Measure Y and the General Plan update
Measure Y does not interfere with the General Plan Update (GPU) process in any way because it leaves the current General Plan intact until the new one can be adopted. It provides planning stability and baseline development standards with which new ideas and proposals can be compared. Measure Y ensures that changes are not made to development standards while the GPU is underway. Once the revised general plan is finalized, it can be presented to the voters for approval.
San Mateo residents entered into the general plan revision process in good faith. We engaged in the conversation believing it would be the inclusive and fair exchange of ideas between San Mateans about the future of San Mateo. This evidently has not been the case. From the very beginning of the GPU process 18 months ago, the City has permitted participation by paid lobbyists and out-of-town activists. By putting residents of other cities on equal footing with San Mateo residents, the city has assisted in unfairly influencing the process.
While Measure Y merely continues the General Plan status quo, the competing Measure R proposes significant changes to the existing General Plan. It does so by enabling the removal of any maximum height or density limits in significant areas of the city. This measure seems to open the door for large property owners and developers to bring forward projects as soon as Measure P expires at the end of 2020. And before you know it, those projects can be approved by just 3 votes of the City Council.
So much for citizen participation and a fair and equitable public GPU process. It's no surprise that the opposition measure is written and supported by developers, construction unions and one of the largest property owners in San Mateo since these special interests have much to gain from more intense development. What is a surprise is that our own City Council voted to put the developers' measure on the ballot, confusing voters and competing with residents' Measure Y. Once again the public has to fight to have a seat at the table and once again,
Voting YES on the Measure Y will help ensure that the GPU process still has the opportunity to debate and reach consensus on the most controversial development issues that affect the entire community. Equally concerning is that the city has allowed paid organizers and activists from other cities undue influence on the outcome of the General Plan Update process. If the opposing measure passes the GPU process becomes irrelevant for key areas of the city and the special interests will have decided San Mateo's future.