Almanac

Viewpoint - April 9, 2014

Guest opinion: Former mayors endorse Plan initiative

by nine former Menlo Park mayors

We the undersigned are former Menlo Park mayors who have served Menlo Park for a total of 64 years. We come together to answer the question posed by the Almanac on March 25 — whether to sign or not to sign the SaveMenlo initiative petition. Our response is an unreserved and wholehearted, "Yes, sign!"

Never before in Menlo Park has there been a more grave question. As former mayors we weathered many controversial issues, some that were decided by a referendum, an initiative or an election that had political ramifications. None were easy.

Facing our council today is an initiative that was launched by a neighborhood grass roots organization that feels its council has let it down. It was a bold step, as their only recourse was to take their case to the real stakeholders, their fellow residents, the voters. We believe their case is strong.

The Specific Plan (SP) began with good intentions that we supported. The Plan's 12 goals described in clear and reassuring terms what the residents expressed, both at public meetings and through mail surveys: to maintain the town's village character while providing greater east/west connectivity, revitalizing underutilized parcels, expanding shopping, dining and neighborhood services to ensure vibrancy, providing new residential opportunities and including accessible public open space. A promise that resonated was that the Plan would "ensure that El Camino Real development would be sensitive to and compatible with adjacent neighborhoods."

Unfortunately, the reality of the two large proposals before the City contradicts the vision promised during the SP process. Large office complexes were not sought by the residents. Residents heard descriptions and saw renderings of moderate developments that featured a balance of retail, restaurants, a hotel, office, plaza and undercrossings of the train tracks. We believed that the Plan would make revitalization more predictable for developers, and the rules would support the community's vision.

When, in the first two years of a 30-year plan the first two development proposals on El Camino Real exceed by 50 percent the projected office growth and are 88 percent of the non-residential growth projected, there needs to be a serious re-evaluation. The proposals from Stanford and Greenheart have revealed the flaws in the SP that will rob from other property owners in the Plan Area the opportunity to easily redevelop their properties.

This is in stark contradiction of the SP's purpose.

The city needs a long range plan that provides certainty for property owners and

residents alike. The initiative corrects three flaws in the Plan and offers a more moderate approach by capping office uses on the three largest parcels on El Camino Real to 100,000 square feet, so as to preserve space for retail, hotel, housing, and local serving businesses.

When the SP's growth limits have been reached for office and non-residential development, any amendment to the SP that would increase the square footage limits that were approved July 12, 2012 can only be approved by Menlo Park voters.

The initiative also modifies the definition of open space so private balconies above the first floor are not counted as project open space. A private balcony should be private.

The $150,000 the Council recently allocated to study the initiative should be used to determine if the SP can actually work for the next 28 years, considering that the limit for office development has almost been reached in the first two years. When the build-out limits are reached, will the city amend the Plan to allow more development and return to a piecemeal approach? Impacts to traffic, the city's budget, the balance of jobs/housing, and school classroom size seem to have been severely underestimated.

The Greenheart and Stanford proposals have opened our eyes to the flaws in the SP. As currently written, it will not assure a reasonable projection of balanced growth for the next 28 years. We strongly encourage Menlo Park residents to sign SaveMenlo's petition, which we see as a conservative compromise that will confirm the Specific Plan's goals.

Former mayors Jack Morris 1982-1994; Gail Slocum 1990-1994; Steve Schmidt 1994-2002; Mary Jo Borak 1998-2002; Paul Collacchi 1996-2004; Chuck Kinney 1996-2004; Heyward Robinson 2006-2010; Kelly Fergusson 2004-2012; and Andy Cohen 2004-2012.

Comments

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This letter puts the nail in the coffin for any future Menlo Park development. With a history like this, regardless of the initiative outcome, any property owner is put on notice that Menlo Park is not the place to risk their investment.

My advice to Stanford and Greenheart is to lease out each of their 10 or more individual existing parcels and then let whoever gets the lease for each parcel deal with the city - knowing full well that Save Menlo will never allow another MP project to go forward.


Posted by proud of former mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:42 pm

I am proud of these former mayors for taking a stand like this. Several were involved in the decision to embark on the planning process, several were involved during the visioning phase, and several were involved when the plan was adopted. They now see the plan needs amended and support the initiative. This shows courage and the wisdom of experience.

Will the current council show similar courage and wisdom?


Posted by Easy Does It, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 8:56 am

Wow, Peter! What great advice! That way we'd never be stuck with huge, high-density stack-and-pack housing projects and mega-office parks, and would end up with the retail we need, while preserving our city's suburban character.
Great idea!


Posted by Our town, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

Save Menlo doesn't get to make any decisions -- the residents do. That's what an initiative is for. Thank you to our nine former mayors both for your service to our city and for continuing to speak up on behalf of what is right for our town's financial health and residents' quality of life.

Peter, when Atherton starts cluttering El Camino with high density office buildings, then maybe you'll get a seat at the table.


Posted by Our town, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

Save Menlo doesn't get to make any decisions -- the residents do. That's what an initiative is for. Thank you to our nine former mayors both for your service to our city and for continuing to speak up on behalf of what is right for our town's financial health and residents' quality of life.

Peter, when Atherton starts cluttering El Camino with high density office buildings, then maybe you'll get a seat at the table.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I just checked and about 90% of my Bay Area expenditures are made in Menlo Park so I already have a seat at the table. As downtown and ECR further deteriorate my dollars will sadly be spent elsewhere.

The signs on El Camino at the entrances of Menlo Park should now read "Progress Free Zone" because the total unpredictability of what the city is actually capable of doing will discourage any new investment.


Posted by Our town, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

Wrong, Peter. The initiative doesn't change the predictability. Just closes loopholes to help ensure that all property owners, not just two, get a share of the development capacity. As for spending your money in MP -- nice try, but not sure what you were planning to buy in an office building. The initiative promotes retail over offices. That's what the residents wanted, as the mayors point out.

Progress isn't packing the space full of dense development that doesn't help the city or residents. Progress is taking a long-term approach to development to ensure that it is economically viable as well as appropriate for the community. That's what the initiative supports. Ask someone to read you the letter.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 10:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The fact that some resident and a lot of former mayors are willing to put the entire planning process on hold and seem to be prepared to do that again and again in the future does nothing except create uncertainty. Please let me know when someone proposes the next new project in the Specific Plan area - it certainly won't be Stanford or Greenheart.

Retail in Menlo Park is starving for customers and more customers will not come from having a few more retail employees but rather with having a larger day time working population.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Yes, please halt new developement, keep the vacancies along El Camino so no one finds the city attractive, no one shops downtown in old dusty buildings and RAISE PROPERTY TAXES to compensate for the revenue shortfall. Offices offer higher revenue and less traffic spikes during peak traffic times. New retail in new buildings will starve existing downtown. History has shown the majority of residents disagree with the mayors.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hopefully people will realize that this initiative would have little positive impact if Stanford and Greenheart simply lease out their 10-12? individual parcels and those parcels are then developed in an uncoordinated manner with no concern for any extra amenities or financial contributions. That is the manner in which Stanford developed both the Research Park and its faculty housing.

This is just one example of the unintended, unexamined and, sadly, unrecognized shortcomings of this initiative.

That being said it is probably a moot point because with Save Menlo and its willingness to keep moving the goal posts and the former mayors endorsing that tactic nobody is going to bother to spend a penny even drawing up a proposal for something in Menlo Park. Potential investors now know that no matter what is proposed someone will object and the whole process will start over - again and again.


Posted by cranky old guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm

"Village character" always amazes me. We are not a village. Maybe we were before the Great War (WWI). But now we are just another suburb, pressed up against other suburbs, with nothing rural inbetween.

We should develop our downtown the same way Palo Alto did the University Avenue downtown. Parking garages, mixed use buildings and height limits that don't block that from happening.

I was looking at the west side of El Camino the other day, between Santa Cruz and Oak Grove. The buildings all look as dull as they must have in 1950. Underutilized and mostly unattractive.

Perhaps we need to change the structure of our "city" government, and our name. Menlo Park Village, instead of City of.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:57 pm

As a resident of Silicon valley for more than 30 years, nothing is more persistent in the wealthy bedroom communities around here than the insistence on remaining suburbs while simultaneously participating in a group fantasy that they really aren't suburbs, but "rural".

One sure sign of ruralness, according to this fantasy, is the absence of sidewalks. I remember hearing straight-faced complaints about finishing the sidewalk along Santa Cruz Avenue because it would destroy the avenue's rural character.

By the sidewalk standard, Atherton is quite the rural stronghold.

The problems with Menlo Park's business sector can be laid at the feet of these provincialites with their heads in the sand. They undermine rational development and they don't care. They don't care.


Posted by What nonsense , a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm

rural, suburbs, town or a village, whatever we want to call it, we don't want an office complex dominating the center of our town. Whether it's Facebook, Apple or Google, none of these kind of companies brings sales tax into our town. There have been housing developments approved over the years, Summerhill on Willow RD., Classic Homes on Laurel St., Lindfield Dr. housing, Hamilton Ave. in Belle Haven, St. Patrick's Seminary and another on Haven approved and planned near Bayfront Park. There has also been several office buildings approved.

The Greenheart (190K SF housing) and Stanford (170 residential units) projects is a generous addition to the City's housing needs. If the initiative passes, these property owners will add 200K SF of office.

Menlo Park has approved its share of growth. It's time to get smart and be deliberate about maintaining the character of Menlo Park. It's worth protecting. There are cities to live in north and south. The people who pay property taxes in Menlo Park have no responsibility to developers of office buildings or the large companies who will occupy these buildings. It's out town; we live here; our children attend schools here.

Sign the petition and get the initiative on the ballot! Thank you former mayors for wanting to protect Menlo Park. We only wish our current council members shared your vision.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Greenheart (190K SF housing) and Stanford (170 residential units) projects is a generous addition to the City's housing needs. If the initiative passes, these property owners will add 200K SF of office."

Unlikely, their current proposals make sense but the limits imposed by the initiative invalidate those proposals. Greenheart has already made its position clear:

"Bob Burke, a principal with Greenheart, told me that the measure would mean "our proposed project wouldn't work.
"We'd have to go back and start over," he said. "That would be a long delay. And financially, it doesn't make sense. You'd have to alter the project significantly. Now the retail isn't as viable because you don't have the daytime population of the office."

What is not clear about that?


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Former MP mayors from an era past...

Sadly, "obstructive/destructive/study it until nothing moves forward" politics were one of the reasons we left MP years ago.

Could we please move forward instead of backwards?


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

The quote from Greenheart implies that offices support retail better than onsite residential units would. Really? The inhabitants of the former are there only in the day during the week, and the inhabitants of the latter are there very day and into the evenings.

Greenheart has to do an EIR that will take a long time. No doubt it will show even more adverse impacts that can't be mitigated than the specific plan did, meaning that the next council will have to decide if the project is beneficial enough to approve it anyway.
This isn't a shovel ready project by any stretch.


Posted by el camino guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

This is ridiculous. I am shocked so many former mayors would endorse this initiative at this early date. The analysis has not even been done, and I have the serious concern that the initiative will be determined to be sloppily and fatally drafted, not to mention that its effects will be more grave for good progress than even the alternative of leaving the current SP as-is. How can 5 years of process be undone by 1.5 months of lobbying? I'm slightly embarrassed for these 9.

Let's get educated and then make up our minds. No one is saying that if the initiative is defective we can't advance the basic concepts into a more thoughtful plan modification. Stanford has been and continues to be conciliatory in all this in an effort to be good citizen (only to their detriment). They aren't going to race ahead at this stage to pre-empt a more rational process. Greenheart hasn't even submitted yet. There's time. This shake-down is unnecessary.


Posted by Sam Sinnott, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Jack Morris was the first of the 'slow growth' mayors. When he was on the council he fought the development of Kepler's and Cafe Borrone with the same intensity as the Save Menlo folks. Complete with dire predictions about traffic and the character of the City. Fortunately he was in the council minority and the project was built. He now meets his friends and colleagues there.

Gail Slocum came in after Jack and with a slow growth majority, modified the general plan to prevent another Menlo Center from ever being built.

The rest is history - just look at El Camino. Flint, Michigan comes to mind. These signatories are to a great extent responsible for poor condition of our commercial spaces.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

At least several of these former mayors supported the expensive/unsuccessful lawsuit attempting to stop Stanford from widening the choke point on Sand Hill Road... seemingly oblivious to the fact that this forced more and more traffic to course through West MP neighborhoods.

How to say this respectfully... are the vacant car lots along ECR also part of your prideful legacy?

Can you please propose a productive solution rather than continuing to say "no" years after you have left office?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The quote from Greenheart implies that offices support retail better than onsite residential units would. Really?"

Yes, that is exactly what the people who are in the business of investing believe. Just compare the number of people in a 2000 sq ft office with the number in a 2000 sq ft residence,


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

I'm wondering where all these mayors were when the city was handing the keys to the kingdom on the Gateway project. I don't recall a peep out of any of them and yet that project when it is finally built will have a far greater and destructive impact on Menlo Park than either the Stanford or Greenheart projects. Hypocrites.


Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Peter
If you want more offices so badly then build them in your town of Atherton. Then you can build retail for the office workers and then perhaps some sidewalks so thy can safely walk between their offices and retail. Them some cross walks and signals so they don't have to get hit trying to cross ECR.


Posted by morris brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Apr 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Developers like Sam Sinnott are always going to be in favor of more and denser developments; that is the way the make their livings.

How the majority of the voters of Menlo Park feel is often quite different.

Just remember the 2006 election, where DuBoc and Winkler ran on a pro development platform, using the proposed Derry development as a key issue.
Well both were voted out of office (after one term each) by large majorities. Jellins, the third member of that council majority, dropped out and did not try to run again, and his replacement John Boyle just barely won (100 votes).

Sinnott's comment about why there are vacant Stanford properties is without validity. All of these properties were on long term leases from Stanford to car dealerships, which have just expired. These dealerships, long ago abandoned the properties, but they had paid up leases, thus the properties remained vacant until these leases expired. These nine mayors are certainly without any ties to why these properties have remained vacant and to claim otherwise is nonsense.

So just trying to set the history straight.




Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

I am with Burt Prelustsky of the LA Times....There's no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of these former mayors, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on 'Macbeth'.

Their history of "slow growth" and anti-development are legendary.....Several of them were voted out of office for their dis-regard of the people wishes. They hardly bring anything new to the issue, and quite frankly their past performance makes me want to vote YES just to oppose them.....good luck with that endorsement.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Let's see, developers say they think offices support retail better than residences?
Office workers maybe buy coffee and lunch. Maybe. On weekdays.
Residents buy coffee, maybe breakfast and lunch, dinner, groceries, wine, repair and stationery supplies, appliances, furniture, all the things it takes to run a household and family.
Hmmm


Posted by Sue, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Ditto Menlo Voter!!
These former mayors are Hypocrites!
Where were the members of Save Menlo and these obstructive FORMER mayors when our city was slammed by that housing lawsuit? We almost lost two acres of park land to provide senior housing which most of these mayors qualify to live there if it would ever built.Hypocrites! Hypocrites!


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:47 am

It's a really sad statement about our community when critics attack people rather than ideas.

All of these public servants supported some major developments and all did not support others, and from what I can tell they didn't always agree with each other. But they do now.

It is incorrect to state any of them are anti-growth or anti-change. In fact, two voted to approve the Specific Plan and now think it needs amended.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It's a really sad statement about our community when critics attack people rather than ideas."


Sadly that is the encouraged culture of this particular forum and it is facilitated by allowing anonymous, unregistered postings hence you can say anything about anybody without fear of being held accountable.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

I don't see the word "sad" as being descriptive of the exchanges here. Lively, yes, but not sad. Impolite sometimes, but politeness is overrated.

My wish would be for a little more satire. Not a lot, but a little.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

This letter puts a nail in the coffin for Stanford's proposed development plan. By the way, signature gathering for the Initiative was brisk last night at the Wednesday 'Off the Grid' event.


Posted by Sam Sinnott, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Going back even further in the slow growth council history of Menlo Park. A fellow named Bob Stevens was probably the first. He worked with Jack Morris, one of the signatories, to stop the Willow Expressway which would have connected Sand Hill Road to Willow Road similar to the Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto. The result has been horrendous cut through traffic in our City and an overwhelmed El Camino Real.

The Save Menlo meddling will have similar unintended consequences.

By the way - I am an architect and contractor with a rented office near the train station. I have been working for the property owners of Menlo Park for 30 years. A resident for over 50 years.


Posted by Valarie, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 10, 2014 at 6:36 pm

How about Mayor Jones? His work on stopping growth and changes in Menlo Park made him a legendary(sorry Steve, you are not quite at that level yet). Not to speaking ill of the dead, Mr. Jones passed away recently...... (there is sadness in this platform) and his home was being torn down as we speak. Mayor Jones who should have giving up driving a decade ago was behind the wheels until his last days- driving 5mhr on a single lane traffic, often from East side to the West side of the town and he would be very upset if children were playing on their streets. Some people always feel they OWN the town.....
On cut through traffic, who are we kidding?? Do you feel guilty when YOU are the one who drives South or North on El Camino to Whole food, Target, Costco and doctors' visits, just to name a few of YOUR daily needs? I bet YOU don't!


Posted by I signed initiative today, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Bravo, former mayors to step up for your convictions!!
If Stanford and Palo Alto would come to the table and agree to:

1) Open up Alma St. Palo Alto for a full intersection! why should Stanford bound drivers have to exit Alma St. PA and uturn at Cambridge?
Typical PA dominance of MP in the Stanford Mgmt. political manipulation game!! PA wants Stanford's "cash flow"
, but not the "traffic flow" generated by Stanford development!!

2) Stanford remove the 2 lane bottleneck from ECR to Arboretum, and get PA to synchronize the lights on SHR (Stanford West lights give red for SHR
even when nobody is there to cross or drive out from Stanford West Apts????

3) Menlo Park takes former Mayor Jellins concerns expressed at the MP Council mtg. in 200? that voted 3-2 to approve the SHR widening project, (Collachi/Borak opposed) about Oak Ave/Sand Hill Road intersection by Oak Knoll School, ""as a shortcut for "cut through" commute traffic that avoids the SHR outbound backup"", that Mayor Schmidt condescendingly acknowledged, this, a documented recognition that Oak Knoll School area children would be exposed to ever increasing risks of impatient commuters seeking a way out of Downtown/ECR MP as they race in and out of the Middle/Oak/Oakdell corridor. If you limit outbound turning lanes from Oak Ave. to 1 lane from the present dedicated 2 for left and right turns only, and place bollards so that only Emergency Vehicles can turn right from the dedicated right turn lane, then you reduce the attractiveness of Oak Ave./Sand Hill as a shortcut from cut through commuters originating from Downtown/ECR who want to avoid the SHR backups.

SHR widening Project EIR in early 2000, was quite explicit in assessing that, ONLY if MP took a pro active approach to guaranteeing that cut through commute traffic would not adversely impact West Menlo neighborhoods, (i.e., reduce the current Oak Ave/SHR outbound turning movement option) that, due to ever increasing SHR congestion generated by increasing DOWNTOWN MP/ECR/STANFORD Development, then the so-called diversion of cut through commute traffic to a widened SHR impacting West Menlo neighborhoods in the early 2000's would be short lived at best, and only regenerate in West Menlo neighborhoods and impact the narrow winding residential streets in the Oak Knoll School neighborhood!!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This letter puts a nail in the coffin for Stanford's proposed development plan."

Given the that city is incapable of entering into a mutually favorable and binding agreement with Stanford why should Stanford do anything except the absolute minimum required and the absolute maximum permitted?

Perhaps Stanford's Plan B is to lease out 3 of their six parcels and then have them developed as offices, including medical offices, to be used for tax exempt purposes. Ho property taxes, no housing, no public amenities. That complies with both the Specific Plan and the initiative.


Posted by Joe, a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm

"Sadly that is the encouraged culture of this particular forum and it is facilitated by allowing anonymous, unregistered postings hence you can say anything about anybody without fear of being held accountable. "

God bless annonymity. Web Link
It's American and "Common Sense".

Equating the undeveloped land to Flint MI is hilariously silly. The properties sit in a prime location. They will be devleped and for retail with sales tax if MP wants to gain more revenue for the traffic impacts new developments attract.



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"They will be devleped and for retail with sales tax if MP wants to gain more revenue for the traffic impacts new developments attract. "

Clearly Joe doesn't own the properties in question or have the money to develop them and he doesn't understand that the city cannot order anything to be built on land it does not own and with money it does not have.

And Joe fails to realize the MP retail is already dying for lack of customers and what is needed is more customers, not more competition for the few customers that shop in MP.


Posted by The View From here, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Can a graphic artist please show the residents what the 5 story tall office buildings will look like - not the street view along El camino, but the view from the homes in Limfield oaks? It's not going to be a pretty sight. No one is opposed to development along El camino - what we are opposed to is unsightly TAll office buildings, and the impact said buildings will have on the community in terms of views, traffic and infrastructure. You think the Council gave a green light to Arrillaga's plans because he donated a few new buildings to the City? I do. That was one hefty donation..with some obvious strings attached. That's not a donation, that's a bribe.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:46 pm

To" I signed Initiative Today",
Do you see how quiet the Save Menlo members and Former Zero growth mayors got when confronted with the question regarding "affordable housing" lawsuit which our city lost three summer ago? Why didn't they claim credit for that? Well, their anti-anything growth actions has devastating consequences and we all are now paying the price. In response to this devastating lawsuit, our city has to come up with 1,200 units of affordable housing, including two possible sites have been identified along the Sand Hill Rd and Santa Cruz corridor. Good Luck with the cut through traffic in your neighborhood! And don't blame Stanford for it! And an outside consultant was hired to identify those sites and taxpayers' money was spend, why NO mayors cried FOUL?


Posted by Concerned Allied Arts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 1:13 am

Everybody sign this initiative so we can find out what the majority of Menlo Park Residents want. The increase in traffic on El Camino alone is a good reason to control this project. The entrance and exit will only be on El Camino Real. Go look at the traffic now on ECR from 4:30PM to 6PM. As for more retail space. Most of the retailers on Santa Cruz Avenue are crying for more business, so even revert retail customers from Santa Cruz Avenue. Burlington wasn't successful right near this proposed project.

Now there are four lanes available in Atherton, not three lanes like in Menlo Park. Have Atherton consider this project and deal with the massive incased traffic. Perhaps entice car dealerships to return to ECR in MP. They are high sales and low traffic, and generate sales tax

Everyone please please sign the SaveMenlo initiative petition.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2014 at 6:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I often wonder why an organization with over $18 billion in the bank even bothers to try to make a deal regarding a minuscule potential investment with a banana republic that can't make up its mind and which is incapable of making binding agreements .


Posted by View from here, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

Sue, it was a travesty that the City didn't comply with the State's mandate to build the affordable housing. Good news is that it's now being built at the VA Hospital. The newer paradigm for providing homeless with services is about providing long term housing and then addressing the needs of the homeless population. The new housing at the VA Hospital will do just that. True, it took a lawsuit to get the City to act, but act they did. The amount of housing required by the State didn't change, it was mandated all along and now it's going up in Menlo Park, as it should. This issue with the Stanford/Arrillaga development along El Camino is about a developer over building and building enormous office buildings that will not sit pretty in our neighborhood. Keep them in line with the other office buildings along El Camino and no one will complain. Balconies to counts as "Open Space"? Not a chance the people of Menlo Park are going to fall for that one. Build the office space, but keep the building heights in line with existing structures in Menlo Park.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2014 at 8:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Build the office space, but keep the building heights in line with existing structures in Menlo Park."

All of the structures, automobile dealerships, being replaced are one story so does that mean that the new construction must be one story in order to be "in line with existing structure". Or if referring to anywhere in Menlo Park what about the existing 10 story apartment building at Valpariso and Crane?


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:33 am

In the same way that the Embarcadero freeway would have never been built in San Francisco, the apartment building at Valparaiso and Crane would have never had a chance to be built today, thankfully.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Which just proves that trying to negotiate with people who have no defined end point is an exercise in futility. The strategy is have a petition but then forget that you got everything you asked for in the petition and now seek an initiative and if that happens then move on to more laws suits and more petitions.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2014 at 11:12 am

Stanford and Greenheart should sue MP. Their proposals are consistent with MP's plan.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Build the office space, but keep the building heights in line with existing structures in Menlo Park."

What is the difference between 5 story apartment buildings in East Menlo Park and Stanford's ECR project? The Allied Arts and Linfield people can't see that far.


Posted by What nonsense , a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

The Specific Plan states that private balconies in residential units are considered publicly accessible open space and are deducted from the 30% required open space Stanford was to provide in their development. Actually Stanford was required to provide 40% but Staff and Council gave the university another freebie.

That's a fact.

Here's what going on in San Francisco regarding office buildings that have roof top gardens that the developers used to meet their open space requirement. Can't wait to arrive with lawn chair and lunch at the front door of a residential unit in Stanford's development and demand that I be allowed to use the tenant's balcony.

Web Link


Posted by all mine, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Scary mentality. Open space = public space. Can I bring my lawn chair to your backyard and borrow your bbq?


Posted by Rogues Gallery, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 11, 2014 at 3:29 pm

None of the nine were any good with the exception of Steve Schmidt. He is the only one who did anything for the residents through his adroit negotiation with Stanford to get the best deal possible for the Sand Hill Road, Santa Cruz avenue intersection. The rest of the mayors had their heads up their you know what with their condescending attitude of "We know what is best for you" and then proceed to make our lives more difficult; not to mention more expensive. Thanks Mary Jo, you are a peach!

My question is what are the signatories positions on One Bay Area Plan, Grand Boulevard, and Agenda 21.


Posted by Spammy, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Where's Nicholas Jellins ?


Posted by Frugal, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Steve Schmidt negotiated the Sand Hill/Santa Cruz connection? Yes, but notice ow adroitly Stanford still has only one lane connecting San Hill to El Camino. Where does all the excess go? Into Menlo Park side streets me thinks.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Just to demonstrate how faulty the initiative is - consider that the the south half of the Tesla site is a separate 2 acre parcel which equals about 87,000 sq ft. The permitted FAR without any public benefit for this parcel is 108,900 sq ft. and for offices, general would be 54,000 sq ft.

So under the initiative Stanford could build a five story building, without any balconies and without providing any public amenities, of 54,000 sq ft. And of this 1/3 of the 108,900 sq ft or 36,300 sq ft could be medical offices. And Stanford could use it all for educational purposes and pay no property taxes.

Just brilliant!


Posted by Sam Sinnott, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 12, 2014 at 7:03 am

I attended just about every community workshop through the visioning process and the plan writing process. The only one of the signing mayors I remember seeing was Andy Cohen. He was on the council at the time.

He, not one of the participating citizens, was the one who injected the expression 'village character' into the visioning document.

The people participating generally did not align with the slow growth philosophy when reviewing the options in an orderly way.

Save Menlo now hopes to use misinformation and inflammatory cliches to get the ignorant voters to support them.


Posted by morris brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Apr 12, 2014 at 8:33 am

Mr Sam Sinnott has a tilted view of what took place in the community meetings during the visioning portion of the Specific Plan process.

Those attending certainly did not approve nor envision 5 story office buildings being built along El Camino.

Mr. Sinnott, as well as his wife, have continually advocated for higher and denser development. Sinnott is professionally involved in the land development and building business he certainly will do everything to build bigger and higher. I never recall his having taken a negative position on any development project proposed in the City.

It could not be clearer, that the Specific Plan as now written, is a plan which does not carry out the views of the vast majority of Menlo Park voters.

Even ex-Mayor Rich Cline, really the "grand father" of the whole movement to institute this plan, now says, this is not what Stanford led him to believe, what and how would be developed on their 8 acres.

So, Mr. Sinnott, Save Menlo is certainly not using "misinformation and inflammatory cliches", as the driving force here; the driving force is to the get new developments built in accordance with what were the wishes of the vast majority of Menlo Park voters, during the visioning process.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 12, 2014 at 8:46 am

History revisionists are afoot again!

The "village character" did come directly from the community workshops. It was not just one person's terminology; it was a concept repeated by many. The Vision Plan phase resulted in 12 goals, the first of which is listed on the city's website:
Vision Plan Area Character: Maintain a village character unique to Menlo Park.
That was adopted unanimously by the entire Council in place at the time, and incorporated into the Specific Plan draft and final that was adopted by the entire Council.
Before Peter C goes off on a rant about whether Menlo Park is or should be a village or small town, he should accept that this terminology resulted from Menlo Park's community workshops and was put into the Specific Plan's Vision and the subsequent plan by staff, consultants, and approved by the council.


Posted by View from here, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

"Ignorant voters"? Oh no he didn't. I do not like this Sam I am.

And when Peter C. says: "Just to demonstrate how faulty the initiative is.." it is just to reassure the VOTERS that this initiative is extremely important, that is unless on is in the pocket of the developer.



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 12, 2014 at 9:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Vision Plan is a collection of many wishes - you can find something in it to support almost any view:

"Strategic Opportunities for Near-term Change. Vacancies and underutilization
of the Plan Area's larger parcels, particularly those with the
exposure that El Camino Real provides, offer the opportunity to envision
future uses that are different than those that formerly occupied those key
sites."

"The interest in expanded vitality was also heard from participants
seeking AN APPROPRIATE BALANCE (emphasis added) between "village" and "city"."

"Workshop participants felt that the east side of El Camino Real could accommodate
higher intensity development because it does not have immediate
neighbors (between El Camino Real and train tracks) and the buildings would
not cast shadows onto any other buildings."

"At the NORTH (emphasis added) end of the Plan Area, there was also interest in mixed-use development, with the anticipation that housing and office uses would be most
successful. Although there was some skepticism about the success of retail in
this area, the market conditions will ultimately determine which uses will be
provided."

"Community members continually expressed their concern
about the blight these vacant parcels bring to Menlo Park and urged that they
be redeveloped in a timely manner. Additionally, the community supported
redevelopment of other parcels along El Camino Real currently developed in
a less-efficient manner. For example, some community members expressed
that small, 1-story auto mechanic and service uses were not appropriate on El
Camino Real."

Etc, etc, etc.....

The Specific Plan then took this very mixed bag of ideas and created a viable zoning and development plan.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

Not suggesting the rules aren't being following; just pointing out that there are some:

Section 18600-18603, California Elections Code: Improper signature gathering
Sections 18600-18603 of the California Elections Code that is part of the laws governing the initiative process in California says:

18600
Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who:

(a) Circulating, as principal or agent, or having charge or control of the circulation of, or obtaining signatures to, any state or local initiative, referendum or recall petition, intentionally misrepresents or intentionally makes any false statement concerning the contents, purport or effect of the petition to any person who signs, or who desires to sign, or who is requested to sign, or who makes inquiries with reference to it, or to whom it is presented for his or her signature.

(b) Willfully and knowingly circulates, publishes, or exhibits any false statement or misrepresentation concerning the contents, purport or effect of any state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition for the purpose of obtaining any signature to, or persuading or influencing any person to sign, that petition.

(c) Circulating, as principal or agent, or having charge or control of the circulation of, or obtaining signatures to, any state or local initiative, intentionally makes any false statement in response to any inquiry by any voter as to whether he or she is a paid signature gatherer or a volunteer.

18601
Any person working for the proponent or proponents of an initiative or referendum measure or recall petition who refuses to allow a prospective signer to read the measure or petition is guilty of a misdemeanor.
An arrest or conviction pursuant to this section shall not invalidate or otherwise affect the validity of any signature obtained by the person arrested or convicted.

18602
Any person working for the proponent or proponents of a statewide initiative or referendum measure who covers or otherwise obscures the summary of the measure prepared by the Attorney General from the view of a prospective signer is guilty of a misdemeanor.

18603
Every person who offers or gives money or other valuable consideration to another in exchange for his or her signature on a state, county, municipal, or district initiative, referendum, or recall petition is guilty of a misdemeanor.



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I asked one of the signature gathers who was outside Trader Joe's to give me a copy of the actual initiative - he refused.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

I guess I should have said, I certainly hope that those gathering signatures are following the rules.

The initiative process already lacks the safeguards of open meetings where notice is required and discussions and votes must take place in full view of the public and on the record.


Posted by Ummm, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 13, 2014 at 7:01 am

Seems like there are more former mayors who did not sign than did sign. Some who signed, like Hayward, were thoughtful and diligent in their duties. Others less memorable.

As to traffic on Middle, what prevents the town from restricting access during certain hours? Forces more on to Sand Hill but that can compel Stanford to confront the issue. I will say that SMs website, which is not useful on facts, bemoans traffic increases yet also bemoans the fact that offices are dead at night and weekends. Would their alternatives not create more traffic during those hours, when more local families are on the road? Traffic is a big concern but their points are not well thought out.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Ummm:

you hit the nail on the head. Save Menlo is trying to have it both ways. The office will create too much traffic. The offices will be dead at night.
We want residential. We want retail. Both of those wants create more, long term traffic than office uses.

The bottom line with SM is they want NOTHING built. Their crocodile tears about vacant lots to the contrary. One of them even said Stanford should build a park there. Interesting I don't see any SM folks volunteering their private property for public use.


Posted by Just Sayin', a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

Peter: ' "Bob Burke, a principal with Greenheart, told me that the measure would mean "our proposed project wouldn't work. "We'd have to go back and start over," he said. "That would be a long delay. And financially, it doesn't make sense. You'd have to alter the project significantly. Now the retail isn't as viable because you don't have the daytime population of the office." What is not clear about that? '

Me: How quickly we forget.

What's not "clear" is that the Greenheart project, buys and scrapes two prior, recent project approvals for the exact same site; namely the approved 1300 ECR Office/Retail project and the approved 108 unit Derry housing/retail project. Combined(details below) the 1300ECR+Derry project provides about 1/3 as much office and 3X as much retail as Greenheart on the exact same site, so, respectfully, Peter, I think Burke is zooming you.

To professional planners, Greenheart scrapes 1300ECR+Derry. The build-out of both projects was assumed in the SP EIR land base. In the eyes of the Specific Plan these projects were built. So comparing Greenheart to 1300ECR+Derry lets us compare two different economically feasible ways to build out the same part of downtown.
Here's the data:

Project name.............Office/Retail/Housing/Total (sf). DU = dwelling units.
1300ECR+Derry..............59,000/76,000/108,000=243,000. 108 Du's
Greenheart................194,000/23,000/203,000=420,000. 215 Du's

In Percentages, office/retail/housing (du/1000sf "of office" is a jobs/housing metric.)
1300ECR+Derry.............24%/31%/44%. du/1000sf = 1.85
Greenheart................46%/ 5%/48% du/1000sf = 1.11

1300ECR+Derry vs Greenheart

-Greenheart eliminates retail; namely 76,000 sf of retail contained in the 1300 ECR+Derry projects. At 5% retail, the Greenheart contains the "token" amount of retail needed to pretend an office project is mixed use.

-Stand alone, 1300ECR contains 58,000 sf office and 51,000 sf retail. 1/3 as much office supports twice as much retail .

-Combined 1300ECR+Derry supports 3X as much retail. It contains more retail than office. It would have brought a grocery store, restaurants, and multiple new retail services to the Eastern side of ECR in the Eastern core.

-1300ECR+Derry proposes a much better mix. It contains nearly equal components of each use with a slight an emphasis on housing, exactly what Menlo Park needs.

Making better pedestrian connections and linkages is a MAJOR goal of the SP, as is preserving the "village" feel.

-1300ECR+Derry creates pedestrian origins and destinations East of ECR. It does not concentrate housing / jobs East of ECR forcing peoople to cross ECR West for services as both the Greenheart and Stanford projects do.

-At 3 stories and half the size, 1300ECR+Derry is the right size and scale. It would generate far fewer impacts.

-At 1.84 du/1000sf of office, the 1330ECR+Derry project is nearly twice as good at re-balancing the jobs/housing imbalance even with fewer dwelling units. The additional housing units supplied by the Greenheart project don't mitigate the added jobs created by the 3X increase in office proposed on the site. Less is truly more. The Greenheart project worsens the imbalance.

The Greenheart project isn't an exciting new future for the Menlo Park downtown, it destroys the exciting, nascent revival that was already underway.

The SP is clearly flawed, It never foresaw or identified the Greenheart site as a potential "infill" or "opportunity" site. Unfortunately, the SP rezoning is so generous it makes it feasible for spec developers to pay huge sums to buy-out and scrape existing projects at inflated land prices. The Special Plan zoning is destructive. It takes "away" a village. It turns Menlo Park into Walnut Creek.

IF the Initiative is a Greenheart killer, where do I sign?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 13, 2014 at 11:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" it destroys the exciting, nascent revival that was already underway."

What is destroying any such revival is the message to property owners is that Menlo Park has no idea what can be built in the Downtown/ECR area without being faced with either a lawsuit or an initiative. And the former mayors have endorsed continuing this uncertainty.

Those property owners, like Stanford and Greenheart, who have investment opportunities elsewhere will continue to allow their MP properties to lie fallow until there is both clarity and stability. And Save Menlo has made it clear that they will even oppose Stanford developments that conform with their initiative - so clarity and stability are no where in sight.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Overall slow growth has been the primary cause of the Bay Area of becoming unafforable.

Traffic stinks because the opposition to major transportation projects.

As less and less office space gets built, demand will grow greater pusing out small non tech businesses. Same applies with retail, beside lots of retailers can't compete against the chains.

Housing for the day to day workers is rising and their commutes are growing.

Ah slow growth but we expect growth in the stock market, are businesses, our personal choices and our wealth.


Posted by Peninsula Resident, a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Garrett wrote:
> Traffic stinks because the opposition
> to major transportation projects.

What "major transportation projects" are you referring to?


Posted by Signer, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Have at Stu Soffer's analysis :

Web Link


Posted by Ummm, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Menlo Voter: Yes, agree. Here are things that remain confusing:

1) Most of the proponents of signing the petition really don't get that the petition is not intended to be a reasonable alternative. It is a scare tactic to try to end any development.

2) The former mayors have supported the petition to fix a hold in the SP process. While I have nothing against the mayors, trying to fix a hole is different than supporting this specific petition yet, if it proceeds, they may then be stuck with the reality of an initiative that was never intended to be utilized. A bit of a problem and it would be great to hear from the mayors if this specific initiative is precisely what they would have proposed to fix the perceived loopholes.

I'm not against understanding if we have now identified unintended issues with the SP but i'd recommend doing so in a more logical fashion.

The situation has become an unfortunate one for MP and it surely does not help our reputation as being unfriendly to development and the risk that our downtown stays sub par remains. It is not a public works project and developers do have choices. Time will tell.


Posted by What Nonsense , a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Just Say'n, you have uncovered some mighty important information. Can you elaborate? The combination 1300 ECR and Derry projects had proposals that were approved or ready to go? Can we return to those project numbers? How can the city make the new owner, this Greenheart (What a Name? Sounds suspicious.) make room for more retail? Doesn't the General Plan identify ECR as a street where retail is encouraged?

Can you do the same research about the Stanford proposal? What is the percentage of retail in that large project?

Thanks for giving us the straight scoop. I wish Mr. Carpenter would look at the 2 big projects on ECR and analyze the amount of office, housing and retail. Quoting from the Specific Plan is fine but now the city is facing the reality of development projects that seem too big, even for ECR.

Just say'n, I don't remember seeing such large renderings of buildings at the visioning meetings that we are seeing today from Stanford and this new owner of the Derry and 1300 ECR? How did this happen?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Ummm:

your last post is dead on. Most people don't understand the implications of this initiative in the long term for Menlo Park. If they do, they don't care that this initiative and this entire nonsense created by it will do more to keep the undeveloped lots on ECR for a long, long time.

To them I say:

Enjoy the view.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

What:

the plans for 1300 ECR and the Derry project were approved and ready for permit, but the economy tanked in 2008 and made these projects not financially viable. They've become viable again now that the economy has improved.


Posted by clarification, a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Menlo Voter, the approved 1300 project (from 2009, originally submitted in 2007), with office above big box retail above 3+ acres of underground parking is not now economically viable nor will likely ever be again given changes in retail and construction lending since its approval 5 years ago.

Greenheart has now proposed a completely different project, which to them is economically viable.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Willow Expressway Sand Hill (Willow) Road reaching El Camino, various road widening projects, HSR, BART and Caltrain projects. Time and time again I have read the opposition to projects, don't get me wrong not saying we send in the chainsaws or bulldozers.

Growth has been happening here for 50 years, doubt very likely it will stop anytime soon. This is what happens when you have World Class universities, hospitals, access to lots of capital and brainpower. Can't expect to be rural.

Have any of lived in place called a village.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Yes. My English family, with whom my wife and I share the family farm where we often spend time, live in Upton Warren, UK.

"Upton Warren is a village and civil parish in the Wychavon district, in Worcestershire, England. The village is situated just off the A38 road between Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa, and on the River Salwarpe. In the 2001 census, the parish, which also contains the small hamlet of Cooksey Green, had a population of 291."

The village has many more sheep and cattle than people and almost as many horses. The roads are narrow two lane and one lane roads. There is one church, one gas station, one pub, no post office, no doctor's office, no hospital, no school, no fire station, no police station, no grocery store and no high speed internet. That is a village.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Menlo Park residents and the consultants, staff and the council want to preserve the "village character". It is the top goal of the SP. Get over it.

Regarding economic viability, there are projects under construction now on El Camino Real. Weren't they approved before the SP but only recently got their funding? Don't they prove that a variety of mixed use projects are viable?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

How many new projects have been submitted since the infamous 'Mayors Letter" was issued?


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Peter Carpenter:

I have no idea how many new projects have been submitted in the almost 1 week since the "Mayors Letter" was submitted.

But I do know, that of the 76 comments posted on the thread thus far, you posted 19 of them (25%)


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"But I do know, that of the 76 comments posted on the thread thus far, you posted 19 of them (25%)"

Well somebody has to keep the facts straight. And I would welcome more inout from others but don't expect me to be silent when the truth is being trashed.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm

How much retail in stanford project? 2% (10,000 sq ft out of more than 400,000 sq ft total)


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Proud:

so a "lack of retail" is a problem? Retail brings more not less traffic, yet SM's big bugaboo is that this project will bring too much traffic. So which is it? Is too much traffic a problem or not?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Park retail is suffering from a lack of customers - just look at the turnover on Santa Cruz. Talk to the owners of our current retail establishments. What is needed is more customers not more competition.

And ECR next door to the Stanford Shopping Center would be a very poor location for more retail.


Posted by Happy to have signed, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Well I for one am very happy to have signed the initiative. Frankly I don't really care what a certain poster has to say on the matter or his boasts about keeping the facts straight, which he does not really seem to do. The people who live in Menlo Park, Pay taxes in Menlo Park and whose lives would be directly impacted by these developments should have the say. Not a person living in a small enclave of a neighboring city who would not be impacted by increased traffic.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 16, 2014 at 7:22 am

Happy:

Atherton won't be impacted by increased traffic on ECR? Seriously? Do you think that traffic just magically disappears and reappears at the border of Atherton? The naiveté (to be polite) of that is mind boggling.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Happy - We look forward to you making substantive contributions to this topic so that the Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion.


Posted by Happy to have signed, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

Lindenwood will not be impacted by any development in Menlo Park. You will not see any additional traffic on any residential street in Lindenwood.

Peter, like wise.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Happy - I will be impacted by the development in Menlo Park - or more accurately by the lack of necessary development in Menlo Park. I spend 90% of my Bay Area expenditures in Menlo Park and unless downtown becomes more attractive and viable I will be forced to shop elsewhere.

I also drive on ECR every day and accept, as a consequence of the benefits that will be received from those developments, that the necessary development may impact that journey .
(You can drive very fast on Highway 5 but it is not a great place to live).


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Happy states -"Lindenwood will not be impacted by any development in Menlo Park."

That is precisely what is wrong with Happy's view - he believes that everyone should decide this issue only in terms of their own narrow self interests.


Posted by Sam Tyler, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

If you listen carefully, you will hear the draw bridges being raised at the city limits of Menlo Park. You can see the fences going up on vacant parcels along El Camino Real. We have former "mayors" advocating a draconian approach to land use planning and urban design. Regrowth and revitalization is a innate process found in nature AND vibrant active communities. In Menlo Park, the vocal minority advocate the continued policy of stagnation. And like a stagnate pond, this whole thing stinks.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm

The sky isn't going to fall if Stanford doesn't get to build their development as currently proposed. I believe the purpose of the initiative is to send a wake-up call to developers and our City Council that crappy over-sized projects without any significant benefit to the community won't be tolerated.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The sky isn't going to fall if Stanford doesn't get to build their development as currently proposed."

No the sky won't fall but don't expect Stanford or Greenheart to build anything for a long time now that the world has been told that the rules in Menlo Park are never going to be settled - which is exactly what Stop Menlo really wants.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm

The initiative enforces the limits that were in the "30-year" Specific Plan. The mayors and Save menlo people join the sierra club expert who said that the zoning rules within the plan need to be modified so the plan lasts as it's supposed to do, creating a balance of jobs and housing.
These first 2 projects would be affected by the initiative's office limit. If they're smart, they will come back with more balanced projects. The community was clear what was desired, and these developers can do better. The consultants crafted something that isn't achieving the community's vision, and the council can fix a few rules in the Plan.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Proud of Our Mayors

The initiative DOES NOT implement the plan. The Planning Department does. What this initiative does is place an additional burden on developers before they can develop a property in our city. Kind of like going to the Politburo for permission.

What the initiative does is SUBVERT the work of a process that was inclusive and thorough because it didn't satisfy a small minority of obstructionist, slow growth residents. That this sordid group of mayors signed this does not shed any new light on the subject.......

My hope is htat this will not gather enough signatures or it will not pass, THAT is what will "Save Menlo" not this knee jerk petition.....

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

At least three of these "mayors" were on the MP council when we pleaded to have the designated "Safe Route to Schools" route actually made safer (to allow kids/parents to bike/walk to school safely and reduce car trips, etc.).

After much "discussion," the response was: we can't (won't?) make the route completely safe, so perhaps... just take the "safe routes" signs down. I believe they then moved for more study. A classic strategy to avoid actually making a decision or finding a solution.

We need to move forward. May I ask once again: Former MP mayors, what are you actually for? Can you propose a productive solution?





Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:03 pm

One of these former mayors (who no longer lives in MP) went so far as to say (in substance): If we make it easy on people who drive cars in MP, more people will drive. We need to make it harder.


Posted by Council Watcher, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Paul Collacchi is the only former mayor who no longer lives in Menlo Park. He lives in Redwood City.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

He barely lived in Menlo Park.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm

"May I ask once again: Former MP mayors, what are you actually for? Can you propose a productive solution?"

Is silence your strategy?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 20, 2014 at 7:50 am

Received an email from Save Menlo which repeats the same tired lie that the DSP was "overseen" by a Stanford consultant. I guess when you don't have the truth on your side you just go ahead and lie. None of them have ever been able to produce one iota of evidence of this yet they continue to repeat it. Repeating a lie doesn't make it true. Just confirms the weakness of their position.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 20, 2014 at 11:26 am

Menlo Voter. SaveMenlo is telling the truth about the DSP overseen by consultants who also work with Stanford.

The lead consultant for the Specific plan was Perkins + Will. See city website for numerous documents, memos.

They have done many projects at Stanford. See the consultants' website and query for Stanford: Web Link

They have been Stanford's consultant for a 1.5 million sq ft project in Redwood City. Do a search on the consultants, Stanford, Redwood City
Web Link


Posted by Cmon, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm

If 9 ex council members endorsed this, more than that must have declined to do so. Simple math. SM is pure protest -- no argument that thoughtful people would consider reasonable.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Proud:

"involved" and Oversaw" are two completely different things and I suspect you know that. A Stanford consultant was involved. There isn't one single iota of evidence to support the statement that the consultant "oversaw" anything other than Stanford's position. Please, if you have some proof to support your statement that the Stanford consultant "oversaw" city staff do what none of the other Save Menlo folks that keep making the same accusation have never been able to do: produce a scintilla of evidence. You won't because you can't and neither could they or they would have done so by now.

Again, repeating the same lie over and over doesn't make it fact.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 21, 2014 at 8:29 am

Stanford asked for many things in letters that are on the city website. Staff presented these as modifications to the Specific Plan before being directed by council to draft them.
It isn't a lie to say that staff worked closely with Stanford to make changes Stanford wanted.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 21, 2014 at 9:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Stanford asked for many things in letters that are on the city website. Staff presented these as modifications to the Specific Plan before being directed by council to draft them. "


Yes - totally transparent, nothing was done in secret and the council was fully informed. End of myth.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

It certainly becomes problematic if SM has obtained signatures for its petition based on misrepresentations.

And still waiting for SM and the former mayors to propose a positive, productive solution.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Observer:

Save Menlo and the former mayors don't need to propose anything. If the petition makes it onto the ballot and people vote the initiative in, then Stanford will need to work with their consultants to develop a new proposal. There is also nothing preventing Stanford from offering up a new proposal right now.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is also nothing preventing Stanford from offering up a new proposal right now."

Except that some Save Menlo folks have already stated that they will oppose with law suits and more initiatives anything that Stanford proposes - so why should Stanford spend another penny of plans for a community that cannot provide a stable planning environment?


Posted by Observer, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 21, 2014 at 4:29 pm

"Save Menlo and the former mayors don't need to propose anything"

I disagree. At some point after all these years -- and we are certainly to that point now -- it becomes incumbent up them to offer up a practical, positive solution, rather than simply trying to derail all of the most recent discussions and planning.

Let's start by focusing on the vacant car lots on ECR: What would the former mayors like to see there (besides a park which someone else pays for and maintains in perpetuity)?

Failing to offer a practical solution suggests that what they really want is: "No change."


Posted by Cmon, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Mike, above, basically summarizes SMs goal here. i.e. it is not now nor has it ever been about dialogue toward a reasonable solution. It is about delay and scare tactics only. SM -- you should be proud of Mike! As an aside, I do believe that SM may be obtaining signatures without proper/fair disclosures. When I was approached by SMs leader, she said that "we don't want to be like Sunnyvale" and essentially that signing doesn't mean anything besides getting it on the ballot. No details were available. Just to get rid of these folks in public places, some people will just sign.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

"Yes - totally transparent, nothing was done in secret and the council was fully informed. End of myth. "

Bingo! So, Save Menlo, do you have anything beyond what was a very public process and letters from Stanford that are a part of the public record? Anything to support the claim that the Stanford consultant "oversaw" the DSP? I'm still waiting. Until then I will say again, Save Menlo is LYING about this. The mere fact that they feel it necessary to lie about the facts should be enough for people to refuse to sign their petition.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2014 at 6:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The consequences of the uncertainties created by Save Menlo are becoming clearer every day.

Web Link

The Park Theatre site has been sold and the previous owner, who proposed a number of development plans that were all turned down, stated that Menlo Park's "long arduous process of approvals," combined with residents' resistance to change created a situation of "not knowing whether one can do something with a piece of property."

Crittenden said he's currently eyeing a piece of "replacement property" to buy for development.

"One of the requirements I put on myself is, 'I will not buy in Menlo Park,'" Crittenden said.

The price of the uncertainty created by Save Menlo and the unaccountable 9 rises every day.


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2014 at 7:45 am

Mr. Carpenter continues to lobby for the greedy development interests.

[Portion Removed. Please don't use Town Square to accuse someone of unlawful behavior.]

In any case, I am sure the Peter Carpenter and others here will be glad to congratulate the SaveMenlo group, when they turn in the required signatures to get this initiative on the ballot. Alter all, so many of Carpenter's writings, champion open democratic government, and this process fits squarely in that area.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2014 at 8:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am all for open government and transparency - which I why I have log asked theses unanswered questions about the initiative:

1 - If you own a parcel and want to build a totally conforming ten room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 - Save Menlo got everything they asked for in their original petition, why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 - Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 - Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 - Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 - Who is funding this effort?


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2014 at 9:46 am

I take exception to removal of my comments about Mr. Crittenden. I restate he is a land owner that the City should just as soon be happy to forget. Take a look at this 2006 article and the promises made, and not kept.

Web Link

Mr. Crittenden closed the theater in August 2002. He said the theater's tenant, Landmark Theaters, could not afford to pay market-level rent.

The theater has remained vacant since the closure, as Mr. Crittenden's efforts to find new tenants and sell the property have been unsuccessful.

After the closure, Mr. Crittenden angered some people in the community by taking down the theater's neon sign, but he said under the new plans, the sign would return to the theater.

The front of the theater, which faces El Camino Real, would continue to resemble a theater, as the main entrance would stay intact, said architect Ken Hayes of the Redwood City-based Hayes Group.

"We plan on completely restoring the El Camino side of the building to create a symbol of the past," Mr. Hayes said.

The square footage of the structure would stay largely the same, but the interior of the building would be gutted to make way for office or retail space, depending on what interest the property sparks among potential tenants, Mr. Crittenden said.

Mr. Hayes said that any proposal to renovate the structure would likely be subject to a full environmental impact report (EIR), because under the California Environmental Quality Act, a historical assessment of potentially significant structures must be conducted before they are changed or demolished.

If an EIR is necessary, the City Council will have the final say on the proposal.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2014 at 10:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What old timer calls progress is driving out a local owner that he did not like and replacing him with a stranger or corporation which probably has no ties to the community and could care less what old timer wants - strange logic. Once again the goal is to Stop Menlo not to help make good things happen.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

The mayors and save menlo appear to want balanced development on El Camino. That is good for Menlo Park. Very large office buildings produce imbalance, and were not requested by the community in this part of town. The initiative promotes a balance in line with the studies of environmental and financial impacts that formed the basis for council and community approval of the specific plan.

If Crittendon wanted to build offices on the theater site, his project faced design review by the planning commission and high possibility of needing to pay for an EIR because the stanford and green hart projects exceed the total office amount studied in the specific plan. If he wanted to build his site to the maximum, he also would have had to provide some public benefit for the project. The initiative helps smaller property owners avoid an eir but is neutral about the other approval steps.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

Proud:

Save Menlo absolutely does NOT want balanced growth. When asked what they wanted Stanford complied with what they asked for. Then they moved the goal posts. Those are not the actions of someone that seeks "balance." Those are the actions of someone that wants nothing built. They've even said that they would file lawsuits and more initiatives if anyone tries to build something they don't like. The problem is they won't tell anyone what they would "like." Because what they would like is nothing. One of them even said they should turn the car lots into a park. Of course, none of them are offering up THEIR private property for public use.

Unlike you I am disgusted by the mayors and Save Menlo. They are beyond anti-growth. They are NO growth. They've already done great damage to this city.


Posted by Process, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Chatted with Save Menlo at the farmers market booth today and here is what I observed>

1. They were pretty friendly and seemed to be doing the right thing in terms of have initiative summary available. They were making sure folks said they were MP voters, etc.

2. Again, no attitude -- approachable

3. What concerned me was the narrative about the initiative. What is boiled down to was suggesting that, since the current specific plan as some holes (as they always do, I suspect) that this initiative was intended to "tweak" the requirements. It certainly has not seemed like the proposal is as light as a tweak.

4. then, it was suggested that the initiative uses the plans own numbers and just says that the voters must make the decision. They did not suggest that there was an alternative set of standards. When I asked what happens if, on the ballot, the initiative is approved, they seemed to admit that the new standards become effective.

5. The tone surely made it sound more "light" than I suspect it is, which was unfortunate. I think that residents should benefit be a factual summary of the plan so they can judge on its merits. Perhaps the speech was different to others but it stuck me as a bit too narrow.


Posted by Our town, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Menlo Voter, have you TALKED to the people collecting signatures or read the SaveMenlo webpage? Everyone wants development on El Camino: we want the development that was shown us after the visioning phase (retail, housing, hotel) not huge office buildings that provide no revenue or services to the city or residents. An El Camino that is end-to-end massive office buildings will not serve our city well and may in fact signal the end of Menlo Park's appeal as a residential community.

Process, try to keep in mind that the signature gatherers at the market are volunteers, not professional politicians. Some may not be as articulate as others when it comes to explaining the initiative. But it really doesn't matter if an individual signature gatherer provides an explanation that is "too narrow." With the initiative on the ballot, all the facts will be on the table and we voters can judge its merits (or lack thereof) and vote accordingly.

If you would like to find out more information about the initiative, there is a community meeting at 7:30 tomorrow (Monday, April 28) at Little House. All are invited. Or you can sign the petition when you visit the food trucks or the farmers' market.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Our Town:

No I haven't spoken to the signature gatherers. I've learned all I need to know from Save Menlo's behavior and the things their members have said on these forums.

Save Menlo asked for one thing, was given it then demanded more. Again, not the act of someone that wants "balanced" development. It's the act of someone that wants no growth and no development. They can SAY anything they want on their website. Their actions speak louder than their words.

Save Menlo is NO growth and NO change. Unless, of course, it happens to coincide with their narrow self interests. Like putting a park on the Stanford property.


Posted by Process, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:59 am

Our Town: It absolutely should matter what is said to potential signers. The purpose of this process is to demonstrate enough of an interest to bring it to the voters. To me, if the issue is not presented fairly then this perceived level of interest can be skewed. Do you feel that is fair way to get an issue on a ballot? Why have this process at all if the facts don't need to be presented clearly. By the way, Mike Lanza was one of the two reps at the booth -- not a casual participant. Mike seems like a nice enough guy and obviously is passionate about the subject. I think they'd actually be fine if they just made the facts and issue more clear.

Again, if there are gaps that need to be corrected, that is a valid issue that needs to be addressed. The issue seems to be debated only at the extremes, which is unfortunate. Thanks for the info on Little House session.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 28, 2014 at 7:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"we want the development that was shown us after the visioning phase (retail, housing, hotel) not huge office buildings that provide no revenue or services to the city or residents"

The Vision Plan is a collection of many wishes - you can find something in it to support almost any view:

"Strategic Opportunities for Near-term Change. Vacancies and underutilization
of the Plan Area's larger parcels, particularly those with the
exposure that El Camino Real provides, offer the opportunity to envision
future uses that are different than those that formerly occupied those key
sites."

"The interest in expanded vitality was also heard from participants
seeking AN APPROPRIATE BALANCE (emphasis added) between "village" and "city"."

"Workshop participants felt that the east side of El Camino Real could accommodate
higher intensity development because it does not have immediate
neighbors (between El Camino Real and train tracks) and the buildings would
not cast shadows onto any other buildings."

"At the NORTH (emphasis added) end of the Plan Area, there was also interest in mixed-use development, with the anticipation that housing and office uses would be most
successful. Although there was some skepticism about the success of retail in
this area, the market conditions will ultimately determine which uses will be
provided."

"Community members continually expressed their concern
about the blight these vacant parcels bring to Menlo Park and urged that they
be redeveloped in a timely manner. Additionally, the community supported
redevelopment of other parcels along El Camino Real currently developed in
a less-efficient manner. For example, some community members expressed
that small, 1-story auto mechanic and service uses were not appropriate on El
Camino Real."

Etc, etc, etc.....

The Specific Plan then took this very mixed bag of ideas and created a viable zoning and development plan.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:54 am

Too bad Menlo Voter is stuck in the past. Save Menlo started with a group of young families worried about Stanford's project. Their concerns increased greatly as they learned more about the specific plan, saw the green hart project come forward, and realized the plan itself has problems.

if they are successful getting signatures, it should be very clear that this is a grassroots movement in menlo park, not just the original small group. I am surprised that so many former mayors support the initiative because it's unusual for politicians to admit that something they helped create might have some flaws. I am very proud they wholeheartedly support the initiative.


Posted by Menlo voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:13 am

Not stuck in the past. I'm looking to the future. If this initiative makes it to the ballot and gets passed you can forget any developer putting any money at risk to build in this town. They're not going to put up money for something they have no idea they will ever be able to build. since the goal posts can so easily be moved why should they? And the initiative will lock that situation in for thirty years. The DSP may need tweaking. The initiative process isn't the way to do it. Especially THIS initiative. All I can say that if it passes, enjoy the view. It isn't going to change for a long time. But that's really what Save Menlo wants isn't it?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" If this initiative makes it to the ballot and gets passed you can forget any developer putting any money at risk to build in this town."

Actually the situation is even worse than Menlo Voter states - given the demonstrated uncertainty of Menlo Park's planning and zoning ordinances I doubt that any new development will take place for a long time, regardless of the outcome of the initiative. Of course, this is exactly what Stop Menlo wants.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 29, 2014 at 11:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you want to see how misguided citizen initiatives, including one heralded by Save Menlo folks, can produce unintended consequences look at what just happened in Palo Alto:

Web Link


Posted by MOE, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Our Town: Process, try to keep in mind that the signature gatherers at the market are volunteers.
Please tell us how many of your signature gatherers are paid to volunteer?


Posted by MOE, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Peter thank you for the link to Palo Altos consequences of a petition process. I hope people will read comments at that site carefully.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm

"a property owner the city should forget" as a neighbor to the theater this is what smart growth gets you this theater was championed by the city who basically handcuffed the property owner who was then forced to sell please understand that policy has consequences the theater debacle was the first shot across the bow and a personal project of Kelly Fergusons and others on the council then and now who embrace the notion of smart growth the proof is in the pudding look at our city from north to south its an embarrassment traffic is a joke parking? access? I think our leaders have done a fine job of preserving our small city mindless and have always made business the villain the last time I checked business does not run this city.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:58 pm

How to "tweak" the specific plan without the initiative? The city board didn't do it last fall when they could. I've heard they won't review the plan again for several years. Too late to affect two inappropriate huge projects.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I wonder who is so proud of others that he remains anonymous?
Perhaps a former mayor?


Posted by Poster, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I don't think a former mayor would refer to the council or the Planning Commission as a "city board."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I don't think a former mayor would refer to the council or the Planning Commission as a "city board."

Why not, it would not be the first stupid thing that they did. At least former Presidents realize that once they no longer have the responsibilities of that office that they it is far better to remain silent than to look foolish.


Posted by out of towner, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 30, 2014 at 7:10 am

let the weeds continue to grow !! Such a welcoming sight as one drives south on ECR


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Heaven forbid (and Stop Menlo too) that something like this be built in the Village of Menlo Park:

Web Link


Posted by Peter Weary, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:45 am

Office rents in Menlo Park are now, along with Palo Alto, the highest in Silicon Valley and the world. For those who understand how "price" functions in a market economy it means that office users really want to locate in Menlo Park, and developers badly want to accommodate them.

Menlo Park is an elite club to which people want to belong, don't fooled into thinking the city needs to make it easier to attract development. Menlo Park can afford to and should be as picky as it wants.

For those as tired of Peter as I am, here's some actual examples of development in Menlo Park along ECR. 1460 ECR is the new Beltramo office/housing project now being built on ECR. Here's what it looks like: Web Link

Here's the city's page including history, timeline, and staff reports. Web Link

First, the project required many, many city approvals including rezonings, EIR and got them. Second, it was developed under the old, pre-Specific Plan, zoning densities. Third it was first proposed in the 2006, the middle of the "lost decade", asked for several approval extensions, and, when the economy turned around got built.

It is one of many projects on ECR built in the last decade that contradict the many false assertions being made by all the pro-development trolls on this blog.

It was a mistake to upzone office in the Specific Plan. Regional office is ravaging the plan.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" it was developed under the old, pre-Specific Plan, zoning densities. "

Yep, and since then what exactly has happened on ECR???????

How many projects on ECR are just waiting to be approved???

How many new projects on ECR are being planned???


Posted by Janet, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Apr 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

[Portion removed. Please avoid personal comments on posters.] If you build more offices then ABAG will require that you build a whole lot more houses. Menlo Park is nicer than PA because it cares about its trees and parks. As to the expansion of Sand Hill Road, all that did is generate more development and it is now more congested than it was before. I support the mayors.


Posted by No Easy Solutions, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm

@Janet, personal attack of people who live in or out of MP does not promote the discussion further. What is next? Attack on renters in Menlo Park as they are not home owners?

Most of my neighbors that I've spoken with are for smart growth, which also varies and there is not a uniform agreement. I'm waiting for the third party report to provide additional context. Those who already have a strong opinion will embrace or decry the findings, but for majority of folks who are in the middle will appreciate it.

On the surface, using an initiative process to codify zoning ordinance, which can only be changed by another initiative is not a smart thing.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 1, 2014 at 9:48 am

The example shown was built after the Specific Plan was approved. So the old rules work in current economic times.
Several other projects are under construction (housing near College and el camino, office at 1706 el camino), also approved under old rules but didn't start construction until after the economy improved and after the specific plan was approved.

The save menlo people tried to get the city to change the specific plan and resorted to an initiative when that didn't happen. It appeared to me that they resorted to the only tool left. It's very smart and the only way left to codify the plan vision and the balanced development they and other residents believed would occur.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 9:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" it was developed under the old, pre-Specific Plan, zoning densities. "

Yep, and since then what exactly has happened on ECR???????

How many projects on ECR are just waiting to be approved???

How many new projects on ECR are being planned???

Answers please.


Posted by I Signed, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 1, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I signed the petition, and have encouraged others to sign. I don't think Save Menlo's proposal is perfect. Peter has identified some important issues with it. However, I feel that the Specific Plan has too many flaws that need to be addressed before major projects like Stanford's and Greenheart's are approved.

Personally, the key benefit of the initiative is that it elevates the dichotomy between what was "promised" to the voters and what was delivered in the Specific Plan. My hope is that when faced with the prospect of a November vote on an initiative that many important players don't like, there will be a renewed urgency to find workable solutions and make modifications to the Specific Plan that will more closely align it with what many believe was its original intent. If a new and improved Specific Plan can be achieved before November, then perhaps Save Menlo will throw its weight behind the new plan, and this citizens' action will have been successful, though not at the voting booth.

Voters should not be expected to read every item that goes in front of the City Council. Sorry, Peter, that is a ridiculous assumption. Constituents elect representatives to act on their behalf. However, it doesn't always work out that way. Although there has been conjecture, we have no way of knowing definitively why the planning department and our city council members were so off base when it came to representing the interests of so many of their constituents, and approving the Specific Plan. In this particular case, waiting for the next election to "vote them out" is not be a feasible option. I give Save Menlo credit for standing up, while the majority of us were sitting down.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" If a new and improved Specific Plan can be achieved before November, then perhaps Save Menlo will throw its weight behind the new plan,"

Never happen - Save Menlo's number one tactic is constantly changing the goal posts and they will never agree to anything. Also, once the signatures are obtained the only alternative the council has is to adopt the initiative AS IS or let it go on the ballot.


Posted by What Nonsense, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Good Grief, focus people! The initiative has three (3) elements. There is no attempt by SaveMenlo to throw the plan out or change every element. 1. change the definition of open space so that private balconies in the residential units are no longer considered "open space." 2. Place a 100,000 SF cap on office on every development in the Specific Plan area. 3. When the non-residential development reaches what was studied in the E.I.R. 470,000 SF the only way to exceed that number is that the voters in Menlo Park must want it and vote for it.

It couldn't be more simple. It couldn't be more moderate. These three changes will protect the Specific Plan from changes in the future that will make the Plan pointless. If the purpose of the Plan is to prepare for growth in the next 30 years, what could be better than leaving some of the non-residential development for owners of smaller parcels than what Stanford and Greenheart have.

Sign the Petition and get these three (3) improvements on the November ballot.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm

@I Signed: Thank you for so carefully articulating a position that myself and likely many other Menlo Park residents agree with. This was a breath of fresh air to a forum that really needed it.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The 12 page initiative unfortunately contains much more than the simplistic explanation given above. Please read it and note that it sets in stone definitions and Specific Plan boundaries etc unless any changes are approved by a future voter initiative - a horrible way to run a city.

And Save Menlo has NOT given, and actually is incapable of giving (since it is an amorphous entity), any assurances that there will not be further attempts to stop projects which even comply with its initiatives. In fact, some Save Menloites have publicly stated that they will stop any Stanford project with future initiatives and lawsuits.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Excerpts from the REAL (rather than the simplistic) Initaitive:
"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."

"3.3.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix
includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices,
Business and Professional": "Offices of firms or organizations
providing professional, executive, management, or administrative
services, such as accounting, advertising, architectural, computer
software design, engineering, graphic design, insurance, interior
design, investment, and legal offices. This classification excludes
hospitals, banks, and savings and loan associations." The
foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the
voters.
3.3.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix
includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices,
Medical and Dental": "Offices for a physician, dentist, or
chiropractor, including medical/dental laboratories incidental to the
medical office use. This classification excludes medical marijuana
dispensing facilities, as defined in the California Health and Safety
Code." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby
adopted by the voters.
3.3.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix
includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Banks
and Other Financial Institutions": "Financial institutions providing
retail banking services. This classification includes only those
institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money, including
credit unions." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is
hereby adopted by the voters."

Folks, this is NOT a simple three sentence initiative. If it were then they would not have to have used an unnamed lawyer to help them write the thing.


Posted by what nonsense, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Carpenter, thanks for quoting from the Specific Plan that legally was required to be included in the initiative. There is no reason to be frightened of the very language the Specific Plan used.

Please stop stirring up trouble. Had the initiative not used the Specific Plan language, some one would/could have claimed the initiative was not clear and sued SaveMenlo.

I say, sign it or don't sign it but please stop the intentional confusion.

Oh right, I forgot, you don't live in Menlo Park and cannot sign the petition. Oh well.


Posted by I Signed, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm

To Mike Keenly,

Thanks. I hadn't looked at this Town Square stream for a couple weeks, and couldn't believe that it was still growing, yet the back and forth hadn't changed. Talking at each other, and not with each other,is going to drive this initiative to a vote, a situation that I hope is avoided.


Posted by Menlo voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm

I signed:

you're right it will be unfortunate if this initiative makes it to the ballot. It's totally unnecessary.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is no reason to be frightened of the very language the Specific Plan used."

No more so than to think that one sentence of the US Constitution could be used in place of the entire Constitution.

The Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative cannot begin to compare in quality, transparency or logic to the exhaustively developed, debated and deliberated Specific Plan. A minority of self appointed and self serving residents is no substitute for the responsible actions of elected and appointed officials.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Talking at each other, and not with each other,is going to drive this initiative to a vote, a situation that I hope is avoided."

Unfortunately the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative is a take it or leave it proposition - they have no interest in talking and they have no ability to change a single word in their initiative.


Posted by Cmon, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

What Nonsense -- quite a naive view. Have you talked to SM folks? The proposal is not practical for land owners and there is no intention to be reasonable so please don't craft one!


Posted by I signed, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 1, 2014 at 9:40 pm

MV and PC,

Since you appear to be inclined to pull sound bites from others' postings, which can obscure their original meanings, let me be clear about my opinion. The SM Initiative is necessary to qualify for the ballot in order to exert pressure on the City to reopen discussion about the Specific Plan, and to provide them with enough muscle to modify the plan so that it better reflects the goals put forward by the City and embraced by much of the community. I hope that between now and November, the SP is amended to the point that SM no longer feels that its initiative needs to win at the ballot box. If the SP remains as is, and Stanford and Greenheart can proceed with their developments as currently envisioned, I will vote YES on Election Day.

That is the way a democracy works. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

And as aside, did you read InMenlo today that MP is 5th among the richest small cities in the US? Stanford may decide to be obstinate and not develop their property, but there is no doubt in my mind that there is ample desire to develop commercial property in MP, even if the zoning rules become more restrictive. There is only so much dirt.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is only so much dirt."

Stanford has over $13 BILLION worth of dirt - its Menlo Park holdings do not even show up in the rounding up.

"I hope that between now and November, the SP is amended to the point that SM no longer feels that its initiative needs to win at the ballot box."

There is no such thing as a SM initiative. The Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative is a take it or leave it proposition and they have no ability to change a single word in their initiative. If it qualifies then it goes on the ballot and I guarantee you that no matter what the city does that Mike Lanza/Patti Fry will not vote against their own precious child or encourage others to do so.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is time for some truth telling in this fiasco.

Do the citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

Do the citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

Do the citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

Do the citizens know that the claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply lies and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at ECR and Live Oak Drive?

Do the citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

Do the citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer are really better able, without public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 2, 2014 at 7:10 am

I signed:

You don't seem to understand that if this initiative makes it to the ballot it must be voted on. It doesn't allow the council to make changes to the DSP and then it will go away. It can't. It doesn't work that way. Even if the council were to amend the DSP to the point that you and Save Menlo might be happy (highly unlikely,)if enough signatures are gathered it goes to the ballot or it gets adopted AS WRITTEN by the council. There's no amendment to the initiative without another vote. It's a stupid way to manage zoning issues.

If it makes it to the ballot and passes you and Save Menlo can enjoy the view for the next thirty years.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 2, 2014 at 9:47 am

"Crittenden said he's currently eyeing a piece of "replacement property" to buy for development. 'One of the requirements I put on myself is, I will not buy in Menlo Park,' Crittenden said. The price of the uncertainty created by Save Menlo and the unaccountable 9 rises every day."

Your pointed hat precedes you, Peter. Crittenden's feud with Menlo Park stretches back 14 years for the property in question and has absolutely nothing to do with Save Menlo or the position of the nine mayors concerning the initiative. No link of any kind between Crittenden and Save Menlo is implied in the article you shared above and, what's more, Crittenden appears to distrust your immutable DSP:

"The city's El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan, approved by the City Council in June 2012 after five years of meetings and public debate, offers few assurances to a builder, he said. 'The planning commission can look at it (a project) and make additional requirements, even if the zoning says this is what it's zoned for.'"

Whether losing Crittenden the property owner is a net gain or loss for Menlo Park is debatable, but what's abundantly clear is that you, Peter, will shamelessly spin any story to bolster your sagging position and will avail yourself of any opportunity to disparage Save Menlo and those who seek more modest growth in Menlo Park (and by "modest" I mean 600,000 square feet of new development split between Stanford and Greenheart on El Camino Real, as opposed to the 800,000 square feet these developers desire).

You consistently railed in this forum that "Menlo Park does NOT want a village!" You were wrong. More, you were ignorant of the guiding principle of the DSP visioning process (retain the city's village character), and when confronted with this fact your sole retort was to reminisce about the nature of the medieval English villages you have visited and state that Menlo Park could never attain a similar village character. Why you never pointed out this glaring, unworkable contradiction *during* the visioning process, which you claimed to closely observe, remains unclear.

You consistently railed in this forum that opponents of the proposed Stanford development numbered but a handful of no-growth malcontents serving their narrow self-interests, while shared city-wide concerns about increased traffic, increased pollution, exacerbated housing imbalance, greater demands on city services and infrastructure, private balconies serving as open space, lost revenue opportunities vis-a-vis a hotel, and others were effortlessly waved aside from the comfort of your Lindenwood easy chair.

You were wrong, and no more humorously wrong than in several of your comments sprinkled through numerous Almanac threads, including that beginning, "I challenged the opponents to put up or shut up - and they declined to respond." [Web Link]

And then there was, "I would welcome an attempt to put the Stanford project on the ballot. I know that 513 signatures won't qualify the issue for the ballot and I am sure that IF a vote against the Stanford project got on the ballot it would fail. The majority of Menlo Park voters do not want to kill development, do not want to reject increased revenues and do not want to be a village." [Web Link]

Again, directly from Peter, "I would welcome an attempt to put the Stanford project on the ballot." It appears that 1,800 Menlo Park voters (and counting) agree with you, Peter.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 9:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" No link of any kind between Crittenden and Save Menlo is implied in the article you shared above"

The link could not be clearer to anyone who can read - uncertainty leads to withdrawal and the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative has created exactly that uncertainty. That uncertainty is also why the prospective new hotel player quickly departed the scene.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 10:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Again, directly from Peter, "I would welcome an attempt to put the Stanford project on the ballot." It appears that 1,800 Menlo Park voters (and counting) agree with you, Peter."

I have no doubt that a well informed electorate this does not rely on the lies spread by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative supporters (like 6 story buildings and pictures of ECR traffic that were certainly made on a Stanford football game day, etc) will defeat the initiative if it reaches the ballot. So far the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative supporters have had a free ride with no one challenging their false claims and outright lies and few people documenting the damage that they have already done to Melo Park but that free ride has come to an end.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Thank you Peter

I think as the voting public begins to understand not only the "unintended consequences" of this misguided initiative, but also learns of the inevitable candidates that they will no doubt run in support of it. They can see they were minor shills used to run an "anti-development" platform for city council.

That Mike and Patti's initiative had to use paid signature gatherers is a sign of the "lack" of community support.

At it's peak our Measure L Pension Reform Initiative had over 60 volunteer signature gatherers who helped us gather the largest number of signatures ever for a MP Ballot Initiative (we could have in fact FORCED a special election we gathered so many). Measure L went on to be the most lopsided victory in City/County History. We carried EVERY precinct in Menlo Park.

That Mike and Patti's initiative was developed in a dark room without any public input, and not immediately released to the public shows their continued concern for it's narrowness and the perception that it is a NIMBY initiative. They should be concerned, it is.

Once the public gets more information about how their initiative is wrong about adding traffic (Jess Quirion from Menlo Park showed the numbers to them) I would assume we will get an immediate retraction of their false claims. Just as they should immediately stop talking about 6 story buildings (non are planned so that is an untruth)

Again Peter, thank you for your continued commitment to the ECR Corridor. And to good governance.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by what Nonsense, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm

"A major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because . . ."

Carpenter: you have gone too far this time. Gives us evidence or withdraw your statement. There is absolutely no reason why you would know such a thing. With Stanford and Greenheart already proposing designs that do not include a hotel, there isn't a parcel remaining that could accommodate a hotel.
I ask you, where is your honor?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Gives us evidence or withdraw your statement."

I stand 100% behind my statement. I was told this by two council members. It would have used part of the Greenheart holdings.


And my honor is intact.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

I was with Peter when he was told that a prominent Hotel Group chose not to put a Hotel in the Roger Reynolds Nursery over the "uncertainty" of development in Menlo Park with with the Initiative gathering process.

This is going to be repeated over and over again, as the Mike/Patti Initiative winds it's way through it's process. Even when it is defeated there will forever remain the "doubt" that it brought to developing in Menlo Park.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

OK What nonsense you have challenged one of my statements and my answer has been independently confirmed ( I stand corrected on the site that was being considered) so now in the interest of this forum being a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion would you please start answering my questions:

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

I welcome answers to these questions from Lanza and Fry – or others.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Some additional questions"

14 - Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 - Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 - Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 - What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

One can only marvel at the duality Peter and Roy share. Just yesterday Peter presented the following as fact:

"Do the citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?"

Today we learn that Peter was told by one or two unnamed council members, who may or may not be privy to second-, third-, or fourth-hand information, that an unnamed hotel concern may or may not have had an interest in the Roger Reynolds site, and may or may not have had a discussion with Greenheart about sharing their holdings, and this unnamed hotel concern purportedly fled the area due solely to fears over a petition drive which Peter steadfastly assures us will never land an initiative before Menlo Park voters.

Peter, do you have the barest shred of hard evidence to make the claim that this unnamed hotel concern was prepared to invest in the stated property and pulled out *solely* because of the petition now being circulated? Your anecdotal conversation with unnamed council members is proof of nothing, of course.

Gern


Posted by Scott Oesterling, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

If you are, like me, trying to make up your mind about the project, take a look at the plans for the Stanford Proposal.


Web Link



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Garn - what gall you have. My statement has been independently confirmed by another real person and you have never even identified yourself or answered a single question that I have posed. What a coward you are!!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Scott - your reference is a year out of date. Thanks to the Keith/Carlton subcommittee there was a later and smaller Stanford proposal.

See Web Link for the facts.


Posted by I Signed, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I see three options if the City is faced with the SM Initiative (it doesn't belong to two people) being on the ballot: 1) do nothing and wait for the vote, 2) adopt the Initiative as it, or 3) feel the pressure of an affirmative vote and refine the SP to address major shortcomings. PC and MV, you seem to hone in 1 and 2, and forget about 3.

Also, I do not doubt your integrity about what you heard about Greenheart and Roger Reynolds. However, given that the Greenheart project was in the works before Roger Reynolds closed last year, I find it hard to believe that this piece of real estate on the other side of Encinal Avenue from the Greenheart project could have been realistically been a part of the Greenheart proposal. This sounds like speculation based on speculation.

And Peter, with regard to your insinuation that Stanford doesn't need to care about its property on ECR because it owns so much more "dirt" that it can develop, I also find this hard to believe. How much of that dirt is on the major commercial street adjacent to its campus? Not too much. Stanford wants to expand, and it only has so much dirt on the best street around.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"he SM Initiative (it doesn't belong to two people)"

Wrong - by law the initiative belongs ONLY to the people who signed the original filing so it is properly the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative.

" find it hard to believe that this piece of real estate on the other side of Encinal Avenue from the Greenheart project could have been realistically been a part of the Greenheart proposal."
As posted above "my answer has been independently confirmed ( I stand corrected on the site that was being considered)" it always was the Rogers Reynolds site and had nothing to do with Greenheart.

"How much of that dirt is on the major commercial street adjacent to its campus"
Great question - you will note that the west side of ECR from the Shopping Center to Serra Street is ALL "dirt".

"Stanford wants to expand, and it only has so much dirt on the best street around."
The best street from an investor's point of view is where the rules are clear and stable and permit a return on an investment.


Posted by Menlo voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I don't hone in on option 3 because it's not possible. If it makes it to the ballot it must either be voted on or the city council has to adopt. Option 3 isn't an option. That's why trying to manage zoning by initiative is a stupid idea.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the supporters of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative do not understand the laws regarding an initiative. Don't Lanza and Fry have a responsibility to inform their supporters of these facts:

1 - the initiative is the sole property of Mike Lanza and Patti Fry,

2 - No one, not even Mike Lanza and Patti Fry, can now change a single word of the initiative without starting all over gathering new signatures,

3 - If the proposed initiative receives enough valid signatures it must either be adopted without change, including all of its already identified unintended consequences, by the council or go on the ballot.

Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?


Posted by I signed, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

BTW, I am not a part of SM, nor have I ever been. I'm just a voter who drives up and down ECR every day.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm

I signed:

Glad to hear it. Please be clear on what this initiative brings and how it works. This thing makes it to the ballot and it won't matter what the council does to modify the DSP. I drive up and down ECR every day as well and I can tell you that eliminating parking along ECR would fix some of the current traffic. And it would be much more effective than this ridiculous initiative. Especially since the traffic study showed that the Stanford project actually produces LESS traffic than Lanza/Fry would have you believe.


Posted by proud of mayors, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 2, 2014 at 9:51 pm

@PC - prove that the council and commissions discussed every specific plan element and definition. They did not.
What is self-serving about promoting quality of life for residents? What other gain are you implying? Please stop the innuendo. I'm proud of the mayors and proud of neighbors who are willing to fight for the Plan results we thought we were going to get.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 2, 2014 at 11:03 pm

"Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer ... are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?"

Only those cursed with a most fearful imagination could read the succinct text of the initiative and deduce that its proponents wish to "define the future" of Menlo Park. Fortunately, Peter, the well-informed Menlo Park electorate will read the initiative for themselves, will discuss it with their neighbors, and will understand the measure's chief aim is to remedy two lacunas in the otherwise commendable DSP. Menlo Park voters will likely prefer bookending our town with 600,000 square feet of new development on El Camino Real rather than the 800,000 square feet desired by Stanford and Greenheart, much as that notion irks you and a few others in this forum.

But to turn your argument round on you, is a self-styled Athertonian Champion of Good Governance, one impervious to cut-through traffic and ABAG housing demands given his Lindenwood address, better able to understand and appreciate the implications of the initiative than nine former Menlo Park mayors, several current and former Planning Commission members and the roughly 1,800 Menlo Park voters who have thus far signed the petition? How is it that a man who does not live in Menlo Park -- has never lived in Menlo Park? -- and who has given zero years of public service to the city (not discounting his work on the Fire Board) is still able to grasp with greater clarity the issues surrounding the initiative than the preceding group? Only one man could wield such remarkable erudition and inestimable self-worth: The Most Interesting Man in Atherton.

Gern


Posted by No Easy Solutions, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2014 at 12:15 am

@Gern: Your patronizing comment about Peter is not appreciated. It does not promote this important discussion further. It makes you sound weak as you are attacking the person vs debating the merits of his position. There are diverse opinion on what is "Smart Growth". Last I checked free speech was not limited only to residents of MP.

As I've said before, using the initiative process to change zoning ordinance that can only be changed by another initiative is not a smart thing, especially for 30 years.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2014 at 7:48 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Gern,

178 Posts and only 7 people use their real names, and you question what PROOF Peter and I have about the Hotel.

The proof is we are willing to put our names on this blog when we say it, rather remain the COWARD that you are to hide your insults in anonymity.

The Mike/Patti "Destroy Menlo" initiative is misguided, and a NIMBY response to not getting their way in the visioning process for the Specific Plan, and will NOT get the overwhelming support of the community. And yet if passed, it will be the law of the land. It will make Menlo Park a "no growth" community and have long term negative consequences, including many more developers (like the Hotel chain) that will pass on building here due to the uncertainty.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Well, we are making progress.

Gern has answered one of the 18 questions:
13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

To which Gern replied that he does not wish to "define the future" of Menlo Park. Great.

His answered is then contradicted when he states he does want to "remedy two lacunas in the otherwise commendable DSP. Menlo Park voters will likely prefer bookending our town with 600,000 square feet of new development on El Camino Real rather than the 800,000 square feet desired by Stanford and Greenheart,". That sounds like "defining the future" of Menlo Park to me.

Gern and others do not understand that the unvetted and poorly worded Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will also do many other things to "the otherwise commendable DSP" like preventing any of the small property owners on ECR from ever redeveloping their property because of a 30% reduction in their allowable footprint and precluding the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown because of the definition in section 3.3.1., etc., etc, etc..

Sorry Gern, you cannot have it both ways - either you want to change the Specific Plan or you don't - which is it?

And if you do want to change the carefully vetted and publicly debated Specific Plan with the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative do you really understand all the collateral damage that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will do?

If so, then just answer each of the other 17 questions. The voters deserve answers to these questions.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern states "this unnamed hotel concern"

It was the Banyan Tree Group:
"In days gone by, merchants would gather under the leafy branches of a banyan tree to conduct business in the cooling shade. Over time, this unique tree has come to symbolise the relief and shelter provided by nature to all men and women. Today, it is also the name of a special group of hotels that stretches across the globe and offers rest and relaxation to the world-weary. With attentive, yet discreet staff, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts provide naturally-luxurious, ecologically sensitive, culture-aware experiences for the discerning, responsible traveller. They are quite simply, the way things should be."

"The way things should be" but now NOT in Menlo Park because of the uncertainty created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Garn states - "and who has given zero years of public service to the city (not discounting his work on the Fire Board)".

That is a lot like saying that a man who has served six years in the military including on the ground in Vietnam and six years in other federal service including as a Smokejumper and in the White House has given zero years of public service to his country.

Garn seems to fail to recognize that I have been elected three times, and always with more votes than any other candidate, by the citizens of Menlo Park (as well as the citizens of the other jurisdictions served by the Fire District). But then some people just have no interest in the facts.

Gern - This is not about me. Just answer the questions - please.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The more one looks at the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative the more questions arise that need to be answered.

The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question:

19 - Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Continuing his "one man" effort to defeat the initiative, Peter Carpenter, a non-resident of Menlo Park, has posted 58 times to this issue, about 31% of the 183 comments made thus far.

As SaveMenlo closes in on getting the needed number of signatures, all of his effort will be seen as useless and should act as a motivator to the voters of Menlo Park, since here is an "outsider", for whatever reason, trying to dictate policy in Menlo Park.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

old timer - if the proponents of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative cannot answer the simple questions that I have raised then I predict the intelligent voters in Menlo Park will reject this unveiled and poorly written attempt to revamp the hard work of the council and planning commission.

The silence of the proponents of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative is very telling. Even old timer has failed to either answer a single one of these simple questions or to defend the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative.

As for 'dictating policy' that is what the unveiled proponents of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative is trying to do; all I am trying to do is shine some light on this effort and then to encourage intelligent voters to make up their own minds. That may be a reach for an old timer.


Posted by henry fox, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Former Mayor Lee Duboc, echoed my sentiments, so I will reprint her adominition not to sign the petition here, although it was emailed a month ago. (email her if you want to be on her email list at menlofuture@gmail.com.

Why We Should Not Sign the Petition.

Fellow Residents,

Soon you will be asked to sign a petition—possibly by your friend or neighbors—that will place an Initiative on Menlo Park's November ballot. Please do not sign it. It is bad legislation.

This legislation is 12 pages long and is filled with unvetted zoning code—the kind of stuff we hire expensive city planning staff and consultants to create, and have an attorney and Planning Commission review, and then provide for future reviews to correct unintended consequences. *

Not only is this Initiative unvetted, it specifies that almost any change to the code would require a city-wide vote.**

The subject of the Initiative is the Downtown Specific Plan—which governs development along the east side of El Camino Real and part of our down town. I can understand a ballot Initiative that attempts to alter or eliminate the Downtown Specific plan. I can understand a ballot initiative that directs the City Council to redo certain aspects of the Plan to make it more to the Petitioners' liking. But I cannot understand a ballot initiative that forces untested technical changes which are impossible to even correct without another expensive and divisive vote.

Those collecting signatures to get this Initiative on the Ballot may tell you, among other things, that the petition will result in less traffic on El Camino Real than what is currently proposed—even though the word "traffic" does not appear in the document. Or they may say "oh please, just sign the petition so the issue comes to a vote."

But folks. Please don't sign it. It is bad legislation and the potential negative consequences are too far-reaching to risk.

I invite you to send me your comments and suggestions. And I invite a total rewrite of this Initiative by those who created it.
Thanks, Lee Duboc (menlofuture@gmail.com)


*The Initiative can be found at Web Link
Notice that the City Attorney will change the title and provide a summary before it is complete.

**The inability to change the provisions of this untested Initiative over time is most troubling.
5.1. After this measure becomes effective, its provision shall prevail over and
supersede all provisions of the municipal code, ordinances, resolutions,
and administrative policies of the City of Menlo Park which are inferior to
the Planning Policy Documents and in conflict with any provisions of this
measure.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Old Timer

Peter is NOT alone in his efforts to defeat the initiative. There are MANY Menlo Park residents who are NOT happy about Mike & Patti defining development for 30 years.

I apologize for not being more vocal about the insanity of this initiative and the LONG TERM negative consequences to Menlo Park. The amount of misinformation that Mike & Patti and their supporters have used to try to hoodwink residents into signing is sad.

When the campaign for it's passage starts, there will no doubt be more information from our Council about the "real" traffic impact of their initiative vs. what was planned (it is negligible according to the traffic studies in the EIR)

again, Peter is NOT alone, there are a number of us working on the opposition. Please email me at roy(at)menloparkdeservesbetter.org to volunteer to help us in the months to come.

And Thank you Peter C. for being a strong advocate for this important issue.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Yes, Old Timer, there are a number of us that think the Fry/Lanza initiative is a HUGE mistake. We are not alone. This initiative is a usurpation of the very public process that created the DSP. The voters of this city should reject it. My hope is they will educate themselves to the actual FACTS surrounding this initiative and the DSP as opposed to the BS Fry and Lanza have been putting out.

By the way, I suspect the photo they are using to show the supposed "gridlock which will occur with the Stanford project" was actually taken when one of the fires in Redwood City at Woodside Road closed El Camino. It's either that or a Stanford game. Please Patti and Mike, prove me wrong.


Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 5, 2014 at 3:15 am

> I suspect the photo they are using to show the supposed "gridlock which will occur with the Stanford project"....

The camera data for the file says that it was taken by an Apple iPhone 5 f/2.4 1/60s on Thursday, 1/17/2013 – 5:12:46 PM


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2014 at 7:12 am

Wasn't that when Caltrans tore up all the traffic detector loops and had traffic screwed up on ECR for months?

Yep. Web Link

A little more disingenuousness from the Fry/Lanza camp. I hope the voters take all the lies and misinformation put out by these two into account if and when their is a vote on their initiative.


Posted by Menlop Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2014 at 7:13 am

*there


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 9:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Since the nine former mayors who, without any current responsibility for managing the city's affairs, felt empowered to write their infamous letter why are they now unwilling to answer the questions which have been posed about the Fry/Lanza initiative?

Perhaps they don't know the answers.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

@Henry Fox:

Thank you for reprinting Lee Duboc's argument against signing the petition.

Unfortunately, I find her argument very thin on substance, and frankly unconvincing. Why not stand up strong in favor of the Stanford and Greenheart development plans? Lee's strongest point against not signing the petition appears to be that it is 12 pages in length.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why not stand up strong in favor of the Stanford and Greenheart development plans? "

Primarily because the Fry/Lanza initiative is a challenge to the integrity of the council and the planning commission and the Specific Plan process and the initiative never even mentions, in contrast to the Derry and Gateway initiatives, any specific project.

If Fry/Lanza wanted to challenge the Stanford and Gateway projects they could have done so - they did not.

If someone is breaking into my house I am not concerned with what they want to steal but that they are breaking into my house.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I, too, received Lee Duboc's email a month or so ago and was struck by how similar its tone and content were to Peter Carpenter's unfounded claims sprinkled throughout this forum. The second paragraph in particular (beginning "This legislation is 12 pages long") appears to have been lifted directly from this forum. Seems that Lee borrowed heavily from Peter to craft her missive and she's been all but silent ever since -- misgivings, likely.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - Welcome back.

Why won't you or anyone else answer these questions?????

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

14 - Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 - Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 - Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 - What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?


19 - The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question:
Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?

I welcome answers to these questions from Lanza and Fry – or others.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

[Post removed. Please tone down the rhetoric and drop the personal attacks. Stick to the issue.]


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Peter Carpenter's unfounded claims"

Gern - please document these so-called unfounded claims. So far the only one you raised I easily refuted.

Don't you have any substantive contributions to make in defense of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?


Posted by olditmer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Rumor is very strong now that within a few days, SaveMenlo will deliver with plenty of "over the top" signatures for their initiative.

Poor Lee DuBoc, who somehow continues to believe she (and Winkler), have any real influence in city politics, after been swept aside in the 2006 election while using the Derry project as a poster child.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

One of the best things about the signatures being delivered is this particular thread will end.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm

According to Fry/Lanza website they still need 150 signatures. I wonder how many will be tossed when they turn them in?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Again we hear from Gern with, as usual, an attack on the messenger and nothing of any substance or fact. How about it Gern, do you have anything factual to add other than the length of the initiative? We already know how long it is. Doesn't have any bearing on the questions it raises. Questions Peter has posted, but you and other of the Fry/Lanza cabal have yet to answer. Except for one, of course. How about the rest?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"One of the best things about the signatures being delivered is this particular thread will end."

Sorry to tell you Mike but the questions won't go away and the voters of Menlo Park will demand answers. Just because you win a "primary" election does not meet that the campaign is over - it will have just begun.

Talking to people who have signed the initiative I believe that most of them felt that they were just endorsing the matter being put on the ballot and not that they supported the initiative - which they clearly admitted they did not even understand. Of course that is no surprise because the paid signature gatherers had no idea what was actually in the initiative and clearly no one really knows what its impact would be.


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Mr Carpenter just wrote above:

" Of course that is no surprise because the paid signature gatherers had no idea what was actually in the initiative and clearly no one really knows what its impact would be. "

Well for sure we do know what the defective, beyond belief really, over $1.5 million in cost, Specific Plan has induced.

The plan is really ridiculous. Spawning 5 story buildings of over the top high density development, with all its accompanying problems, (no room at the schools, traffic gridlock, almost no commercial space etc). Thus far with only the proposed Stanford and Greenheart projects, using up in a couple of years all the development forecast for 30 years. The Specific Plan in a nutshell is a disaster.

All of this was not what the Menlo Park Citizens wanted as expressed during the visioning process. And I'm quite tired of hearing that without this kind of development, the lots will stay vacant. Pure nonsense.

Look at all the development that has taken place under the old zoning rules. 1906 and 1706 El Camino. New Beltramo mixed use project near Duckys.

So get off of all this BS, crying that the only way to develop is to give away huge development incentives.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Old timer - please answers these specific questions which relate to your unfounded assertions:

14 - Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 - Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 - Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

***************
"And I'm quite tired of hearing that without this kind of development, the lots will stay vacant. Pure nonsense."

What is your evidence to the contrary?

Here is what GreenHeart has stated:
""Bob Burke, a principal with Greenheart, told me that the measure would mean "our proposed project wouldn't work.
"We'd have to go back and start over," he said. "That would be a long delay. And financially, it doesn't make sense. You'd have to alter the project significantly. Now the retail isn't as viable because you don't have the daytime population of the office."
What is not clear about that?

And Stanford has installed permanent fences around its properties - what does that say?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

When are old timer, Gern, Mike Keenly, Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and the former mayors going to start answer questions?

They can't hide forever.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 5, 2014 at 11:03 pm

"Gern - please document these so-called unfounded claims. So far the only one you raised I easily refuted."

I'm not certain to which claim you refer (one man's refutation is another's capitulation) but perhaps we should revisit the matter of the rumored hotel which was all but set to break ground on the Roger Reynolds site (or was that the Greenheart property — you didn't appear to have your facts in order) before the initiative allegedly scared off the rumored developer, the Banyan Tree Group.

To recap, Peter made the bold but unsubstantiated claim that "a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative." Peter further claimed that he received this information directly from two city council members, an assertion Roy Thiele-Sardiña corroborates because he was apparently at the meeting where this information was disclosed.

Now, a whole host of interesting questions arise from the little information Peter and Roy have shared about this meeting. Those which come foremost to mind, and which Peter and Roy will have no trouble answering if they wish to substantiate their claims, are:

1. Which two council members divulged this information and who or what was their source?
2. Who else attended this meeting besides Peter, Roy, and the two council members?
3. What was the context and substance of this meeting, apart from a discussion of the rumored hotel and the initiative before us?
4. Why are the initiative's two most vocal opponents (in this forum, at least) meeting with two council members and gleaning information which, by all indications, appears privileged?
5. Has this information been shared with other city personnel besides the two council members?
6. Were meeting minutes kept and was the public invited (fates help our council if three members were present)?
7. What was the actual status of this "major new hotel project" before it was abandoned, in light of the relatively recent demise of Roger Reynolds Nursery?
8. Has the rumored hotel developer corroborated this story?

Perhaps most interesting to me, however, is to recall how Peter rails at the initiative sponsors for their alleged secrecy and lack or transparency in drafting the measure, only to then admit that he and Roy have engaged our elected officials in a manner so clandestine that he cannot divulge their names, nor any other particulars about their meeting save for the name of a rumored hotel group with an unspecified and altogether brief interest in some indeterminate part of our town.

Hypocrisy will out, gentlemen, and with the two of you it frequently overfloweth.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern, Please answer my questions and don't, again and again try to change the subject from the fact that you and your colleagues either can't or won't demonstrate that you really understand the impact of this unvetted and deeply flawed initiative.


As for your new questions of me - how I get my information is simply none of your business.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

Peter,

For me, the issue is extremely simple. I want to see this initiative on the ballot so that the residents can decide.

I'm personally against the proposed Stanford development plan, but if Menlo voters decide the current process is acceptable, I'll accept that.

You're welcome to read as much or as little into this as you want, but that's all there is for me.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

"... how I get my information is simply none of your business."

Peter just redefined openness and transparency to include clandestine meetings between non-residents with a clear bias against the initiative and Menlo Park's elected officials, presumably for the purpose of discussing the initiative's defeat given the lone detail Peter has shared from that meeting. If just two council members were present at this meeting then your Ad hoc advisory committee, such as it was, likely didn't violate the Brown Act, but seems to me your "committee" is walking a fine ethical line here.

Rest assured, Peter, if you are getting your privileged information from Menlo Park City Council members then it most certainly is the business of every Menlo Park resident and voter. Perhaps an email to the Menlo Park City Council and the city attorney asking for details about this meeting might prompt a more open discussion about its intent and content, all in the spirit of transparency which you so genially require of others, of course.

Gern


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Gern yet again twists and turns and obfuscates. Answer the questions. Or can't you?


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

There was posted here a couple of weeks ago a quantitative comparison of what is involved here. I copy it below again. Peter C. was at one time on the PA planning commission. He should know how to understand the numbers, and realize why the Specific Plan has just plain failed.

I am so tired of seeing the "old saw"; it just doesn't pencil out!! Always a load of crap when expresses from a greedy developer.

-----------
(copied post)

Posted by Just Sayin', a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

Peter: ' "Bob Burke, a principal with Greenheart, told me that the measure would mean "our proposed project wouldn't work. "We'd have to go back and start over," he said. "That would be a long delay. And financially, it doesn't make sense. You'd have to alter the project significantly. Now the retail isn't as viable because you don't have the daytime population of the office." What is not clear about that? '

Me: How quickly we forget.

What's not "clear" is that the Greenheart project, buys and scrapes two prior, recent project approvals for the exact same site; namely the approved 1300 ECR Office/Retail project and the approved 108 unit Derry housing/retail project. Combined(details below) the 1300ECR+Derry project provides about 1/3 as much office and 3X as much retail as Greenheart on the exact same site, so, respectfully, Peter, I think Burke is zooming you.

To professional planners, Greenheart scrapes 1300ECR+Derry. The build-out of both projects was assumed in the SP EIR land base. In the eyes of the Specific Plan these projects were built. So comparing Greenheart to 1300ECR+Derry lets us compare two different economically feasible ways to build out the same part of downtown.
Here's the data:

Project name.............Office/Retail/Housing/Total (sf). DU = dwelling units.
1300ECR+Derry..............59,000/76,000/108,000=243,000. 108 Du's
Greenheart................194,000/23,000/203,000=420,000. 215 Du's

In Percentages, office/retail/housing (du/1000sf "of office" is a jobs/housing metric.)
1300ECR+Derry.............24%/31%/44%. du/1000sf = 1.85
Greenheart................46%/ 5%/48% du/1000sf = 1.11

1300ECR+Derry vs Greenheart

-Greenheart eliminates retail; namely 76,000 sf of retail contained in the 1300 ECR+Derry projects. At 5% retail, the Greenheart contains the "token" amount of retail needed to pretend an office project is mixed use.

-Stand alone, 1300ECR contains 58,000 sf office and 51,000 sf retail. 1/3 as much office supports twice as much retail .

-Combined 1300ECR+Derry supports 3X as much retail. It contains more retail than office. It would have brought a grocery store, restaurants, and multiple new retail services to the Eastern side of ECR in the Eastern core.

-1300ECR+Derry proposes a much better mix. It contains nearly equal components of each use with a slight an emphasis on housing, exactly what Menlo Park needs.

Making better pedestrian connections and linkages is a MAJOR goal of the SP, as is preserving the "village" feel.

-1300ECR+Derry creates pedestrian origins and destinations East of ECR. It does not concentrate housing / jobs East of ECR forcing peoople to cross ECR West for services as both the Greenheart and Stanford projects do.

-At 3 stories and half the size, 1300ECR+Derry is the right size and scale. It would generate far fewer impacts.

-At 1.84 du/1000sf of office, the 1330ECR+Derry project is nearly twice as good at re-balancing the jobs/housing imbalance even with fewer dwelling units. The additional housing units supplied by the Greenheart project don't mitigate the added jobs created by the 3X increase in office proposed on the site. Less is truly more. The Greenheart project worsens the imbalance.

The Greenheart project isn't an exciting new future for the Menlo Park downtown, it destroys the exciting, nascent revival that was already underway.

The SP is clearly flawed, It never foresaw or identified the Greenheart site as a potential "infill" or "opportunity" site. Unfortunately, the SP rezoning is so generous it makes it feasible for spec developers to pay huge sums to buy-out and scrape existing projects at inflated land prices. The Special Plan zoning is destructive. It takes "away" a village. It turns Menlo Park into Walnut Creek.

IF the Initiative is a Greenheart killer, where do I sign?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - as I stated above, where I get my information is none of your business but as an expert on the California laws on transparency I can assure you that none of my sources violated any of those laws. If you think otherwise then file a lawsuit - good luck.

Now, will you PLEASE answer the questions that you continue to avoid - or don't you have any answers?


Posted by Concerned Person, a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Peter, as a person who claims to value government transparency I am shocked that you wont disclose the names of the two council members who met with you and Roy. Why should their identity need to be kept secret? What else did they say to you? Eventually the truth always comes out. As long as you keep these secrets, why should anyone believe your telling us the whole truth.


Posted by Concerned Person, a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Peter, as a person who claims to value government transparency I am shocked that you wont disclose the names of the two council members who met with you and Roy. Why should their identity need to be kept secret? What else did they say to you? Eventually the truth always comes out. As long as you keep these secrets, why should anyone believe your telling us the whole truth.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Concerned - feel free to be shocked. As a private citizen I don't owe you or Gern anything. Like any responsible reporter/blogger I have no requirement or desire to reveal my sources.

The information I posted is public knowledge and if others are too dumb to find it that is not my problem. If what I posted is not the truth then feel free to prove it but don't ask me to do your homework. You guys are really a lazy bunch. Gern can't even read my posting which specified both the location in question and the now uninterested party and keeps suggesting that I never clarified that issue.

And why do you keep refusing to answer the simple questions about the \Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?


Posted by Come on, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Peter, who are the two Councilmembers? Why are you hiding their names?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Like any responsible reporter/blogger I have no requirement or desire to reveal my sources.

Now are all of you posting the same digression under different names ready to get back to the issue - PLEASE answer these questions that you continue to avoid - or don't you have any answers?

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

14 - Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 - Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 - Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 - What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?


19 - The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question:
Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?

I welcome answers to these questions from Lanza and Fry – or others.


Posted by Come on, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Peter, why won't you say who the two Councilmembers are? It was you who referenced them.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is really funny - a bunch of posters who won't even reveal their own names want me to disclose my sources. What irony.


Like any responsible reporter/blogger I have no requirement or desire to reveal my sources.

So, stuff it.


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Peter Carpenter should make sure to read today's front page story (Daily Post) about the PA council now very concerned about too much high density development. Exactly this same problem generated by the Specific Plan here in Menlo Park.

It would seem the PA council is getting a bit worried about their previous positions on development; after all an election coming up in November.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Exactly this same problem generated by the Specific Plan here in Menlo Park."

14 - Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 - Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 - Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm

"... where I get my information is none of your business but as an expert on the California laws on transparency I can assure you that none of my sources violated any of those laws."

Peter may be an expert on transparency but he's no practitioner, clearly, and like the previous commenters I'm more than a little surprised he won't divulge the council members' names. I accept Peter's claim that the clandestine meeting with these two individuals was strictly legal, which makes his refusal all the more puzzling. Unless, of course, the meeting had the politically embarrassing goal of defeating, discrediting, or otherwise spreading FUD about the initiative. A perfect example of such FUD might be, say, the unsubstantiated claim that "a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative."

And if forsaking openness and transparency wasn't enough for one week, Peter appears to have thrown the "thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion" right out the window with these comments: "The information I posted is public knowledge and if others are too dumb to find it that is not my problem. If what I posted is not the truth then feel free to prove it but don't ask me to do your homework. You guys are really a lazy bunch. Gern can't even read my posting which specified both the location in question and the now uninterested party and keeps suggesting that I never clarified that issue."

We understand you well enough, Peter -- we are neither dumb nor lazy -- but we simply reject your unsubstantiated claims until you provide a source. We object to the notion that you, a resident of Lindenwood, are better positioned than Menlo Park citizens to know what is best for *our* town. I, personally, cannot fathom how you, as someone who has never served the city of Menlo Park on commission or council, find yourself more qualified to judge the merits of the initiative than are nine former mayors and several current and former planning commissioners. And I have read your list of questions many times and find most of the items therein to be baseless non-sequitur and wild conjecture, the musings of a man who is grasping at straws for reasons only he knows.

You are neither a reporter nor a blogger, Peter, much as you'd like to hide under those labels. Name your sources so that we can ask our own questions of them.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - just answer the questions. If they are "baseless non-sequitur and wild conjecture" then explain why.


By the way Gern - what is your full name and your address ? And who, by full name, have you discussed your postings with?


Posted by Joy, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm

This certainly generated a lot of comments. I wish as much energy could be directed at improving the sad look of El Camino. Frankly, I am surprised any developer would even want to try to build anything in Menlo Park. I don't know why Palo Alto can so successfully build and renew itself while we are stuck in a deteriorating past.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 7, 2014 at 8:00 am

"I don't know why Palo Alto can so successfully build and renew itself while we are stuck in a deteriorating past."

Because of people like Mike Lanza and Patty Fry and others of their ilk that want to stop all progress in Menlo Park. That's why.


Posted by sara, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

What does it mean that we just received our mail-in ballots and there is no mention of Save Menlo's petition? Does that mean , hopefully, that it's dead?

Editor's note: The petition is for the November election.


Posted by Come On, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Peter you haven't said why you refuse to identify the two Councilmembers who met with you? You say your sources are private. But you identified them as Councilmembers. There are only five Councilmembers.

Was it Cline, Mueller, Carlton, Ohtaki or Keith?

You said it was 2 of the 5. Which 2?


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@come on.

Yes it was them.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

BTW,

When is their website going to stop using the City Of Menlo Park's trademarked logo (defaced). Truly an illegal move on their part, and deceptive trying to tie their minority position to our great city.

Please urge these lawbreakers to remove the defaced logo.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter you haven't said why you refuse to identify the two Councilmembers who met with you?"

I have stated exactly why at least four times - you just can't read.

"There are only five Councilmembers." Yes indeed, and the tragedy is those of you behind the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative are unwilling to talk to your own elected officials - why?


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 7, 2014 at 3:56 pm

"When is their website going to stop using the City Of Menlo Park's trademarked logo (defaced). Truly an illegal move on their part, and deceptive trying to tie their minority position to our great city. Please urge these lawbreakers to remove the defaced logo."

Before making such a ridiculous claim, Roy, you may wish to search for an actual trademark: Web Link. But, honestly, why dabble in truths when Roy's little salvo is just part and parcel of an escalating campaign of misinformation which would make Fox News blush?

For those with a true interest in the city's logo the associated Wikipedia page [Web Link] includes this statement: "This image is a work of a State of California employee, or an employee of a local government agency (county, city, or special district) that is located in California, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties, and is consequently in the public domain." I haven't checked the accuracy of this information but there's a very good chance it's correct.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Well, were are making progress. Gern admits that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative is using the City of Menlo Park's logo, but claims that anybody can do that.

I am surprised that they have not also appropriated the State seal and the Seal of the United States using their same 'public domain' logic.

" I haven't checked the accuracy of this information" - this appears to be the campaign slogan of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Gern,

SO you admit this is deceitful?

Wikipedia uses that to make sure you are using "non copyrighted" material. That an employee or agency of the city created the logo does not make the logo itself public domain for use, it means it is NOT copyrighted, that doesn't mean it's not Trademarked.

In any case they should not be using the logo, right?

Since the Mike/Patti "Slow Menlo" initiative's goal is to take POWER away from the City Council and Planning Commission they are CLEARLY not friends of Menlo Park, and definitely not associated with the City, who's logo they are defacing/using.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

"'I haven't checked the accuracy of this information' - this appears to be the campaign slogan of the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative."

Peter, need I remind you that you became this forum's clown prince of information accuracy on April 1st of this year, when you announced to Menlo Park that we would never see the likes of the innovative Arrillaga "Forage It Yourself" farmstead/restaurant he planned to build in the razed Apple building on University Avenue in Palo Alto (near the bottom of Web Link)?

Roy, the big red letters spelling "SAVE" emblazoned over the logo on SaveMenlo's website tip off the thinking person to its unofficial nature and use. Are you prepared to advance your reckless, unfounded assertion that SaveMenlo is making illegal use of a trademark?

I would again ask readers to compare the tone and content of the few comments made in this forum by Patti Fry and Mike Lanza against anything written by Peter and Roy, then judge for themselves which party is more concerned with fact, civility, and the well-being of Menlo Park.

Were Peter and Roy at all concerned with openness and the truth neither would have balked at the simple request for the names of the two council members who appear to have shared privileged information with them. Regrettably, neither gives a damn about transparency in the matter (see Roy's snarky "Yes it was them" and Peter's "stuff it," above).

Gern


Posted by retired teacher, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm

I believe that the property located at 133 Encinal Ave (Roger Reynold's Nursery) was recently sold to Cupertino based Hunter Properties. They are planning on developing 27 single family homes on the 1.75 acre site.

Web Link

Not sure how Banyan Tree Hotels would have been at all interested in this small parcel located on a residential street in Menlo Park. From what I know this hotel chain has no properties in the USA. I believe it is a high end luxury resort chain with locations in many exotic places.


Posted by retired teacher, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Sorry think I misrepresented the development by Hunter Properties on the old Roger Reynold's site. The web link says they plan on building 27 single family units for sale. I don't think this means 27 single family homes.


Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 7, 2014 at 6:50 pm

> In any case they should not be using the logo, right?

Free speech trumps trademark law. The Lanham Act does not apply to non-commercial use. Moreover, in context with the highly obvious "defacement" as described, Fair Use would reasonably dictate Fair Use.

see Web Link

ps My missive on this point in no way implies a position on the initiative under discussion.


Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm

argh. ...Fair use would reasonably dictate _non-infringement_


Posted by retired teacher, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Correction...Roger Reynolds Nursery not Roger Reynold's Nursery.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm

@Gern, I've enjoyed reading your recent posts. Keep it up.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2014 at 7:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"shared privileged information with them." Gern confuses easily obtainable facts with "privileged" information. There is nothing about the Banyan Group's short lived interest in the Roger Reynolds site that is privileged - it just happens to be very embarrassing to the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative supporters as a concrete example of the damage that has already been done by an ill conceived and unvetted attempt by two people and an unnamed lawyer to rewrite the carefully constructed and publicly debated Specific Plan.

"The plan included extensive opportunities for input in various formats including:
An email list of over 1,000 people who get regular updates
Booths at all the Downtown Block Parties
Eight citywide mail-outs to all residents and businesses in Menlo Park
Extensive sets of Planning Commission and City Council meetings
One-on-one interviews with downtown business owners and other important stakeholders
Regular Chamber of Commerce outreach
Seven workshops
Two community-wide surveys responded to by over 2,000 people
Two walking tours
And more!"


Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 8, 2014 at 7:40 am

Peter Carpenter says:

"The plan included extensive opportunities for input in various formats including:
An email list of over 1,000 people who get regular updates
Booths at all the Downtown Block Parties
Eight citywide mail-outs to all residents and businesses in Menlo Park
Extensive sets of Planning Commission and City Council meetings
One-on-one interviews with downtown business owners and other important stakeholders
Regular Chamber of Commerce outreach
Seven workshops
Two community-wide surveys responded to by over 2,000 people
Two walking tours
And more!

--------

Yes indeed Peter all that occurred!! --- the visioning part. Then a new consultant hired, input from all of this literally discarded and the obnoxious, not working $1.8 Specific Plan was drawn up which anyone with any sense can see is a disaster.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2014 at 7:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

old timer - these events cover efforts of the Vision Plan AND the Draft EIR, the Final EIR and the Specific Plan. Some people just just slept through the hard part of making choices and decisions. Even Rip Van Winkle didn't get a do-over.


"The plan included extensive opportunities for input in various formats including:
An email list of over 1,000 people who get regular updates
Booths at all the Downtown Block Parties
Eight citywide mail-outs to all residents and businesses in Menlo Park
Extensive sets of Planning Commission and City Council meetings
One-on-one interviews with downtown business owners and other important stakeholders
Regular Chamber of Commerce outreach
Seven workshops
Two community-wide surveys responded to by over 2,000 people
Two walking tours
And more!"


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The March sale of the former Roger Reynolds property is totally consistent with the fact that, before that sale, the Banyan Tree Group had considered purchasing that property.

"The 1.75-acres of land for this project was sold last month by LDH, LLC. The previous owner of the property was a private buyer".

But we still have 19 unanswered questions - why?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are some facts that the city staff gave to the Lanza/Fry Initiative folks but those folks clearly don't want to talk about:

14 - Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR from the Stanford parcels were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

ECR traffic under the pre-Specific Plan C 4 zoning would have been between 10,643 and 9,695 daily trips depending on the mix between retail and medical offices.


15 - Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

5,835 daily trips based on Jan 13, 2013 Stanford proposal.
5,624 daily trips based on the April 13, 2013 Stanford proposal.

16 - Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

3,284 daily trips Stanford proposal after the Keith/Carlton subcommittee.

So it is clear why the Lanza/Fry Initiative folks don't want to talk about facts and keep talking about 6 story buildings and gridlock when the Specific Plan will produce neither.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 9, 2014 at 7:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It turns out that the Lanza/Fry Initiative folks know the answers to these questions but, understandably, they do not want others to know the answers.

For example, Brieelle Johnick stated in a letter to the Daily Post that the "glitch that placed the Oak Grove fire station partly in and partly out of the plan boundary is not likely fatal and can be easily fixed. The specific plan can be reviewed any time."

But this is what the Lanza/Fry Initiative states:


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.


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.

*************
So to change the boundaries of the Specific Plan to permit the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area would require "a majority vote of the
electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure".

No wonder they won't answer the questions; the unvetted Lanza/Fry Initiative is fatally flawed and cannot be changed.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

[Post removed because it responded to another post taken down for violating terms of use.]


Posted by Sam Tyler, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 9, 2014 at 3:18 pm

The ongoing hypocrisy of Gern's comment takes my breath away. I have never met Peter Carpenter, but I have been impressed on the level of documentation that he brings to this blog.

Gern ask readers to "compare the tone and content of the few comments made in this forum by Patti Fry and Mike Lanza against anything written by Peter and Roy, then judge for themselves which party is more concerned with fact, civility, and the well-being of Menlo Park." Isn't Mike Lanza the one who stood up at a City Council meeting and said he didn't know whether the members of our City Council were either idiots or shills? (The video of the City Council meeting is still available online.) In this very thread, Gern mocks Peter Carpenter as "a self-styled Athertonian Champion of Good Governance". How civil are those remarks? Who is providing facts?

I have compared the tone and civility between the two groups. For me, documented facts voiced articulately win out over name calling and unproved allegations every time. Saying the same lie over and over again does not make it true.

I can only hope that others take the time to cut through the smoke screen raised by the anti-everything folks, review the Specific Plan, and vote against the initiative and any anti-progress candidates who run for City Council (and you know they are coming...)


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 9, 2014 at 5:52 pm

@Sam, to fairly label me a hypocrite you should do so based on what I've written ("comments made *in this forum* by Patti Fry and Mike Lanza") -- my post is unrelated to your perception of someone's behavior at a meeting. And my remark about Peter being a "self-styled Athertonian Champion of Good Governance" is the very model of civility compared to his use of "dumb" and "lazy" to describe initiative proponents just a few comments above. You've clearly made up your mind about the initiative but appear to have done so based on a deep distrust of "anti-everything folks," "anti-progress candidates," and other bogeymen, perhaps, as opposed to any specific facts in the matter. If you do have specific concerns about the initiative I'd like to know them, rather than read more of "what Peter said."

"So to change the boundaries of the Specific Plan to permit the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area would require "a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure".

So a mistake in the DSP leads to Peter's fatal flaw du jour in the initiative, the possible need for a vote to build a new fire station. But, Peter, wouldn't building a new station require that a bond go before voters in a special or general election anyway? Regardless, is it truly fatal? About as fatal as the other straw men which have been trotted out thus far, the proscription of "banks of the future," medical marijuana dispensaries, robotics design firms and the like. I commend Peter's search for these "unintended consequences" of the initiative but to my mind nothing he's found to date approaches fatal.

One final irony for you, Peter. It was interesting that you shared the information about the recent sale of the Roger Reynolds property to Cupertino-based Hunter Properties, as that company appears ready and able to build within the DSP area this year, "We are planning to start the entitlement process in the next 60 days. I would think that we would start the development of this site by the end of 2014" [Web Link]. Ironic, because the very first paragraph of the very first comment in this exhaustive thread, written by you, reads:

"This letter [by nine former mayors] puts the nail in the coffin for any future Menlo Park development. With a history like this, regardless of the initiative outcome, any property owner is put on notice that Menlo Park is not the place to risk their investment."

Perhaps something to keep in mind when finding and reporting those "fatal flaws" in the initiative.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 9, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

", Peter, wouldn't building a new station require that a bond go before voters in a special or general election anyway?"

No, the Fire District wisely reserves it's tax revenues to pay for station upgrades without any new taxes.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 9, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - When you are in a hole, stop digging.


Posted by retired teacher, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

I was the person who first contributed the information about the sale of Roger Reynolds Nursery to Cupertino based Hunter Properties. I also provided the web link.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 6:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Retire teacher - Indeed you were the person who first contributed the information about the sale of Roger Reynolds Nursery to Cupertino based Hunter Properties. = thank you.

Gern tends to get a bit sloppy with his 'facts'.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

"I was the person who first contributed the information about the sale of Roger Reynolds Nursery to Cupertino based Hunter Properties. I also provided the web link."

@Retired Teacher, I didn't state (or imply) that Peter was the first to mention the sale in this thread -- your comments clearly preceded his. I was merely struck by yet another glaring contradiction in Peter's web of misinformation: the fact that a developer purchased a property in the DSP area in full knowledge of the initiative's existence, and appears ready and eager to develop that property despite Peter's recent pronouncement -- in this very thread, no less -- that:

"This letter [by nine former mayors] puts the nail in the coffin for any future Menlo Park development. With a history like this, regardless of the initiative outcome, any property owner is put on notice that Menlo Park is not the place to risk their investment."

How Peter reconciles these inconsistencies and inaccuracies and continues posting as though facts were his sole domain remains an eternal mystery in this forum.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 9:31 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern confuses again, as he often does, facts and opinions. Most of what I post here are facts like the facts that the Lanza /Fry Initiative would seriously retract redevelopment of small parcels on ECR and the facts that the Lanza /Fry Initiative would prevent the building of a new fire station serving the downtown area.

My opinion "With a history like this, regardless of the initiative outcome, any property owner is put on notice that Menlo Park is not the place to risk their investment." was validated by the speed with which they Banyan Tree Group lost interest in the Roger Reynolds property but my opinion was contradicted by the fact that Hunter Properties seems interested in a high density residential development for that site.

I would note that a world class boutique hotel would have produced far more property taxes and hotel occupancy taxes and less demand on the schools and less traffic that what now may be built on that site.

And we wait for Gern and others to answer the questions above. But we are not holding our breath while we wait.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 10:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As the Hunter property folks contemplating putting 17 residential units on the 1.75 acre Roger Reynolds site they will be challenged by these new definitions and restrictions in the Lanza/Fry Initiative:

"3.2.5. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.02
states: "Residential open space (whether in common or private
areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 16
feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement
for the development." The foregoing Standard is hereby amended,
restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "Ground floor
open space up to 4 feet high (whether in common or private areas)
and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high
shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the
development. Open space exceeding 4 feet in height (regardless of
whether in common or private areas or associated with podiums)
shall not count towards the minimum open space requirement for
the development."
3.2.6. After this measure becomes effective, Tables E6, E7, E8, E9, ElO,
Eli, E12, E13, E14, E15, in the ECR Specific Plan, which, as
adopted on July 12, 2012, state that "residential open space,
whether in common or private areas, shall count toward the
minimum open space requirement for the development" are each
hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read
at the places where the foregoing statement appears: "only ground
floor level residential open space in common or private areas up to
4 feet high and accessible open space above parking podiums up to
4 feet high shall count toward the minimum open space
requirement for the development; residential open space in
common or private areas exceeding 4 feet in height and open space
above parking podiums exceeding 4 feet in height shall not."

Those restrictions will require some significant setbacks on this small parcel and that in turn will probably result in some very boxy structures. Perhaps the Hunter Property folks will then need to reevaluate their investment.


Posted by morris brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

Peter:

As shown on the Hunter website:

Web Link

they plan to build 27 units not 17.

For some reason, you seem to believe that any development is beneficial and bigger and denser are the correct solutions. Many of us who actually live in Menlo Park feel otherwise.

morris


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 11:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Morris - thanks for the correction. I note that ""We figure to mostly have three- and four-bedroom kind of product. The buyers would include young families who might be looking to move out of an apartment and buying their first home," said Hunter." That should provide a big boost to the local school population!

"For some reason, you seem to believe that any development is beneficial and bigger and denser are the correct solutions." In general I do as long as the development conforms to the established zoning ordinances. Under the lanza/Fry initiative they could build 52 low income houses on this 1.75 acre parcel. Still think this is a better deal for the city than a world class boutique note paying property and occupant taxes with no school aged residents?

"Many of us who actually live in Menlo Park feel otherwise. " Great, then buy this parcel and donate it to the city as a dedicated park and forego any property taxes or increased retail business from the residents who would have lived there - a simple choice.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 11:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Still think this is a better deal for the city than a world class boutique HOTEL paying property and occupant taxes with no school aged residents?


ps. The Forum has some very quirky auto correct features that lead to strange wordings.


Posted by retired teacher, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 10, 2014 at 11:26 am

Gern, I like you am very concerned about the overdevelopment of Menlo Park. I prefer plant nurseries to high density housing but it seems that ship has sailed.


Posted by retired teacher, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 10, 2014 at 11:50 am

Peter, I am not sure your information about the Banyan Hotel Group being interested in the RR property is correct. There are two different hotel groups using the name Banyan and I don't believe they are related.

The one you reference in your posts has luxury spas and resorts primarily in China and Indonesia. It has no hotels in the USA according to their web site.Web Link.


The other group, Banyan Investment Group, is based in Florida and invests in and manages hotels primarily in southern US. Their assets include hotels like Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Days Inn etc. Hardly luxury resorts but perhaps better than the high density housing we may now get.
Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Retire teacher - thank you for that information and I believe that you are correct and I am probably wrong re true name of he hotel ownership involved


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