Skip to main content

Sustainable Development

Climate scientists have identified clear relationships between land use patterns, development types, and greenhouse gas emissions. The creation of walkable and bike-friendly neighborhoods with higher-density, mixed use, infill development around transit stations can reduce vehicle trips and associated pollutant emissions. Use of energy-efficient building materials, green construction practices, and the reduction of impervious surfaces can also contribute locally to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and improvement in water quality. The City of Burlingame is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by promoting sustainable development through a variety of means.

Burlingame’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), last updated in 2019, sets the framework for City policies relating to greenhouse gas reduction. Given the ties between land use policy practices and climate change affects, the City has incorporated CAP considerations and policies into this General Plan; see the Healthy People Healthy Places Element. The sustainable development policies move Burlingame forward in reducing the community’s carbon footprint, protecting local environmental resources, and creating healthy people and healthy places. 

As discussed in the Community Safety Element, Burlingame’s Bayfront location exposes properties and the populace to the adverse effects of sea level rise and flooding. Strategies to combat climate change and prepare for the impacts of sea level rise through resilience are integrated throughout this General Plan. The following goal and policies reflect the City’s approach to promoting sustainable practices in future development and protecting existing development from elevated sea levels and flooding. Additional policies relating to sustainability are incorporated throughout the other elements, and in the Healthy People Healthy Places Element in particular.

Goal: CC-1

Incorporate sustainable practices in all development decisions.

Maintain up-to-date Climate Action Plan policies, and continue to provide annual sustainability reports.

Studies and Reports

Promote higher-density infill development with a mix of uses on underutilized parcels, particularly near transit stations and stops. 

Development Review

Promote walkable neighborhoods and encourage pedestrian activity by designing safe, welcoming streets and sidewalks that incorporate signalized crosswalks, attractive lighting and landscaping, curb extensions, and traffic-calming measures at appropriate locations. 

Development Review

Study options for reduced residential parking requirements in areas that are well served by public transportation, such as the North Burlingame and North Rollins Road areas. Implement preferred options. 

Studies and Reports Services and Operations

Require that all major development projects include a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program, as defined in the City’s TDM regulations, to reduce single-occupancy car trips. “Major development” shall be defined in the TDM regulations by square footage for commercial development, or minimum number of units for residential development.

Development Review

Promote water conservation by encouraging and incentivizing property owners to incorporate drought-tolerant landscaping, “smart” irrigation systems, water-efficient appliances, and recycled water systems. Continue to enforce the water-efficiency landscaping ordinance. Encourage recycling and reuse of graywater in new buildings. 

Development Review Services and Operations

Incentivize solar panel installation on existing buildings and new developments.

Development Review

Encourage green infrastructure systems that rely on natural processes for stormwater drainage, groundwater recharge, and flood management, continue to implement storm drainage fee programs that discourage broad applications of impervious surface coverage, and require that new development minimize impervious surfaces and meet San Mateo Countywide Stormwater Pollution C.3 requirements. 

Development Review Financing and Budgeting Services and Operations

Support the use of sustainable building elements such as green roofs, cisterns, and permeable pavement, continue to enforce the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), periodically revisit the minimum standards required for permit approval, and adopt zero-net-energy building goals for municipal buildings.

Development Review Services and Operations

Establish sustainable site design standards that maintain and protect valuable stands of vegetation, minimize impacts of runoff to San Francisco Bay and local creeks, reduce water consumption, optimize buildings’ solar orientation, and minimize the impact of new structures on wind movement. 

Development Review

Identify opportunities for additional community gardens and urban agriculture locations in Burlingame, and partner with community groups to establish these sites. Review code requirements for chicken and bee keeping, and revise to better support urban agriculture. 

Development Review Services and Operations Partnerships with the Private Sector

Continue to educate Burlingame community members about sustainable development strategies, programs, and opportunities. 

Public Information and Education

Support the electric vehicle network by incentivizing use of electric vehicles and installations of charging stations.

Development Review

For projects in the Bayfront area, incorporate into the development review process design measures that promote bird safety as a means of minimizing adverse effects on native and migratory birds. 

Development Review

Establish programs that encourage and enable owners of new and existing single family homes to provide onsite drainage systems to retain runoff on site and allow for percolation into the groundwater table. For new multifamily residential development projects, require such systems to comply with San Mateo Countywide Stormwater Pollution Prevention Section C.3 

Development Review Agency Coordination Partnerships with the Private Sector