History of Measure Y

Measure Y has taken many forms in San Mateo for almost 30 years, now this exclusionary policy is on the ballot again.

This November, San Mateo voters will consider a city-wide height and density limit for housing. These limits are current policy in San Mateo, previously appearing on ballots as Measure H (1991) and then Measure P (2005). This year’s ballot measure is called Measure Y, and it is the continuation of the same policy.

Measure Y is an example of exclusionary zoning. It imposes a height and density rule of 55 feet tall and 50 dwelling units per acre on every parcel in San Mateo, even  the transit-oriented districts adjacent to the three Caltrain stations.

It also includes a regressive  “inclusionary policy.”  This policy specifies that, for every new market-rate housing built only 10% of the units must be considered “affordable,” or 80% of AMI (area median income), which is $139,200 for a family of four. Today, we now know that this is out-of-date, and that more affordable housing requirements and options are possible.

This policy was first passed in 1991, when the median price for a single family home in San Mateo was less than $200,000. It is on the ballot for a 10-year extension.

Over the past 30 years, Measure Y has silently and insidiously prevented affordable housing from being built. Measure Y forces many housing developers to build fewer, but much larger units marketed as luxury apartments. This trend would be problematic anywhere, but in Silicon Valley it is catastrophic.

No on Measure Y

No on Y, San Mateans for Affordable Housing, sponsored by the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County

With Major Funding By:
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy