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Specific Plan public benefit

From: domainremoved <John>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 08:12:54 -0700

Dear Council Members -

  As part of your study session on public benefit on April 14, if time allows
please discuss a topic raised by council members in November at the time of
Measure M. That was to consider re-setting Specific Plan public benefit
thresholds. Two examples show why this is needed:

 - Stanford's draft project at 500 ECR did not go over the public benefit
threholds, but we seem have become involved anyway with Stanford in
considerable discussions involving a possible Middle Avenue tunnel. In
addition, many feel it is a flaw of the Specific Plan to allow a project of
this size and design without further approval, particularly involvling large
autonomous office buildings. That doesn't mean such a project should not be
allowed or that public benefit is required, but that the project scale means a
different kind of project design oversight.

 - Hypothetically, if the Greenheart developers at 1300 ECR cannot agree with
the city on negotiated public benefit, they could scale back the project to
one with no retail space and separate large office and residential buildings.
As with the Stanford project, the city in that case should still have a major
say in project design for development at this scale, even if not involving
public benefit.
 In principle, the Planning Commission can always object to a project under
Architectural Control if it cannot judged that "That the development will not
be detrimental to the harmonious and orderly growth of the city"(Zoning
16.68.020). But it would be in the public interest not to get to the point
where we have to consider invoking that generic condition.
  John Kadvany / Menlo Park Planning Commissioner
Received on Mon Apr 13 2015 - 08:09:12 PDT

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