Burlingame May Soon Incorporate Sea Level Rise in Zoning, Building Codes

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Burlingame may soon be the first city in the Bay Area to incorporate sea level rise into its zoning and building codes.

Along Burlingame's bayfront are a new set of towers juts out into the bay.

If the city council adopts new zoning and building codes, new developments would have to incorporate certain strategies to help protect them and the rest of the bayfront from rising sea levels.

"We would be doing a combination of probably things like sea walls that are engineered and built,” said Burlingame City Council member Donna Colson.

Colson said the idea is to take a shared responsibility approach to planning for and building the kind of infrastructure that will stand up to the effects of climate change.

Burlingame is the first city to do this, but it can't be the only one.

"One city can't be like, lower than another city in terms of it's protection and therefore have more risk attached to it,” said Len Materman, who is a CEO of One Shoreline.

One Shoreline is a relatively new San Mateo County intergovernmental agency.

The county is considered the most vulnerable in the state to the effects of climate change because of erosion along the pacific coast and flooding on the bay front.

The mission of One Shoreline is to coordinate efforts and funding on both waterfronts to protect current residents and future projects.

"We should be thinking ahead, in terms of what we plan and build now, should be resilient not just for today's climate,” Materman said.

The Burlingame City Council will get their first look at the zoning updates during this coming Monday’s regular meeting.

They are expecting lots of public comment over the next several weeks before votes to adopt the changes at the end of December or start of January.

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