Since 1991 SMRG has been advancing the causes of smarter transit-oriented growth and inclusionary affordable housing. Representing the voices of San Mateo residents city-wide for more than three decades, SMRG has helped assure we all continue to enjoy our beautiful neighborhoods, charming downtown, vibrant streets, and high quality of life.
Beginning in 1991, voters resoundingly approved Measure H, SMRG's original sustainable, transit-oriented measured growth and affordable housing initiative. When Measure H expired in 2005, the voters extended it by passing Measure P by an overwhelming 2-1 landslide vote, confirming the widespread and popular appeal of moderate growth and pedestrian scaled building heights.
By the time Measure P was about to expire in 2020, hyper-growth advocates had gained control of the City Council and were determined to extinguish it. SMRG offered to meet with the City to see if a compromise could be agreed upon, but the city was uninterested. SMRG was forced to go back to the ballot box.
SMRG volunteers took to the streets and quickly gathered the requisite number of signatures required to place a citizen's initiative on the ballot, now known as Measure Y. The City's response was twofold: 1) mount a campaign in opposition to the popular citizen's measure, and 2) instigate a replacement of the recently completed 2030 General Plan in order to wipe it off the books.
The opposition campaign spent $1.5 million - by far the largest local campaign expenditure in Peninsula history - to defeat Measure Y, outspending SMRG volunteers 40-1. They were convinced they would crush Measure Y, but they failed spectacularly and Measure Y was passed by voters, extending moderate growth policies until 2030.
But the fight for community values is not over. The City is trying once again to extinguish the will of the voters. We are expecting the City to introduce a ballot measure in the fall of 2024 asking voters to approve General Plan 2040. GP2040 would end Measure Y and the 2030 General Plan prematurely, and replace it with a plan that encourages 8-12 story buildings in the 10 study areas throughout San Mateo. Add in the updated state density bonus that allows developers to further increae building size, and we are looking at 12-15 story high-rises. Please stay tuned.
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SMRG is a group of local community leaders and volunteers from every neighborhood in San Mateo -- your friends and neighbors. We are grassroots environmentalists, open space activists, affordable housing advocates, historic preservationists, sustainable growth enthusiasts and small business owners. We believe that San Mateo can be a vibrant, thriving and diverse city without sacrificing its character or its heritage.
Think about why you moved to San Mateo. Was it because you preferred a mid-size, less urban city with good schools, many parks, an authentic historic downtown, and a diversity of people and job opportunities? Or did you move here to change its character, making it more urban with tall buildings, less parking and more displacement of existing residents and businesses?
San Mateo can allow for high density commercial and residential growth well into the mid-21st Century, while still proactively protecting the community character, rich heritage, and quality of life that continues to draw people to this wonderful city. As our name indicates, we believe our elected officials are obligated to represent and be responsive to all the people they serve, and not just those with the most money, power or influence.