Present Land Use
The project area contains a mix of commercial uses, including auto services, industrial, retail, restaurants, a motel, and office buildings; and residential uses, including multi-family and single-family buildings. Public and quasi-public uses include a public parking lot, a church, and right-of-way for the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct, which supplies water to San Francisco and other communities. The project area is generally surrounded by residential neighborhoods with a mix of single-family and small multiplex buildings, except for commercial uses along a portion of El Camino Real and west of the project area.
In 2011, the County of San Mateo adopted the North Fair Oaks Community Plan, which promotes infill development along the commercial and transportation corridors that comprise most of the project area, where parcels presently have relatively low intensity and can be converted to more urban uses over time, to help revitalize North Fair Oaks, produce more housing, and confer other community benefits.
To implement the Community Plan, the County subsequently adopted mixed-use designations, standards, and procedures as part of its Zoning Regulations. Since that time, users of the adopted zoning have experienced difficulties with the application and administration of the mixed-use zoning standards. Additionally, the State of California has enacted new laws that require that zoning that regulates the production of multifamily housing provide objective development standards and streamlined permitting and approval processes that can be applied ministerially to encourage housing production. Furthermore, the County of San Mateo, like jurisdictions throughout the region and the state, is experiencing increasing demand for housing, and consequent housing availability and affordability challenges, and foresees the potential inability to provide sufficient housing for unincorporated County residents within the densities allowed by current zoning regulations, particularly in areas in proximity to transit.
Goals for the project include:
1. Adopt more effective zoning by revising provisions that are difficult to administer and/or implement, replacing provisions necessitating subjective interpretation with objective standards, refining development application and review procedures, and incorporating professional practices that better promote Community Plan policies.
2. Increase capacity for housing in the project area by modifying General Plan designations and zoning standards to potentially allow taller buildings, greater density, reduced building setbacks, modified parking requirements, and/or other strategies, while simultaneously protecting and expanding equitable access to opportunities, community livability, and desirable aspects of community character.
The project would result in changes to the County’s Zoning Regulations, which include physical standards, allowable activities, and development procedures, and potentially changes to the County’s General Plan Land Use maps, which specify the basic uses and densities appropriate to various unincorporated areas. These changes would apply to parcels when new buildings and/or site improvements are being considered.