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$150K to study initiative.

From: domainremoved <Brielle>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 12:42:11 -0700

This Tuesday, the Menlo Park council will be asked to approve the expenditure of $150K on a study of SaveMenloís initiative and how it relates to the Specific Plan. The City Manager Alex McIntyre stated March 15 POST that eliminating private balconies on upper floors will require shrinking the buildings to meet the open space requirement. Mr. McIntyre surely knows, using the Stanford project example, less office space would reduce the need for approximately 250 parking spaces and allow some unneeded surface parking to be converted to useful open space. Councilís initial mistake was that it foolishly allowed Stanford to reduce the projectís open space from 40% to 30%. The primary concern for Menlo Parkís City Manager, Staff and Council should be how large office complexes will impact residents. That is their job and why each was elected or hired. Worrying about developer's needs is secondary.

Spending $150K to study an initiative that has three simple points is a travesty. For a fraction, an impartial consultant could take a look at the 2 huge proposals before the City (Stanford and Greenheart) and make a judgment as to whether they come even close to the Specific Planís long range goals, environmental and financial standards that were at the heart of the 5 year community process. Within the first 16 months of the Plan, these two developers combined propose 400K SF of office, at least 50% more net new office development than the Planís expensive consultants projected there would be in the entire Plan area over the 30-year life of the Plan.

If developers are correct in stating that they need office to subsidize housing, then limiting office to 100K SF for any single development will spread out the opportunity for the remaining property owner, Cortana (Big Five and Bev Mo retail stores). Three El Camino Real developments of 100k SF of office for a total of 300k SF is all this already congested thoroughfare should handle.

SaveMenlo is not the Cityís problem. The problem lies in the three flaws in the Specific Plan that SaveMenlo wants to modify. 100KSF office buildings are big enough. Why let the first two developers in the door use all the 30 year office space projected in the Plan? The initiative is a moderate compromise, filed in response to the frustration of hundreds of Menlo Park residents who live and pay property taxes in a town they want to protect. Itís too bad the council couldnít understand what the City gave away to developers.

Brielle Johnck
Received on Mon Mar 17 2014 - 12:41:29 PDT

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