Skip survey header

San Mateo Draft Alternatives Survey


The purpose of this online exercise is review and comment on the Draft Land Use and Circulation Alternatives for the General Plan Update. A General Plan is often described as the “constitution” that guides the development of a city, typically for a 20-year horizon. It is the foundation on which all land use and regulatory decisions are made.
The Draft Alternatives explore three different approaches to plan for future housing, jobs, commercial areas, and ways to travel around the city over the next 20 years. The City is proactively planning now to meet the requirements of State housing law, identify solutions to traffic and housing affordability issues, and prepare for projected population and job growth in the region and locally.

To create the alternatives, the City held multiple workshops and meetings to seek community input on where and how San Mateo should grow. We heard from 3,000 people in two phases:
  • Study Areas. During the summer and fall of 2019, San Mateo community members were asked to provide input at workshops, meetings, and online to help identify areas of the City to study first for potential growth or preservation over the next 20 years. Study areas are those areas that have the potential to experience land use changes over the next 20 years. Examples of potential study areas include areas near transit; areas where current buildings are aging, vacant, or not maintained; or areas where people have expressed interest in considering redevelopment of the property through the General Plan Update process.
  • Range of Alternatives. In the winter of 2019, community members shared their ideas on the different types and range of development that should occur in each study area. Using public feedback gathered in-person and online, and General Plan Subcommittee (GPS), Planning Commission, and City Council input on the range of alternatives, the City and project consultants prepared three draft land use and transportation alternatives. These draft alternatives consider different locations and intensities of development that could occur over the next 20 years for each identified study area.

The City is now seeking community feedback on whether this is the correct range of alternatives to evaluate. If not, what ideas are missing that should be evaluated? Your input will help determine the alternatives we study next.

Once the Draft Alternatives have been reviewed, vetted, and finalized through workshops, this online exercise, and GPS, Planning Commission and City Council meetings, City staff and consultants will compare the differing outcomes of these alternative scenarios. The evaluation will consider things like:
  • Potential community benefits;
  • Amount of development that would be allowed;
  • Circulation/Traffic impacts;
  • Overall character;
  • Impacts on utilities and public services;
  • Public health;
  • Equity;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • City fiscal health;
  • Development feasibility; and
  • Applicable State laws/regulations.


The results of the alternatives evaluation will be shared with community members and decisionmakers to gather input as part of choosing a preferred alternative for each study area. This will include careful consideration of the relative benefits, trade-offs, and potential impacts of each alternative. It’s likely the preferred alternative will be created by mixing and matching features of different alternatives in each study area.

Please refer to the FAQ for more information about the draft land use and circulation alternatives. If you’d like to explore the land use alternatives in detail, please visit the web map tool. Please provide your comments by Monday, May 31, 2021.

Tips for Using This Tool:
  • Estimated Duration: 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the amount of time you have and level of input you want to share.
  • Gadgets:  This survey works best on devices with large screens such as computers and tablets. It’s possible, but very challenging, to view this amount of comparative data on a mobile device.
  • Viewing Options: You can open a larger PDF of the study area or circulation alternatives by clicking directly on each image.