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New housing on school site moves ahead

November 24, 2017 | The Daily Journal

By Austin Walsh

An effort to build housing at Skyline College moved ahead as the San Bruno Planning Commission unanimously approved the local community college’s proposal.
Commissioners voted in favor of recommending the construction of 70 housing units at 3300 College Drive, some of which will be reserved for San Mateo County Community College District teachers.
Though the project still needs to move onto the City Council for final approval, school district spokesman Mitch Bailey lauded the recent decision as a win for the local education community.
“This new development will bring much needed housing to the area and the 30 apartments being developed by the district will be rented at below-market rates for our faculty and staff,” he said in an email. “In addition to the thousands of commute miles avoided by employees who will live near where they work, the avoided commutes will allow them additional time to be more engaged with the college community and San Bruno community.”
The district is partnering with developer SummerHill Homes, which will construct the additional 40 proposed units in a separate but nearby project as single-family homes spread across 6 acres on the northern parcel of the 8-acre site.
School officials approved last year selling a majority of the lot on the campus to finance construction of the workforce housing to expand the residential development that officials consider an asset in recruiting and retaining teaching talent. The district already has 104 units spread across similar projects on the College of San Mateo and Cañada College campuses.
Beyond offering value to the district and a region starved for housing, nearby residents will enjoy the development of two new neighborhood parks, plus landscaping and infrastructure improvements, according to a city report.
Bailey said the district has engaged in a long community outreach effort and garnered support not only from city officials but also neighbors to the proposed development.
“We have incorporated feedback from the community into our plans and we will continue to conduct community outreach as we move forward with this exciting project,” he said.
The single-family homes are proposed to be two stories with between three to five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage, according to a city report. The home designs include floor plans spanning from 2,890 square feet to 3,185 square feet.
The multi-unit developments would be housed in two 15-unit buildings, with a community amenity area, surface parking areas and landscaped common open space, according to the report.
The district agreed to set aside for the next 55 years 11 of the units at an affordable rate, six of which would be for low-income workers and the rest for moderate-income employees. The district also agreed to pay a $320,000 affordable housing impact fee, in lieu of one very-low-income unit.
As many school districts across San Mateo County scramble to hire qualified teachers due to the exorbitant cost of living, community college district officials have been recognized as local leaders in development of workforce housing to ease the burden.
Bailey expects the project will return before the City Council for final approval early next year.
An earlier district report touts the development as a win-win both for the district and the entire San Bruno community.
“This project is an exciting opportunity for the San Mateo County Community College District and its employees, SummerHill Homes and San Bruno’s Skyline College neighborhood supporting the goals of both the city of San Bruno and the San Mateo County Community College District,” according to the report.

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