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RE: Concerns with new General Plan draft Guiding Principles

From: domainremoved <Kelly>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:57:10 +0000


I was surprised at your response to my input related to the Guiding Principles for the General Plan update. It was my understanding that the council and Planning Commission were seeking public input on this important topic, whether in person or by email. A more productive response would have been your description of how the three important values I highlighted in my Tuesday email were or were not incorporated in the General Plan Principles the council is poised to adopt, and why. The new General Plan will irrevocably change our community, so it is imperative to get these principles right. The quality of life your young family enjoys today is a result in large part of the careful crafting of the 1994 General Plan and the Guiding Principles upon which it is based. It is not unreasonable for the community to expect that key principles from 1994 are carried forward to the council's and planning commission's current efforts and explicitly considered whether they stand the test of time or need to be modified
in some manner.
My suggestion to you is that you be gracious, open and accepting of public input, rather than to strike the scornful and dismissive tone displayed in your email below. Right now, the community's trust of city hall and the city council is at an all-time low. Many residents believe attending council meetings is a futile waste of time, because they perceive their concerns are given lip service and then ignored. Additionally, the mere fact that critical sessions were scheduled in the heart of the holiday season suggests that the meetings are intended to be perfunctory rather than sincere outreach for community participation.

One thing I did appreciate recently was your apparent willingness (which I gathered from a quote of yours in the press) to re-look at the issue of the by-right development level and the public benefit trigger in the Downtown/El Camino Real Specific Plan. Between Ben Eiref's excellent Almanac guest editorial, and other planning commissioners' public comments, it sounds like there may be support for this discussion. I offer you my 2012 proposal to my then fellow councilmembers as a potential starting point. Here is the link to that memo in the City's public document archives: http://ccin.menlopark.org/archive6/0491.html
Perhaps this is something we can work productively on together. Let me know if you are willing to sit down to review and discuss.
From watching the video of Tuesday's meeting it does not appear that my concerns about the new Principles were meaningfully addressed. I assure you they are not mine alone. As I stated above, many residents are put off by prior interactions with the council and now feel it is a waste of time and energy to give input. Many residents have countless commitments during the busy holiday season, and thus couldn't attend or write even if they wanted. It is surprising to me that the council would allow such an important issue to take on the appearance of being rushed through the process during December. Again, I urge you and the rest of the council to take the time to get this right.
-- Kelly Fergusson
   (650) 704-5608

-----Original Message-----
From: Mueller, Raymond [mailto:RDMueller_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 1:16 PM
To: Kelly Fergusson; _CCIN; _Planning Commission
Subject: RE: Concerns with new General Plan draft Guiding Principles

Dear Ms. Fergusson:

There you go again.

Instead of tossing inflammatory grenade emails, consider coming to join us at the meetings to collaborate. There have been numerous meetings occurring where the current principles under consideration were drafted by residents of Menlo Park. We spent quite a but of time refining the principles last evening. I really hope you will consider joining us, as opposed to mischaracterizing what is occurring for self serving political soundbites.

With best regards,
Ray Mueller

From: Kelly Fergusson [kj_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2014 7:06 PM
To: _CCIN; _Planning Commission
Subject: Concerns with new General Plan draft Guiding Principles

Dear City Council and Planning Commission,

Please allow more time for public input on the new proposed General Plan guiding principles. A lot of excellent community work went into the 1994 General Plan Principles, and they contain important community values and protections that are not captured in the newly-proposed General Plan Principles. For example, the 1994 Principles include the following:

"Minimizes traffic congestion on city streets and limits through traffic in residential neighborhoods through sound land use planning."


"Maintains and enhances the residential quality of life in the city by emphasizing development which has a human scale and is pedestrian friendly."


"Minimizes the adverse impacts of development on the city's public facilities and services."

The newly-proposed General Plan Principles do not capture these values and protections of our residential quality of life. And a single community meeting on December 18 is not sufficient for adopting new development principles that will cause such a significant change to the character of Menlo Park.

Thank you for your consideration.
-- Kelly Fergusson
    Former Mayor
Received on Mon Dec 15 2014 - 17:57:10 PST

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