Category Archives: Community Positions

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).

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

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