Category Archives: City Council

JANUARY 17TH MEETING – DEVELOPMENT CAUSING CONCERN

JANUARY 17TH MEETING – DEVELOPMENT CAUSING CONCERN Lot Owners Seek Approval from Council

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).

Good Bye Mayor Goethals … Hello Mayor Lim

David Lim

Incoming Mayor David Lim was the focus of the “Pizza with the Mayor” event this past December 12th.  This gathering serves both as a “Thank You” to the San Mateo United Homeowners Association (SMUHA) representatives, including our BHNA rep, and an opportunity to meet and hear remarks from our city’s new mayor.  It’s a great opportunity to reflect upon the concluding year, and celebrate the promise of what lies ahead for our city.

Kicking off the event, SMUHA’s vice-president Anna Kuhre thanked all the neighborhood association representatives for their efforts and commitment to improve San Mateo.  She then presented the Representative of the Year honor to Greg St. Clair of Fiesta Gardens for his involvement in a variety of issues.

SMUHA President Ben Toy, along with Mr. St. Clair, presented gifts of appreciation to incoming Mayor David Lim and his family, acknowledging the tremendous commitment the family of a public servant makes.

Following the presentation of these gifts, Lim shared his thoughts as he begins his second term as Mayor.  He views his position as one in which he works on behalf of the city’s citizens and focuses on collective efforts designed to better San Mateo.  He complimented the working relationships within the city, the city staff, and City Manager, in particular.  Lim additionally thanked the SMUHA representatives for their commitment to the city.

NOTE: To ask Lim questions in regard to our own neighborhood and region, make sure to attend the February 16th BHNA General Meeting as noted on the front of this newsletter!

TRAFFIC, DEVELOPMENT – AN INFLEXIBLE PLAN?

traffic

In early 2015, we hosted speakers opposing Plan Bay Area’s brand of development & growth. We had yet to see any significant impacts to our city. But, we were being forewarned that the plan would result in intolerable traffic, taxpayers having to pay for associated infrastructure upgrades (to support the growth), and a change in our region to a more urban, gentrified environment. Also worrisome was that Plan Bay Area was inflexible, & would take much of the decision-making out of the hands of city leaders.

Fast-forward to today, and the BHNA is hearing more from concerned residents. Traffic woes.  Concerns that our city is being permissive with proposed buildings (and those is the pipeline) in regard to increased height and units, with inadequate parking.  Worries about our infrastructure and water.  Tax increases to pay for such. SO, WHAT IS HAPPENING??  The focus of this newsletter will explore some of these concerns, and ways to act if you are interested.

SAN MATEO’S TRAFFIC FORUMS – “PROCESS THEATER?”

In answer to resident’s increasing concerns over traffic, our City had people in the various neighborhoods meet 10 times this year (from January to May,) to pinpoint their own area problems and come up with suggested fixes.  The BHNA area representative was resident Michael Ragan.  He chaired the Traffic Steering Committee and has recently reported back some worries to the BHNA.

Michael advised us that regardless of the suggestions put forth by the residents, the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan, adopted in 2006, dictates what can and cannot be done.  After reviewing that plan, Michael says the majority of what residents requested can NOT be done, until and unless the traffic plan is amended.  For five months, involved residents worked together at the request of the city in hopes that their results would create positive change.  Looks like what needs to change is an outdated plan – and quickly.

“Residents of this neighborhood better start waking up,” Michael said.  “Vast changes are coming.” He went on to note that if people wait until plans are put into motion, it’s too late.

Acting now is key. “We need to work together as a community.”

A growing number of residents are beginning to share Michael’s alarm, as impacts grow from development, but city leaders don’t seem to be listening, or doing anything to alter the course.  (Even traffic “relief” in the form of opening up 28th and 31st will be of greater benefit to those commuting through, and not to folks living on or near those streets.)  San Mateans aren’t alone.  Neighboring city residents are sharing the same feelings of inadequate representation and worry.  But now, it is beginning to boil over.

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“CITY IGNORES COMMUNITY CONCERNS…IN UNPRECEDENTED HOUSING DEVELOPMENT”

Last month, we brought you information regarding the Hillsdale Terrace project going in at 28th & El Camino.  Here is an update of the most recent planning meeting on the project per Livable San Mateo and resident Shane Tapp’s September 27th Nextdoor posting:

“In short, there were about 80 people attending…They (the Planning Commission) adjourned until October 13, when they plan to complete questions and then have their discussion….There is no public input planned for that meeting.” (Note: Prior to Oct. 13, you may still email input to tschimpp@cityofsanmateo .)

“Most people spoke with passion about parking, scale, density, livability, traffic and safety, but the commissioners asked about garbage chutes, tree roots, sidewalk planters and the like.”

“The SM Planning Board (Planning Commission) disregarded the local community concerns of traffic, congestion, and public safety.”

“This proposed project is a 5-story building that totals a height of 71-feet housing 74 units (well beyond any other within San Mateo – even larger than the high-density Bay Meadows development when compared in scale per acre). It also only allows for 1.07 parking spaces per unit, causing additional overnight parking problems to an area that already experiences parking problems.

None of their (the Commissioners) questions toward the Architect had anything to do with local community concerns on lessing (sic) the property to 3-stories, less units, and more parking. Clearly, the San Mateo Planning Commission is ignoring the residents of the 27th/28th Ave. and the surrounding area.

Link to Sept. 27th Planning Commission Meeting: http://cosm.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=289

heard

WAYS TO BE HEARD!
MARCH!!  A jaunt to Redwood City illustrates why our sister city is feeling even more pain that we are about development and its impacts.  They are holding a MARCH for everyone impacted by development “fall-out,” (including traffic, business/resident displacement, gentrification, quieting of the taxpayer voice, impacted schools, job loss, etc.).  They invite you to join Oct. 15th at 11 a.m. in front of City Hall in Redwood City (corner of Middlefield & Jefferson).  This is an opportunity for area cities to truly see how residents feel.  Flier appears here: http://nine-county-coalition.squarespace.com/

WRITE!!  Your city planners and council should hear from you!

PlanningCommission@cityofsanmateo.org; jgoethals@cityofsanmateo.org; dlim@cityofsanmateo.org; rbonilla@cityofsanmateo.org; dpapan@cityofsanmateo.org; mfreschet@cityofsanmateo.org

BUT DON’T STOP THERE – Plan Bay Area goes up the chain of command.  Senator Jerry Hill responded to Plan concerns by saying people should start a grass roots movement.  Tell him what you think at: http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/send-e-mail or call

(650) 212-3313.  Don’t forget Assemblyman Kevin Mullin at (650) 349-2200 or  https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD22

Follow Up Thoughts on January General Meeting

Mayor Joe set to Navigate the coming term

… A Big BHNA Thank You to Mayor Joe Goethals for speaking at our January General Meeting!

Mayor
The BHNA hosted new Mayor Joe Goethals at the January General Meeting. In his presentation Mayor Goethals touched on many of the issues that will challenge us this year, including flood zone concerns, traffic and housing issues, use of Measure S funds, a $900 million investment in our wastewater treatment plant, and the importance of recreation in our city.

waste water treatmentMany of these topics generate more questions in the minds of residents. In regard to the wastewater treatment plant upgrades, how will we come up with the remaining $300 million to pair with the state’s investment of $600 million? And is the 13 million gallons daily figure (to be recycled) actually attainable?

Mayor Goethals named about a half dozen agencies related to traffic. But how well are those agencies communicating and working together? The answer to that question will very well determine much of our city’s future. Traffic forums currently being held in our community offer residents a voice to say what their local woes are and how they wish to solve them. Goethals pointed out that people have many ideas about specific mitigations they would like to see. However, some ideas may not be approved by Public Works – such as speed bumps or islands, which won’t be placed on streets designated as a ‘main use’ for emergency vehicles. Don’t miss the opportunity to contribute your thoughts at your local forum.

Goethals had many positive reflections on renewable energy, traffic calming via grade separations at 25th, 28th and 31st Avenues respectively, train electrification, our low unemployment rate and increasing job growth. The Mayor took note of additional audience concerns, including the cost of CalTrain and whether neighboring cities communicate regarding their development plans. We hope to learn more about many of these follow-up questions as the year progresses.

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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: http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/index.aspx?NID=1176

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 http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/index.aspx?NID=2710

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