05APR22 – Rutherford Ave Condo Rezoning Update. What Just Happened?

Hello Neighbors! 

Read the facts and draw your own conclusion but be well aware  – Your neighborhood, your street is next!  GET INVOLVED IN LOCAL POLITiCS!

This has indeed been a “remarkable experience for constituents” – but probably not in the way Board President Don Horsley intended.

First off, THANK YOU to the local reporters that covered the meeting:

And THANK YOU to the 2 Members who took the time to THINK and opposed a 5-year issue the board was CLEARLY unfamiliar with.

In Summary

A developer, makes unfounded and outright false claims with a smile, tells board that it’s sunny on a rainy day.  3 of the 5 members put on sunscreen, not bothering to look out the window.

The Backstory and the Facts

In 2004 the residents of the Rutherford Estates area submitted a rezoning request for the 1300 and 1301 WOODSIDE ROAD lots.

Over the past three years, several modest homes have been torn down and replaced with substantially larger houses. Some large parcels have been subdivided and developed with large houses. These new houses range in size from 3,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. They now sporadically appear from block to block.

Residents are concerned that the character of the neighborhood will be significantly altered if larger and larger houses continue to be built.
Several meetings have been held in the neighborhood to discuss this issue. Residents have agreed that new zoning regulations are needed to control house size, height, and bulk.

The Board of Supervisors agreed 5-0 with the residents that the 2 lots should be rezoned as “The rezoning keeps the commitment of offering a full range of housing choices and goal number 9, housing exists for people at all income levels and for all generations of families. The rezoning contributes to this commitment and goal by providing limitations on house size that prevents overly sized and very high-cost housing.”

In 2017 the property owner asked to rezone the 2 lots to put up 10 unit condominiums.  It was fought off by over 60 residents. Then in 2019, he tried again, reducing it to 6 units.  That too was fought off. So they did a sneaky….

Property Did Not Need to be Rezoned to Build

“The two parcels are right off of Woodside Road, and they are underutilized for their location,” said Camille Leung, senior county planner, during the staff presentation. “The subdivision and additional housing units would help the county meet its regional housing needs allocation and promote a range of housing within San Mateo County.”

Oh Please – Fact Check Camille:

      • He can already build on his property without rezoning
      • For the 2 Lots, pre-SB9 he could have built 4 houses – Now 4 duplexes (8 Units) with SB9
      • SB9 Summary
        • SB9 – the law provides for a duplex to be able to be built w/o review (basically w/ministerial approval that has to occur), “and” allows a split lot if the remaining lots have at least a certain %age of the original overall acreage/sq. footage. So basically when allowed, a split lot would allow a 4 plex. That was my understanding. So yeah, without the County doing a rezoning or some other approval to deviate from the status quo for your neighborhood, SB9 itself would’ve only allowed the duplex or fourplex to my understanding.

Why Rezone for One Person’s Financial Gain?

“In 2004, the neighbors got together and had that parcel rezoned. The reason why is because they didn’t want to see larger and larger houses built,” Curran said. “Now one property owner wants to rezone for his own benefit and put up three-story condominiums that do not match the neighborhood. We also discovered he can legally, under the current zoning, build four houses on the property. So what is the compelling interest to rezone?

Minimum Legally Required Notification

The planning dept had an email list of all of the prior meeting attendees – no-one was notified

In 2017 – It was noted that ” So far there have been 60 (+) e-mails sent” and we were told that “all emails have been copied and are in a file.”

If you have any questions regarding the proposal or the Pre-Application Workshop, please contact Ruemel Panglao, Project Planner, Telephone: 650/363-4582 or E-mail: [email protected].

In 2019 the list was updated and residents were told they would be notified of any new information, Instead …..

Why Weren’t We Informed of the Meeting?

Slocum shared concerns about the lack of notification. While a notice was placed in The Daily Journal, meeting county requirements, he said he didn’t think that was sufficient and that the county should have sent notices to all nearby residents.

“The neighbors claim that they didn’t get noticed about the hearing on Tuesday,” Slocum told the Pulse. “And that’s a huge red flag because if you’re trying to build trust in an area, the last thing you need to happen is for people to think that the government was trying to hide something.”

To think that it’s OK to put this in a newspaper and call it good doesn’t represent what you like to call, Mr. Manager, creating a remarkable experience for constituents,” Slocum said in reference to statements previously made by County Executive Officer Mike Callagy. (650-363-4129) “There just doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason at least for this supervisor to move this forward.”

More Red Flags

Developer Lied about Woodside location, these are Rutherford Ave. Addresses and the driveway is on Rutherford – not Woodside Road!

“Fits Neighborhood” SERIOUSLY?!? This is the siteplan

 “The developer also noted that [the development] is suited to the neighborhood. No, it’s not. It looks like it should be somewhere downtown San Francisco,” said a resident of Rutherford Avenue identified as Peggy G. “We live in a low- to medium-density area, and our neighborhood is based on this vision. It is not protecting the visual quality of the neighborhood.”

Affordable Unit? How Does that Work?

Meeting members got side-tracked by the Affordable Unit red herring. These units are FOR SALE. They will be Privately Owned!  How does one limit the sale price of private property?

The Developer Moshe Dinar was caught WAY off guard on how that would work.  “I am not a lawyer but I am sure something can be drafted.”  Are you kidding?

Rose Cade, deputy director of the San Mateo County Department of Housing, said that a lower-income family might be able to take advantage of a county program like HEART, which offers down payment assistance.

Our (HEART’s) goal is simple: to help you purchase a home with a 5% downpayment and no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

“There’s very little affordable ownership product being built in our county,” she said. “It’s only one unit but for one family that would be an amazing opportunity.”

Seriously? It’s not. And when they sell?

So What Now?

Not sure! Any lawyers wanna chime in or lend a hand? From One:

I don’t know if your corner owner has a single lot or two, but the law provided for a duplex to be able to be built w/o review (basically w/ministerial approval that has to occur), “and” allows a split lot if the remaining lots have at least a certain %age of the original overall acreage/sq. footage. So basically when allowed, a split lot would allow a 4 plex. That was my understanding. So yeah, without the County doing a rezoning or some other approval to deviate from the status quo for your neighborhood, SB9 itself would’ve only allowed the duplex or fourplex to my understanding

Historical Society?

The army barrack (corner) house is historical in that it was moved here from the Menlo Park Camp Fremont base after WWII  The base’s buildings were sold off for a pittance and this is one of the few remaining relics from that time.  It’s never been designated as being officially “historical” but, it probably should have been.  Here’s a book that tells more about the area:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/world-war-i-army-training-by-san-francisco-bay-barbara-wilcox/1122876226

Comments Welcomed!


Your neighborhood is next.

Redwood City Tries to Stop Developers Building ‘Monster Homes’ for Maximum Profit

As more developers raze starter homes to build extravagant monster homes in Redwood City, the City Council has escalated its approach to protecting the city’s landscape and its diversity.

Redwood City Council on Monday night voted unanimously to add a layer to the city’s permit approval process by requiring that new homes that cover 45 percent of a lot or are 3,000 square feet or more go before the planning commission for review.

Several proposed projects and homes built by developers recently have caused an uproar among some residents who complain that the new projects lack compatibility with existing neighborhoods and are making it more difficult for young families to live in the city.

“My hope is that, by doing this, the developer will actually adjust the projects. That they will downsize them to a reasonable size that the neighborhood can live with and that will still meet the needs of a large growing family,” Mayor Ian Bain said at the council meeting Monday night.

Even so, the council’s decision fell short of what the city planning commission recommended as part of the city’s multi-pronged plan to modify its zoning ordinances and residential design guidelines. The commission had called for an outright limit on the size of single-family homes to 40 percent of the lot area or to a maximum house size of 2,500 square feet — whichever was greater.

The council made the decision after a nearly five-hour meeting in front of a divided, standing-room-only crowd of about 150 residents.

Read More

Redwood City Weighing Regulations On Home Size

Selby Acres was re-zoned S-74 in 2004 to preserve the area from this exact issue! Now Redwood City is considering the same types of regulations to be adopted while Selby Lane residents are fighting to keep our zoning as it is.

Redwood City officials are weighing regulations on single-family home size as well as the height of accessory dwelling units in response to deep concerns over a growing number of projects many feel are excessive and incompatible with their surroundings….

…“The data only reinforces what many of us see happening to our neighborhoods with our very own eyes: profit-driven developers bulldozing what has historically been starter homes or that missing middle and replacing them with enormous home with no regard for the neighborhood or neighbors,” said longtime Mt. Carmel resident Kris Johnson. He claimed that since 2017, Redwood City has seen 11 homes with an FAR greater than .60 and two homes with an FAR over .70.

Full Story

Massive Redwood City Housing, Retail and Office Development Up For Final OK

We are about to get into the next round of defending our properties from developers and county boards that don’t listen to their constituents .



It’s not for lack of building in the area. Here is the latest:

Nearly three years in the making, a massive development that could transform a neighborhood near Redwood City’s downtown into a vibrant hub of housing, stores and offices is poised to get the final green light this week.

The proposed development will include 400 market-rate residential units, 120 affordable units, 420,000 square feet of office space, 26,000 square feet of retail space, a 10,000 square-foot child care center and shared underground parking for residents, employees and retail customers.

A 1.6-acre open space area — complete with a dog park, water feature and a shaded plaza with seating — will separate the residential and office buildings.

Massive Redwood City housing, retail and office development up for final OK

Redwood City Exceeds Housing Goals – NO to Rutherford Ave Rezoning!

Another nail in the coffin for anyone thinking there is a logical reason to re-rezone the Rutherford Ave / Woodside Rd parcel and allow the property owner to build condos when the area was rezoned less than 15 years ago to protect against that exact thing.

The county still needs to do a better job on affordable housing for sure, but market-price housing goals are actually being exceeded.

Redwood City has exceeded its Regional Housing Needs Allocation target for above-market rate units for the current RHNA cycle, which spans from 2014 to 2023, but is far from satisfying its affordable housing goal, according to the city’s annual housing report, which was recently submitted to the state.

To meet its affordable housing goal, Redwood City must construct 502 moderate-, 372 low- and 699 very-low-income units by the end of 2023 when the cycle ends.

 For “above moderate” units, Redwood City has permitted 1,645 units to date, nearly 500 units more than its 1,152-unit goal by 2023.

Mountain View to Add Almost 10,000 Homes – SAY NO TO REZONING OF RUTHERFORD AVE!

As if you needed another reason to contact the San Mateo County Planning and Building Department and tell them there is no reason to rezone Rutherford Ave in order to build condiminiums:

Mountain View City Council took a resounding whack at the Bay Area’s housing crisis last night (Dec. 12) by approving an updated version of the North Bayshore Precise Plan, adding 9,850 housing units to the area, including 1,970 units priced at below market rate.

Here is the 2004 Rezoning documentation they are trying to reverse: “Consideration of an amendment to the County Zoning Regulations to create the “S-74” zoning district regulations and consideration of rezoning lands zoned R-1/S-7 in the Selby Neighborhood (Sequoia Tract) to R-1/S-74 to control house size and height.

Full Story Here


Redwood City: City Plans to Turn El Camino into Travel Mecca

More affordable housing in the works on El Camino, another reason NOT to go against the will of residents and Rezone Rutherford Avenue for one person’s profit.

“The El Camino Real Corridor Plan, launched by the City Council in January 2016, envisions making it easier to travel by car, bike, transit or foot along El Camino Real to boost businesses and possibly reduce traffic congestion.

The plan, which emerged from six public meetings led by a 10-member citizens advisory panel that included Vice Chairman Kevin Bondonno and Commissioner Muhammad Safdari — place the highest priority on allowing all forms of travel while not reducing the number of car lanes. Other priorities include more ground-floor retail and housing, particularly affordable housing.”

Full Story Here.

More New Apartments Approved for El Camino

Adding to the list of reasons Rutherford Avenue should not be rezoned for 10 apartments where 2 houses currently stand:

City Council tonight (Oct. 23) approved 50 new apartments for housing-starved Palo Alto, with eight votes in support of the project at 3001 El Camino Real and one abstention.

The Sobrato Organization project at the Ventura neighborhood site where Mike’s Bikes is now located will include 19,800 square feet of retail space, 24 studio apartments, 10 one-bedrooms, six two-bedrooms and one three-bedroom loft on the corner of El Camino Real and Acacia Avenue.

Full Story Here

NASA Seeks Proposals for 1,930 Homes at Moffett Field

Saying that rezoning Rutherford Avenue, which was protected against this in 2004, will bring affordable housing to the area is ridiculous. At most there would be 1 unit out of the proposed 10 apartments. Meanwhile:

More details emerged about NASA’s plan to build 1,930 homes at Moffett Field yesterday (Oct. 18) when the federal government released a 53-page request for developers’ bids to build the project.

The request for proposals, or RFP, envisions 4,900 people living on the 46-acre site at the south end of Moffett Field, east of the Wescoat Village family housing development, north of Highway 101 and west of Ellis Street.

A development of 4,900 people will need coffee shops and grocery stores nearby, so NASA is seeking a developer who will build 100,000 square feet of retail space on site.

More Details Here

Condos Planned for El Camino Honda Dealership Site

Adding to the argument that rezoning Rutherford Avenue is not only against the neighborhood’s will, it is utterly unnecessary:

A 33-unit condominium building proposed for 601 El Camino Real at Hopkins Avenue is up for review by the Redwood City Planning Commission Tuesday.

Five three-story buildings are being proposed to replace two one-story buildings used as a showroom, office space and auto repair shop for a Honda car dealership currently open on a 1.2-acre site just west of the Caltrain tracks, according to a staff report.

The project is expected to provide 24 two-bedroom and nine three-bedroom condominiums with two covered parking spots each. The applicant is requesting permission to build tandem parking, in which one car parks directly behind another car, for 12 of the 33 condominiums, according to the staff report.

Full Story Here