Although the total density of the Bay Meadows Phase II redevelopment is well below the city’s limits for housing, commercial and retail space, the parks being built on site are more than double what is normally required.
City development ordinances only required approximately six or seven acres of parkland on the site, but the council requested 15 acres from the developers as part of the development agreement. That space will be split between three parks.
The largest of the parks is the 12-acre community park at the north end of the site, with two 1.5 acre parks filling in the rest of the necessary open space. One of the smaller parks is a neighborhood park for residents; the other is a “linear park,” a long, narrow patch of land near the commercial sections of the development.
And although he said the parks will improve the living and working environment onsite, Director of Design Keith Orlesky of Wilson, Meany and Sullivan said going so far above the normal requirement was difficult with the project.
“To make sure that we had adequate space for us and the city’s larger requirements was something that took quite a lot of work,” he said.
But with as much density as the 750,000 square feet of commercial space, 100,000 square feet of retail and 1,067 housing units on the site, Community Development Director Bob Beyer said a balance was needed.
“It was thought to be an important public benefit for the entire community,” he said. “I think that eventually [the parks] will become a central location for all of San Mateo.”
The linear park will sit between the commercial and retail section and the residential zones on the property. Unlike the community park, which will include possible water features, play structures and picnic areas, it will be a more “passive” area, with open spaces.
The neighborhood park will be a more active area, with a possible basketball court, barbecue areas and playgrounds.
Some of the parks on site may also include artificial surfaces, which bring a higher initial cost than grass but decreased maintenance in the future. Parks and Recreation Director Sheila Canzian said the final content of the parks has yet to be determined.
Depending on the layout, onsite park developments could cost the developer between $750,000 and $1 million per acre.
Overall development reviews are slated for the next two weeks.