An application was submitted to demolish the Fish Market restaurant in San Mateo and build 74 three-story townhomes, but not caused by the pandemic. This is symptomatic of what is happening to San Mateo.

I am seriously concerned about a dysfunctional/broken urban planning process and the ability to balance all the variables to maintain the character and quality of life in San Mateo. There are a lot of pressures at play here and when it’s all said and done I hope in 10 years we don’t have a real unsightly and unlivable urban mess. The state is mandating dense housing quotas in a top-down approach with no real understanding of each community with a one size fits all approach irrespective of existing zoning. The state even took the city’s parking requirement away for ADUs (accessory dwelling units) when a single-family house turns into a duplex/triplex. And last year, developers spent more than $1.4 million to advocate their dense housing agenda which gives them more profit.

I am not sure what the answer is to all of this, but I do know we need to keep the state and developers at bay and take back control of our destiny. Also, maybe the City Council can do a better job of representing the needs and wants of the whole community and legally push back on the state’s and developer’s agenda.

We need intelligent urban planning with balanced and smart growth, not unbridled growth, that does not suffocate along the way single-family neighborhoods, retail and restaurants. Also, one that allows a good quality of life with open space, sensible parking, traffic solutions and infrastructure to support it.

Gary Isoardi

San Mateo

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(2) comments


There are other alternatives to this black or white thought.

That whole area can become a VMT & Form Based Code Planed area.

Instead of just a restaurant, or just bedrooms...it could become a high density housing area with the first floor restaurants/office/retail/etc and above more offices & bedrooms. Bedrooms from rentals to lux condos.

Terence Y

Well written, Mr. Isoardi. I agree with your conclusions. Unfortunately, developers have much more money than the average citizen and when they start spreading it around, more often than not, they’ll get their way. And unfortunately for the average citizen, the city and state are responsible for soaring pension payments and need income. Stack and pack housing provides a bigger opportunity for property taxes, and more importantly a method of tacking on additional fees to those property taxes. Is current urban planning colored by the need for income? For both the city and state and for politicians making these planning moves? I guess one bright side is that property values for single-family homes will greatly increase.

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