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March 11, 2014



Nice catch Joe,

I heard about this recently.

Founded by Marcus & Millichap, Summerhill is a powerhouse, and they beat me and my client at the Pumpkin Patch on Grant in Mountain View a few years ago on a land purchase bid.

They do a great job, but if I was on city council, I would definitely push for as many concessions to Burlingame as possible.

I have no sympathy for them as property owners/developers, they are ruthless and worth billions already.

Overall, let's provide incentives for developers to redo the run-down apartments in Burlingame.


There is a significant incentive offered to fix run down apts. for multiple parcels located in the blocks off of Howard/ Peninsula, close to downtown. Up until 2010, heights above 35ft. required a conditional use permit and this was rarely done. But as part of the Downtown Plan, this limit was lifted and the 'allowable' is now 55 ft. The area is currently mainly low-rise and generally rather run down. If you want to see the applicable areas, look at the dark blue sections of the map (R-4 Incentive district) provided in the landuse map: http://www.burlingame.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6815 (pg. 3-4).

Bruce Dickinson

Alright, guys, let's get started here. You may already know me, but I'm Bruce Dickinson, yes *the* Bruce Dickinson, and I gotta tell ya, Burlingame has got a major malfunction. I almost thought I had to get my transitions lenses prescription re-checked when I read the article discussing the mega-monstrocity. Instead of posting 5 times on the same topic, Bruce Dickinson is making the following observations, so bear with me, please. I would be remiss if I didn't say that I called out many of the issues laid to bear several times already and yes, despite your suspicions, I do not have a crystal ball, but I do have an uncanny ability to connect dots, and this latest proposal, right in front of your very eyes, is touching on everything I pointed out ever since I graced this site with my insightful presence over the past several months.

While the location of the building makes sense given there are apartments next door, 5 stories (actually is more like 6 at nearly 64 feet) is going to cast a shadow on Burlingame like we have never seen. Besides being a potential eyesore, it is filling transit housing mumbo jumbo because of electrifying caltrain, that as of today, the funds do not even exist and may never exist. While this project may be not immediately visible to most residents directly from their yards, folks, I gotta tell ya this will set a precedent for what has got to be called a slippery slope. In the article, you can see the pro-developer city and city council falling over themselves, getting all excited about what this means for job security, or indirect development related businesses that will inevitably come after the next multifamily unit goes up and the next one, and the next, and on, and on, and on. Do you like the Millbrae look? If you do, get excited, yes, really excited, because this project is just the beginning.

What is going on here? While Bruce Dickinson is for more affordable housing options and tearing down old apartment buildings, this should be 3-4 stories MAXIMUM and have underground parking and at least two spaces per unit. This isn't Europe, let alone San Francisco..Roughly one spot per unit is insufficient. I am pleased at least, yes, very pleased, that an EIR is being commissioned, but the devil will be in the details. So Burlingame neighbors and citizens get your critical thinking caps on and get to work!

When do some of these City councilmembers come up for re-election, as Bruce Dickinson is highly tempted to run himself and unseat Diehl and Nagel, who sound like they have agendas from another planet (either that or they own that real estate investment company mentioned), so should be an easy defeat. Aside from the cult of personality that I possess, I will also commission a few of my favorite bands to drum up some campaign songs, poking fun at my opponents. Yes, they'll go viral and my fans will go ballistic! So any ideas on some catchy lyrics, post them here and I will produce them. Let's not forget that Bruce Dickinson has multiple gold and platinum records to his name, and could you imagine if a local city council campaign tune album went Gold?!? Would be another one for the record-books my friends (no pun intended).

Finally, Mr. "Reason" is giving no good reason to be defeatist before the battle has yet begun. Yes, Bruce Dickinson has seen garage bands take down entire record companies over tiny clauses on royalty rights, so don't assume that Goliath always wins especially if the truth is distorted or things are outright fabricated. Do NOT sell Burlingame and its deep talent pool short. Fellas, there are people who live here who also invent things, file patents, create multi-million (and billion) dollar businesses, and cure genetic diseases. Some of the smartest and most talented people in the world live in this city and may even live next door to you. If the talent is directed at achieving goals, anything can be accomplished, so no need to fear folks, if this project doesn't make sense, residents will be all over it!


John Horgan: San Mateo is facing a renewed push for 'tower creep'

By John Horgan
San Mateo County Times

Let's call it "suburban tower creep." In downtown San Mateo (like some other Peninsula communities, Redwood City in particular), there is a renewed effort to go up, to build high-rise structures which will, by definition, alter the character and ambience of the area in question.
The latest plan involves a proposed 75-foot apartment building at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and South San Mateo Drive. It would be located across Fifth Avenue from Central Park.

Protests have commenced in earnest. Naturally, proponents have hauled out the latest mantra that appears to be guiding planners all along the Peninsula these days: Transit-oriented development.

In other words, if it's going to be near a transportation route, a bus or rail line, it has to be a good thing. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

The envisioned San Mateo high-rise would be 20 feet higher than the town's mandated 55-foot limit. But there are exceptions in the regulations, and the planned edifice could address at least some of those. Financially, more height makes the project increasingly feasible, especially when a certain number of apartments would be set aside for those with modest incomes.

Making the case for it is another fact of life in the area immediately around the affected property: There are at least seven existing buildings nearby that are close to, or exceed, the 55-foot height limit. One of them is a 12-story apartment structure that abuts Central Park itself. Today, that tower might well be considered to be strikingly out of place at that leafy site.

It becomes tough for people living in any of those tall buildings to gripe about something similar being proposed nearby. Their objectivity and perspective become problematic. Still, that doesn't mean they're necessarily wrong.
It appears that San Mateo citizens are going to have to decide what kind of downtown they want (again). We've been down this road before.
Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of the more enthusiastic San Mateo boosters, among them influential members of the then City Council and Planning Commission, touted what they termed a northern, high-rise version of Southern California's Wilshire Boulevard along El Camino Real.

They approved the construction of several tall structures which cast their considerable shadows over the downtown area. The question is: How many more might be on the way? The debate has only just commenced.

J. Mir

I don't get it. These old-timers all complain that "our old folks don't have anywhere to live here anymore" and "San Mateo is pricing out seniors" yet here we are trying to building more housing. (except for 1800 Trousdale of course, which sits rotting on the northside...) So, what gives? We want more housing? We don't want more housing? Am I the only one confused? That corner over there isn't well-served being a bunch of car dealerships/garages/what-nots. After Caltrans reworks the interchange at Broadway, it makes sense to put some apartments there. OK maybe not 268...


I volunteer my uncanny wit and support for Bruce Dickenson,Bruce Dickenson!


I think John Horgan has always had his pulse on this community...

Not sure I qualify as an old-timer, but I've been here a long time, so maybe- (Fred, be forewarned, it's a diatribe)

So here goes: I'm having a hard time buying what seems to be implied (if not directly stated)--that we all have to sacrifice for the greater good (of the planet??) Since when did it become an absolute right to live in Burlingame, or anywhere on the Peninsula, for that matter. Most of us had to work pretty darn hard saving our pennies to afford even rather run down houses. What changed? The situation with public transit hasn't improved much, as far as I can see. Essentially, with the push to follow One Bay Area Plan and the like, we have by default determined that R1 doesn't exist anymore, not even in Hillsborough. Everyone is allowed, even encouraged to densify their properties.

So if we aren't able or willing to fork up the taxes to provide adequate (and frequent) public transportation, then I don't understand how it is in anyway realistic to keep jumping on the transit-oriented development bandwagon, geared towards scaled back on car use (and by default, on the parking requirements in new developments). This is a HUGE disconnect for me. I love the ability to walk to downtown, but when I have stuff to schlepp, I want my car.

So then yes, the adoption of what is increasingly more dense each 5 years, or whenever the housing element update is required becomes a sacrifice in the quality of life. If I were getting something more tangible in return (besides the "feel-good" which is questionable), that would be different, but at this point, I'm not seeing it. More people means more stress on the system: more services and infrastructure needed, more natural resources needed, more schools, etc., no?? So where is that all coming from? Do more property taxes and developer fees derived from more all the building cover the costs for the services and resources and parking and transportation necessary to come out ahead? I wonder about that.

In the meantime, my gut says that if people really wanted to live in a denser environment, then they would prefer living in one where transportation and cultural offerings are plentiful- that is a fair trade-off. A quasi-urban setting in suburbia can't match that type of lifestyle. So looking into the crystal ball, my fear is that what we may end up with is largely the negative, just more people and cars, fewer trees (that actually DO clean the air) and those special qualities that have made Burlingame unique.

Infill has its advantages but how much "fill" can there be in the "in" without overdoing and shooting ourselves in the foot. And with many sub-urban renewal projects, there are lower income people (renters) being displaced - some of our 51% renters that have lived in truly affordable housing for decades. But we can maybe take heart in knowing we've created a few 'affordable' units in each of these projects that seem to be popping up like mushrooms.


I believe that the HSR "Implantation" of "High Density Housing" along the proposed route of HSR give the proponants/investors-Multi-National Banks 'wiggle room."
WE now have all these houses along our "proposed/underfunded/lack of reliable longterm infrastructure support.
The solution:
We MUST build more.
More shopping centers, schools, garbage dumps,etc.
Where will the Water Come From?
The water to support more people?
Where will the food be grown?
What happens when there are more people than Food, and Water?
I got it!
HSR to Canada.
Bruce Dickenson for Mayor!

I believe that the next City of Burlingame vote for Elder should be based on a Spelling Bee.
That way, money, friends, political debts, will have no impact on the result.
I am completly serious.
What say YE?

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