Viewpoint - February 17, 2010

Guest opinion: City should wake up and accept Gateway project

By Dan O'Brien

I never write letters of complaint but in the case of the Menlo Park Planning Commission vs. David Bohannon and Menlo Gateway I'm willing to make an exception.

I've lived in Menlo Park for 20 years. I drive up and down the Bayshore Freeway many times a week. The current Bohannon Office park is dated, tired and a prime area to be revitalized. It is east of 101 and the Menlo Park Belle Haven residents are in full support and can't wait to have this project approved.

Enter the Menlo Park Planning Commission. Having sat through a few sessions of the Planning Commission's review of this project, I'm disgusted with their lack of professionalism and willingness to be open to the information presented. In the business world this group would be out of business in a month.

Not one person is willing to be positive or take a position. They prefer to just muddle along with more hurdles. With this commission at the helm we're going nowhere fast. And if that isn't bad enough, Vince Bressler of the Planning Commission manages to find the time to write a guest opinion for The Almanac panning this project? Ever hear of conflict of interest?

Did they ever consider that Menlo Park is lucky to have a community-minded citizen like David Bohannon who is willing to put up with all this baloney to revitalize HIS parcel of land? These folks even have the nerve to suggest what they would like to see him do with this land. It's his land, hello!

Yes I know he is requesting a change of zoning but let's not immediately try to turn this into a jackpot for all of Menlo Park. It's a damn good project and if you would like to see an example of the type of positive change a project like this can have you should look no further than University Circle in Palo Alto or Rosewood Hotel at Sand Hill Road.

Considering the current economy and the process they have put this guy through, I suggest they quit pandering to the preferences of a few grumpy old folks who want Menlo Park to be like it was in 1950 and get this done before Mr. Bohannon loses interest and takes this project down the road. Palo Alto or Mountain View would welcome him with open arms.

Dan O'Brien lives on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park.


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