Making Democracy Work

Land Use Policies and Procedures in San Mateo County

We support land use policies which provide a quality human environment for residents of San Mateo County, including a balanced consideration of social, environmental, and economic concerns.

We support measures which direct growth, which control the effects of transportation facilities, which maintain, preserve and protect unique natural resources, which control the use of hazardous areas, and which meet the housing and social needs of all citizens.

We support full utilization of a general plan which meets these criteria and which conforms to the adopted Bay Area regional plans and to state requirements.

We support of substantial citizen participation in land use policy making.

I Policy:

  • Growth should be kept within the limits of the resources.

  • Communities, in order to be well balanced, should be encouraged to include a broad range of ages, incomes, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

  • Economic development should provide jobs needed by county residents and should upgrade and revitalize existing areas.

  • Transportation and other facilities should fit within the established land use plan with higher densities kept along major transportation routes.

  • Local governments should assume responsibility for evaluating geological andenvironmental hazards, for informing the public of such hazards, and for providing protection.

  • Areas of unique natural resources should be maintained in uses which would preserve them.

  • Open space has a value of its own and should not be viewed as a holding zone for future development.

  • Appropriate uses of open space areas are agriculture, forestry, limited recreational uses, and low-density clustered housing, provided these uses are carefully controlled and preserve the scenic beauty.

  • Tax relief should be provided for property owners in open space areas.

II. Planning:

  • Full and consistent use should be made of the adopted plan.

  • The plan should be fully implemented by keeping zoning in conformity with the plan, by utilizing a long-range capital improvement program, and by other means to carry out its policies.

  • Procedures for regular and orderly review of the plan should be established.

  • Coordination of interjurisdictional planning efforts, especially for unincorporated areas, should be encouraged.

  • Implementation of the plan requires full funding and support of the planning function.

III. Citizen Participation:

  • Information on policies and plans should be made available to the public.

  • Opportunities for citizen participation should be encouraged within the policy-making structure.

(See also LWVC and LWVUS positions)

(1973, revised 1989, 2000)

Annexation of Developed Unincorporated Areas

We support the annexation of developed unincorporated areas to cities in whose sphere of influence they lie, when the following criteria are present:

1. Data indicate that overall, annexation will result in more efficient and cost-effective services.

2. Evidence indicates that the quality of services in the annexing city will not suffer substantially as a result of annexation.

3. Adequate procedures are followed to insure public notice and public participation.

4. Owners of annexed property are protected from an unreasonable burden in meeting city ordinances; where appropriate, an ordinance, including pre-zoning, covenants protecting deeds and "grandfather clauses," is negotiated between County and city, with community participation in the decision-making process, and with consideration for the character of the area to be annexed.

5. The County bears a reasonable share of the costs involved in agreed upon improvements before or upon annexation.