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Housing development near Fremont’s St. Joseph’s Cemetery area again stirs controversy, rumor

ICYMI: A story that ran in Sunday’s paper:

FREMONT — Plans to build houses next to a Mission San Jose district cemetery were approved three years ago, but the recent sight of bulldozers clearing land for the project resurrected an old turf battle and unleashed alarming rumors about the tombstones’ future.

But, like many a ghost story, much of the rumors have yet to be proven true.

Edenbridge Homes, a Los Altos developer, plans to construct 16 single-family residences by the end of next year on a 3.2-acre property next to St. Joseph’s Cemetery, along Mission Boulevard. The sloping parcel next to the cemetery offers views of San Francisco Bay and Peninsula cities to the west and the Fremont hills to the east.

The parcel once was the home to 251 unmarked graves that were relocated six years ago and some neighbors say they are unhappy that houses will be built on former grave sites.

Joe Lonsdale, who lives next to the cemetery and opposed the project three years ago, said the church should not have built over land that once housed unmarked graves. “I don’t think you should dig up bodies. The church shouldn’t do that,” he said. “To me, that’s a cemetery.”

But to city officials, it’s an issue that was decided three years ago, when the Planning Commission and City Council rejected a recommendation from Fremont’s Historical Architectural Review Board, and approved the development.

“The developer received all the approvals necessary to build a subdivision for developing 16 homes back in 2010,” said Clifford Nguyen, a Fremont associate planner.

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Chris DeBenedetti