When Kelly Moran first interviewed for a spot on the San Mateo Planning Commission nearly eight years ago she was asked what the city’s three most important issues were.
Traffic. Traffic. Traffic.
Moran just departed the commission although she could have served another four-year term on it if the council chose to reappoint her. She was first appointed to then Brandt Grotte’s seat after he was appointed to the City Council.
“It’s time to step aside. It’s nothing more,” Moran told the Daily Journal.
One of the big reasons Moran volunteered to serve on the commission was because of the city’s big effort toward building transit-oriented development.
“TOD is the pathway toward a sustainable future,” said Moran, who is an environmental scientist.
Some may have considered her to be anti-development, but she thinks otherwise.
“I probably approved more development than any other planning commissioner in the city’s history,” she said.
Much of the developments she approved are within the city’s rail corridor, where Bay Meadows Phase II is currently being built and where Station Park Green, another mixed-used housing project near the Hayward Park Caltrain station, will one day be built.
The city has approved thousands of new housing units in the rail corridor in new walkable neighborhoods.
Moran is especially excited to see the completion of Bay Meadows Phase II, a whole new neighborhood with more than 1,000 housing units, offices, big parks and a private school.
She especially cannot wait to see a proposed restaurant on Delaware Street in the new development that will have an oval face.
It was because someone from the public approached the commission and said the development had “too many boxes — you need some curves.”
There were many cases when individuals not involved in a project weighed in and had an effect on it, she said.
The Draper University of Heroes in downtown faced commission approval last year and it was a member of the public who called for the need of some type of retail component at the Collective Antiques building on Third Avenue. Draper accommodated the wish and will include pop-up retail kiosks at the school for entrepreneurs.
Moran is a chemist and scientist based in San Mateo and one of her biggest concerns for the city going forward is how it plans for climate change and meeting future water demands.
“As an environmental professional, I’m scared to death of climate change. It is happening and it is human caused,” she said.
Whole parts of San Mateo will be at risk of flooding, she said, and the levees at Shoreview are not high enough.
The area may also have enough water now, she said, but will have challenges within the decade. The city will also have to partner with its private water provider, the California Water Service Company, to help its residents conserve water and meet mandatory reductions imposed by the state.
San Mateo is currently planning to establish a sustainability commission that Moran thinks will be critical in helping the city plan for the future.
“Sustainability is not an overnight thing,” she said.
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