General Plan

The Alternatives Evaluation Workbook provides information to help you give meaningful input about choosing a preferred land use and circulation scenario. The workbook evaluates the land use and transportation alternatives on a wide variety of criteria, which are intended to help community members and decision-makers understand the impacts and benefits of each alternative.

In addition to the Alternatives Evaluation Report, you can also envision and compare the land use alternatives using the ArcUrban Land Use Alternatives Model which is an online tool that shows potential height and massing within selected parts of four of the study areas. None of these alternatives have been adopted and no development projects have been proposed yet. The shapes you see in the online model are not actual buildings. These shapes provide a visual representation of the range of possible heights and intensities that could be proposed under each alternative. The model shows one way heights and intensities could change under each alternative, although there are many iterations of how this could unfold depending on the configuration of future proposed projects. Existing buildings are shown in white. Different colors represent the different land use categories applied to each parcel. See the Place Types Menu for more detail on land use categories. Within the model, you can move around to change your vantage point, looking at the different alternatives from different angles and perspectives.

The Study Areas Map displays the range of areas that were considered for further study with potential land use alternatives. This map was taken to the community through various outreach events to determine which areas are preferred for further study. It was published on November 18, 2019.

The Site Conditions mapping tool presents parcel-based information about site conditions in San Mateo to help inform your ideas about the appropriate location(s) for future housing and jobs. It was published on 

The San Mateo: An Analysis of Local Land Use Planning and Regional Growth paper examines some key information to help the community better understand San Mateo’s current situation as well as the correlation between land use and traffic. It also evaluates planning efforts within the City’s control that strive to focus growth in areas with better access to alternative modes of transportation. It was published on June 7, 2019.

The final vision statement establishes the principles to guide City policies and decisions about future growth, housing, transportation, and public services based on input from San Mateo residents provided by September 9, 2018 to April 1, 2019. On April 1, 2019, the City Council discussed and finalized the final General Plan Vision Statement.

The draft vision statement shares the first pass at capturing the community’s vision for San Mateo in 2040. This document was published on April 2, 2019.

The following chapters of the Existing Conditions Report describe and analyze the existing conditions of economics, circulation, land use, parks, recreation, and cultural resources, and utilities in San Mateo. 

  • Economics: This report describes demographic, socio-economic, and real estate conditions and trends to inform the General Plan Update process. It was published in May 2019.
  • Circulation: This report provides an overview of the City of San Mateo’s existing plans, policies, and regulations that affect circulation patterns in San Mateo. It describes the City’s travel characteristics, roadway system, parking standards and management, pedestrian and bicycle networks, transportation demand management (TDM) programs, Safe Routes to School program, and public transit services. Also included is a description of how shared and emerging autonomous vehicle technologies are changing and could change travel behaviors, with immediate and long-term implications for the transportation system and its connection to land use. It was published in March 2019.
  • Land Use: This report discusses existing conditions for land use in San Mateo. It was published in October 2018.
  • Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Resources: This report discusses existing conditions for parks and recreation and cultural resources in San Mateo. It was published in October 2018.
  • Utilities: This report describes the existing utilities in the City of San Mateo and evaluates the potential impacts for the
    potential future buildout of the City and the facilities that serve it. Water supply, wastewater conveyance and
    treatment, storm drainage systems, natural gas and electric facilities, and solid waste disposal are addressed in
    this report. It was published in October 2018.

This briefing book offers a snapshot of current land uses in San Mateo, as well as economic and development trends, mobility networks, park and recreation options, and cultural resources. This information highlights community assets, as well as challenges, to help the public and decision-makers understand the City’s most pressing issues. It was published in late 2018.

The Downtown Specific Plan, kicked off in 2017, will build upon the community engagement effort to explore the full range of outcomes, identify a series of visioning goals, identify opportunity areas or sites in the Downtown area that will help accomplish the goals, and explore policies and regulations that establishes a framework for the change. While the Downtown Specific Plan update is a separate process from the General Plan Update, its outcomes will be incorporated into the final General Plan.

The 2020 San Mateo Bicycle Master Plan is the culmination of over a year of robust community engagement, existing conditions and data analysis, and planning and design work. The 2020 Plan was adopted by City Council on April 6, 2020 and serves as a blueprint for expanding and improving the San Mateo bicycle and mobility network in the coming years. 

In 2010, the City of San Mateo updated its General Plan – “Vision 2030”. The General Plan provides the framework for all zoning and land use decisions within a community. State planning law requires that the General Plan include a comprehensive, long-term plan for a city’s physical development. City policy requires periodic review and updating of the General Plan. This update provides for an extension of the General Plan to the year 2030, and includes revisions to existing goals, policies and associated text.

The City Council adopted the Housing Element 2015-2023 on January 5, 2015. It was subsequently amended on April 6, 2015 and April 6, 2020 when the City Council adopted amendments to include references to the city’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).

© Copyright 2021 City of San Mateo
Planning Division
330 West 20th Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403

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