Category Archives: Community Concerns

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

THE BHNA & YOU – HELPING NEIGHBORS IN TOUGH TIMES

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 www.sanmateopal.org.  For more information about CORA, go to www.corasupport.org.)

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).

HOUSING CHALLENGES & GETTING CREATIVE

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!

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?

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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

BHNA – JULY SUMMER CELEBRATION!

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

The City of San Mateo Launches Online Parking Permit System on June 1st

 

San_Mateo_Parking

The City of San Mateo Launches Online Parking Permit System on June 1st

 Don’t Wait in Line

San Mateo, CA (May 16, 2016)… On June 1st, the city of San Mateo will launch the online sale of monthly downtown parking permits. The system, available at www.sanmateo.parkingguide.com will open to the public on May 23rd providing extra time to pre-register, create an account, and begin the process of purchasing a monthly parking permit before the system opens on June 1st.

The transitionmeter to an online parking system is the result of the Downtown Parking Management Plan adopted by the San Mateo City Council in 2014. The management plan identifies online permit sales as a method to streamline the permit process and make them more convenient to purchase.

Along with the switch to online sales, the permit system will transition from a quarterly downtown parking permit to a monthly permit tied to a specific facility. Additionally, the pricing for a monthly permit is based on the location of the garage and its proximity to the downtown core. For instance, those wanting to park within the downtown core at the Central Garage will pay $80 for the monthly permit. Garages located further from the core including the 2nd and El Camino Garage, Main Street Garage, Transit Center Garage, and Tennis Court Garage at Central Park are $50 per month. While the surface parking lots at 4th and Claremont and 5th and Claremont, as well as on-street parking along Railroad Avenue between 5th and 9th Avenues,  are $30 per month.

“The new pricing structure is similar to the recent rate changes to on-street parking,” says Matt Bronson, Assistant City Manager. “Last July we began charging a higher amount in the higher demand area of the downtown core and charging a lower amount in the periphery. This change encourages customers to park further out and provides better utilization of existing spaces. We expect this same behavior to occur as the parking permit program gets underway.”

The City of San Mateo has partnered with Parkmobile to provide the online parking permit system. Parkmobile is the leading provider for on-demand and prepaid mobile payments for on- and off-street parking. Their services have been adopted in more than 2,000 locations, including 35 of the top 100 cities in the U.S. by millions of registered users.

“Parkmobile is pleased to power the San Mateo online permit system,” says Jon Ziglar, CEO of Parkmobile. “We hope to add an enhanced level of convenience to all permit holders and make the parking experience even easier.”

Customers can visit the Parkmobile Help Center at bit.ly/SMPermitFAQ for step by step instructions and frequently asked questions. In addition to the online Help Center, San Mateo permit holders will be provided with a customer support phone number and email address later this month. Both the City and Parkmobile are dedicated to making the transition to the new system as smooth as possible!

The city began implementing the Parking Management Plan last summer by introducing the new color-coded parking zones and establishing parking rates based on demand and location. The changes to the parking permit program bring added convenience to downtown customers, makes it easier to manage and administer, and continues the transition to demand and location based parking. The city is also exploring technologies that will simplify the parking experience and will soon introduce mobile pay to downtown customers.

“Putting parking permit sales online is an important step to modernize the program and make it more convenient for downtown customers,” says Ann Fienman, Executive Director of the Downtown San Mateo Association. “It’s exciting to see the recommendations of the Parking Management Plan come to fruition. Using technology to better manage parking is great for downtown.”

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Rebecca Zito|Communications and Marketing|Office of the City Manager

City of San Mateo|330 West 20th Avenue|San Mateo, CA 94403|(650) 522-7005

www.cityofsanmateo.org |www.facebook.com/cityofsanmateo|@cityofsanmateo |www.sanmateoinsider.org

 

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/.