Almanac

News - May 14, 2014

Menlo Park: New driveway coming to Louise Street?

by Sandy Brundage

It turns out that life on Menlo Park's Louise Street as the residents know it may survive the addition of one more driveway after all.

Developer Sam Sinnott and resident Kiki Kapany issued a joint press release on Friday (May 9) announcing that the two parties had settled their differences over a tangle of greenery on the cul-de-sac in a conflict that started more than a year ago.

The settlement will let Mr. Sinnott construct a 16-foot-wide paved driveway at 1825 Santa Cruz Ave. that will exit on Louise Street, while preserving a portion of the 53-foot-by-60-foot patch of greenery as open space.

Mr. Sinnott and investment partner Mircea Voskerician bought the property two years ago for redevelopment, but then ran into trouble when Louise Street residents protested the pair's plans to build a driveway and then switch the home's address from Santa Cruz Avenue to Louise Street. The residents argued that paving even a part of the green space would damage the character of their neighborhood.

Although city staff initially authorized the driveway, in August, the council voted to turn the green space over to the residents — a process known as abandonment. Mr. Sinnott then filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court in November against several of the residents as well as city officials.

When asked what made a settlement possible now, Ms. Kapany responded by referring to the press release. "That's all we have to say. Thanks so much."

Bill Garrett, the attorney representing Mr. Sinnott, said, "Cooperation. Communication. Compromise." A framework for a settlement was reached back in February, he said, and the parties have since worked out the details.

The press release offered no other information about the terms of the settlement. The revised terms of abandonment were part of the City Council's consent calendar for May 13.

Check almanacnews.com for updates.

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