News

Menlo Park: Roger Reynolds site may sprout townhomes

When the Roger Reynolds Nursery & Carriage Stop abruptly closed in 2013 after 97 years in business, patrons lamented its loss and wondered what would become of the property.

"What next?" asked one resident on Town Square. "High density development, more offices, maybe some housing, increased backups at what is currently the least-gridlocked train crossing. Too bad for all of us in so many ways."

It looks like the answer to "what's next" could be housing: A developer has submitted a proposal to build townhomes on the site.

Hunter Properties, based in Cupertino, would knock down the nursery buildings at 133 Encinal Ave. to construct 26 three-story townhomes, currently proposed as rental units, according to Menlo Park Senior Planner Thomas Rogers. Each unit would have four bedrooms. Garden plots, a play area, common seating areas and private patios would provide open space.

The Victorian cottage dubbed the "Carriage Stop" will remain, but be relocated to a new position on the 1.74-acre property.

The application was submitted on Aug. 14 and is currently undergoing an initial review by staff. The property sits within the boundaries of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by randy albin
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

be wary of these places that would include homeowners associations. there once was a middle-class on the peninsula. how unaffordable and ridiculous. whatever happened to the previous bay area?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"26 three-story townhomes"
"Each unit would have four bedrooms."

A hotel group looked at this site, took one look at Measure M and then left town.

Now instead of Hotel Occupancy Taxes what we will get is a lot of more kids for the schools.

Measure M is a Mistake.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

The Roger Reynolds site completely makes sense for housing. I'm glad to see this proposal come to the City.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another Measure M supporter wanting to place a huge burden on our schools:
" I'm glad to see this proposal come to the City."

This proposal is:
"26 three-story townhomes"
"Each unit would have four bedrooms."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No growth Peter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Good call Peter C. Let's keep Menlo just for those that can build on acres with huge lawns to suck up all the water. No need to add the unwashed to this toney town. Here's a thought, convert Encinal, Oak Knoll, Willow Oaks and Laurel to Facebook offices and let folks just commute to this wonderful paradise to visit. No schools = no burden. Schools are such an annoyance; they are full of people making noise.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

What a great idea! These townhouses would be an asset to the town - even if children lived in them and went to our schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Peter, although you may think everything that happens in Menlo Park right now has some connection to Measure M, it doesn't.

Beautiful townhomes were being built at the end of our street long before the initiative was even an idea. They sold out very quickly at prices at or above $1M which demonstrates the need for more housing like this. The Roger Reynolds site is also a perfect location for townhomes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I'm so happy to see some affordable housing being built for other than the super affluent. If we can provide housing for the people who serve our local communities, we might be able to reduce the amount of commuting traffic. With more school kids, we might even be able to muster enough money to build a new high school in East Palo Alto.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Mike K.

Au contraire my friend. That decision has EVERYTHING to do with Measure M being on the ballot.

As previously stated, a boutique hotel company looked at the site, was meeting with our City's Development Manager and walked away once Measure signatures were delivered due to the uncertainty going forward.

Just another of those unexpected consequences. So less revenue for the city (no hotel tax) and more $ burden on our schools. That makes this a two-for smack to our cities vibrancy and economic viability. Measure is turning out to be the gift that just keeps on giving (or in this case taking) with a 30 YEAR lifespan.....

Vote No on Measure M
M is a Mistake

Roy Thiele-Sardina
Chairman - Measure L (Pension Reform)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by KeithKW
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Seems like a good spot for housing, with pedestrian access to the Menlo Train Station. But it they are four bedroom rental units, how much parking will be provided. I can easily see these becoming rentals wiht multiple adults and multiple drivers...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Steve

You are kidding right? This is NOT going to be affordable housing. Craigslist currently lists several 3 bedroom houses for rent in Menlo Park all over $7500 per month.

This is about high income people with kids renting to get into our school system......

Roy



 +   Like this comment
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm

It's already happening at the new development on Linfield where an investor is renting out 12 beds in a 4 bedroom house. If you check Air B&B or VRBO more rentals of this type will appear in the area.


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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2014 at 3:53 pm

pearl is a registered user.

A four-bedroom townhome is NOT low-cost housing. You'd have to be pretty well-to-do to afford a place like that. So glad I moved out of Menlo Park 25 years ago.


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Those townhomes better have one heck of a lot of state of the art sound insulation. CalTrain horns really bellow loud starting 1/4 mile in both directions from Encinal. And don't forget the crossing bells. You'll end up with one heck of a lot of future hearing impaired kids there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

@Roy TS: Yes, I am kidding! (I didn't think people would fail to recognize that.) There is little likelihood truly affordable housing can ever built here. We need businesses that will bring in considerable tax revenue-- businesses that won't be given generous tax breaks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mich
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

26 homes on 1.74 acres sounds very crowded. Steve, btw, your initial comment does not sound like kidding. Always best to speak the plain truth than to risk being misunderstood.


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Posted by Tom h
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Seems odd to me
isn't that where that high-speed rail to know where is going to be flying by 100 miles an hour
you want to put a housing project townhouses right next to that
people want to live there really
you don't think that Menlo Park is over crowded enough
it's amazing what people do for a dollar


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

What about the gorgeous redwood trees in the little redwood grove? I still miss the wonderful kiwi vine growing in the pergola. I'm still very sad about RR going out of business. Just feeling melancholy and not very "progress-minded" right now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Aug 26, 2014 at 7:07 am

so these are going to be rentals not owner occupied ? Who pays taxes for schools, roads etc ? Certainly these are not going to be affordable unless you are employed by Google, Facebook etc ? !!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

The schools are crowded, Encinal had over 25 kids show up day 1 unexpected. They all rented in the district at the last minute and the district had to run out and hire 2 new teachers on the fly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:59 am

Parent
Curious as to how many of those last minute renters actually live in the district or just rented a place to get the kids in the district. Owning a new home in the Selby School or Garfield district of Atherton - a little rental in MP is pocket change.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 26, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Having lived in the Park Forest neighborhood for over 40 years, it is indeed a shame that Roger Reynolds is no longer around. The whole Park Forest neighborhood, along Stone Pine Lane, Forest Lane, and Buckthorn Way were at one time part of the same parcel.

In those times, we were not part of Menlo Park, but were only part of the County. The development of the present existing townhomes was much different at that time. These homes are not 3 story,structures, but really 2 stories with maximum height of 22 feet. The 3 separate homeowner associations, each have their own recreational areas,including pools. (close to 1 acre each).

Too bad we chose to be annexed by Menlo Park, because since that time, the City has treated us as second class citizens, as evidenced especially by 1600 El Camino Real, which although we were promised entry and access to our home via cars, through that property, now we find such access prohibited at night and on Saturday and Sunday.

The Nursery parcel would have made such a nice pocket park, but no no, our City Planners, choose only to develop all open space, regardless of the consequences.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Morris Brown

The $10 million you and your cohorts cost Menlo Park in opposing then delaying the original Derry Lane project might have given Menlo Park enough extra money in it's general fund to purchase such a parcel. But alas, you got exactly what you wanted....no development.

Again, you and your cohorts could have pooled your resources, purchased the land and chosen not to develop it, and made it a park. To alleviate the pain and suffering you caused the first time. And again you missed the chance. So please don't blame the city planners for the consequences of your actions. You could have stopped it, you chose not to.

Now you are busy working on pushing Measure M to stop development again. The loss in city revenue is of no consequence to you and your supporters, you appear to want Menlo Park's downtown to continue is long slide to oblivion and demise. All in the name of "village character".

The No on Measure M Group (Menlo Park Deserves Better), will continue to tell the truth about Traffic (it will be WORSE if Measure M passes); COntinue to point out the other unintended consequences of this unvetted and poorly written Measure, and all the harm it will cause our Great City.


Roy Thiele-Sardiña
No on Measure M
M is a Mistake


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Why would measure M be a deterrent to someone wanting to build a hotel? Isn't this one of the key types of development Measure M proponents are trying to encourage? ( and what many participants in the specific plan process wanted Nd were led to believe would take place) . What specifically is in the measure that would cause a hotel developer to be uncertain?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 26, 2014 at 7:07 pm

To Curious:

Measure M certainly would not be a deterrent for hotel development. That is just more of the non-sense being spread by those against Measure M, such as Thiele-Sardina, Carpenter, Lee DuBoc, etc.

Thiele-Sardina, keeps spreading "bunk" like saying that the fact that the Derry Property was not developed back in 2006/ 2007 cost the City $10 million. He fails to tell you, that most of that number of $10 million is for mitigation fees -- that is fees that are charged to developers to offset negative issues produced by the project, which need correction.

In point of fact, if the O'Brien group had decided to build the revised project, the City would have benefited with a reduced project, with less harmful impacts, and a payment of $2 million cash, to be used for true public benefit. This compares to the $150,000 that Jellins negotiated for the original project, and this $150,000 was to be used by the City to study more future development, not a real public benefit.

Thiele-Sardina and others can try and re-write history, but the facts belie those efforts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Sorry Morris, but in this case the uncertainty of Measure M caused a hotel company interested in putting a hotel on the Roger Reynolds site to bail and go elsewhere. Developers really don't like uncertainty. They're funny that way. Measure M will create nothing but uncertainty as anyone wishing to claim a development "frustrates" the intent of measure M can sue to stop said development. Pass measure M and no one will be interested in risking their money on potential development knowing some self centered jerk can throw a monkey wrench into the whole process. But you know that don't you?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what do developers like?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm

So what do developers like?

They like no rules, no regulations, something to maximize profits, no strings attached, no obligations to community benefit.

Is what developers like in the city's best interests?

Silly to constantly cite trigger shy developers. It's called expected value and risk. Look it up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Sure some developers would like to have no rules. But most understand there are rules. Rules create a certain level of certainty. Measure M has created uncertainty as to what the rules will be. Developers will opt for places where they know what the rules are and know they will stay that way. It's part of reducing the risk side of the expected value and risk equation. Yes. I know what it is. Studied Econ and finance in college when I got my business degree.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 7, 2014 at 8:22 am

Hey Almanac Readers!

Don't waste your breath here- make sure to write in to Jean Lin now if you have specific issues about this project and then you might be able to effect some change!

What about Mixed Use. Implicit in the Plan was a diversity of uses, but this in just monolithic/rubber stamp town homes. Blah.


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