http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/03/28/beechwood-school-set-to-buy-menlo-park-land


Almanac

News - March 28, 2012

Beechwood School set to buy Menlo Park land

• Council announces intent to sell.

by Sandy Brundage

The future of 1.5 acres of land on Terminal Avenue in Menlo Park may, finally, be set after 11 years of discussion.

Menlo Park intends to sell the property to Beechwood School, a private Belle Haven school for grades K-8, along with the land the school currently sits on, for $1.25 million, according to a staff report released March 22.

Habitat for Humanity planned to build 22 affordable homes on the parcel since 2001, but the nonprofit pulled the plug on the development after 10 years of community opposition and financial difficulties.

In contrast, the Belle Haven community has been vocal in its support of the school's acquisition of the land, which would allow Beechwood to expand and replace temporary buildings with permanent structures, the staff report said.

Representatives of the Belle Haven Neighborhood Association have said at previous council meetings that they'd support housing development along Hamilton Avenue if the city lets the school buy the Terminal Avenue property.

Previously the school's efforts to buy the Terminal Avenue property ran into a roadblock — council members had stated that the school wasn't offering a fair price. Now it seems the city and school have agreed that $1.25 million makes the deal worthwhile.

The proposed contract would let the city buy back the land for the purchase price if a new school "is not substantially completed" within five years, and also gives Menlo Park the right of first refusal should the school decide to sell the land for a non-educational use.

If the City Council approves the intent to sell, the community can protest from now until after a public hearing on April 27. At least four council members would need to vote in favor of the sale to override any protest.

The intent to sell is on the council agenda for Tuesday, March 27; the meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Menlo Park Civic Center, 701 Laurel St.

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