construction by June 2011. Before that can happen however, Palo Alto Partners and the Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition — the developer of the affordable-housing units — need to submit a formal application to the city, undergo review and obtain permits.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, the developers can move toward the formal application, which they hope to complete in March, Forsell said.


Site development

$6 million: Price tag for land

2.1: Acres in property

120: Maximum apartments planned

60: Units to be listed at market value

54: Units listed as affordable housing

Source: San Mateo Planning Department

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