Position In Brief: 

Support a housing policy which provides that San Mateo County and all cities within San Mateo County identify housing needs of their residents, advocates for affordable housing, and provides for housing production, including workforce housing. Consideration should be given to environmental quality, safety, design standards, traffic patterns and infrastructure.


Position History: 

County position. Adopted 1989, revised 1998, amended 2010

Support a variety of means to increase the housing supply, especially for moderate and low income persons.

  • Promote infilling to use existing infrastructure and protect open space by:
    • Identifying empty space within developed areas
    • Increasing density near transportation corridors
  • Promote mixed use development by:
    • Combining residential/commercial use in commercially zoned areas
    • Encouraging adaptive re-use, building conversions and air rights dedication, enabling building over existing use
  • Promote housing diversification by:
    • Development of family rental housing
    • Permitting development of second units on single family properties
    • Utilizing manufactured housing
    • Facilitating shared ownership
    • Building smaller units with fewer amenities
    • Shared housing programs
  • Encourage zoning which allows such uses as foster homes and halfway houses.

Support a variety of monetary and non-monetary measures by jurisdictions to develop below -market rate housing. Cooperative efforts are encouraged between private and public sectors to provide needed housing through a combination of the following practices:

  • Provide local sources of subsidy for affordable housing through:
    • Inclusionary zoning ordinances
    • In-lieu fees
    • Commercial linkage fees
    • Contributions to housing trust funds
  • Provide financial incentives to developers through:
    • Tax-exempt financing
    • Land banking and set-asides for capital improvement/basic infrastructure
    • Encouraging priority processing for affordable housing developments
    • Assisting developers with site and subsidy information
  • Assistance to buyer by equity sharing and other home assistance programs (local, state or federal)
  • Re-zone for development to meet housing needs
  • Bonus density incentives.

Support the Housing Trust Fund for San Mateo County through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the County and interested cities within the county.

  • General provisions for the establishment of a Housing Trust should include:
    • Membership on a JPA governing board should include appointees of the general public as well as elected representatives from the member jurisdictions.
    • The JPA shall appoint an executive officer or contract for the services of an executive officer through a nonprofit organization.
    • The JPA shall adopt a plan for expenditures with specific goals, and issue an annual report to be presented at an annual forum.
    • All cities joining the JPA shall have an adopted housing element which is in compliance with state requirements.
    • All housing supported by the Housing Trust Fund should be permanently affordable.
  • Sources of funding for the Housing Trust Fund may include:
    • Non-residential impact fees levied by the county and/or the cities
    • Head-tax on employees
    • Incentives to large employers to voluntarily contribute to the Housing Trust Fund
    • Real estate transfer fees
    • Document recording fees
    • Voluntary contributions
    • Sales tax, as long as it does not supplant an existing sales tax program
  • Funds from the Housing Trust Fund should be used to support housing measures addressed elsewhere in this position, with the highest priority for funds to be used for low income housing. Specifically, the following measures are supported:
    • Multi-family rental housing
    • Assistance to first-time homebuyers
    • Shelters and services for the homeless
    • Adaptive re-use or creative conversion of existing structures to new housing use
    • Rehabilitation to maintain existing housing stock.

Support stabilization and preservation of low and moderate income housing through the following measures:

  • Strict code enforcement to prevent the deterioration and to correct code violation
  • Utilization of public rehabilitation funds, including home repair programs for low income households
  • Preservation of below market rate housing through long-term deed restrictions
  • Attempts should be made either to prevent demolition of moderate and low income housing or replace it with comparable housing.
  • Ensure, when condominium conversions are permitted, the following restrictions apply:
    • Vacancy rate of rental units in the community is at least five percent
    • Tenants are offered right of first refusal.
    • Long-term affordability is assured through deed restrictions in below market rate units.

Encourage public education and public participation in order to further the housing objectives.

League to which this content belongs: 
North & Central San Mateo County