Thank You Brisbane!

By: Mayor Madison Davis, City of Brisbane,, 415-706-5276

As 2019 comes to a close, along with my term as Mayor, I want to thank you for allowing me to serve you in this capacity.
This year I had the pleasure of overseeing a variety of events and projects. In March Brisbane hosted our first ever LUNAFEST, a film festival celebrating female-filmmakers. Dozens of businesses and community members came together to raise $30,000 for the Brisbane Lions Club scholarship fund for scholarships for women pursuing degrees in male-dominated fields. We were able to give these awards to eleven young ladies.
Another big moment this year occurred in June, when I had the privilege of raising the Pride flag for the first time in Brisbane’s History. It flew right below the U.S. Flag and was a wonderful sight to behold as community members gathered together at the Community Park to remember the events at the Stonewall Inn. The Pride flag will continue to be flown each June in celebration of Pride Month and to convey the message that the City of Brisbane stands for diversity, acceptance, and inclusion for all. Another new event we hosted this year was the Star Decorating Workshop earlier this month in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce. The workshop included free wooden star frames, light fasteners, craft supplies, and staff to assist in the hopes more residents would put up stars during the holiday season.
In February, we welcomed home Jimmy the Raccoon to Costaños Canyon, a statue honoring the late Byron Jensen. We were able to secure a mold of the original bronze statue and cast a new statue to replace the one previously stolen. The dozen or so children present participated in the exciting countdown and removal of the tarp from the sculpture. Byron’s son, Pennfield Jensen, flew from Indiana for the event and recollected stories of his mom and growing up in Brisbane.
Of course, I can’t forget to mention honoring this year’s Volunteer of the Year. Each year, the City recognizes a Brisbane resident as its “Volunteer of the Year,” who the ad hoc City Council subcommittee selects after carefully reviewing letters of recommendation from community members. The Volunteer of the Year award is bestowed upon a dedicated community member who has demonstrated ongoing commitment to the City of Brisbane. They act with the purpose of community in mind and give selflessly to others. For 2019, the subcommittee awarded Nancy Lacsamana with the award for her countless years of service to Brisbane and those in need beyond our city. During our discussion we realized the need to honor our younger residents who have demonstrated a volunteer spirit and dedication to Brisbane. Therefore, we created the Youth Volunteer of the Year award and bestowed this year’s honor to Chaya-Bella David for her work with a number of organizations both in Brisbane and in the greater Bay Area.
As we move into 2020, there is much on the horizon. The Public Art Committee is working with artist Gaelen Smith on a new mural along the quarter pipe wall at the Skatepark. The work will serve as a focal piece, welcoming those driving into town. In addition, the new library is nearing completion and will also have public art, an installation of blown glass butterflies hanging from the entryway ceiling.
Also under construction are numerous biotech labs at Sierra Point. The Shore at Sierra Point is underway and will be HCP’s 560,000 square foot research and development campus on 23 acres of land, between the Marina and the DoubleTree hotel. The first two buildings are nearing completion with tenants planned to occupy those buildings in early 2020. Foundation construction has begun on the other three R&D buildings and a retail and garage building, with campus completion projected for 2021. The retail space will total approximately 22,000 square feet and will include a café facing out to a newly constructed Bay Trail and the water. The campus will be open with both passive and active recreation opportunities, including various walking paths, outdoor dining, as well as basketball and bocce ball courts. Another upcoming development at Sierra Point is Phase 3’s property at the northwest corner of Sierra Point, along Marina Boulevard, which will provide for about 423,000 sq. ft. of research and development space including a 12,000 sq. ft. gym available to the public, and outdoor public recreation spaces including an expanded Bay Trail. We’re anticipating building permit submittals in the next few months and that construction work will likely begin in mid-2020.
Of course, one of the biggest things on the horizon is the Baylands. This past Spring, the City sponsored two workshops in partnership with Home for All, a community collaborative addressing housing challenges in San Mateo County. The first workshop took place on March 21st with 87 participants in attendance. This event promoted dialogue around housing, the first community-wide forum since the passage of Measure JJ in November 2018. To recap, the measure allows for a range of 1,800 – 2,200 residential units and up to 7 mil. sq. ft. of new commercial development along with a host of other criteria the developer must comply with. We hosted the second Home For All workshop on May 5th and narrowed down the housing conversation to help us better understand the community’s values as we move forward with the Baylands.
Currently, UPC is preparing technical studies, such as soil, traffic, water use, etc. ahead of additional planning efforts, and the City and public will review UPC’s plan to address site remediation, which must be approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control. The City and the public will also review UPC’s plans for closure of the landfill and necessary clean-up efforts, which must be approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the San Mateo County Health System. After this work is completed, the Developer will submit a draft Specific Plan and Development Agreement to the City. An environmental review and public comment process will follow and then the City Council will hold public hearings on the final EIR, Specific Plan, and Development Agreement. The Council can approve, deny, or recommend revisions to the final plans. Final City Council actions will likely take place 24 months after the draft Specific Plan and Development Agreement are submitted by the Developer. We anticipate the developer will submit these in the spring or summer of 2020.
On the November 21st Council meeting, UPC will be giving a presentation regarding their proposed Specific Plan, which is the culmination of feedback they received over the course of their 3 workshops as well as their open space survey.
For a more detailed recap of the year, I encourage you to watch my State of the City Address on the city’s website.
If you’d like to get more involved in your community, I urge you to apply for one of the city’s many commissions and committees. We have several openings available and will be holding interviews in January. Applications and information is available on the city’s website or contact City Clerk, Ingrid Padilla. This is an excellent opportunity to make a difference and give input on important city decisions.
This year has been such a rewarding experience and I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to serve as your Mayor and re-electing me for another 3 years on the city council. I will continue to focus on Brisbane and am always open to your feedback, opinions, and suggestions. Feel free to email me at or give me a call at 415-706-5276
Signing off with my last Brisbane Fun Fact of the Month: Some of the first families to settle in Brisbane in the early 1900’s were the Allemands, Mozzettis, Nortons, and Sweets.