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  Looks like what needs to change is an outdated plan – and quickly.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

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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