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Working to Keep Businesses in Downtown San Mateo

Smart growth and promotion of downtown businesses create increased revenue for all city residents.

At the City Council meeting on January 3, I voted to grant a special use permit to SnapLogic, a software startup company in downtown San Mateo, which would have allowed them to expand their business with 25 new employees.  

The special use permit was necessary because of an ordinance enacted in 2001 that requires the Council to approve a special use permit for any business that is not primarily "retail" in nature. 

My effort to allow SnapLogic to expand in Downtown was denied by a 2-3 vote of the City Council. 

In making my pitch to grant SnapLogic a special use permit in Downtown San Mateo, I relied on the following reasons:

1)  First and foremost, SnapLogic has been a good corporate business in our City, and I wanted to encourage them to stay in San Mateo as their business grew. 

2)  The storefront that they proposed to move into has been vacant for over three years.  With the downturn in our economy, three years is too long, and I preferred to have a established business take up the existing vacancy rather than have the spot continue to sit empty. 

3)  The filling of vacant space and expansion of SnapLogic creates more tax revenue for the City of San Mateo which can be used to fund things like parks, libraries, and safety services for the citizens of San Mateo.  The additional employees to SnapLogic create new patrons who will eat, drink, and shop in our Downtown, adding additional revenue and vibrancy to our Downtown.   

4)  Neighborhood residents near downtown voiced concerns over employees from SnapLogic parking in their neighborhoods.  As a condition of the special use permit, the landlords leasing to SnapLogic agreed to require employees to verify that they were parking only in designated parking spots in Downtown. The granting of a special use permit thus helped alleviate an important issue for our San Mateo neighborhoods. 

5)  The current zoning ordinance passed in 2001 allowed us to make the necessary findings to grant SnapLogic a special use permit.  

When I ran for City Council in 2009, I campaigned on a platform of smart growth in our Downtown, with the need to grow businesses in order to help keep City revenue up.  Increased revenue allows the City to continue to offer the high level of services our residents expect and deserve.  I believe that the growth of dynamic young businesses such as SnapLogic add to the vitality of our community and are ultimately beneficial for all our neighborhoods and residents.  

I will continue to advocate for smart growth in our Downtown and throughout San Mateo.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Catherine Richards January 06, 2012 at 05:31 PM
To allow a start-up to be visible at street level downtown has the potential to influence other start-ups to consider San Mateo. This city needs to think globally. I work for a global company that is interested in trends started right here on the Peninsula. The eyes of the world are looking. Why are we holding ourselves back for an antiquated ordinance?
Denise Nelson January 06, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Great blog! Thank you for the good information Councilman!

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