Rarely does a week go by without mention of Menlo Park's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, and that will continue to be the case for a while, now that the City Council has a chance to evaluate modifications proposed by the Planning Commission.
But first, the commission meets tonight (Nov. 18) to sign off on the recommendations. Those include:
● Allowing the city to evaluate proposed renovations for compliance with specific plan goals such as sidewalk width.
● Letting construction of a pedestrian-bicycle railroad undercrossing at Middle Avenue proceed regardless of the status of high-speed rail construction.
● Permitting some flexibility in building break, parking and setback requirements for parcels in the southeast portion of El Camino Real, which includes the Stanford lots, to allow the creation of an "optimal" public plaza at Middle Avenue.
● Creating a transportation management association, open to entities within the plan boundaries, to coordinate and monitor traffic-reduction measures.
See a summary of the Planning Commission's recommendations and staff analysis on the city's website.
Tonight's discussion will not revisit or reopen any topics. It is meant to confirm that the recommendations accurately reflect the commissioners intent and support (or lack thereof) for each item.
That's not the only item on the agenda. Also scheduled is a look at the second round of updates to the city's housing plan.
As part of this update cycle, Menlo Park must identify areas where homeless shelters could be permitted. The housing element steering committee has selected five sites for consideration -- at the intersection of Marsh Road and Haven Avenue; the Veterans Affairs campus on Willow Road; St. Patrick's Seminary campus on Middlefield Road; an area bounded by El Camino Real, Glenwood Avenue, San Mills Street and Oak Grove Avenue; and an area bounded by El Camino Real, Menlo Avenue, University Drive and Roble Avenue.
The committee ranked the first three sites as higher priority for consideration than the last two, according to the staff report.
Creation of an amnesty program for existing secondary, or "granny" units, is also part of this housing plan update.
Finally, Menlo Park must identify sites where 655 new dwelling units, with 233 allotted for very low-income residents, could be built. The requirements are dictated by state housing law; but according to the staff report, the city already has enough housing developments either in the pipeline or allowed for by existing zoning to meet the requirement without having to find additional locations.
The Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. The live meeting will be broadcast online.