Regarding the story “Millbrae adopts affordable housing requirements, new housing fund,” by Julia Lee July 17-18, 2021, it’s a bunch of bull that the Millbrae City Council wants to expand affordable housing throughout the city. The council wants to eliminate the businesses on El Camino Real to put more housing that will more than likely stay vacant. With the Gateway project being constructed, there was plenty of room for affordable housing. What is happening with all the apartments and condos built within the past year or two is that a lot of them are sitting vacant. Yet, contractors are being allowed to build more.

The cities don’t care if they are vacant, because they are getting all the permit fees and taxes. The contractors don’t care because they get their money from the property owners, who don’t care because they write off the vacancies as a loss.

The property along El Camino should be used for businesses that will benefit the residents and also attract outsiders to come into Millbrae. Right now, Millbrae has nothing, outside of too many restaurants, Living Spaces and Outdoor Supply, that serve mostly local residents. Millbrae needs a variety of shops, diversity of restaurants and another local grocery store. The sidewalks in front of the existing stores need to be power washed frequently. As of now, that does not happen and the sidewalks are deplorable.

Millbrae does not need any more housing to be constructed on El Camino Real, or anywhere else. Millbrae needs more businesses. When all the housing at Gateway get rented to capacity, then think about more construction. Don’t build, just to build and sit vacant.

E. Picchi


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As a business owner and as someone who closely watches business / retail real estate I would like to say that my preference, all along the decimated El Camino corridor throughout our county, would be to have ground/second floor retail/business and housing above. This would make the best use of the real estate and be transit friendly. I'm shocked by what you say about empty apartments and will look into that with county and city officials. Given how many people have had to move out of the county due to housing being too expensive, and the extreme difficulty we're facing as businesses finding local employees, I am certain that more housing, not less, is critical for the health of the peninsula.

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