Almanac

Viewpoint - April 10, 2013

Letter: Council should review downtown plan

The Menlo Park City Council is to be commended for agendizing a review of the downtown specific plan as it relates to the Stanford/Arrillaga project. Stanford's proposed huge eight-acre, five-story monolithic medical/office complex would be the deathblow to the city's prized village character, and the source of constant traffic and frequent gridlock on El Camino Real and intersecting streets in the downtown area.

The project is a far cry from the upscale hotel and senior housing ostensibly earmarked for the site during the specific plan process, and on which the plan's fiscal solvency was based.

The council has several options to consider: 1) Amending the specific plan; 2) Removing the El Camino corridor, or the southeast portion of it, from the specific plan, and returning it to the original zoning; 3) Adopting a moratorium on medical offices. The council could undertake one or more of these options. Ultimately, a project of this unprecedented size, scope, and impacts on the city, calls for its own thoroughgoing EIR.

If last year's council erred in passing the specific plan, this year's council can, and should, take corrective action to preserve the city's character, drivability, and livability. Concerned residents should attend the April 16 Menlo Park City Council meeting and speak out.

Cherie Zaslawsky, Menlo Park downtown

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