Menlo Park's controversial Measure V was soundly defeated in the Nov. 8 election, with only one area strongly in support: Flood School's neighbors.
Measure V was a citizen-sponsored initiative on the November ballot that aimed to restrict the Menlo Park City Council's ability to rezone single-family lots to higher density.
If it had passed, the city would have had to put any rezoning of "R1" lots to a citywide vote in a regularly scheduled election. Measure V would have had a chilling effect on housing development throughout most of the city, according to city staff reports, state housing officials and local housing advocates.
The ballot measure was defeated by a large margin, with 61.8% voting against it citywide. According to semi-official results released by San Mateo County's elections office, Measure V failed in almost all of the city's precincts. Election reports show that the measure won majority support in only three precincts in Menlo Park. One is directly beside the Flood School lot, where the Ravenswood City School District has been trying to redevelop a vacant 2.6-acre lot on the former site of the Flood Magnet School in Suburban Park. The school district aims to build up to 90 units of low-income housing prioritized for staff on the campus, which is currently zoned for single-family housing.
The project has been met with heavy pushback from Suburban Park residents who live in close proximity to the vacant school site, some of whom spearheaded the effort to pass Measure V.
Two other precincts, which totaled only three votes, unanimously cast ballots in favor of Measure V. The precinct in favor of Measure V encompasses the Suburban Park neighborhood, from Bay Road up to Hedge Road. The precinct cast 444 votes in favor of the measure, or 70.8%, and 183 against.
During the election season, proponents of the ballot measure said that this would give residents a voice in what happens to their neighborhoods, as opposed to letting the City Council make decisions. Opponents and local housing advocates warned it would block future development, particularly of low-income housing, and raised nearly $400,000 for the No on V campaign.
Resident Valerie Bellofatto, speaking on behalf of Menlo Balance, the group that put forward Measure V, told The Almanac in an email that the group had no comment on the election results or next steps, and that residents will now be "stuck with a major four-story high building in a residential area."
Will Eger, chief business officer of Ravenswood City School District, said that the district is currently working to finalize the agreement with Alliance Development Services and that he hopes the Menlo Park City Council allows them to build 90 units.