News

Menlo Park fire district votes to find new site for downtown station

City denies fire district's request to expedite Station 6 remodel

The redevelopment of Fire Station 6 on two lots at Oak Grove Avenue and Hoover Street seems an unlikely ground zero for Menlo Park's pitched battle over its new downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, but it has turned out to be so.

On Monday night the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted 3-0-1, with Virginia Kiraly abstaining and Charles Bernstein absent, to look elsewhere for a site to construct a new fire station downtown.

"After 7 years of working to replace Station 6 we have gotten nowhere while in half that time we will have built a brand new and dramatically better station in East Palo Alto with the full support and assistance of the City of East Palo Alto," director Peter Carpenter said in an email.

"After a full discussion the Fire Board voted ... to make no further expenditures for the replacement of Station 6 at the Oak Grove site and to consider alternative sites which will allow us to fulfill our obligation to serve the downtown area," Mr. Carpenter said.

The parcels that were slated for a renovated station straddle the boundary of the specific plan, with 700 Oak Grove on the inside and 1231 Hoover St. outside. Mr. Carpenter, speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the board, said that creates issues that could kill the renovation should a proposed initiative to alter the specific plan's regulations get approved by voters in November.

Mr. Carpenter is a staunch and highly vocal opponent of the initiative.

The initiative, put forth by a grassroots coalition known as Save Menlo, includes clauses that would, within the specific plan's boundaries, restrict office space for individual projects to 100,000 square feet; limit total new office space to 240,820 square feet; and cap overall new, non-residential development to 474,000 square feet.

In addition, voter approval would be required to revise the ordinance, including its definitions, or to allow projects that would exceed the non-residential development limits.

That voter approval clause, as far as Station 6 is concerned, has drawn Mr. Carpenter's ire. He said that merging the Oak Grove and Hoover Street parcels could require redefining the specific plan's boundaries to encompass the entire combined lot. Under the initiative's terms, that means a city-wide vote would be required to allow it, he said.

The district started planning for a replacement station in 2007. When the fire district asked Menlo Park this May to expedite the station's remodel so that project approvals would become effective this year -- before the initiative's regulations would take effect -- Mr. Carpenter said the answer was no.

The city staff's response, according to a report by fire district staff for the June 30 fire board meeting, was that since the process could not be expedited, the city would have to determine whether the project is subject to the new regulations, if the initiative passes.

"In the event that the City makes the determination that the Initiative applies to the Station 6 Project, the District would either have to contest that determination in court or obtain voter approval for the Station 6 Project. This would delay the Project by at least six months to a year and cost the District approximately $95,000 in election costs," the fire district report states.

From Mr. Carpenter's perspective, this is an example of city staff allowing the initiative to impact current projects.

Asked whether development staff shortages and heavy workloads could be responsible for the city's inability to accommodate the district's request, he replied in an email: "Not in my opinion. The Fire Board passed two resolutions on this matter and the staff refuses to even refer those resolutions to the Council."

Calling it shameful that something as important as upgrading a fire station has become politicized, initiative co-sponsor Patti Fry said the reasons for the protracted approval process have nothing to do with the proposed ballot measure.

The problems are between the city and the fire district, according to Ms. Fry. She said that for unknown reasons, the City Council, which includes former fire board director Peter Ohtaki, hasn't resolved the issues even during last year's specific plan review.

"Now the initiative is being blamed," Ms. Fry said. "We want Menlo Park residents and businesses to know that these issues have nothing to do with the specific plan initiative. We believe in public safety and support the district's pursuit of a viable plan for the downtown station's upgrade."

The fire board met June 30 to discuss its options regarding Station 6. Three choices were outlined: Proceed as planned despite the potential complications; eliminate the lot merger and process the project as two developments on two lots; and find a new replacement site entirely outside the specific plan's boundaries.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said he was asked on June 27 why his staff hadn't recommended one option over the other. "I had to say, after many hours of research and debate with staff and legal counsel, I don't like any of them! They all present a potential risk or additional cost to the district and its taxpayers. They could also draw us into the political fray, which I would prefer to avoid."

The chief noted in an email that it shouldn't be this difficult to replace a worn-out station.

"Can I say it again, I just want to be able to expeditiously rebuild the fire station!" Chief Schapelhouman said. "We have the funds to accomplish this important task, we are not asking the taxpayers for a bond, additional tax or a penny more to do this. Delays, uncertainty and complexity have all led to the additional time and expense necessary to research and navigate this project and have created barriers to what should be, at this point, a straightforward task."

Editor's note: The original version of this story reported the vote as 4-0.

Comments

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 8:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fry is correct that "Calling it shameful that something as important as upgrading a fire station has become politicized,". Unfortunately the low priority placed by the City of Menlo Park on upgrading fire services plus the new uncertainty created by the poorly drafted Lanza/Fry initiative made it impossible for the Fire Board to justify investing further in the building of a new fire station to serve the downtown area and to replace the existing and aging Station 6 at its existing location.

"The Fire Board determines that since the City of Menlo Park is unwilling to proceed expeditiously regarding Station 6 that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at it current location and the District will consider alternative locations"
4-0 with Bernstein absent.

At last night's Fire Board meeting the Lanza/Fry supporters suggested an interesting way that they might clean up the part of this mess that they created - they could ask the City Council to place a companion referendum on the November ballot which would merge the Oak Grove and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area and provided it with both voter approved zoning and voter approved development standards that would permit Station 6 to be rebuilt at its current location.


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Posted by Great to See
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:44 am

It's great to see Peter Carpenter finally come around and start criticizing the City and start working with Intiative supporters. Putting a companion referendum on the ballot is a fantastic idea! It's always humorous to watch politicos start to swtich sides when they figure out which way the wind is blowing.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Wrong - Have not switched sides in my opposition to the Lanza/Fry initiative. As a former Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and a an elected public official with a sworn duty to maintain and enhance the level of fire services provided to the citizens of Menlo Park I continue to believe that this initiative is poorly crafted, an assault on good governance and has already had a significant impact on my ability to serve the citizens who elected me to the Fire Board.

I remain strongly opposed to this initiative.

The Lanza/Fry supporters who cried crocodile tears at last night's Fire Board meeting stated that they really did not intended for their initiative to have any impact on the replacement of Station 6 - a perfect example of just one of the unintended consequences. Fry even went so far as to recommend that the Fire District build a suboptimal station in order not to trigger the need for a $95,000 election and a year's delay in the project. Other Lanza/Fry supporters were more constructive in suggesting that they could ask the City Council to place a companion referendum on the November ballot which would merge the Oak Grove and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area and provided it with both voter approved zoning and voter approved development standards that would permit Station 6 to be rebuilt at its current location. We we will see in the Lanza/Fry supporters really want to clean up the mess created by this unintended consequences of their poorly worded initiative or if this was just crocodile tears.


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Posted by Patti Fry
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

It is appalling that a Fire Board member continues to politicize the downtown fire station upgrade project, coupling it with his personal opposition to the Specific Plan initiative. Worse, he is grossly distorting what was said last evening to the Fire Board during its meeting.

I did not say or hear anything like what Carpenter says in the entire last paragraph in his post online. Listen to the entire meeting if you'd like and verify for yourself. It was recorded.

The problems with the fire station upgrade have persisted for years; the Board's motion puts the blame where it belongs -- between City Hall and the Fire District. I expressed sincere support for upgrading the fire station that serves my own neighborhood and our downtown, and shed no "crocodile tears". I did not and would not recommend building a suboptimal station.

As an initiative proponent, I pointed out that the initiative includes a map showing the boundaries within which office and other non-residential square feet will be counted against limits. The District can merge parcels if it wants.

As a former Planning Commissioner, I pointed out that the District could also consider an alternative proposal, now, so they don't have to seek City approval of Zoning Ordinance and General Plan amendments that are needed to increase by 66% the allowed size for Public Facilities.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fisher and Schmidt suggested the referendum to me during the break in the meeting.

Fry's support for a suboptimal station is on the video record.


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Posted by no shame
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm

When the facts don't support your biases, start making ad hominem accusations!


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Posted by Looking forward
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Looking ahead, where could a replacement fire station be built that best serves the area and steers clear of the specific plan imbroglio?

Or is it even possible to find a location that avoids the targeted area?

Anybody have any suggestions?


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Posted by John Kadvany
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The Fire District comments and decision is puzzling to me as the Planning Commission very positively reviewed a draft design for the downtown station. There was unanimous support to work with the District, represented by the Chief, toward a new building. Please explain.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The MP Planning commission has been very supportive of the Station 6 replacement project. The problem is that the city staff refuses to put the PF Ordinance or the lot merger on the council's agenda until after the November election AND has advised that IF the initiative passes that the Fire District would have to pay $95,000 for an election on the lot merge and that would delay the project at least a year with an uncertain outcome.

Here is the excerpt from the staff report:


"On May 22, 2014, the District's team, consisting of District Staff, Architects, and Legal Counsel, met with the City Planning Department and GHD, Inc. to discuss the Project. The City informed the District that approval of the Project requires a public hearing (which includes a first reading), a second reading, and a thirty-day waiting period before the action becomes effective. The City tentatively scheduled the public hearing (first reading) for the December 2014 City Council Meeting. So, under the City schedule, the Project would not be approved until January 2015."


"At the May 22nd meeting, and in subsequent e-mails and conversations with City Staff, the
District provided the City with the Resolutions and requested that the City expedite the Station 6 Project. The City has informed District Staff that they are unable to expedite the Station 6 application so that the approvals will be effective this year. Therefore, the City suggested that the District consider other options for processing the application."

The City of Menlo Park absolutely refuses to give any priority to a public safety project that it does not own and control.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Additional excerpt from staff report:

"In the event that the City makes the determination that the Initiative applies to the Station 6 Project, the District would either have to contest that determination in court or obtain voter approval for the Station 6 Project. This would delay the Project by at least six months to a year and cost the District approximately $95,000 in election costs."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I checked with the Clerk of the Board and the correct vote was as follows:

""The Fire Board determines that since the City of Menlo Park is unwilling to proceed expeditiously regarding Station 6 that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at it current location and the District will consider alternative locations"

3-0-1 with Bernstein absent and Kiraly abstaining


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Posted by integrity
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Sandy, I can't recall the last time the breakdown of the fireboard vote was newsworthy. How did you get it wrong? Thanks to Peter Carpenter for setting the record straight.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sandy did not get it wrong - I misinformed her. I was a long discussion with probably 10 versions of the motion being considered.

My fault, not her's.


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Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Good Grief!

Peter Carpenter has taken a problem that the Fire District Board and the City of Menlo Park created as far back as 2011. Where was the Fire Board and more importantly former Fire District Board Member and current Council Member Peter Ohtaki when the Specific Plan was being discussed at Council meetings. The Specific Plan was approved in June 2012 and a review conducted by the City Council in November of 2013 and both the Fire Board and the City dropped the ball.

Any one who has the time to chase down Carpenter's trouble making can listen to the Fire Board's tape from last night's meeting and they will hear that no such suggestion was made by the Savemenlo representative, Patti Fry. The City and the Fire Board need to work out a resolution that satisfies the Fire District's redevelopment plans.

I'm sure Council Member Peter Ohtaki will want to finally step up to the plate on this issue. The resolution passed last night at the Fire Board Meeting 3-0-1 due to Director Bernstein's absence essentially criticized the City of Menlo Park for not cooperating with the Fire District over the last four years in resolving planning issues related to rebuilding the Fire Station on Oak Grove Avenue. and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area. The adopted resolution makes no mention of the SaveMenlo Initiative.

It appears as though the City could have resolved the planning issues surrounding the fire station at any time during the last four years and could still do so regardless of the outcome of the Initiative. The parcel that is outside the Specific Plan area purchased to facilitate the rebuilding/reconfiguration of the oak grove station could be rezoned to conform to the Specific Plan zoning at any time without being included in the Specific Plan itself.

If this would result in a "suboptimal" solution, as Mr. Carpenter claims, then the District made a mistake in purchasing this parcel in the first place, and his pointing to Savemenlo is nothing more than a political strategy, albeit a desperate one.

Rather than casting about for scapegoats, Mr. Carpenter, as a Fire Board Director should be lobbying Council Member and former Fire Board Member Peter Ohtaki to resolve the parcel issue so that the Downtown Fire Station can be rebuilt to the satisfaction of the Chief and his firefighters. It is a simple fact that this issue of the Station 6 parcel should have been and can be resolved easily. Carpenter is creating a problem where none exists.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Any one who has the time to chase down Carpenter's trouble making can listen to the Fire Board's tape from last night's meeting and they will hear that no such suggestion was made by the Savemenlo representative, Patti Fry. "

As noted above George Fisher, not Fry, made that suggestion to me during the break and Schmidt was standing right there listening to the conversation. It would be interesting if he denies that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Upgrading a fire (or police) station shouldn't be that difficult. This is shameful.

This just verifies the reputation that MP has earned and why businesses are locating elsewhere.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is a simple fact that this issue of the Station 6 parcel should have been and can be resolved easily."

I wish that were true - The City of Menlo Park absolutely refuses to give any priority to a public safety project that it does not own and control and the initiative creates both additional delay and uncertainty.

"The parcel that is outside the Specific Plan area purchased to facilitate the rebuilding/reconfiguration of the oak grove station could be rezoned to conform to the Specific Plan zoning at any time without being included in the Specific Plan itself."
One parcel is outside the SP area and the other is within the SP area. A single building cannot be built on two different underlying parcels - those parcels must first be merged and the initiative requires a city wide vote to move any boundary of the Specific Plan.

Here are the relevant portions of the initiative:
Section 3. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA VOTER-ADOPTED
DEVELOPMENT DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS.
3.1. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the
"ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the
bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I,
of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo
Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this
measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this
initiative measure.

Section 4. NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER
APPROVAL
4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability
to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the
allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter adopted
development standards and DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3,
above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the
electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure
proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The
entire text of the proposed defmition or standard to be repealed, or the
amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included
in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such
election.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The beauty of having these meetings recorded is that there is an easy way to establish who said what ( except I do not believe there was a recording during the break of my conversation with Fisher but he had had his Google Glasses on earlier and may well have recorded our conversation - very interesting including his heated personal attacks on me).

For example, in the video you will see that Fry suggested a side letter between Lanza/Fry and the Fire District saying that the parties would agree to ignore the law if the initiative is approved by the voters insofar as it applies to the Station 6 site - a suggestion that I found to be particularly offensive. How can two parties agree to ignore the law????


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

I don't understand why the Fire District should pay for the special election. That elections cost should be borne by the City of Menlo Park since it THEIR initiative if passed.

I would imagine that at EVERY election we will have something on the ballot related to this situation. Again, while the people behind the initiative can say they didn't intend for these delays. The FAULT and DELAY are all from their ill-conceived plan to stop development in Menlo Park.

Unintended indeed......

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

There's nothing "unintended" about it.


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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I have updated the story with the correct vote.

Sandy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by integrity
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Sandy, you should watch the recording and write a new piece for the print edition. According for former mayor Schmidt, it sounds like this vote would have gone the other way if only Director Bernstein were able to attend.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Vote was 3-0-1 so a no vote by Bernstein would have meant the motion still would have passed 3-1-1.

However I won't presume how Bernstein would have voted.


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Posted by ignore
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Steve Schmidt wrote, "It appears as though the City could have resolved the planning issues surrounding the fire station at any time during the last four years and could still do so regardless of the outcome of the Initiative. "

City Council can only ignore the Initiative if the voters reject it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by no shame
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 7:51 pm

The new parcel belongs to a different zoning area from the existing parcel, and the fire board and city have been dithering about reconciling this issue for four years! The downtown/El Camino plan did nothing to remedy the problem, whereas the initiative -- by fixing some of the holes in that plan -- could allow the city and fire department to address the proposed project productively.

Unless certain members of the fire board choose to ignore the opportunity to move ahead because it's much more fun (and furthers one member's personal vendetta) to blame the initiative for years and years of wrangling.

Don't like the facts, Peter? Go ahead, blast us with a few thousand words of faux "facts."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The downtown/El Camino plan did nothing to remedy the problem, whereas the initiative -- by fixing some of the holes in that plan -- could allow the city and fire department to address the proposed project productively."

Please explain how that could be done using specific citations from the ordinance.

Facts are important to an intelligent discourse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gobbledygook
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Quote from Carpenter:

"The Fire Board determines that since the City of Menlo Park is unwilling to proceed expeditiously regarding Station 6 that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at it current location and the District will consider alternative locations"

3-0-1 with Bernstein absent and Kiraly abstaining
Does this motion mean we need to start all over again, find another location for the station, and spend more funding because of mistakes of previous Menlo Park city government? I hope we can still use the current location without any additional costs.

With Carpenter, Ianson and Solano voting for the motion, why and what reason did Kiraly use to abstain from voting? We know Bernstein endorsed Save-Menlo, so what about the Kiraly's "no stand", on this issue. Once again, Kiraly, walking the fence. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING KIRALY? Can you make a decision. It's hard for you to go against Frye, a fellow Red Cross Board Member and Schmidt and wife heavily supporting your election to the fire board. Also, Roy Thieve-Sardiña, a heavy opponent against Save-Menlo. Roy, another strong supporter of Kiraly for the fire board?
Kiraly: Have you put your personal feelings before the citizens of the district you serve!.... by not hurting your close supporters. Roy, has she turned on you?
Thank you Thieve-Sardiña for your attention to current events involving Save- Menlo, the 3 fire board members that voted for the motion.......and in advance, the countless Menlo Park voters that will vote against the Save-Menlo Initiative. Kiraly, we see you for what you are!


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Posted by Gimme A Break
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Gobbledygook,

You [portion removed - please avoid attacks on posters] or are just plain confused. The three votes for this motion indicate to me that these board members want to move the fire station out of its current location, so your hope to use the current station may be for naught.

From what I've heard about the meeting, Silano had no idea what was going on and was completely clueless about the substance of the discussion and lost during the discussion. Was he just going along to be part of the majority because he is so marginalized now that his buddy Jack Nelson is no longer on the board?

I'm sure Kiraly gave her reasons so watch the video and see. This story isn't about Kiraly, so bringing her up must be coming from the Woodell/Keith camp and from those "candidates" they support like Silano. Stick to the real issue, or are you too clueless to understand the real issue?


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Gobbledygook

What the #$%& are you talking about. I am and remain a STRONG supporter of Virginia Kiraly. She is doing an OUTSTANDING job as a member of the Fire District.

She and I have spoken regularly about this ill advised and poorly written initiative and its DIRE consequences to Menlo Park. She agrees. You will have to ask Virginia why she abstained......she's allowed.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


 +   Like this comment
Posted by no break for you
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Gimme A Break, there is another "camp" you must consider when exposing people that endorsed Silano. On his smartvoter page from 2009 (Web Link) you'll see the name "Virginia Chang Kiraly". Please stop bad mouthing the Kiraly camp.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SandyB
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm

SandyB is a registered user.

So I see a sword of indecision and inactivity hanging over the supposed "village" of Menlo Park. No developer without deep pockets would step into Downtown Menlo Park to face the quagmire of petty self interests. Menlo Fire bought the adjacent property years ago. Will the little brick house stand next to the 1950s fire station for another 10 years while our elected officials squabble? "Save Menlo" translates into "Preserve Inertia".


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Brian is a registered user.

"I would imagine that at EVERY election we will have something on the ballot related to this situation. Again, while the people behind the initiative can say they didn't intend for these delays. The FAULT and DELAY are all from their ill-conceived plan to stop development in Menlo Park."

Please explain to me and everyone else who reads this how an initiative that only got enough signitures to qualify for the ballot a couple weeks ago and has only been in planning for the last few months is responsible for delaying a project that started 7 years ago and doesn't seem to have made any progress in years. Trying to use the initiative as a scapegoat is ridiculous.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Please explain to me and everyone else who reads this...."

Just read all of the postings above and it should be clear - if not give me your email and I will send you more info.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The board meeting is now online: Web Link


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Brian is a registered user.

What is clear to me is that the Fire Board and City dragged their feet for 7 years and then the initiative comes along and gets the blame. Planning since 2007 versus initiative since 2014. How can this be called anything other than scapegoating. Peter I know you are a very vocal opponent of the initiative but to say it is to blame for what is a failure to get a new firehouse built for 7 years is ridiculous. Stick to your arguments about that you believe will happen in the future and stop blaming past failures.

P.S. In regards to a previous post by someone against the initiative about losing property tax on the buildings along El Camino if the initiative passes, I would recommend you read this story. Web Link
As I said, Menlo Park is doing very well with tax collection even without the development.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What is clear to me is that the Fire Board and City dragged their feet for 7 years and then the initiative comes along and gets the blame"

No, that is not the case. As I posted in response to your own posting:

"Unfortunately the low priority placed by the City of Menlo Park on upgrading fire services plus the new uncertainty created by the poorly drafted Lanza/Fry initiative made it impossible for the Fire Board to justify investing further in the building of a new fire station to serve the downtown area and to replace the existing and aging Station 6 at its existing location."

So both the city and the uncertainties created by the poorly crafted initiative share the blame. And note that the initiative is not even mentioned in the adopted Board motion.

I hope you now understand the situation.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

Calpers has already announced that they will be increasing the required contributions form cities. Where do you think that money is going to come from? If our increasing property values don't bring it, it will come from a decrease in services or some other taxes disguised as "fees."


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

Please point me to the response where you are referring to, all I see is one that says "Just read all of the postings above and it should be clear -" The only thing clear is that you are looking to blame anything and everything negative on the initiative. Why don't you make an argument that it is responsible for global warming and increased terrorism?

Your response does nothing to address the fact that the new fire station has been in the planning process for 7 years and the initiative has only been around a few months and approved for the ballot for a few weeks. Why did the planning for the replacement Fire Station drag on for 7 years? Instead of dancing around that issue you try blaming the initiative. So simply put:

Why has it taken 7 years to poan and build a fire station, that according to the article has already been funded?


MV, As for property tax, whatever the buildings on El Camino generate it will be minor compared to the increases Menlo Park is already seeing and of course there is always the issue that those buildings might generate ZERO ($0) property tax depending on how Stanford chooses to use them.

Gentlemen if you want to attack the initiative, and it is clear that both of you do, please attack it on what you think it could do in your own alarmist views and oto on things that it can not have had an impact on in the past. Taking 7 years to get something accomplished is sad, looking to use the initiative as a scapegoat is just plain stupid.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

No, that is not the case. As I posted in response to your own posting:

"Unfortunately the low priority placed by the City of Menlo Park on upgrading fire services plus the new uncertainty created by the poorly drafted Lanza/Fry initiative made it impossible for the Fire Board to justify investing further in the building of a new fire station to serve the downtown area and to replace the existing and aging Station 6 at its existing location."

So both the city and the uncertainties created by the poorly crafted initiative share the blame. And note that the initiative is not even mentioned in the adopted Board motion.

I hope you now understand the situation.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

It is not mentioned on the motion but in the Article you seem to put the blame on the initiative for the issues. The reality is that the fire board and the city of menlo Park "worked" for 7 years without success and with the initiave a real possibility they have decided to give up and put at least part of the blame on the initiative.

So again I ask, regardless of the initiative, why wasn't the issue of the new fire house resolved within the last 7 years? Certainly is is something that would be considered important to both the city and the Fire Board, it doesn't seem to be a matter of money, what was it? Didn't anyone consider this important? There must be some reason why this got dragged out so long?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - Clearly my explanations and excerpts from the staff reportare not sufficient for your needs. Please read the entire staff report and then post specific sentences therein that you do not understand:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

I was simly asking you to summarize why it took 7 years to get to this point with the downtown fire station and why you seem to think the Initiative is at fault. If you can't summarize that here, fine. You seem to like to go into detail about every other point and take every opportunity to explain why you think the initiative is a problem, I figured you would take the opportunity to answer my questions in this forum, I guess not.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - " I figured you would take the opportunity to answer my questions in this forum, I guess not."

I have given you my answers and pointed you to much more complete information. I can lead you to water but I cannot make your drink.

I am not going to spoon feed you. Please do your own homework and then we will discuss this further.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

I think your links are broken, but I was able to find the material you are referring to.

The first two links, the board meeting and the letter, do not answer my questions. The letter is dated 2011, but didn't the process to get a new firehouse approved begin in 2007? And what happened since the letter? Was nothing done to address the issues? Now I know things can move slowely in Menlo park, but having been through the plannin approval process for residential development a couple times in the past decade I can
't believe it takes 7 years. I would assume that the fire board has a good working relationship with the city and that that having a new firestation downtown is in the city's best interest, is that not the case? so why did it take 7 years to get to this point.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

what I have gleaned from Peter's posting is that NO the city does NOT have a good working relationship with the Fire District.


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