We support the Gateway at Millbrae Station project

Article Source: San Mateo Daily Journal

Sep 29, 2017

Throughout California, the housing shortage crisis is taking an adverse toll on both the quality of life of residents and local economies. San Mateo County is no exception to this trend.

But unlike other parts of our state, in our county, there are projects in the pipeline that have the ability to help alleviate housing pressures and contribute to our economy.

One such example is the Gateway at Millbrae Station project, a mixed-use project that would include 80 units of affordable units with a preference for veterans. Additionally, the project would generate more than $1.2 million in net revenue directly into Millbrae’s general fund for city services. It also will create more than 1,400 jobs.

A unique aspect of this community benefit housing project is the partnership and contribution of BART. As part of their commitment to affordable housing, BART is contributing 2 acres of land at $1 per year; essentially, providing the project with $7.9 million of land value to assist the affordable housing component.

With the various benefits to the city of Millbrae, including fulfilling the city’s mandated contribution to provide their fair share of housing for the region, we are pleased to note that a public hearing before the Planning Commission has now been scheduled for Oct. 16.

This particular project has been in the works for nine years. Local governments must accept our role in finding a more timely solution to the housing crisis. If we don’t, this crisis will eventually become a problem for all of us.

Eighty units of affordable housing is 20 percent of the entire Gateway at Millbrae Station housing. Preference will be given to veterans, but this housing can also help local teachers, health care workers, city employees and blue-collar workers.

San Mateo County is ready to do its share to help make this affordable housing possible. Voters approved Measure K last year precisely so that the county can partner with local jurisdictions to bridge the incredibly expensive financial gap required to construct affordable housing.

To us, the Gateway at Millbrae Station project is an exemplary public/private partnership that, besides being a clear benefit to the city of Millbrae, will also serve as a regional model of how to build housing in a manner that enhances a community while also providing much-needed housing.

We support this much-needed project. San Mateo County stands ready to help in any way possible — but Millbrae must show it also is ready to help bridge the financial gaps and see this project through public hearings.

Don Horsley and Warren Slocum are members of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.