Measure Y and Affordable Housing


San Mateans for Responsive Government (SMRG) is proud of their commitment to affordable housing.  More than half of the affordable housing built in the last 30 years in San Mateo is directly attributable to these measures.  Measure H (then Measure P, & now Measure Y) required that 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.  SMRG did it because the then city council wouldn't do it on their own - for the simple reason that developers were opposed to the inclusionary requirement.  Measure Y requires that a minimum of 10 percent affordable units must be provided in new housing developments.  Nothing in Measure Y prevents the city council from increasing that percentage.  


Yes, we have an affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area but Measure Y is not the cause.  The real problem is that our jobs housing balance is  so skewed toward jobs. Inclusionary housing alone won't solve the affordability crisis.  As long as we allow unsustainable job growth, housing affordability will continue to worsen. Put simply, without managing job demand along with housing supply, there is no realistic way for housing to catch up or prices to come down, no matter how high or dense we build. 


The Measure Y requirements in the existing General Plan already allow high heights and densities near transit.  San Mateo has many housing and commercial projects built under these high height/high density Measure Y standards. These same standards are applauded and supported in neighboring communities (see Measure Y Works page).  By whom?  By the same Measure Y opponents who don't think they are high or dense enough in San Mateo.  Why this double standard? 


SMRG is open to increasing opportunities for more affordable housing, even making changes to the current Measure Y standards.  The General Plan Update process is where these changes should be discussed and debated, hopefully leading to community consensus. We believe there are creative ways to provide more affordable housing, not just by significantly increasing heights and densities.  Let's make sure that our City's General Plan process provides a range of options for consideration during the General Plan update. 


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