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  • Writer's pictureAllison Knapp Wollam

GENESIS CAMPUS-High Profile Controversial Project

The high-profile controversial project began in 1983, culminated in 2020 and included three phases of development.  The project includes a fifteen story 112-unit condominium tower, 631 detached residential units, 750,000 square feet in two towers occupied by life science (Research and Development).  The project also includes 25,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, a wellness center, a performing arts facility, shared community and project facilities and benefits including a hiking trail with an annotated history and biological marker program, a robust public art program, freeway interchange and overpass improvements, archaeological and biological resource preservation and public open space.

The project was faced with many planning and environmental issues, including a bitter annexation process that was not forgotten; a pending lawsuit; presence of endangered species, wetlands, a 5000 year old Ohlone shell mound; severe geological constraints (debris slides); the need for long deferred City-initiated freeway improvements the project sponsor partially funded; and the need for housing and employment opportunities. Many members of the community voiced a strong and active opposition to the project. The potential loss of native plants and open space, urban sprawl, desecration of the shell mound, mass and density, destruction of wetlands, and obstruction of views were additional concerns. Worthy of note, largely through our efforts the shell mound was preserved in perpetuity. Wetlands were restored, habitat preserved, development clustered and public amenities were constructed.  Our successful resource preservation and our partnership form of project management  were  key elements to the eventual fruition of this project.






Allison managed and led a team of professionals for the City of South San Francisco. Navigating the preparation of a supplemental environmental impact report (SEIR) and preparation of six addenda to the original EIR and SEIR documents. Allison conducted the legislative and entitlement review which included preparation of three specific plans and six amendments thereto; four general plan amendments; and two amendments to the development agreement. Allison drafted the zoning regulations for the project; a housing agreement and prepared all the staff reports, resolutions and ordinances. She presented the project to the City’s Design Review Board, Historic Commission, Planning Commission and City Council. Ms. Knapp fielded many concerns and questions on the project and worked with various local, state and federal permitting agencies. Through this effort, partnerships were formed, and stakeholders identified representing various agencies, interested parties and organizations. Allison regularly worked with the Historic Commission, Design Review Board, Planning Commission, City Council, San Francisco International Airport, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Friends of San Bruno Mountain, San Bruno Mountain Watch, Center for Environmental Diversity, the Sierra Club, printed and televised news media, and attorneys. Allison also performed daily in-field monitoring during grading and construction to assure that mitigation measures and conditions of approval were implemented. She was on-call and on-site during the construction period and coordinated with police and fire to keep additional eyes on the project; there was the threat of vandalism and disruption. Allison formed strong relationships through her work effort. Her partnership role resulted in better site design, a landscaped and furnished mini-park, aesthetic and native hillside restoration and conveyance of seven acres of land to the City of South San Francisco. The land dedication was also accompanied by a graded and engineered development pad and road thereto, civil engineering drawings, land restoration sufficient to construct a recreational facility.

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