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At tonight’s meeting we provided information on the CASA Compact, and promised a list of online emails for residents to contact undecided politicians who will be voting January 17th.  They are as follows:


JAN. 15TH MEMBER MEETING:  Meet City Manager Drew Corbett and hear his vision for San Mateo for 2019, including the creation of our new General Plan. Also, hear updates regarding the cell tower installation ordinance for our backyards from Lily Lim, Senior Planner for the City of San Mateo.  (Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Beresford Rec Center.)

What’s Wrong with the Plan?

It’s a bit of a black eye when you say you want to hear from residents in order to formulate a new General Plan which will govern everything within the city, but then efforts fail miserably because of a tight timeline, resulting in the sub-par execution of even the most initial steps.

The public had a lot to say to city leaders on this subject, especially following the disappointing December General Plan Subcommittee meeting.  Hard-working Subcommittee members expressed that they felt unprepared to move forward with recommendations for the Draft Vision Statement for the plan (which would then go to the Planning Commission before its final destination with City Council).  This was due, in part, to the fact that public input meeting videos the Subcommittee wished to view had yet to be made available.  Additionally, the Subcommittee was told that answers to their questions from the previous meeting (to city staff and the company executing the process) were also yet to made available.  More concerning, was the fact that it was then stated that this uncooked stew of the Draft Vision Statement was still going to be served to the Planning Commission, regardless of the comments the Subcommittee had yet to write up and submit.

There is NOTHING more important that our city will do in the next decade than create this new General Plan, so why the rush?  Shouldn’t we be taking all the time needed to get this right?

The most important things residents can do right now is SHOW up and say what they want for the future of their city. This can be done in a simple email directed to the City Council or planningcommission@cityofsanmateo.org (copy the City Clerk to make it public record at polds@cityofsanmateo.org).  No one should miss this opportunity.  You can also follow the progress on this and give input at http://strivesanmateo.org/.

Do Some Good in Your Neighborhood

Do you think your neighborhood association is important?  A thriving, vibrant neighborhood association depends on YOU!  There is so much happening in San Mateo, we must have a team to learn things as they develop, and represent our neighborhood. The BHNA Board has a number of open positions for 2019.  Email for info and join today at board@beresfordhillsdale.org.

Supporting a Good Cause

The BHNA has sought to support our community by making annual donations to local organizations which benefit our area and city.  In recent years, this has included Samaritan House, HIP Housing, the Police Activities League and the Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA).

Most recently, we have given to SMRG – the group tasked with getting a measure on the ballot to allow you to vote on new building height limits when the current height limits measure expires.  Special interests continue to work hard to make sure residents won’t have this vote.  Learn more, and how you can support the SMRG effort at www.smartergrowthsm.com, or by calling 650-539-4930.

Heard on the Street

There is word going around that Hillsdale Mall may be for sale by Bohannon Development.  Is it true?  Who knows – but it would certainly make a lot more sense in light of their continued, dogged efforts to push against the citizen’s right to vote on San Mateo’s building height limits.  Just think, if Bohannon had the freedom to build 10 and 12 story buildings on their lot (which currently houses the defunct TGIF restaurant and Anna’s Furniture store), it would truly be the icing on any cake being served to a prospective buyer.  To heck with impacts on the residents or infrastructure.  As the song goes, “Money changes everything.”

What gets weaker as it goes from the front of your yard straight into your backyard?  It’s no secret that the Safe San Mateo folks were underwhelmed and disappointed with the lack of teeth in the recent  cell tower ordinance accepted by our City Council for new tower installations in our public right of way (streets).  Council had a lot of legal limitations, so felt they put forward their best foot.  The next step is to approve an ordinance to govern what cell companies can put in your backyard easements.  But the word is that all the careful work to create the path for the public right of way ordinance is being tossed aside when considering this even more concerning ordinance.  If Safe San Mateo thought the teeth of the public ordinance were merely milk teeth, are we expected to expect even less in our backyards? (Learn more at January 15th BHNA meeting.)

It’s Your $8K – Find Out When You Will be Spending It!

Each city has its own mandate for homeowners to get their sewer laterals inspected, and make any necessary repairs or replacements.  A mandate recommendation for our city is currently being percolated by the Sustainability and Infrastructure Commission.  They are looking at three options:

Option 1 consists of a required inspection and repair/replacement (if needed) upon title transfer of your property.  Option 2 is to mandate an inspection when you pull a permit for home improvements on your kitchen, baths, pool or spa.  The final option is to combine Options 1 and 2.

The average cost to fully replace your lateral is about $8,400, with a few hundred extra bucks for the inspection.  On the plus side, the City has increased the amount in the kitty for the cost-sharing program they have for residents doing just that: a full replacement.  Those who have applied for this assistance know that it comes on a first come/first served basis.  However, even with the additional monies, only 184 resident applicants will be able to benefit this year.  For more info on this program, go to:


The S&I Commission had a number of concerns at their recent meeting on December 12th.  One was that even if residents are made to get their laterals up to speed, the City must also address public adjacent pipes as well.  If overflows are due to increased volumes in the pipes (as with when it rains), then it won’t do much good to upgrade private pipes dumping into small public pipes.  The need for public outreach on this matter was underscored by the Committee, too, along with concerns about how to best balance the financial burden to the residents.

It was discussed that while Option 1 may be the least burdensome financially, it moves things forward at too slow a pace, since the option hinges on home sales.  But Option 2 could make a $15k bathroom remodel into one costing $23k.

Upgrading our infrastructure is necessary.  How best to get it done is still being discussed as the Commission awaits more information from City Staff, and gives staff time to reach out to residents on the matter.  Once this subject is again on the Commission’s agenda, they will make a decision which will then go to the City Council for a Study Session.  No date is yet set, but you can check their monthly agendas at https://cosm.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

There’s a New Mayor in Town

The New Year brings with it a new mayor for San Mateo.  Be advised our new mayor is Diane Papan.  She can be reached at dpapan@cityofsanmateo.org.

Have You Thought About the Difference YOU Could Make?

 Meet your neighbors, have fun, and make positive impacts in our community by becoming a BHNA Board member for 2019.  We currently have openings, so email us today at  board@beresfordhillsdale.org.  

Welcome to BHNA  – Why being a member is critical to our quality of life…

San Mateo is changing.  Be informed about what goes on in San Mateo because it impacts you.  An easy way to do that is to join the BHNA for just $12 annually!  Your dues allow this neighborhood association to serve you, not only with news, but as a voice to city leaders.
New Quarterly Newsletters – In keeping with the new meeting months, newsletters will also become quarterly, with any additional important notifications being sent via email, noted on our website, or published in a special edition newsletter…
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