Wednesday, March 27, 2013

San Mateo Mayor David Lim’s home remodel challenged

March 27, 2013, 05:00 AM
By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Homeowners often take issue when someone in their neighborhood wants to remodel or add on to their home, but what if that someone is the mayor?

San Mateo Mayor David Lim wants to construct a 109-square-foot first-story addition and a 640-square-foot second-story addition to his growing family’s Sugarloaf Neighborhood home and filed an application with the city last July.

Through the process, Lim held a pre-application neighborhood meeting to spell out to those who live nearby what his construction plans were.

One neighbor’s home, however, will lose part of its 180-degree view of the Bay with Lim’s addition, which initially called for building about 800 square feet on the second floor.

So, Lim scaled the project back and was eventually granted permission by a city zoning administrator to move forward with the project.

The neighbors with the great view, however, filed an appeal with the city’s Planning Commission within 10 days after approval to try and reverse the zoning administrator’s decision.

The neighbors, Terry Larson and Megan Goggins, paid $515 to appeal the decision but the process will end up costing the Lim family an additional $4,400 to pay for city staff time and other expenses, he told the Daily Journal yesterday.

In the meantime, Lim is still working with his neighbors to find a solution outside of the city process.  He is also not sure whether he will appeal himself to the City Council if the Planning Commission sides with the appellant and turns down Lim’s application.

The appellant can also appeal to the City Council if the Planning Commission sides with Lim.

So concerned about any potential conflicts of interest, however, Lim sent a letter to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for advice, especially since the city at the time was entangled in the 7-Eleven controversy in which Lim was directly involved.

Lim asked specifically whether it was proper for the same city staff to handle his application while also handling the 7-Eleven situation, which centered on whether the market could continue operating on land zoned residential.

The FPPC ruled that a conflict does not exist and Lim actually entered his letter and the FPPC letter into the record during deliberations related to 7-Eleven.

Outside of those letters, however, Lim has been essentially mum on the matter.  He does not want the public to think he is getting or deserves any special attention related to his remodel application.  In this case, being mayor might actually be a detriment, Lim told the Daily Journal.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, City Hall, San Mateo.  

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

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