Quarry issue back before City Council

Publisher: San Francisco Examiner
Reporter: Christine Lias

BRISBANE - The contested issue of whether to build more than 180 housing units in a former quarry is scheduled to be back before the City Council tonight after a two-month hiatus.

The council will specifically address questions and concerns raised in September from the environmental impact report. At least one member of the council, Cy Bologoff, said he expects it will be a long night and could be carried over to another meeting.

"The council has a lot of questions," Bologoff said.

So does the public. One of the more vocal opponents has been the nonprofit San Bruno Mountain Watch, which fights development on the mountainside. Executive Director Philip Batchelder sent a city a 16-page letter, written by his attorney, outlining questions raised during the Sept. 12 meeting.

He also predicts the meeting will require a sequel, Batchelder said. The council has yet to approve the environmental report, and action is not scheduled for tonight's meeting.

At issue are plans, years in the making, to build 129 single-family homes and 54 condominiums on land owned by California Rock and Asphalt Inc. Twenty-eight of the units will be sold as affordable housing.

The "One Quarry Road Residential Project" would entail the discontinuation of quarry operations and reclamation of land. Along with housing, the project calls for a soccer field, new walking trail, habitat restoration and $7.2 million gift to the city for "community benefits."

Bologoff said he still has not made up his mind whether to approve quarry housing, he's just trying to get through the environmental report. After the council approves that document, and a subsequent construction report, the item will be placed before voters. That action could happen as early as June.

Councilman-elect Clarke Conway said he opposes housing in the quarry. Four years ago, while previously on the council, he proposed that any quarry development require an official ballot vote. Conway said he would be present at tonight's meeting to "get up to speed" with the current debate before replacing lame duck Councilmember Lee Panza later this month.

Steve Waldo, elected Nov. 8 to fill the remaining two years of an empty seat, said during campaigning that he favors a citywide vote and, if approved, wants "reasonable assurance" from developers regarding future residents' safety.

City staff point to one example of a quarry reclaimed for housing: Monte Vista's 404 units being built at Leona Quarry in Oakland.

E-mail: clias@examiner.com