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Council Decision Endangers Children

Original post made by Outraged, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Feb 10, 2007

Putting a childcare center in the middle of an industrial park is a bad idea and unnecessarily endangers our children. Heavy truck traffic, hazardous materials, and lack of safe evacuation routes were all cited as reasons the planning commission originally denied the application. The council's 4-1 vote (Boyle opposing) to override the planning commission is irresponsible.

The Almanac's suggestion that this is a victory for parents is absurd. There is plenty of other vacant space in town that would be far safer for locating a childcare center. It is only a victory for the childcare operator, who will save money by locating their center in a run-down industrial building rather than more appropriate facility.

And speaking of money, this is likely to cost the city money as sales tax producing businesses once again flee Menlo Park for more business friendly towns. Eight resident business owners, a Silicon Valley business association and the landlord of the neighboring industrial park all told the city council that putting a childcare center in the heart of our industrial zone would make them less likely to stay in Menlo Park. Responsible employers like drug company Alza said that they have corporate policies against locating hazardous operations near childcare.

The Mayor's statement that we all "just have to live together" is ridiculous. No one would think about allowing a chemical plant to move into a residential neighborhood. That is why we have zoning laws.

Lastly, council members Cline and Robinson stated that they would vote to allow the project to go forward because "there were already other childcare facilities within a quarter mile of the industrial park." So how does knowledge that other children may already be within the hazard zone make it OK to put more children right in the center of it.

The council majority's action to over-ride the planning commission in favor of a Palo Alto business owner is the worst kind of political favor -the kind that endangers the lives of children and encourages our most responsible businesses to relocate to other towns.

Comments (4)

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Posted by Richard Hine
editor of The Almanac
on Feb 10, 2007 at 11:24 am

Richard Hine is a registered user.

For a related story, "Preschool approved for MP industrial zone," click here: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rory Brown
Almanac staff writer
on Feb 11, 2007 at 11:03 pm

Rory Brown is a registered user.

Outraged:

In your post, you state, "the Almanac's suggestion that this [the approval of the preschool] is a victory for parents is absurd."

In my story regarding the Casa dei Bambini proposal, I said that at the City Council meeting, council members sided with parents over landlords and business owners. The Almanac didn't say, or imply, that the approval of the project was a "victory" for all Menlo Park parents.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Parent
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Feb 12, 2007 at 11:25 pm

Rory,

I have to agree with the original post that the only winner here was the Casa Dei Bambini business owner. Menlo Park parents would be better served if the council had done what Mr Cohen suggested and try to find an alternative location for the school.

Your article also gives the false impression that the school was supported by a large number of Menlo Park parents when in fact the majority the speakers in favor of the school were from Palo Alto and Mountainview.

P.S. I don\'t know the Jill Wernicke that you quoted, but I do not see anyone by that name in the Menlo Park phone book.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 19, 2007 at 7:33 am

This is indeed a "victory" for the city. The surrounding businesses do not pose a hazard beyond the bounds of their properties, for that would be illegal. Affordable childcare and excellent preschool education are a benefit to employers as well as citizens and add value to our community.


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