Almanac

Viewpoint - July 2, 2014

Letter: Specific plan initiative is a poison pill

The proponents of the ill-conceived Lanza/Fry initiative claim that only "modest changes" are being proposed to Menlo Park's downtown specific plan. That is patently false.

Aside from turning the specific plan on its head, the Lanza/Fry initiative states that without a (costly) citywide vote of Menlo Park residents, the City Council cannot make changes, no matter how small, in the definitions and development standards contained in the initiative. It further states that no new "inconsistent" zoning can be introduced or passed and prescribes exactly how voter approval for change can occur ... for 30 years.

The requirement calling for a citywide election is the initiative's ultimate poison pill and it is not insignificant or modest.

No matter what you think of the downtown specific plan, it allows for citizen input and revision by the City Council, and requires review on a timely basis, adjusting to Menlo Park's needs.

The initiative's voter requirement emasculates the Planning Commission and the City Council, freezes unintended consequences, some of which have been reported, and freezes the definitions of banking and office and medical in a rapidly changing world.

Finally, this initiative freezes unvetted zoning rules, which most assuredly contain mistakes. Imagine the time, the money and the energy required to overturn those high barriers to change.

We hope that our city's leaders will denounce the initiative and warn their constituents not to swallow this poison pill.

John A. O'Malley, former Menlo Park planning commissioner Katherine A. Strehl, current Menlo Park planning commissioner

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields