http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/08/01/briefs-matteson-housing-project-goes-to-menlo-park-council


Almanac

News - August 1, 2012

Briefs: Matteson housing project goes to Menlo Park council

The Matteson condo development project at 389 El Camino Real, near College Avenue, goes to the Menlo Park City Council for approval on Tuesday, July 31.

Seventeen townhomes and nine single-family homes would be built on a 1.23-acre site. Two driveways off El Camino Real would provide access to the site, with the exception of two single-family houses that would be reached via College and Partridge avenues, according to the staff report.

Of the 26 proposed homes, three would be set aside for the city's below-market-rate housing program.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the project in June.

The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

Go to tinyurl.com/bvbjeyq to review the agenda and associated staff reports.

Grand jury: Pension

costs out of control

A grand jury report released July 23 dissects a topic near and dear to many hearts in San Mateo County: "Controlling the County's Escalating Pension Costs."

According to the report, the county's contribution to the retirement fund, which covers 10,582 current and retired employees, will jump by another $13 million next year. The county already carries $842 million in unfunded liability, the difference between expected benefit plan payments and current assets over time. While initially projecting a return of 7.75 percent on investments, the county's retirement system, SamCERA, has now lowered that to 7.5 percent over 15 years.

The report suggests that the county deal with the problem by employing fewer people through service cuts, attrition and outsourcing; negotiating lower costs with unions; and considering withdrawal from Social Security. County manager John Maltbie said staff is researching whether that last option is even legally possible.

Downtown parking

Menlo Park's plans to create a downtown parking task force had barely left the drawing board before drawing the ire of some merchants and residents.

The plan proposes a five-member task force composed of two Chamber of Commerce representatives (one of whom must own property or a business downtown), one resident, one transportation commissioner, and one planning commissioner. The group would evaluate how to implement aspects of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan related to parking, including the possibility of building up to two parking garages, and develop the scope of a parking management study.

Community members, including Downtown Alliance co-founder Nancy Couperus and former planning commissioner Patti Fry, took issue with the proposed composition. "A representative of the Chamber is fine, but why not representatives from the other groups, too?" Ms. Fry asked, referring to the Downtown Alliance, Farmers Market and Lions Club in an email to the council on July 27.

The council will discuss the task force at its meeting on Tuesday, July 31. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

Go to tinyurl.com/bvbjeyq to review the agenda and associated staff reports.

Good Samaritan

rescues purse

It could have been a very costly trip to Safeway. A woman shopping at the store on El Camino Real around 5 p.m. on July 25 loaded her groceries into the car, but drove home without realizing she'd left her purse behind in the cart.

Upon returning to Safeway, she discovered someone had given her purse to a store manager. "Nothing had been taken, and I shall remember this act of honesty forever and happily relate it to my friends and children," she said in an email. She wanted to thank the Good Samaritan, but asked that the Almanac not print her name.

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