By 12:00pm on November 27th around forty people had congregated at the Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits in San Mateo, California. A pleasant buzz of conversation filled the room as the diverse group of participants networked with old and new colleagues. The workshop came to order with welcome remarks from Don Horsley of San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Fiona Hsu of Silicon Valley Bank, Sarah Sieloff of Center of Center for Creative Land Recycling and Ken Cole of San Mateo County Housing. It then transitioned to a panel consisting of seven members representing various organizations that encapsulate the infill development process from start to finish. Some of the organizations represented on the panel were the City of San Mateo, Quorum Real Estate Group, Eden Housing, Paul Hastings Law Firm, San Mateo County Environmental Health and Langan Engineering and Environmental Services. The workshop focused on how to facilitate infill development, particularly in residential areas. Affordable housing, liability, cleanup strategies and complications, deed restrictions and environmental insurance were among the topics discussed.
This workshop pioneered a new format designed by CCLR’s Director of Programs, Ignacio Dayrit. Instead of each panelist presenting a powerpoint and having a Q & A with the audience, a more interactive, discussion based workshop was held. Once each panelist was introduced, anyone from the audience could ask a question. Each panelist would try to answer the question from their perspective of the infill development process. Another interactive aspect to this workshop was a series of questions that the audience responded to through their cell phones or computers. This polling was used to determine the experience of the participants with various aspects of the infill development process and make sure the audience understood some key points the workshop was highlighting. One particularly memorable result was that 50 percent of the room wasn’t familiar with some of the funding and liability relief tools that have emerged in California since redevelopment agencies were abolished in 2012. This information helped gear the discussion towards the topic that the audience most needed information on. You can see the questions in the Powerpoint linked below.
Many folks shared stories of attempted infill development that had either gone wrong or resulted in much more cleanup and litigation than expected. These same participants expressed that conversations like the one held in San Mateo are important not only for organizations without much knowledge of the infill development process, but also experienced organizations interested in streamlining the process. There are so many different organizations involved in the redevelopment process that having discussions about how to better communicate and work together on a project is essential.
To view the complete agenda for the workshop click here.
To view pictures of the workshop click here.
To view the powerpoint for the workshop click here.
Written by Sam Hare Steig