By Stuart Soffer
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About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi... (More)
About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildings. This could have been a career option, but my interest in computers - unusual at the time - led me to the computer science program at the University of Wisconsin. A programming job on Page Mill Road brought me to Palo Alto after college. Since 1993 I consult on bridging law and technology, and serve as an expert witness in Intellectual Property litigation. We moved to Menlo Park's Linfield Oaks neighborhood in 1994. Neighborhood traffic issues motivated my initial volunteering as a Menlo Park Planning Commissioner, followed by a stint as a Chamber of Commerce board member and most recently a finance/audit committee member. I advocate community volunteering for meeting people, the neighborhoods, and understanding the myriad issues that somehow arise. As hobbies I collect contemporary art and vintage cameras. And? fly helicopters, which offer rare views of the nooks and crannies of the Bay Area. (Hide)
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That is how I inform people where we live. Sunset Magazine is truly an iconic identifier for Menlo Park. The Sunset Magazine campus is well known, even internationally. However, a potential sale is not new. As Sunset 'the publisher' has changed hands over the years this possibility has come up earlier. This week's news omits that Sunset has a second parcel across Willow. I know a developer who considered the latter site a few years ago, as it became known that Sunset was decamping from the second property.
As far as potential uses go a campus for Menlo School is a great idea (or for the Menlo Park School District for that matter).
There's a downside for the city's coffers. Since schools are exempt from property taxes the loss of the current tax would be a negative for Menlo Park balance sheets. This would be on top of losing a major sales tax supplier this past year.
I'd like to see the campus preserved. However we have a poor track record on Willow of demolishing award-winning low-impact campus-style architecture (the former AT&T research facility) for housing.
The intersection of Willow and Middlefield must be one of the worst intersections in Menlo Park for traffic. Traffic engineers classify this intersection as a 'D' or an 'F' on a scale of A-F.
Sunset has been outstanding in organizing the event to minimize impacts. As far as preserving the 2-day Sunset Weekend that occurs every May, it lost its novelty long ago.