Small-town Burlingame may go big

Burlingame residents accustomed to quaint shops and a small-town atmosphere while walking around downtown may look up to see 75-foot buildings on its main shopping streets in the next 20 years, a new report suggests.

Consultants hired by the city released this weekend three drafts of what the city could look like in the future after several public meetings and a citywide survey regarding changes to Burlingame’s downtown area.

The drafts include options on how to bolster housing, a likely Howard Avenue shopping expansion and the potential for raising the ceiling on maximum building heights. The areas affected by the plan lie between El Camino Real and the California Drive Caltrain tracks region, and between Oak Grove and Peninsula avenues.

“We expect to have some really spirited debates about [the proposed options],” lead consultant Kevin Gardiner said.

One of the consultants’ three alternatives for adjusting the height include pushing buildings to as high as 75 feet throughout downtown, 20 feet more than the tallest edifices allowed under the current code. Another option includes a “donut” design with shorter buildings on Burlingame Avenue leading to structures as tall as six stories around the downtownperiphery.

“I think we would want to preserve the downtown heights as they are now,” said longtime resident John Root. “Perhaps a taller building in the proper place would be fine but not [throughout] downtown.”

The consultants’ suggestions are part of the city’s specific plan, a new downtown policy that would define what the city would like to see in that area. The police should be drafted later this year, said Community Development Director Bill Meeker. The Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the specific plan meets Tuesday to discuss the alternatives.

A pamphlet describing the options will be created for residents and a community meeting will be held in early March, Meeker said. Both Gardiner and Meeker stressed that the plan will be completely determined by residential input.

An aspect of the plan that was not as divisive, Gardiner said, was the recommendation to expand shops on Howard Avenue and its side streets. With mom-and-pop shops forced from Burlingame Avenue to lower-rent areas, the city could take advantage of Howard Avenue to maintain small businesses, he said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalPeninsula

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read