Almanac

News - July 2, 2014

Menlo Park: Downtown plan initiative could affect fire-station remodel

• Menlo Park denies fire district's request to expedite remodeling plan.

by Sandy Brundage

The redevelopment of Fire Station 6 on two lots at Oak Grove Avenue and Hoover Street seems an unlikely ground zero for Menlo Park's pitched battle over its new downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, but at least one fire district director sees it that way.

The parcels slated for the new station straddle the boundary of the specific plan, with 700 Oak Grove on the inside and 1231 Hoover St. outside. Menlo Park Fire Protection District board member Peter Carpenter, speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the board, said that creates issues that could kill the renovation should a proposed initiative to alter the specific plan's regulations get approved by voters in November.

Mr. Carpenter is a staunch and highly vocal opponent of the initiative.

The initiative, put forth by a grassroots coalition known as Save Menlo, includes clauses that would, within the specific plan's boundaries, restrict office space for individual projects to 100,000 square feet; limit total new office space to 240,820 square feet; and cap overall new, non-residential development to 474,000 square feet.

In addition, voter approval would be required to revise the ordinance, including its definitions, or to allow projects that would exceed the non-residential development limits.

That voter approval clause, as far as Station 6 is concerned, has drawn Mr. Carpenter's ire. He said that merging the Oak Grove and Hoover Street parcels could require redefining the specific plan's boundaries to encompass the entire combined lot. Under the initiative's terms, that means a city-wide vote would be required to allow it, he said.

The district started planning for a replacement station in 2007. When the fire district asked Menlo Park this May to expedite the station's remodel so that project approvals would become effective this year — before the initiative's regulations would take effect — Mr. Carpenter said the answer was no.

The city staff's response, according to a report by fire district staff for the June 30 fire board meeting, was that since the process could not be expedited, the city would have to determine whether the project is subject to the new regulations, if the initiative passes.

"In the event that the City makes the determination that the Initiative applies to the Station 6 Project, the District would either have to contest that determination in court or obtain voter approval for the Station 6 Project. This would delay the Project by at least six months to a year and cost the District approximately $95,000 in election costs," the fire district report states.

From Mr. Carpenter's perspective, this is an example of city staff allowing the initiative to impact current projects. Asked whether development staff shortages and heavy workloads could be responsible for the city's inability to accommodate the district's request, he replied in an email: "Not in my opinion. The Fire Board passed two resolutions on this matter and the staff refuses to even refer those resolutions to the Council."

Calling it shameful that something as important as upgrading a fire station has become politicized, co-sponsor Patti Fry said the reasons for the protracted approval process have nothing to do with the proposed ballot measure.

The problems are between the city and the fire district, according to Ms. Fry. She said that for unknown reasons, the City Council, which includes former fire board director Peter Ohtaki, hasn't resolved the issues even during last year's specific plan review.

"Now the initiative is being blamed," Ms. Fry said. "We want Menlo Park residents and businesses to know that these issues have nothing to do with the specific plan initiative. We believe in public safety and support the district's pursuit of a viable plan for the downtown station's upgrade."

The fire board was scheduled to discuss its options regarding Station 6 during a meeting on June 30, after the Almanac's deadline. Three choices were outlined: Proceed as planned despite the potential complications; eliminate the lot merger and process the project as two developments on two lots; and find a new replacement site entirely outside the specific plan's boundaries.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said he was asked on June 27 why his staff hadn't recommended one option over the other. "I had to say, after many hours of research and debate with staff and legal counsel, I don't like any of them! They all present a potential risk or additional cost to the district and its taxpayers. They could also draw us into the political fray, which I would prefer to avoid."

The chief noted that it shouldn't be this difficult to replace a worn-out station.

"Can I say it again, I just want to be able to expeditiously rebuild the fire station!" Chief Schapelhouman said. "We have the funds to accomplish this important task, we are not asking the taxpayers for a bond, additional tax or a penny more to do this. Delays, uncertainty and complexity have all led to the additional time and expense necessary to research and navigate this project and have created barriers to what should be, at this point, a straightforward task."

Comments

Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Does anyone else find it funny that Peter Carpenter is running around like chicken little regarding the Initiative. Take this story as a good example. The title being "Menlo Park: Downtown plan initiative could affect fire-station remodel" but they in the story it says "The district started planning for a replacement station in 2007." That is 7 years with no new station in Menlo Park but now it is the Initiatives fault even though that just qualified a few weeks ago and has only been around several months.

Absolutely ridiculous.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Unfortunately the low priority placed by the City of Menlo Park on upgrading fire services plus the new uncertainty created by the poorly drafted Lanza/Fry initiative made it impossible for the Fire Board to justify investing further in the building of a new fire station to serve the downtown area and to replace the existing and aging Station 6 at its existing location.


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Brian, I agree with you. Planning 7 years for a replacement fire station seems like a ridiculous amount of time to get little done. What would be the reason for it taking so long if the Save Menlo initiative wasn't such an apparent easy target for blame?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I encourage you to read the staff report prepared for the Fire Board:

Web Link


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 4, 2014 at 9:06 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Peter:

after reading the staff report I gather the following time line. In 2008 the district started working on the redevelopment of Station 6. Sometime after that action stopped on the redevelopment due to the economic downturn. Last year actions were restarted for the redevelopment. Part of this process involves hearings by the city, but the city will not calendar those hearings due to the pending savemenlo initiative. Is this right?

If it is, it sounds like the "perfect storm." the economy slowed or stopped the process and then savemenlo came along and put a stop to it until the initiative gets voted on. If the initiative passes it will require an election which will cost the district $95,000 to put the combination of the two parcels and no one of that can happen until 2015.

So thanks to the economy no progress was made for four or five years. Progress was being made over the last year, but now thanks to savemenlo and the city no further progress can be made for another year at least.

Does the above accurately sum things up?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 4, 2014 at 9:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Yes.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 4, 2014 at 9:33 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

So Mike and Brian:

the economy stopped things for several years and now it is stopped because of the Lanza/Fry initiative and the city's refusal to calendar needed hearings. So, this stoppage rests squarely at the feet of savemenlo. No initiative and progress would not be stopped.

Just one among many unintended consequences of this poorly written initiative.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

Gern is a registered user.

It is clear Peter Carpenter and company will not rest until the initiative is tied to Benghazi in some way. What Peter and Menlo Voter/Builder conveniently ignore is the fact that the downtown fire station zoning issue is the direct result of the "carefully crafted" exercise in representative democracy that is the Downtown Specific Plan, an issue we presumably would need to remedy with or without the initiative. Why Peter, Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman, and others didn't flag this defect during the years-long process which led to the Specific Plan remains a mystery, an especially puzzling one given Peter's avowed deep study of that plan and his clear interest in all things fire district-related.

Peter's mysterious motivations aside, I'd like to know more about the possibility of a "companion referendum on the November ballot which would merge the Oak Grove and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area," something Peter alludes to elsewhere in this forum. Is that something the City Council could and might entertain?

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is clear Peter Carpenter and company will not rest until the initiative is tied to Benghazi in some way"

What is clear is that, as always, Gern tries to put his words in other people's mouth. Please Gern stop trying to speak for others.

*******************
"Why Peter, Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman, and others didn't flag this defect during the years-long process which led to the Specific Plan remains a mystery"

They did, and if Gern had bothered to read the staff report he would be fully aware of all the times that the Fire District raised this issue. PLEASE Gern - do your homework.

*************************
" I'd like to know more about the possibility of a "companion referendum on the November ballot which would merge the Oak Grove and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area,""

Actually, as noted in the postings (which Gern obviously does not read) this was George Fisher's idea. And yes if the Save Menlo and Lanza/Fry folks really do want to remove the rezoning uncertainty regarding the Station 6 parcels created by the initiative they could ask the council to place such referendum on the ballot. I doubt that they will even ask.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Gern:

when will you actually read something and stop making yourself look foolish?

I haven't ignored the zoning issue created by the DSP. The fact is, without the Lanza/Fry initiative the city would calendar the necessary hearings. The DSP issues could be dealt with by council and planning just as the DSP makes allowance for. Because of the initiative they won't. No Bengazi about it, just facts. I know those are strange to you Gern, but you ought to try actually looking at some once in awhile.


Posted by oldtimer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Actually the best solution to the Fire Station and in general Fire protection for the community would be to abolish this FIFEDOM, which now exists as the Menlo Park Fire Protection district, and incorporate its activities either into the City of Menlo Park or better farm them out. The cost savings would be immense. Of course a major side benefit would be to get rid of, "know it all", Peter Carpenter in his role as a public elected official.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Oldie state "which now exists as the Menlo Park Fire Protection district, and incorporate its activities either into the City of Menlo Park "

Sadly he does not realize that the Fire District, which was established before the City of Menlo Park was even incorporated, serves almost 100,000 people in East Palo Alto, Atherton, some incorporated areas, SLAC and Menlo Park. It has a balanced budget, significant reserves for future capital expenditures and a relatively low level of unfunded pension liabilities.

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by oldtimer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm

I could care less when the Fire District was established. What I care about is that it really has turned into a FIFEDOM. A balanced budget can, of course, be achieve if indeed, as this FIFEDOM has, the revenue source is way too large.

Why should this district continue to exist, when much more efficient methods of providing these services can be achieved by elimination of the District, and merging its activities elsewhere.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Oldie also seems to think that contracting out fire service would somehow eliminate the need for fire stations - "Actually the best solution to the Fire Station and in general Fire protection for the community would be to abolish this FIFEDOM"

I don't think he understands what a fire department does and his idea of eliminating fire stations is not a very bright one.

The Fire District itself has long been on record in support of area wide consolidation:

Web Link


Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 5, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Maybe oldtimer has never needed the fire department? I was grateful for the competent and professional firefighters who showed up when we had an emergency at our home, and I would hope the fire district will be able to provide those services well into the future.

That the Save Menlo initiative might have unintended consequences surprises me not a tiny little bit, and it is something for residents to keep in mind when considering the issue.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 6, 2014 at 10:07 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

old school:

who's lives does Peter scrutinize? I think that's just more ad hominem nonsense. Provide links if it's not.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Old - Thank you for your concern.

I have a great life. Part of it is the joy and challenges of public service and a very small part is engaging in this "thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."

As far as scrutiny is concerned, I am clearly the most scrutinized and documented poster on this site. You know exactly who I am and there are more than ten years of Form 700's on file which document my financial interests.

It is impossible to scrutinize anonymous unregistered posters who constantly change their names and hence have no real identity.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Old Timer -- I think many of the FD directors past and present are on record favoring consolidation to be more efficient and effective in providing service. If you look at other parts of the county you can see evidence that fire agencies are moving in this direction.

To the point of the article, it seems as if the Save Menlo initiative may have affected some collateral damage. The City should also bear some responsibility for allowing itself to be held hostage. While the City has debated and studied and thought and studied and debated neighboring cities executed plans and now have improved downtowns.

The FD has and will continue to have a station downtown. The question is: given the station's age is, it time for it to be updated/upgraded? The answer is YES. If, as Old Timer suggests, the City take over the FD, can you imagine how much worse this delay would be.


Posted by baffled, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I'm confused. Peter Carpenter, who appears to have studied the finer points of the initiative and of the planned fire station renovation, says if the initiative passes, it would create "issues that could kill the renovation" of the station. Can he or someone explain what those "issues" are?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Fire District owns two parcels - one holding the existing Station 6 at 700 Oak Grove and a second immediately behind the Oak Grove parcel and fronting on Hoover. Both parcels are necessary to accommodate the planned new fire station. Neither parcel alone would be large enough for the new station.

The Hoover parcel is outside the Specific Plan area and the Oak Grove is within the Specific Plan area. A single building cannot be built on two different underlying parcels - those parcels must first be merged and the initiative requires a city wide vote to move any boundary of the Specific Plan.

Here are the relevant portions of the initiative:

"Section 3. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA VOTER-ADOPTED
DEVELOPMENT DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS.
3.1. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the
"ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the
bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I,
of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo
Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this
measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this
initiative measure.

Section 4. NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER
APPROVAL
4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability
to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the
allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter adopted
development standards and DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3,
above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the
electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure
proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The
entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the
amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included
in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such
election."

Is this explanation clear?


Posted by the truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm

The truth is -- the initiative establishes limits about square feet of office and other commercial space and specifies how project open space is counted. Then it says where that counting will occur.

The counting of that square feet within the defined Specific Plan boundary will occur whether or not a parcel is merged. That boundary does not have to be moved in order for the parcels to be merged, either, and there is no need for a special election.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"That boundary does not have to be moved in order for the parcels to be merged, either, and there is no need for a special election. "

Wrong - read the above excerpts from the initiative. The Specific Plan boundary is included as the first enumerated definition and the initiative state that NONE of the enumerated definitions may be changed EXCEPT by the vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park.

Note that the Fire District staff report on this matter states:
"In the event that the City makes the determination that the Initiative applies to the Station 6 Project, the District would either have to contest that determination in court or obtain voter approval for the Station 6 Project. This would delay the Project by at least six months to a year and cost the District approximately $95,000 in election costs."

At the last Fire Board Patti Fry acknowledged the problem by suggesting a side letter between Lanza/Fry and the Fire District saying that the parties would agree to ignore the law if the initiative is approved by the voters insofar as it applies to the Station 6 site - a suggestion that I found to be particularly offensive. How can two parties agree to ignore the law????
Also during a real in that meeting meeting George Fischer, in the presence of Steve Schmidt, Lanza/Fry suggest to me that the Save Menlo folks could ask the City Council to place a companion referendum on the November ballot which would merge the Oak Grove and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area and provided it with both voter approved zoning and voter approved development standards that would permit Station 6 to be rebuilt at its current location. It will be interesting to see in the Lanza/Fry supporters really want to clean up the mess created by this unintended consequences of their poorly worded initiative or do they really want to block a new fire station serving the downtown.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction -Also during a recess in that meeting meeting George Fischer.....


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"That boundary does not have to be moved in order for the parcels to be merged"

The purpose of zoning is to control what is built within a zone. It is therefore legally impossible to merge two parcels which are in two different zones that have different zoning requirements - which zoning requirements would prevail?

And note that the initiative also states:
"4.2. Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the
City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy
Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the
implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and
definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a
conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions."

So please cite the specific city zoning ordinance that would:
1 - permit the merger of two parcels which are in two different zones
and 2 - not violate section 4.2 of this very poorly written initiative.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Truth is not the truth simply because someone who pretentiously calls himself truth says something is the truth. In this case the real truth lies in the actual wording of the initiative and in the existing Menlo Park zoning ordinances.

So as noted above this "simple" initiative does far more than just placing " limits about square feet of office and other commercial space and specifies how project open space is counted. Then it says where that counting will occur."


The initiative even claims priority over all other Menlo Park ordinances:

Section 5. PRIORITY.
5.1. After this measure becomes effective, its provision shall prevail over and
supersede all provisions of the municipal code, ordinances, resolutions,
and administrative policies of the City of Menlo Park which are inferior to
the Planning Policy Documents and in conflict with any provisions of this
measure.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"So please cite the specific city zoning ordinance that would:
1 - permit the merger of two parcels which are in two different zones
and 2 - not violate section 4.2 of this very poorly written initiative."

They can't and they won't.

These people either have no idea what exactly this poorly written initiative says or they are simply lying - take your choice.


Posted by the truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 8, 2014 at 6:56 am

Carpenter deliberately misleads by asserting that zoning regulations such as setbacks, height, and allowable size of buildings cannot be changed because of the initiative's adoption of a boundary. The initiative doesn't change zoning regulations, but the City Council can. They can authorize changes to support the Fire District, and the City Council can rezone the fire station's current parcel as a Public Facility as the District wants. There is nothing in the initiative that stops either of those actions from being pursued by the Fire District, its Board, or the City Council.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 8, 2014 at 7:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"So please cite the specific city zoning ordinance that would:
1 - permit the merger of two parcels which are in two different zones
and 2 - not violate section 4.2 of this very poorly written initiative."

They can't and they won't.

These people either have no idea what exactly this poorly written initiative says or they are simply lying - take your choice.

truthless continues to respond with his own verbiage and assertions - not giving a single citation from the initiative or the zoning ordinance.

Here is another citation from the city zoning ordinance:

"16.04.140 Building site. "Building site" means one or more contiguous, legally created parcels of land under common ownership, meeting area and dimension requirements for the zoning district in which it is situated and having frontage on a dedicated street or approved private road."

Note " meeting area and dimension requirements for the zoning DISTRICT (singular) in which IT is situated". A building site therefore MUST be in one zoning district and the current Fire District parcels are in different zoning districts and the initiative would preclude placing them in the same zoning district without a city wide vote to change the Specific Plan boundary line.

Did the Lanza/Fry people intended this defect? Who knows. Are they doing anything to cure this intended or unintended effect? NO. How many other other defects are there in this hasty written and un-vetted initiative? No one knows.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

truth:

what a misnomer. Have you even READ the initiative? Patti Fry even acknowledges that the parcels can't be merged under the terms of the initiative. One of many unintended consequences of the initiative. If the author of the initiative admits that the parcels can't be merged wouldn't you think the author knows what's in her initiative?


Posted by Tall, Dark and Handsome, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

Based on the precedent of "Truth", apparently I can just name myself what I want to believe, even if it is pure nonsense. Therefore, I am now known as "Tall, Dark and Handsome". Won't my wife be pleased?


Posted by the truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Yes, I have read the initiative and I watched the video of the fire board meeting. Patti Fry did not say the parcels can't be merged. She said they could. She also pointed out that parcels don't have to be merged to be part of a single project. The Menlo Gateway project is an example.

She also said the fire board has another option that doesn't require a merger and would avoid the need for a general plan amendment for much greater FAR than is allowed for Public Facility. She never said that would result in an inferior station. That's a Carpenter invention.

Planning Commissioner Kadvany says that the Planning Commission was unanimous in support of making changes needed for the upgrade.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2014 at 7:26 am

truth:

if you've read the initiative then please post the relevant sections that say the parcels can be merged without a vote by MP citizens. I sure can't locate it. All I've seen are the relevant sections that Peter has repeatedly posted that indicate a vote is REQUIRED to make ANY changes to the DSP. Patti Fry is full of BS for saying the initiative allows it without a vote. She either doesn't understand the language of her own initiative or she's lying. I think it's the latter.


Posted by the truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 9, 2014 at 7:41 am

Peter Carpenter provides the appropriate text above: ""4.2. Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions."
Merging or rezoning parcels would not be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the limit on office, non-residential and open space.
The initiative, just like the Specific Plan, counts space within the Specific Plan's geographic boundaries. Even if the initiative fails and the District merges parcels, the city will count net new space within the Plan's boundaries. No difference.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 8:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Untruth states - "She also said the fire board has another option that doesn't require a merger and would avoid the need for a general plan amendment for much greater FAR than is allowed for Public Facility. She never said that would result in an inferior station. "

Watch the video - at 14:10 on the first tape Fry advocates Option 2 as a way of avoiding the problems created by her initiative.

Option 2 – Modify Application to Eliminate Lot Merger and Leave the Oak Grove Lot in
Specific Plan Area.

Option 2 would mean building a new station solely on the existing parcel - a station designed to serve the downtown area for the next 50 years that could not even accommodate a fire truck. The Fire Board wisely rejected Option 2 because it would result in an inferior station.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

untruth states - "Merging or rezoning parcels would not be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the limit on office, non-residential and open space.
The initiative, just like the Specific Plan, counts space within the Specific Plan's geographic boundaries. Even if the initiative fails and the District merges parcels, the city will count net new space within the Plan's boundaries. No difference."

As a posted above the definition of the Specific Plan area in sec 3.1 does NOT limit that definition to just counting space within the Specific Plan area.

3.1. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the
"ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the
bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I,
of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo
Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this
measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this
initiative measure."

This initiative is so poorly written that its advocates don't even know, or they refuse to acknowledge , what it requires.


Posted by the truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm

The fire station design has the fire trucks housed on one parcel with parking and other storage on the other parcel. The same design could be approved as proposed with parcels merged or in the alternative listed in the fire district packet with parcels zoned differently.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Station 6 does not and cannot accommodate a fire truck. The single Oak Grove parcel is not large enough for a new station that would accommodate fire trucks.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Peter:

it might help people understand if you explain the difference between a truck and an engine. Station 6 already houses one engine and has a second bay which appears to be large enough for another. Thanks


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fire Engines have pumps, hoses, water tanks and short portable ladders. All of MPFPD's fire Engines are designated on their front, sides and rears with a large E followed by the station number - hence the fire Engine in Station 6 is designated as E-6.

Fire Trucks are longer vehicles which have built-in aerial ladders. MPFPD's fire Trucks carry a T designation and are usually stationed at Station 1 so they are marked T-1.

Web Link

Station 1 on Middlefield and the new Station 2 on University in EPA are designed to accommodate both fire engines and fire trucks. The new Station 6 needs to be able to accommodate both engines and trucks in order to serve the growing needs of the downtown area.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Option 2 which was recommended by Patti Fry as a way of avoiding the problems created by her initiative would not be large enough to accommodate a fire truck - that is why the Fire Board rejected that option.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Makes it pretty clear the parcels need to be combined if Station 6 is to accommodate a truck. That will require an election if the initiative passes. If it didn't why would Fry suggest just building on the Oak Grove parcel? And why would Fisher suggest a companion referendum that would be voted on along with the initiative if it wasn't really necessary?

BECAUSE IT'S REQUIRED BY THE INITIATIVE

[Portion removed. Please make your point without accusing others of lying.]

This initiative is poorly worded and full of unintended consequences just like this one. No amount of lies is going to change that.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The voters of Menlo Park should realize that the fire station issue is just the tip of the iceberg of the unintended consequences of the fatally flawed Lanza/Fry initiative.

For example, do the voters really want to encourage Greenheart and Stanford to build maxed out uncoordinated structures on two or three of their parcels while leaving their other parcels empty so as to avoid the initiative's stupid 100,000 sq ft per project limit?

Do the voters really want the ill conceived open space definition to effectively prevent the rebuilding of the existing structures on small parcels facing ECR by requiring side lot setbacks where the existing buildings now are built to the side property line?

Who knows how many other unintended consequences are buried in these 12 pages - certainly not Lanza or Fry who just deny that there are any such consequences.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Editor:

lets see. Fry acknowledges on video that the initiative creates a problem for the fire district and combining their lots. Then she writes a letter to you saying it doesn't. Sorry that's my definition of a LIE. Sorry you don't thinks so. Makes me wonder what you consider a lie to be.


Posted by the truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 7:42 am

The fire district's design has the fire station on one parcel and other buildings on the other. It was Carpenter who claimed the design would be inferior. No one else. Now who is telling the truth?

and oh by the way Fry said why she suggested consideration of the other altnerative. That was so the district wouldn't need a zoning ordinance and general plan amendment to allow 50% FAR rather the 30% FAR that is allowed for public facilities.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Untruth is again not telling the truth (I can't say lie because the editors do not permit that word).

Untruth should look at the proposed building plans, the two parcels AND the zoning regulations. Fry and untruth would simply ignore the zoning regulations - except as specified in Fry's initiative.

The design for a new Station 6 includes the ability to house a fire TRUCK (see above for what that means). If the new station footprint is placed solely on the Oak Grove parcel it would not comply with the existing setback requirement - only by merging the two parcels can the new station be placed on the combined parcels and also meet the setback requirements.

Again, if you want to see what an ideal new fire station looks like go look at the new Station 2 being constructed at 2290 University Ave in EPA with the full support and cooperation of the City of East Palo Alto.

I am still waiting for George Fisher to propose to the city council his brilliant idea of a legislative referendum on the November ballot which would merge the Oak Grove and Hoover parcels inside a revised Downtown ECR Specific Plan area and provided it with both voter approved zoning and voter approved development standards that would permit Station 6 to be rebuilt at its current location. The Save Menlo and Fry/Lanza folks created this mess - are they now willing to clean it up?

Editor's note: The Almanac is trying to discourage personal attacks, such as calling someone a liar. Point out how a statement is untrue, point out what you think is true, but please don't put labels on people. Otherwise, the comments deteriorate into something resembling the national political non-discussion, with opponents seeing each other as evil rather than as people with different points of view and interests. - Richard Hine


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