News - May 19, 2010

Property owners organize to oppose plan

by Sean Howell

A group of downtown property owners that opposes the city of Menlo Park's long-term plans for its downtown area now has a public relations firm working for them, as well as a handle: the Menlo Park Downtown Alliance.

The group, which has been active for months in opposing the plan, lobbying the City Council and stumping against it at the weekly farmers' market, reiterated its concerns in a press release May11. While the group supports several aspects of the plan, it's not in favor of losing surface parking in the downtown parking plazas to large parking garages. It also opposes mixed-use developments and a covered marketplace, among other things.

The property owners have retained a public relations firm, Public Good PR, to better convey their message — and perhaps attempt to shift discussion around the plan to their terms, rather than the city's.

Instead of listing areas of the plan the property owners disagree with, the release outlines their vision of the downtown area, allowing for a "modest" parking structure, taller buildings if they provide dedicated on-site parking, and facade improvements. Property owners who oppose the plan have bristled in the past at being characterized as naysayers.

The release serves to further emphasize how far apart the city and this group of property owners is. While the city plans to eliminate some street parking on Santa Cruz Avenue to allow for wider sidewalks, the "alliance" says it would only favor widening sidewalks on a parcel-by-parcel basis, with each property owner able to decide whether to allow widened sidewalks in front of his or her building.

And while the city's draft plan would allow 48-foot-high parking garages of up to five stories, the property owners say they would support a "split-level" parking structure of two stories, with a maximum height of 6 feet.

The group said in the next several weeks, it will release the names of property and business owners who oppose the plan. is the group's website.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields