San Mateo pressures Santa Clara to require Stanford to pay impact fees

April 30, 2018, 12:22 a.m.

In its Tuesday meeting, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ discussed pressuring Stanford to pay the maximum rate in affordable housing impact fees in light of the University’s expansion plans for 2035.

The University’s plans to build up to 2.27 million square feet of new academic facilities and 3,150 new on-campus housing units are projected to impact affordable housing in Menlo Park, Redwood City and North Fair Oaks.

The new housing units are expected to increase the campus residential population by 6,326 people, according to the 2018 General Use Permit (GUP) application’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

The report also anticipates an overall increase in the daily on-campus population by 8,574 people over the course of the next 17 years, and thus an expected demand for 2,425 off-campus housing units.

The DEIR deems this impact on housing and population “less than significant” and states that the anticipated off-campus housing demand “falls well within Association of Bay Area Governments’ housing growth projections for every jurisdiction” that the off-campus housing units would be distributed among.

The Board discussed the language of a letter to the Santa Clara County supervisors to ask them to consider requiring the University to pay up to $143.10 per square foot of academic space and up to $69.10 per square foot of residential space, as well as direct a portion of these fees towards directly mitigating the affordable housing crisis.

Under the current GUP, Stanford contributed $25 million in affordable housing funds to Santa Clara County and has proposed paying about $56 million in the 2018 GUP application.

“I’m glad [Stanford is] here,” San Mateo Supervisor Don Horsley told The Daily Journal. “But at the same time, they’ve had a lot of impact on our residents and I think it’s time we hold them accountable for those impacts.”

Horsley acknowledged Stanford’s projects that have positively impacted the surrounding community, such as the Stanford Hospital and their contribution to Redwood City’s affordable housing effort.

Board members discussed how they should frame their requests, with Board President Dave Pine recommending the letter request the highest rate feasible rather than the maximum rate and instead focus on securing an agreement for Stanford to contribute directly towards affordable housing efforts.

Jean McCown, associate vice president of Stanford’s Office of Government and Community Relations, encouraged the Supervisors to recommend “more reasonable” fees, according to The Daily Journal, and instead said that the University proposed a $20 per square foot fee, which is the fee set out in the 2018 GUP application.

“There are no entities anywhere in the two counties that are being requested to pay that kind of fee,” she said. “We believe the fee for Stanford should be placed in context with what others do pay.”

The maximum rate that the San Mateo Supervisors plan to request of the Santa Clara County supervisors comes from a study funded by Santa Clara, aimed at assessing the impact of anticipated development in neighboring communities.

The Supervisors voted 4-1 to request the maximum fee in their letter to the Santa Clara County supervisors, with only Pine dissenting.

Supervisor Warren Slocum raised concerns about the impact of requesting less than the maximum fee, citing the fact that though Redwood City received $20 million in impact fees, Stanford only gave the county $1 million in fees.


Contact Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’

Julia Ingram ’21 was The Daily's Volume 256 editor-in-chief. She is a New York City native majoring in English literature and working toward a career in news reporting. Contact her at jingram ‘at’

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