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About Measure P

The City of San Mateo’s voter-adopted height, density, and affordable housing protections were created in 1991 as Measure H, and renamed Measure P when renewed in 2004.  It is up for renewal again in November 2020. Measures H & P established land use guidelines that promoted intensification of development near transit with building heights of 55-75 feet, yet discouraged wholesale redevelopment of irreplaceable resources.  


To address the need for more affordable housing across a broad range of incomes, it mandates a minimum of 10% affordable below market rate (BMR) housing in every new development of more than 10 residential units, while enabling the city council to increase that percentage at any time.  This has resulted in doubling the production of Below Market Rate housing in the city of San Mateo over the last 30 years.  The extension of Measure P is consistent with current state housing laws, including  AB 1505, allowing off-site building, or other alternative means of providing affordable housing.


It continues to allow substantial office, commercial and residential development while maintaining the community character and quality of life that we all enjoy. Millions of square feet of office space and thousands of housing units have been built within the smarter growth envelope of these measures. 

Extending Measure P:

  1. ​​Protects existing residential neighborhoods​

  2. Embraces sustainable planning principles

  3. Concentrates higher heights and densities near transit

  4. Helps preserve open space and reduce sprawl

  5. Ensures a minimum 10% inclusionary affordable housing

  6. Complies with current state housing laws, including AB 1505

  7. Enables significant increases in market rate housing

  8. Allows for continued office, commercial and economic growth

  9. Reduces threats to irreplaceable architectural and cultural resources

  10. Supports the General Plan, Downtown Specific Plan, Sustainable Streets Plan, Rail Corridor TOD Plan,  and Bicycle Master Plan



The Campaign Against Us


In the coming months, you will hear a great deal of misinformation and outright lies about the campaign to extend Measure P, designed to create confusion and divisiveness.  The opposition has rabidly worked to end the renewal of Measure P protections over the last two years - to no avail. Now that we are on the November ballot and in the home stretch, they are worried.  What can they do but muddy the waters in hopes to divert votes by dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a "kill" campaign.  Get ready to hear them say that we will put single family homes at risk, we've caused the housing crisis, we're stifling the General Plan, we're 'racists' and any  mudslinging that money can buy.  None of it is true. 

They will try to convince you that the only way to produce affordable housing is to negate 30 years of responsible planning policy. They will try to get you to believe that eliminating height limits, zoning protections, environmental safeguards and required public benefits will make housing affordable. They will tell you that giving private developers countless zoning concessions and incentives is necessary.  None of this is true.  The voice of the people will be sacrificed to the altar of private profit and corporate greed.  And, they will have the money to overwhelm you with mailers and signage touting their message.  Who are they?  Check their campaign disclosure forms here.  Who are we?  Your neighbors.


Don't be fooled by all the manipulative campaign rhetoric.  The Measure P extension  was placed on the ballot as an insurance policy to ensure that existing General Plan development standards would not be changed by the City Council before the General Plan Update was complete.  This was and is a grassroots effort by your friends & neighbors who played by the rules, collected over 7,000 signatures and were certified by the City and County.  The real estate/developer measure, using paid signature gatherers, failed on all these counts.  Yet, at the last minute, our City Council decided to put their competing measure on the ballot for them.  It was not fair, it was wrong, yet it is the perfect example of  why Measure P exists.  Despite the opposition touting that times have changed since the original Measures H and P were overwhelmingly adopted by voters, what hasn't  changed is how much money talks.   Our City Council does not seem able to just say NO to special interests.

So when the mailers start arriving, threatening all manner of calamity - that libraries and senior centers will be forced to close, that parks will not be maintained, downtown will lose its vitality, that traffic will get worse and rents will go higher - remember that none of it is true.  When the message claims that businesses will flee, jobs will disappear, and that extending Measure P will cripple the City's budget and threaten its economic vitality, just remember who's paying for these mailers and ask yourself why?  The proof is in the pudding - Measure P has been in place for 30 years and the community has flourished. 

Join us today!
Together we can continue Measure P

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