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Specific plan just doesn't work

Original post made by morris brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on May 10, 2014

It really is obvious to many who have put in time to participate and now, see the results of the Specific Plan, this plan is just not working.

What really should have taken place by now, was the present Council, coming to this realization, should have quickly changed much of the plan to prevent what was about to happen. Two projects, Stanford for their 8 acres and Greenheart for their proposed project (Derry Properties plus old Cadillac site) were essentially in two or three years, going to use up much of the proposed development for the City that was envisioned to take 30 years. Furthermore, these projects, which focus heavily on office with some housing, but with almost no retail, there is little to benefit the City, and its residents, if these projects are allowed to proceed as planned.

So some residents of Menlo Park, decided something should be done to try and stop this upcoming travesty, thus the SaveMenlo initiative. The initiative is actually not nearly enough to ensure the Specific Plan will achieve major objectives. These objectives were called for during the Visioning process, which preceded Staff and a new consultant (a consultant who also works for Stanford) from proceeding to develop this plan, which ignores much of what the Visioning process endorsed.

This initiative should serve as a wake up call to council. It is time to take action to stop such un-warranted and dense development. At least one council person admits that the plan is not working as expected. Councilman and ex-Mayor Richard Cline has said the Stanford project is not at all what he expected to be proposed from meetings he had with Stanford representatives. Cline, is really the father of the Specific Plan. It was his proposal when running for Council back in 2006, that a plan for Central Menlo Park was needed; otherwise he envisioned development without a plan would proceed to produce very unwanted developments.

The idea seemed attractive and the City has spent well over $1.8 million to develop this plan which quite clearly is not producing desired results. When 9 former Mayors of Menlo Park sign a forceful letter, urging residents to sign the initiative, it is time for the present council to take notice.

Morris Brown

Comments (37)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 10, 2014 at 11:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Two critical fallacies in the Morris posting:

1 -"Two projects, Stanford for their 8 acres and Greenheart for their proposed project (Derry Properties plus old Cadillac site) were essentially in two or three years, going to use up much of the proposed development for the City that was envisioned to take 30 years."

Once a plan for the development of the downtown was approved the ideal solution is to do the build out, particularly of vacant parcels, as quickly as possible. There is NO timetable for in the Specific Plan for development to stretch evenly over the 30 year period and nor should there be.
If you have plans for a ten room home that conform to the zoning ordinance would you expected to be allowed to only build one room a year?

2 - "but with almost no retail, there is little to benefit the City, ". The current Menlo Park retail is dying for a lack of customers not from the need for more retail competition. Offices bring more customers and more customers make retail ore successful. Have you loked at the retail vacancies and turnover in Menlo Park lately.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Mr. Brown is missing or ignoring a key element of the specific plan in order to make his point. It is important to note that the Specific Plan limits are based on net increases of square footage, not gross square footage. Currently, most of the Specific Plan area is filled with existing buildings. Someone who wants to redevelop their property receives a credit for the amount of existing square footage on their property against the total. For example, someone who tears down 10,000 square feet and builds 15,000 square feet, the impact on the Specific Plan limits is only 5,000 square feet of net new development, not 15,000 square feet. This means that for the majority of the specific plan area, the development limit would actually last much longer than Mr. Brown is implying in his editorial. Stanford, for example, has existing buildings on its site should be credited against the amount of proposed development, thus lowering the net new development being proposed.

This was, of course, discussed at great length in the specific plan review process and again when the City Council reviewed the plan one year after adoption. The opponents of the Specific Plan conveniently ignore this critical fact in order to make inflammatory and inaccurate statements and misleading yard signs.

Repeating the same lie over and over again does not make it a true.


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Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 13, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Indeed it doesn't. The "net" counting for the two office projects by staff show that they take up 77% of the Phase 1 office development of the SP.

What Sam Tyler clearly doesn't understand is that the amount of development made POSSIBLE under the adopted new Specific Plan zoning intensities is many, many times more than the amount of development PREDICTED and ANALYZED by the city in its Specific Plan EIR. But we don't know how much more total development is theoretically possible, because the city didn't conduct a build out study, but basically the SP allows at least a 2X increase of development on most of 130 acres. The Bonus intensity allows more, and that is reduced somewhat because the acreage in the core around Santa Cruz avenue was upzoned by less than 2x.

It's pathetic that we don't know the theoretical build out of the SP. The General Plan provide build out figures.

And if Sam were truly perceptive he would realize that the Greenheart proposal takes place in an area that was not predicted for development by the City at all, because ..... it already had two newly approved projects; namely the 300 El Camino Office/Retail Project and the Derry housing project.

It other words, the Greenheart project is "new" development relative to the EIR, not "expected development", even though its counted against the "expected" CAP. It's a shell game.

So, Sam lets try a metaphor.

If you and your existing family invited four guests to dinner at 6:00pm and when the first guest arrived, it was a friend who was not one of your expected guests, and IF YOU INVITED THAT FRIEND TO DINNER AS WELL, would you expect a total of four of five dinner guests? Would you disinvite one of your guests? Of course not. So even though at 5:55 you only have one of four guest present, you KNOW that soon you will have more guests than you planned for.


So if the City receives development in areas it did not expect, it is still expecting the expected development. Meaning that what the Greenheart proposal shows is that the zoning code is so generous its enabling development in all parts of the ECR corridor, and it adds net development to areas that were considered already built out.

The Specific Plan targets "infill" type development of "underutilized" parcels, not expansion of fully utilized parcels.


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Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Just to follow the thought. Nothing stops Specific Plan development from exceeding the so-called CAP. It's a "soft" limit that's meaningless. Development above the CAP simply needs environmental review and a Special Plan Amendment.

City Councils usually approve Plan Amendments without a second thought.

And ALL the submitted projects are already undergoing Environmental Review (because they are so dissimilar to what was predicted in the Specific Plan.) So its not big deal and causes no added delay to the developer to request a Plan Amendment. It does add some public legal risk.

For the record, it was a General Plan Amendment that was the subject of the Derry referendum. The Derry project also had a rezoning that was challenged, but that is not the point.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"City Councils usually approve Plan Amendments without a second thought. "

Wrong. Specific Plan amendments require Draft EIRs, final EIRs, Planning Commission review and at least two Council public hearings/meetings.

Please don't be so deceptive about the safeguards that are already in place - to do so discredits all of your postings.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm

First of all, I typically serve "family style" dinners at my house, so I am flexible enough to deal with change in my life if my guest list changes.

Apparently, "Do The Math" didn't do his/her math correctly. According to the City staff report, "The net impact of non-residential uses for the two proposed projects is 291,614 square feet. The two projects' total of 291,614 square feet of non-residential use represents 61.5% of the overall 474,000 square foot non-residential cap." I am not sure how "Do The Math" came up with 77%. But then again, opponents of the specific plan don't feel a need to stick to the facts. My point is still valid. When the rest of the plan area develops, old buildings would come down and new buildings would go, and the plan tracks the NET improvements, not gross. At least one of us clearly understands the math.

I guess I don't understand "Do The Math"'s point. The plan was adopted by both the Planning Commission and City Council, and while I might be wrong, I thought both votes were unanimous. The purpose of the plan was to guide the redevelopment within the specific plan boundaries. If you are against redevelopment in the specific plan area, just so.


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Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Well, can you cite one project in Menlo Park that was denied a Plan Amendment? Just one, Peter. (Hint; You can't count Derry)

In truth, Plan Amendments don't automatically require EIR's and there's no process distinction between a Draft EIR and Final EIR, they are two stages of the same EIR, accept that Peter is trying to sex up one EIR and one delay making it seem like two.

All Projects, except those that are "Categorically Exempt" only ALWAYS require "Initial Studies" which determine whether and what type of further environmental review is to follow: Negative Declaration, Mitigated Negative Declaration, Focused EIR, or EIR.

Oddly, the environmental analysis for a Plan Amendment is usually redundant and completely synchronized with that performed for the development project which triggers the Plan Amendment, particularly if the Amendment applies to no other parcel and serves no other purpose than to raise the "soft" cap for the single project.

Finally, as I said, since all projects that poke through the soft "cap" will require some added environmental analysis, probably an EIR (the SP Program EIR clearly didn't cover that project) the approval of the Amendment will add no "new" delays to the project. And hence, the EIR and Plan Amendment are usually and in Menlo Park ALWAYS executed and approved simultaneously, and there are no examples in recent history of a Plan Amendment being denied in Menlo Park.

Now that I have your attention, Peter, you need to acknowledge the points made,
-the Greenheart development is already pushing development beyond the predicted envelope of the SP Program EIR,
-it didn't take thirty years to penetrate the SP Program Envelope, it took less than five,
-the envelope of the SP zoning code is much larger than the envelope of the Program EIR.

And finally, in the sense that by requiring the City to "batch" development in bulk phases, the Initiative is much more efficient than the soft "cap", by only requiring a single EIR for the entire batch, letting through those projects anticipated in the batch and scrutinizing those not anticipated in the batch.


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Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I agree the counting is net development.

Sam Tyler is correct about the two projects, I have to revisit the staff report, but my recollection is that the current count includes other projects besides the two, and I conflated the collective figure (I recall it as 77%) for all projects, with the count for the two projects.

Touche, for you. Now its my turn.

IF Sam is as "flexible" as he says, then he will have five (5) people for dinner not four (4) and must put out another seat, i.e. add to the chair cap. He may be as happy as a clam in doing so, but this affirms the point
that the Greenheart development ALREADY pokes beyond the envelope of the Program EIR and more subtly because of time and location, it pokes beyond the SP soft cap, which can absorb it and hide it in the short run, but not the long run.

What it means it means is that citizens don't believe the long-term 30 year impacts of the project are limited to only those identified in the SP Program EIR. They think they City is just piecemealing information and that the true amount of impacts over 30 years will be much, much greater than those identified in the EIR, and of course they are right. In the short run, the soft cap can be used as a shell game. But it can only absorb and hide non-expected spec development for a short time before expected development manifests and overruns the cap.

Finally, no-ones interpretation of the Plan is Gods. There is an intelligent argument to be made that proposed projects are inconsistent with the Specific Plan, and hence those who wish to modify the plan to eliminate loopholes bringing the possibility allowed by the zoning code in closer alignment with the actual plan language.

The debate does not have to be all or nothing, and Sam overstates by making it so.



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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 13, 2014 at 7:22 pm

"The debate does not have to be all or nothing, and Sam overstates by making it so."

sorry, the Lanza/Fry initiative does exactly that: make it all or nothing. If it is approved every change to the DSP has to go to the voters. And we all know how that will go.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Do the math needs to do her homework.

An EIR must be preceded by a Draft EIR and a comment period:

"lPRC Section 21091 requires the lead agency to include in the final EIR responses to comments which describe the disposition of any significant effects identified by commenters. PRC Section 21092.5 further requires that written responses to the comments submitted by public agencies be provided to those agencies at least 10 days prior to certification of the final EIR (this requirement can be satisfied by providing a copy of the Final EIR)."

Why must the supporters of the Lanza/Fry initiative continue to post false information?

Clearly they have chosen ignorance as their ally?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2014 at 8:37 pm

"sorry, the Lanza/Fry initiative does exactly that: make it all or nothing. If it is approved every change to the DSP has to go to the voters."

@Menlo Voter, are you certain you stand by the statement that "every change to the DSP has to go to the voters"? *Every* change to the DSP?! Please read the initiative and let us know if you still believe that statement holds.

Gern


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Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 13, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Henry Riggs is a registered user.

The elements of the specific plan that are referenced in the initiative - including the boundaries of the plan - are specifically exempt from correction or revision by council.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2014 at 7:42 am

Gern:

my apologies for not being clearer. As Roy notes, every element of the DSP referenced by the initiative will have to go to the voters. Zoning by initiative is stupid.


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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 14, 2014 at 8:44 am

At last night's City Council meeting (5/13/2014), 7 former Mayors and Initiative leader Patti Fry spoke urging Council to adopt the Initiative.

You can view their comments at:

Web Link

(about 24 minutes total)


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Posted by Initiative Supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

What "Menlo Voter" fails so describe is the actual scope of the Initiative. It applies to only several parameters in a 350 page DSP, one of them is whether private balconies should be counted as "open space."

BTW, Henry Riggs, who just posted, led the charge to support an Initiative that "reformed" Union pension increases by, well .... wait for it .... wait for it ... by limiting council and reserving authority to exceed the limit to voter approval.

What about you Menlo Voter, did you support THAT Initiative? Why do I think you did? Henry did.

Are we saying that Initiatives are really a great way to govern when we agree with them, but are really stupid when we don't?

You're going to have to actually say out loud what development parameters the Initiative deals with and why it is bad to reserve authority to exceed those parameters to a vote of the people. The big, empty scary threat thing hinting that the Initiative has an unstated scope is not particularly clever or effective.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the actual scope of the Initiative. It applies to only several parameters in a 350 page DSP,"

Actually the Lanza/Fry Initiative contains more than 20 modifications to the Specific Plan.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

The pro-Initiative folks remind me of the old saying; "If the facts are against you, argue the issues. If the issues are against you, argue the facts. If the facts and issues are against you, argue like heck." One moment they arguing extremely technical points. Then, when confronted by specific facts, they swing back to broad general responses. I especially love bringing union pension reform. Talk about going off topic.


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Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Carpenter: "the ... Initiative contains more than 20 modifications to the Specific Plan."

It creates one (1) definition and modifies three (3) development parameters. And it protects those changes from modification of repeal subject to the will of the voters.

Yes, it requires several changes to the DSP document to modify each parameter. For example, in the DSP, the definition of "open space" appears in numerous locations, specifically Tables E6, E7, E8, E9, E10, E11, E12, E13, E14, E15, and so if one changes the single parameter, "open space", it would take ten (10) modifications to the document.

Is it really honest to describe that single planning parameter as multiple modifications to the Specific Plan?

If you are ambitious enough you can read the Initiative for yourself.
Web Link

-It changes how "open space" is counted (section 3.2);
-It defines "office" and sets a limit for "maximum office space allowed for individual ... projects ..." (section 3.3);and
-It sets a limit for office in the "...Maximum total non-residential and office space development allowed" section 3.4
-It makes future modification or repeal of those changes subject to a vote of the people.

The definition of office is from DSP Appendix Sections J,K, and B. "Offices, Business and Professional", "Offices, Medical and Dental", and "Banks and other Financial Institutions"

Note, the increases in residential development, above the cap would not be subject to a vote.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It creates one (1) definition "

Sorry, Section 3 ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA VOTER-ADOPTED
DEVELOPMENT DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS includes no less than 12 separate definitions in Sec 3.1,
3.2.1,
3.2.2,
3.2.3,
3.2.4,
3.2.5,
3.2.6,
3.3.1,
3.3.2,
3.3.3,
3.3.4,
and 3.3.5.

Do the math either can't count or she is simply attempting to continually repeating a falsehood.

The initiative then states:
"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."

Codifying all these definition and making any changes in them subject to voter approval is a recipe for both disaster and, guess what, making sure that nothing happens.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm

initiative supporter:

you're comparing apples and oranges. One initiative had to do with pension reform and the other with zoning. Zoning by initiative is stupid.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

BTW, one of the trivial? definitions codified in the initiative is the exact boundaries of the Specific Plan area as defined, not in the Specific Plan, but in the Vision Plan:

"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."

Such a definition would, for example, split the property owned by the Fire District for a new downtown fire station into two parts - one inside the Specific Plan area and one outside the Specific Plan area and, under the initiative those two parcels cannot be merged into a single parcel without voter approval. Without a merged parcel there can be no new fire station.
Really stupid.


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Posted by Do the Match
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Now earlier I mistakenly said that Greenheart + Stanford Projects combined accounted for 77% of the Maximum Allowable Development for non-residential" uses. Sam corrected me, and even a liar like me accepted his correction.

But it turned out I was actually correct about the larger point. According to the November 19, 2013 Staff Report the total amount of non-residential development applied for as of the time of Staff Report was 366,289 or 77%. So my memory about the total development was correct, as was the point that plan build out is way ahead of schedule.

Here's the document
Web Link

The DSP EIR forecast a long-term (30 year) non-residential build out that breaks out the 474,000 sf into categories of hotel rooms, commercial space and retail; namely

Hotel Rooms: 380
Commercial Space:240,820sf
Retail Space: 91,800sf

Since "retail" gets its own category, then "commercial space" is, largely, office. And so the proposed 291,614 sf of office in the Greenheart + Stanford projects (Sam's figures) actually represents 123% of the anticipated 30-year office build out.

So Initiative proponents who are seeing the various symptoms that the two enormous office projects have already surpassed the projected DSP building envelope, have been trying to make the same point in several ways, and it is a correct point. It's absolutely true that combined these projects exceed the 30 year DSP prediction for OFFICE build out. But they don't exceed the 30 year DSP prediction for all "non-residential" development which includes office, hotel, and retail.

So office is sucking up all the square footage in the plan. Remember that the city's economic consultant said that office was infeasible and would remain infeasible after the office market recovered.

Either the city badly understated the forecast development, or the zoning changes are much more generous than is required to enable "village" scale development, and I am inclined to state that the symptoms of rapid penetration of the EIR envelope are proof points that the zoning code is more generous than required. So is the office at 1460 ECR which is being built out under the old C4/PD zoning code.

Notice also that the Initiative sets the "office" limit at 240,820 sf, exactly the value specified explicitly in the EIR and implicitly in the DSP Maximum Allowable Development G16.

God bless, Patti. She caught the city in its own shell game trap. Either the city knew that Stanford wouldn't build the hotel, and hence it wouldnt' get the $2M annual TOT, but didn't consider alternatives in the EIR, or that the city mistakenly over-expanded the zoning code beyond what was required and Stanford built office instead of the hotel, but, either way, it doesn't matter. Once the Stanford project came in, the city had to know that it was way off forecast, and started to play an accounting shell game by burying the excessive office development in hotel allocation of the "non-residential" limit.

The Greenheart project is a true beast and just blew open the doors.

All the Initiative does is make the city build what it said it would build.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"All the Initiative does is make the city build what it said it would build."

Stupid, stupid, stupid. This comment so perfectly captures the mindset of the STOP Menlo crowd.

The CITY doesn't build anything in the Specific Plan - that is done by private developers who do so in order to get a return on their investment including on the property which they own.

"Remember that the city's economic consultant said that office was infeasible and would remain infeasible after the office market recovered."

Guess what, the consultant, who does not own a single parcel or have any of his money at risk, is wrong. Both Greenheart and Stanford believed (note past tense) otherwise - at least until the Lanza/Fry folks came along and said let's create a lot of uncertainty and just bring everything to a halt.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Citizens interested in the facts might look at the City of Menlo Park's latest Office of Economic Development quarterly report for such items as:

"The demand for office space is accelerating rapidly, as evidenced by the fact that current asking price for office space rivals that of the dot com boom in 2001."

And retail occupant rates increased to 1.3% from 1.0% last quarter.

Just facts - thanks to an excellent report from Jim Coogan.

Do the Lanza/Fry people do ANY homework when they call for more retail and less office space, or do they simply want to live in a fact free zone?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction:
And retail occupancy rates increased from 1.0% last quarter to 1.3% this quarter.


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Posted by Initiative Supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I see Menlo Voter. Initiatives you support are smart. And Initiatives you don't support are stupid. Let me chew on that logic for a while! :)


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I concur with Peter (who I have never met). I never did understand the economic consultant's statement about the feasibility of office space in Menlo Park. Um, isn't Sand Hill Road, by several accounts, the most expensive office real estate in the country, located in Menlo Park? While it is not my place to defend the City Council that accepted this report, we have only recently come out of the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression. Didn't we have all hear or read a wide variety of contradictory economic forecasts that started in 2007 and continues to the present?

In fact, the ongoing demand for office space along Sand Hill Road would, in fact, validate the specific plan's allowance for additional office space along El Camino Real. Before Facebook came to town, it was venture capital firms that gave Menlo Park international recognition. Why wouldn't we want to help maintain that reputation by providing more potential for office space?


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

My apologizes for my typo. I meant to say "economic downturn" not "economic downtown". Based on the current condition of the downtown area, perhaps it was a Freudian slip.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Initiative supporter:

where did I say I supported the pension initiative? You need to read a little more closely. I have no problem with initiatives in general. I have a problem using them for zoning. THAT'S stupid. Initiatives are a blunt tool and should be used selectively. We need only look to our state to see what a mess over use of the initiative process causes.


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Posted by Geez Louise Stop
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Frank Tucker wisely said in an Almanac Blog

"Ms Fergusson, in particular, got an early start on this smear campaign in the literature for her zoning referendum drive (Housing Ordinance 926) where she branded anyone with the remotest connection to the real estate or building trades as part of a conspiracy to destroy our city."

With the backing of Gail Slocum, Jack Morris, and Paul Collacchi the most ethically compromised City Council member in the history of Menlo Park got elected on the back of the 926 recall referendum.

Fast forward 10 years and the same back room deals people are up to their old tricks again. This time they are using the voter initiative to reject the specific plan as a vehicle for Ms. Fergusson to mount a comeback for City Council.

If Jack Morris and Gail Slocum want so much to control the city council why don't they run for council instead of having one of their acolytes running in their steed. They got Heyward Robinson, Richard Cline, and Kelly Fergusson elected and how well did that turn out for the City of Menlo Park?

Be warned; if Kelly Fergusson runs for City Council it will galvanize the community to such an extent that the Specific Plan will go down in flames as will Kelly Fergusson.

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.


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Posted by Menlo Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I presume that Geez Louise Stop meant in the second to last paragraph that the Specific Plan recall will go down in flames.

I agree that Kelly Fergusson would block Smart Growth to the detriment of Menlo Park. Her backers are well known No Growth extremists who do not have the best interests of Menlo Park in mind; only their "no growth at any cost" agenda.

Ms. Fergusson, like a double helix, is inextricably tied to the rejection of the Downtown Specific Plan. We must reject Ms. Fergusson as a City Council candidate and in turn and reject the proposed rejection of the Downtown Specific Plan (i.e., Approve the plan) to ensure the future viability of Menlo Park.

Also, it is quite obvious to those who follow Menlo Park politics that Ms. Ferguson's backers are both an anachronism and an embarassment to our great City and are way out of touch with the community. Their extreme idealogy should not be taken seriously.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 14, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Had two "Save Menlo" petition recruiters approach me: "They are going to build these incredibly big buildings. Won't you help us stop them?"

Not a registered MP voter, but hate to see potentially long lasting policy made in this way. We are all part of this larger community.

Again, my memories of living in MP are of obstruction of sensible development and a strange, deep-seated hatred of Stanford.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Perhaps "Save Menlo" will soon put their energies behind actually having "Safe Routes to School" in West Menlo, as the signs profess... or the ability to walk down Middle Ave with a baby stroller without having to veer out into the street with cars going 35+ MPH a few feet away.

Real, practical, positive impacts, rather than grandiose obstruction.

Save Menlo: Whomever you are, are you willing to respond?


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Posted by Stanford can fix the West Menlo cut through traffic concern
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

When Stanford Mgmt lobbyist Bill Phillios had the chance at the Sand Hill widening Council hearing in 2003 he should have listened to MP Councilman Nick Jellins concerns about cut through traffic on Oak Ave and the Oak Knoll School neighborhood as a result of allowing 2 outbound turn lanes from Oak to the new 4 lane SHR
City atty McClure responded that the city could alter the intersection as the city public works director is so empowered by the city, Stanford SHR Widening agreement

Limit outbound turn movements to 1 lane, with current right turn lane closed off with bollards that only emergency vehicles can use and you've discouraged a huge attraction for cut through traffic that avoids the SHR backup at pm peak due to the 2 lane configuration of SHR from ECR to Arboretum and countless ridiculous traffic stopping signals at a Stanford West that makes SHR a list cause cause for cars originating from the ECR/MiddleAve/Allied Arts area.

An easy fix as it closes the convenient Oak Knoll School neighborhood cut through option for cars discouraged by the SHR pm backup


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Posted by Yes Stanford owns Oak Ave west of Lemon
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm

[Post removed due to poster using multiple names]


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Posted by R Crumb
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

According to this morning's San Jose Mercury News:

"The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition will be providing free weed to members who vote in the Tuesday election. The coalition said it will announce a list of clubs participating in the 'Weed for Votes1 program Monday; members must show proof with an 'I Voted' sticker or ballot stub."

Perhaps one of the 9 former Menlo Park mayors could work in concert with the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition to reward Menlo Park residents for performing their civic duty on June 3rd by using the same incentive.

For the article:

Web Link


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm

There are many misleading claims in this comment stream.

Get the FACTS about the Specific Plan at www.mpcdforum.com.


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