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Helpful Information Links 

San Mateo General Plan Update

San Mateo's General Plan hopes to express the vision of the community about how the City will look, feel and change in the next 20 years.


Our Neighborhood Voices

A series of recently passed laws allow developers to build multi-story, multi-unit buildings right next door to single-family homes and deny our ability to fight back. We are a coalition of thousands of California neighborhood leaders fighting to preserve our ability to speak out about what happens in our own neighborhoods.

Livable California

Livable California is a nonprofit that advocates for empowerment of local governments to foster equitable, livable communities and truly affordable housing.

The Embarcadero Institute

The Embarcadero Institute is a non-profit organization that publishes analysis that gives context to local policy. It seeks to make policy tangible, helping people understand what it means, not only for themselves and their neighbors, but also for the broader community.


CATALYSTS for Local Control

COMMUNITY CATALYSTS is a statewide grassroots network of current and former elected officials, community volunteer leaders and constituents.  Their mission is to to educate, engage, and empower constituents to participate in local, regional and state housing policy decisions that preserve the American dream of home ownership and the local control of zoning and land use decisions.


How-to Manual: Creating a Sense of Place

Communities with an appealing sense of place typically exude a style all their own that reflects their history, economy and attitude. In these communities, careful planning has helped to preserve, highlight and augment important features such as civic buildings, central parks or town squares, architecturally or historically important buildings, heritage trees and scenic vistas.

Form-Based Codes: A Step-by-Step Guide for Communities

Form-based codes use physical form rather than separation of uses as the organizing principle for zoning. The aim is to produce predictable built results and a high-quality public realm.

historic resources

San Mateo Historic Resources Information Handout

This brochure provides an overview of the review and regulation of historic resources in the City of San Mateo, including the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, the Zoning Code, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

City of San Mateo Historic Building Survey Final Report, September 1989

In 1989,  San Mateo adopted a Historic Building Survey as part of its General Plan update.  That survey serves as a basis for review and regulation of San Mateo’s historic resources, including the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, the Zoning Code, and CEQA.  The 1989 survey was a significant achievement, but also limited in budget and scope. The survey concentrated its attention on the downtown commercial district and the oldest residential neighborhoods, mostly east of El Camino Real where historic resources were most threatened with demolition and redevelopment.  


Many individual buildings and two historic districts - the Downtown Commercial District and Glazenwood Residential District -  were identified as historically significant and as a result were listed on the California Register of Historical Resources. Residential neighborhoods west of El Camino Real were never completely or adequately surveyed, although several are referenced in the survey report as potentially significant historic districts. 

The California Preservation Foundation

The California Preservation Foundation provides statewide leadership, advocacy and education to ensure the protection of California’s diverse cultural heritage and historic places. Their vision is to ensure that the rich diversity of California’s historic resources are identified, protected and celebrated for their history and for their valuable role in California’s economy, environment and quality of life.

Bungalow Heaven: Preserving a Neighborhood

In 1985, a group of neighbors in Pasadena, California decided to fight the piecemeal destruction of the early-20th-century neighborhood they lived in and loved. In 1989, the City of Pasadena made Bungalow Heaven the first bungalow neighborhood in the nation to be designated a landmark historic district, and in 2008 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here is the inspiring story, told by the planners, politicians, preservationists and neighbors who made it happen. This film is an indispensable resource for anyone who lives in a beloved older neighborhood threatened by thoughtless redevelopment or wholesale destruction.

DVD available at the San Mateo Public Library

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