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Skyline College housing receives final approval

March 6, 2018 | The Daily Journal

Skyline College housing receives final approval

San Bruno City Council OKs residential development at community college

By Austin Walsh

Following a brief hiccup temporarily waylaying a residential development proposed on the Skyline College campus, San Bruno officials approved the project considered an asset for attracting quality teachers.

The San Bruno City Council unanimously approved Tuesday, Feb. 27, SummerHill Homes’ offer to build 70 units, some of which will be reserved for school teachers, at the 3300 College Drive campus.

The decision comes roughly one month after a project critic suggested the campus building would pose a threat to garter snakes and red-legged frogs believed to live in the area. The proposal was up for approval, but was pulled from the agenda to grant time for further study.

Following extensive studies, city staffers suggested the challenges raised to the environmental review process were invalid, clearing the way for the final approval, said Mayor Rico Medina.

With the development slated to move ahead, Medina said he believes it will ultimately offer benefits to the school and larger San Bruno community.

“It’s bringing much-needed housing to the college,” he said.

The San Mateo County Community College District is partnering with developer SummerHill Homes to built the development across an 8-acre site on the campus. Thirty of the units will be set aside at an affordable rate as workforce housing for district employees, and the other 40 are proposed on a separate but nearby development as single-family homes. School officials approved last year selling a majority of the lot on the campus to finance construction of the workforce housing.

The multi-unit developments for teachers would be housed in two 15-unit buildings, with a community amenity area, surface parking areas and landscaped common open space, according to city report.

The district agreed to set aside at an affordable rate for the next 55 years 11 of the units, 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.

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 San Bruno development will grow the college district’s housing stock, as similar developments already stand on the Cañada College and College of San Mateo campuses. Officials have said the developments are immensely popular, and serve as an effective recruiting tool for teachers concerned about grappling with the local housing market’s cost.

Elaine Breeze, vice president of development for the builder, spoke to the value offered by the housing to the district.

“The district’s housing projects, already operating on Cañada College and College of San Mateo campuses, have been successful in recruiting and retaining faculty and staff, and have eliminated over 900,000 in staff commute miles according to the district,” Breeze said in an email.

Medina said at the meeting, educators testified to their experience living in the district’s other affordable housing developments, and credited the opportunity with their ability to save toward a down payment on a home of their own.

Alternatively, he said there was no opposition expressed by community members to the development, which he interpreted as a testament to the extensive outreach offered by the developer and college district through the application process.

He also said the developer amended project plans to reflect feedback from neighbors, while also offering a variety of additional amenities nearby such as a new park, bike lanes connecting to Skyline Boulevard, a hiking trial connection and neighborhood sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.

“I think they listened and I think that’s what it is all about — being a good neighbor,” he said.

Vice Mayor Laura Davis was absent from the meeting and did not vote on the issue.


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.


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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