News

Menlo Park: Analysis of specific plan initiative released

There is plenty for Menlo Park residents to evaluate in the analysis of Save Menlo's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan initiative that was released on July 10.

Lisa Wise Consulting completed the report on a $148,420 contract with the city to analyze what impact the initiative's changes would have on future development. Click here to read the report.

The initiative would restrict the amount of office space in any individual development to 100,000 square feet; limit total new office space to 240,820 square feet; and cap overall new, nonresidential development to 474,000 square feet within the specific plan's boundaries.

It 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 any changes to the ordinance as well as any projects that would exceed the nonresidential development caps.

The Almanac will post a summary of the consultant's analysis after reviewing the findings in the 160-page report more closely.

After reviewing the consultant's analysis, the Menlo Park City Council is expected to vote July 15 on whether to adopt the initiative or put it on the ballot for the November election.

Save Menlo has stated that the group wants the council to adopt the initiative, rather than putting it on the ballot. They face opposition from another grassroots group -- Menlo Park Deserves Better -- which has formed to fight the initiative.

Comments

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hopefully every Menlo Park voter will read at least the Executive Summary. This analysis reveals some of the fatal flaws of this poorly written attempt by two people to overturn the years of work by all of the citizens, the Planning Commission and the elected City Council.

For example:
"Voter Controls
Uncertainty in the Entitlement Process
Impact
Approval of the Ballot Measure would create an "open-ended"
political process of voter approval (once the development caps
are met) that increases investment risk and would greatly reduce
the overall feasibility and attractiveness of development projects
in the ECR/D Specific Plan area. (See Section 4.4.1 in this Report for
further discussion.)

Cost to Developers
Impact
Approval of the Ballot Measure's "voter approval" requirement will
add development costs that go beyond conventional planning
review (once the development caps are met) and will reduce the
willingness of developers to risk capital investment. This will
particularly impact small landowners or developers that would be
put at a disadvantage because of the cost of elections. (See
Section 4.4.2 in this Report for further discussion.)

Business-friendliness
Impact
The lack of "voter approval" in competing markets could make
Menlo Park's ECR/D Specific Plan area less attractive to
development (once the development caps are met). The result
may be a dampening or complete stoppage of future nonresidential
development in the ECR/D Specific Plan area as
developers invest elsewhere. (See Section 4.4.3 for further
discussion.)"


Posted by Manlo Punk, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Well, the section "Ballot Measure Impacts" (or "No Impact"), contains some compelling arguments for and against.

Try to stay objective, everyone.

Much to consider.


Posted by Six of one, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:40 pm

There is a little something for everybody in the report that cost approximately $1,000 a page. The three points raised by the first blogger are not impressive in that Menlo Park residents have no obligation to developers or their costs. If the council accepts the initiative and both Stanford and Greenheart are capped at 100,000 SF of office, that leaves 240,000 SF to be developed on other parcels in the specific plan area. This seems fair and certainly more generous than most residents feel towards office uses. If Council doesn't accept the initiative and sends it to the ballot and it loses, Stanford and Greenheart will use all but 40,000 SF of the office allowed by the Specific Plan and the smaller property owners in the Plan area will be dinged with expensive EIR studies as we change the city's downtown into a dense, congested urban center.

Overall, the Study states that the impacts of the initiative are very few. Insofar as certainty, residents want and deserve certainty more than developers do. We have real investments, social and financial in Menlo Park. Whoever the secret Greenheart developers are, none care to introduce themselves and tell us where they live. For them, it's about business and their investment is about profits.




Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Six to one states - "If the council accepts the initiative and both Stanford and Greenheart are capped at 100,000 SF of office, that leaves 240,000 SF to be developed on other parcels in the specific plan area. "

WRONG - Please read the initiative which states:
"The foregoing passage of the Specific Plan is hereby amended,
restated and adopted by the voters to instead read as follows:
"The Specific Plan establishes the maximum allowable netnew development as follows:
• Residential uses: 680 units; and
• Non-residential uses, including retail, office and
hotel: 474,000 Square Feet, with uses qualifying as
Office Space under Section 3.3, above, constituting
no more than 240,820 Square Feet."

So if Stanford and Greenheart used 200,000 sq ft then the initiative would permit only 40,280 sq ft for other offices. As noted in the Wise analysis states:
"Approval of the Ballot Measure's "voter approval" requirement will
add development costs that go beyond conventional planning
review (once the development caps are met) and will reduce the
willingness of developers to risk capital investment. This will
particularly impact small landowners or developers that would be
put at a disadvantage because of the cost of elections."

It is amazing how ignorant the supporters of this initiative are of the actual limits imposed by the initiative or perhaps they are simply playing with the truth and hoping nobody will catch them.


Posted by Peter-Peter, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 11, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Peter,

Why do you think yours is the only voice that counts? You ARE NOT even a Menlo Park resident!

Be quiet and let others have a voice!

I can only gather from your posts, you are tied to some developer(s) somewhere!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

peter-peter - no one is topping you or anybody else from posting their opinion and presenting the facts.

And I will continue to challenge mis-statements/lies/misunderstandings whenever they are posted because I believe the voters deserve to be fully informed.

Dialogue and understanding come from the sharing of perspectives not the silencing of them.

And now what would you like to contribute to this " thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


Posted by peter-peter, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm

what I would add is;
- I have more reading to do
- Am leaning towards Save Menlo at this point

As a resident of Menlo Park, I do believe WE deserve more than developers do, as another has stated.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 5:50 pm

@Six of one, thank you for your thoughtful, well-written post.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

six states - "Overall, the Study states that the impacts of the initiative are very few. "

Clearly six has not read the report. The report details impacts in each of the following areas:

Menlo Park Ballot Measure Impact Analysis
• The definition of "Private Open Space" in the ECR/D Specific Plan's appendix
(Section 3.2.2).
• The definition of "Common Outdoor Open Space" in the ECR/D Specific Plan's
appendix (Section 3.2.3).
• ECR/D Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.01 setting open space requirements for
residential and mixed-use developments (Section 3.2.4).
• The Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Business and Professional" in the
ECR/D Specific Plan's appendix (Section 3.3.1).
• The Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Medical and Dental" in the
ECR/D Specific Plan's appendix (Section 3.3.2).
• The Commercial Use Classification for "Banks and Other Financial Institutions" in
the ECR/D Specific Plan's appendix (Section 3.3.3).
*************
It is curious that the Lanza/Fry supporters claim that the initiative will have a big impact at the same time that they claim that it will have no impact.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm

six of one:

we may have no obligation to developers but we do have an obligation to our community. As noted above this initiative makes things very unreceptive to development. Since one thing we all want is a more vibrant downtown, development is essential. If we're unreceptive developers will go elsewhere and downtown will continue to be less than vibrant to put it politely.

I know a restaurateur in the south bay that has looked at Menlo Park to put in a restaurant. He has numerous successful restaurants down there. After touring downtown he was scared. He worries that a restaurant can make it here in addition to the ones already located here. This is just one. Pass this initiative and you can enjoy the dead downtown and the view on ECR for a long time to come.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There have been many assertions by Lanza/Fry supporters, including by Fry herself before the Fire Board, that the initiative would not require voter approval to change the boundaries of the Specific Plan area.

This is what the independent analysis states:
"adoption of the Ballot Measure boundary map that precedes the ECR/D Specific Plan Area Map constitutes a change in and of itself. By affixing the phrase "hereby adopted by the
voters as in integral part of this initiative measure," the area under the Specific Plan
would likely be subject to voter control pursuant to Section 4.1 of the Ballot Measure."

Please read the Wise report before you vote.


Posted by Edward Syrett, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 12, 2014 at 12:57 am

I will probably read the Executive Summary but certainly, since I am very busy and, unlike Mr. Carpenter, am not a developer living in one of the top ten zipcodes in the country ranked by median home price, won't have time to read the full report.

I am strongly inclined to support the initiative because of my basic position on local politics. I believe the primary responsibility of our councilmembers is to the residents and taxpayers of Menlo Park. I won't vote for anyone who takes contributions from public employee unions, not because I'm anti-union but because it's a prima facie conflict of interest. The council should negotiate with public employee unions cleanly; the union should advocate for its members' interests, and the council should advocate for the taxpayers' interests.

Likewise, I won't vote for any candidate who takes contributions from, or is connected to, developers. The council must represent the public interest, not private interests, even those of private citizens as generous as John Arillaga. Mr. Arrilaga has been very kind to Menlo Park over the years, but it is clear that his main loyalty is to Stanford University.

I am a Stanford alumnus (SM '65) and a huge fan of Stanford sports, but I don't live on campus. I live in Menlo Park and expect the Menlo Park City Council to represent the residents' interests, not those of Stanford University or of developers.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"unlike Mr. Carpenter, am not a developer"

I am not and never have been a developer.

I am also very busy but still make time to be an informed citizen and to serve my community.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:33 am

"I believe the primary responsibility of our councilmembers is to the residents and taxpayers of Menlo Park."

If that is the case, then you most assuredly should NOT vote for the initiative. The initiative takes that responsibility away from our council members.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Wise reports continues to expose more and more of the unintended consequences of the poorly written Lanza/Fry initiative:

"4.3.4 Monitoring Development Caps
The Ballot Measure will likely complicate the City's enforcement of development
standards under the ECR/D Specific Plan. Along with the per-project and total net-new
office space caps, Section 3.3.6 of the Measure states that, for purposes of per-project
net new office space cap, "all phases of a multi-phased project proposal shall be
collectively considered an individual project." These provisions likely carry with them a
number of unintended consequences, including (1) expending greater City resources,
(2) diminishing clarity in enforcement policies, and (3) exposing the City to escalated
disputes and litigation."

"This presents two problems particular to enforcement of allowable land use within the
ECR/D Specific Plan land use designations—(1) identifying Office Space uses under the
Ballot Measure, and (2) obtaining the requisite information to make such determinations
from development project proposals.
As to the first problem, consider as an example the relatively similar office space uses of
a graphic design firm and an advertising firm. Based on the similarity of work product, a
firm might be able to claim its use as graphic design or advertising. Graphic Design is
expressly "Office, Business and Professional" under the ECR/D Specific Plan definition
and is therefore counted as Office Space according to the Ballot Measure. An
advertising firm is expressly "Business Services" under the ECR/D Specific Plan definition,
which is a category not counted as Office Space under the Ballot Measure. A graphic
design firm may conduct business in a space similar to an advertising firm (i.e., similar
uses of desks, cubicles, conference rooms, etc.), but the graphic design would count
towards the Ballot Measure's office space restrictions and the advertising firm would
not.
As to the second problem, developers do not always know precise uses when
submitting project proposals (e.g., professional office versus business support services).
Unless the developer has pre-leased/sold 100% of the available space prior to project
submittal, the proposal cannot fully define the exact nature of business conducted
throughout the project. It will be increasingly difficult for the City to enforce the 100,000
square foot cap on office space per project proposal allowing for market variability.
Using the first example: Once a City approves a proposal as meeting the per project
office space cap, it will by necessity be required to regularly monitor the built-space to
ensure that space set to be occupied by an advertising firm is not instead leased by a
graphic design firm in excess of the office cap."

"Conclusion: The office space restrictions will likely carry with them a number of
unintended consequences, including limiting transparency in the development
process, expending greater City resources, diminishing clarity in enforcement policies,
and exposing the City to escalated disputes and litigation."

***************
These kinds of unintended consequences are the inevitable result of a lengthy, poorly worded initiative written without any benefit of public input or public review and without vetting by professionals.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I today's Daily Post Fry states that the Wise report "lacks logic" because while office jobs may be impacted (by her initiative) "the measure would create a lot more retail and restaurant jobs."

What Fry and her supporters fail to realize is that the downtown area needs more CUSTOMERS not more competition. And the initiative won't create jobs - jobs are created by those dreaded developers that risk their money to build new buildings that in turn bring more people to the area which in turn creates more jobs.

**************************
I urge the Lanza/Fry supporters to be more active in this "thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion." The vote on this initiative is crucial to Menlo Park's future and informed voters are crucial to having a democratic election. The Lanza/Fry supporters need to start documenting their position by posting excerpts from the Specific Plan, the initiative and the Wise report that support their positions. And they need to start answering the many unanswered questions that have been posed to them on this forum. Unless they have decided that ignorance is their best and only ally.


Posted by Robert Schulman, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I'm troubled by the political actions of the City Council, at voters' expense. $148K of tax dollars wasted.

Whether you like the Specific Plan or not, and whether you favor the big projects or not, those planned projects allocate the lion's share of development capacity. I'm sure the City Council had good intentions, but they clearly botched the Specific Plan in the first place. They didn't anticipate this outcome, as our amateur Council members were over-matched by professional development interests that played within the rules, and played extremely well.

Now, our Council members are focused on damage control. They want to avoid a de facto referendum if this initiative is voted on in November, which is the only reason for the 7/15 Council vote. Now that the initiative has qualified for the ballot, shouldn't the voters decide? The time for this $148K study was before the adoption of the specific plan.

Regarding the participation of Mr. Carpenter, why not? He's been transparent in identifying himself as a resident of Atherton. Good ideas or bad, ideas are worth hearing.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The California Election Code Section 9212.
(a) During the circulation of the petition, or before taking
either action described in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 9214,
or Section 9215, the legislative body may refer the proposed
initiative measure to any city agency or agencies for a report on any
or all of the following:
(1) Its fiscal impact.
(2) Its effect on the internal consistency of the city's general
and specific plans, including the housing element, the consistency
between planning and zoning, and the limitations on city actions
under Section 65008 of the Government Code and Chapters 4.2
(commencing with Section 65913) and 4.3 (commencing with Section
65915) of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code.
(3) Its effect on the use of land, the impact on the availability
and location of housing, and the ability of the city to meet its
regional housing needs.
(4) Its impact on funding for infrastructure of all types,
including, but not limited to, transportation, schools, parks, and
open space. The report may also discuss whether the measure would be
likely to result in increased infrastructure costs or savings,
including the costs of infrastructure maintenance, to current
residents and businesses.
(5) Its impact on the community's ability to attract and retain
business and employment.
(6) Its impact on the uses of vacant parcels of land.
(7) Its impact on agricultural lands, open space, traffic
congestion, existing business districts, and developed areas
designated for revitalization.
(8) Any other matters the legislative body requests to be in the
report.
(b) The report shall be presented to the legislative body within
the time prescribed by the legislative body, but no later than 30
days after the elections official certifies to the legislative body
the sufficiency of the petition.

**************
The Council is simply following the law in having this report prepared and the Wise report is on the impacts of the initiative not on impacts of the Specific Plan - which was accompanied by an extensive and expensive EIR.


Posted by Surprise, Surprise!, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:24 pm

The City Manager hires yet another consultant to tell him what he wants to hear. The wasteful spending and deception is strong with this one.

Residents opposing the Specific Plan are for SMART growth. There needs to be changes. Balconies counting as open space is plain dumb.

Gotta hand it to Arrillaga for greasing the City Council wheels by paying for the new City Buildings, that was smart. Too bad for the developer though that the Citizen of Menlo Park aren't as easily fooled as the Council members.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The wasteful spending and deception is strong with this one. "

Perhaps you would be so kind as to cite specific examples from the Wise report which supports your otherwise unfounded assertion.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what the Wise report states re the impact of the Lanza/Fry initiative redefinition of open space:
"Maximum residential build-out in both the highest intensity (ECR
SA-W) and lowest (ECR NE-L) ECR/D Specific Plan zoning
designations is possible under the Ballot Measure's Open Space
requirements. However, the Open Space revisions may lead to
competing demands with other required land uses, including
parking. Consequently, adoption of the Ballot Measure's Open
Space requirements may:
• Reduce the likelihood that residential development
occurs in zoning districts that have open space
requirements only for residential uses.
• Reduce provision of private open space in residential
developments.
(See Section 3.2 in this Report for further discussion.)

Soft costs and financing costs will generally remain the same (until
the development caps are met and the voter controls kick in);
however, hard costs will increase as a result of the open space
requirements and competing demands for ground level uses.
Therefore the most likely capital cost category to decrease would
be acquisition (land) costs. It is also likely that the Measure could
have upward pressure on rents.
The market may not bear the higher rents (or increases in parking
or other ancillary fees) the project would need to command to
maintain feasibility and, as a result, businesses may locate
elsewhere.
Another potential outcome is that land owners may decide to not
sell property to the developer at the lower land price point
supported by the project. (See Section 4.2.2 for further discussion.)

The Ballot Measure open space requirements could decrease
overall housing affordability and increase the difficulty of
executing affordable housing projects (a key source of BMR
production).

************
So what is the response of the Lanza/Fry supporters including so-called "surprise-surprise" to these findings?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Sorry Surprise, but Lanz/Frya and Savemenlo are not for "smart growth." they're for NO GROWTH. They've pretty much said as much and the Wise report pretty much substantiates that.

Go ahead, vote for the initiative. Enjoy the view.


Posted by Just a Menlo Person, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

So unfortunate.

Was in Los Altos yesterday attending the arts and crafts fair and noticed all the nice shops and restaurants, in Redwood City last night to go to the movies (and eat dinner), always up and down University avenue in Palo Alto (or California street), enjoying the scenes there, and here is Menlo Park, stuck and wilting because no one can agree or will compromise on anything.

So unfortunately, I now which cities I'll be contributing tax dollars to, and it's not Menlo Park.

Wish it were otherwise!


Posted by we need sergey brin, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Sergey Brin bought up a lot of property in Los Altos to promote family-friendly redevelopment. We won't get that until the little lots downtown get bought out of the hands of remote heirs who don't care about anything but high rents.
The old zoning rules allowed a lot, and the specific plan allows even more, but it takes willing property owners. The initiative is not the problem; there's plenty of development potential in the specific plan when it passes.
Brin was a game-changer in Los Altos Web Link


Posted by MP Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Hello,

I actually posted the day this article came out - but apparently my post didn't take. One more time. (This time I'll save a copy.)

This article and many of the lengthy responses to it seem to redirect rather than help resolve or bring clarity.

So, what's up with the huge effort to distract everyone from discussing potential issues with the Specific Plan? (Don't look at that, look over here at Save Menlo's initiative -- more than implying that their efforts were done in an underhanded, covert way.

What ever happened to: The Specific Plan in it's current state, is unrecognizable to the MP residents who participated in and contributed to the process. Before signing off on the SP, which stands for 30 years, we will hire a consultant to review *IT* to ensure that it effectively serves the residents of the community? How did we go from there to, let's spend $148K+ of tax payer's money to have a consultant review Save Menlo's initiative?


Enough with the smoke screens. If people disagree with the initiative, they can vote against it. Or, they can choose to vote for it. As a resident, I prefer the opportunity to vote on the initiative. But all the noise in the system -- is just that.

Thank you for listening.


Posted by MP Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm

"As a resident, I prefer the opportunity to vote on the initiative."

I apologize in advance for quoting myself.

As a resident, I would prefer an independent review of the Specific Plan.
If that had been done in good faith, SaveMenlo probably would not exist.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As a resident, I would prefer an independent review of the Specific Plan."

That is exactly what happened in that the draft specific plan was widely circulated as was a draft environmental review and then YOUR elected officials took all that input and reviewed, approved and subsequently modified the Specific Plan. And any of the officials who had the slightest conflict were recused from this process. This is the democratic process and representative government at its best - not letting two people and a lawyer write an unreviewed and un-vetted document that would control the city for the next thirty years.

Web Link


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm

MP Resident:

I don't believe you are correct when you say the DSP is unrecognizable to those who participated in the process. Like anything else it is a compromise. What's happening now is some people that didn't get their way and don't like the outcome of a years long, public, transparent process are throwing a tantrum. Quite a few of us recognize the DSP for what it is and it does contain input from MANY different points of view. The final outcome is a compromise. That is what is to be expected from the process that involves many differing ideas.

You will likely have the chance to vote on the initiative. If enough people buy into Savemenlo's "smoke and mirrors" you and I and the rest of Menlo Park can enjoy the view of empty lots on ECR for the next 30 years.


Posted by not santana row, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I participated in the planning phase, along with many others, and the DSP that emerged bore little resemblance to the pretty pictures we saw of sidewalk cafes and small retail establishments. I would guess that many petition signers were also participants in this "public process" (the phase that occurred before one landowner took over and wrote the plan to meet its specific needs).

The planning commissioners and city council members will tell you, if you talk to them one-on-one, that they felt rushed through the approval process. They didn't have time to read the document but were under pressure from staff to keep it moving because so much time had already elapsed.

The initiative will not lower the allowed development, but merely allow it to be used by more property owners, not just the two behemoths.

Repeating lies does not make them true.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan is the result
of a multi-year process designed to evolve a community
judgment about the future of the plan area. Community
judgment, as opposed to public opinion, is a shared
conclusion based on beliefs, values and factual information
that results in a legitimate, lasting and implementable
outcome. Community judgment consists of a shared and
common sense of public priorities but is not the same
thing as consensus. This public judgment emerged
through a two-phase process involving thousands of
community members (over 950 on the regular email update
list alone); representatives of key stakeholder groups
such as downtown and El Camino Real business and
property owners; an Oversight and Outreach Committee
that included representatives of important stakeholder
groups such as residents and business/property owners;
City Commissions; and the Menlo Park City Council.
The process was supported by an extensive community
outreach campaign through both phases that included
project newsletters and postcards to every Menlo Park
postal address (including both residential and commercial
properties); stories in the Menlo Park quarterly newsletter
that also went to all households and businesses; news
releases, posters, fl iers and an extensive email update
system; and one-on-one outreach to stakeholders by
Council Members, Oversight and Outreach Committee
Members and staff."

"The Specific Plan process included meetings, work
sessions and workshops at critical project milestones:
 Interviews with Project Stakeholders at the
beginning of the project;
 Meetings with the Oversight and Outreach
Committee;
 Meetings/work sessions with the Planning
Commission;
 Meetings/work sessions with the City Council; and
 Three Community Workshops.
 Detailed review of the Draft Specifi c Plan and EIR
Community Workshops
Three community workshops, each attended by over 100
people, engaged members of the community in facilitated,
interactive activities designed to move from the values and
goals of the vision phase to an informed judgment about
the detailed elements of the Specifi c Plan. This required
workshop participants to learn about the current conditions
in the area, generate ideas about what could be done to
improve those conditions in order to realize the community
vision, understand and weigh the impacts of those ideas
and improvements, and make choices about which ideas
to include in the plan based on deliberation with other
community members."

Draft Specifi c Plan and EIR
Following the Community Workshop process, the Draft
Specific Plan was published on April 7, 2010, and the Draft
EIR was published on April 29, 2011. Both documents were
released to strong community interest. Following the Draft
EIR comment period (discussed fully in the Final EIR),
the Planning Commission and City Council were originally
scheduled to hold one meeting each to provide direction on
the Draft Specific Plan. However, both bodies expressed an
interest and willingness to hold additional meetings in order
to more fully explore and address comments, questions,
and potential concerns, both from the Commission/Council
and the public. The aim of this detailed review was to
provide clear and specifi c direction on improvements and
refinements to the plan.
The Planning Commission held fi ve meetings in July-
August 2011, and the City Council followed with four
meetings in August-October 2011. Concurrent with the
Planning Commission and City Council's review, the
Housing, Transportation, and Bicycle Commissions
conducted sessions on the Draft Specifi c Plan. Each of
these Commissions recommended moving forward with
the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan process,
subject to specifi c recommendations that were considered
by the Planning Commission and City Council. All of these
meetings benefited from diverse public input.
The City Council concluded its review on October 4, 2011
with direction for substantive improvements to the Draft
Specifi c Plan, which have been incorporated as appropriate
into this Final Specific Plan."

In contrast the Lanza/Fry initiative included NONE OF THE ABOVE STEPS.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The initiative will not lower the allowed development, but merely allow it to be used by more property owners, not just the two behemoths."

That is a lie - here what the initiative itself states:
"After this measure becomes effective, the maximum square footage of all net, new
Office Space that may be approved, entitled, permitted or otherwise authorized by the City in the aggregate within the FCR Specific Plan Area after the ECR Specific Plan's adoption on July 12, 2012 shall not exceed the 240,820 square feet of Commercial Space."

Whereas:
"The ECR/D Specific Plan places maximum development caps for the Specific Plan area
at 680 units of net new residential uses and 474,000 square feet of net new nonresidential
uses from July 12, 2012 when it became effective, without a Specific Plan
amendment"

As not sanatana states - "Repeating lies does not make them true."

So if you are going to assert something is true then please cites a SOURCE document rather than simply assert your opinion.


Posted by not santana row, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm

There you go again, editing your sources so that they support your view. I'm not sure whether it's deliberate or poor reading comprehension, but your conclusions are simply wrong and unsupported by the initiative...if you read the whole thing.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

santana - give us ONE documented source that proves your point.

And WHERE in the whole initiative does it support 474,000 sq ft of new development without voter approval?

FACTS please not just your unsubstantiated opinions.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The initiative 100,000 sq ft per project limit is a misguided recipe for disaster.

"3.3.5. After this measure becomes effective, the maximum amount of
Office Space that any individual development project proposal
within the ECR Specific Plan area may contain is 100,000 square
feet."

The current Stanford and Greenheart holdings consist of over ten separate parcels. Under the initiative Stanford and Greenheart could simply submit 5 or 6 separate projects of less than 100,000 sq ft each. Each would be an ugly square building without any open space above 4 ft and each would be required to have its own separate ingress and egress to ECR.


Posted by not santana row, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

In section 3.4.3

Will you admit that you're wrong?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"the phase that occurred before one landowner took over and wrote the plan to meet its specific needs"

Not: do you have one iota, one tiny shred of actual EVIDENCE that this occurred? I've asked Savemenlo and the drinkers of their koolaid before and no one, zero, none of them have been able to provide any actual PROOF that this ridiculous claim actually occurred. Please, provide proof. We're waiting.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

santa - Thanks - you prove both my point and that you do not understand the initiative. That is why I challenged you to post the actual wording from the initiative which supports your view.

Section 3.3.5 establishes the new limit on development.

Section 3.4.3 refers only to the manner of keeping track of how much has been built.

Section 3.4.4. As adopted on July 12, 2012, The ECR Specific Plan, at page G16,
states: "Any development proposal that would result in either more
residences or more commercial development than permitted by the
Specific Plan would be required to apply for an amendment to the
Specific Plan and complete the necessary environmental review."
The foregoing passage of the Specific Plan is hereby amended,
restated and adopted by the voters to instead read as follows: "Any
development proposal that would result in more net, new
residential units, non-residential square footage (474,000 square
feet maximum) or Office Space square footage (240,820 square
feet maximum) than permitted by the Specific Plan as restated and
amended at Section 3.4.3, above, would be required to apply for an
amendment to the Specific Plan and complete the necessary
environmental review. Voter approval shall not be required to
amend the Specific Plan to increase the number of net, new
residential units allowed beyond the limit stated in this measure.
Voter approval shall be required to increase the amount of net, new
non-residential or Office Space square footage allowed beyond the
limits stated in this measure."

Clearly I am right and santa is wrong.


Posted by not santana row, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Ok, so it's reading comprehension. Read ALL of 3.4.3. Though you did just quote the section where the initiative reaffirms that the maximum will not change! It does add a process for dealing with projects that exceed the maximum specified in the DSP. The DSP overlooked that important piece.

Stanford's consulting firm drafted the DSP.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

santa incorrectly states "Read ALL of 3.4.3. Though you did just quote the section where the initiative reaffirms that the maximum will not change! "

Note that santa REFUSES to post specific language from the initiative - for understandable reasons.

NOWHERE in 3.4.3 does the initiative reaffirms that the maximum will not change!. Sec 3.4.3 deals only with the COUNTING of square footage. In fact, section 3.4.3 explicitly states:

"• Non-residential uses, including retail, office and hotel: 474,000 Square Feet, with uses qualifying as Office Space UNDER Section 3.3, ABOVE, constituting NO MORE THAN 240,820 Square Feet."

The Lanza/Fry folks simply do not understand their own initiative - which just demonstrates how poorly written is their initiative.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

again with the BS: "Stanford's consulting firm drafted the DSP." Demonstrably false and still waiting on any EVIDENCE that it actually occurred. I won't hold my breath.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And just so everyone understands what will happen if the initiative were to pass here is Stanford OFFICIAL response:

"However, in the event that the Initiative passes the City Council would not be able to approved Stanford's proposed project.* If that occurs Stanford will thoroughly review its options and determine whether, and in what form it might prepare a new project proposal."


* note that is the latest Stanford proposal without any medical offices and with other generous concessions.

So if the initiative passes- medical offices back on the table, no contribution to the underpass, possibility of no project or even multiple single parcel projects, etc.


Posted by Surprise, Surprise!, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

I'll say it again, the initiative supporters are for SMART GROWTH. And Stanford can have their little tantrum, and then they'll abide by sensible guidelines that will benefit the community. Pretty funny trying the scare tactics. Is this P.C. character a paid lobbyist or something. Getting really absurd.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is this P.C. character a paid lobbyist or something. Getting really absurd."

No - all of my financial interests have been recorded on Form 700s every year for the last decade. But I am apparently the only one who understands this initiative and the great harm that it has already done and will do if passed.

Stanford will not have a tantrum - they will use the terms of the initiative, IF it passes, to further their own interests without any obligation to remove medical offices, contribute to an underpass or even have a plaza. Careful what you wish for, particularly if you have no idea what you are wishing for.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

surprise:

the authors of the initiative are not for "smart growth" they're for NO GROWTH.

Enjoy the view.


Posted by oldtimer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 7:46 am

Menlo Voter, who describes himself (or herself), as a builder and not a developer, writes:

"the authors of the initiative are not for "smart growth" they're for NO GROWTH."

This is pure BS. The truth is builders, developers, whoever they are enrich themselves on being able to build bigger and higher, regardless of the consequences to the communities involved. Any kind of building is for them a meal ticket.

Support the Initiative --- SaveMenlo has the right idea.

BTW (any post written by Peter Carpenter, an Atherton resident, should just be ignored, difficult as that may be since he floods all the issues with numerous postings.)


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

old timer:

if Peter's post should be ignored because he is an Atherton resident, then so too should anything from Lanza/Fry and Savemenlo as they received 65% of their funding from an Atherton resident.

Yes, I am a builder. I build high end custom homes. Hardly what Stanford or Greenheart have proposed. As I've said before, I don't have a dog in this hunt other than as a concerned resident of our city. I know what will happen if this initiative gets passed. Nothing will be built and that's exactly what you and Savemenlo want.

Enjoy the view.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:09 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Who is old timer? Where does she/he really live? What are her/his financial interests? What has he/she ever contributed to our community? Who is he/she to decide who others should listen to? What has she/he contributed to this forum in the way of thoughtful comments?

We will never know because old timer just hides in the shadows and also refuses to deal with posted facts.


Posted by MP Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

The charade continues with a council meeting tonight to go over the analysis of the Save Menlo Initiative - which is for sensible growth.

So tired of the boloney!

So tired of asking direct questions and getting more propaganda - but no answers from the two who shall be nameless.

So now we all should consider attending tonight to keep the propaganda in check.

I will be there. Anyone else?

When will we have a new, unbiased review of the Specific Plan, itself. Then we can have a council meeting to discuss that. Hmmmm?


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