Category Archives: Newsletter

Excerpts From the January 2020 Newsletter

January BHNA Newsletter  (For full newsletter, join today!)


Our new Police Chief was named in late November…


The City of San Mateo needs your help.  They will be planting one or more trees at the addresses below…


31st Avenue Update: The City installed new curb ramps at the two park entrances on 31st Avenue. Staff will also install…

28th Avenue Bicycle Blvd. Update:  Conceptual plans may be viewed and commented on at


It was a tremendous surprise, even to the appointee herself, that Park & Recreation Commissioner Amourence Lee was chosen by Mayor Papan…  Susan Lempert, former mayor of San Mateo and Daily Journal contributor, noted in her November 18th article that one of the top contenders, Ellen Mallory, was overlooked…

Special Meeting Date – May 3rd at 7:30 p.m. at 200 W. Third Avenue

Joint Meeting:  Updates on Concar Development & the Help for the Height Limits Measure

Residents concerned about the 935 unit “Passages” project proposed for the Delaware/ Concar shopping center area will be getting an update from Concerned Residents of San Mateo leader, Barb Niss.

Additionally, it’s crunch time for signatures to ensure the height limits measure gets placed on the November ballot (see newsletter story).  Attend this meeting if you wish to help with the final push to ensure success.  Many of your neighbors have dedicated time and effort to getting this far, but it takes a village!  The clock is ticking!!  (If you have yet to sign, this is another opportunity to do so.)

This weekend’s petition Open House signing opportunities are:

SAT/SUN 11- 3 p.m. at 200 W. Third Avenue

SUN 2 – 4 p.m. at 709 Columbia Drive

SUN 4 – 6 p.m. at 40 Seville Way

Next week – Thursday May 3 – 5:00-7:00 pm at 40 Seville Way

If you can’t make an Open House, but wish to sign, email

42 Avenue Pump Station Rehab

In early May, expect work along El Camino at 42nd and 43rd Avenues in regard to the pump station.  This construction work will go on through November and include replacement of many underground components.  For more info, go to or call 650-727-6870.



In 1990, residents began to get upset about the kind of development going on in our city. Two ladies stepped up and joined forces to create a small group called San Mateans for Responsive Government (SMRG). SMRG created a ballot measure to limit new development heights and the number of units, all while outlining a plan for affordable units, too. Voters liked it so much, they passed it, and then voted again to renew it with Measure P.   But Measure P is getting ready to expire? WHAT NOW? The original height heroes are back on the scene, with SMRG, working hard to ensure voters once again have a voice. Come learn about this interesting story steeped in BHNA’s history, its important role in San Mateo, and what the next chapter may be.

NOTE: To be on SMRG’s email list, write to


With rising rents in our region, a huge concern is housing for our aging parents, returning college kids, or perhaps even just renting out space to off-set mortgage costs. Imagine a separate dwelling on your property. Are the livable sheds seen on the home improvement shows possible in your future? Each city has its own rules for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). A speaker from San Mateo’s Planning Department will talk about the latest changes in land use policies in the planning process for new construction, zoning, codes and permits. Find out if you can add a “mini” residence on your property, and what it might do for your property’s value. As we are encouraged to provide more residences in San Mateo, this is one of many new solutions.


At our upcoming meeting, we will introduce some new folks for a Member vote.   But, we must take a moment to acknowledge those remaining on from last year, including Vice President Jeffrey Wang, Newsletter Editor (and former President) Lisa Taner, Andrea McCutchin in a new Membership role, and Director Don Leydig.   Kurt Ricci was voted in by Members at our November meeting, and we look forward to his serving in a Director position this year.

With that said, we are excited to introduce a group of fresh faces, who are interested in Board & Director positions. Tammie Barbero is seeking the President position, Frances Boscacci wishes to step in to work in a joint role on Membership, and Tom Lease, Genel Morgan, Marlene Tam, & Cindy Hui would like to be considered for Director positions.   Come learn more about these terrific volunteers and why they wish to represent you!

SPECIAL MENTION: Repeating our warm thanks again to departing Board members & supporters who served us well in 2017: Thank you Anne Wilson, Belinda Chlouber, Rod Linhares, Diana Harris, Ellen Wang, Robert Sellers, Michael McCutchin and Cary Chen!! BHNA would not be what it is today without your contributions.

STILL SEEKING….YOU?  99% of you are qualified and it only takes one YES! BHNA truly needs someone (or two someones?) to take notes at their 4 Board meetings, and 4 Member meetings throughout the year. Both are evening meetings, with Board meetings on the first Wednesday of May, September & November, and Member meetings on the third Tuesday of February, May, September & November.   The time commitment is minimal, but this is such an important way to serve your community, and enable the BHNA to continue to focus on working hard for our residents! If you are interested, or perhaps know a student who is interested, please contact Lisa at or 650-504-8181.

 WHAT’S A G.P. AND WHY DOES IT MATTER TO ME?  You don’t want to miss the birth of your city’s General Plan because it dictates every single thing your city will be able to do, or NOT do, until the next General Plan rolls around. Road designations, development, traffic, speed limits, are all just a tiny handful of things which fall under the GP. Your Planning Commission and City Council have just begun the new GP process (which will take at least 2 years), and stated that they want to hear from you to understand what your vision of San Mateo’s future should look like. It’s your turn to be heard, so contact them today!

Eric Rodriguez –, Maureen Freschet –, Joe Goethals –,
Diane Papan –, Rick Bonilla


By now you’ve noticed the closure of 31st Avenue by Hillsdale Shopping Center. They told us last year it would be open for the holidays, and then closed again.   Your re-route will likely last until June, 2019. (This item corrected since mailed version.)


A four hour meeting was held in late January to kick off the first meeting workshop of the Council & City to begin discussing their ‘global vision,’ including goal-setting/budgeting process which shall be set the first quarter of 2018 for the 2018-19 period.  The workshop successfully allowed an initial list to be created, including input via letters from the community, and that information is set for review at the February 5th City Council meeting.

BHNA provided a two-page list to Council, including priorities for traffic mitigation funds, getting an extension of our current building heights/density limit measure on the November 2018 ballot, beautification of our southern shopping/commercial district and more. These recommendations will be posted on our website. The City and Council will finalize their goals on March 19th. If you’d like to provide YOUR input, just send an email to council members.


50th ANNIVERSARY – OUR ADOPTED SCREAMING EAGLES Mark your calendars! March 23 – 25th commemorates the 50th anniversary of San Mateo’s adoption of the 101st Airborne Division (US Army). Activities & special events including a parade, Central Park festival & more! For more info, go to


The room swelled on January 24th as about 80 concerned residents met at the Concar strip mall to discuss the 935 residences and commercial buildings proposed for that space. Without the full impacts of the new Station Park Green development (which replaced KMart), and the AAA building of 60+ units yet to be started, there are grave worries over impacts, not only to three adjacent neighborhoods, but to Highway 92 as well.

Barb Niss, a Sunnybrae resident, held the meeting to galvanize the community, and has also created a Facebook page called Concerned Citizens of San Mateo so folks could stay abreast of details and future meetings. NOTE: To be on the Concerned Citizen’s email list, write to

 In attendance were are least 5 leaders from various   neighborhood associations around the city, including BHNA’s Lisa Taner, who spoke about San Mateo’s expiring heights and density measure (whose extension is hoped to be put in front of voters again on the November 2018 ballot), new California laws which may impact our city’s ability to weigh-in on new developments, and Plan Bay Area, the parent plan driving development all around the Bay Area.

With a new San Mateo General Plan in the works, which will cement decisions on developments like this one, coupled with the upcoming expiration of Measure P for building heights/density limits, it is a crucial time for residents to get involved and speak out about what they want.


NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER 2017 – See You November 21st!

REMEMBER TO VOTE NOVEMBER 7TH, & SEE YOU NOVEMBER 21ST! 7:30 pm @ the Beresford Recreation Center for 3 Speakers: Fire Prevention/Safety, Hillsdale Mall Update & City Updates – What’s Happening That Impacts Our Area

Mall construction, the Hillsdale Terraces project, grade separation work – Whew! There is a LOT happening in our neighborhood – and even more in the rest of the city. Come get some updates and bring any questions you have.

Additionally, with the recent tragic fires, it’s a good time to review what we can do to make our homes safe. The fire department will be on-hand to share with us some important prevention strategies.


This race is extremely important because those elected will likely be representing us for 5 years, rather than the regular 4 year term.   You may be familiar with the candidates, but if not, take the time to view this link, which has forum videos in addition to candidate info:

The candidates are: Retired Akzo Nobel Sales Rep Mark De Paula, Educational Software Business Owner Eric Rodriguez, Attorney Joe Goethals, Printer Robert Newsom, Jr., City of Redwood City Employee Charlie Drechsler, Retired NoCal Carpenter’s Union Field Rep Rick Bonilla, and Attorney Chelsea Bonini.


In August, our school district’s Board of Trustees met to discuss the ‘spending imbalance’ which a district report suggests could grow as large as $9 million within the next two years. Be sure you cast your vote wisely for the San Mateo Foster City School Board candidates. We need some creative thinkers and folks who understand finance!!!

The candidates are: Thomas Morgan, Jacob Thiel, Shiraz Kanga, Shara Watkins, Noelia Corzo, Alexander Haislip and Rebecca Hitchcock.

For info on these candidates, visit:

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When does a cell tower go wherever it wants? Evidently, not today. Senate Bill 649, vetoed just last month, proposed to ‘scale back the permitting process for antennas and other equipment in an effort to meet demand for wireless services.’ In other words, it was intended to make it much easier to install cell towers, removing control from cities and counties. This raised concerns about the risk to public health from cell towers being placed in locations without adequate public/city input. And it likely won’t be long before the next bill comes down the pike, spurred by increased demand to access video, audio and other data wirelessly (via a smart phone, tablet or desktop and laptop computer).

San Mateo is jumping into action to take advantage of this period by creating its own law regarding the installation of cellular towers in neighborhoods. The city has begun the process of gathering input from residents regarding the future law, regulating the neighborhood approval process and the installation, maintenance and removal of cellular towers in our neighborhoods.

During the October 11th Public Works Commission meeting, the Public Works Department presented a proposed law regulating cellular or small cell networks in neighborhoods. There was a split vote on the Public Works Commission, so the Public Works Department will re-present the proposed law, which requires approval before going on to the City Council. If the new proposal is ready, it may be presented during the Commission’s upcoming November 8th meeting.

All Commission meetings are open to the public and are held the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.

How can YOU provide input to the Public Works department on the proposed law?

1) Attend the Public Works Commission meeting when the proposed neighborhood small cell networks is on the meeting’s agenda. The Commission will vote either to send or not send the proposed law to the City Council.

2) Attend the City Council meeting when the proposed law is on the meeting’s agenda. During this meeting, City Council will vote to make the proposed law the FINAL law.

3) Call or write to the City of San Mateo’s Public Works Department and ask to be added to an email distribution list regarding this matter. Contact Tracy Scramaglia, Senior Engineer of the Public Works department, at or 650-522- 7316.

Thanks to Public Works Commissioner Susan Rowinski for this information.


We’ll hear more about this subject at our upcoming Nov. 21st meeting. However, BHNA Vice-President Jeffrey Wang attended the September 13th grade separation meeting for 25th Avenue (28th & 31st avenues are also in line for this work). He shared the following details:

-Construction should begin in October, 2017.

-Much of the work will occur at nights and on weekends due to train


-There will be lane closures on 25 th Avenue but it will remain open for through traffic until late 2019.

-When the Hillsdale train station closes in late 2018, the Belmont station will effectively become Hillsdale until it reopens (at its new location on 28th in mid-2019).

-When 25th Avenue closes, in late 2019, it will close for approximately 2 months. (Don’t forget to continue to support 25th Avenue businesses!)

-Before 25 th Avenue closes, 28 th Avenue will open across the railroad tracks.

-Project completion expected in early part of 2020.





7:30 p.m. @ City Hall, Sept. 19th

Why does the City Council race matter so much this year?  Obviously, there is a LOT going on in our city – and the winning candidates will likely  be representing us for 5 years, not 4.*  In that period, councilmembers will be making so many important decisions about growth, traffic, infrastructure, building height limits, pension debt, etc.  You’ll want someone sitting at the dais who represents YOU.

San Mateo neighborhood leaders recognize the importance of this election and have come together to make this CANDIDATES NIGHT happen.  The BHNA is working collaboratively for the first time with the San Mateo United Homeowners Association (the umbrella organization for neighborhood associations throughout our city,) to open this event up to all residents of San Mateo.  So, bring a friend…or two or three!

Our joint efforts included an analysis of the top issues concerning residents, and resulted in five very thorough questions for each of the candidates.  Answers to these questions will certainly help you to get to know those running, and better understand the incumbents as they seek to return to their seats.

Mark your calendar and plan to come to 33 W. 20th Avenue (Council Chambers at City Hall) to attend this informative event – One which is sure to play an important role in your decision-making process.


*This November, a ballot measure will ask if we agree to extend council terms to 5 years on a one-time basis to comply with Senate Bill 415, a state law aimed at increasing voter turnout (by aligning city elections with state & federal elections in even years).



There are 7 candidates running for council.  They are: local small business owner Eric Rodriguez, attorney Joe Goethals, Retired Akzo Nobel Sales Rep Mark De Paula, Printer Robert Newsom, Jr., City of Redwood City employee Charlie Drechsler, Retired NoCal Carpenter’s Union Field Rep Rick Bonilla, and attorney Chelsea Bonini.


You can read more about the candidates, including their Candidates Statements and Statements of Qualifications at:



Can’t get to the meeting, but still interested in seeing it?  Here are some alternate ways to see it:

Check out the live broadcast on the City’s government access channel SMTV:

Cable Channel 27 for Comcast

Channel 26 for Wave

Channel 99 for AT&T customers


Watch live the City’s website at

Watch a replay – The Candidates Night forum will be replayed periodically on the City’s SMTV channel.

For a schedule check out the listings on    

Neighborhood associations (including BHNA) will be provided a link which we can share with you to view at any time.


Caltrain invites residents to a community meeting for the grade separation work which will begin in October. Train tracks will be raised and the road will be slightly lowered, providing east-west street connections at 28th & 31st Avenues.  The hope is that it will also improve traffic congestion, and increase bike and pedestrian safety.  The current Hillsdale train station will be relocated to an elevated site at 28th Avenue.  For project scope and construction schedule, come to the Sept. 13th meeting at 6 p.m. at 2121 S. El Camino Real, Building A, Ste. A100.  For more info on the overall project, go to, or call the community hotline at (650) 508-7726.


Opening the east-west street connections will invariably translate to more folks driving through our neighborhoods via 28th & 31st avenues.  Our May meeting on the subject with Public Works was not promising.  Firstly, they want to see how patterns result, but more importantly, traffic studies don’t amount to much if there is next to no money for improvements.  We all need to advocate for ourselves and get requests in to the new City Council come January that we want and need funds set aside for traffic mitigation due to grade separation impacts as they contemplate their upcoming budget!


The North Block Project at Hillsdale Shopping Center is moving along well, with final erection of steel and the installation of building concrete floors, walls and decks taking place at this time.  Street improvements are also ongoing.  The new traffic circle, located at 31st Avenue and Edison Street (at West Sailer Drive), is expected to reopen to vehicular traffic before mid-September.  That portion of 31st Avenue located between West Sailer Drive and East Sailer Drive is expected to reopen in early November and will remain open until the first of the year, at which time it will once again close until completion of improvements being made to the immediately adjacent roadways, sidewalks and buildings.  The Dining Terrace over 31st Avenue is expected to open to diners during Summer of 2018.  It is still anticipated that the remaining portions of the North Block Project will open to customers Fall of 2018.

Bohannon says they will know “very soon” all of the shops coming in to the north end.

TURN AROUND & GET TALLER – Part IIBHNA Newsletter September 2017

We previously reported that the building height limits measure put in place twice by resident voters will be expiring before we know it.  While the measures created height limits, they also took into consideration planning for beneficial growth.  Whether or not we reinstate the limits is truly an important decision during our current period of rapid growth.  Many residents feel should the subject should be placed in front of voters again when the time comes.  City leaders and planners have held numerous meetings over the past year or so, seeking input regarding our wishes for the future of our city and downtown. If they truly wish to know what resident taxpayers desire, it’s quite reasonable to ask that the building height limits be placed on a ballot as before.  But this won’t happen on its own.  The City Council would decide that, based on resident requests.


Toward the end of every year, the BHNA looks for ways to help our local community.  This year, the Board focused on the impacts to families in our area in regard to the cost of living, housing, and the resultant stresses.  With that focus, it was decided that donations would be made to two organizations which are incredibly important to our city.

At our November General Meeting, donations were proudly presented to the Police Activities League and CORA (Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse).  The PAL provides recreational, educational, and leisure activities at little or no cost to thousands of San Mateo


youth, seeking to build a stronger and safer community.  CORA has worked since the 1970’s to provide safety and support for families impacted by domestic violence though education, intervention, legal services and outreach.

The BHNA presented these donations to San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer, Police Activities League Fund Development Director, Lisa Tartaglia, and CORA’s Director of Development, Lynn Engel. (For more information about the PAL, go to  For more information about CORA, go to



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!



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.


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.



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:


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:

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

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: or call

(650) 212-3313.  Don’t forget Assemblyman Kevin Mullin at (650) 349-2200 or


Each year, our summer party gets better & better! Wear your dancing shoes for the toe-tapping sounds of the Montgomery Coe band, playing a music mix of contemporary, country, rock, & soul.  Dance under the summer sky as the kids enjoy the adjacent play area & activities, including a Make-A-Rootbeer-Float station.   We’ll also have cake & refreshments to enjoy as we raffle off prizes.  Know a neighbor who’d like to come?  Bring ‘em and we’ll see you there! July 19th at 7:30 p.m. at the Beresford Recreation Center