City seeks developers for prime downtown lots

The dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California left many cities grasping at straws to hold on to properties that could be used to help squelch the affordable housing crisis. Now, San Mateo is inching closer to leveraging its own land as it considers a range of ideas submitted by 10 interested developers.

The City Council meets in closed session Monday to discuss preliminary proposals for two parcels well-situated near downtown and the Caltrain line that were purchased with former redevelopment agency funds nearly two decades ago. 

Affordable housing and parking are top priorities for the growing city, but balancing demands while working within a limited budget is a challenge officials must ultimately face. With that in mind, the council appealed to the development community for ideas as well as how to finance them.

National Week of Housing Action – July 22-29

Help Us Deliver Thousands of Signatures to Represent the Thousands of Bay Area Families At Risk of Homelessness Under the Trump-Carson Budget Cuts to Housing

The Trump-Carson housing budget proposes steep cuts to affordable housing programs vital to our communities. In the Bay Area alone, estimates show that 5,750 residents and families will be at risk of becoming homeless due to these cuts.

Opinion: A Tale of Two Cities: Developer Fees in Foster City and San Mateo

By Justin Alley Two stories featured on the front page of the July 10th issue of the San Mateo Daily Journal closely mirror each other. One talks about how integral developer fees are to Foster City’s budget. Indeed, whether or not Foster City runs a deficit in years to come hinges upon developer fees. The … Continue reading Opinion: A Tale of Two Cities: Developer Fees in Foster City and San Mateo

City gives up affordable housing fees

San Mateo will forgo millions of dollars in developer-paid fees to address the affordable housing crisis in a move the city’s mayor called shocking and hypocritical.

Just months after approving linkage fees commercial developers would pay to help offset the impacts to the regional housing crisis, the city was asked to make concessions and provide a discount for five projects. Staff and the majority of the council described amendment to the city’s ordinance as a clarification and in fairness to developers that already had projects in the pipeline when the new fees were approved.

But Mayor David Lim said he was shocked and opposed to “spot legislation” that would cater to just a handful of developers.

“I know this is strong language, but it’s basically kowtowing to developers. We’re going to lose $2.9 million to $3.9 million that we could use for affordable housing,” Lim said. “I think this is one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen the council make.”

San Mateo’s rental rates keep rising

Reports: Most expensive in area with growth outpacing rest of the nation It is shaping up to be a long, hot summer for San Mateo renters as monthly fees due to landlords ticked up by nearly 4 percent in last year, continuing a steady incline for the past six months, according to a recent report. … Continue reading San Mateo’s rental rates keep rising

Letter: Affordable housing to take back seat in Burlingame again?

Burlingame’s City Council will vote late on Monday evening, July 3, whether to accept the terms in an agreement with Topgolf, an entertainment facility that is planned to be built on Bayfront property. The site is public land — former landfill and unsuitable for housing. By state law, if it were suitable, the land would have to be offered to affordable housing developers. We assert that the revenue from renting the land should by all rights be put into an affordable housing fund.