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San Mateo Measure Y & R: Future City Development Plan

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San Mateo


This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

San Mateo measures Y and R are related measures that regulate housing and development throughout San Mateo County. 

Back in 1991, San Mateo voters enacted a measure to limit future development. Before it expired, voters renewed it. Now it’s expiring again. So it’s time to revisit the matter.


If approved, both Measure Y and Measure R would extend a version of the plan for another 10 years. That means continuing to limit building heights and residential densities. And it would keep part of the plan which requires 10% affordable housing on many developments.


But there are differences between the two measures.


Measure Y is most similar to San Mateo’s current plan. Former planning commissioner Maxine Terner and other supporters say it enables growth while protecting neighborhood character. Opponents include San Mateo Mayor Joseph Goethals. 


But he supports measure R. If it’s passed, parts of the city would remain under current limits, and others would be allowed more growth — like areas close to major transit hubs. Developments in those areas could be taller with more units. But former Planning Director Dianne Whitaker and other opponents think Measure R would accelerate gentrification.


If you vote yes on Y you support the current housing and development plan with few changes. If you vote yes on Measure R, you want more housing faster, and you think the City Council should have more power over development plans. If both pass, the one with the most votes wins.


If neither measure passes, San Mateo’s general plan would stay in place until the end of the year, when the city would need to make a new one.