Mr. Dunham is quick these days to criticize Burlingame council leadership, for reasons one can only speculate (“To solve traffic and parking, Grow Downtowns,” June 4; “Jobs/Housing Imbalance in Burlingame,” April 10). But as they say, while people are entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. Mr. Dunham implies that the council has been keeping the lid on downtown development. Nothing could be further from the truth: indeed, in 2010 our city and residents approved a new downtown plan that raised height limits throughout the core to 55 feet from the prior 35-foot hard cap, and there are now several new buildings and more on the way. More recently, we approved a 55-foot affordable housing project with 132 units on public downtown land. Yes, long before Sacramento or Mr. Dunham began telling us how to grow, we were putting new, more ambitious development standards in place and trying our best to galvanize the private sector to redevelop — remember, this is mostly privately-held land.
Our commitment to address the housing crisis is even more apparent in our new General Plan, which envisions creating an entirely new neighborhood at the northern end of Rollins Road, changing the zoning from “light industrial” to “mixed-use housing”; even before the ink was dry we had our first proposed housing project for 265 units (with 38 below market rate). Combined with the almost 1,100 units in process or in construction in the city over just the last three years, our housing stock will grow by about 10% — more than the city added over the prior 30 years — and we are not done.
None of us on the council minds having rigorous debate, but to imply that the city is not doing its part to create new housing or is asleep at the switch is just not true to the facts.
The letter writer is a member of the Burlingame City Council.