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Public comments to Planning Commission on ECR 1704

From: domainremoved <Peter>
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:24:56 -0800

The following public comments were made to the Planning Commission this evening:

November 5, 2018

The 1704 ECR Project


The Park Forest neighbors worked hard for many months to find a compromise with Mr. Sagar Patel and we agreed to support his design that included underground parking. A letter to that effect was filed with the Commission on March 12. I have provided you with a timeline of the neighborhood’s interactions with Mr. Patel.


After your March meeting, at which the design with underground parking was presented, developer Patel walked away from his agreement with the community and instead proposed a much larger facility with on-grade parking. This design was reviewed at your October study session.

Given the history of the neighborhood’s compromises it was shocking that the Planning Commission Chair, after Mr. Patel moved the goal posts with a totally new design, said that the neighbors now need to compromise – again! What is to stop a developer from constantly moving the goal posts if the Planning Commission just expects the neighbors to compromise again and again?

We are completely opposed to the new, above ground parking design, regardless of any cosmetic changes that might be made to it.

We are certainly opposed to the bizarre concept of granting a public benefit bonus to a developer because he has reduced his costs by not providing underground parking rather than granting a public benefit bonus for increasing his costs by doing something to provide an actual public benefit.

We would continue to support the original underground parking design if Mr. Patel reverses his abrogation of his agreement with the Park Forest community.


Peter Carpenter

140 Forest Lane

Menlo Park, Ca.

October 12, 2016 Petition letter opposing the development circulated to Park Forest and
surrounding communities, garnering widespread support. Exhibit A
November 8, 2016 First meeting between Neighborhood representatives and Corinna
Sandmeier (Associate Planner, Menlo Park).
December 5, 2016 Neighborhood meeting at Pacific Union. Sagar Patel (Developer) was
invited to answer residents’ many concerns. 35 neighbors attended. Many
letters sent to City Planning following the meeting.
December 14, 2016 Summary of issues raised at 12/5 meeting circulated to residents. Exhibit B
February 4, 2017 First meeting of Neighborhood Committee (Susan Neville, Mike Brady,
Dave Forter, Margaret Race, Carol Diamond, Glenna Patton).
February 6, 2017 Updated petition letter submitted to Corinna Sandmeier to reflect
additional signatures (final total of 80). Exhibit C
March 13, 2017 Neighborhood Committee meeting (same participants as noted above).
March 27, 2017 Neighborhood Committee pre-°©‐meeting for Sagar Patel meeting.
April 3, 2017 First meeting with Sagar Patel (Developer) to view the site from 190 Forest
Lane (closest to 1704 ECR property) and discuss neighborhood concerns.
Verbal agreement from Sagar Patel to move 3rd story rooms from rear-°©‐
facing side of hotel (facing Forest Lane).
May 3, 2017 Second meeting with Sagar Patel to discuss additional modifications to the
plans. Initial agreements summarized in letter to Menlo Park. Exhibit D
May 8, 2017 Susan Neville sends Sagar Patel a recap of the outstanding issues, as well
as a draft letter to neighbors summarizing Patel’s agreed changes. Patel
had the opportunity to weigh in on letter prior to circulation.
May 9, 2017 Updated letter on agreed changes by Sagar Patel circulated to
neighborhood residents. Exhibit E
June 11, 2017 Sagar Patel sends renderings of new exterior design, which reflects a shift
to a “Mediterranean” look in line with other buildings along ECR, as
requested by Neighborhood Committee.
July 28, 2017 Sagar Patel circulates updated renderings of the exterior design, reflecting
a shift to a “taupe” color to better blend into the surrounding nature, as
requested by Neighborhood Committee.
September 19, 2017 Susan Neville submits a letter of support for the development on behalf of
the Neighborhood Committee, based on extended negotiations to reflect
the issues raised by residents. Exhibit F
November 17, 2017 Neighborhood Committee meets with Corinna Sandmeier to inform her of
agreements with Sagar Patel. She informs us that the City has issues with
the design and a public Study Session will take place in January.
November 21, 2017 Glenna Patton submits letter to Corinna Sandmeier on behalf of the
Neighborhood Committee requesting that the new designs are previewed
with the Committee prior to the January Study Session.
December 4, 2017 Sagar Patel provides preview of updated exterior design, which he
characterizes as a “more authentic, classic Spanish design”.
February 26, 2018 Neighborhood receives notice of Menlo Park Planning Committee Study
Session, scheduled for March 12th, at 7pm.
March 7, 2018 Neighborhood Committee meets to prep for Study Session, agrees to send
a letter to the City stating its formal position prior to the Study Session.
March 12, 2018
Susan Neville submits letter to Planning Commissioners saying the
Neighborhood’s preference is for the development not to move forward
but if it does, residents won’t oppose it as long as our agreed changes are
approved. Exhibit G
March 12, 2018
Neighborhood Committee attends Study Session, where the City requests
a number of design changes to the hotel – none of which affect
agreements with the Neighborhood.
May 29, 2018 Sagar Patel sends Neighborhood Committee an email backtracking on all
prior agreements due to moving parking from underground to street level
(driven by “skyrocketing costs” of underground garage).
June 5, 2018 Neighborhood Committee meets with Sagar Patel to review the new plans,
confirming that no prior agreements have been honored (beyond design).
June 18, 2018 Susan Neville emails Sagar Patel the Neighborhood’s opposition to the
plans and lays out its top requirements. Email forwarded to Corinna
Sandmeier to inform her of the Neighborhood’s position. Exhibit H
August 18, 2018 Petition to declare neighborhood petition against the new plans is
launched via Change.org, securing 70 signatures (online and hard copy).
September 16, 2018 Neighborhood coffee event to update residents attended by 30 neighbors.
Neighborhood Committee is expanded due to residents’ urgent concerns.
September 19, 2018
Neighborhood reps meet with Corinna Sandmeier to communicate
opposition to the City’s process. Sandmeier indicates a Formal Review by
the Planning Commission will be held October 8th. Neighborhood requests
a Study Session instead given the dramatic changes in the plans.
September 20, 2018 Sagar Patel informs Neighborhood that the request for a Study Session on
October 8th is accepted, replacing the previously planned Formal Review.
Glenna Patton emails Corinna Sandmeier to acknowledge Study Session
and voice continued opposition by the residents.
September 24, 2018 Resident Eric Easom meets with Sagar Patel to discuss the Neighborhood’s
issues with the development. Patel indicates an openness to explore
further changes – although the details appear to be fluid.
September 24-°©‐28,
Various residents submit letters of opposition to the City Planning
September 26, 2018 Neighborhood Committee meeting to discuss updates and further actions
prior to the October 8 Study Session.
October 1, 2018 Neighborhood Committee submits to Planning Commission a formal letter
of opposition with changes required to gain residents’ support. Exhibit I
October 8, 2018 Sagar Patel presents a further evolution of the plans at a Planning
Commission Study Session attended by 25 neighbors, who oppose the
plans and advocate for what was agreed prior to the March Study Session.
Received on Mon Nov 05 2018 - 20:22:57 PST

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