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Update: Menlo council forms subcommittee to guide Stanford project on El Camino

Original post made on Apr 17, 2013

After a discussion that started on Tuesday night and stretched into Wednesday morning, the Menlo Park City Council decided to form a subcommittee to help figure out how to make the proposed Stanford-Arrillaga mixed-use complex more palatable to the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 1:57 AM

Comments (107)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 7:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Ms. Carlton said she was worried that may be impossible. "My fear is that there are members of the community who will never be happy with this and I don't know how to reconcile that."

Carlton is right but democracy was never intended to make everybody happy.

Cline will continue to ignore the years of effort and wisdom that went into the Specific Plan and he will push for a Cline Memorial Park on these 8 acres as a collection of vacant buildings.

Mueller's recusal will soon end and then the council will be able to move forward.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

So they punted. It's still going to come down to a minority kicking and screaming they don't like it and want it removed and the Council will be forced to make decision. Either allow the project to move forward in compliance with the granted zoning or remove/rezone the property and embroil the city in a lawsuit and guarantee no developer does any thing in this town for a very long time.

Nice job Council. How about showing some spine and making a decision now? Your subcomittee changes nothing. It's just a delaying tactic.

Ms. Carlton is correct; there are members of this community that will never be happy with this, no matter what Stanford proposes. This subcomitte isn't going to change that either.

Enjoy the view folks. It's going to remain the same for quite some time.


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Posted by Allied Arter
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:22 am

Carlton is WRONG, bring a good, sensible project forward so there can be wide support for it.

I also oddly agree with MenloVoter, it is time to remove/rezone those parcels.

The Mayor showed no backbone in not removing the Stanford parcels, ignoring the many requests to do so.


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:25 am

Has anyone tried to turn left on El Camino from Middle when there are pedestrians in the cross walk? It causes gridlock. How is this project ever going to work with the amount of traffic it will generate?


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Posted by Stanford
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

Steve Elliot and Stanford should be ashamed to bring such a massive project forward. Why didn't this go to the Planning Commission, why did it go to Council? Stanford is good for sales tax rev. in Santa Clara County, and all the traffic in Menlo west.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"bring a good, sensible project forward so there can be wide support for it."

Oh sure - like the 2 story .75 FAR that all the villagers asked for last night. It ain't gonna happen.


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Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:48 am

With Keith and Carlton being appointed, these two big pro development minded council persons, will do nothing useful.

Rich Cline, now so unhappy with Stanford's plans, is really the cause of all the problems. The specific plan was his initiative and when mayor, he completely failed to rein in the consultant and staff, who went about their usual, bigger is better mindset.

Just how much unrest is really present in Menlo Park right now is uncertain, but sometimes issues like this go viral; maybe a recall in in the future? Certainly the present City Manager is no friend of the citizens, and we will got no relief from him.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Just how much unrest is really present in Menlo Park right now is uncertain,"

Well of the infamous '514' only 24 showed up to speak against the project so I suspect that the actual level of unrest is quite low.


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Posted by Resident Evil
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:03 am

Duh, get rid of the parking along El Camino so you have two more useable lanes.


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Posted by I was there
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:12 am

I was at the meeting. Peter Ohtaki said that he had never had so many cards submitted. Many people donated their time to other speakers, at the council's request, to speed the process. Unlike the writer, I heard only one person express any support, and he did so by telling the rest of us that we didn't need to be scared of traffic. He did not win friends with that stance.

Peter and Menlo Voter, if you had bothered to show up, you would have seen a full chamber and people cheering the speakers who expressed cogent and articulate reasons for redefining the project. The meeting also clarified the planning commission's role: they have more power than the opinionated outsiders would like. And it is a fact (sorry, Peter) that the PC does not approve of this project.

Atherton severely limits the development that can occur within its borders. Kind of ironic that someone who chooses to live in such a community has the chutzpah to deride us for wanting our village.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I WAS there and heard the 'let's go back to the village of yore' speeches, and no the villagers did not want to hear anybody who thought differently - "He did not win friends with that stance."

I agree with Carlton ""My fear is that there are members of the community who will never be happy with this and I don't know how to reconcile that."





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Posted by I was there
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

Facts bother you, Peter? I was merely reporting what happened.

Cat needs to develop a tough skin or she's going to be miserable on the council. Fact is, nothing the council does will ever make everyone happy. There will always be community members who object. On this project, if Stanford can come up with something that half the neighbors accept, we'll be in decent shape.

Counting rooftops as open space? That defies credibility. We're just beginning to undercover all the "gotchas!" that Stanford's consultants inserted into the plan. Items that the council, planning commission, and public did not get to see, much less discuss.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

'Facts bother you, Peter?'

Never, I love facts. As noted I was also there and I entirely agree with you ". Fact is, nothing the council does will ever make everyone happy. There will always be community members who object."


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

"counting rooftops as open space? That defies credibility" I tend to agree, but it was perfectly acceptable when the villagers embraced and council approved Facebook's West Campus project in spite of them killing 175 heritage trees to build the roof top. But, again, kudos to the villagers, another delaying tactic to insure no change in the village. BUT, Menlo Voter is absolutely correct, it will be a very long time before the village blight is gone. It amazes me that so many people still don't think that Menlo Park is not above the law; in this case zoning law. I predict that once the lawyers start getting paid (litigation is coming) the fearsome 514 will lead the pack yelling for the head of the City Manager and City Attorney for getting the village caught up in expensive law suits rather than ever acknowledge it was their own darn fault.


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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

At the point when Peter Ohtaki said he had never seen so many cards, he said 32 cards had been submitted. Thirty-one speakers commented.

Sandy


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If last night was the best that the 'villagers' have to offer - we want only two story buildings, a 0.75 FAR and for Stanford to donate a 120' strip worth millions of dollars for a public park - then I am confident that the work and wisdom of the Specific Plan will prevail. Sadly it will take a while.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

31 cards may be the most Mayor Ohtaki has seen during his short tenure on Council, but it is by no means a record. So 31-7 (pro & ok w/slight changes)= 24. Isn't that the same number of people in the original Save Menlo group before they supposedly got a bunch of unsubstantiated electronic signatures to claim 514? Also, have to say it, "unlike the writer, I only heard one person express support...", of course, selective listening is part of the villagers strategy too.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

I remained at the meeting until 1am and came away with a different indication of public support than that mentioned in the article:

27 were clearly opposed to Stanford's plan as-is
2 were clearly for the plan (a "Clem" and Fran Dean of our Chamber of Commerce)
2 were ambiguous ("Andrew" and Henry Riggs both showed some support with reservations)

Not counted in the article's 24 or my 27 figure were those who donated their time to speakers opposed to the Stanford plan -- there were no such donations to the proponent camp, far as I heard.

I would very much like to know the first names of the seven whom Sandy Brundage felt supported the project in whole or in part -- certainly doesn't match my impression of events, but such are impressions.

What we do know with certainty is that the preponderance of those residents who stayed late to offer public comment opposed the project, and "passionately opposed" doesn't begin to describe a few speakers, which provided an interesting contrast to the monotone recitation of boilerplate offered by Ms. Dean of the Chamber of Commerce (I assume she spoke in support of Stanford, at any rate).

The Stanford project is angering and galvanizing residents in exactly the same way the Derry project did, and while most of us wish to avoid a referendum that certainly isn't out of the question. Many hope that ECR-East is simply removed from the Specific Plan, never mind the idiotic FUD seen here and elsewhere about how that change may bankrupt and eviscerate our town for decades to come.

Gern

P.S. I do enjoy the view.



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Posted by Scare tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Gern is correct. I had to leave around 11, but note that many of the people who spoke against the project had extra time donated by a couple of others. And there were dozens of attendees who cheered the opposition but themselves did not speak. Henry Riggs is arguably the most pro-development member of the planning commission, and he did not endorse the project, although he thought the changes should be minor rather than major.

I did not hear anyone support the project. One man from the Willows told us not to fear the traffic, so he was not an opponent, but I did not hear support either. I left before Fran Dehne spoke.

Anyone who thinks that meeting attendees are the only opponents in town is fooling himself. The rest of us know the truth, and so does the council. Last night, the discussion didn't even start until about 9 pm. My children are teens, but if they were younger, forget it. Attending a council meeting requires a serious commitment.

The internet broadcast feed did not seem to be working last night. Too bad, because you missed Mike Lanza's classic performance. Gern accurately describes the passion that is driving the opposition. And we don't even stand to benefit, unlike Stanford. We're just trying to protect our diminishing quality of life.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What we do know with certainty is that the preponderance of those residents who stayed late to offer public comment opposed the project, and "passionately opposed""

Fortunately in a democracy the loudest do not win.

"And we don't even stand to benefit" Oh but you do - you want to protect you own backyards and to keep your little parts of Menlo Park a village. Admirable but totally insensitive to the needs and desires of other Menlo Park residents who seek the renewal that will come with the implementation of the carefully crafted, with a lot of citizen input, Specific Plan. You don't like what the majority want but that does not mean that your views will prevail. On the contrary the longer this goes on and the more the majority realizes that the opponents are acting in their own narrow self interest the greater the chance that your cause will, as it should, fail. You don't want housing near you but it is great to put it in Belle Haven. You want a park so Stanford should give you one. You have got yours so pull up the village drawbridge.


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Posted by Scare tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Atherton has successfully managed to keep low income housing far away. Hypocritical, anyone?

Many of the people who spoke, including former Mayor Heyward Robinson, had provided input throughout the public process. Yes, there was much public input. But somewhere, a disconnect occurred. It's pretty clear that Stanford's consultants subverted the process, removing the residents' input and substituting their own preferences.

Like deciding that rooftops are open space!

Stanford has done its best to undermine the process. The plan, as it stands, does not accurately reflect the results of years of work. THAT is why residents are incensed. If you don't understand that, you shouldn't be posting. And while you're at it, explain why it is wrong for residents to want to protect our quality of life? It's not "narrow self interest" -- I doubt you will find one single Menlo Park resident who wants to experience a decline in air quality and increase in traffic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It's pretty clear that Stanford's consultants subverted the process, removing the residents' input and substituting their own preferences."

Interesting assertion - can you please post any facts/documentation to support it?

"why it is wrong for residents to want to protect our quality of life? It's not "narrow self interest" ' It is wrong only if a few residents are trying to protect the narrow self interests of their very small part of Menlo Park at the expense of the city's greater good - which is exactly what you are doing.

You don't like the consequences of the Specific Plan FOR YOUR OWN RESIDENCE AND NEIGHBORHOOD so then you make every attempt to discredit the Specific Plan and all of the citizen effort that went into it. You don't like what you hear so you blame the problem on someone else rather than accepting that you are in the minority.

Last night was a real education - rampant self interest and no respect for the will of the majority of the people who worked hard and compromised and struggled to produce a unanimously approved Specific Plan. New 'research' which consisted of driving up and down El Camino.


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Posted by danahendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Back once again to see what's happening after the April 17 council meeting. First impression: arguing about how many people showed up to either support or oppose the current project proposal is pointless as the mix of attendees in no way reflects the views of the larger community. Those who feel a development will personally impact them in a negative way USUALLY way outnumber the rest of the people who attend such a meeting. Most citizens have faith in our city processes and do not feel the need to actively participate in this debate. Second impression: Stanford is not ignoring community feedback and continues to make adjustments to its plan. Finally, If the choice is between approving the current plan and revising the MP Specific Plan, I prefer the latter. I believe traffic mitigation is doable and the architecture of the project enhances our little strip of El Camino. This location is not part of our charming downtown.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

For and against what a joke as a long time retailer and 50 year property owner voiceing ones opinion would be like committing business suicide the anti-development group will never be satisfied (please see Derry Project if your are on the other side you will be attacked and vilified the facts don't matter so I agree RECALL RICH CLINE!


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Posted by Rober
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 1:21 pm

The super committee is doomed to fail just like the gang of 8 was supposed to solve our nations fiscal problems this council has failed MP no backbone! How has cowtowing to the vocal small minority been working for Menlo one word failure they should recall all who voted to punt!


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Peter Carpenter pronounced: "Fortunately in a democracy the loudest do not win."

The irony in that statement cannot be lost on readers in this forum. Peter Carpenter is the single noisiest, most prolific poster (chiefly of lorem ipsum) in all of Town Square and he appears to have convinced himself that his opinions are both fact and the will of the Menlo Park and greater Bay Area majority.

Peter's opinion-cum-fact du jour, but one oft-repeated in other threads, is that the smallest minority of Menlo Park residents oppose the Stanford project, a position he bases on the fact that only 546 people have signed the savemenlo.org petition and a mere 24-27 of 31 public comments at last night's City Council meeting expressed vehement opposition to the Stanford project.

This data, when juxtaposed with the complete absence of a corresponding effort in support of the Stanford project and with the fact that perhaps 2 of 31 public comments last night offered tepid support for Stanford, inform Peter that a clear majority in Menlo Park are begging Stanford to break ground at 500 El Camino Real.

But perhaps I unfairly discount Peter's army of Stanford project supporters, as just a couple weeks ago Peter initiated an email campaign in another thread, one which included a template with text urging the Council to stand down in its affront to order and process by revisiting the mixed-use development at 500 El Camino Real. To date the Council email log shows one such message having been received, from an obfuscated email address beginning only PETER....

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - The opponents gave it their best shot last night to both get it stopped and to have ECR-SE removed from the Specific Plan. Face it, nothing was changed last night. The Stanford project will proceed in the properly defined review process.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm

This post is directed at the "silent majority" (just aged myself) who read this forum. I have worked in Menlo Park for 43 years. I, to my dismay, do not live in town, but I spend the vast majority of my waking hours in town--and a considerable portion of my disposable income. I care! I understand (am affected by) the traffic problems. I am not going to try to top what I believe to be the best expression of why this town needs to wake up, and step up, and embrace change, not change for the worse, but change for the better. I have been sarcastically referring to the "villagers" and the "fearsome 514" (or noisy 24), not out of disrespect for this great town, but rather because I care about it. The "best expression" of where we need to go that I am referring to is Peter Carpenter's post of 1 hour ago--specifically his comments that begin with "Oh but you do" (stand to benefit). Please anyone reading this that echos these sentiments b Mr. Carpenter, let your elected officials know. Personally, I am seriously conflicted that this town I care so much about can, on the one hand embrace Facebook because they are willing and able to pay a lot of money to get exactly what they want regardless of impacts, and is so quick to want to take away the land owner rights of Stanford because "there's nothing in it for us"and it affects some part of town other than Bellehaven.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Yes, trying to please *everyone* is unrealistic, but why not try to please a majority of the residents? That would seem to be a very reasonable goal to me.


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Posted by Scare tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Notice that our Don Quixote and his Sancho Panzas focus on attacking the opponents of the project, whereas the project opponents focus on the project itself. A project that:

* Is out of scale with our city
* Is an aesthetic mismatch
* Will provide primarily office space and only limited retail and housing, further exacerbating the requirement to construct even more housing
* Will increase the incidence of El Camino gridlock and result in cut-through traffic in Allied Arts and other neighborhoods.
* Aforementioned gridlock will contribute to decreased air quality
* Does nothing to fulfill most of the original plan priorities

As noted in the much-circulated report card, the proposed project earns an F when compared against to the vision that was carefully constructed after YEARS of public input. Public input that was largely ignored when the southeast section of the plan was published by Stanford's consultants.

If your definition of "vitality" includes dangerous levels of traffic and pedestrians scurrying to safety, yes, the plan would produce that. But I would love to hear our out-of-town naysayers telling us what's good about the plan, innstead of attacking us and informing us that "everyone else" in Menlo Park wants the plan. Where are those supporters?!?


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Gern-you list yourself as a resident of Linfield Oaks: I'll assume for the purpose of asking this question that you are a property owner in that part of Menlo Park. It is a well known fact that your neighborhood association is very influential in local political circles and pretty much dictates what it wants. To my question, since your neighborhood seems to believe it can (and does) dictate its will because you are land owners, why is it you do not respect the rights of land owners outside of Lindfield Oaks-such as Stanford?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

"This post is directed at the "silent majority" (just aged myself) who read this forum...."

Your appeal might carry more weight if we had some idea where you live, where in Menlo Park you work, or what your connection to Stanford may or may not be. Would you be opposed to a final Stanford project three-fifths its current size, say, and if so, why? What about more housing at the expense of office space?

If you contend that Stanford should be able to build whatever it likes so long as it conforms to the Specific Plan then we've already admitted ad nauseam that the Plan is flawed, that we're to blame, and that we humbly wish to correct said Plan. If you assert that the Specific Plan is sacred and immutable then there's little left to discuss, it would seem.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Garn - ANSWER the question "To my question, since your neighborhood seems to believe it can (and does) dictate its will because you are land owners, why is it you do not respect the rights of land owners outside of Lindfield Oaks-such as Stanford?"


Garn - Also you repeatedly allege that Stanford present a specific project during the planning process but have refused 17 request to document that allegation - why?


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Posted by Scare tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

"It is a well known fact that your neighborhood association is very influential in local political circles and pretty much dictates what it wants."

Facts? Proof? Can't wait to see them!


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

To Gern and others:

I personally do not support the Stanford project. I don't like it and I don't like the traffic impacts it is likely to create.

I do like the process. The process in this case was being followed until hijacked by the council and a vocal minority. I object to that for multiple reasons the largest of which is that it makes it impossible for developers to count on zoning and planning decisions which results in the continued blight along ECR.

If the process had been followed and changes made it would be one thing and future developers could be confident that if they buy property and try to develop it the process would be followed and they would get a fair hearing.

What's happening now is the city is sending a signal loud and clear - don't develop anything in our town (unless of course it only effects Bellehaven). This will simply result in the blight of ECR remaining for a long time to come.

Gern: I'm glad you enjoy the view, you're gong to be looking at it for a long time.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Gern: I'm glad you enjoy the view, you're gong to be looking at it for a long time."

Actually Gern's view is of the trees on the east side of the railroad tracks and I doubt that he will even be able to see most, if any , of the Stanford project when it is built.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Peter disgorged: 'Garn - ANSWER the question "To my question, since your neighborhood seems to believe it can (and does) dictate its will because you are land owners, why is it you do not respect the rights of land owners outside of Lindfield Oaks-such as Stanford?"'

Calm down, Peter -- I submitted my previous post before reloading the forum page to see WRUp's question. First, the notion that Linfield Oaks holds some undue sway at city hall is almost laughable given how we tried but failed to kill two dense infill development projects in our neighborhood during the Winkler-Duboc-Jellins regime. And I very much do respect Stanford's property rights and am hopeful they soon break ground on 500 El Camino Real ... on a project three-fifths the scale of the one currently before us. Three-fifths is still greater than the development envelope allowed under the previous zoning so everyone wins.

And as to your mind-numbing assertion that I have failed to deliver Stanford's plans shared during the visioning process that is exactly why I called their antics a shell game. Stanford was careful to leave little trace of the senior housing and hotel they spoke of at that time, but it was nice to watch Rich Cline call Steve Elliot (of Stanford) on that last night, in perhaps the most pointed exchange of the entire Council discussion. Elliot's evasive stammering made clear to me how Stanford approached the visioning process, which can only be described as below board.

You witnessed this exchange as well, Peter -- I believe you were seated directly in front of me in Council chambers last night (blue dress shirt, navy slacks, black loafers, blue pen, yellow legal pad, sloppy penmanship, penchant for removing and adjusting your glasses -- kind of creepy, isn't it).

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

(blue dress shirt, navy slacks, black loafers, blue pen, yellow legal pad, sloppy penmanship, penchant for removing and adjusting your glasses -- kind of creepy, isn't it)."

You ID'd the wrong guy. No blue dress shirt, no navy slacks, no black loafers etc.

Glad that you are not an 'eye witness' for someone in court.

And sorry that there is no evidence to support your claim re Stanford.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Gern, criticizing someone for there looks is that necessary? and who came up with the three-fifths size? from what authority or planner or reference?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

"Gern, criticizing someone for there looks is that necessary?"

Where on earth did I do this? In my erroneous description of Peter's attire? That's a stretch -- the person I described looked quite dapper, actually.

The three-fifths number is my own. Everyone is clamoring for a solution and the three-fifths compromise just feels right. Wouldn't you agree, Robert?

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Everyone is clamoring for a solution and the three-fifths compromise just feels right."

For the village folks it is always three-fifths of the last proposal. Their concept of compromise is for the other side to keep moving towards their position - last night it was two story buildings and a free public park. Today it is three fifths. Tomorrow it is??????

Frankly I don't care how Garn imagines what I look like - with zero effort he could find my photo in the Almanac files. But then that would mean doing some work and dealing with facts.


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Posted by what majority?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

The details of the Specific Plan ostensibly arose from the phase 2 community workshops that were each attended by 120 people or fewer. A number of those were developers, and a number were not residents.
At no time in the workshops was there an attempt to develop consensus across groups, which might have been interesting since various groups came up with different ideas that might have had more appeal than a given table group's own.

So the basis for the ultimate Plan came from that few people. So why is it that the vastly greater numbers of savemenlo.or petitioners are viewed as having a less legitimate voice than the workshop participants??

I only noticed 3 people who spoke in support of the plan - one is a local architect who had to recuse himself from the Planning Commission discussion of parts of the SP because of professional conflicts, another was president of the Chamber of Commerce whose Board is dominated by developers, and the 3rd was a resident of the Willows.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" So why is it that the vastly greater numbers of savemenlo.or petitioners are viewed as having a less legitimate voice than the workshop participants??"

They are not less legitimate than any other random group of people. However the Draft EIR, the Final EIR and the final Specific Plan were all available for comment and THEN the Planning Commission and the Council approved them - that is the democratic process. The 514 want to change the rules after the fact to accomodate the narrow self interests of a small group.


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Posted by Samia
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I noticed there is a "photo" that goes with this article. I assume Stanford unveiled this at the meeting. Were there any other drawings presented? Has Stanford shown us anything that depicts the changes in the proposed development (placement of buildings, heights etc) since the January 28th meeting? I'm not seeing anything on the 500 El Camino Real Project page of the City of Menlo Park website.


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Posted by I was there
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I believe that was the only photo. Stanford claims that the buildings have fewer stories, but did not, at least from what I heard, specify height. I wonder if their "3 story building" will actually have 5 or 6 stories, including mezzanine floors.

There are many unknowns about this project, including whether or not it will be occupied by Stanford employees and therefore subject to Stanford traffic reduction measures (as one speaker last night assumed).

Once you filter out the ad hominem attacks from non-residents, it's clear to all that this project needs extensive rethinking. I understand that it may have been politically infeasible for the council to take Stanford out of the SP last night, but they opened the door. Individual council members are also frustrated with Stanford for its misrepresentations during the process, and for slipping items into the SP without presenting them first to the planning commission and council. Now that Stanford has proven itself to be deceptive, it will be hard, maybe impossible, for the council to trust them at all.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Allegations of deception are not proof if deception .

Facts are something the opponents refuse to provide.

Look at the project web site and note all the documentation on the EIR and Specific Plan.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

It's a shame the 514 weren't paying attention during the years long process to develop the SP (seemed longer). Now they want a pass for their laziness or lack of interest so they can come in and change the rules.

To those that think this is OK I have to ask; if you bought a piece of property in Menlo Park, decided you wanted to build a house that complied with the zoning, submitted plans after expending thousands of dollars then had your neighbors complain about the size of your house even though it complied with the zoning, demanding that you down size, what would you be saying? I work for you folks, I know what you'd be saying, "screw you! My house complies with the zoning." How is this any different?


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Posted by Andrea
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

The most significant part of the article are the 3 sentences below.

"Steve Elliott, managing director of real estate for Stanford, said they wanted a project the community would be happy with. While the university had researched building senior housing or a hotel on the lots, it decided the mixed-use complex was more suitable, he told the council.

Asked whether he could guarantee that Stanford would not designate the buildings for academic use -- which would allow it to claim an exemption from paying property taxes -- Mr. Elliott responded that he wasn't willing to promise that."

The obvious follow up question is:

1. If Stanford, as Steve Elliot says, "wants a development the community will be happy with", who does he think this massive mixed use development is "more suitable" for?

-It's certainly not more suitable for a majority of current residents of Menlo Park and Atherton who need to drive on El Camino
-It's certainly not more suitable for breathing fresh air
-It's certainly not more suitable for the local schools that are already packed to the gills
-It's certainly not more suitable for the residents looking for more sports fields
-It's certainly not more suitable for current residents looking for a greater variety of useful retail shops
AND
-It's certainly not more suitable for the city of Menlo Park, who may suffer massive downside and not even be guaranteed property tax income due to Stanford's ability to designate or re-designate buildings as academic and claim property tax exemptions.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Yes, Stanford pulled a bait and switch. Thanks to the Menlo Park City Council that voted for the current zoning. So what? Some of those people are no longer on the council. Those that were we can certainly send packing in the next election. The fact remains the zoning was granted. A process was put in place for dealing with planning issues on this property. Trying to change that zoning now will only result in lawsuits and a lack of any further development.

Hello?! This is why it is important to participate in the ENTIRE process. It's also important to understand that sometimes decisions get made that the minority may not like but they don't get a do over just because they weren't paying attention or they don't like the decision of their elected representatives. It's called "representative democracy." If we abandon the process, chaos is the result.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by I was there
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

This is a checks & balance system, so the process includes the ability to revisit the specific plan ANY time.

Yes, redoing the zoning is part of the process! Tough for the Stanford jingoists to swallow, but there it is.

Stanford was clever not to put its promises in writing. I got burned that way once too. Never again. Even so, if this current proposal is as terrific as a couple of non-residents think, then it will endure scrutiny. Isn't that best all around, rather than calling residents stupid because we simply didn't have the bandwidth to read thousands of pages of reports? Even the council and planning commissioners didn't find all the gems that Stanford managed to sneak into the plan. Stanford, their current protestations notwithstanding, obviously realized that this was not the project the residents wanted, and that they needed to resort to subterfuge.


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Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm

What would make me happy is that MP receives sufficient compensation from Stanford to more than offset the negative impact of the development. Stanford is a business and left to their own devices will maximize their profit, including minimizing their tax liabilities. We need to use this opportunity to come up with a win-win solution. Smart and balanced growth.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 7:03 am

there:

NO, redoing the zoning is decidely NOT part of the process. The process has been completed with the exception of architectural review. The zoning was already reviewed and granted at the time of the adoption of the specific plan. That was the process that was followed. The remaining part of the process is for the submittal of plans to the PC. The PC reviews it makes any changes to the architecture and forwards a recomendation to council for adoption. No where in the remaining process is a rezoning of the property. Rezoning of the property will result in lawsuits and no further development of the blight on ECR since developers will not be able to count on the established process actually being adhered to.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by what majority?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 7:26 am

The Specific Plan created an imbalance between developers and the community. The Council has already recognized that tacitly by negotiating a deal for parking for the Glenwood hotel when the Plan was quite clear about off-street parking requirements, and by trying to help negotiate a deal between concerned citizens and Stanford when that's not in accordance with the Plan's process.
So why doesn't the Council explicitly acknowledge that the trigger for negotiation was set too high, at least for larger "opportunity sites" and fix the Plan? The Stanford site isn't the only large one that warrants extra attention to ensure the project provides an appropriate balance of benefits along with negative impacts.
Contrary to the all-or-nothing scenario painted by several on this thread, that doesn't have to change the upper limits of development. Just the trigger point for negotiation.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:09 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For those who think the Specific Plan was created by Martians, the CIA or on back rooms it it useful to look at the facts and documents involved:

•Vision Plan (2007-2008)
•12 overarching goals
•Established foundation for the next phase

Web Link

You can cherry pick any number of ideas from this document including -
-Concentrate taller buildings on southern end of El Camino and Downtown
-Attract medical office uses

A Draft EIR was prepared and comments solicited from the public

Draft Specific Plan released April 2010
Draft EIR released April 2011
Detailed review by Planning Commission and City Council in Summer-Fall 2011

A Final EIR was prepared that incorporated responses to the public comments
Web Link

•Specific Plan (2009-2012)

The El Camino Real/Downtown Specifi c Plan is the result
of a multi-year process designed to evolve a community
judgment about the future of the plan area. Community
judgment, as opposed to public opinion, is a shared
conclusion based on beliefs, values and factual information
that results in a legitimate, lasting and implementable
outcome. Community judgment consists of a shared and
common sense of public priorities but is not the same
thing as consensus. This public judgment emerged
through a two-phase process involving thousands of
community members (over 950 on the regular email update
list alone); representatives of key stakeholder groups
such as downtown and El Camino Real business and
property owners; an Oversight and Outreach Committee
that included representatives of important stakeholder
groups such as residents and business/property owners;
City Commissions; and the Menlo Park City Council.
The process was supported by an extensive community
outreach campaign through both phases that included
project newsletters and postcards to every Menlo Park
postal address (including both residential and commercial
properties); stories in the Menlo Park quarterly newsletter
that also went to all households and businesses; news
releases, posters, fl iers and an extensive email update
system; and one-on-one outreach to stakeholders by
Council Members, Oversight and Outreach Committee
Members and staff.

•Refine general goals into detailed plan, considering trade-offs
•Key objective: comprehensive, action-oriented set of rules; much greater clarity and specificity
•Informed by review of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA)

Web Link

The Specific Plan was reviewed, with public comments, by the Planning Commission and approved unanimously, with public comments, by the Council
Note the minutes of the Council meeting at which the Specific Plan was adopeted and the number of public comment:
Web Link

There are only 2 comments on the Stanford parcels in this entire discussion.

To suggest that the Specific Plan is not the will of the people of Menlo Park is simply to ignore all of the above facts, time and effort.


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Posted by Old MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

What is the old saying?...You can't change the rules in the middle of the game!

Ask the city of Half Moon Bay what happens when you rezone a property after a developer or property owner has already invested time and money in plans for a premium site. Answer: $35mil. + $4mil in lawyer fees.


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

CORRECTION to my April 17 Post: If the choice is between approving the current plan and revising the MP Specific Plan, I prefer the FORMER option. Sorry about my mis-statement!


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Old MP, great reference. I know exactly the development and developer involved in the example. And, yes, that is precisely where this is headed if saner minds do not prevail. My concerns, as I have stated-tho Gern and others think anyone who takes the route I am is somehow beholden to SU, MP is headed for a rude and extremely costly awakening. The law is blind that way. To Gern & others (so I don't fall in to the same category in terms of not answering direct questions. I live in East Palo Alto. I graduated from SJSU and have no affiliation with Stanford beyond a healthy respect for the really smart people there (and the golf course is pretty nice). Whom I work for is not important and, frankly, none of your business. My issue is not whether I like the proposed project or whether I think the DSP got botched up; I beleive-strongly-in democratic process and the laws that result. Menlo Voter is much more eloquent than I, so I will just say, what MV said 6 hours ago. Oh, one last thing, regarding my assertion that Linfield Oaks has great influence over the CURRENT MP city government--come on, man! Proof? Facts? What a joke to even try to pretend it ain't so.


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Posted by what majority?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm

The Council already is creating new rules on the fly, for both the Glenwood hotel and the Stanford project. They should fix the Plan to address the reasons they've needed to revise the rules. It's the very beginning of a 30-50 game.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It's the very beginning of a 30-50 game."

Please explain.......


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Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

@Old MP: Thanks for the enlightenment regarding Half Moon Bay's fiasco. Googled it and found reference to Beachwood. Was this what you were referring to?

Web Link

Web Link

Definitely not a win-win outcome.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Council already is creating new rules on the fly, for both the Glenwood hotel and the Stanford project. "

Actually the Council had the opportunity to change the rules for the Stanford project at their 16 April meeting and wisely decided not to change the rules.


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Posted by TIm
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

The city has a process. The specific plan among other things was developed to unlock the gridlock and delays for acceptable development. The plan was approved. Stanford developed a project within the limits of that. For the city council to cower over some e-mails or tomato throwers displays the elected official do not have the competence nor the confidence to stick with the process. The time you yell, scream and intimidate was years ago.

If they don't like Stanford's revenue to that blighted area, then double the property taxes and make a park.


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Posted by I was there
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Different situation. Stanford hasn't submitted a plan. Just the bare outlines of a proposal. And if the city goes ahead with this, the long-term cost will be way more than HMB paid in legal fees.


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Posted by what majority?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Meant to say this is the beginning of a 30-50 YEAR game, identified as the assumed life of devleopment under the Specific Plan


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Correct...Stanford developed a project...not a plan...but within the Specific Plan...and still some feed off the negative energy of a good old, lynch mob style shout down. Does anyone feel better now?


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Posted by I was there
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

And the ad hominem attacks continue. No one has anything positive to say about this proposal, except that it was developed in accordance with the plan, which was supposedly developed by Stanford's consultants in accordance with resident input.

Except it wasn't.

The time for a course correction is now. Not because of a lynch mob, but because residents who have invested much energy in this city over the years -- as unpaid volunteers -- have expressed rightful concern. Doesn't really matter what anonymous non-residents think. And the personal attacks? Just shows how limited those non-res arguments are.


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm

The same sentiment was involved with Menlo Gateway...until the voters spoke.

As for the non-resident comments...Standford would be smart to leave you all...to yourselves.


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Posted by Low Occupancy Rate
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

And just like Bohannon "sold" MP and Belle Haven on the job creation and Transient Occupancy Tax windfall to city coffers and Belle Haven to get the Menlo Gateway initiative passed (yet only a year after he claims there is no Hotel feasible) and gets a pass, ...........

Stanford, likewise after the Specific Plan and public pronouncements by consultants, staff, commission, council, city manager, etc. plus the detailed Cost/Benefit Economic Anaylsis in Specific Plan so relied upon by citizens and council to give a positive net revenue, what do we get. NO HOTEL on Stanford ECR land (while Stanford didn't say NO Hotel, and all the pretty drawings the Specific Plan show just an upscale hotel.

That's why Cline got into Steve Elliott's face for deliberately misleading the city on Stanford's game plan.

The blow back is well deserved and Stanford is going to find an ever growing "Informed Council and Electorate" that Stanford's reps can't be trusted.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Low:

of course Stanford can't be trusted. Only the naïve would have done so. Stanford has done it before and they'll do it again. Democracy takes work. The staff and council must be watched throughout the entire process. Had they been, the Stanford parcel likely wouldn't have been zoned as it has. But hey, everyone was "too busy" or trusting to watch this thing all the way through to the end when the council approved the zoning allowing the Stanford project.

Keep this in mind: local politics has far more to do with your quality of life than national politics, yet you all spend far more time watching national politics. The zoning of the Stanford parcel is the result.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Tim:

yes, the voters got snowed once again. Naiveté to the max. Ya, Bohannon was going to do something that benefited the city. Not a damn chance. Bohannon works to benefit Bohannon, absolutely NO ONE else. He gets major benefits with the promise of a hotel that will never be built. Wait until he sells his property for major profits to someone that doesn't have to abide by his agreement. Goodbye hotel, hello major impacts to our city and quality of life. Thanks voters.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

there states: " And if the city goes ahead with this, the long-term cost will be way more than HMB paid in legal fees."

Really? Care to elaborate?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Who:

thank you from a fellow SJSU alum! When did you graduate?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 'Etch a Sketch
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm

6/17/09. Sustainable Menlo Park, Bohannon funded group led by Chuck Kinney, former Mayor.
Burgess, SRO, Provost 'Etch pontificates on Founding Grant Academic Mission future for undeveloped Stanford Land.
Question from audience:. What about the vacant ECR car dealer land?
Etch states, "subject to guaranteed leases, so Stanford can't touch our "abandonded" ECR lands until end of leases, c. 2013...
Etch introduces Steve Elliott, Land Planning Chief, and Stevey responds....maybe Academic, some Office,...maybe Medical!!!
Boy, did the packed audience pick up on THAT "maybe Medical" slip of the tongue.
We in attendance knew that Stanford development lobby were hard at work to maximize their profit from the ECR lands.
First Visioning Meeting at Menlo Prez meeting room. 2010.
Bill Phillips, RE Mgr, and Stanford Lobbyist/Spokesperson who's appeared at many, many MP commission and council meetings representing Stanford, appeared very pleased with the Rojas and Mayor Robinson orchestrated Downtown/ECR Visioning (read "Divide and Conquer") process.
The Peers economic consultant for housing had the gall to present a chart showing minimal New Housing Starts in MP compared to other cities.
Yet, failed to include all the New Housing behind Sunset on the former Consolidated Freightways etc. site. When confronted, she sheepishly admitted that "this was provided by MP staff"

SaveMenlo.org is well aware of how deceptive and calculating Stanford reps worked on MP staff and so called independent "Visioning" consultant to obtain the green light for the proposed Arrillaga project.

A serious "time out" is long overdue.

Thanks, Rich Cline, for a mega public "mea culpa" that has awoken the previous sleeping giant of a misled and misinformed electorate.

Stanford shills Carpenter and Co. should back away from their keyboards or continue to suffer the indignity of their "senior moments"


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Etch:

no "senior moment" here, I'm not that old. I would just prefer and adherence to the established process. If the electorate was naïve enough to buy Stanford's BS after repeated examples of their willingness to engage in "bait and switch" tactics, then shame on them. Democracy takes work. If the electorate was "too busy" with their daily lives and what was happening in national politics to pay attention, then shame on them.

Of course, the electorate has repeatedly shown themselves to be naïve, witness the vote on the Menlo Gateway. Put a load of cash into Bohannon's pockets and will end up costing the rest of us a fortune.

Crying shame the voters didn't pay attention during the Specific Plan process. But, they didn't and now they want a do over because they were too lazy or "too busy" to pay attention. If no further development in our town is the goal, then rezone the Stanford ECR property. You can pat yourselves on the back as you drive past the continued blight on ECR for years to come.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by Arsenic and Lace?
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Like Lady Jane Stanford slow calculated death by poisoning, Petkin Will and Rojas did best to poison the MP "Village" well.
Robinson got the boot , Feeble Cohen and ""Brown Act doesn't apply to my lobbying to be Mayor, does it?" Fergie are history
But keep a watch on current gavel wielder Ohtaki . Might be Stanford RE "5th column"
It's all right in front of your young and thankfully distrustful eyes SaveMenlo


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

SaveMenlo - a day late and a dollar short. Too bad they weren't paying more attention during the ENTIRE visioning process and the acceptance of the specific plan, when it mattered.

Enjoy the view


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Assume the Position?
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Menlo Voter has consistently posted that we should just accept the "established process"....no do overs...The lame duck previous council gave away the largesse of overdevelopment that Stanford Arrillagga expect us to submit to?....
Governing STATE law heartily disagrees with Menlo Voter, which MV wont even acknowledge, as if we are some latter day feudal serfs at the mercy of Lord of the Land Stanford Lands Building Rea Estate
SaveMenlo will prevail
Even Elliott acknowledged Stanford desire to develop what's best for MP
MV, Sorry. Your arrogance is only exceeded by your ignorance of "established process"


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Posted by Menlo Voter Outed!!!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

OMG!! A Boyle, Jellins, Micky , Lee Godchild!
The wonders of implantation!!!


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

assume the position:

how apt a handle. That's what you'll be doing if the council rezones the Stanford property. We will be paying to defend a losing lawsuit, driving by the ECR blight for years to come and no developer will bother with our town.

Enbjoy the view.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The 514 Special Interest Group has evolved an interesting approach to trying to stop the 500 ECR project.
1 - They believe that the project will harm their own special interests
2 - They know that the project fully complies with the established zoning of the Downtown Specific Plan
3 - Therefore they have attempted to discredit the multi-year fully transparent process by which the Specific Plan was developed and unanimously approved - but they have been unable to document any irregularities in the process
4 - And they have chosen to attack those who support the project and those who support the process which led to the Specific Plan rather than presenting facts to support their position.
5 - They believe that if they repeat the same false and undocumented statements enough times that their statements will somehow become truth.
6 - They have shown virtually no interest in the welfare of the larger community and remain focussed only on their narrow self interests.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:57 am

MV - 1976, you ?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what majority?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

some accusations about motives and activities are quite offensive.

From what I've seen, the savemenlo folks really care about the quality of life for all MP residents. They also have been quite diligent in attempting to unearth facts. There are some valid reasons to discredit what ended up in the Specific Plan and how certain details got there.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There are some valid reasons to discredit what ended up in the Specific Plan and how certain details got there."

Fine, please provide details and documentation to support this many times repeated and never documented claim.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

Who - 1982


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

"That's what you'll be doing ('assume the position') if the council rezones the Stanford property. We will be paying to defend a losing lawsuit, driving by the ECR blight for years to come and no developer will bother with our town."

More of the same baseless FUD the Carpenter Cabal has tirelessly trumpeted in this forum for months now. Manic Voter and the CC would have us believe:

- The Specific Plan is immutable.
- The Specific Plan is the unequivocal will of the Menlo Park electorate, never mind the obvious disconnects between that Plan and the earlier Visioning Plan.
- Deviating from the Specific Plan or, worse, removing 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan will rain fire, locusts, and blight down on Menlo Park for decades to come.
- No developer will ever again touch Menlo Park if 500 ECR East is removed from the Specific Plan or otherwise altered by Council, though the "developers" in Manic Voter's confidence apparently wish to remain anonymous so they may, in fact, continue doing business in Menlo Park.
- There is a silent majority in Menlo Park which supports the Stanford project as-is, albeit a majority which remains obstinately and confoundingly invisible during City Council and Planning Commission meetings and in this and all other online forums.
- Removing 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan will immediately trigger a devastating lawsuit which will bankrupt Menlo Park, though evidence demonstrating the basis and inevitability of such a lawsuit is sadly nonexistent.

I will state this once again for Manic Voter and Peter Carpenter: Your position is as baseless as your "silent majority" is absent. Your dogged insistence that the Specific Plan is immutable serves only to paint you both as pursuing an agenda which is at odds with the betterment of Menlo Park, and one which is perhaps emotionally or financially tied to the interests of Stanford University.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - Once again instead of providing facts you shamelessly attack those who have provided facts and who have defend the democratic process that lead to the Downtown Specific Plan.

Do you have any facts to contribute to this discussion or will you continue to obfuscate in order to pursue your narrow self interest?

Every project has an impact on some people - the issue is wether the negative impacts of 500 ECR on a few people should outweigh the benefits to the entire community. Should the Specific Plan be tossed out just because you don't like the 500 ECR project?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

Gern:

I have no financial or other ties to Stanford. Your constant ad hominem attacks only show you have no facts and nothing of value to add to the conversation. Thanks for your participation.

Enjoy the view.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

"Should the Specific Plan be tossed out just because you don't like the 500 ECR project?"

"Tossed out" is your spin on things, Peter, and is not based on anything I've said. My position is that we should remove 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan. Couldn't be more straightforward, really.

Manic Voter, please support one. single. assertion. you've made in this forum about lawsuits or developers fleeing Menlo Park or decades-long blight with something approaching a fact.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 11:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"My position is that we should remove 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan"

OK, why? And on what basis would you justify removing the largest single zone in the Specific Plan? Simply because you don't like the project's impact on your self interests?

The 514 Special Interest Group petition does not call for removing ECR-SE from the Specific Plan so how many individuals support your position?


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Posted by Scare tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Gern is right. Where are all the supporters of the plan? Not showing up in droves.

The negative impacts of the proposed project would affect the tens of thousands of people who use El Camino every day as well as almost everyone who lives in Menlo Park. The ripple impact -- more jobs resulted in increased housing requirements -- would affect everyone in the local school districts. (Even if you don't have kids in school, quality schools are closely associated with property values).

The fact that the project is unlikely to provide more than a tiny bit of revenue to the city is a concern. Stanford has indicated that, as an academic institution, it will not be paying property tax.

So, high costs to our city both from a financial and a quality of life perspective. No public benefit. It's easy to understand why almost everyone who hears about this project has a similar reaction. And why support appears to come exclusively from anonymous out-of-town residents and one self-appointed expert.

Our council agrees, which is why they are applying the brakes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Where are all the supporters of the plan?"

The citizens of Menlo Park and their elected council members who unanimously approved the Specific Pan!!

Voters who won an election don't then spend their time defending what or who they voted for - they move on. It is only the losers who complain and in this case they waited until their narrow self interests were threatened BEFORE the said a word about how bad the Specific Plan is.

"The negative impacts of the proposed project would affect the tens of thousands of people who use El Camino every day as well as almost everyone who lives in Menlo Park. The ripple impact -- more jobs resulted in increased housing requirements -- would affect everyone in the local school districts. (Even if you don't have kids in school, quality schools are closely associated with property values)."

These issues were all carefully addressed in the Draft EIR - did you provide comments at that time?

These issues were all carefully addressed in the Final EIR - did you provide comments at that time?

"The fact that the project is unlikely to provide more than a tiny bit of revenue to the city is a concern." A project this size will generate hundreds of thousand in permit fees and millions in property taxes.

"Stanford has indicated that, as an academic institution, it will not be paying property tax."
This is a blatant lie not supported by any facts or documentation.

"Our council agrees, which is why they are applying the brakes."
Wrong, the council heard the concerns and agreed that the project review should continue as planned. "the Menlo Park City Council decided to form a subcommittee to help figure out how to make the proposed Stanford-Arrillaga mixed-use complex more palatable to the city."

Quit trying to rewrite history and please start providing documentation to support your otherwise absurd statements.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""Stanford has indicated that, as an academic institution, it will not be paying property tax."

Here are the documented facts that the special interest group fails to acknowledge:
"Property Tax Exemptions for Colleges and Welfare
The California Revenue and Taxation Code provides for the following property tax
exemptions (among others):
• Section 203 ("College" exemption): Property, whether owned or leased, and used
exclusively for educational purposes by a nonprofit educational institution of
collegiate grade;
• Section 214 ("Welfare" exemption): Property used exclusively for religious,
charitable, scientific, or hospital purposes and owned and operated by religious,
hospital, scientific, or charitable funds, foundations, limited liability companies, or
corporations or educational institutions of collegiate grade.
The exemptions are not automatic; a claim for the exemption must be filed with the
Assessor's Office. These exemptions only apply to property taxes, not special
assessments for local improvements.
The applicant has indicated that the 500 El Camino Real proposal is intended at this
time to be a revenue-producing property, not an educational or hospital/non-profit facility
for the benefit of Stanford University. Staff believes that the proposal's location (noncontiguous to the main Stanford campus and on a high-visibility corridor) and design
(with regard to amenities and aesthetics) are consistent with the Stanford-owned 2825-
2895 Sand Hill Road office-hotel complex, which is an investment project for the
University that generates full property tax revenues for the City."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

What key does SaveMenlo being it fight song, " What-ever-it-is....we're against it!" ?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm

"the issue is wether the negative impacts of 500 ECR on a few people should outweigh the benefits to the entire community."

That should read "the benefits to the entire community of Atherton," shouldn't it, Peter? Or perhaps "the entire Stanford real estate development community"? It sure as hell isn't Linfield Oaks or Allied Arts, and you've thus far failed -- and will continue to fail -- to produce the "community" clamoring for the "benefits" of the proposed Stanford project.

Your statement should read, "the issue is wether the negative impacts of 500 ECR on the entire community should outweigh the benefits to the few."

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Your statement should read, "the issue is wether the negative impacts of 500 ECR on the entire community should outweigh the benefits to the few."

No, as a number of people have posted on this Forum this project will provide significant benefits to the city including replacing the now vacant, very low property tax generating, zero job providing opportunities of the existing uses of this property.


Gern - "My position is that we should remove 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan"

OK, why? And on what basis would you justify removing the largest single zone in the Specific Plan? Simply because you don't like the project's impact on your self interests?

The 514 Special Interest Group petition does not call for removing ECR-SE from the Specific Plan so how many individuals support your position?

Why don't you either answer questions or provide any documented facts to support your wild assertions?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

"OK, why? And on what basis would you justify removing the largest single zone in the Specific Plan? Simply because you don't like the project's impact on your self interests?"

Because, "the negative impacts of 500 ECR on the entire community should outweigh the benefits to the few," as you've said, Peter.

"The 514 Special Interest Group petition does not call for removing ECR-SE from the Specific Plan so how many individuals support your position?"

From last night's Save Menlo Park email message, very first sentence: "Tuesday night, we had record neighbor turn-out at City Council to support removing Stanford from the Specific Plan and putting it back to lower, previous development limits." Presumably it's not stated on the petition because it wasn't known to be an option when the petition was created months ago.

Your personal bias in this matter is only outdone by your ego, Peter -- truly amazing to witness in this forum.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

"Gern is right. Where are all the supporters of the plan? Not showing up in droves"

As I said once before, this is a time-worn faulty argument. Strong Opponents are always the most vocal and active, especially if a planned change is in "their backyard", i.e., they feel their personal interests will suffer. The MAJORITY of the MP community is silent because it does not strongly oppose the plan. If they did they would join the ranks of SaveMenlo. Instead, they fall in one of the following categories: oppose but not strongly, neutral, support but not strongly, strongly supportive. Any credible evidence that the number of strong opponents are more than a TINY minority? No!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - this is a perfect example of another blatant lie - "the negative impacts of 500 ECR on the entire community should outweigh the benefits to the few," as you've said, Peter.'

I NEVER said that - those are Your words which you attempt to put in my mouth. What I said was '- the issue is wether the negative impacts of 500 ECR on a few people should outweigh the benefits to the entire community"

Why do you have so much trouble with the truth? Why are you so foolish as to make statements that are so easily refuted by the above records?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Tuesday night, we had record neighbor turn-out at City Council to support removing Stanford from the Specific Plan and putting it back to lower, previous development limits."

Only about 15 speakers actually asked that ECR-SE be removed from the Specific Plan - that is a miniscule number of Menlo Park residents. Another 15 or so simply said that opposed the project.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I have no facts about the size of the project, and I wouldn't waste an evening with the buffoonery that has gone on at MP Council meetings the past 25 years. But as a 52-year resident of this town, I can comment on the traffic congestion on El Camino Real that has existed between Sand Hill Road and Ravenswood Ave., ever since Palo Alto refused a direct connect from Sand Hill to Alma, and subsequently, Safeway remodeled its parking lot.

1. Middle Ave. to and from El Camino is a nightmare all day long
2. U-turns at Cambridge and Middle further slow El Camino flows
3. Allied Arts Neighborhood streets have obvious, increased cut-through traffic density, because of the back-ups at El Camino and Middle.

So, what does the council think is going to happen with the proposed Stanford Plan?
Hmmm, let's see, will there be a huge increase in additional traffic caused by the shops, medical offices and residences - all at one end of Menlo Park. Can we fix what's already broke, before #!%*ing it up even more?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Homeboy - note this from the staff report:

"Concurrently, staff has instigated the City's independent
traffic study, to inform the project's environmental review. Prior to the City Council's
request for the April 16 meeting, the intent was to return to the Planning Commission for
another study session to review the comprehensive project revisions and the initial
results of the independent traffic study. Depending on the results of that session, the
Planning Commission could request another study session on specific aspects of the
proposal, or the project could potentially return for a meeting at which formal actions
may be considered."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Gern:

my opinions are based upon facts. Facts which have been well documented by Peter. I'm not going to just repeatedly post his posts. The facts support my opinions as does history.

Just what facts have you brought to the argument? Answer: none.

Enjoy the view.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Catching up
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

When was the Specific Plan passed and which politicians created it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"When was the Specific Plan passed and which politicians created it?"

For those who think the Specific Plan was created by Martians, the CIA or on back rooms it it useful to look at the facts and documents involved:

•Vision Plan (2007-2008)

•12 overarching goals

•Established foundation for the next phase

Web Link

You can cherry pick any number of ideas from this document including -

-Concentrate taller buildings on southern end of El Camino and Downtown

-Attract medical office uses

A Draft EIR was prepared and comments solicited from the public

Draft Specific Plan released April 2010

Draft EIR released April 2011

Detailed review by Planning Commission and City Council in Summer-Fall 2011

A Final EIR was prepared that incorporated responses to the public comments

Web Link

•Specific Plan (2009-2012)

The El Camino Real/Downtown Specifi c Plan is the result

of a multi-year process designed to evolve a community

judgment about the future of the plan area. Community

judgment, as opposed to public opinion, is a shared

conclusion based on beliefs, values and factual information

that results in a legitimate, lasting and implementable

outcome. Community judgment consists of a shared and

common sense of public priorities but is not the same

thing as consensus. This public judgment emerged

through a two-phase process involving thousands of

community members (over 950 on the regular email update

list alone); representatives of key stakeholder groups

such as downtown and El Camino Real business and

property owners; an Oversight and Outreach Committee

that included representatives of important stakeholder

groups such as residents and business/property owners;

City Commissions; and the Menlo Park City Council.

The process was supported by an extensive community

outreach campaign through both phases that included

project newsletters and postcards to every Menlo Park

postal address (including both residential and commercial

properties); stories in the Menlo Park quarterly newsletter

that also went to all households and businesses; news

releases, posters, fl iers and an extensive email update

system; and one-on-one outreach to stakeholders by

Council Members, Oversight and Outreach Committee

Members and staff.

•Refine general goals into detailed plan, considering trade-offs

•Key objective: comprehensive, action-oriented set of rules; much greater clarity and specificity

•Informed by review of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA)

Web Link

The Specific Plan was reviewed, with public comments, by the Planning Commission and approved unanimously, with public comments, by the Council

Note the minutes of the Council meeting at which the Specific Plan was adopeted and the number of public comment:

Web Link

There are only 2 comments on the Stanford parcels in this entire discussion.

To suggest that the Specific Plan is not the will of the people of Menlo Park is simply to ignore all of the above facts, time and effort.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Catching up
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 20, 2013 at 5:42 am

As a member of the people, I dont remember ever casting a vote for the Specific Plan as my will. I remember the project on other side of 101 being on the ballot, not the Specific Plan. Why was the Specific Plan left off the ballot? Which politicians voted for the Specific Plan?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 6:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Specific Plan was reviewed, with public comments, by the Planning Commission and approved unanimously, with public comments, by the elected City Council


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Peter you are right, was checking some facts, this project does meet the downtown plan, we are just planning. The process is doing the job.
In fact I like the design of the new project.


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