Commission OKs development on school site 

The former Millbrae School is on its way to becoming the city’s newest 37 homes, after the Planning Commission on Monday gave its unanimous approval to the major subdivision.

The commission held its first public hearing on the project Monday and easily passed the project after months of study sessions hashing out design details.

The cash-strapped Millbrae School District declared the long-empty school site, located at 1 Alp Way, surplus property in 2005 and agreed last year to sell the property for $20.1 million as part of a fiscal recovery plan. Danville-based developer Braddock and Logan proposed turning the 10.7-acre site into 37 single-family homes, a project that had earned kudos from commissioners over the last several months.

"There was a lot of work to get to where we are tonight," Braddock and Logan project manager Peter Ziblatt said Monday night.

Despite the praise, the project has not garnered support from everyone. A handful of residents livingnear the project site considered suing the developer, should the project go forward as planned. Resident Barbara Pascone, who lives with her mother, Marie, downhill from the project site, has said that the land in her area is unstable and prime for landslides.

Pascone and neighbor Catherine Lucio, both present at the meeting, said they were disappointed by the project’s approval. Both remain concerned that landslides will worsen because of it and storm water from the new development will drain into their properties by the bucket loads.

Lucio said that decades ago, the city provided her with trees to plant in her yard for the purpose of preventing slides into her property. Now, she doesn’t understand why sliding and drainage aren’t bigger issues this time around.

The developer’s initial study of the site, dated Feb. 22, found that there are potentially some active fault zones there. But further analysis found that the project is considered "feasible from a geotechnical standpoint," provided the developer take steps, like soil-repacking and constructing a retaining wall, to mitigate the potential problems. Ziblatt said that the drainage has also been taken into account and that all the runoff from the project will drain into a system located under the subdivision.

Pascone said she expects to get back in touch with her lawyer soon, after which they’ll discuss their options moving forward.

"All these issues are just being swept under the rug," Pascone said.

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