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5/22/18 City Council Meeting Agenda Item J1 - Library Redevelopment Agenda Item

From: domainremoved <Meg>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2018 17:37:35 +0000

Dear Council Members-

I was saddened to see that staff are not recommending the inclusion of affordable housing as part of the library remodel. As you know, this is the perfect opportunity to provide affordable housing in Central/Downtown Menlo Park, near schools, services, and transit. I am writing to ask that you reconsider and ask that housing continue to be explored as an option for the redevelopment of the library.

The staff report states the reason for the exclusion of housing is that it will take too much time to sort out the details. It also states it is complicated. Both are true, but it is so worth it. This is a chance to do something extremely meaningful for Menlo Park. As you know, we need affordable housing in Menlo Park more than most things. It is certainly more needed than the expansion of community meeting space (as is proposed). I believe that it is imperative that we take care of everybody who is trying to live and work here. Building an affordable housing development as part of the library redevelopment would do just that.

As I have said many times before, if the City is unwilling to allocate its public land towards affordable housing, we will never see an affordable housing development in downtown Menlo Park. Never. The land is just too expensive and nonprofit developers can’t successfully purchase the land when up against market-rate developers. The only way to make sure we get affordable housing near downtown is for the City to prioritize it and decide that it is important enough to dedicate some of its public land toward that purpose. If the City can do that, the housing will come. As you know, once the land is appropriated, there are many excellent nonprofit developers who would jump at the opportunity to build a wonderful affordable housing development for our community. The funding would include all non-City resources (though I would love to see us dedicate some of our BMR funds for this purpose and this would be a very appropriate use for them).

If doing a combined structure feels too complicated, then I beg you to commit now to allocating other City-owned land to an affordable housing development. Maybe you say the Alma site can be used? Maybe you say we can do it on one of the downtown parking lots? Either works great. I think building it as part of the library remodel is the most elegant and efficient, but those options are acceptable to me if you can commit to them NOW.

Please don’t give up this opportunity to do what is right for our community. We need more housing and we need more affordable housing specifically. We need it in the downtown district given its access to good schools, services, and transit. We also need it if we want to be an equitable community that supports affordable housing throughout Menlo Park, not just on one side of the freeway. If you decide to support affordable housing, you will be doing one of the most meaningful things you can do for this community…and you will be my heroes! Please consider supporting housing at the library site or, as an alternative, committing now to allocate other downtown public land for its purpose. I am begging you to not let this opportunity slip by.

Thanks for your consideration,

Meg McGraw-Scherer
Chair, Menlo Park Housing Commission

Meg McGraw-Scherer
Senior Housing Finance Consultant/
Peninsula Director
California Housing Partnership

T: (415) 433-6804 x315 (Tues – Thurs) |
(415) 279-5124 (Mon & Fri)
369 Pine Street, Suite 300 | San Francisco, CA 94104
www.chpc.net<x-msg://287/www.chpc.net> | _at_(domainremoved)

Received on Tue May 22 2018 - 10:38:39 PDT

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