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Menlo council will review Stanford plan April 16

Original post made on Apr 3, 2013

Stanford University said it will have the latest revision of its proposed eight-acre mixed-used complex ready next week -- just in time for the Menlo Park City Council to carry out its review of the new specific plan as it relates to that project.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 7:16 AM

Comments (74)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 8:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Don't be at all surprised if other developers now simply walk away from the zoo that is called the City of Menlo Park. MP is now a city without any credibility when it comes to zoning and planning - even thinking about removing parcels from the specific plan and moratoriums less than a year after the Specific Plan was adopted are clear signs of lunacy.

As for Stanford, I hope that they resubmit a plan which seeks NO public benefit bonuses and which therefore cannot be denied under the Specific Plan and which would not be subject to a council approved development agreement.

Residents of Menlo Park can look forward to lots of empty lots and empty stores and no increase in sales or property taxes from the Downtown area.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 8:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Memo from City Council to Planning Commission,

Sorry, but we don't trust you. Keep up the good work but don't make any important decisions. You have the necessary professional expertise but we are smarter than you are.

Cheers,


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Suggested letter for Stanford to send to the Menlo Park City Council,


Dear Council,
Over the last five years Stanford has been an enthusiastic and supportive participant in the development of the Downtown Specific Plan. As noted in a recent staff report:

"The subject applicant, Stanford University, participated throughout the entire planning process, in particular by serving as a City Council-designated representative on the Oversight and Outreach Committee. In public correspondence and through remarks at meetings, the applicant repeatedly supported the community planning process and stated an intent to pursue a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment proposal in compliance with the adopted Plan. At various points, the applicant provided detail-type critiques of some draft regulations and Draft EIR elements, but did not submit correspondence or make in-meeting remarks that committed to a particular type of future development proposal, nor did the Planning Commission or City Council make findings that their Plan-related actions were based on any particular assumption of what the applicant ultimately might propose on this site. "



After the Specific Plan was adopted by the council Stanford made a significant investment in a proposed development for our property in the ECR-East zone. That proposal included a number of public benefit provisions and was submitted to the city earlier this year. We subsequently met with the Planning Commission and also numerous neighbors and modified our proposal based on suggestions made in these discussions.



It now appears that the council is preparing to insert itself into the process at this stage in violation of the procedures established by the Specific Plan. Stanford does not wish to engage in months or even year longs debates on this project so we have decided to modify our proposal. As suggested in the Specific Plan Stanford has elected "to forgo the public benefit bonus because of perceived costs and risks." The modified project contains no public benefits and conforms entirely to the requirements of the Specific Plan. No public benefit bonus is being requested and no exceptions to the Specific Plan are being requested. Therefore, no development agreement is required and the city's review is limited to ensuring that the proposed development complies with the ECR-East zoning requirements.



As noted in the acknowledgment section of the Specific Plan:



"And the thousands of community members who did

the real work of the Specific Plan by providing direction

for their community for the next 20 to 30 years. Their

dedication to working in a constructive, collaborative way

to create a plan that will make our community the best it

can be is an admirable testament to our ability to achieve

the vision set forth in the Specific Plan."

Given that the modified plan fully conforms with the Specific Plan Stanford does not wish to engage in any discussions as to how the modified project can be further revised to meet the elusive demands of some who simply ignored this years long planning process.

We request that the city's review of the modified project plans be conducted expeditiously and without further deviation from the process defined in the Specific Plan.




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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

Apparently the 513 petition signatures, the dozens of email messages sent to the City Council, the large number of people who spoke at City Council and Planning Commission meetings, as well as the phone calls, face-to-face conversations, and private emails to our elected officials, all expressing concerns about the Stanford project on El Camino, had the desired effect in a functioning democracy: the Council voted unanimously to review the project during their April 16th meeting.

One Planning Commission member, Vince Bressler, spoke eloquently and sensibly about the need to remove the Stanford project/zone from the Specific Plan altogether, and city staff was directed to explore that and other options in preparation or the coming Council meeting.

Your pipe overfloweth, Peter -- time to smoke it.

Gern


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:18 am

"the Council voted unanimously" - 3-0-1, with 2 of the 3 being the two council members that wrote the memo. BTW, is Cat Carlson on the council or not? I am not a developer, but I know several--all of whom have for a long while indicated that trying to do anything in MP isn't worth the brain damage, they are correct; especially when the cities immediately north and south "get it". Stanford will build something on its land and whatever it is will serve its interests. I predict that in the end, to the extent MP causes those interests to be sub-optimized, MP will pay the price


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

Well that's just dandy. To all you folks that think pulling the Stanford parcel out of the specific plan is just going to effect the Stanford parcel, think again. There isn't a developer around that is going to invest time, energy and money in our community knowing that the decisions of the council and planning commision are meaningless. You can pat yourselves on the back for the next ten years as you drive past blighted properties on El Camino, becasue that's what you've caused. I hope you enjoy the view and thanks for nothing.


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Posted by realism 101
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Menlo Park needs to enact a blighted/abandoned property ordinance to provide a strong incentive for owners to keep their property attractive, even if not occupied. If that had happened years ago, Stanford might have been motivated to beautify those lots.

Stanford is not going anywhere. Nor are the other property owners. The gloom & doom forecasts are waaaaay over the top. They will simply modify their plans to meet zoning requirements. Most professionals not only understand but accept that zoning can and does change.

Menlo Park will not suddenly be transported to the rust belt. Menlo Park will not be kicked out of Silicon Valley. Menlo Park will probably remain the VC capital and home of Facebook for many years to come. All of which means that Menlo Park will still be a highly desirable place for companies to locate.

Companies know that having "Menlo Park" on their business cards is an asset. Our city has not capitalized on the value of our name. We don't need to beg developers to come here. On the contrary, we need to keep our standards high and to benefit from our own reputation.


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Posted by Vincent Bressler
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

On the other side of El Camino, directly across from the Stanford parcels, there is a housing project being developed. This went through the normal process with back and forth between Allied Arts neighbors and the developer.

The fear mongering here, bordering on propaganda, does not deserve further response.


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Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

The council bears the political responsibility for decisions and actions - not the Planning Commission. Kirsten and Rich did the right thing by scheduling a council review. When all is said and done this may even shorten the time for the applicants.

When I was on the planning commission the council reversed some of our decisions. When some items were obviously headed for appeal regardless of our sweat or opinion, we would on occasion accommodate request from an applicant for spontaneous up-or-down vote to give the applicants an earlier opportunity for appeal. We just made sure that our comments were on the record. (In those days the minutes of the meetings were much more comprehensive than today.)

Some council members even attempted to have some of us removed. Ah, those were the days.

This is a big application, a part of a massive untried and untested zoning model. No surprise that there are hiccups, and that neighborhoods are still protective of quality of life.


Stu Soffer
Former Planning Commissioner.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

To Realism 101 - study harder, Stanford's proposed project does meet the zoning requirements. THAT is the issue. By the way, Your view of the world and where Menlo Park fits within it borders on the comical.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Will the real Vince Bressler please stand up:

" This went through the normal process "

vs

"Vince Bressler, spoke eloquently and sensibly about the need to remove the Stanford project/zone from the Specific Plan altogether"

Welcome to the Menlo Park Zoo - one set of rules for some people and another set of rules for others.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"We don't need to beg developers to come here"

Please explain all the empty stores on Santa Cruz and the empty/vacant properties on ECR.


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Posted by Realism 101
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm

For those of you who need a translation, what I heard Vincent Bressler say was that a project of this magnitude needs to be addressed on its own. Same as with other large projects. The Stanford properties have very little in common with the downtown/station area, and should not have been included in the Specific Plan.

The council concurred. Hence, the April 16 item.

I wonder that some people who don't even live here feel the need to ram this project through despite widespread concerns over the impact. What's your hurry? These buildings are going to be with us for a long. We need to get it right.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Stanford properties have very little in common with the downtown/station area, and should not have been included in the Specific Plan."

BUT they WERE included in the Specific Plan. Just too bad that anyone relied on the Specific Plan and spent lots of time and money designing a project that conformed with the plan.

Welcome to the Menlo Park Zoo.

"I wonder that some people who don't even live here..." I probably spend far more money in Menlo Park than realism 101 does and clearly have an interest in Menlo Park remaining a vibrant community not stifled by the keep it a village mentality.


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Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Keith and Kline are injecting themselves into too many issues trying to pander to vocal, anti development minorities. They are simply spread too thin to make educated decisions. Observing the meetings, it is painfully clear they are not familiar with all the material in their staff reports.

They are bordering on incompetent because of it. There is no way the council will make a timely, thorough, objective analysis of the Stanford Project.

They need to streamline the issues they tackle by not second guessing existing regulations and policies. Only when these 'leaders' have the character to tell neighborhood groups 'No, the law is clear' will the misinformation and whining stop.

The specific plan is the result of a thorough process and is the voice of the people. Our council members should have the guts to stand up to nimby threats and misinformation.

They have recently overturned staff and commission decisions on a Menalto housing project and on a simple driveway encroachment permit in West Menlo based on fraudulent neighborhood petitions and misinformation. Kline and Keith simply voted based on who was yelling the loudest in the council chamber.

Keep up the good work Mr. Carpenter and get our City Council to respect the law and property rights rather than respecting mob rule.


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Posted by Realism 101
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm

The "mob" comprises the residents of Menlo Park. We own the specific plan. It does not own us. And yes, we would like to retain our village character, our most important shared value. Anyone who doesn't agree with that can spend his mega$$$ elsewhere. (Or try to convince his town council to start allowing retail in Atherton.)

Although there was plenty of public input along the way, the final version of the plan was developed by consultants beholden to Stanford. They hoped no one noticed, and no one did. For a while.

The council has the prerogative to revisit the specific plan any time. Any time. Without obtaining approval from critics in other communities first. I know that must hurt, but we can only hope for a better outcome with more information.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"we can only hope for a better outcome with more information."

HOPE is a very good choice of the operative word.

The first thing that needs to happen is that people need to stay awake. Another Specific Plan is going to suffer the same fate of hand wringing and recriminations if at least 513 people sleep though the process. And I doubt the next plan will be universally acceptable, so - in the Menlo Park Zoo tradition, you need to do that one over again.

Oh, and figure out what you are going to tell potential developers while you are endlessly repeating a 5 year planning process.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

"Will the real Vince Bressler please stand up."

Pretty low, even by your standards of argumentation, Peter. Taking Vince's comment about a project unrelated to Stanford or the Specific Plan and contrasting it with a statement he did not make (it was mine) is questionable, at best, but Vince's point stands: the Stanford project and the community will benefit from a distinct review process, just as the project across El Camino was not harmed by such.

Whatever your agenda may be, Peter, it certainly doesn't appear to include the betterment of Menlo Park -- at least as most citizens who have weighed in publicly understand that goal. The FUD you and your small Insane Carpenter Posse unload in these forums is as ridiculous as it is counterproductive, and ever fewer readers here will take you seriously if you continue to insist on the imminent collapse of Menlo Park should the Stanford project not move forward as-is.

Gern


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

To Menlo Voter:

We won't be able to "drive by blighted properties" in Menlo Park if Stanford is allowed to build dozens or hundreds of medical offices on El Camino. We won't be driving at all. Instead, we'll be sitting in a massive traffic jam, significantly worse than it already is. Has anyone who thinks this project is a good idea spent anytime driving from one end of Memlo Park to the other during rush hours or even noon time? If so, it's hard to believe you think this is reasonable.

Yes, it's too bad some people didn't think about this sooner but at least they figured it out now While it can still be corrected. I'll take blight over massive traffic and air pollution every time.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Am I missing something? all you have to do is look at the evidence the vacant lots, dilapidated theatre vacant store fronts, is this the quality of life MP wants? is this what you call SMART GROWTH? I have owned a retail business in MP for over 50 years and the dysfunction continues may I remind you this last study was one of many we enrich all the consultants at the taxpayers expense? I developed a small parcel for a bldg that is less then 6,000 sft in MP 2007 for a class a office bldg (yes I am one of those evil home-grown developers) it took over a year for approval all though my property was zoned for it I was forced to do a traffic report and to top it off I was told my project would be shelved because of the Rosewood Hotel even if it was 90% approved 6 mos later I received my approval for the 6 mos delay my project bid went up $250,000? my point is the citys actions have true consequences also when I sought financing the first question was where when I said MP the response was why? and do you know what your getting into? is this the reputation that we want as a city? a 4 lane El Camino that halts traffic, business un-friendly environment (see empty store frnts)rising cost,empty lots which will remain empty or end up like Alma Plaza. We need leadership in this city no matter what any of the past and present city leaders say the bottom line is we still have empty lots and an unhealthy downtown? nothing changes just the same old obstruction so sad.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Really:

Let me make this clear for you. Perhaps you haven't been paying attention.

I don't like the Stanford project, like you I think it will make traffic horrendous on ECR.

It is too bad people didn't think about this sooner or pay attention during the process WHEN THE COUNCIL GRANTED THE ZONING OF THE STANFORD PROPERTY. The zoning is done, the project complies, as much as you and I hate it.

Try looking to the long term. The remaining blighted properties on ECR WILL sit vacant because no developer in his or her right mind is going to put money at risk in a town that doesn't stick by its planning and zoning decisions.

If the council decides to rezone the Stanford property you can bet it will sit vacant for another five years because that is how long the lawsuit that Stanford will file will take to make its way through the courts. Then Stanford will build their project that complies with the granted zoning.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Councilman Rich Cline said that, to date, the proposal was not in any way what the university discussed doing during the creation of the specific plan, and it violated the spirit of the plan."

Yet this is what the staff report states:
" At various points, the applicant provided detail-type critiques of some draft regulations and Draft EIR elements, but did not submit correspondence or make in-meeting remarks that committed to a particular type of future development proposal, nor did the Planning Commission or City Council make findings that their Plan-related actions were based on any particular assumption of what the applicant ultimately might propose on this site. "

Who is not telling the truth?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 4, 2013 at 9:23 am

"Who is not telling the truth?"

City staff also reported during the January 28th Planning Commission meeting that two northbound left turn lanes from El Camino onto Middle might be a suitable mitigation for the increased traffic the Stanford project would create, and I'm certain other fantasies and falsehoods may be attributed to all sides in the matter, Peter. What you and the article above fail to mention, perhaps because you didn't attend the April 2nd Council meeting or watch the live stream of same -- you failed to "do your homework" -- is that Councilmember Cline acknowledged mistakes were made by the city in developing the Specific Plan. You also refuse to acknowledge the fact which Cline alludes to in his comment, that Stanford bandied about a senior housing project during the visioning process before playing its medical office shell game with the plans now before us, but there's no reconciling you with that truth, as we've seen.

And let's not forget the most egregious untruth yet promulgated in this whole mess, one tirelessly advanced by you and Manic Voter: the notion that Menlo Park will suffer decades of economic stagnation, underdevelopment, and blight if the Stanford Project is not allowed to move forward as-is. Amazing that you would label others "liars" after disgorging this nonsense!

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 10:05 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern suggests, without providing any evidence from minutes etc, that Cline is telling the truth ( that Stanford bandied about a senior housing project during the visioning process) and the staff report is lying. Before reaching that conclusion I would prefer to see some direct evidence. So far I can only quote what Cline said and what the staff report said.

With respect to what will happen if the council throws the Specific plan out the window what Menlo Voter and I and others predict is in fact decades of economic stagnation, underdevelopment, and blight. Only time will tell who is right.

Unfortunately the council has now put itself into a corner where it will have its 16 April hearing and do nothing, since the Stanford project already conforms to the Specific Plan, or, in order to save face, it will act to remove ECR-East from the Specific Plan which will lead to litigation and decades of vacant properties on ECR-East.

I suspect that Keith and Cline are simply setting up the 16 April hearing to be a public lynching of Stanford in order to appease the angry crowd. Interestingly Stanford has already done what Vince Bressler described " the normal process " by going to staff, then the Planning Commission and then meeting with neighbors - and now is being asked to take the extraordinary step of going before the council EVEN THOUGH its revised plan has not yet been reviewed by the Planning Commission.

This is just a sad attempt at a public lynching. Don't expect other developers to line up for the gallows.


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Posted by wcs
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Peter, Enough already. I have no idea why you're so determined to bully everyone. The meeting Tuesday was short and sweet. Some residents feel that what they got in the plan is far from what they agreed too. They have a right to require further discussion...particularly since ground has yet to be broken. Everyone involved, Stanford, the Planning Commission, the City Council and attending residents seem to feel that a good project can come from this even with this speed bump. Project plans are subject to review..all the time...it's just nothing out of the ordinary. There was no animosity in the council chambers - not from any of the interested parties. This is a partnership and it will be ironed out. Quit trying to stir it up.


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I am back again after a week to see how this debate is progressing and I see that beliefs continue to trump facts. Peter methodically presents his personal opinions and views supported with detailed "chapter and verse" from official documents, and his "opponents" resort largely on (1) ignoring facts. (2) attacking him as an outsider (3) questioning his motivations and self-righteous and dismissive attitudes These imbalanced exchanges are both fascinating and disappointing. Judge Judy would have a field day with the Save Menlo pleas, behavior, arguments, and personal attacks. According to the law (i.e. relevant codes, regulations), dear plaintiff, Stanford has the right to proceed with its plans whether you like them or not. There is no legal basis to stop them.


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm

CORRECTED VERSION: I am back again after a week to see how this debate is progressing and I see that beliefs continue to trump facts. Peter methodically presents his personal opinions and views supported with detailed "chapter and verse" from official documents, and his "opponents" resort largely to (1) ignoring facts. (2) attacking him as an outsider (3) questioning his motivations. And the tone of most of their comments remain self-righteous and dismissive. These imbalanced exchanges are both fascinating and disappointing. Judge Judy would have a field day with the Save Menlo pleas, behavior, arguments, and personal attacks. According to the law (i.e. relevant codes, regulations), dear plaintiff, Stanford has the right to proceed with its plans whether you like them or not. There is no legal basis to stop them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm

As noted Stanford has already done what Vince Bressler described " the normal process " by going to staff, then the Planning Commission and then meeting with neighbors - and now is being asked to take the extraordinary step of going before the council EVEN THOUGH its revised plan has not yet been reviewed by the Planning Commission.

The council can ADD NO VALUE to what the Planning Commission is already doing except to provide theatre. Tha council cannot require Stanford to change anything since the proposed project already confirms with the Specific Plan. The council can only move to remove ECR-East from the Specific Plan which would mean a long and expensive re zoning and a concurrent legal battle. Such action would also chill any other developer's interest in doing anything under a Soecific Plan which is so fragile and undependable.

A smart applicant, recognizing the theatre nature of the 16 April meeting, would simply give its updated proposal to the staff and let the staff give the council the report which they have requested. This theatre has been designed so that it appeals only to the opponents and those who believe in a stable and certain zoning ordinance and a government of laws rather than mob rule will gave no voice. If the council really wants to review and revise the Specific Plan the that is what should be on the agenda, not a particular project.


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Posted by Menlo voter2
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Mistruth? Please look at El Camino we are already suffering the consequences of a dysfunction as far as I can tell this whole excercize will result in litigation and the city will lose and we will continue to have vacant lots. One question people should ask themselves is the present development policies working? If the goal is to discourage investment then by all means its working!


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Posted by Perfectly clear
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

To those of you who have a hard time accepting this:

THE COUNCIL CAN CHANGE THE SPECIFIC PLAN ANY TIME.

No act of congress is required. No deity need intervene. All that need happen is that they so deem.

Given the magnitude of this particular project, it behooves everyone to examine it closely. If the properties must be removed from the specific plan to take effective action, then so be it.

It's not a disaster. Aliens will not swoop down to pick up small children and puppies. El Camino will not crumble into dust and weeds. (Though certain posters will still be quoting huge and meaningless chunks of code. Too bad this forum doesn't have an "ignore" feature.)

A better process, one that uses the input of residents rather than backroomo Stanford dealings, will result in a better project for all. Let freedom rnig.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

@Perfectly Clear--I am sure the CC can indeed revisit the DSP, and change it. No argument from me there. I am also equally sure that if they do, Stanford can and will sue and will prevail because their rights as land owners will have been violated under the law of the land(not the law according to MP). I am equally sure that "good" developers will continue to steer a wide berth around MP; which some short sighted people may think is a great thing, but eventually it will bite the City in the posterior. To your last reference to a "better process, one that uses input of residents", what in hell do you think the process to approve the DSP was?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Perfectly clear - You begin with a false premise - nobody has said that the council could not change the Specific Plan. I posted the procedure for doing so long ago:
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Mar 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

This is what the Specific Plan states regarding plan review and revisions:

"Ongoing Review of Specific Plan

The Specific Plan constitutes a significant and complex
revision of the existing regulations, and there may be
aspects of the plan that do not function precisely as
intended when applied to actual future development
proposals and public improvement projects. In order
to address such issues comprehensively, as well as to
consider the policy-related implications of various Plan
aspects, the Specific Plan recommends that the City
conduct an initial review of the Specific Plan one year
after adoption. In addition, the Specific Plan recommends
that the City conduct an ongoing review every two years
after the initial review. Such reviews should be conducted
with both the Planning Commission and City Council, and
should incorporate public input. Any modifications that
result from this review should be formally presented for
Planning Commission review and City Council action. Minor
technical modifications would generally be anticipated to
be covered by the current Program EIR analysis, while
substantive changes not covered by the Program EIR
would require additional review."

Note the requirement:"Any modifications that
result from this review should be formally presented for
Planning Commission review and City Council action"



The problem is that the council wants to treat the Specific Plan like a sandbox and NOT change it but require projects which do conform with the Specific Plan to instead conform to the current whims of some residents. The whole purpose of having zoning ordinances is so that property owners can have certainty about what they can and cannot do with their property.
Uncertainty regarding the rules will lead to a lack of investment and development - which is exactly what the 'save the village' folks want. I personally prefer government by laws rather than government by whim.


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Posted by Perfectly clear
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

"I am also equally sure that if they do, Stanford can and will sue and will prevail because their rights as land owners will have been violated under the law of the land(not the law according to MP)."

Well, we won't know until/unless it happens, but legal experts do not agree on this point. Stanford has made a general proposal, but no architectural drawings have been submitted. It would be hard for Stanford to argue that they have sustained any material loss due to a revision in zoning at this point.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"no architectural drawings have been submitted"

Wrong - what do you think the Planning Commission reviewed on Jan 28 in which they comment on the project's appearance, setbacks, height etc.?
"Commission Questions: Commissioner Bressler asked staff to put the plaza design from the
Plan on the screen"

"Commissioner Kadvany said in the proposed Project that Middle Avenue had a single crosswalk and not two across El Camino Real, which was much like it was already"

"Commissioner Kadvany said there was a significantly sized parking lot for Big Five and Staples behind the Project's Building A"

"Commissioner Riggs said the public comment had been very instructive and issues raised were ones that the Commission has wrestled with years, and establishing priorities of those issues. He said the applicant owns six parcels and was bringing those all forward at the same time, and these were six of the largest parcels in the City's Plan area. He said the priorities he had heard were: we had hoped for senior housing but decided in the Plan we were not going to force it and legally could not"

etc. etc., etc........


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Gern:

your ad hominem attack speaks volumes. You have nothing. NO facts. Nothing but sticking your fingers in your ears and saying la la la, I can't hear you. The facts have been repeatedly presented yet you continue to deny them and then result to ad hominem attacks.

You have presented no facts to support your opinion and when asked to do so still cannot. Bottom line is you are wrong. If the council rezones this property we can count on a lawsuit from Stanford and no developers interested in doing anything in this town knowing that they cannot rely on zoning and planning decisions.

You can attack me and Peter all you want. It won't change the facts.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Perfectly clear:

No, the council cannot change the specific plan at a whim. They have granted zoning to specific properties. Plans have been made based on those zoning decisions. Monies have been expended by those parties. If the zoning is changed damages are incurred by those parties AND THEY WILL SUE. And they will most likely prevail. I don't want my taxes being thrown away on loser lawsuits. Especially when in the big picture the willy nilly changing of previously granted zoning by council will surely result in developer refusing to do anything in our town. If you like the blighted properties on El Camino keep supporting this ridiculous nonsense you'll be looking at it for years.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by menlo voter2
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Testla leaving why? Could it the enviroment or Burlingame doing a better job recruiting has our council been to dwntown Burlingame its 2x as busy as Menlo it appears we in Menlo like our empty store frnts and dead dwntown as long as we retain our sick Village mentality residents ask ur self a question why do big name retailers and company's choose PA wake up and see the damage!


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Posted by Perfectly clear
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Nothing is happening "on a whim." The council is investing considerable time in figuring out what is best for the city. And that may include modifying the specific plan, which they have the authority to do.

The planning commissioners have not seen any specific plans from Stanford. They have been shown a proposal, during a *study session* (no action) and my impression was that they were in general appalled at the design and the lack of respect or consideration for the people of Menlo Park.

Those development concerns are groundless. Every currently vacant property on El Camino, other than Stanford, has an approved plan. No one is forcing the owners to build, but they have completed the process. As for Santa Cruz, downtown is bustling! I saw one storefront in transition yesterday; there are probably a couple of others, but that's a healthy amount of turnover. Very few chain stores, and that's a huge plus for our downtown!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Nothing is happening "on a whim." The council is investing considerable time in figuring out what is best for the city"

The council spent years developing and approving the Specific Plan - it is a sad commentary if they are just now "figuring out what is best for the city". That was the whole purpose of the years long planning process.

IF the council decides to spot zone and change just one specific part of the the Specific Plan that will certainly result in a lawsuit and will be a message to others that the plan cannot be relied upon.

"Every currently vacant property on El Camino, other than Stanford, has an approved plan." Please provide the addresses and approval number for each.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I'm not sure from what source the people active in "Save Menlo" are getting their legal advice and counsel. In my opinion anytime you get legal counsel that advises a path that basically says, "we don't know what will happen until it happens" (ref. Perfectly Clear's(sic)last post) is getting really terrible advice. I have seen the plans Stanford submitted. I know how much work by architects and other consultants (ie. civil eng/traffic) it takes to develop such plans. Please, believe me, a court would consider it a material loss should MP try to change the rules--rules it put in place for these parcels. I've said it before and I'll say it once more, Stanford will work with MP--up to the point doing so begins to sub-optimize its best interests with respect to their use of THEIR land. If Save Menlo and the CC insist on taking it too far, then, while some may not know what will happen, I, for one, have no doubts. One last word from me on this for Save Menlo, you have already soured any legitimate developers from doing business in your town based on the DSP being in place; kinda like the freeway when there is an accident during rush hour, it will take a long long time for things to unwind and the good developers to even think about investing in your town--a real shame, I work here and really like the place.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Careful what you wish for - if you want a village you may well get a village.

"A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand (sometimes tens of thousands).
Villages have been eclipsed in importance as units of human society and settlement."


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Posted by Speaking of definitions
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. In contrast to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), people with OCPD feel that their behaviors are correct and desirable. Hoarding is one of several possible criteria for OCPD in the DSM-IV.[1]


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Speaking:

I can guarantee you I am not OCD and I believe in procedure and process. A process which was followed in granting zoning for the Stanford property. Too ad most everyone was asleep when it happened. If we don't follow procedure and process we end up with what we've had - decrepit properties on ECR. If there is no process which developers can count on before they invest money, they won't and those properties will continue to sit vacant and blighted.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by Put It To A Vote
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Peter, when the library in Atherton was opposed by the proponents of a new town center, among others, even after many public meetings and approvals, weren't you among those who proposed that it be put on the Ballot? It was, indeed, voted down by 'the mob', despite having gone though all the proper channels. Could it be that your position is less principled than results oriented?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Could it be that your position is less principled than results oriented?"

No. 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.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2013 at 8:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In fact I had proposed a ballot measure days ago:
"Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Mar 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

"The few people who are opposed to the Specific Plan and the Stanford project (and who evidently slept through the Specific Plan development) which the Specific plan permits are not the will of the people. If they believe that they represent a majority of the citizens of Menlo Park then they should demonstrate that with a ballot initiative to block the Specific Plan and the Stanford project - and that will not happen because they don't have the votes."


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

@Speaking of definitions, yours is perhaps the most salient comment ever leveled at Peter in these forums, and I don't mean that as an attack on Mr. Carpenter -- the diagnosis just fits the behavior.

And, Peter, 513 signatures gathered solely online could very easily translate to the ~1,850 paper signatures needed to put the Stanford project before Menlo Park voters. From what I've read and seen people in this town are every bit as opposed to Stanford's plans as they were to the Derry project, and we all know how that turned out. Like most people, however, I don't wish for the situation to devolve into an expensive referendum, and am quietly hoping Stanford shows up April 16th with revised plans everyone can live with (I know you disagree).

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - I am pleased that you are hopeful.

Given that all of the issues raised in your petition to the council have been dealt with, have the 513 people who signed it all agreed on exactly what additional things you want Stanford to do so that everyone can live with that plan? Have you given that information to Stanford?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

"Have the 513 people who signed it all agreed on exactly what additional things you want Stanford to do so that everyone can live with that plan?"

It's now 514 people, and the ask is spelled out simply and concisely in the petition, Peter:

Web Link

We ask for nothing more or less than Stanford indicated it would build during the vision process. You did see those plans and renderings, didn't you? You, who so sternly admonishes others to do their homework and faults everyone for not having had intimate involvement with the years-long Specific Plan development process. How involved were you in that process, Peter?

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

OK - so here is the ask:

"Stanford represented that if the city increased the allowable development size, Stanford would build mostly senior housing, which would cause less additional traffic – and therefore pose fewer risks to pedestrian and bicyclists crossing El Camino or travelling in the neighboring Allied Arts. And it would help Menlo Park meet its housing goals rather than increase them through an office project.

We want Stanford to live up to your previous assurances to Menlo Park - to build low-traffic causing development, and contribute to the city's vision of safe crossings on El Camino."

Unfortunately Stanford NEVER said that it "would build mostly senior housing" .

Here is what was stated at the Planning Commission hearing:
"the City Attorney had advised that the City could not require or incentivize senior housing to the level at which it caused disincentive for family housing as related to Fair Housing laws. Commissioner Eiref summarized that there was interest in senior housing but nothing specifically in the Plan required. Planner Rogers said senior housing was included in the list of options for public bonus benefit for developers who wanted to achieve the highest level of density and floor area ratio."

Commissioner Riggs stated "He said the priorities he had heard were: we had hoped for senior housing but decided in the Plan we were not going to force it and legally could not."

Neither the EIR or the Specific Plan contemplated any development of the ECR-East site which did not result in "low traffic. And Stanford never stated that it would "build low-traffic causing development" In fact, there is no way that development of any kind on this site would not increase the traffic.


Gern - Can you be more specific about what the 514 want?
Is it all senior housing?
Is it all two story buildings?
Is it 50% public spaces?
Which specific requirements of the Specific Plan do you want Stanford to voluntarily reduce?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction:

Neither the EIR or the Specific Plan contemplated any development of the ECR-East site which resulted in "low traffic. And Stanford never stated that it would "build low-traffic causing development." In fact, there is no way that development of any kind on this site would not increase the traffic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The countdown to the 16 April council meeting is ticking and here are some of the asked but unanswered questions:

Gern - Can you be more specific about what the 514 want?

Is it all senior housing?

Is it all two story buildings?

Is it 50% public spaces?

Which specific requirements of the Specific Plan do you want Stanford to voluntarily reduce?

and:

"Every currently vacant property on El Camino, other than Stanford, has an approved plan." Please provide the addresses and approval number for each.

****************
Answers to these questions will inform the applicant and improve the debate.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 8, 2013 at 11:37 pm

There is an incredible opportunity for high-quality retail and housing developments along this critical stretch of El Camino in Menlo Park.

Vince Bressler is correct. The Allied Arts neighborhood supported the new housing development at the intersection of College and El Camino.

I'm crossing my fingers that Stanford will come back with something far better than what they've currently proposed, but I'm not holding my breath.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"incredible opportunity for high-quality retail "

How might Stanford attract such high quality retail to the ECR-East zone, particularly since it is so close to the Stanford Shopping Center, when it is already so difficult to do elsewhere on ECR and on Santa Cruz?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In Palo Alto, where there is only a 2 percent vacancy rate in the downtown area, here is one very knowledgable person's assessment"

"Roxy Rapp, who owns the property at 644 Emerson St., also advised against the change and told the council that when it comes to downtown Palo Alto, the old maxim "Location, location, location" applies. Stores outside the "downtown core" of University Avenue often have a hard time staying in business. Rapp gave as an example his building, where two successive shoe businesses failed and where Fraiche Yogurt operated before deciding not to renew its lease (an office now occupies the building).

"Retail is so tough today that it's very tough to make it out of the core," Rapp said.
*****

That does not bode well for attracting high quality retail in ECR-East.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2013 at 11:17 am

To the issue of whether or not high quality retail could do well in ECR-East; does anyone have any information on how the Pendleton Store on the corner of ECR & Cambridge is doing in terms of business volume?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

"That does not bode well for attracting high quality retail in ECR-East."

Retail, high quality or low, is a tenuous proposition up and down the entire length of El Camino Real, but I imagine any retail would stand a better chance in ECR-East were it situated underneath several hundred housing units, senior or otherwise, in addition to some number of offices, and were it fronting a pedestrian-friendly plaza at the terminus of Middle Avenue, while being connected to City Hall, Burgess Park and Linfield Oaks on the opposite side via a pedestrian/bike tunnel.

"Gern - Can you be more specific about what the 514 want?"

We want exactly what is stated in the petition, Peter: a project more in keeping with the spirit of the plans put forth by Stanford during the visioning process, one with more housing units and far fewer medical offices. We needn't dictate how many of each, just as we wouldn't require that the project have no traffic impacts (to answer another of your non sequiturs). Stanford knows what it "represented" during the visioning process -- return to the table with that general idea (one, sadly, you were not privy to given your absence during the visioning process) and most of the protests and petitions would evaporate. Not all, certainly, but many or most.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern states "We want Stanford to live up to your previous assurances to Menlo Park - to build low-traffic causing development," and " we wouldn't require that the project have no traffic impacts"

Neither the EIR or the Specific Plan contemplated any development of the ECR-East site which resulted in "low traffic. And Stanford never stated that it would "build low-traffic causing development." In fact, there is no way that development of any kind on this site would not increase the traffic.

So just how much new traffic is acceptable to the 514?

Gern states "the spirit of the plans put forth by Stanford during the visioning process"

Yet the staff reports states ""In public correspondence and through remarks at meetings, the applicant repeatedly supported the community planning process and stated an intent to pursue a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment proposal in compliance with the adopted Plan. At various points, the applicant provided detail-type critiques of some draft regulations and Draft EIR elements, but did not submit correspondence or make in-meeting remarks that committed to a particular type of future development proposal, nor did the Planning Commission or City Council make findings that their Plan-related actions were based on any particular assumption of what the applicant ultimately might propose on this site. "

Who is telling the TRUTH?


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Posted by Tired of the Delays
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Neighborhood groups like the 514 routinely change the facts for their own purposes. The end justifies the means with these groups. Fraud has been discovered in petitions put out by two groups in the last month on a housing proposal on Menalto and driveway encroachment on Louise Street. Actual names inserted against the wishes of the individuals.The petitions are almost meaningless because the signatories are also deceived.

Peter has caught them at their misinformation again above. Keep up the good work Peter.

Unfortunately the council keeps giving these tiny vocal minorities more strength than they deserve. Keith and Cline are especially prone to pandering.

Until our council rejects the dishonest tactics of these groups the delays and expense will continue.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

"Nor did the Planning Commission or City Council make findings that their Plan-related actions were based on any particular assumption of what the applicant ultimately might propose on this site."

Peter, we've ascertained ad nauseam that the City cannot and did not require Stanford to plan for senior housing, and that the Planning Commission and City Council were, with at least one notable exception, caught with their pants down and succumbed to Stanford's shell game. Now, a significant number of residents wish to revisit these mistakes, and opposed to this significant number is, apparently, just you. I say this because Stanford has taken the surprising step to amend their plan, a move presumably made in response to the clear protestations of the Menlo Park residents you continue to deride as the "insignificant few" in these forums.

But more significantly, I note the anti-council-review email campaign you attempted to start in another thread, complete with template and instructions, garnered one (1) message to the City Council, from a "PETER" who wrote a total of four snarky messages on the same day, April 3rd, and who is clearly a voice crying in the [word deleted] wilderness.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - What you are doing is make a false claim and then you will assert that Stanford again failed to live up to this false commitment.

You did not answer the question - is there ANY evidence to support your claim that ""Stanford represented that if the city increased the allowable development size, Stanford would build mostly senior housing, which would cause less additional traffic – and therefore pose fewer risks to pedestrian and bicyclists crossing El Camino or travelling in the neighboring Allied Arts. And it would help Menlo Park meet its housing goals rather than increase them through an office project.

We want Stanford to live up to your previous assurances to Menlo Park - to build low-traffic causing development, and contribute to the city's vision of safe crossings on El Camino."

Please provide documentation to support that claim since the staff report clearly refutes this claim.

I continue to prefer proven facts to repeating a Big Lie in the hopes that people will believe the Big Lie.

And I have learned to ignore personal attacks which are simply an effort to distract from the facts.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm

"Is there ANY evidence to support your claim that ""Stanford represented that if the city increased the allowable development size, Stanford would build mostly senior housing, which would cause less additional traffic."

There is evidence to support this claim, Peter, in the very plan Stanford fronted during the visioning process, a plan nowhere to be found online these days, which is why I refer to Stanford's antics as a shell game. It is having seen this plan which leads people like Rich Cline, myself, and hundreds of other residents to agree that Stanford paid quiet lip service to senior housing for increased allowable development size.

Your turn to answer a question: Did you see the plan Stanford fronted during the visioning process and, if not, were you at all involved in that process?

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Garn states "There is evidence to support this claim, Peter, in the very plan Stanford fronted during the visioning proces"

The staff reports states:""In public correspondence and through remarks at meetings, the applicant repeatedly supported the community planning process and stated an intent to pursue a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment proposal in compliance with the adopted Plan. At various points, the applicant provided detail-type critiques of some draft regulations and Draft EIR elements, but did not submit correspondence or make in-meeting remarks that committed to a particular type of future development proposal, nor did the Planning Commission or City Council make findings that their Plan-related actions were based on any particular assumption of what the applicant ultimately might propose on this site. "

Garn - You are making an allegation without verification and in direct contradiction to the staff report.

The EIR is a fact.
The Specific Plan is a fact.
The minutes of the Planning Commission are a fact.
The staff report is a fact.
None of them support your statement - no matter how many times you repeat it.

I can only conclude that you are lying - even though you probably would very much like to believe that what you are saying is tue and have clearly convinced yourself that it is true.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Your turn to answer a question, Peter: Did you see the plan Stanford fronted during the visioning process and, if not, were you at all involved in that process?

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern asks "Did you see the plan Stanford fronted during the visioning process" No and I can find NO evidence of such a plan.

" and, if not, were you at all involved in that process? " No, and I never asserted that I was.

Gern - you have still, after at least 10 requests, refused to provide any documentation of
"the plan Stanford fronted during the visioning process". Repeating the Big Lie does
not make it true - except perhaps in your own mind.

You and Cline are getting ready to put Stanford on trial for something that they did not do and have already decided that they are guilty. And in the process you are prepared to trash the Specific Plan and all the time and effort that went into it simply because you want a different outcome than the democratically adopted Specific Plan permits.


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Posted by Perfectly clear
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Many residents provided our input to the consultants during the early years of the project. The consensus was clear. Village character. Walkable streets with big plazas. Retail. East-west connectivity. Minimal traffic impact.

Stanford acknowledged these priorities, and so did their consultant. So it's easy to understand why residents feel as though a bait & switch has occurred. Even Stanford recognizes how unpalatable their proposal is, which is why they are revising it.

The planning commission supports revisiting the plan.

No one is putting Stanford on trial. We all want a win-win -- a project that is an asset to our city and to the property owner. It's too bad that some people who don't even live in Menlo Park apparently have so much idle time that they can spend hours and hours trashing the rest of us for trying to do the right thing. There are many local nonprofits who could benefit from that kind of energy and dedication! Why not put it to good use?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Even Stanford recognizes how unpalatable their proposal is, which is why they are revising it."

Perfectly clear is not just playing with the truth but rather making it up. Stanford is attempting to respond to concerns that have been raised; Stanford NEVER said that its proposal was unpalatable.

Here is what the record shows:
"Mr. Elliott said they had heard a lot from the community and there were big issues to consider. He said he would like more to go on as far as the architectural details. He asked if there were feedback questions from them. He said he would like a continuation but if they felt they had said everything then they could move forward." "Mr. Elliott indicated they had met with neighbors, and were interested in continuing to meet with them and others."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There are many local nonprofits who could benefit from that kind of energy and dedication! Why not put it to good use?"

You are obviously not aware of my more than 40 years of non-profit and public service.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Since many visitors to the Town Forum only read the latest comments it is useful to summarize this issue.

1 - Menlo park engaged in a multi-year effort to produce a Specific Plan for the Downtown area. This effort included substantial input by citizens as noted in the Specific Plan:

"…And the thousands of community members who did
the real work of the Specifi c Plan by providing direction
for their community for the next 20 to 30 years. Their
dedication to working in a constructive, collaborative way
to create a plan that will make our community the best it
can be is an admirable testament to our ability to achieve
the vision set forth in the Specific Plan."

2– A Draft EIR was produced regarding that proposed Specific Plan and public comments were solicited,

3 – A Final EIR was prepared which incorporated responses to the comments received on the Draft EIR,

4 – The Final EIR and the Specific Plan were unanimously approved by the City Council,
Web Link
Web Link

5 – Stanford then submitted a proposed development for the area designated in the Specific Plan as ECR-East which fully complied with the requirements of the Specific Plan,

6 – Stanford's proposal was vetted at a Planning Commission meeting in January and Stanford agreed to continue its discussions with some neighbors regarding their concerns and then to return to the Planning Commission with a revised proposal,
Web Link

7 – A group of people (whose signatures and residence have not been verified as being either residents, adults, voters or taxpayer)s then submitted a petition demanding that Stanford change its proposal to conform to their wishes rather than to the requirements of the Specific Plan'
Web Link

8 – The City Council then, in violation of the procedure established in the Specific Plan, inserted itself into the process by scheduling a council review of the project before the revised Stanford proposal was submitted to and considered by the Planning Commission.

The issue is: Shall Menlo Park's downtown development be governed by its legally adopted Specific Plan or shall it be ruled by a noisy minority who are pursuing their own narrow self interests?


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Posted by Perfectly clear
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Thank you, Peter, for making our case for us.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 10, 2013 at 9:43 am

So many ridiculous claims in this thread alone, Peter -- we should attempt to catalog them for posterity:

[word deleted] Carpenter Posse "Big Lie" Number One: Menlo Park does not want a Village!
- Peter: "I probably spend far more money in Menlo Park than realism 101 does and clearly have an interest in Menlo Park remaining a vibrant community not stifled by the keep it a village mentality."
- Peter: "Uncertainty regarding the rules will lead to a lack of investment and development - which is exactly what the 'save the village' folks want."
- meth voter2: "it appears we in Menlo like our empty store frnts and dead dwntown as long as we retain our sick Village mentality residents ask ur self a question why do big name retailers and company's choose PA wake up and see the damage!"
- Peter: "Careful what you wish for - if you want a village you may well get a village." [Cumbersome definition of 'village' and its place in modern society excluded]
- Peter: "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."

Then there are these excerpts from the final El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan (Web Link), which Peter admitted he had no hand in helping to develop and hasn't bothered to read -- he "didn't do his homework":
- C. Vision Statement: "The range of services and goods provided by local businesses and merchants has been identified by several community members as a major contributor to the small town, or village, character in Menlo Park. One-of-a-kind retail businesses and services contribute greatly to making a downtown unique."
- 1. Vision Plan Area Character, Background: "An image that was repeatedly provided by a number of community members was one of a "village feel." This was quite often characterized by the inclusion
of vertical mixed-use, but not "highly intense" development…. Given this input, it is recommended that Menlo Park establish the following goal and objectives to ensure that the "village feel" is pursued for the Vision Plan Area."
- 1. Vision Plan Area Character, Background: "Goal: Maintain a village character unique to Menlo Park." [There follows a long list of objectives supporting this goal.]
- Group Comments, Group 7, Item 1: "Community form should be tighter, more village-like."
- Group Comments, Group 9, Item 1: "Create an identity for Menlo Park: village feel, especially on Santa Cruz."

To close with one of Peter's favorite salutations: Who is telling the TRUTH?!

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - the Vision Plan, which I HAVE read, was a precursor to and is trumped by the Specific Plan. The Vision Plan dealt with a lot of wish lists and wouldn't it be nice lists and then the hard work was done to reduce those lits to a workable and internally consistent Specific plan.

Just as there were lots of things in the Federalist Papers that did not make it into the Constitution and the Constitution is the ruling document.

Gern - you have still, after at least 11 requests, refused to provide any documentation of
"the plan Stanford fronted during the visioning process". Repeating the Big Lie does
not make it true - except perhaps in your own mind.


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Posted by Alfred E
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Does Peter Carpenter live in Menlo Park or Atherton?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A great example of posters who do not pay attention:

Posted by Alfred E, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, 1 minutes ago

Does Peter Carpenter live in Menlo Park or Atherton?

No wonder they slept through the Specific Planing process.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood


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