Belmont officials are seeking public input during a special meeting tonight on how to use 35 acres of land in San Juan Canyon before making any decision.
The land was purchased in 2009 and the City Council held a study session in October to talk with developers about possible uses for the land. Since then, the city has met with the community to answer questions and discuss concerns. Tonight, the hope is to continue gathering public input and possibly allow the City Council to give staff direction, said Community Development Director Carlos de Melo.
In October, three developers gave presentations to the council and land owners Michael Melliar-Smith and Louise Moser made a pitch to the city for it to acquire their 18-acre horse ranch to be combined with the San Juan Canyon lots. At the time, developers Mingstan Development, Mayacama Partners LLC and Paul Goswamy made presentations to the city. Since then, Mingston Development has pulled itself from possibly working on the project, said de Melo.
Much of the property is on steep slopes and is considered undevelopable and the remainder of the open space will be connected to Belmont's trail system in the hills. About 22 acres are suitable to develop on Bishop Road and Marsten and Ralston avenues.
The primary expectations of the developer are to develop only those portions of the site that are deemed suitable for residential homes and identify the best uses for the balance of the open space
The city has previously proposed to sell off a portion of the property for homes and to use some of those proceeds to purchase adjacent open space.
Low-density, single-family homes are proposed for the land.
The property has a total of 87 plots included in the purchase that the city bid on in an auction held by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2009.
The city paid $1.4 million on four groups of property, which included taxes and fees. The purchase was made using an internal loan from the city's fleet account. That obligation was recently at about $1.5 million, said de Melo.
Selling some of the plots for homes will help pay for the original purchase of the land.
The Belmont City Council meets 7 p.m. tonight, City Hall, 1 Twin Pines Lane in the emergency operations center room on the second floor.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105