As many neighbors will know, there’s an ongoing proposal to build 34 new units of housing at the end of Crestmont. The City is currently conducting an Environmental Impact Review (EIR), and Dr Sam Sobol (of the Crestmont- Mt Sutro Neighborhood Preservation Coalition) tells us the draft EIR is expected to be completed in September or October 2010. A large group of neighbors opposes it, and the Coalition’s website (click on the Stop sign to access it) details who to write to. That website also has more detailed information about the project and related issues. And photographs.
WHY THE OBJECTION
The project would extend Crestmont after a hairpin bend where the cul-de-sac ends now, and build along the lower edge of the resulting 20-foot road. This may impinge on land currently owned by a neighborhood association.
What’s the problem with the project?
This Google Map demonstrates some of the issues with the project. This is one of the steepest areas of the mountain. (The map already shows this road, complete with hairpin bend, even though it currently doesn’t exist – it’s a narrow mud trail. )
The hills are not only steep, they are not very stable. There’s a history of rock-slides, including the destruction of a home, fortunately unoccupied at the time.
The houses above where the planned project would go already rest on high stilts of steel or concrete. Residents fear that construction activities could weaken the hillside, putting the whole group of houses above it – and all the people in them – at risk during an earthquake.
(Click here for photographs of the site from the website of the Coalition.)
- Increased traffic and increased accident risk on a narrow and winding road. “…Drastically increased traffic density of Crestmont Drive, a roadway so narrow beyond the uphill bulkhead that two cars are unable to pass when cars are parked, as they always are, on either side of the street..”
- Risk to children playing on the street (since Crestmont Drive homes lack yards).
- Limited access for fire and emergency vehicles. The street below the hairpin bend would be a dead end and only smaller vehicles could turn there.
- Too little parking. The plan allows for 1.5 parking spaces per 3 and 4 bedroom unit. Since this the terrain limits access to public transport, each household will probably need 2-3 cars, especially if the condos are rented as shared housing.
- The wind usually blows uphill from the west. It would carry noise, and fumes from cars, fireplaces, barbeques, up to the homes above. It also heightens the fire risk. If a fire started in a downhill building, the wind could carry cinders uphill and ignite the all-wooden homes above, while also setting brushfires in surrounding areas.
- Four large high density buildings and a total of 34 condos would change character of this neighborhood of single family homes and duplexes, and have a negative impact on home values.
- The existing trail functions as a neighborhood park and open space, accessible even to those who cannot climb the steep hillside of Mt Sutro to get to the mountain trails. This is one of the few pristine areas that has never been built on.