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Specific Plan November 2013 Amendments

From: domainremoved <Brielle>
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2014 15:02:19 -0700

DATE: October 5, 2014
TO: Menlo Park Planning Commission Members
TO: Menlo Park Council Members
TO: Gregory W Stepanicich

The Staff Report for the October 6, 2014 Planning Commission meeting contains an error made by the City’s contract attorney in his interpretation of the text of the Measure M Ballot. The name of the contract attorney is omitted from the Staff Report but perhaps it is Gregory Stepanicich.
        “The contract attorney providing services regarding Measure M has relayed that if the proposed amendments are not acted on in advance of the election, and Measure M subsequently passes, the proposed amendments would require approval by the voters in a subsequent election, due to the provisions of Measure M regarding voter control.”
Page 2 October 6, 2014 Staff Report to Planning Commission Meeting.

The three proposed amendments to the Specific Plan in question are:

Revise text to clarify that implementation of the Burgess Park Linkage/open space Plaza” public space improvements is not dependent on the High Speed Rail Project.
Eliminate “Platinum LEED Certified Buildings” as a suggested Public Benefit Bonus element ; and
For new medical/dental office uses on El Camino Real, establish an absolute maximum of 33,333 square feet per development.

Nowhere in the Measure M text does it say that voter approval is needed for any one of these three revisions approved by the Council in November of 2013. Provisions in the Specific Plan such as these are under the Council’s control and can be changed at any time before or after Measure M passes.

The unnamed contract attorney is incorrect and we ask that he or she cite the page and line numbers in the Measure M ballot that supports his or her opinion.

Measure M clearly states that voter approval is required only for provisions of the Specific plan related to:

1) the revised definitions and standards for open space requiring that only open space areas that do not exceed 4 ft. in height shall be calculated for meeting the minimum requirement
2) the mandate that the limit of office space to 100,000 sq. ft. in any individual development in the ECR/Downtown Specific Plan Area.
3) the limit of 240,820 sq. ft. total net new office space in the ECR/Downtown Specific Plan Area
4) the retention of the 474,000 sq. ft cap for all net new non-residential development in the ECR/Downtown Specific Plan Area.

We find it unacceptable that Staff states the contract attorney has “relayed” his advice but there is no attached opinion or memo regarding the attorney’s decision. On a side note, the nearly one-year delay due to Staff problems seems to have caused an unnecessary rush to judgment regarding the need for this item to be placed on the Panning Commission’s Agenda.

It is our most sincere hope that there is no political motivation behind Staff’s seeking and using the contract attorney’s advice to seek Planning Commission and Council’s action in this matter. We are aware of the false accusations by opponents of Measure M (our City Council Members included) that any change to the Specific Plan will require voter approval. We would appreciate assurances from either the Mayor or the Chair of the Planning Commission that our concerns are unfounded.

Brielle Johnck
Steve Schmidt
Received on Sun Oct 05 2014 - 14:57:54 PDT

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