Health hazards a sticking point for development 

A developer’s efforts to reduce impact to existing residential homes during construction may not be enough, neighbors say, unless mechanisms are put in place to oversee the work being done.

San Mateo Real Estate and Construction — which is developing the 13.25-acre property, known as Ascension Heights — reduced the number of lots after residents complained of potential health hazards resulting in truck traffic and dirt removal.

The project is located just outside San Mateo city limits and is bordered by College of San Mateo Drive, Parrott Drive, Bel Aire Road and Ascension Drive.

According to planning documents, developers had hoped to build 29 single-family homes on the steep, hilly plot. The Planning Commission, though, rejected that proposal earlier this year.

Developers this month met with neighborhood groups for the first time to discuss changes to the proposed project.

Jerry Ozanne, president of the Baywood Park Homeowners Association, said the developer reduced the plan to build 29 homes on the steep slope to only 21. He said the developer claims it would reduce dirt movement by 50 percent.

The new plan, however, has not been submitted to San Mateo County for review.

Ozanne said the community group has not made a decision on the revised plan, but will discuss it and consider a counterproposal to the updated plan.

“Some of it is still on some pretty steep ground,” he said. “We will look at and come up with a counter-
proposal.”

San Mateo Real Estate and Construction could not be reached for comment.

Ozanne said the community group supports changes to the project, but hoped the county would set up a committee to ensure the agreement to reduce the dirt work stays in place.

The homeowners’ association had concerns over the potential health risks for nearby residents breathing in dirt while work on the project took place.

According to the environmental impact documents approved in November, 131,000 cubic yards of dirt will be removed from the site in 6,000 truckloads because the hill the development would sit on is too steep and needs to be graded.

County officials had said tarps and other mitigating mechanisms would be placed over the dirt to minimize effects.

It is unknown if the project will need a new environmental review.

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Michael Daboll

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