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City gets 5.4-acre housing plan; Five-story apartment building, two-story townhouses proposed near Burlingame Broadway Caltrain station

March 11, 2014 | The Daily Journal

By Angela Swartz

A proposal for a five-story apartment building with 268 units and 22 two-story townhouses on Rollins Road and Carolan Avenue near the Broadway Caltrain station was submitted to the city of Burlingame Friday.

It is one of the largest such proposals the city has seen for some time and while some seem to favor the project for its proximity to Caltrain, traffic remains a concern for others.

The Summerhill Housing Group submitted its application for approval of a new 5.4-acre apartment and townhouse development at 1008-1028 Carolan Ave. and 1007-1025 Rollins Road. This is the current site of Burlingame Hyundai, Cammisa Luxury Cars, Enterprise Car Rental and other auto-related uses. At the time of the housing element update in 2009, a multi-family zoning overlay was placed upon the site to accommodate the proposed uses. It was adopted as a policy in 2002, but the zoning was officially changed in 2010.

It’s been a long time since the city has seen a project like this, said City Planning Manager Kevin Gardiner.

“I don’t think the city has seen anything this big in a few decades,” he said. “I think it’s a combination of availability of these parcels. Existing sites available tend to be smaller and it’s an unusual collection of sizable parcels.”

Councilman Jerry Deal said it’s the perfect area for it and noted the public seems to be for the project.

“It’s close to Caltrain and with the electrification, the Broadway Station will be open,” he said. “There’s also a shuttle that stops at the Broadway Station to bring people to Millbrae.”

City staff anticipates that an Environmental Impact Report will be prepared as part of development review process. Staff also anticipates a year of processing time will be necessary to navigate the development approval process. The entire project file may be reviewed in the offices of the Community Development Department’s Planning Division, according to Community Development Director Bill Meeker.

There’s no set idea of an opening date of the development if approved by the city, said Elaine Breeze, vice president of development at Summerhill. It’s a wonderful location for additional housing though, she said.

“We’re excited by this opportunity to work with the city of Burlingame and its residents on this proposal to help meet its need for additional high-quality housing opportunities near public transportation and the Broadway Business District,” she said.

The site area includes 53.7 dwelling units per acre. Maximum height would be 63 feet for the apartments and 33 feet, six inches for the townhouses. Apartments would be five stories and townhouses would be two stories. There would be 268 rental apartment units and 22 townhouse-style units for purchase. There would be one to three-bedroom apartments and two to three-bedroom townhouses. Units would range from 696 square feet to 1,496 square feet for apartments and 1,507 square feet to 2,226 square feet for townhomes, according to the proposal submitted Friday, March 7.

The developer had a meeting with neighbors, which Councilwoman Ann Keighran and Vice Mayor Terry Nagel attended. A concern for some neighbors in the area was parking, Nagel said. Any infill development — building within unused and underutilized lands — is going to face scrutiny from neighbors, she said.

“The major feedback from neighbors is ‘there needs to be more parking,’” Nagel said. “[The developers are] very aware of that issue. It was wise of them to reach out to the community early.”

The company has proposed 524 spaces, with 466 for apartment units and 58 for the townhome-style units. There would be semi-subterranean parking for the apartments and surface parking for both the apartments and townhome units, along with individual garages for the townhouses. There would also be 144 spaces of bike parking, according to the application.

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SummerHill Homes is a nationally-recognized home builder focusing on the unique needs of the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. SHH has earned recognition and respect as one of the nation’s premier residential community builders. The company is renowned for developing specialized single-family detached and multi-family housing communities in established residential settings throughout California. Since its inception in 1976, SummerHill Homes’s goals have been to provide quality homes for its customers, Communities of Distinction for cities, and sound business opportunities for its partners.

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SummerHill Apartment Communities is the leader in providing quality, smart growth, multi-family rental housing and mixed-use developments located throughout the western United States. SHAC defines excellence in customer relationships, the quality of products and in every aspect of operations. Criteria for site development are highly selective to meet the company’s objectives. SHAC uses extensive market analysis to identify housing needs, and then customizes each development to achieve the highest potential.

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