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Attendees at Taste and Talk Forum raise hands to ask questions
Community Development, Downtown

The Update to the Downtown Specific Plan is Underway

Participate in an online survey to share your ideas and get involved in the planning process

Downtown Plan LogoSustainable streets, access to transit, bike and pedestrian amenities, housing and jobs, diversity of retail opportunities, and inviting public spaces. What does Downtown San Mateo mean to you? The update of the Downtown Specific Plan will engage the community in a lively dialogue to address many of these topics and identify a framework that will shape the future vision of our downtown.

The community kick-off meeting took place on Monday, January 23rd and the first Taste and Talk Forum, focusing on the ingredients that make a great downtown, was held on Wednesday, February 8th. Both meetings were well attended (approx. 90-100 attendees) and show that the community has a strong interest in the future of Downtown San Mateo.

The kick-off meeting introduced the planning process and provided opportunities for community members to comment and share ideas on their vision for downtown. Attendees rotated through four stations where they were asked to: 1) Prioritize opportunities /enhancements for downtown, 2) Make suggestions about the elements currently missing from downtown, 3) Identify their mode of getting to, from and around downtown, and 4) Recorded interviews, at the final station, provided an opportunity for attendees to share their stories, ideas and most enthusiastic wishes for downtown. Watch the video on the city’s YouTube channel to hear what people are saying.

The Taste and Talk Forum featured a panel of planning and economic development professionals who shared ideas on the

components for creating a vibrant downtown. Their collective experience provided a wealth of ideas to consider for San Mateo’s downtown including an active public realm, access to transit, balancing housing and office near transit, focusing on ground floor activity, and encouraging opportunities for events and entertainment. These and other factors are ingredients that help to create a downtown destination for all.

Join the Discussion

The San Mateo community is encouraged to join the discussion and share your ideas about the future of our downtown! Think and envision what you would like to see in Downtown 20 or 30 years from now!
There are multiple ways to participate:

  1. Come to a community event! The next one is on Monday, March 29th at 6 pm San Mateo Main Library (Oak Room).
  2. Visit the project website www.engagedowntownsanmateo.org to learn more, find out about upcoming events, check out summaries & videos of past events, and other resources related to this community planning effort.
  3. Take the survey on the city’s online engagement platform, Speak Up San Mateo, available on the city’s website. The survey will guide you through exercises similar to the station exercises at the January 23rd community kick-off event. The survey is available through March 22nd.
  4. If you have questions, reach out to project staff by emailing downtownplan@cityofsanmateo.org.
Code Enforcement Neighborhood Improvement
Community, Community Development

Code Enforcement Strengthens San Mateo’s Neighborhoods

San Mateo's Code Enforcement Team

San Mateo’s Code Enforcement Team from left to right: Jesse Medina, Code Enforcement Officer I; Christine Civiletti, Code Enforcement Manager; and Debra LaPalm, Code Enforcement Officer II.

“Enforcement doesn’t always have to be the first resort when it comes to code enforcement issues,” says Christine Civiletti, San Mateo’s new Code Enforcement Manager. “Many of the cases we see in San Mateo can be handled by informing and educating a resident. This way they have the ability to resolve the issue on their own, and we work with them towards self-compliance.”

Putting a positive face on code enforcement may be a herculean task, but if anyone can do it, Civiletti is the one. She has the experience and the right attitude to do the job. She is passionate about helping people and would like to see code enforcement build stronger relationships with residents and neighborhoods.

Code Enforcement is now a division of San Mateo’s Community Development Department, and Civiletti is the first to bring a new vision to this challenging function.

Before arriving in San Mateo, Civiletti spent 11-years working for the city of Fremont, most recently as a Senior Code Enforcement Officer. There she facilitated several neighborhood projects and was able to foster stronger relationships by encouraging people to work together. One of her projects brought together a group of community volunteers that provided time, skills and materials to help put a new roof on a resident’s house. “It’s rewarding to give people the ability to improve their quality of life,” she says.

Changing the culture of code enforcement in San Mateo

Working with the community in a positive way is an approach that will improve the perception of code enforcement. Within the first year, Civiletti envisions an open line of communication between neighborhoods and code enforcement officers.

“Having conversations within neighborhoods is a good first step,” Civiletti commented. On June 23rd a neighborhood meeting was held in the North Central neighborhood. It provided an opportunity for neighbors to connect with one another and for code enforcement officers and residents to meet.

Code Enforcement focuses on self-compliance

Codes, guidelines, and rules are the essence of code enforcement. However, San Mateo’s new approach focuses on information and self-compliance. The city working with neighbors to understand requirements.

Residents expressed the most amount of concern about the impacts of the home occupation ordinance. Many felt that it wasn’t working and needs to be re-written. “After going back to study the code, we realized that it needs to be enforced

differently,” Civiletti stated. The new approach to enforcement will launch in August, and focuses on informing those operating a home-based business, with or without a permit, with the requirements they need to comply. Those operating a business without a permit will also receive information on how to obtain one. Code enforcement will make sure business owners get the appropriate permit.

Additionally, Code Enforcement is partnering with the Police Department to organize meet and greet events in specific neighborhoods. Community members can come to these events, have a cup of coffee and discuss the issues impacting their neighborhood with police and code enforcement officers.

Taking a look at the big picture

San Mateo’s code enforcement officers are highly dedicated and want to create strong, healthy communities. Civiletti encourages her team to look at the bigger picture. A complaint may begin with garbage, but it’s usually so much more. Taking a step back brings perspective and provides the ability to see what more can be done to make improvements within a neighborhood.

“Being effective in this field depends on how you look at an issue,” Civiletti stated. “My vision is to establish relationships and ensure that the community and enforcement officers work together in a positive way.” For more information, please visit www.cityofsanmateo.org.

New Mural on Tilton Avenue
Community Development

New Mural on Tilton Avenue in Downtown San Mateo

Local artist Todd Lanam recently completed a stunning new mural on Tilton Avenue at North B Street. The new artwork, entitled “The Beach Back Home” reflects the Pacific island roots of many San Mateo residents. The neighborhood welcomed the mural as another positive addition to the busy North B Street block. This area of downtown is home to numerous authentic Hispanic restaurants, shops, and markets.

New Mural on Tilton Avenue

Beach Back Home

The Prasad family, who own the building and operate Neelam Islanders Market there, wanted to help beautify the neighborhood. They made contact with the Downtown San Mateo Association, which had sponsored several downtown art installations in 2013-14. The DSMA coordinated the new mural, managing the project logistics and arranging funding from Downtown San Mateo Arts.

Todd Lanam is a San Mateo native and a fine artist with a growing reputation.  Todd attended Aragon High School, then went on to study at the College of the Arts in San Francisco, and San Francisco State University.  His work has been shown at Mark Wolfe Gallery in San Francisco, and at major art fairs in New York and Miami.

New Mural on Tilton Avenue

Beach Back Home credits

Todd was very excited to complete this mural painting here in his hometown of San Mateo. The project enabled Todd to share his art in a unique setting, and create an opportunity for discovery and delight for Downtown residents and visitors.

All photos by Patrick Beaudouin.

Story by Ann Fienman, Executive Director of the DSMA.

 

Peninsula Clean Energy
Community Development, Sustainability

San Mateo County rolls out Peninsula Clean Energy

This year San Mateo County residents will have a choice between energy providers for the first time. Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is now San Mateo County’s official energy provider and all residents are automatically signed up for this new program as their neighborhoods are phased in. Residents will have the choice to opt-out of this program once their neighborhood is registered, or they may choose to stay with PCE and receive clean, renewable energy. The roll out process will take 12-months, and Phase 1 will begin this October. Sign up as an Early Adopter to be at the front of the line when the next phase launches!

Peninsula Clean Energy

What is Peninsula Clean Energy?

PCE is a public, locally-controlled electricity provider that gives all Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers (residential, commercial, and municipal) in San Mateo County the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources at competitive rates. PCE will source electricity on behalf of its customers from renewable resources like water, wind, and solar. The projects where this energy is sourced are located in California, Oregon, and Washington state.

Peninsula Clean EnergyHow Did PCE Come to Be?

PCE was created in February 2016 when all 20 cities in San Mateo County, plus the County of San Mateo, voted unanimously to form a Joint Powers Authority to administer the program, following years of careful study and development.

When California deregulated the energy market in 1997, many Californians switched to alternative energy providers. Following the energy crisis of 2000-01, consumer choice of electricity providers was suspended. As a response to the closing of the open market, Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002 to establish Community Choice Aggregation, which offers an opportunity for California communities to choose their electric provider and the source of their electricity.

How is PG&E Involved?

PCE will provide the electricity, and PG&E will deliver it over their lines and wires. PG&E will continue to do the billing for all of these services. The only changes to a PG&E electricity bill will be a few lines of different charges associated with PCE.

PCE provides electric generation, which is the source of your power, while PG&E continues to provide electric delivery and billing services just as they always have. PG&E still owns and reads your electric meter, sends your monthly bill, and provides the same maintenance and other repair services. PCE only replaces the electric generation services with 50-100% renewable energy at competitive rates.PCE_PGE_comparison-graphs_v3

PCE’s Energy Options

PCE offers two options of renewable energy for its customers, whether residential or commercial. Both options provide clean and renewable energy to homes and businesses at varying levels.

First of all, what is the difference between clean energy and renewable energy? PCE makes the distinction: “Clean energy is carbon-free energy that creates little to no greenhouse gas emissions. This is Peninsula Clean Energyin contrast to fossil fuels, which produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and methane. Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources that are naturally replenished such as sunlight, wind, water, and geothermal heat. Unlike fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal, which cannot Peninsula Clean Energybe replaced, renewable energy regenerates naturally in a short period of time.”

PCE provides both clean and renewable electricity for San Mateo County customers. Each electricity product has a different percentage of carbon-free and renewable energy. All San Mateo customers will be lpaced into the ECOplus plan. It offers at least 50% renewable and 75% carbon-free at lower generation rates than PG&E. ECO100 is a 100% renewable and 100% carbon-free energy product. As a PCE customer, you are able to choose which energy option you feel is most beneficial to your home or business. The website offers a cost calculator to help you decide what is the best choice for your energy options.

How to Enroll

All residents and businesses in San Mateo County are automatically enrolled with PCE in the ECOplus plan. The switch will be made in phases, with the first customers receiving PCE energy this October. The second phase will be in April 2017 and the final and third phase will be October 2017.

To jump to the top of the list and be one of the first customers in the county to begin using PCE, regardless of your enrollment group, sign up as an Early Adopter. If you decide you don’t want to use PCE, you’re able to opt-out once your enrollment has been initiated; this means that if your neighborhood or commercial area isn’t scheduled to begin using PCE until next October, you will not be able to opt-out until next October.

Clean and Renewable Energy for All!

PCE is an effort to create affordable and clean energy for all residents and businesses. This creates a better environment and helps keep the planet safe and healthy. This innovative program benefits everyone involved and the City of San Mateo is excited to see it begin to roll out on October 1st!

 

Art in Public Places
Community Development

San Mateo’s “Art in Public Places” Program

If you frequent San Mateo you’ve probably seen some of the beautiful and creative art pieces that are on display throughout the town. From Synthesis in front of 2000 Delaware to the El Camino Mural in front of Peninsula Station, these displays of art are becoming more prevalent throughout the community thanks to the Art in Public Places program.

Art in Public Places

Synthesis in front of 2000 Delaware

This program was established in 2005 by an ordinance passed by City Council  in order to “promote the general welfare through balancing the community’s physical growth and revitalization and its cultural and artistic resources.” The Civic Arts Committee maintains this program and calls for a 0.5% building permit fee to be used directly by the developers to commission and install their own art in publicly accessible places within projects that are valued at or greater than $3 million, or to provide the City the required in-lieu fee that then is reserved for City acquisition, installation and maintenance of public art. The program and ordinance applies to all new developments, whether it be residential, commercial, or retail.

As of April 2016, the total obligation to public art exceeds $2.8 million through this program.  That includes both $1.8 million directly through the ordinance and the $1 million of public art support from the Bay Meadows development agreement.

Developers must select the artists and submit a proposal to the committee. The Committee then decides on the proposal based on established guidelines. Heather Stewart, Senior Management Analyst for Community Development, said that the “committee works hard to make sure the art is accessible” to the community. One requirement for the public art is that it is accessible and interactive for the community. For example, the San Mateo Bridge sculpture in Landing Green Park is a series of steel structures so that when you walk around it you can appreciate the sculpture from a wide variety of different angles.

Art in Public Places

San Mateo Bridge sculpture in Landing Green Park

The purpose of the program is to involve the community in the development process so they can enjoy it more. Although not all artists are local — plenty are from all over the world — there are several who go back to Bay Area, or even San Mateo, roots, like the aforementioned San Mateo Bridge sculpture by Chuck Ginnever. Stewart said that this program isn’t unique to San Mateo and that it’s a “movement through municipalities.” Throughout the Bay Area cities and towns are enacting public art programs as “one way to bring art and culture to the community,” Stewart said.

The newest public art display that is a part of this program will be unveiled later this year. The “Mirror Labyrinth NY – for California” will be front and center in the Town Square of Bay Meadows. This sculpture is a large scale steel and aluminum sculpture that will reflect all of the lighting from surrounding businesses and homes making it a delight to see a night. During the day, kids will love wandering through the small paths created by the structure.

Art in Public Places

El Camino Real mural in front of Peninsula Station

Stewart thinks this piece of art will be a big hit, as most of the other art pieces around town have been well-received by San Mateo residents. Stewart said that “…there has been an appreciation for what has been installed so far,” and with new developments always in the works, the program is bound to be incredibly successful.

 

Community Development, Sustainability

Have You Tried San Mateo’s Bike Share?

San Mateo’s Bay Bikes are Perfect for Your Commuting Needs

San Mateo has been working to make commuting in and around the City as easy as possible. Connect San Mateo is one of the best resources that San Mateans can use to figure out their commutes on a daily basis. One of the featured modes of transportation featured on Connect San Mateo is the recently-launched bike share program Bay Bikes.

Mayor Joe Goethals

Mayor Joe Goethals riding a Bay Bike

Bay Bikes offers bikes for short term use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All you need to do is register with the Social Bicycles app, add a few bucks, and you’re ready to go! With convenient hubs throughout San Mateo it’s the easiest, healthiest and most affordable way to get around town. This new bike share is operated by Bikes Make Life Better, a Bay-area bike fleet operator, with funding and support from the City of San Mateo. The bicycles and technology are by Social Bicycles, a leading provider of smart-bike share systems.

The program launched in May and has been a success so far. The City is happy with usage rates and is excited to see the rates growing. These bikes are unique and stand out from other bike sharing systems because of the Social Bicycles app. The app makes finding bikes and hubs incredibly easy. On the app, you can find out how many bikes are near you at a certain time, and can find the nearest hubs to you.

When you register, there are two options for membership plans: hourly and monthly. The hourly plan is simply $5/hour and trips are prorated to the minute. Monthly membership is $15/month. Click here for more information on membership plans.

Make sure you register for Bay Bikes today! It’s the easiest choice for moving around town. Watch the video for further introduction to this great program!

 

Beresford-Park-Renovation-San-Mateo
Community, Community Development, Parks and Recreation

Last Chance to Buy a Brick Along the Beresford Path

This is your LAST CHANCE to Buy-a-Brick along the new Beresford Path, and have your dedication unveiled at the Grand Re-Opening Celebration this Summer 2016! If you or anyone you know were considering donating a brick, NOW is the time to do so.

>> Click to Order Your Beresford Brick Online <<

brick pathway_beresford

Click to Buy-a-Brick Online! Deadline is Mon, May 23 at 12noon.

The 23-year-old playground at Beresford Park has served our community well, but needed a renovation. The City of San Mateo and the San Mateo City Parks and Recreation Foundation are currently under construction at Beresford Park (slated to re-open in mid-July 2016). Improvements include renovating the playground, surrounding pathways and landscaping.

You can donate to this cause, as well as purchase a Pathway Brick for $250. These paver bricks are 12-inches x 6-inches and you’re allowed 3 lines of 23 characters per line (including spaces and punctuation).

The deadline to submit your donation and dedication is Monday, May 23rd, at 12:00 noon.

>> Donate Today! <<

Beresford Park Slated to Re-Open July 2016

Landscape architect's rendition of plans for Beresford Park

Landscape architect’s rendition of plans for Beresford Park

Construction on the new playground area began in September 2015 and is slated to re-open in mid-July 2016.

The playground renovation will include many fun new attractions for children including tower slides, net bridges, climbing walls, pendulum swings, a crawl tunnel, spinners, monkey bars and more. Landscape improvements include a commemorative brick walkway thanks to donors who supported the playground renovation.

As of April 1st, the underground storm drains and pipes have been installed. The concrete curbs, pathways, rock work and landscaping are complete and the adult fitness equipment has been put in place.

We await the arrival of the engraved commemorative bricks, benches and play equipment in the upcoming weeks and will work as swiftly as possible to re-open this much loved community park.

Map of Bay Meadows
Community, Community Development

Transit Oriented Development Series – Part Three

Bay Meadows

This article featuring Bay Meadows is the last in a three-part series about the Transit Oriented Development projects currently under construction in San Mateo. The City’s Rail Corridor Transit Oriented Development Plan sets development goals to help maintain the quality of life for those living and working in San Mateo while providing additional opportunities for high density affordable and market rate housing and class ‘A’ office space.

Bay Meadows emulates these goals through the guiding principles and design guidelines established in its Specific Plan adopted by the San Mateo City Council. The principles and standards establish a vision for the look and feel of Bay Meadows and will facilitate the creation of a high-quality development.

Meadow Walk homes at Bay MeadowsBay Meadows is now in phase two of development. Currently under construction are two apartment buildings, The Russell and Rendezvous. These multi-use buildings will have retail space on the bottom and residential living on top. Station 4 is also currently under construction and will be used as office space. These buildings will form the town square which will feature an exciting public art piece. The Brightside and Meadow Walk residential areas are currently completing construction as well.

When completed, Station 4 will be used to house the company SurveyMonkey. The prospective date for SurveyMonkey to move in is January 2017. This is also when The Russell and Rendezvous are scheduled to be completed. Currently all infrastructure is complete for these buildings.

The Russell and Rendezvous will go up for lease when they are completed. Bay Meadows does not take a waiting list but they do have an interest list so people can receive e-mails with information about Bay Meadows.

When finished, Bay Meadows will include more 1,000 homes, 750,000 square feet of office space, and 18 acres of parks. There is no completion date for phase two because the start of construction for the next buildings is driven by the market.Brightside homes at Bay Meadows

“For sale houses have more demand than we can supply and for rent spaces have leased up very quickly. Part of it is the quality of the buildings and part of it is the quality of the community. People like being close to the train, like the parks, and like the overall feel of Bay Meadows.” Said Janice Thacher, Partner at Wilson Meany – the company that developed Bay Meadows.

We hope you enjoyed this Transit Oriented Development series and found it informational. While this was the last article in this series stay tuned, by subscribing, to get updates on other development projects in San Mateo sent directly to you.

Station Park Green rendition of the community
Community, Community Development

Transit Oriented Development Series – Part Two

Station Park Green

This article featuring Station Park Green is the second of a three-part series about the Transit Oriented Development projects currently under construction in San Mateo. The City’s Rail Corridor Transit Oriented Development Plan sets development goals to help maintain the quality of life for those living and working in San Mateo while providing additional opportunities for high density affordable and market rate housing and class ‘A’ office space.

Station Park Green emulates these goals through the guiding principles and design guidelines established in its Specific Plan adopted by the San Mateo City Council in 2011 with updated modifications being adopted in 2014. The principles and standards establish a vision for the look and feel of Station Park Green and will facilitate the creation of a high-quality development. This project will help to meet the goals of the Rail Corridor Plan by providing new housing and office opportunities in close proximity to transit.

Rendition of Station Park Green with labled streetsCurrently located at 1700 and 1790 S. Delaware is the Station Park Green project. You may remember this space previously being used for the Kmart store and Michaels craft store. The new space, currently under construction, will include four buildings which will include, 599 rental units, 10,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of retail space, and almost two acres of green space, including a one acre park in the center. When finished, the buildings will have Station Park Green Addresses.

Demolition began in May of 2015. This project will be built on a rolling construction schedule, meaning that construction will begin on the first building, followed several months later by the second building, followed by the third, and finally the fourth. Residential leasing is scheduled to begin in the Winter of 2017 and this will be on a rolling schedule, as the buildings are completed, as well. The entire site is projected to be complete by the Winter of 2018.

So far the demolition of Kmart and Michaels is complete. Looking forward, rough-grading (clearing the surface to prep for final grading and further construction) will be complete in mid-October and pier drilling (drilling into in the ground to prepare for installation of foundation structures) for the first building is scheduled for November and December, weather permitting.

Rendition of Station Park Green multi-use buildings“We are excited about being in San Mateo. We believe Station Park Green is a great transit-oriented infill opportunity – meaning that we are building on an under-utilized parcel of land in an already developed area – in a core location…Being located right off of the train is something we are excited about.” said Rachael Stoddard, Development Manager at Essex Property Trust.

Interested in development projects and information such as this? Stay tuned for more updates by subscribing to the San Mateo Insider.

Photo model of what 450 Concar will look like when completed
Community, Community Development

San Mateo Transit Oriented Development Series

San Mateo’s Rail Corridor, located within a half-mile radius of the Hayward Park and Hillsdale Caltrain station areas, is undergoing a great deal of development activity at the 92 and Delaware Street interchange and within Bay Meadows. These projects are part of the vision established in the City’s Rail Corridor Transit Oriented Development Plan adopted by the San Mateo City Council in 2005. The plan identified development goals that would help to maintain the quality of life for those living and working in San Mateo while providing additional opportunities for high density affordable and market rate housing and class ’A’ office space.

These improvements help to maintain San Mateo’s stature as a premiere city throughout the Bay Area while creating new employment and housing opportunities for those wanting to live and work near transit.

San Mateo is undergoing a significant transformation and it is important to share this information with those living and working in the community. This is the first of a three part series that will feature and provide updates on development projects currently underway. This includes 400|450 Concar, Station Park Green and Bay Meadows. We hope you find these updates informative and are excited about the new opportunities coming to San Mateo.

400|450 ConcarConstruction at the development site

Construction of 400|450 Concar, developed by Hines, began on March 2, 2015. When complete the project will include two four-story buildings of class ‘A’ office space. The underground parking, which will provide parking for future office tenants, is currently under construction. The underground parking for 400 Concar will be complete in approximately two weeks. It is anticipated that the parking at 450 Concar Drive will be complete within four to six weeks after that.

“People will start to see more progress once it hits ground level. To the public it will be more noticeable as the building structures become visible, particularly from Highway 92.” said Sam Cheikh, Director at Hines.

Constructino at the development siteThe project is on track to finish during the summer of 2016.

“The end goal of the project is to finish on time and have it leased…We are confident about the market, confident about the good location, because it’s transit oriented and freeway adjacent with easy access to Highway 92 and 101. These types of buildings, newly built to the highest quality and environmental standards, are in high demand. We are very excited about the project.” said Cheikh.

Interested in projects and information such as this? Stay tuned for more development updates by subscribing to the San Mateo Insider.