Category Archives: Newsletter

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

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

BHNA Report on the April San Mateo Homeowners United Meeting

RodBy BHNA Board Member Rod Linhares attended & reports:

A primary topic was the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The purpose of

establishing a new Treatment Plant is to upgrade San Mateo’s wastewater collection system, which would be accomplished in three ways: replacing aging infrastructure and facilities, meeting current and future regulatory requirements and ensuring wet weather capacity, and protecting the Bay. Additional education for the entire city and corresponding discussion will be forthcoming.

Following the Wastewater Plant presentation, there was a very brief discussion on Measure AA, the Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure. A flyer that opposed the measure was circulated, too.

A SMUHA letter to the City was read regarding proposed changes to the Poplar Creek golf course, expressing the need for recreational amenities in San Mateo, and SMUHA’s desire to be involved in discussions concerning potential golf course alterations.  SMUHA representatives endorsed the letter, and it was submitted

April 22nd.