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Council takes further action on future of Sylvan Corners

A site map shows where 95 homes are proposed to be built at Sylvan Corners.

By Phillip Pesola–
The City Council this month voted 4-1 to extend the closing date for the sale of an 11-acre property at Sylvan Corners.

‌The property, formerly the site of the old Sylvan Middle School, is planned to be developed into 95 homes, as reported previously by The Sentinel. The city purchased the site from the San Juan Unified School District in 2019 for $3.4 million, hoping to quickly turn the property around and sell it to a preferred developer in order to have more say in what the future use would be.

The city’s plan took a hit in 2020 when the pandemic struck and only one offer was received from a developer during an offering period. Some council members at the time expressed disappointment in the lackluster plans for more housing instead of mixed-use commercial, but voted 4-1 to sell the property to Woodside Homes for $4.17 million, pending a due diligence period.

As part of the due diligence process, Phase I and Phase II environmental reports were conducted by Woodside Homes, uncovering soil contamination associated with the former middle school.

The city subsequently excavated and disposed of more than 62 tons of contaminated soil, resulting from the use of pesticides and caulking at the school, according to a city spokeswoman.

The purchase agreement with Woodside Homes was initially approved by council in January 2021, with an outside closing date of March 31, 2023. The amended agreement moves the closing date out by exactly one year.

Woodside Homes has agreed to make a payment of $200,000 to the city in order to facilitate the extension. The payment will not be applied to the purchase price of the property.

The amendment, approved by the council on April 13 of this year, also includes further changes to the agreement, such as adding more specific language to ensure compliance with the Surplus Lands Act and dealing with hazardous materials. Additionally, entitlements that Woodside needs before finalizing the deal with the city will be reduced and refined.

No comment on the item was made during the April 13 council meeting, but councilwoman Jayna Karpinski-Costa later told The Sentinel she voted “no” in an effort to represent those concerned about “wall to wall housing” with additional traffic.

“Had we not extended escrow, the developer would have canceled the sale and we would have gotten the parcel back,” she said. “Then we could do different development there.”

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