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Tuesday: Public hearing on Bohannon project

Original post made on May 24, 2010

The "Menlo Gateway" office/hotel project proposed by the Bohannon Development Co. will be the sole topic of discussion at a public hearing Tuesday, May 25. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 24, 2010, 11:28 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by concerned, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on May 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm

So what does "public benefit" REALLY mean ? Where is the Fire Department's needs in all of this ? Does it come under "public benefit" or they going to be left to "fend for themselves" after
nothing is left from any revenues. The developer seems to think that
there are other fire departments around, just like there are other
places to build, if menlo park botches things up. It will be interesting to see what give aways and what take backs happen at the meeting. Show up people, voice your yay or nay.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on May 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm

The City of Menlo Park has greedily negotiated the best possible terms for its own narrow interests and basically told the Fire District that it is on its own to negotiate with Bohannon.

The impact of this project on the Fire District is huge and if there are no other arrangements then the Fire District will have to shift resources from downtown Menlo Park and the residential areas to provide fire protection for this project.

This is a telling illustration of how poorly the City has handled the impact review of this project.

Posted by Dharma, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

The city of Menlo Park has a general fund budget of about $36 million per year for all staff (including police) and every discretionary program.
Menlo Park Fire Prevention District has a budget of $30 million per year $100,000 per year (minimum) firemen to be "ready" for local fires in Menlo and the three adjacent small towns.
Your concern is what?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 24, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Dharma asks:"Your concern is what?"

Simply that the very large burden created by this project's high density and high buildings be mediated by appropriate staffing and equipment to provide the project with adequate fire and safety protection WITHOUT drawing down existing resources that currently protect other areas of Menlo Park.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Do you want the Fire District's only high ladder truck moved from the centrally located Middlefield Station to this project thereby leaving the rest of Menlo Park without that coverage?

Should not Bohannon provide for a second ladder truck to cover his high rise buildings?

This is the kind of impact and mitigation which was totally ignored by the City of Menlo Park because, guess what, they don't have a fire department so it is not their problem.

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Let's just take our time on this until the public feelings are known after the November elections. Let the new council decide.

Personally, I don't think any new or current council member who approves/supports this project as pushed through by an aggressive city staff will win be elected/reelected.

Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

If Menlo Park had its own municipal fire dept, I wonder if they would
be as concerned ? You betcha they would, then the onas would be on
them for safety and responsibility and they couldn't pass the buck.
But instead, they let another agency fight for their position. The city over the years have demonstrated that they are not a "TEAM" player where public matters.

Posted by James, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 25, 2010 at 9:49 am

I'll bet that somewhere in the money the City will be receiving that there is an amount for additional police services given the projected increase in traffic and people. As Concerned Citizen points out, if the Menlo Park Fire had been a Department and not an independent District, they would have been allocated funds.

I did some homework, do you know that the last time the Fire District added additional services was the construction of its station on Chilco Ave. in east Menlo Park in 1997. Dharma indicates that the Fire District has a budget on $30M. Do you know that the State takes some of that money (about $2M) for education every year? Do you know that this year the State borrowed another $1M to off-set its deficit?

Given what Mr. Bohannan is projecting in development, do you think it's reasonable that the Fire District should be allocated some funds as is common practice around the country with substantial new development?

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

This is such a cheap Peter Carpenter game. The fire district takes a huge amount of money from city coffers already to the tune of 15% of our property taxes. In fact, the fire district gets more property tax from the city than the city.

There is no city that provides more to the district than Menlo Park. We are the fire district's sugar daddy. And Atherton and Woodside et al get a free ride. Peter and his city are minor players but they want that service don't they? They want those homes and the police to pick up their newspapers but while millionaires gnash their teeth their city is going broke.

So now they want the sugar daddy to cough up more money.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm

As usual there is no truth in "Truth"

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I know this is off topic, and I apologize to all. But I believe Peter is reading this thread and I think he can answer my question. Peter, and I am not asking this to be rude, I really am curious as to the answer. You mention the Menlo Park Fire has a "high ladder truck". I know that MP, Atherton and EPA do not have any buildings over about 50' and I believe they all have height limits at that or below. Why did the FD buy a high latter truck? and why wouldn't it make sense to locate it closer to this new project than to downtown MP if the project does get built?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm

The fact is that there are a number of apartment buildings in Menlo Park and the Ikea buildng in East Palo Alto that are well over 50 ft. The Fire District has a 100 ft ladder truck for both these tall buildings and to provide overhead suppression of lower level fires - as was done in the Sharon Hills fire recently. If the Bohannon project were built that ladder truck could not respond in the required 3 minute time from its current Middlefield location.

Posted by Getting It, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I think a lot of people miss the point about fire departments. They are protecting the whole town by containing the fire. Remember the Chicago Fire, the San Francisco fire, the Oakland Hills fire. Don't ask for whom the fire bell tolls.

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 25, 2010 at 11:03 pm


A point of correction. The ladder could not respond in the "DESIRED" 3 minute time from it's current location. There is no requirement for response, just a desired reponse time.

Out of curiosity how long is the reponse time to Ikea, and how long would it be to the Bohanon Project?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 26, 2010 at 7:40 am

In the Fire Chief's 21 Sept 2009 letter to the City of Menlo Park he stated "Acceptable standards for urban aerial ladder truck coverage are based on a maximum distance of 2.5 miles"

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 26, 2010 at 9:47 am


is that 2.5 mile radius or 2.5 driven miles (not in a straight line)?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 26, 2010 at 9:58 am

Menlo voter asks:"is that 2.5 mile radius or 2.5 driven miles (not in a straight line)"

I don't know, you would have to ask the Fire Chief.

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