The purpose of the Specific Plan has been, from the beginning, to revitalize our downtown and El Camino. Enough of us agreed that empty storefronts and some sad old buildings - familiar and friendly as they are - need some life injected. And it's clear that few property owners wanted to try the daunting hurdles to making that investment. If some doubted it five years ago when the city started the visioning process - I hate to say it - they probably still doubt it, but most of us are ready to loosen our infamous choke-hold style downtown/El Camino zoning.
Today the champion of the choke-hold is Kelly Fergusson, who yesterday wrote her fellow council members that the base zoning (buildable area) should not change - leaving only the extensive, publicly derived new restrictions that were meant to carefully manage the loosening of base zoning. This eleventh hour/ eleventh minute move to undercut five years of effort will assure nothing changes but the red tape. Ms Fergusson's cheerful optimism that we will see renewal falling from the sky (maybe this comes from facebook too?) is not helpful to Menlo Park. And it's a dirty trick on volunteers, staff and others who have worked for five years - and the rest of town, still looking at our sorry state.