Why Is This Important?
Land use decisions have far-reaching effects on the long-term sustainability of a community, impacting the location of new housing, businesses, schools, and parks. Land use policies influence everything from the diversity of the local economy to how much residents drive and how healthy their diet is.
With many towns and cities in San Mateo County fully built-out under current zoning, the focus on future development will largely be on designing more sustainable in-fill projects that bring new residents and businesses into already developed areas. To simultaneously meet the needs of a growing population and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, planning officials must decide where to site new commercial, industrial, government, and residential uses to make our communities more livable and allow residents and workers to get to school, work, and daily activities by walking, biking, and taking public transit.
Planning officials also need to determine the location and size of parks and open space lands. These valuable community assets are a place for people to enjoy outdoor exercise and experience the natural world, and they provide important linkages throughout the Bay Area where native habitat and wildlife areas can be preserved and protected.
Land use decisions also impact local agriculture. In San Mateo County, every dollar of agricultural production creates between $1.60-$3.50 of economic activity, and sustainable farming practices protect the land while providing residents with healthy, locally grown food. With the high price of real estate in the county, agricultural lands are continually at risk for development.
What Is a Sustainable State?
In a sustainable state, land use policies accommodate growth while protecting public and ecological health by directing development to areas that provide easy access to services, jobs, and transit. Parks and open space are abundant, of good quality, and readily accessible to all residents, and agriculture lands are preserved.
- Of San Mateo County land, 64% is non-urban and 36% is urban.
- The cities and unincorporated county have taken numerous steps to create more sustainable land use policies. As of May 2014, 100% had adopted a Complete Streets resolution, 48% had an adopted Climate Action Plan (CAP), and 43% were in the process of developing a CAP.
- In 2013, there were over 117,000 acres of protected lands in the county, an increase of 16 acres from 2012. Only Marin County has a higher percentage of open space lands.
- In 2013, total agricultural production in the County was just over $143 million, a slight increase from the year prior. Overall, agricultural production value has declined 36% from 2004.
- While Floral and Nursery Crops are responsible for 77% of total agricultural production value in the county, Vegetable crops represent a growing share of agricultural production value in the County since 2009
Food and Agriculture
- In 2013, total agricultural production in the County was just over $143 million, a slight increase from the year prior. Agricultural production value has declined 36% from 2004.
- Floral and Nursery Crops are responsible for 77% of total agricultural production value in the County.
- Since 2009, Vegetable crops represent a growing share of agricultural production value in the County.