Stanford briefs Menlo Park on university's expansion plans | March 8, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 8, 2017

Stanford briefs Menlo Park on university's expansion plans

by Kate Bradshaw

Stanford presented the Menlo Park City Council on Feb. 28 with its plans to expand its campus by 2.28 million square feet and add 3,150 housing units, many for graduate students, between now and 2035.

The council plans to form a subcommittee to work with Stanford and stay up to date on the project.

The council asked how Menlo Park might gain access to perks such as housing funds that have been distributed in Santa Clara County, since Menlo Park is a partner with Stanford's other neighbors in bearing negative effects of the university's expansion.

During the presentation, Stanford University representatives Jean McCown and Catherine Palter said the university will commit to allow no net new car trips to result from the expansion. One way Stanford has been reducing car trips, Ms. McCown said, is by buying Caltrain passes for all of its employees.

"We're a very heavy consumer of the Caltrain service," she said, adding that Stanford supports the electrification of the Caltrain line.

Council members asked that Stanford consider improving transportation infrastructure for pedestrians and bikes outside the boundaries of campus.

On the housing front, Stanford and Santa Clara County representatives said they would be willing to look into sharing the money that Stanford pays to Santa Clara County in housing fees.

The university currently pays the county a one-time fee of $20 for each square foot of academic floor area that it builds, representatives said. That has paid for affordable housing to be built in Palo Alto and Mountain View in recent years, they said, but added the fees might be shared with a neighboring jurisdiction in another county, such as Menlo Park.

Much of the graduate student housing at Stanford goes toward meeting the state requirement for affordable housing construction in Santa Clara County. Rent for graduate student housing is typically 40 percent below market rate, the representatives said.

Stanford's proposed expansion is expected to add 900 graduate student beds, which will likely count toward Santa Clara County's state-mandated affordable housing requirements.

In November, the university submitted an application to Santa Clara County for a new general use permit that would allow the university's planned expansion.

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