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Redevelopment galvanizes residents to protect neighborhood trees

Original post made on Jan 13, 2022

Tejaswini Ravindra is nervous about traveling over the holidays. It's not so much the omicron variant or the trip itself that are weighing on her — she's been looking forward to a vacation with her husband and son — but what might happen in her absence.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 7, 2022, 12:00 AM

Comments (4)

Posted by SteveSchmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 13, 2022 at 5:19 pm

SteveSchmidt is a registered user.

In this Almanac article TJ Homes states that their “intentions are simply to address the need for more housing…” TJH does not provide additional housing. However, the company does demolish the most affordable single family homes and replace them with surprisingly large houses, affordable only by the highest income buyers. I’ll wager that they have not added one additional housing unit to this area’s inventory since descending on the mid-Peninsula in 2019. The company’s intentions are simply to make money.

As for tree removals in North Fair Oaks, TJH’s Jon Tattersall asks: “Do we have to remove trees at times because it does conflict with a new build? We do.” His answer should be no. If TJH were to build a smaller house or design its product around an existing tree, it could save the many trees that now enhance our neighborhoods. But that conflicts with the company’s business model, which is to build houses that reach every limit established by the local zoning: height, lot coverage, setbacks and square footage. The goal is to maximize profit.

If this assault on our neighborhoods is allowed to continue, then cities should take the opportunity to charge fees to fund below market homes. TJ Homes and other industrial scale scrape & build residential developers should join the effort to build affordable housing. It’s not enough to use the 94025 zip code as a cash register for LLC investors.

Steve Schmidt
Menlo Park

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 14, 2022 at 7:20 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


affordable housing in this area is a myth. I'm a builder and quite familiar with the actual costs. But you go on pretending and virtue signaling. You'll feel good, but no affordable housing will be built.

Posted by RGS
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 14, 2022 at 3:57 pm

RGS is a registered user.

It does not help when County Supervisors allow a significant number of trees to be removed from the very heart of historic woodland in Flood Park. Supervisor Warren Slocum and others could set an example for all that care about tree loss, climate change, and protecting our county's green canopy. Many neighbors on are trying to save these trees and having to fight for preserving nature at the park.

TJ Homes is certainly a threat to our neighborhood trees, yet our own County management is also allowing this devastating action that will destroy the acclaimed Heritage Grove that County has, in the past, proclaimed as one of the best features at the park. The advocacy group behind has been also been trying to preserve the trees there and should join with those in NFO trying to do the same. Maybe County Supervisors will look at some of the well thought out comments and alternatives coming from the community.

Posted by Roxie Rorapaugh
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jan 18, 2022 at 7:34 pm

Roxie Rorapaugh is a registered user.

I agree with Steve Schmidt's letter on Jan 13 regarding Thomas James Homes. There is a perfectly good house next to ours that is being torn dow and a new house built by TJ Homes. A young family had been living there before they sold to move out of the area, this house was not at the end of its life and would have made a fine home for another young family.

The company does not seem to understand the purpose of heritage tree laws and the importance of our tree canopy. There is also a 42 inch diameter Heritage Valley Oak Tree on our property. This tree is magnificent and has probably lived here for a century. The original plans for included with the Notification of Application sent out by the planning department for did not identify our tree. The plans showed building well within the root zone and canopy of this tree. There was no tree protection plan for this tree. Fortunately, I was able to alert the City planning department (with help from City Council members) to the problem. I have not seen any new plans yet, or a tree protection plan, but am hopeful that Thomas James Homes is learning to respect trees, and will use this as an opportunity to adjust their house design for the good of a tree that provides shade, oxygen and natural habitat for wildlife.

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