Windsurfers in Burlingame appeared united Monday night in concern over the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Burlingame Point, the former drive-in movie location and proposed site of a six-building business complex at 300 Airport Boulevard.
Wind and kitesurfers expressed concern that the size of the buildings would directly impact the integrity of the wind necessary for their sports and, in some cases, their livelihood.
Rebecca Geffert and Jane Cormier, owners of Boardsports School and Shop at Coyote Point, said they disputed the findings of the wind impact study, which covers the area used by the shop and windsurfers as a launch and landing spot.
“The study can measure wind speed; it can not measure turbulence,” said Geffert. “What it doesn’t say is maybe I’m tugging you at an average of 9 miles an hour, but [then] I’m tugging you from one side, I’m tugging you from another.”
While expert windsurfers and kitesurfers may be able to handle the turbulence in the water caused by the shift in winds, Boardsports offers many lessons for those just starting out.
“It basically renders all of our beginning windsurfing lessons probably obsolete,” Geffert said. “If we’re responsible and make the right decision now…[that would] give us a fighting chance to keep us open.”
The issue at hand is the height of the buildings. The 767,000 square-foot development, planned by New York City-based Millennium Partners, calls for four seven-story office and life science buildings, a five-story parking structure and an amenities building with an exercise center, dining area and childcare center.
Other windsurfers echoed the sentiments of Geffert and Cormier, noting the uniqueness of the site in the Bay Area and suggesting shorter buildings oriented with the wind.
Other residents expressed concern over the realignment of Airport Boulevard through the life science complex and the purpose of opening new office space while many in the surrounding area remain empty.
Burlingame Planning Manager Maureen Brooks said that transportation, air quality and climate change issues also arose during the EIR process.
The Monday night meeting gave residents the opportunity to comment on the EIR, which was first released Dec. 1, more than a year after Millennium Partners applied to develop the area in April 2010. Comments on the EIR will be accepted through Jan. 16.