Blog Tuesday 4/28: Support 100% affordable housing in San Mateo via remote public comment!

May 25, 2020

The recent shelter-in-place orders here in the Bay Area have brought many changes to our daily lives.  One of the many things that are a little different now than before are local government meetings, which have moved online.  

This resulted in an unexpected positive: more residents can participate in the democratic process via online public comment!

Traditionally, many government meetings are held during the 9-5 workday or right after, which can make it hard for those with jobs and/or family duties to be physically present.  With the rise of online public comment, more residents are able to participate either by speaking remotely at the meeting, or by having their comment read aloud during the meeting by a city clerk who is responsible for sharing community comments. 

We welcome this new process as a way to remove barriers to democratic participation!

One upcoming project eligible for online public comment is San Mateo’s 100% affordable housing project proposed for the heart of downtown at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue (two adjoining parcels).  As covered previously, we’re really glad that this site can provide much-needed workforce housing right near downtown jobs and transit.

On Tuesday, April 28th at 7pm, the San Mateo Planning Commission will hold their usual meeting (online), and topic #3 on the agenda will be this downtown opportunity site.  We want to let City Council know we’re in support because:

  • This project contains 100% affordable housing
  • Half of the development’s 225 units are designated as low and extremely-low income units.  This is essential housing to slow the tide of displacement within our community, and help house part of our workforce.
  • These two perfectly-located parcels becoming available at the same time present a rare opportunity to make the most of a meaningful amount of space that can benefit our community.  We have to use this site to its full capacity.
  • This project is situated near many downtown jobs, transit stops, shops, and services, allowing residents to walk and lessen our community’s dependence on cars for commuting and errands.

There is some local opposition to the height of the project and its number of units, from area residents who wish to make the project smaller.  As mentioned above, we feel that this project should be dense in order to accommodate as many workers and families as possible, especially given the project’s prime downtown location.  

Please use one of the City of San Mateo’s new methods to submit your support.  From the City’s website:

PUBLIC COMMENTS – Comments submitted in the following ways will be made part of the official record. 

Prior to the meeting: Send comments to: until 4 p.m. the day of the meeting.  

During the meeting: Comments can be submitted online beginning 1 hour before each meeting through Speak Up San Mateo: Find the agenda item(s) you’d like to comment on and complete the form. The platform will remain open for comments until the Chair closes the Public Comment Period for that specific item. 

Staff will read into the record all comments received.

ACCESSIBILITY: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, those with disabilities requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting may contact the Planning Division at or (650) 522-7212 . Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to this meeting. 

Want to tune in the night of?  There are three ways to watch the livestream via computer or device:

  1. Public Meeting Portal:
  2. City YouTube channel:
  3. TV live stream:

Thank you for supporting housing for our neighbors and essential workers!