Our esteemed local scribe, John Horgan of the SM County Times (SJ Merc) has a New Year's wish we can all get behind. In his column, John notes
With 2016 now in full flower right there in front of us, perhaps it's a good time to check off a local fab five list of things that ought to be addressed/considered over the coming months.
Urban limits -- The basic rule of thumb is pretty simple. If we wanted to live in San Jose or San Francisco we would have moved there. Enough with the four- and five-story residential complexes that have all of the charm of a state prison. We live in the suburbs because they are suburbs.
There are a couple projects in the works right now in dear ole B'game where, in my opinion, a little bit of the Brutalist design aesthetic appears to be creeping in. Poor Millbrae has already been encroached upon by it. Regarding a local example, a recent letter to the Planning Commission by my highly-experienced spouse noted
988 Howard Ave. is particularly important for a number of reasons: 1) It is the gateway to the R-2 and R-1 areas of Burlingables/Lyon Hoag. 2) It directly faces and interacts with our 1894 Mission Revival Train Station which is a National Register listed building. 3) It anchors the southern corner of East Lane while the northern anchor is the Candy Store building, a beautiful 1920’s brick structure designed by Burlingame’s most prolific architect, Colonel Norberg (designer of the Burlingame Public Library, Washington School, the Lions Club and Candy Store buildings among many others). 4) It is one of the four corners of Burlingame Square and it is vital that the building balance the buildings on the other side of the square located between Howard Avenue and Burlingame Avenue i.e. The Candy Store, the Bank of Burlingame building and the Salma building.
I request that the Planning Commission use its design authority as delineated in the Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan and direct the applicant to re-design the architecture of the project that reflects the prominent historic structures surrounding Burlingame Square. Design direction should be given from these structures: The Mission Revival Train Station, the brick Candy Store building (AKA the Packard Dealership building), the Sullivanesque Bank of Burlingame building (currently the Straits Restaurant), The Salma Family Building (housing Kabul restaurant), the former Photo Play theatre building (today’s Basecamp Fitness) or the former Greyhound Bus station (currently Sam’s Sandwiches).
You can check out the submission to the city as it stands today here by scrolling down to Item 8d. A key point is "neighborhood consistency" and we ain't in San Fran, San Jose or Moscow for that matter.