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Consultant issue with Staff methods of calculating net new square footage under the Plan

From: domainremoved <George>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:00:42 -0700

Dear Councilmember:

One The Consultant’s Initiative review revelations which need your
attention relates to Staff’s fictitious and creative mechanisms to evade
the maximum cap on net new development, an express limitation of the
Specific Plan. The Consultant states: “The calculation method of net new
square feet in and of itself [staff’s’ inconsistent methods] provides
uncertainty to a project developer in the ECR/D Specific Plan area (p.

Staff’s mystifying and various fictions to create space to offset net new
development are just plain improper. The EIR and the Specific Plan itself
only subtracted space if it existed and was occupied at the time of
application. The purpose of the limitation is to control the largess given
developers by doubling the former “by right” floor area zoning ratios in
the Plan.

With respect to the Greenheart project staff deducts space for a grocery
store and space for offices, which were never built and never occupied.
The projects existed, if at all, only on paper. The fictitious deduction
of approximately half of Greenheart’s new office, unless corrected will
cause an extra 100,000 sf of office to be built. As you also know from the
consultant’s report over 90% of new non-residential development under the
plan is office space.

With respect to the new Marriott hotel space, staff went over the top. “
The net new vehicle trips associated with the conversion . . .can be
considered equivalent to a new 87 room hotel, which can be approximated as
a net increase of 71,921 square feet. As such the 555 Glenwood proposal
would represent 15% of the non residential uses for the Specific Plan.”
How does this consideration and approximation and equivalence compare to
the actual new sf of development? Staff determined that the Marriott would
count for 87 only hotel units of new development under the plan, instead of
the 138 actual rooms. . The actual net new space is the actual space,
which is probably at least twice the amount falsely claimed.

This erroneous attempt to increase development in excess of the maximum
actually stabs the city in its foot. The Fiscal Impact Analysis for the
Specific Plan based revenues on inclusion of TOT for 380 rooms, 300 of
which are on the Stanford project. In discussions about the concealment by
Stanford of its lack of intent to build a hotel and the affect on the FIA,
Jim Cogan and others bandy about that the loss from Stanford is not so
great because Menlo Park has been creating TOT from other sources such as
Marriott. However, given staffs fictitious counting of new development,
Cogan should only be crowing about 81 rooms, plus the eight from the motel
conversion, still leaving a 300 room shortfall causing approximately $1.8M
annual shortfall in specific plan revenue to the city over an anticipated
20-30 years.

 Staff also purports to subtract the Tesla dealership space from Stanford’s
office space to come up with lower net new office space. This subtraction
raises the issue of apples and oranges. Certainly if the Initiative
becomes law, the only office space to be subtracted from office space
should be any existing occupied office space replaced, particularly not
auto dealerships. Actually the auto dealer ship number under traffic
formulas for auto dealerships is substantially greater than Office space.

 Council should reconsider staff’s calculations and establish a clear
principle of subtracting only similar space from new development, providing
it is occupied and existing at the time of application for permit.

Thanks, George

George C. Fisher
​1121 cotton street​
​Menlo Park, CA 94025​
(650) 799 5480
Fax (650) 475 1849
Received on Mon Jul 14 2014 - 15:57:59 PDT

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