Mount Olympus Development Leaves Neighbors Fearing Rockslides, Construction Damage & More

Mount Olympus Development Leaves Neighbors Fearing Rockslides, Construction Damage & More
A view of the site from Upper Terrace; new buildings will be placed on the left. (Photos: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline)
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on November 29, 2016.

Development plans for Mount Olympus have residents in Corona Heights micro-neighborhood Corbett Heights worried.

Current plans for the so-called Mount Olympus Project propose replacing an existing single-family home at 271 Upper Terrace with one new two-unit residential building. The plans also call for renovating one rent-controlled two-unit residential building at 301-303 Upper Terrace, and constructing three new residential buildings on vacant lots at 17th and Roosevelt.

If the plans are approved by Planning, eight new homes would be created, and two will be renovated. Construction could begin in summer 2017 and last for two years.

However, a number of nearby residents attended a recent community meeting with the developersDawson & Clintonto air concerns surrounding the hillside development plans.

View of the site from 17th Street, with a brochure outlining the proposed developments.

Throughout the meeting, neighbors were especially concerned about how the steep hillside will be stabilized during construction.

Residents of nearby apartments on 17th Street specifically questioned how the safety of the rocks in their backyards will be assured in the future. 

In response, the developers assured that unstable rocks will be removed, and structural foundations— consisting of concrete several feet thick—will be installed.

A brochure the developer's distributed during the meeting elaborated on the construction process for the new foundations. The brochure explains that the foundations will be prepared using "top down excavation." That's the process of installing shoring as the earth and rock are removed, so the hillside is supported. The primary access point for that process would be from 17th and Roosevelt.

Some Corbett Heights residents shared fears that construction could possibly create cracks in their own buildings.

Residents of surrounding buildings also raised questions about how the drilling, dust and noise will impact their daily lives, especially for those who have children or allergies. To those concerns, Dawson & Clinton representatives said that a dust hotline will be available for neighbors to call.

And 17th and Roosevelt residents questioned possible street and traffic issues, as well as where trucks will be parked and equipment will be placed during construction.

In response to all of these concerns, "we take the issue of safety during excavation and construction, the long term stability of the hillside, and any potential impacts to adjoining/nearby properties extremely seriously," Dawson & Clinton said in an email sent to residents following the community meeting.

Upper Terrace homes that will be demolished or renovated.

"In a neighborhood that has homes that are more likely 1,500-2,500 square feet, the proposed new ones in this project would dwarf existing homes," said Corbett Height Neighbors president Gary Weiss told Hoodline via email following he meeting.

However, in response to questions about whether the developers could potentially remodel the Monument Way stairway leading to Upper Terrace from 17th Street—where residents say lighting, irrigation, landscaping and hardscape needs to be re-done—as part of this development project, Dawson & Clinton representatives said they are open to discussing the matter.

So far, large new home developments, often referred to as "monster homes," have been mostly blocked in the area, largely due to legislation, sponsored by District Supervisor Scott Wiener, that passed in March 2015. These "interim zoning controls" are temporary, but have been extended until March 2017.

The Mount Olympus Project currently fulfills the legislation's requirement that the buildings cover only 55 percent of a lot, and leave 45 percent for open space.

On January 12th, 2017, the project will be reviewed by the Planning Commission. Before then, the developers will hold informational  community meetings at 6pm November 30th and December 6th at 271 Upper Terrace.

Update, 12/6: The Planning Commission has been postponed, "pending the completion of the environmental review," the developer's have told Hoodline.