Environmentalist, Civic Leader Makes Bay Meadows Home

As a member of the City of San Mateo’s Planning Commission, Kelly Moran spent long hours reviewing numerous projects, but it was the Bay Meadows project that required years of dedication and attention. Working with the public, with the development team, with City staff, Moran played a key role in pushing forward sustainability goals for the game-changing project.

President of an environmental consulting firm, Kelly has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Berkeley and is well-versed in how land-use impacts the environment. Earlier in her career, she managed a water-pollution prevention program for the City of Palo Alto and became interested in local solutions to big challenges. “I really wanted to be more hands-on and keep contributing on a local level.”

The Bay Meadows entitlement process certainly summoned up Kelly’s expertise. She was a significant driver in such elements as the efficient stormwater treatment pond, which collects water, treats it and sends it out to the creek clean.

Kelly acknowledges that it can be challenging for a community to change and grow, particularly to accommodate increasing regional density. “We’re trying to figure out how to plan for a future that’s, essentially, for somebody else. We said, ‘how can we make it look and feel a bit suburban even though it has semi-urban densities?’”

Four elements that Kelly and her fellow-commissioners looked to, which later informed design guidelines, were: set-backs from the street; step-backs, so the buildings don’t just go straight up; abundant landscaping and greenness; use of natural, softer materials in construction of the homes.

Fast-forward several years after the approval process and, now, Kelly is a Bay Meadows resident. “I had no notion that one day we’d own a home here.”

What are some of her thoughts as she reflects on the intensive process of planning for Bay Meadows? “I think we were incredibly fortunate to have Wilson Meany involved as the developer.” High praise coming from a planning commissioner that, by her own admission, pushed and tweaked and questioned plans regularly.

“I think there is way more demand for these homes than anybody realized 10 years ago. It’s pretty clear to me now there’s a whole generation of people who want to spend time doing fun things and not interacting with their car… who really want homes where they can be out walking, biking, playing with their children. They want their lives to be convenient and that’s a big change.”

The Quick Rundown

What do you love about San Mateo? Well, it’s home. It’s in the middle of everything. It has a certain real character. It’s got good diversity.

A favorite restaurant nearby? Cobani on 25th Avenue. We bike up there for dinner sometimes.

Favorite bike rides? Right here in Bay Meadows on my cute Public bike! I head to Peet’s for a cup of coffee, throw it in the cup holder that I added to my Public bike, and then lazily ride over to the community garden to tend it and to collect my harvest. Such a nice Saturday routine!

Bay Meadows + Kelly (bike + basil)

An ideally located community, Bay Meadows is only 10 minutes from Palo Alto, 20 minutes from San Francisco, and has 3 airports (SFO, OAK, SJC) within 30 miles. Bay Meadows is also located on Caltrain, which makes travel and commutes that much easier. Talk about convenient! Bay Meadows is the centralized place to reduce commutes, meet friends and play. Looking for ideas of where to ride? Check out our bike map here.