Category Archives: Housing



In previous months, we’ve highlighted the many concerns by neighbors in regard to this project, and their disappointment with the Planning Commission’s approval.  At the upcoming January 17th City Council meeting, lot owners will be seeking approval for this mixed-use, high density 5-story development called “Hillsdale Terraces.”  It will be the highest building of this kind in the area.

The acre was originally zoned for 49 residential units. Due to its proximity to the train station, the inclusion of 8 low-income units and some standard amenities, the Planning Commission approved 17 additional market rate units, for a total of 74 units.  Parking will be limited by transit oriented development rules, so only 1.3 spaces will be provided for each 2-bedroom unit.  Will this generate less traffic and more use of public transportation, or more traffic and parking in front of your home?

The BHNA will not be holding a General Meeting in January, so we encourage you to join your neighbors to voice your support and concerns for the quality of our neighborhood on January 17th, at City Hall in the Council Chambers at 7 p.m. (330 W. 20th Avenue).


We’re all pretty familiar with the cost of housing in our region.  It’s getting to be cause for some serious creativity.  People are beginning to look more and more to adding a second “little home” or dwelling in their backyards.

Home owners are exploring or creating alternative living space for visiting in-laws, boomerang college kids, caregivers, aging parents, renters, etc.  With the availability of pre-made accessory sheds, and how-to “little home” TV shows, magazines and websites, the interest and ability for adding increased livable space is within reach. The City of San Mateo Planning department has the latest information on what can be built, when permits are required, and how homeowners can enjoy adding additional space on their properties.

If you are thinking of the same, know the difference between a secondary unit versus an accessory building.  Accessory buildings are exempt from the requirement for interior side and rear yards as long as they are separate from the main building by an area not less than 4 feet in width, and open to the sky. They can be located in the rear 1/3 of of a housing parcel without setback from property line. They cannot cover more than 1/2 of a required back yard, have no additional parking requirement.  Secondary Units, or “Granny” units, must be permitted and are subject to setbacks and zoning regulations. They are either attached or detached from the main house, and have requirements and limits on occupancy.  Size restrictions cannot exceed 640 sq. ft., placement must be in the back or side yard, and an additional parking space is required.

The BHNA will gauge the interest of our members regarding little homes, and likely plan to have the Planning Commission come speak at an upcoming General Meeting.  Stay tuned!

Affordable Housing Concerns – Topic at February General Meeting

Affordable Housing Discussions

Joshua Hugg
Joshua Hugg

We all know that it has become very expensive to rent or buy a house in San Mateo. Long-time renters find they no longer can afford to live here; non-profit organizations, schools and many other employers have trouble filling vacancies because of the high cost of housing; commuting times and distances are getting longer. Housing all the people that are attracted to our county by the booming economy is a formidable challenge. — Joshua Hugg – LinkedIn Profile

At our February General meeting Joshua Hugg will discuss the local, regional and statewide forces that have made San Mateo County such an expensive place to live. Joshua has been involved in local housing issues for more than a decade, advocating for affordable housing through the Housing Leadership Council and as a member of several San Mateo City Commissions. He presently serves on the San Mateo Sustainability Commission and on the boards of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and the Home Association of North Central San Mateo.

Place this on your Calendar 

Development Details for rail corridor – City Council Special Meeting, Jan. 27th

 Notes from City Council Special Meeting, Jan. 27th:

By Lisa Taner

92 exchange

Development details for projects along the rail corridor, downtown and El Camino were recapped, noting square footage and units (retail/residential).  All this information can be found at:

430 units of these projects are noted as below market, with  every 3rd unit going to school district or city employees. Workforce Housing Taskforce in process and will report findings/suggestions to council for more housing.  It was noted that Workforce Housing reduces road traffic and increases staff retention.hillsdale_with_highspeed

Two Redevelopment properties were discussed.  Site of old Kinko’s at Claremont and 4th Avenue, and the Worker Resource Center.  Urban Land Institute to survey properties and make suggestions (likely housing/workforce housing). 

Grade separations discussed.  Audience asked if developers were supposed to pay for them at one time.  City never intended to fully fund those projects.  Our share is $12 million and remainder would come from a number of sources, but not Measure S funds.  Early 2017 will start the clearance processes, then going forward in 2017 as a 2 year process for completion, assuming the  funds requested from a number of agencies are

secured.  (Hillsdale train station will be moved just north of its current location.)

Hwy. 92 and El Camino Interchange Improvement Project (see photo): Focus Study was done in 2010, with Design Phase to be completed in March of this year.  There will be on and off-ramp improvements, including reconfiguring the existing interchange from a full cloverleaf to a partial cloverleaf. Sound walls will be installed, sidewalks widened, signals placed at ramp intersections.   Construction hoped to start in July of this year and end in 2017.   For more project details, go to

(Second half of this meeting was dedicated to Community College District issues.)