Friday, May 15, 2015

Family housing expansion, city character and zoning density: Belmont

The Daily News (San Mateo County), Samantha Weigel, 5/14/15.  "City moves to ease home remodels: Belemont council approves controversial zoning, tree ordinances."

Image result for Belmont, CA  picture
Belemont train station and hills with housing
....  After nearly a year of studying and hosting public meetings on how to ease the ability for growing families to expand their homes while maintaining Belmont’s unique village character, the council unanimously approved the changes Tuesday night. ...  ....  The amendments include easing parking requirements, increasing the maximum home sizes for large lots, changing the definition of protected trees and creating a tiered system whereby city staff would review smaller projects and larger additions or new homes would be considered by the Planning Commission.  ....

....  “The issue is about giving families ways to improve their homes that will lead to better living conditions, resident Scott Barton said according to a video of the meeting.  Barton lives on an 18,000-square-foot lot but is limited by the city’s current 3,500-square-foot cap on home sizes.  ....  The council unanimously supported increasing the cap on home size to 6,000 square feet, which is still the lowest in San Mateo County and ultimately property owners will be restricted by slope and density of their lots.

....  Current law permits certain properties to construct secondary units up to 30 percent of the main unit but no more than 1,200 square feet. The council approved increasing the size cap to 40 percent or up to 1,200 square feet ... ...  For those without a garage, a carport can count toward the covered parking requirement that remains at four spaces for new homes but has been scaled back for smaller remodels.   Read more. 

Reference- City of Belmont/Community Development. "The Community Development Department is made up of Planning, Building & Safety and Economic Development.  Our goal is to assist property owners, applicants, designers, neighbors and others in making effective use of the City’s General Plan, Municipal Code, Zoning Ordinance and Development Approval Procedures."   

Related -  Grand Boulevard Initiative. and  Note Belemont, CA train station and hills with housing photograph is from the related Grand Boulevard Initiative link. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Belmont can. Every other City can but Pacifica.

Anonymous said...

We're not Belmont. We don't have a train and we're not part of the magic Peninsula corridor. Our niche may be extremely low-density, high priced housing. Like Harmony, if it ever takes off. Maybe the quarry? Such developments don't offer much to Pacifica in property tax, but as our image SLOWLY changes it might lead to upgraded shopping centers and more sales tax, more hotel rooms and TOT, higher home values and jobs. That can't hurt.

Anonymous said...


Pacifica is the only beach town that does not take advantage of being a beach town!

Anonymous said...

413 No political will, baby. It's all too tacky. Better we build a handful of
pricey homes and point with pride. Low density for the enviros and fat commissions for the realtors. Hog heaven! Broke city, but so what?

Tom Clifford said...

Percentage of the main house is not a good way to set the standard for second unit. Even a with a 1,200 sq. ft. cap ( A Linda Mar rancher is about 1,200 Sq. Ft.) Small homes would be stuck with large sheds while larger homes could build full size homes as a second unit.

I also choose not to visit the whale carcasses said...

The real world market responds to the disfunction of policy makers within a highly politicized environment when it comes to new housing. Noone can get a handle on secondary units in any town. Just look at San Francisco. There might be more bootleg in-law units than legal ones out there. My neighbor down the street just got a tenant to pay $1500 + share of utilities a month for his 600 square foot illegal unit that he carved and plumbed into his big garage. His tenant is a big family with 3 kids, all cramming into a mini-one bedroom and living room. His investment pays for itself in about three months. I think I want to do the same thing with my house, and probably other neighbors will follow, as unmet demand for housing creates market incentives to do such things.

The effects of hundreds of illegal inlaws street parking on your street. Traffic pouring onto the arterials and highways. One code enforcement officer cannot make much of a dent into the problem. Neighborhood qualities are declining, as single family neighborhoods convert to multi-family neighborhoods. Increasingly, you will see this as the future here in Pacifica and everywhere on the Peninsula as we "Manhattanize". Tomorrow you'll be paying $1500 a month for a small walk in closet.

Anonymous said...

1023 Makes a real world observation. Housing is gold. I have young friends in Linda Mar who list on airbnb their very clean, very basic downstairs room and bath with entrance next to the trash cans, no tub, and a kitchen by Coleman. Rented 10 to 12 days per month and that covers 60% of their mortgage payment. A retired guy on my street, trying to survive on social security in his home of 50+ years, rents his grungy downstairs room and bath for $1000 to another retiree. Kitchen is a microwave next to the bathroom sink. They're everywhere. This is part of the real housing situation in Pacifica and much of the SF Bay Area. The obvious problem is the shortage of housing. So, build, right? But, not so obvious is the fact that many of these "unofficial" renters could never qualify for mainstream housing even if available because of income requirements, deposits, occupancy limits, etc. Often they are the working poor or retirees. This problem isn't going away. And, while for selfish reason I welcome projects like Harmony or even something similar in the quarry, they will do nothing to alleviate the housing crunch in Pacifica. Just another problem for our policymakers, our city council, to ignore.