Category Archives: Uncategorized

A word please…

As BHNA moves into 2017 this organization is faced with the reality that our pool of volunteers is drying up, this coupled with the challenge of retaining those currently serving, has left us we some difficult choices in reducing the general meetings and modifying our charter to accommodate this reduction of support and ultimately face the question of how do we keep BHNA viable going forward?  

I know that you by the fact you have taken the time to read this believe like I do that organizations like BHNA serve a critical role in keeping questionable government values and commercial predators in check.  It strikes me as very odd or just a sign of the times that when our organization resources are its lowest the need is at its highest.  This is the time when our community is at risk of being taken advantage by bad actors and is the reason that I am appealing to you to consider your level of participation.   

Over the coming months our neighborhood will be faced with a wide array of commercial entities pushing of higher density development, reduced parking, reduced impact assessments, un-checked eminent domain, raising of building heights, and re-routing of commuting traffic through traditionally quite residential streets to name just a few.  

Our governmental representatives base their decisions on what they hear – BHNA is seen as a primary leader and a voice of reason who takes the representation of our Neighbors seriously.  Without that important voice of BHNA many decisions will be passed without community representation and will adversely impact the future viability and livability of San Mateo.  

I know that each of us have busy lives and BHNA is competing for your time…  but realize that if do nothing than you have made a choice in the formation of this community.  

As the current President of BHNA, I know I speak for the current and past members of BHNA volunteers who have sacrificed their time and resources by saying that what we do is important and without the over 25 years of efforts, we would be looking at a completely different San Mateo!  

In closing, I would like to appeal to you as a fellow civic minded neighbor by requesting that you consider how you can make a difference and get involved with this important organization.  

In ten years from now when you look over San Mateo – what will look like (will it have your unique fingerprints upon it?) or will you like what you see or will you regret your lack of involvement?

Now is a pivotal time – don’t discount the impact you can have! We welcome all those willing to participate – this is your association and is waiting for you to define what is will be in the future… please feel free to reach out to me or any of the other board members to discuss how you might get involved. 

Your neighbor, 

Robert Sellers

President@beresfordhillsdale.org

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.

censor

“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

April General Meeting Recap – Earth Month

earthdayOur Lyngso Garden Materials speaker discussed how simple changes to our gardens can make a huge impact on our environment.  The relationship between plants and soil is a living community, and all of the organisms in soil play an important role in soil health and our own health.  We learned so much, including how fertilizers actually eliminate life in the soil.  Rather, grass cycling and applying compost two times a year is the best thing for a lawn. Or choose to get rid of you lawn and go with native plants, which don’t require chemical fertilizers or additional irrigation every week.

 

belindaClimate Reality Leader & BHNA Board member Belinda Chlouber showed a short movie about the Paris COP21 Conference, where 196 countries reached a historic agreement to stop global warming. We learned about the biggest sources of greenhouse omissions, and saw examples additional global warming issues throughout the world. For more information on this, visit https://www.climaterealityproject.org/.

Introducing New Taxes

San Mateo Taxes
San Mateo Taxes

Last month, we reported on San Mateo’s $1 billion price tag for our wastewater treatment upgrades, which will require a sewer tax increase of 9% each year for homeowners to help fund.

waste water treatment

This month, we introduce both sides of the 20 year, $25 million annual funding MEASURE AA is asking taxpayers for. Measure AA, the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure, is a proposal that will be on the June 2016 ballot of nine Bay Area counties:

StopAA-2

 

 

AGAINST: We all care about the Bay, but Measure AA is not about saving the Bay. Measure AA gives a blank check to politicians, & allows its board to increase the tax with a majority vote at will over 20 years. This measure is taxation without representation & has no transparency. Never before have 9 counties been under one tax; a recipe for inequity & unfairness. We already pay federal taxes for the Army Corps of Engineers to steward shoreline/wetlands, so ask, “How many governing special authorities does it take to do the same job?” The list of beneficiaries clamoring for the passage of Measure AA is endless, including tech companies. Last month, their agendized grant guidelines allowed for “grant awards to public and private entities,” which include but are not limited to owners and operators of shoreline parcels in the San Francisco Bay Area, and include federal, state, local and nonprofit entities. Measure AA’s ‘solution’ is not feasible with no coordinated efforts to accomplish its promises. Yet they are spending $2-5 million to get your vote. The public is best served if control stays local.

Vote NO on Measure AA. More info at: http://stopaa.org/about/

 savethebay

 

FOR: In June, voters in all 9 Bay Area counties will vote. The “Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure,” would raise at least $500 million over 20 years to fund critical Bay restoration and flood protection projects.   This measure needs 2/3 of Bay Area voters behind it. Measure AA will fund wetlands restoration projects around the Bay that will expand habitats to increase wildlife populations, reduce Bay Pollution, enhance public shoreline access, and protect shoreline communities from flooding. Save The Bay has the chance to work with groups and individuals with whom we may not regularly work and with whom we do not always agree. This includes business groups, organized labor, and a wide array of elected officials and community leaders in a large geographic area. Projects will be prioritized based on their positive impact on the San Francisco Bay as a whole, with provisions to ensure that projects will be funded in each of the Bay Area’s nine counties. These funds would help complete large-scale restoration projects like the ones at Sears Point, Bair Island and the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.

Vote YES on Measure AA. More info at: http://www.savesfbay.org/MeasureAA

April 18th is a V.I.D! Very Important Date!

After numerous date changes by our city, the Bridgepointe Rink Citizens Group urges area residents to join them in attending the April 18th San Mateo City Council meeting, to show your support for the Council to vote against the land use change put forth by the real estate development firm which owns the property (and seeks to replace the rink with retail). The building owner closed the rink June 1, 2013, leaving hundreds of young athletes out in the cold.

saving bridge pointe ice rink
save bridge pointe

This Council decision is to come on the heels of Belmont Iceland’s announcement that it will close its doors, leaving Bridgepointe as one of the last rinks on the peninsula. The San Mateo Planning Commission already voted unanimously 5-0 to deny the developer’s request, and now it’s up to the City Council. Community activists are calling for local politicians to uphold the community benefit of an operating ice rink where Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano and Debi Thomas once trained.

Plan to attend:

San Mateo City Hall, 330 W. 20th Street, San Mateo, CA on Monday, April 18th at 7:00 P.M.

 

Earth Day Presentation – April Meeting

earthdayBHNA Speaker Series

Tuesday, April 18, 2016

7:30 PM

-Earth Month-

Impacts to Your Garden and Our Planet

 

Beresford Recreation Center

(28th & Alameda)April General Meeting

Happy Earth Month! Let’s talk dirt and climate. Did you know soil is alive? Most of the life that lives in the soil is extremely beneficial and so tiny we can’t see them.   Learn what lives in the soil, why it’s so important, and how to grow and protect it.  The BHNA welcomes Theresa Lyngso from Lyngso Garden Materials to understand how simple changes to our gardens can make a huge impact. Also speaking is new Boardmember Belinda Chlouber, a trained Climate Reality Leader via Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Belinda traveled to France last year for the Paris Climate Conference, and will share her knowledge about Global Warming, including its impacts and solutions specific to our area. Belinda will also share some of her artwork dedicated to the subject.

Ice Rink Update

icerinkOn December 8 the Planning Commission held a meeting at which the future of the Bridgepointe Ice Rink was discussed. Four BHNA Board members attended, and public attendance was huge. The large number of speakers left no doubt that the ice rink has significant community support. Members of the Planning Commission asked pointed, thoughtful questions. In the end, the Commission voted 5 to 0 to keep the zoning designation of the Bridgepointe Ice Rink and to reject the plan proposed by the developer, SPI Holdings, under which SPI would pay a $3 million recreation fee in exchange for abandoning the ice rink and constructing a retail facility in its place. However, the final decision will be with the City Council, which will consider the matter on Monday, March 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM. You can find more information at http://savesanmateorink.wix.com/savebridgepointe.

Retention of Recreational & Open Space – Position Paper

December 3, 2015

  • Mayor Maureen Freschet
  • Deputy Mayor Jack Matthews
  • Council Member Joe Goethals
  • Council Member David Lim
  • Council Member Rick Bonilla

Re: Retention of Recreational & Open Space

Dear Mayor and City Council Members:

We, the Board of Directors of Beresford Hillsdale Neighborhood Association (BHNA), would like to voice our concern on behalf of the thousands of residents we represent in the southwestern portion of the City of San Mateo, for the preservation of and commitment to recreational and open space within our city boundaries.

We spotlight these concerns to you, our elected official representatives, regarding changes which have resulted in continued and sustained impacts on the quality of life aspects which originally brought your constituents to this community.

In the recent past, we have seen the following open or recreational spaces either threatened or redeveloped in our city or region:

  • Bridgepointe Ice Rink
  • Central Park Baseball Field
  • Central Park Tennis Courts
  • Malibu Castle Golf & Games
  • Malibu Grand Prix

The regional losses, to date, have not been replaced with other recreational space, which is a loss to San Mateo residents and the surrounding community. Additionally, funds from the sale of recreational or open space used to improve already existing recreational or open space, rather than to procure or create new recreational or open space, is insufficient and still considered a loss.

The Board of Directors of BHNA would like to officially ask you, our city leaders, to always approach your decisions regarding open space and recreational space with an all-encompassing view of the current and future needs of city residents. In growing our City, open and recreational space is at a premium, and any given away or converted without full replacement is irretrievable. As our population increases, so does our need to have these spaces available for San Mateo residents and their families. We urge you to ensure that the quality of life in our community does not erode due to lost recreational or open space.

We further urge you, as representatives of our City, to ensure that this priceless space never be allowed to be negotiated away. It is our opinion that it is not an acceptable practice for the City to negotiate with developers or other entities when the desired result of that developer or other entity is the elimination of a current or proposed open space or recreational commitment.

Finally, we urge you to weigh any and all decisions carefully in regard to open and recreational space, and its impact on the quality of life of San Mateo residents. Its value to the community is incalculable.

Sincerely,

Lisa Taner

President

Beresford Hillsdale Neighborhood Association

president@beresfordhillsdale.org

 

cc: City of San Mateo Planning Commission Members

Community Choice Energy Community Forum

Title: Community Choice Energy Community Forum
Description: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
San Mateo Main Library – Oak Room
55 W. 3rd Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403

CCE picture

The County and City of San Mateo invites you to learn and share your opinion on the proposed Peninsula Clean Energy program that would offer residential and commercial electricity options, including higher renewable energy content at competitive rates.

Peninsula Clean Energy is a community choice energy (CCE) program, also known sometimes as community choice aggregation. CCE programs allow local governments to pool the electricity demands of their communities, purchasing power with higher renewable content, and reinvesting in local infrastructure. If formed, electricity customers in the County would be able to choose between Peninsula Clean Energy and PG&E as their electricity purchaser. Peninsula Clean Energy customers would receive multiple electricity options, each with a different amount of renewable energy content, at prices competitive with PG&E.

At this workshop, County staff will introduce the concept of CCE, discuss why the County is exploring CCE, and explain how the formation of Peninsula Clean Energy may affect your household or business. It will also include an interactive portion, where local residents and business owners can provide their input on this potential program.

This event is free and open to residents and business owners from throughout San Mateo County with any level of knowledge about electricity or CCE.

RSVP for this free event

Start Time: 06:30
Date: 2015-10-28