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FW: the red cottage--deterioarion in the quality of project proposed

From: Brady, Michael J. <"Brady,>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2018 21:20:11 +0000

-----Original Message-----
From: Brady, Michael J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 2:18 PM
To: Brady, Michael J.
Subject: RE: the red cottage--deterioarion in the quality of project proposed



-----Original Message-----
From: Brady, Michael J.
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 1:58 PM
To: Brady, Michael J.
Cc: Brady, Michael J.
Subject: the red cottage--deterioarion in the quality of project proposed

        Introduction: the new Red Cottage or Hampton Inn project has now been in the works for more than 3 years. Unfortunately, it has recently deteriorated materially and no longer deserves approval or the finding of a public benefit. The project needs to go back to the drawing boards in light of what has occurred.

This writer has lived in the Park Forest townhouses for more than 20 years and in the MP area for almost 50 years; I have also had a law practice in Redwoodd City for 50 years THE ORIGINAL IDEA:
The developer is Sagar Patel. More than 3 years ago, he proposed erecting a Hampton Inn at 1704 ECR. The original concept was a giant, massive, bulky "sqared off" buildiding painted grey, red, and white (like other Hapmpton Inns) and towering more than 40' high.
The Park Forest townhome residents (more than 100 townhomes) and others in the Buckthorn neighborhood strongly objected; this massive new commercial building INTRUDED INTO their purely residential neighborhood and was unsightly and depressed property values, not to mention loss of privacy and quietude.
An intensive period of negotiations commenced more than 2.5 years ago with Mr. Patel. Much time and effort was invested, and good faith was shown by both sides. An agreement was reached which called for the project to be less massive in scope and less intrusive, with important areas pushed back away from the townhomes and toward ECR. A complete underground parking garage was in the plans, and we agreed.
Several months ago this plan (the one we all agreed on) was put before a study session of the Planning Commission (PC); the main aspect that they wanted to see changed was the design-to make the project more in the "Santa Barbara" style.

THE FIRST NEGATIVE DEVELOPMENT:
But then things turned negative; Mr. Patel indicated that he could no longer afford an underground parking garage (parking was proposed to be surface only) and he abandoned the agreement that had been reached (he did suggest some modifications, but they have been unacceptable to the homeowners).
Another study session of the PC was held in early October of this year. No important substantive changes were proposed.
It is unfair to criticize the homeowners ; they spent more than two years in countless meetings whch DID RESULT in an agreement with Mr. Patel. There is no reason to believe that that agreement would not have been accepted by the City. It is what the city likes to see (cooperation).
Rather, it was Mr. Patel, allegedly for economic reasons, who made a HUGE ALTERATION in the project, abandoning what has become sacred to Menlo Park, namely, underground parking for such projects. I ask the city to examine its files: is it not true that in recent years, underground parking has become the Bible for such projects and is essential to city planning? Witness Park James Hotel at Glenwood and ECR with its extensive and deep underground garage.

The abandonment of underground parking is therefore THE ESSENTIAL factor that has occurred with this project to make it DETERIORATE materially since its conception. The City seems to be ignoring this. Why should 1704 ECR be treated differently from other commercial ECR corridor developments? How is this considtent with the city's general planning processes?

THE EFFECT

City officials should now send this project back to the drawing boards. When the project was originally before a study session (more than a year ago), it DID HAVE underground parking; maybe (not certain at all given the legal requirements) at that time, a "public benefit bonus" would have been merited. But now!? Things have gone sour and important public concerns no longer are being pursued; no possible public benefit exists, and this enire issue needs to be explored in depth (it has not been analyzed thus far). Another surprising (and negative) development that has occurred is this: with the abandonment of the underground parking garage, the MASSIVENESS IN SCALE of the project has returned, with estimates that without the garage the building is approximately 28% larger in scope. The reduction in massiveness was the principal reason for the original homeowers' concern.
Maybe the developer needs to take a little less profit in order for the underground parking garage to continue; is this being explored? Maybe a different concept needs to be considered, for example: a more expensive "boutique" type hotel, withi more expensive per night rooms, but with fewer rooms and less massiveness in size, while still proviiind the developer with adequate financial return.
CONCUSION:
It would be premature and illegal to allow this project to proceed as currently proposed. The homeowners, as always, will entertain reasonable plans (and spent two years doing so with success), but we and the City are getting no where with the present project. Most projects improve with city input; not so with this one. It is time to take a hard look.
Michael J. Brady, esq
191 Forest Lane
MP 94025
Received on Wed Oct 17 2018 - 14:19:03 PDT

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