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February 18, 2018


Peter Garrison

Quaint and busy, welcoming and fun? Diverse and “human scale”?Downtown San Mateo.

Beautiful and clean, residential and exclusive, safe and friendly? Hillsborough.

How do they do it?


geez... I did not hear about this development until I read your article. Thank you for keeping us informed. Cannot imagine another monstrosity on the street.


San Mateo is overbuilding too but at least they seem to be keeping it to 2 or 3 stories instead of 4 or 5. Why can't we do that too?


San Mateo has had two, or perhaps three voter referendums regarding heights. In particular, I remember the first was a reaction to a large project that may have been 100 ft. tall, adjacent to the historic downtown district- 'B' Street area. As a result of the outcome, height limits specific to various areas were set. Here is the most recent map:
Notably, the corresponding areas along California Drive - San Mateo Drive, are limited to 45 ft., as well as on El Camino Real south of Peninsula, until the "outskirts" of their downtown, where it pops up to 55ft., and then back down to 40-55ft. south towards Hillsdale. I'd expect these will be changing at some point, considering the State mandates.

The two new gateway office and retail complexes on 3rd Avenue, however, are not more than 45 ft. tall, so there must have been some negotiation and mitigation that happened there so that they didn't dwarf the otherwise fairly petite structures.

San Mateo covers substantially more area, and has a population triple our own-- way less dense. So they have varied the heights down to 2 or 3 stories in the newer housing developments and they probably have some density limits set. For them, the good news is that means some sun still comes through. Even the downtown infill apartment projects from about 10 years ago, where Standard Brands Paints, etc. used to be are capped at 35ft.

But looking at this map, I see that San Mateo's most unique area, a largely intact downtown - B Street, the catalyst of the height conflicts, also allows for 55ft. (not 35 ft, with 55ft conditional use permit, as on Burlingame Avenue, but just 55 ft, period). Few, if any, of the older structures is likely above 25ft., so if built out to their plan, it would mean a completely different animal--' not a good omen if parcels are combined. Hopefully there will be more attention paid to this area as they work on their Specific Plan right now.


Unfortunately, I do not think our leadership cares as I know they hear what we are hearing all over town and not one of them is proposing to do anything about it. I have yet to talk with a resident that likes what is happening in Burlingame these days and I have yet to hear anyone say, wow, that huge building on California fits so well within our City. Unfortunately, the ones you see and are just hearing about, are the tip of the ice berg. Besides the building about to be approved across from the train station, there is the HUGE monstrosity about to be approved on the corner of Oak Grove and California and the HUGE monstrosity the Council is pushing for in the public parking lot behind Howard. These are just two that our City Officials have planned to destroy our City. Unfortunately, I am hearing more and more long time residents calling it quits and leaving the area due to this mass congestion and construction. Burlingame just isn't the quaint town it once was and pretty soon, you will no longer be able to tell where San Mateo and Millbrae end and Burlingame starts. We will be just one more over built Peninsula City, with no character.

Ugh.  Just Ugh


As part of an effort to ameliorate concerns by historical society members regarding the painting’s visibility, the developer has offered the organization an opportunity to lease space in the building’s ground floor, where the painting can be publicly observed.

Hey Dewey, how about free rent for viewing the mural. What a bunch of greed heads. And Comaroto thinks its great--she without 80 IQ points to rub together.

Bruce Dickinson

Wow, it's little unclear to Bruce Dickinson exactly what Dewey meant by the offer to lease space Burlingame Historical Society, but regardless, its sounds like a classic case of hubris mentality where they are thumbing their nose at our compliant commissioners (save for Peter Gum).

Also very unclear is the supposed "compatible synergy" between this and Dewey's adjacent property. Sorry, but WTF is a compatible synergy for two ugly buildings next to each other? I guess that having another new eyesore next to the first eyesore makes the first one less obvious or more 'acceptable'?

C'mon seriously, how gullible can some of our approving officials be? It's like Dewey employed some of the used car dealership sales tactics it somehow inherited from these used car lots to sell a bill of goods to the Planning Commission!

What a joke!


In fairness to this particular developer, the intended lease arrangement is for use of space at nearly nothing- $1 per year-- a very generous offer that was publicly stated during the previous Planning Commission proceedings a few weeks ago. Any which way you slice it, I think it shows a genuine and concerted effort at being community-minded.


How much space for a buck? Will it fit a lounge chair to view the boy?

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