City of San Carlos - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Home > ... > Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will there be additional public hearings held on the proposed PAMF project?

Yes.There will be several additional public hearings held by City of San Carlos boards and commissions starting early in 2007.

The following public hearings are being held on the Final Environmental Impact Report's (FEIR) completeness and adequacy:

  • Traffic and Transportation Commission(January 24)
  • Planning Commission (March 5)
  • City Council (April 23)

The FEIR prepared by the City of San Carlos is now available for public review at Copies are also available for review at the San Carlos Planning Department at City Hall and the San Carlos Library. The FEIR includes all comments and written responses to comments made during the 60-day public review of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

If the FEIR is certified by the City Council as adequate and complete, public hearings on the merits of the project will then be held.

  • Traffic and Transportation Commission hearings on the traffic and transportation aspects of the project. (Date TBD) 
  • Planning Commission hearings on all aspects of the project. (Date TBD)
  • City Council hearings on all aspects of the project. (Date TBD)

All public hearings will be noticed and advertised in the following ways:

  • Published in the legal advertising section of the San Mateo County Times.
  • Mailed to all property owners within 300 feet of the boundary of the project (i.e. 301 Industrial Road).
  • Mailed to all individuals who have submitted a written request for notification concerning this project to the City of San Carlos.
  • E-mailed to all individuals who have submitted such a request for notification concerning this project to the City of San Carlos.

In total, there are expected to be between 7 and 12 public hearings on the project.

Where can I purchase the FEIR, DEIR and Appendices book as well as the PAMF application book? 
What are the cost of these books?

These books may be puchased at:

Planning Department
600 Elm Street
San Carlos, Ca. 94070

The FEIR may be purchased for $75.75.The two volume sets of DEIR & Appendices may be purchased from the Planning Department for $140 and that the PAMF Application book may be purchased for $60.  Please be aware these are the actual cost of printing these documents. We also have reference copies that may be viewed at the San Carlos Library and the San Carlos Planning Department at City Hall. 

Are there toxic chemicals on the 301 Industrial Road site?  How will they be cleaned up?

Chemicals detected in the soil and groundwater at the site (primarily metals and chlorinated solvents) are present at low concentrations. The RWQCB, California Department of Toxic Substances Control and San Mateo County Environmental Health Division have overseen the extensive environmental investigation, and will oversee the remediation and facility closure activities at the site.These agencies have concluded that the site in its current state does not pose a significant health risk, meaning it would not require any remediation if it were to remain an industrial site.

Some cleanup is needed to change the site from industrial to unrestricted use (i.e. suitable for residential and comparable uses) as established by the RWQCB.The Remedial Action Plan for the site was filed with the RWQCB in June 2004 and approved in August 2004.The RWQCB is the agency responsible for regulating the cleanup of the property.The City of San Carlos is only responsible for identifying and discussing the issue in the EIR.

The remediation plan for the site includes excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils at a properly licensed facility; treatment of contaminated groundwater to the approved regulatory clean-up levels; and use of bioremediation technologies, if necessary, to stimulate naturally occurring microorganisms to break down some chemicals into non-toxic substances.

The cleanup will be managed by a suitably qualified professional engineer or geologist and approved by the RWQCB prior to commencement of construction activities at the project site.

Are there two hospitals and medical centers proposed, one for Sutter Health and one for PAMF?

No. Only one hospital, clinic and medical office building (Medical Facility) is proposed by PAMF at the 301 Industrial Road site.PAMF is an affiliate of Sutter Health, but the primary project proponent is PAMF.

Have there been earlier public hearings held on the PAMF proposal?

Yes.There was a public hearing held by the City of San Carlos on April 5, 2004, which was a Scoping Meeting for the DEIR.That meeting was held to provide an opportunity for the public to comment and provide opinions on the issues to be addressed in the DEIR.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) in Oakland, CA held a public hearing in August 2004 regarding the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for cleaning up the property at 301 Industrial Road and restoring it to a standard that allows for unrestricted future use, including construction of a medical center.The RWQCB approved the RAP in August 2004 following the public hearing.

During the public review period for the DEIR a public hearing was also held on April 3, 2006 by the Planning Commission and City Council to hear comments from the public on the contents of the DEIR.

As indicated in the answer above, the law requires that a FEIR be prepared and certified before the City of San Carlos can take action on the merits of the project. In that way the public and decision-makers can have information about possible environmental impacts of the project, what mitigation measures are available to reduce impacts, what impacts cannot be mitigated and what alternatives are available.Therefore, it is premature to hold hearings as to the merits of the project before holding hearings on the FEIR.

How does the Southern San Mateo County Task Force on New Hospital Construction relate to the PAMF San Carlos Medical Facility Application?

The Southern San Mateo County Task Force on New Hospital Construction chaired by County Supervisor Jerry Hill reviewed the status of existing and future hospital facilities serving residents of southern San Mateo County.The Task Force was charged with gathering information from the affected communities and constituencies, identifying issues that need to be addressed and sharing the findings with the Board of Supervisors, City Councils and various health care organizations in order to make more informed decisions. While the Task Force looked into the need for future hospital facilities it has had little impact on the processing of the present application.

How large are the individual components of the proposed buildings?

The following table shows the size of the hospital, medical clinic, medical office and central plant.All of the buildings total approximately 478,500 square feet.

Medical Office

Medical Clinic


Central Plant

193,200 s.f.

131,100 s.f.

141,600 s.f.

12,500 s.f.

How many employees will work at the Medical Center?

The medical facilities are designed to accommodate approximately 180 physicians and 1,137 staff for a total employee count of 1,317.

How tall is the proposed building complex?

On March 7, 2005 PAMF notified the City of San Carlos that the proposed height of the main building in the complex should be extended from 81 feet to 91 feet.This was done in recognition of the San Carlos Municipal Code definition of the term height and in order to accommodate screening of rooftop equipment.In August 2005, the height was again raised by 2 feet in order to use excavated soil as fill on-site and to avoid export and hauling of soil over city streets.The new maximum height of the building itself will be 93 feet, with a tower architectural feature extending up to 100 feet.

The building is proposed to be stepped back with each succeeding story comprising less square footage than the one below.The following table shows the height and size of each floor.



Square Footage

Percent of Total Floor Area


100 ft.




93 ft.




79 ft.

32,552 s.f.

7 percent


64 ft.

57,838 s.f.

12 percent


49 ft.

104,893 s.f.

23 percent


34 ft.

120,383 s.f.

26 percent


19 ft.

150,159 s.f.

32 percent

How will parking be provided for the Medical Center?

A total of approximately 1,377 parking spaces are planned on the site to support the facility.There will be two parking structures, each four stories in height containing a combined total of approximately 1,245 spaces.The parking structures will be located on each side of the main building.There will be an additional approximately 132 surface spaces around the complex.

How will the medical facility affect traffic on San Carlos streets and on the Bayshore Freeway?

The DEIR looked at potential traffic impacts of the project during peak commute hours (7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.). It states that:

  • Under "Project Conditions," the PAMF-SCC would result in less-than-significant impacts on intersection levels of service in San Carlos. However, the proposed project would utiilize some of the available capacity in the City's street system.
  • Under " Comulative Conditions," i.e., assuming full build out of the deffered 2003 Draft East San Carlos Specific Plan (ESCSP), the PAMF-SCC would result in significant and unavoidable impacts on intersection levels of service at the El Camino Real and Holly Street, Old County Road and Holly Street, Industrial Road and Holly Street, and Industrial Road and Brittan Avenue intersections.
  • Under "Project and Cumulative Conditions," the PAMF-SCC would add traffic representing more than one percent of the freeway's capacity between Hillsdale and Ralston/Harborin both northbound and southbound directions, and between Ralston/Harbor and Holly Street in the northbound direction (project traffic in the southbound direction would represent less than one percent of the freeway's capacity). Based on San Mateo County Congestion Management Program standards, this additional traffic is considered a significant freeway impact. The other seven directional freeway segments studied would operate acceptably.

Traffic conditions were evaluated by adding the estimated traffic produced by the proposed project to existing traffic plus other approved developments in the vicinity of the site. This scenario is called the "Project Conditions." Second, traffic conditions were evaluated over the long term taking into consideration "reasonably foreseeable projects." The reseasonably foreseeable projects list includes the (1) actual foreseeable projects at specific sites, (2) anticipated development at the JPB Railroad Property and in Downtown San Carlos, and (3) projects in the deffered 2003 Draft ESCSP on the east side of the City. The reasonably foreseeable projects total about 1.9 million square feet of net new office, laboratory, industrial and retail space, 700 residential units, and 140 hotel rooms (see Table 3.1-1 of the DEIR). The long-term traffic scenario with the proposed project and reasonably foreseeable projects totaling 1.9 million square feet is called the "Cumulative Conditions."     

What is being proposed?

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) is proposing to build a Medical Clinic, Hospital and Medical Office building (Medical Center) at 301 Industrial Road.The buildings on the site will contain approximately 478,500 square feet of floor area.The Medical Center will include physician offices, ancillary services such as laboratory and X-ray, and an approximately 110-bed inpatient facility (hospital).Two, four-story parking structures are proposed with heights of approximately 30 feet and a floor area of approximately 597,200 square feet.

According to PAMF the facility’s service area is expected to cover residents south of Highway 92 and north of Woodside Road and 20% of the patients serviced at the facility will be from San Carlos.

What is the process for assessing the economic benefits of and revenues from the proposed medical clinic/hospital?

As the applicant has non-profit status, it does not pay annual property taxes that would be received by the City.There is potential direct and indirect sales tax revenue which is being evaluated by the City in a cost/benefit analysis that will also determine the cost of providing municipal services (public safety, public works, and other city services).

The proposed economic benefits from the Medical Center, if realized, would provide additional revenue to the City’s General Fund and support city services.

What is the reason for the length of the review process for this project?

On January 23, 2004, PAMF filed an application for rezoning to allow for use of the EIMAC property for a medical center.It was reviewed by the City Staff and was initially determined incomplete in several areas that are required by State Law and the San Carlos Municipal Code.

The application was determined to be complete on August 31, 2005.In the meantime the DEIR is being prepared by the City’s consultant.

Once an application has been determined to be complete certain other statutory and practical time requirements and limits apply, such as:

  • State law requires that the City certify an EIR within 12 months from the date the application is complete.This includes a minimum 45-day mandatory public review period for the Draft EIR.
  • A minimum 10-day notice prior to all public hearings required by law to be held before the Traffic and Transportation Commission, Planning Commission and City Council on all land use entitlements.

What is the status of the EIR?

On January 23, 2004, PAMF filed an application for rezoning to allow for use of the CPI/EIMAC property for a medical center. It was reviewed by the City Staff and was initially determined incomplete in several areas that are required by State Law and the San Carlos Municipal Code. The application was determined to be complete on August 31, 2005. In the meantime the DEIR was prepared by the City's consultant.

In accordance with CEQA, the DEIR was distributed for public review and comments. The public review period for the DEIR began May 1, 2006. During this timeframe, the document was reviewed by various state, regional, and local agencies, as well as by interested organizations and individuals. Sixty two comment letters were received from eight public agencies, six organizations, and 49 individuals. A public meeting was also held in the City of San Carlos on April 3, 2006 to obtain oral comments on the DEIR. During the public meeting, oral comments were received from the City Planning Commissioners, City Council Memebers, and individual members of the public.

The FEIR prepared by the City of San Carlos is now available for public review at Copies are also available for review at the San Carlos Planning Department at City Hall and the San Carlos Library. The FEIR includes all comments and written responses to comments made during the 60-day public review and comment period on the Draft EIR.

Hearings on the FEIR are being held before the Traffic and Transportation Commission on January 24, 2007, the Planning Commission on March 5, 2007, and the City Council on April 23, 2007. 

What was located at 301 Industrial Road?

The property was owned by Communications & Power Industries, Inc. (CPI).Title to the property is now held by 301 Industrial, LLC. 301 Industrial, LLC is a company formed by several of the principals of the Northgate Environmental Management, Inc. (PAMF's environmental consultant for the Proposed project) to own and cleanup the project site before the proposed project would be constructed. The property contains about 18.1 acres or 788,436 square feet.One and two story industrial buildings containing about 330,000 square feet are located on the site.

When were traffic counts taken for the traffic analysis?

New intersection traffic counts were taken in spring 2004 at thirteen intersections throughout the City of San Carlos.These counts show that all intersections in San Carlos are currently functioning at acceptable levels of service. Since the traffic data used in the DEIR analysis was approximately two years old, new intersection movement counts were conducted in May 2006 to compare to the 2004 counts. The comparison showed that the traffic essentially has not changed in the last two years, and therefore, the traffic counts used in the DEIR reflect current traffic conditions.

Why was the East San Carlos Specific Plan (ESCSP) deleted from the project?

The PAMF project is not within the boundary of the existing ESCSP.Therefore no amendment to the existing ESCSP is proposed as part of the project.Amendments to the ESCSP will be addressed separately by the City at a later time, but are considered as to potential cumulative impacts in the environmental analyses for the PAMF project.

The PAMF project had previously included amendments to the proposed draft 2003 ESCSP to accommodate the proposed medical center use within the ESCSP as it was then proposed to be revised. Consideration of amendments to the ESCSP are not being considered concurrently with the PAMF project. The City will review the proposed development and the most appropriate land use designations for the East San Carlos area in light of changes in economic and market conditions and updated environmental information.