Frequently Asked Questions

What is Measure P?

Measure P is the voter initiative that keeps provisions for heights, densities and affordable housing in San Mateo’s General Plan and can only be changed by the voters themselves.  Measure P started as Measure H, a citizens initiative that was passed overwhelmingly in 1991. Before it expired in 2005,  H's extension was put on the ballot as Measure P and it too passed overwhelmingly.

Why do we need to extend Measure P?

San Mateans rely on the voter-controlled provisions of Measure P which guard against excessive heights and over-built densities.  Measure P’s protections provide a “safety net” for development beyond which the Council cannot go.  It gives developers, staff and the Council the predictability of straightforward regulations when designing new projects for our cities.  The affordable housing mandates also mean that San Mateo continues to address the housing crisis in our city.


Why do we need to extend Measure P now?

Measure P is slated to expire at the end of 2020. That may seem a long way off, but will be here before we know it. It is not cost effective to call a “Special Election” in 2019 to deal with this extension, so San Mateans for Responsive Government (the group that created Measure H) is using 2018, a “Regular Election” year, for the vote.  That saves the city election costs.


Doesn’t Measure P restrict providing much needed affordable housing?

Measure H (& later Measure P) required that some affordable housing be included as part of all new residential development in San Mateo.  This was one of the first mandates in the Bay Area for what is known as "inclusionary zoning".  More than half of the affordable housing in San Mateo is directly attributable to Measure P.  San Mateans can be proud of their commitment to affordable housing.


Why does this new measure extend Measure P to 2030? Isn’t that a long time?

Measure H had a 15 year life, as did Measure P.  This new measure is only asking for a 10 year cushion, beyond the 2020 expiration, which coincides with the expiration of our current General Plan.  Measure P can be amended and changed at any time before then by a vote of the people.

Does Measure P restrict the City's General Plan update?

No it does not.  In fact, our goal in extending Measure P is to give the community time to craft responsible General Plan changes for the future without the pressure of Measure P expiring.  Once the changes to height, density and affordable housing are agreed to as part of the General Plan update process, Measure P can be revised at any time prior to 2030.  But, just imagine what could happen if Measure P expires during the expected lengthy General Plan update process. The development floodgates would open and changes to heights, densities and affordable housing could occur with just 3 votes of the City Council. Backing this extension will allow the entire community to decide what it wants to be, not just special interests.

Become a Height Hero!


  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey

© 2018 by San Mateans for Responsive Government.

Email us at

Call us at (650) 539-4930

Paid for by San Mateans for Responsive Government, FPPC ID #1402267