Monday May 18th, 6:30 PM
Tonight was a hearing for the city council to receive public testimony on a rezoning before the developer began the project. This is a new procedure in Foster City. The area in question was zoned for mostly office and retail, but the land owner wanted to build housing instead of office. No decision was made at this hearing.
Themes of public testony in order of frequency:
- School overcrowding
- Look and Feel/ Quality of life
- Water Shortage
- Need for retail in Foster City
After an hour of public testimony the councilmen made their own speeches. Charlie Bronitsky came out most adamantly in favor of the rezoning. His main point was that Foster City needed money for infrastructure improvements, 1/2 of the Foster City budget comes from property taxes, property taxes on existing property can only rise < 2% per year, so Foster City needs to build housing for the income.
I was very surprised and impressed by the overall tone of the electeds' comments. They all emphasized that the decision had to be based on "facts" and not emotional responses. It become apparent that this was their way of saying that they believed the traffic analysis (housing would produce less traffic than would office) and that they were going to consider the upzoning, becuase it would generate the money the city needed. Several of them emphasized that traffic had been increasing in Foster City even in years when FC hardly built any housing at all.
When I initially arrived at the hearing I felt very discouraged because the public comment was 10 to 1 opposed to the upzoing. After the electeds' speeches, I felt rededicated to the SFBARF procedure. Even in Foster City the municipality is inclined to build. They need people to come out to show that popular support for building does exist. The fact that there are only a few of us doesn't mean our testimony is pointless. The opposite is true - it means if we don't show up, no one will.
- City Council Chambers, 620 Foster City Boulevard. Agenda
- Rezoning from 17 housing units to 70 units.
- Currently there is no residential at the site.
- Supporting Documents
Here is a picture to show the difference between the current plan and the proposed rezoning: