Project Roadmap

In January 2017, the Downtown Specific Plan update process launched with a community kick-off event (on Monday, January 23rd), along with the project website.  Upcoming events include Taste + Talk forums, as well as, a series of neighborhood meetings and workshops for the community to engage in discussions about the vision for future Downtown improvements. The schedule graphic above illustrates the anticipated events and major planning tasks through the end of 2017. Please visit the Events page to review the information that has been shared and the input gathered to date, and to track upcoming opportunities to join the conversation.

Project Description

Project Background
San Mateo’s Downtown has historically been viewed as the center of the City. The 2009 Downtown Plan provides  policies provide an overall direction to be followed and will be used to evaluate private development projects. Specific implementation measures guide the City’s and Redevelopment Agency’s actions regarding public improvements, and the ultimate disposition of publicly owned land in downtown.  The current Downtown Plan was adopted by the City Council on May 19, 2009 during the Great Recession and the policies were framed within that context. Much has occurred since that time including the Governor's dissolution of all Redevelopment Agencies within the state, economic recovery largely due to successes in Silicon Valley, and more recently growing concerns with housing affordability (please follow the link below to access the 2009 Downtown Plan). 

Within this context, the City Council identified a goal of updating the Downtown Plan to set a clear long-term plan for the Downtown area that would engage the community in a visioning process for the future of Downtown; identify opportunity areas where potential change may occur; integrate recommendations from other concurrent city efforts including the update of Central Park Master Plan, implementation of the Downtown Parking Management Plan, and the exploration of potential uses of the City owned former Redevelopment Agency (RDA) properties at Fourth and Fifth Avenues; and provide changes to policies and standards that will help guide future development.

With the benefit of a community engagement grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the City initiated a broad and inclusive community engagement process prior to initializing an update of the Downtown Plan. This two-phase structure is new for San Mateo, and was intended to allow for a broad range of community ideas by exploring non-traditional methods of outreach and community engagement. The first phase, the Downtown Community Engagement effort began in late 2014 and culminated in the publication of an Assets and Opportunities Report (refer to the Resource page to access the report).

Project Objectives
The development of the Downtown Plan is intended to build upon the community engagement effort through a guided Community Visioning process that would explore the full range of outcomes, identify a series of visioning goals, identify opportunity areas or sites in the Downtown area that would help accomplish the goals, and explore policies and regulations that establishes a framework for the change. It is anticipated that the range of outcomes would include a menu of various policies, design guidelines and standards that would address one or more of themes raised during the public outreach process.