News

Save Menlo, meet Menlo Park Deserves Better

New group forms to fight specific plan initiative

An election season without opposing factions is like throwing a party no one is invited to. As it turns out, Menlo Park doesn't have to worry about that this year.

Besides the three council seats up for election in November, a new grassroots coalition has now formed to combat the specific plan initiative proposed by another grassroots group. Save Menlo, meet Menlo Park Deserves Better.

The assortment of residents taking a stand at the forefront of Menlo Park Deserves Better includes several familiar faces, among them former council members John Boyle and Mickie Winkler; planning commissioners Katie Ferrick, Katherine Strehl and former colleague Henry Riggs, also a veteran of the successful Measure L pension reform initiative; and Menlo Park Fire Protection District board member Peter Carpenter.

Menlo Park Deserves Better has banded together "to express our collective commitment to defeat the ill-conceived, misguided and severely flawed initiative advanced by Mike Lanza and Patti Fry on behalf of Save Menlo," the group announced on June 3.

According to the city's summary, the initiative restricts the amount of office space in any individual development to 100,000 square feet; limits total new office space to 240,820 square feet; and caps overall new, non-residential development to 474,000 square feet within the specific plan's boundaries.

The initiative would also redefine open space to mean only areas no higher than 4 feet off the ground, thereby preventing balconies from counting as open space.

Voters would have to approve revisions to the ordinance, including actions to exceed the size limits for office and non-residential development, according to the city's analysis.

The initiative would impact two mixed-use development proposals already in the works by cutting the amount of office space allowed in each project by about 50 percent.

Menlo Park Deserves Better representatives said that the initiative, drafted behind closed doors that prevented any professional analysis or environmental review, was an attempt by a small group of residents to subvert the expressed desires of the rest of the community.

During public comment at Tuesday's council meeting, Mr. Riggs said the group was there to defend the hundreds of residents who participated in years of "open and honest" process that went into building the consensus that generated the specific plan.

As did other speakers that evening, he questioned the integrity of how the initiative is being presented, calling it "dishonestly sold, badly written, unvetted and not surprisingly rank with unintended consequences that even its writers will regret."

In broad strokes, Menlo Park Deserves Better representatives outlined what they see as some of those unintended consequences -- vacant lots on El Camino Real for the foreseeable future; more traffic and overcrowded schools; and a dangerous lack of flexibility, since the initiative would require a city-wide vote for most future changes to the specific plan.

Mr. Carpenter told the council that the initiative would delay construction of a new fire station by requiring a city-wide vote before the fire district could merge two parcels, one inside the specific plan zone and one outside, into a large enough lot.

The group also raised questions about the process used by Save Menlo to gather the estimated 1,780 registered voter signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

Ms. Strehl said the people who signed didn't necessarily get a clear explanation of what the 12-page initiative was about. The paid signature gatherers "came and asked for my signature and what they stated in terms of what the initiative would do was just flat out wrong; it was a total distortion."

Other people had that experience as well, she said, and signed thinking it had to do with open space, and not with the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan.

Adina Levin, who serves on the transportation commission, said she agreed with the validity of some of the concerns underlying the initiative. Large mixed-use projects may take up space that could otherwise be used for housing, and add traffic, she said, but this initiative isn't the right way to address those concerns. Requiring a vote of the people to change tiny little zoning rules "is just an absurd way to run a city government."

Right now the city is waiting for Lisa Wise Consulting Inc. to analyze the initiative. The $148,420 contract includes projecting how the changes would affect the feasibility of development within the specific plan boundaries, along with infrastructure and financial impacts. A preliminary report is expected by the end of June.

Comments

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Posted by good grief
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Sandy, Roy gave his best performance yet, and his slides clearly illustrated what a bunch of lies the Save Menlo backers are trying to push on residents. It is a complete joke that you can write a story about this and not even mention Roy and his references to the Blues Brothers movie.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 5, 2014 at 11:06 pm

This new anti-initiative coalition missed the mark with their name -- it should be "Menlo Park Deserves Bigger," and clearly not "Better." You'd be hard-pressed to front a finer rogues' gallery of anti-residentialists than Winkler, Boyle, Carpenter, Riggs, and Thiele-Sardiņa. Those names alone should all but guarantee the initiative's success in a November ballot, never mind the nonsense they trundle out between now and then.

Yes, Sandy, we're destined for an amusing summer, like it or no.

Gern


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 8:18 am

Can't find enough Menlo Park residents for their new committee so they bring in Athertonian Carpenter. Peter do us a favor and leave MP to those who reside in MP. Your concern for our city is touching but please leave us to our own devices.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 8:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - we are still waiting for the answers to these questions:

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

14 – Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 – Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 – Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 – What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?

19 – The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question: Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?

20 - Is this initiative process simply being used to gather names, support and name recognition for Lanza and/or Fry to run for the City Council this year? If it is, will Lanza and Fry reimburse the City for the cost of putting this issue on the ballot.?

Why are you so unwilling to provide answers???


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiņa
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiņa is a registered user.

@Gern and @whatever,

Just to be clear, Menlo Park Deserves Better was formed to make sure the all the residents of Menlo Park's Voices are heard. As a group of concerned citizens from ALL the neighborhoods of Menlo Park (versus the NIMBY coalition that formed and supports the Lanza/Fry Initiative (see the slides))

To call me anything but a non-residentialist is shameful (and COWARDLY using an alias). I have two homes in Menlo Park and ADORE my neighborhood. I just want to make sure I have someplace to shop and eat at in Menlo Park, rather than the BLIGHT we have now.

I am attaching the slides from the presentation (via a link to slide share) showing the highly concentrated financial support that Lanza/Fry have. The slides from the City of Menlo Park Traffic Study clearly show that the current proposed development has 2000 fewer cars per day than the EIR planned for. and that increasing retail (Lanza/Fry's goal) will increase traffic numbers above the 5835 cars per day the EIR planned for.

SO if they get their with and they maxed out Medical and Retail on their 5/6 lots we could see 9,700+ cars per day vs. 3,284 cars Stanford has proposed.

As I said we are a group of concerned Menlo Park residents (and Peter) that believe the unintended and intended consequences that Lanza/Fry are burdening our city with should not come to fruition.

As I said in my remarks at the City Council Meeting (Quoting Jake and Elwood Blues) "We are putting the band back together, and we are on a Mission from God" This group has worked together in the successful Pension Reform Initiative.

If anyone wants to help or support us please contact me or Henry Riggs.

Thanks
Roy Thiele-Sardina

Web Link





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 11:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you want some insight into the interests of the Save Menlo crowd just look at what they tell people living outside of Menlo Park to do when shopping locally:

Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willow posted -

"I would suggest you take your "90% of local expenditures" and go to Redwood City ".

These folks have no interest in the welfare of the entire city of Menlo Park - they are simply trying to protect their own narrow self interests. If they get their way the retail merchants in Menlo Park will see a lot of their customers shopping elsewhere - thanks to Save Menlo.


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Posted by Splain it one more time.
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

"In broad strokes, Menlo Park Deserves Better representatives outlined what they see as some of those unintended consequences -- vacant lots on El Camino Real for the foreseeable future; more traffic and overcrowded schools."

And so how do "vacant lots for the foreseeable future" produce "more traffic" and "overcrowded schools?"

You can't sell both horror stories at once, Peter. You knew this before.

Now whose zooming who?





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"And so how do "vacant lots for the foreseeable future" produce "more traffic" and "overcrowded schools?""

Splain needs to understand that there is more than one alternative under conditions of uncertainty.

It takes a little thought (but not much) when considering alternative scenarios to realize that there're many such alternatives under the Lanza/Fry initiative and, unfortunately there is no way of knowing which alternative will be the one that emerges.

Under one Lanza/Fry initiative alternative the vacant lots stay empty.

Under another Lanza/Fry initiative alternative these individual lots are maxed out with individual projects containing property tax exempt non-profit uses or 2-3 bedroom residences or medical office or whatever.

The problem is that with the Lanza/Fry initiative you just don't know what will happen.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm

we do have a good idea what will happen without the initiative -- lots of office buildings and commuter traffic.
These first large projects have 45% more office than was forecast for the entire Specific plan area for the entire 30 year life of the plan.


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Posted by dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm

For the facts, not hyperbole and distortions, visit the Menlo Park Commercial Development Forum at www.mpcdf.com. I welcome civil and constructive contributions.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

fact checker:

that's a good one. "lots of office buildings and commuter traffic. "

Uh, no. The traffic study done at the behest of Savemenlo showed there would be FEWER car trips with the Stanford plan than allowed for by the EIR.

Stop repeating Savemenlo's lies. Simply repeating them won't make them true.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

1 - the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those that were permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted.

2 - the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan which was 13,385 daily trips

3 - as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, the traffic that would be produced by the revised Stanford plan (3,115 daily trips) was even less than that of the original Stanford plan.

The only alternative that produces fewer trips is vacant parcels - which is EXACTLY what Save Menlo wants.


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Posted by Tit for Tat
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

The pension initiative? Is that the one that was crafted in secret meetings and not put through a vetting with public participation with the assistance of an unidentified attorney? Was this the initiative that challenged the council's labor contract and decided to take matters into the hands of a few residents because of a lack of trust in the elected officials? And didn't this initiative win by 70%? Savemenlo likes the sound of 70%. It's a number we can achieve.
Hmmm.
Roy, when you and Riggs have time take the addresses of all the people who signed the savemenlo petition and see where they live. ALL OVER MENLO PARK. It's not about money. It's about people who vote.
When you filed the pension initiative, residents did not take your nasty style and vilify you. If you cannot discuss the terms of the initiative because you either don't understand them, admit it. Don't personalize this democratic process. Tell us why you think more office is better than less office. Tell us why you think less open space in large developments is better than more open space. Tell us why you think it's Ok that you can file an initiative that had no public vetting but savemenlo shouldn't.
You can get your band back together but you play a sour note that is has one tune: mean, ignorant of the facts and out of tune with 2500 residents who want to preserve the character of a small town.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm

This is not about the Stanford project. It's about the Plan and what it allows, as demonstrated by Stanford, Greenheart projects, in contrast with what the community vision was.

TFT - initiative signatures are not public information, but the signers had to come from other parts of Menlo Park. Allied Arts isn't that big.


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Posted by Bait n Switch Me Please
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Roy S: "To call me anything but a non-residentialist is shameful (and COWARDLY using an alias). I have two homes in Menlo Park and ADORE my neighborhood. I just want to make sure I have someplace to shop and eat at in Menlo Park, rather than the BLIGHT we have now."

This is *EXACTLY* the bait n switch that we who support the Initiative are worried about.

Both the Greenheart and the Stanford projects are large office/housing projects[1] that will replace approved or existing retail services. Greenheart replaces a 50,000 sf grocery store that was already approved for the lot on 1300 ECR.

Roy maybe you can explain to us how you will shop at either the Stanford or Greenheart OFFICE/Housing projects rather than, say, at the approved grocery store, or existing French Laundry, pet store, or car dealerships that they are replacing.

Maybe you should join SaveMEnlo.


[1] Each proposed project contains "token" office-serving retail, but, don't be fooled, the projects produce a NET REDUCTION in retail as a result. Greenheart has threatened to eliminate all retail from its proposal, and Stanford circumvented Specific Plan requirements for minimal retail by aggregating parcels and proposing the minimum amount of retail required of a single parcel



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Posted by Splain it one more time.
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

So Peter. Are we willing to admit, yet, that empty lots for the foreseeable future won't produce more traffic or school overcrowding?

A bridge too far to admit?


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Posted by Enuff
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 6, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Peter has been vilifying Menlo Park residents for months for coming up with an initiative "in private." Now that he's come up with a counter initiative, we see what he meant: it's fine when developers, anti-residentialists and Stanford boosters hatch an initiative to counter SaveMenlo's,--that's not done "in private"--that's done in Atherton!


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Enuff:

They haven't come up with a "counter initiative." They are simply campaigning against a poorly written initiative that is likely to be placed on the ballot.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As Menlo Voter has stated there is no "counter initiative."

I and others are simply supporting the very open, very transparent, very democratic process which led to the unanimous approval of the Specific Plan by the elected City Council.


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Posted by history nerd
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Its anyone's guess what Stanford will do w its land but in two major projects in the last two decades, if the city of Menlo Park asked for too much, Stanford just went on hold for five to ten years. That's how it worked for the senior housing on Sand Hill and the Santa Cruz/ Sand Hill intersection rebuild they paid for. They have Billions, a couple of acres on El Camino might add 4% to their endowment - they have other projects.
On El Camino, at some point - next year, next decade - Stanford could build "temporary" medical office space up to 100,000 s.f. per parcel (they have six) if the Fry/Lanza initiative passes, tripling the projected traffic from what they proposed last Winter following negotiations w council; they will no longer have reason to negotiate w nothing to gain. See the traffic analysis Sardina posted. The buildings will be tall blocks to meet the Fry/ Lanza open space definition that will not be open to the public.
All of this would have come up if they had worked w staff or any pro consultant. Or, they could have pressed their real issue - cut through traffic in Allied Arts - and gotten council to make traffic control revisions. In fact council has already directed the first such changes, as the planning commission requested, to open the third lanes on El Camino. (Notice how closing one the the lanes for the preparatory curb work caused back-ups)
The initiative is a sad re-direction of Allied Arts' concerns.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"They have Billions, a couple of acres on El Camino might add 4% to their endowment - they have other projects. "

Actually their Menlo Park ECR parcels represent less than 0.01% of their endowment.

And they have thousands of other projects.

Note that the new chain link fences are placed in concrete and not in temporary surface mounts.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

history nerd:

you very well sum up the problem and unintended consequences of the Lanza/Fry initiative.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm

history nerd - check the facts.
Stanford could not build 6 100K SF office buildings at that site, with or without the initiative. Both the FAR limits and the 50% office at Base and Bonus FAR limit wouldn't allow that in the Plan. The initiative would limit the office even more, to the maximum forecast by the Plan's consultants.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Ok Fact checker - YOU tell us exactly what Stanford could build under the Lanza/Fry initiative using each of their separate parcels.

You have the facts, do the checking.


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Posted by LOOK AT ME!!!
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm

This is hysterical. Peter Carpenter, who isn't even a Menlo Park resident and doesn't get a vote on the initiative, and yet here he all over this thing.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Look at me - please feel free to contribute something, anything, positive to a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Peter
Since you are so consumed by life in OUR fair city why don't you sell your Atherton home and move to Menlo Park giving yourself an actual stake in all these issues upon which you pontificate.

Maybe you'll even be able to obtain two MP homes like Roy Thisele-Sardiņa.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Let's give fact checker some help -

1 -Stanford University is proposing to redevelop the properties currently addressed 300 through 550 El Camino Real, which is an 8.43-acre site that is part of the El Camino Real / Downtown Specific Plan area.

2 - assume that instead of merging the existing 6? parcels Stanford develops the four largest existing parcels which comprise about 7.5 acres.

3 - each 1.8 acre parcel has 78,408 sq ft

4 - the FAR for ECR-SE WITHOUT public benefit is 1.25

5 - 1.25 x 78,408 = 98,010 sq ft which is less than the Lanza/Fry limit per project of 100,00 sq ft

6 - office could be 1/2 of 98,010 per parcel or 49,005 sq ft

7 - medical office could be 1/3 of 98,010 or 32, 670 sq ft

8 - each 1.8 acre parcel could have as many as 72 housing units IN ADDITION to office space

9 - or all of these four 1.8 acre parcels could be used for educational, property tax exempt purposes.

So the existing Stanford parcels could, without any public benefit and in full compliance with the Lanza/Fry initiative, support a huge amount of office space and a very large number of residences - and that is what the Save Menlo people call progress.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"So the existing Stanford parcels could, without any public benefit and in full compliance with the Lanza/Fry initiative, support a huge amount of office space and a very large number of residences - and that is what the Save Menlo people call progress."

No, they'll simply file lawsuits or put up another initiative. They've already said as much.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I don't see any of same doomsday scenarios indicated by some if Stanford doesn't develop these properties now.

If there is little to no benefit to the City or the residents, it's better that the situation remain status quo.

There's nothing worse than having to live with poor development for the next 30 years It makes their weed-choked lots and fencing look attractive by comparison.


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Posted by history nerd
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 6, 2014 at 11:54 pm

fact checker - "up to 100,000 per parcel" according to how they combine them and up to 1/3 of the PAR limit, to be exact.
As for P Carpenter, glad you raise that he lives in Atherton. He's a long time director of Menlo Park Fire District and has two horses in this race - the clumsily written initiative prevents the combining of the adjacent lots the district owns for its downtown fire station; and like all residents of Atherton (and some say Portola Valley) Menlo Park is his downtown as much as mine. In fact he's probably a few hundred yards closer.
Which gets us back to the downtown and El Camino renewal. A handful of traffic activists in Allied Arts seek to handcuff council and hold hostage a stagnant downtown that 15,000 families call theirs.
Something is wrong w that.


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Posted by history nerd
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 7, 2014 at 12:05 am

Mike Keenly -
"it's better that the situation remain status quo." Mike Lanza said something similar, that he'd rather see vacant lots than a Stanford mixed use project.
Please don't expect the rest of town to accept chain link fence for another seven years.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

Stanford could build the hotel and senior housing that were discussed all along during the Specific Plan process.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2014 at 8:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Stanford could build the hotel and senior housing that were discussed all along during the Specific Plan process."

But they would only do so if it were in their economic interests to do so. Right now the two largest sources of Hotel Occupancy Tax in the city are, guess what, Stanford properties. Why would they build a third?

And what is in it for Stanford to build senior housing given that they already provide more senior housing than any other institution in the area?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

mike:

so there we have it. You and Savemenlo would rather have weed choked lots than any development that complies with the regulations that came out of a years long public process.

Enjoy the view.


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

Peter said
"And what is in it for Stanford to build senior housing given that they already provide more senior housing than any other institution in the area?"

I take it you're speaking of Vi and not housing for the school's senior class students. In any case it would be nice to have some reasonably priced senior housing in addition to the Athertonian priced Vi.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2014 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Stanford provides a lot of on campus housing for retired faculty and staff which has nothing to do with Vi. Name one other local employer who does the same.


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Sorry Peter
Stanford does not provide senior housing such as that mentioned in this thread. Stanford housing for seniors is comprised of qualified retired faculty or surviving spouse being allowed to remain in the campus home they purchased while an active faculty member (usually many years prior). Additionally there are no services provided to the faculty retirees, no assisted living and no skilled nursing. As you earlier said to he commenter 'Look at me' - "please feel free to contribute something, anything, positive to a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

whatever - I stand by my statement. None of the proposal for Stanford to include senior housing in its MP proposal included assisted living or skilled nursing. It is classical Save Menlo opposition to hold Stanford to a higher standard than any other property owner.

And Stanford remains the only local employer who provides housing for retired staff:

"Faculty and staff who own a campus home at the time of their retirement in an eligible position may continue their campus lease until their death (maximum 10 year limit at Olmsted Terrace).
The Eligible Person must continue to maintain the campus home as his/her primary place of residence."


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Isn't the reason Stanford is hot to build in Menlo Park because we are in San Mateo County? Stanford has exhausted it's traffic allotment in Santa Clara County, and wants to push more across the county line into our town. The empty lots along El Camino are a far better alternative than gross over-development that will likely never be UN-developed.
Our community does not need to be growing larger, our community needs to be thriving. Herds do not thrive when the herd population is too large, and the resources too small.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 8, 2014 at 12:40 am

I don't like the chain link fences either. But bad development is worse than empty lots. For those who don't agree, vote against the initiative; it's as simple as that.


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Posted by Manlo Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

Yes, Menlo Park is simply lovely.

While these two self serving groups conduct their fight go take a walk down town, and get a good whiff of the stench stretching from Walgreens to Starbucks. Be sure to clean your shoes really well afterwards! Or get a good view of the homeless encampment that springs up from time to time in front of Una Mas. It's beautiful! If you go now, you will get a great view of the bloody, dead pigeon in the middle of the sidewalk near the bank!

Yes, take a wonderful morning stroll through our lovely town. Oh, watch your step! People do walk their dogs downtown, and don't clean up after them!

Did I mention the garbage that accumulates around the Arrillaga/Burgess/Skatepark areas?

So while these two groups of concerned citizens, and one from a neighboring town who must have a vested interest in something, carry out their fight, sit back and watch as Menlo Park becomes just another dirty little city.

Your tax dollars are hard at work!


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:05 am

Menlo Punk - the initiative has nothing to do with downtown. If you don't like the downtown, talk with the individual property owners about renovating, and talk with the council about implementing the improvements described in the plan.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Menlo Punk - the initiative has nothing to do with downtown."

Wrong - read the initiative. It includes the entire DowntownECR Specific Plan area:

3.1. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the
"ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the
bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I,
of the El Camino Real/DOWNTOWN Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo
Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this
measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this
initiative measure.

The definition include the downtown area:

3.2 OPEN SPACE DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS; ABOVE
GROIJID LEVEL OPEN SPACE EXCLUDED FROM
CALCULATIONS OF MINIMUM OPEN SPACE
REQUIREMENTS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WIThIN
THE ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA.

And it would require a vote of the citizens to change anything covered by the initiative, including things within the downtown area:

Section 4. NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER
APPROVAL
4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability
to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the
allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voteradopted
development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3,
above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the
electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure
proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The
entire text of the proposed defmition or standard to be repealed, or the
amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included
in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such
election.

**********

This comment illustrates both how poorly the initiative is written and how poorly its supporters understand what the initiative would do to Menlo Park.


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Posted by Manlo Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2014 at 9:24 am

Pete, I apologize for the cheap shot regarding the "vested interest", it was out of frustration. (no excuses on my part, really).

This is all related, any and all development of and in the city. Has to be. You cannot tell me development of ECR will not have any effect on downtown, or the town in general.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 8, 2014 at 10:08 am

manlo punk:

of course the development on ECR will have an effect on our downtown. where do you think the folks in those office buildings are going to eat lunch, go out for a drink after work with their coworkers or shop for things before they head home? The office development on ECR is going to increase the retail demand on Santa Cruz Ave and the surrounding area. That's more sales tax for our town.

And fact checker was right about one thing, if you don't like the conditions in and around the businesses, complain to the business owners and property owners or their management companies.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 10:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Manlo Punk - no apologies necessary; I also frequently get frustrated on this forum and say even more provocative things.

" You cannot tell me development of ECR will not have any effect on downtown, or the town in general. "

You are absolutely correct and that is why the citizens, city staff, Planning Commission and City Council spent years developing an integrated comprehensive plan for the Downtown AND the El Camino Real areas. And that it why the poorly crated and poorly vetted Lanza/Fry initiative is such a huge mistake as it attempts to reshape the Downtown ECR Specific Plan simply to serve the narrow self interests of a small number of residents.

My deep interest in this issues derives from my respect for good governance, for open decision making and for carefully crafted rules and regulations. In addition, as someone who spends a lot of time and money in Menlo Park, I want Menlo Park to become more vibrant and more successful. If I wanted to live in a village I would move somewhere quite far from Menlo Park which is a small, proud and fun city.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Late comers to this debate should understand that the proponents of the Lanza/Fry initiative simply do not understand the consequences of that initiative and they absolutely refuse to provide any facts.

Someone claiming to be a 'fact checker' states "the initiative has nothing to do with downtown."

Someone claiming to be a 'fact checker' states "history nerd - check the facts.
Stanford could not build 6 100K SF office buildings at that site, with or without the initiative." but refuses to provide any facts to support his conclusion.

Garn repeatedly demands answers to his question but neither Garn or any of the other proponents will answer any of these basic questions about the Lanza/Fry initiative:

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

14 – Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 – Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 – Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 – What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?

19 – The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question: Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?

20 - Is this initiative process simply being used to gather names, support and name recognition for Lanza and/or Fry to run for the City Council this year? If it is, will Lanza and Fry reimburse the City for the cost of putting this issue on the ballot.?

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

14 – Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 – Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 – Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 – What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?

19 – The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question: Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?

20 - Is this initiative process simply being used to gather names, support and name recognition for Lanza and/or Fry to run for the City Council this year? If it is, will Lanza and Fry reimburse the City for the cost of putting this issue on the ballot.?

**********
It is very hard for this Forum to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion when one side refuses to provide any facts or any answers.

I acknowledge and appreciate that there are a couple of people like Mike Keenly who clearly state that they would prefer empty lots instead of projects which are consistent with the Downtown/ECR Specific Plan and I respect his oft repeated position.

The voters will, in the end, decide. My hope is that those voters are well and fully informed.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Theoretically, Stanford could build 3 100,000+ sq ft of office buildings because of the math Peter C describes. Office is "limited" to 50% of the Base or Bonus FAR. At the Bonus level, the maximum FAR is 642,619 sq ft. so office could be 321,309 sq. ft.

The proposed Stanford and Greenhart projects far exceed the 240,820 sq ft of office forecast for the entire plan area for 30 years.

The initiative enforces this as a limit that can only be exceeded when the residents of Menlo Park vote to exceed it.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fact checker states "Theoretically, Stanford could build 3 100,000+ sq ft of office buildings because of the math Peter C describes."

But that is NOT what my calculations show - PLEASE do your homework and check the facts:

"6 - office could be 1/2 of 98,010 per parcel or 49,005 sq ft"

So for 4 parcels of 1.8 acres each Stanford could build a total of 196,020 sq ft of OFFICES.

I suggest fact checker change his name to something more truthful. However, I realize that the proponents of the Lanza/Fry initiative have chosen ignorance as their ally.


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Where is the water going to come from for all of this new development? All of the added humans?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The facts are all in the public record - read them.

This is why posters should read the Specific Plan - question asked and answered:

"The Water Supply Analysis prepared by Cal Water
concluded that under normal year conditions that the
Bear Gulch District would have sufficient capacity to
meet the water demands of the proposed project without
compromising existing demands. In normal years, Cal
Water would have sufficient water supply to serve the
proposed project. In critical dry and multiple-dry-year
events, when the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
(SFPUC) could impose 20 percent reductions in supply, Cal
Water and the Bear Gulch District have in place a water
shortage contingency plan (California Water Code Section
10632) to balance supply and demand. With a water
shortage contingency plan in place, plus the addition of
supplies developed through the Bay Area Water Supply and
Conservation Agency's Long-Term Water Supply Strategy
combined with the SFPUC's Water System Improvement
Program improvements, Cal Water and the Bear Gulch
District have sufficient water supplies available to serve the
proposed project."

It is clear that most posters have NO idea what is in the carefully thought out and carefully reviewed Specific Plan.

And from the Specific Plan EIR:
"Total Water Supplies
Table 4.12-4 summarizes Cal Water and the Bear Gulch District's total water supplies now and over the 25-year planning period from 2010-2035. In 2010, the Bear Gulch District can access an annual average 12.30 mgd from all sources (SFPUC purchased water [11.18 mgd] and local surface water [1.12 mgd]). As discussed previously, for conservative water planning purposes, supplies from SFPUC are held constant over the 25-year planning horizon due to the diversion limitations placed on the Regional Water System (Total 35.68 mgd: 11.18 mgd for Bear Gulch District and 24.50 for Bayshore Districts).34 These supplies are assumed to be available in the quantities listed in Table 4.12-4. As stated above, surface water supplies from the Bear Gulch Reservoir are held to 0.673 mgd, which is the daily average from the Bear Gulch Reservoir projected in normal, single dry and multiple dry years as identified in the Bear Gulch District 2005 UWMP. The Bear Gulch District intends to use these supplies to meet its customer demands."


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Peter, the reality is that we are not experiencing "normal" conditions. And we, the current citizens of Menlo Park, and current workers in Menlo Park, are being told to conserve water - BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ENOUGH WATER. You want to bring in more and more development, which means a whole lot more flushing of toilets.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

PLEASE PLEASE read what I have posted:

"In critical dry and multiple-dry-year
events, when the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
(SFPUC) could impose 20 percent reductions in supply, Cal
Water and the Bear Gulch District have in place a water
shortage contingency plan (California Water Code Section
10632) to balance supply and demand. With a water
shortage contingency plan in place, plus the addition of
supplies developed through the Bay Area Water Supply and
Conservation Agency's Long-Term Water Supply Strategy
combined with the SFPUC's Water System Improvement
Program improvements, Cal Water and the Bear Gulch
District have sufficient water supplies available to serve the
proposed project."


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

Editor
Please, how about a limit on length of comments and amount of copying allowed from external documents. If more than a certain number of lines require a link to the doc instead.
Thanks


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why does whatever not want direct excerpts from original source documents that specifically answer a question posed by another poster -"Where is the water going to come from for all of this new development?" ?

Is that not 'sharing information'?

Please do not choose ignorance as your ally


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 9, 2014 at 9:54 am

"Why does whatever not want direct excerpts from original source documents ..."

Presumably @whatever was objecting to your *repeated* posting of the same lengthy source material in adjacent comments coupled with the recent double helping of your Carpenter Manifesto in the same comment -- are we soon to see your list of 20 "questions" in triplicate in future comments? Strike up the "band," Roy, and send in the clowns, Peter!

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 11:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The easiest way to stop critical questions from being reposted is to simply answer those questions.


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Posted by menloshopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Peter C says
11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

I'm just curious what hotel project that was? Located where by which developer at what scale? Thx.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Banyan Group considered the Roger Reynolds Nursery site for a new hotel but abandoned their interests in light of the uncertainties created by the Lanza/Fry initiative.


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Posted by Manlo Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I may not agree with Pete or others regarding their posts, but don't ask a question and complain about receiving (a very detailed) response. Be it posted here, or a link.


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I refuse to pick ignorance as an ally and I also refuse to choose pomposity.VrdxZ


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Posted by menloshopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm

On a possible hotel at the old Roger Reynolds site (see Peter C above), I'm unsure what the relevant uncertainty would be. Revised open space requirement? Is that site getting rebuilt anyway, just not as a hotel (though of course hotel tax is always a plus)?


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Posted by retired teacher
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Cupertino based Hunter Properties bought the 1.75 acres on Encinal Ave. that used to be Roger Reynolds Nursery. They plan to build 27 units for sale on the site and hope to begin construction by the end of the year.

Web Link

Peter reported that he and another person learned of the Banyan Hotel interest in the RR property from one or more Menlo Park council members. I don't believe this information has been reported or verified by any other source.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

"The Banyan Group considered the Roger Reynolds Nursery site for a new hotel but abandoned their interests in light of the uncertainties created by the Lanza/Fry initiative."

One supposes Peter actually means the Banyan Investment Group -- the Banyan Group in an outpatient counseling practice and has nothing to do with hotel management. A further indication of the shakiness of Peter's information is that he originally stated it was the Banyan Tree Group (five-star resorts in Asia and the Caribbean) who was interested in, well, he initially identified the incorrect property, so depending upon which of his many comments you read you may believe it was either a shared location on the Greenheart site or the Roger Reynolds location.

Sadly, Peter and Roy apparently gleaned this information during a clandestine meeting with two Menlo Park City Councilmembers, and have thus far been unwilling to divulge their sources, openness be damned. Nor have they condescended to substantiate this claim, either via a purported contact within city government, through a statement from the hotel group in question, one detailing the status and scope of their interest, or with a web link to any source whatsoever which hints at this rumored interest and the reputed reason for its decline.

[Portion removed.]

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I don't believe this information has been reported or verified by any other source."

It has been verified by the City's Director of Development.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"It's rumor heaped upon hearsay spread thickly over balderdash"

If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:46 pm

"It has been verified by the City's Director of Development."

Are you meeting clandestinely with this city official as well, Peter, or are his/her remarks part of the public record? Please document your source.

"If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is."

If Menlo Builder can find one instance where I have attempted to pass off as fact something which is so obviously hearsay, as Peter has done here, I will gladly admit my error and as atonement will donate funds to Menlo Park Deserves Bugger.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Are you meeting clandestinely with this city official as well, Peter, or are his/her remarks part of the public record? Please document your source."

An email inquiry by me on May 12, 2014, at 9:05 AM and a response from Jim Cogan on May 12, 2014 at 9:17:33 AM PDT.

Gern - do you ever get embarrassed by just asking questions while always refusing to answer questions?
- do you ever do any of your own homework?
- who have you talked to about your postings
etc. etc. etc........




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I have attempted to pass off as fact something which is so obviously hearsay, as Peter has done here,"

The facts re the Banyan IG and the Roger Reynolds site have been confirmed by four people in addition to myself.

What Gern calls heresay is anything that does not agree with his limited contact with reality. I keep telling him where to look and he just keeps asking where to look.

How many council members have YOU asked Gern?
Which city staff members have YOU asked Gern?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm

"An email inquiry by me on May 12, 2014, at 9:05 AM and a response from Jim Cogan on May 12, 2014 at 9:17:33 AM PDT."

And there you have it, folks: A private email betwixt Peter Carpenter and Jim Cogan, the substance of which is not for our eyes, provides conclusive proof that the Banyan Investment Group was all but ready to pull the trigger on the Roger Reynolds site, were it not for that pesky initiative. Please tell us, who was Jim Cogan's source? Was it third-hand? Did he speak directly with executives at BIG? How familiar was he with their rumored plans, and how serious were those plans?

For a professed lover of facts, have you any idea how foolish it appears to pass along this hearsay as anything more than that, especially given your clear and manic bias against the initiative and its supporters? And do clandestine meetings and private email with city officials constitute your definition of openness, Peter?

Gern


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Gern:

why don't you submit a public records request for the email if you're so interested in reading it? It is a matter of public record and you are entitled to see it. Go do your own homework.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - You are so full of BS and innuendo -private, clandestine, hearsay etc.

Jim Cogan is Menlo Park's Director of Economic Development who had DIRECT contact with the Banyan IG.

The FACT is that Banyan IG has long since moved on and now Hunter Properties will try to develop the site - with no Hotel Occupancy Tax and lots of kids for the schools. Gern thinks that is both hearsay and progress.

Gern - do you ever get embarrassed by just asking questions while always refusing to answer questions?
- do you ever do any of your own homework?
- who have you talked to about your postings?
etc. etc. etc........


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm


<<...get a good whiff of the stench stretching from Walgreens to Starbucks. Be sure to clean your shoes really well afterwards! >>

Is it the smell of cooking oil? I've seen restaurant employees using the parking lot area outside their back doors for washing out kitchen equipment or dumping rinse water. When in doubt, pitch it into the parking lot? Some distinctive kitchen smells waft over from Su Hong, depending on breeze direction.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiņa
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiņa is a registered user.

@Gern

Jim Cogan will meet with you at your convenience, he's a great guy. Of course you'll actually have to give him a real name to do so....

There is NOTHING clandestine about it. If you email ANY city council member they will meet with a constituent. Again, real names are involved. The cool part is we won't even know you did it, and they won't have to report it....so you'll be just like the rest us concerned citizens and go to the source.

Roy


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 11:01 pm

@retired teacher, thanks for the link.

I would posit a guess that Banyan eventually determined the Roger Reynolds site made little sense for a hotel. Apparently, a clear-thinking developer stepped up and decided to make it a residential community and be spared the likely wrath of the adjacent homeowners.


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:11 am

Lovely place for 20+ high-end townhomes with the coming of CalTrain's 30 to 50 ft power towers, the ever present roar of the trains and the incessant and deafening train horns. Of course the prospect of Jerry's HSR legacy coming in with its raised railway taking a good portion of the land will be a wonderful selling point. Sure hope the developer discloses all that for potential buyers. Of course it could be the perfect location for a housing development for the deaf and blind. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 10, 2014 at 7:55 am

There is no reason the initiative would "scare away" a hotel.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What scares away smart investors is a community where the rules are not known because those rules are in a constant state of change.

The uncertainty of what the zoning rules will be in 2015 because of the Lanza/Fry initiative has already caused some projects to be slowed down both the the city and by developers. Note that the Lanza/Fry initiative rolls everything that does not have an approved building permit ( which means spending a lot of money) back to the the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo
Park city Council on July 15, 2008. Note the retroactive date July 15, 2008.

Why would anybody spend money on plans and permit applications if they have no idea which rules will eventually apply?


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Posted by deep throat
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

When the Specific Plan was written, the consultants (Stanford-retained) ignored office use, insisting that no one would build offices on El Camino. Other use categories were specified in detail; offices were not. The initiative tightens that loophole.

Because Stanford claimed it wanted to build hotels, the Specific Plan does include provisions for hotel uses. Those exist. Those are unchanged by the initiative. So anyone who truly wants to build a hotel would have the green light, no problems posed by the initiative.

Of course, the truth doesn't deter self-appointed pompous experts from continuing to inform residents our dumb and manipulated we are.

By the way, southbound ECR at 10 am was at a standstill. Can't wait for more high-density development!


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

Hotels have a green light, as DT says. The amount of office supported by the initiative is exactly the same amount as forecast during the planning process.
How is the map different from the draft Vision period to the final?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm

@Roy, I appreciate the new conciliatory tone and agree with you that everyone should have unfettered access to our elected officials. Where our opinions diverge, however, is in the fact that you, Peter and now Menlo Park Deserves Better have lambasted SaveMenlo for its "secretive" initiative process, only to then refuse yourselves to divulge the names of the two Menlo Park City Councilmembers with whom you met privately to discuss the initiative's defeat.

Out of that secret meeting came the unsubstantiated claim that a hotel concern had dropped all interest in the Roger Reynolds property due solely to the initiative. After much prodding Peter finally revealed he was in possession of an email from Jim Cogan which confirms this claim, but Peter thus far refuses to share the substance of that email, for reasons one may only guess are illuminating, embarrassing, or some combination of things Peter would rather we not know.

In any case, if this is how Menlo Park Deserves Better defines and practices "openness" then, well, well played, comrade!

Gern

P.S. I will send an email to Jim Cogan asking him to confirm Peter's claim about the hotel and, unlike Peter, will post the full text of my message as well as Jim's response here, assuming I receive one.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"post the full text of my message" including your full real name - great.

"the Specific Plan does include provisions for hotel uses. Those exist. Those are unchanged by the initiative"

Wrong, the Lanza/Fry initiative open space definitions could have a profound impact on a hotel design


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm

"Wrong, the Lanza/Fry initiative open space definitions could have a profound impact on a hotel design"

Like, you know, actually creating usable open space in place of private hotel balconies masquerading as same!

What's in that email, Peter?

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What's in that email, Peter?"

Cogan confirmed direct contact with Banyan IG and confirmed Banyan IG's interest in the Roger Reynold's site and that after also talking to Greenheart that they decide to not purchase the site.

Where is your email Gern? Please post it now.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

"Cogan confirmed direct contact with Banyan IG and confirmed Banyan IG's interest in the Roger Reynold's site and that after also talking to Greenheart that they decide to not purchase the site."

I see no mention of the initiative in the above. Can you copy and paste the exact text wherein the initiative is implicated as the sole reason for BIG's withdrawal? I will post my message as soon as I receive a response from Jim.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - post your message now, we are all anxious to see what more questions you have asked?

Gern = all questions, no answers. It is hard to have a dialogue with someone who puts nothing on the table


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Wrong, the Lanza/Fry initiative open space definitions could have a profound impact on a hotel design"

Gern then states "Like, you know, actually creating usable open space in place of private hotel balconies masquerading as same!"

Exactly. The economic value of the site depends on what can be done with that site and, as Gern has confirmed, the Lanza/Fry initiative decreases the economic value of the Roger Reynolds site for use as a hotel.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiņa
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiņa is a registered user.

@Gern

I want to clarify what you are calling a meeting. There was NO meeting. I ran into both the council members in the course of a normal day....I see them about town all the time, at my church, Borrone, etc. It just so happens that Peter and I were together for one of the encounters, and if you buy us breakfast at Ann's you can join us too. So get out there and meet them, they love to meet constituents and they'll answer anything you ask.....try it.

As to naming them....yeah right. I am NEVER going to respond to an anonymous posters prodding.

Like I said you want answers, get off your #$% and ask them yourself.

Roy


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