The item wasn’t even on last night’s agenda for the September meeting of the San Marino City Council, but dozens of community members showed up to voice their opposition during the public comment segment to a proposal that has been discussed publicly by two members of the council to consider the construction of multi-unit housing on city-owned property – namely, the site of Stoneman Elementary School and the San Marino Center.
During recent interviews with The Tribune, Councilmembers Richard Sun and Dennis Kneier have proposed the development of Stoneman into multi-unit housing. Sun suggests giving the land to a developer who would construct condominiums while also building to city standards a much-desired community center at no cost to the city at either Stoneman or the San Marino Center.
Kneier has suggested that Stoneman be leveled and turned into condominiums that cater to senior citizens, hopefully those who have recently sold their San Marino properties “and don’t want to move to Orange Grove,” according to Kneier.
But several residents have other ideas. Amidst a passionate statement of dissent, Kim Campbell scolded the council that a condominium project “is not in the flavor of why the city acquired Stoneman. The spirit of acquisition was one thing and now it is something else.”
San Marino resident Steve Talt, who was a member of the San Marino Unified School District’s 7-11 Commission that provided input pertaining to the eventual usage of the site after sale or lease. The group recommended Stoneman be used for city recreation services.
“The public has already spoken and we don’t need multi-unit housing,” said Talt, who referenced a recent community wide survey that never mentioned the concept and was not proposed by residents.
Residents also railed against the city’s housing element, which was sent to the state on August 14 and addresses Sacramento’s directive that San Marino not impede the construction of seventeen units of low or low-to-medium income housing. One resident, Justin Feffer, explained how the City of Bradbury recently had their housing element approved by the state using second units as the sole source of low income housing. San Marino’s housing element states that their is “low interest” in permitting second units, though other community members dispute that statement.
If multi-tenant housing is built in San Marino, the state could require that low-income units be included.
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