September 2019 Newsletter

September BHNA Newsletter

Hillsdale Train Station Closure

You’ve seen the grade separation construction going on at the east end of 25th Avenue. This, in part, is to allow trains to run above street level. The end result is aimed at improving safety, traffic flow, and a reduction of train noise.

As part of this process, the Hillsdale Station will be temporarily closed for up to six months, starting this December. How will locals catch the train? What station will serve them? Join us as CalTrain comes to talk about their plans to ease this change for San Mateo passengers and commuters, and discusses overall project details, including complete east-west street connections at 28th and 31st Avenues.

Enjoy Refreshments with Your BHNA Board

Wish the BHNA would cover a certain topic? Want to serve your community? Have ideas? Stay after the speaker for a mixer and refreshments to learn how to become part of the BHNA Board, talk about your interests or concerns, or let us know how you think we could make the BHNA better! (Not a member yet? You are still welcome!)

 

BHNA Donation – Serving People in Our Community

Through Rebuilding Together Peninsula (RTP), the BHNA is proud to support the annual National Rebuilding Day (NRD) program. Since 1989, this volunteer repair program has served low-income homeowners and community facilities on the Peninsula.   As part of this year’s NRD program, two long-time Beresford Hillsdale homeowners received help. Both homeowners are struggling with health issues, currently live on fixed incomes, and qualified as “Extremely Low Income” households.   Overwhelmed by repair needs at their homes, they were appreciative of the support provided by RTP staff /volunteers, BKF Engineers and the County of San Mateo, including the following:

Interior and exterior painting of the home, repairing fence posts, installing handrails & grab bars, repairing a storage shed to keep pests out, repairing shower faucets, installing bath fans for proper ventilation, and repairing the garage door.

RTP partners with the City of San Mateo to provide minor home repairs for low-income homeowners in our community. Do you know of other homeowners in need? Would you like to volunteer to assist in the RTP office, warehouse or with repairs on site? If you are interested in referring a potential applicant or volunteering, please contact our Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Vicky Robledo, at 650-366-6597 x 234 or victoria@rtpeninsula.org.

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES OFF THE STUDY MAP TO BE UPZONED TO LARGER BUILDINGS – FOR NOW

The BHNA recently sent out an email blast to inform residents that single family homes might be included in a study map as part of the General Plan process. The General Plan (a complete guide for the future of our city,) and its formation is the center of attention for city leaders for the next few years.   Concerns centered around single-family homes, also known as R1s, being eyed for upzoning and allowing for larger buildings in our established neighborhoods in an attempt to provide for more housing.

The City Council reviewed three possible study maps, with the first version (V1) outlining only single-family homes in the North Central neighborhood at their request. The other two versions outlined R1 homes to greater extents.   City staff noted that the areas to be studied could include several things, not just upzoning. However, Councilmembers Freschet and Rodriguez were both vocal in their concerns that R1 neighborhoods should be protected from any upzoning studies. Mayor Papan voiced that she could agree with either the version outlining the most R1s, or the first version (V1). Councilman Bonilla stated he felt all single-family homes should be included in the study.   (Councilman Joe Goethals was absent.)

In the end, and at a very late hour, Council accepted the V1 map with a 3 to 1 vote, and residents breathed a sigh of relief.   However, it’s noteworthy that the door was left open to possibly include R1s later if San Mateo finds that it needs additional options to provide more housing as dictated by the State. Stay on top of these kinds of decisions and be vocal in the General Plan process by following www.strivesanmateo.org, where you may also sign up for meeting notifications. This is your future, too!

SHOULD WE STUDY MORE? FOOD FOR THOUGHT

With an expected increased population in San Mateo of 26,000 new residents by the year 2040, should we also be studying the maximum capacity for the following?

– Water supply

– Schools

– Emergency Room Availability

HEIGHT LIMIT HAPPENINGS

Were you one of the 7,000 residents who signed the petition last year? The one that would allow you to vote on whether to retain height limits for new buildings.   The one San Mateo voters put in place twice before, but is due to expire at the end of 2020. If so, you may be asking, “What happened?”

The petition drive for the new measure by San Mateans for Responsive Government (SMRG) was successful, but as necessary resident signatures had been procured, Bohannon Development called into question the language of the measure. Bohannon then encouraged the Council to send the measure to court, hoping to have it ruled invalid.  Council then asked SMRG to meet to negotiate and see if terms could be agreed upon by all parties.   This could avoid court by having Council perhaps put the measure on the ballot as their own (rather than keeping it a resident measure). SMRG participated in good faith for months, but the effort was fruitless. Michael Weinhauer, SMRG’s spokesman, recently told the BHNA, “We’ve been continuously and staunchly fighting for the residents’ right to vote on this matter, irrespective of special interests that attempt to subvert these fundamental voter rights.”

Last month Council did have a ‘pending litigation’ item on their agenda for a closed-door session, but perhaps because one councilmember was missing, that item was cancelled. There is still no news of any decision for SMRG and residents. To keep on top of this changing situation, visit www.smartergrowthsm.com.

COUNCILMEMBER STEPPING DOWN & POLICE CHIEF RETIRING

Last month Councilmember Maureen Freschet shared the news that she would be leaving the City Council one year early, and stepping down this November. The BHNA would like to thank Freschet for her tireless efforts on behalf of our residents. Freschet signed on for the normal four-year term, which was increased to five years when California decided to go to even year elections. Freschet looks forward to focusing on her family, with continued involvement in volunteer activities. Once she vacates her seat, the Council will have 30 days to choose a replacement.

Chief Susan Manheimer also made the announcement that she will be retiring at the end of this year.   Manheimer has served more than 19 years at the helm of the San Mateo Police Department, and ends her career with more than 30 years in law enforcement. The community will miss this industrious leader, who focused on creating a community-oriented department.   During Manheimer’s time with the SMPD, numerous award-winning programs have improved the quality of life in San Mateo. San Mateo’s City Manager admits that replacing the Chief will be ‘no small challenge.’ Organizations, including the San Mateo United Homeowners’ Association, are making plans to honor this hard-working public servant on behalf of our community. For more about Manheimer’s contribution to our city, see: www.cityofsanmateo.org/659/Chief-Susan-E-Manheimer