San Mateo green development plan spurred by neighbors 

A proposed 52-unit apartment complex in San Mateo that would bring green energy and high-density housing is heading to the Planning Commission this week.

The project — located at 120 Tilton Ave., known as Magnolia Terrace — will include solar panels and green building material during construction, as well as a water system to catch rainwater and irrigate the property.

“We’re learning a lot as we go,” owner and developer Tim O’Riordan said. “We’re using solar-thermal heating and cleaner sustainable products.”

O’Riordan said using any green material is new for him, but noted neighbors had requested the project meet green requirements.

Julia Yeh, San Mateo’s associate planner, said many of the solar panels and green buildings meet the green checklist the city recently adopted, requiring all new construction meet green standards. But she said the water harvesting system is something new.

“It’s not required,” Yeh said. “But it’s something the developer wanted to do because it’s green and more sustainable, and a way to reuse water without having to tap into the drinking water.”

The development will include an underground parking structure, she said, to provide additional parking for potential residents.

The 52 units will range in size from 800 square feet to 1,400 square feet. Four of the units will be affordable housing, O’Riordan said.

O’Riordan said he hopes to break ground this year or early next year, depending on permit approvals and the economic climate.

Resident John Margaroni said his property shares a line with Magnolia Terrace. Though he is concerned about the number of units being built, he said he’s pleased the developer has decided to lower the height of the units and set it back farther from the street.

“We don’t want a big Costco built next to us,” he said.

Margaroni said the property has hosted abandoned buildings for years and noted this development would be an improvement.
The San Mateo County Planning Commission will also consider proposals for a new $3.5 million fire station on West 31st Street.

The current station, No. 23, will be torn down and replaced with a state-of-the-art facility, fire department officials said.

The city’s five stations are being remodeled, replaced or upgraded with funds from the Measure C property tax.

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