Public Works & Planning

FY 2021-22 Budget

The Public Works & Planning Department consists of the following Divisions:

Contract technical professionals and three Town employees provide Public Works and Planning services. Department responsibilities include the development and implementation of the Town’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP); administration and implementation of solid waste recycling and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations; administration of private land development and building permits; maintenance of all Town-owned facilities and infrastructure; current and advanced planning; and neighborhood and sustainability services.

The Department continues to address traffic and transportation issues; identify and develop future capital improvement projects; improve maintenance and land development services; address the needs of other Town departments as they relate to Public Works and Planning; administer local, state, and federal regulations; administer grants and applications; and maintain the overall operation of the Department.

Public Works & Planning Revenues

The main revenues source for Public Works & Planning operations is the General Fund. The department generates some revenues to offset certain expenditures, as indicated below.

Sewer charges (or fees) is one of the revenue sources generated by the Public Works & Planning operation - $942,000. Revenues received from sewer charges are recorded in a separate fund (Enterprise Fund) from the General Fund to pay for sewer conveyance and treatment costs charged by the City of Daly City and South San Francisco. Sewer maintenance and capital improvements are funded by the General Fund through annual transfers.

The department also collects permit fees and service charges for planning, building and engineering activities - $281,000. These fees and charges are set based on the City Council approved 2019 Cost of Service Study and offsets up to 90% of actual cost of providing such services.

Grant funding, such as Gas Tax ($74,000) and Measure A, are used for specific activities. A portion of Gas Tax supports streetlight and traffic light repairs and the remaining funds are reserved for streets, sidewalk, and bikeway related capital programs.

Expenditure Summary

The total Public Works & Planning expenditure budget for FY 2021-22 is $4.7 million, or $1.1 million more than the FY 2020-21 Estimated Actual. To address the financial crisis from the Covid-19 pandemic, this department limited its use of essential contract services and deferred a number of its projects. This included reducing landscape maintenance and engineering, and advanced planning services. The goal for this department during the Covid-19 pandemic was to shift all available resources to urgent and essential services and projects, and away from essential but non-urgent projects. This will require some catch up in the new fiscal year to bring the quality of maintenance back to pre-Covid levels.

It is also important to note that the Public Works & Planning Budget includes roughly $250,000 of contingency built into the budget to address unpredictable events. Such events include changes in commercial landscape, urgent right-of-way repairs, important feasibility studies or need assessment needed due to the changing legal landscape, and facilities improvement. For example, unanticipated costs were incurred for interior repairs and improvements at Creekside Villas in FY 2020-21, roadway repair on the public right-of-way in FY 2019-20, and grant administration and applications in FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20.

Expenditure by Categories


The following accomplishments are broken down by Division:

Planning Division (410):

  • Prepared policy documents and reports for City Council consideration including General Plan Study Sessions and an update to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance.
  • Continued work on sections of the General Plan and the General Plan EIR.
  • Continued participation in regional meetings (County and Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Grand Boulevard Initiative, RICAPS, County Stormwater Committees, County Flood and Sea Level Rise District, Bay Area Planning Directors Association, 21 Elements Housing, etc.).
  • Processed staff level and development applications including the Cadillac dealership, Tesla dealership, car storage at the landfill and tenant improvements at Serra Center.
  • Completed the update of the Climate Action Plan.
  • Completed the adoption of Reach Codes.
  • Prepared letters regarding legislation affecting Colma.
  • Continued work with property owners to resolve property maintenance issues.
  • Coordinated and participated in the El Camino Real Pedestrian plan preparation.
  • Participated in auto dealer’s working group meetings and cemetery manager’s work group meetings.
  • Participated in Census 2020 activities.

Engineering and Building Division (310):

  • Completed the El Camino Real Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
  • Continued work on the Mission Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Project.
  • Continued work on the Municipal Regional Permit Green Infrastructure program.
  • Represented the Town at County and Regional meetings: County wide NPDES meetings, C/CAG TAC, Colma Creek Flood Control Advisory and TAC meetings, San Mateo Sea Level Rise committee and board meetings, Cal Building Official Association, CALBO, City and County Engineers Group, League of Ca. Cities.
  • Continued work on expanding the Town’s Sanitary Sewer Enterprise Fund.
  • Continued work with SFPUC and NSMCSD on the potential of a reclaim water system for the Cemeteries and Town.
  • Worked with Property managers to open several new businesses, to highlight a few, DaVita, Philz, Coffee, Panda Express, Wing Stop, Noah’s Bagels.
  • Help sponsor reach code amendments to the Town’s Building Code.
  • Participated in Facility safety walk throughs.
  • Finalized a Street Light replacement program for Sterling Park.

Public Works Maintenance Division (320):

  • Installed courtesy sign for dog walkers in Sterling Park Neighborhood.
  • Installed dog mitt dispensers and waste receptables on Lawndale Blvd.
  • Installed park benches in the Mission Road and Lawndale Blvd. area.
  • Installed signage and parking markers on El Camino Real.
  • Maintained street sweeping paving stone cleaning schedules throughout Town with “shelter in place orders” in effect.
  • Responsible for the cleaning and recording of 300+ storm drains throughout the Town.
  • Inspected commercial facilities regarding FOG compliance (Fats, Oil and Grease) along with stormwater compliance.
  • Certified all Town owned domestic and irrigation backflow devices.
  • Managed landscape maintenance contract adherence.
  • Minor facility repairs and maintenance & oversite of the Landscape and janitorial contracts.
  • Attended Integrated Pest Management Countywide meetings.

COVID Response

Though an adjustment at the beginning, the Engineering, Planning and Building Divisions successfully shifted to remote operations as a result of the Covid-19 shelter in place order. The Planning and Engineering Divisions were able to assist the public remotely by phone, email and virtual conferencing conducting administrative hearings, preconstruction meetings, bid openings, committee meetings and other. Planning and Permit applications along with plan reviews were taken in and processed electronically. Town staff from the Planning and Building Departments assisted various businesses with temporary use permits or plan reviews for their temporary outdoor structures. Many within our departments were obligated to perform work that involved day to day work within the Right of Way, facility operations, and project inspections. Obligations where one had to encounter the public, staff adhered to strict Covid-19 best management practices to continue the duties that their department were obligated to perform. The Planning Division was also very active in sending out regular eblasts and community memorandums to the business community offering information about assistance loans, operating restrictions, along with a weekly (now biweekly) update meetings with cemeteries.

Future Objectives

Planning Division (410):

  • Continue the General Plan Update
  • Continue preparation of the General Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
  • Continue work with San Mateo County on the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan update.
  • Continue to process development and administrative applications.
  • Conduct work related to the update of the Housing Element.
  • Implement policies from the Climate Action Plan.
  • Continue to monitor legislation and propose ordinance amendments, if required.
  • Continue to participate in activities and meetings related to economic development.
  • Continue to represent Colma in regional meetings.
  • Monitor and review plans, development proposals and environmental documents of surrounding communities and utility companies to assure that the interests of the Town are considered.
  • Work with Town’s Franchise Waste Hauler and Businesses to comply with the SB 1383, Organic Waste Reduction Requirements.

Engineering and Building Division (310):

  • As part of the Annual Road Rehabilitation and Preventive Roadway Maintenance Program, the 300 block of F Street Mill and Fill.
  • Complete the design and start the construct to rebuild the F Street Retaining wall.
  • Start the design and construction documents for El Camino Real and Lawndale landscape projects.
  • Continued work in securing grant packages for future Town and infrastructure capital projects.
  • Complete the study regarding annexing in Colma’s portion in the Colma Street Light District and the potential of creating the Town’s own Street Light and Landscape District, (Study only).
  • Develop a cost recovery system for storm water Business inspections.
  • Complete the study and fee assessment for expanding the Town’s sanitary Sewer Enterprise Fund.
  • Establish an equipment replacement fund.
  • Represent Town at Local, County wide, Regional and State required meeting and conferences.
  • Continued work with SFPUC, NCSMSD, Cal-water and Cemeteries regarding a reclaim water system.

Public Works Maintenance Division (320):

  • Perform minor construction and painting as needed.
  • Establish programs and training to further develop maintenance staff.
  • Monitor and manage minor encroachment work.
  • Work with Sustainability group to meet our Climate Action Plan and Goals.
  • Meet or exceed the SF Reginal Boards goals of reducing trash in the Town’s waterways and assisting the business community in trash management.
  • Work with local businesses to be compliant with stormwater discharge adherence and their FOG Program.
  • Work on a Request for proposal for tree maintenance services and tree safety program.
  • Continued work on the Towns Sidewalk safety program.
  • Establish a roadway striping and signage program.
  • Join the Maintenance Superintendents Association.
  • Continue to certify all Town owned backflow devices.

Reasonable Accommodation

Upon request, this publication will be made available in appropriate alternative formats to persons with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Any person with a disability, who requires a modification or accommodation to view the document, should direct such a request to Pak Lin, Administrative Services Director, at 650-997-8300 or Please allow two business days for your request to be processed.