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Outrage remains after Stanford changes project

Original post made on Apr 24, 2013

Reaction from those opposed to Stanford-Arrillaga's joint proposal for an 8.43-acre mixed-use complex on El Camino Real in Menlo Park did not waver after the university recently presented a new version with less medical office space and more housing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 10:11 PM

Comments (45)

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 7:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Tuesday evening was an opportunity for the opponents of this project to give it their best shot and they missed the mark.

Eisner and Taffee's comments nicely summarized the value of this project to the city and Robinson made clear that the point of the specific plan "was to not have these battles every time a new (project) came up, it's fairly dismaying to see us on the first project here with the pitchforks out." Most who spoke against the project did so apparently because the project impacts their narrow self interest. The gimmicks of a poorly presented report card and 'new research' which consisted of one trip up and down ECR exemplified the absence of substance from the opposition. Not one person cited a particular requirement of the unanimously adopted Specific Plan that should be changed and some went so far as to actually toss the Stanford project out of the Specific Plan.

Stanford and the city will continue to work to improve the project but it appears that something like the current proposal will finally end the blight on ECR - much to Menlo Park's benefit.


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 24, 2013 at 8:38 am

Sounds like someone missed the plot.

Any proof of that narrow self-interest, given that opponents came from all over Menlo Park and the project will have a negative impact on most residents? Seems pretty broad to me.

And how does Stanford's flexibility in changing the design reflect the value of the project?

Fiscal impact: negative. Traffic impact: huge. Conformance with the vision as defined after years of resident impact: low.

Lots of pouting and posturing by Peter and his one-man show, but the council and commission get the picture. I'd say the likelihood of removing Stanford from the plan is about 60%. Most Menlo Park decision makers now realize the folly of trying to fit such a huge project into a streamlined zoning plan.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Quite simply, if the project were to be removed from the Specific Plan ( an unlikely event) then there would be no project and these parcels will remain vacant for decades - a very poor outcome for Menlo Park. And other potential developers would look elsewhere before considering projects in the Downtown Specific area which could be so easily derailed after a 5 year planning process with significant citizen involvement.

As the Editors so properly stated:
"Clearly, the best course for Stanford and Menlo Park is for the two sides to resolve their differences in an amicable way, without moratoriums or other procedural roadblocks"


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 10:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what the Specific Plan states:
"The overall intent of the El Camino Real/Downtown Specifi c
Plan is to preserve and enhance community life, character
and vitality through public space improvements, mixed
use infi ll projects sensitive to the small-town character of
Menlo Park and improved connectivity"

And here is what the Specific Plan states regarding the Stanford project area:
"Encourages infill development of vacant and
under-utilized lots along El Camino Real through
increased intensities, coupled with strict building
modulation and ground-floor setback and building
profile requirements that both attenuate the mass
and scale of larger buildings and create wider
public sidewalks;"

Vs what the Specific Plan says regarding the downtown area:
"Retains the existing "village" character downtown
by keeping buildings low and requiring varied
building massing, including through building profile
and fašade modulation requirements;"

Some people seem to confuse the above distinctions between the different areas covered by the Specific Plan.

The Specific Plan further states:
"Improve Stanford University-Owned Property
Stanford University owns a large contiguous stretch of
land of approximately 12.8 acres on the eastern side of
El Camino Real just north of San Francisquito Creek. The
land is suitable for multi-family residential, commercial and
mixed use development. This single ownership allows for a
comprehensive approach to redevelopment of this portion
of El Camino Real, which is currently underutilized. It also
provides an opportunity for an east-west pedestrian and
bicycle linkage near Middle Avenue."

With regard to housing the Specific Plan states:
"Properties fronting on El
Camino Real are better suited to higher-density housing,
while properties facing the residential streets parallel to El
Camino Real are better suited to townhouses and small-lot
single-family homes. Properties near the Caltrain station
are ideal locations for higher-density transit-oriented
development, and properties within downtown may be
suitable for medium-density apartments, condominiums,
and townhouses, at a scale that is sensitive to the
downtown village character."

Note that the word 'village' is ONLY used in the Specific Plan when discussing the downtown area rather than ECR or the Station areas.

regarding offices the Specific Plan states:
"Menlo Park is a desirable location for office uses due to
its central location on the Peninsula and good access
to major highways and bridges. Stanford University, the
venture capital industry, and the local residential population
base are the primary sources of demand for office space,
attracting small and mid-size companies in real estate,
venture capital, attorneys, and medical/dental, as well as
high-tech and internet companies."

Stanford has listened to feedback from the community and modified its proposal. The new proposal fully complies with the Specific Plan. Cline states ""But I don't think we're done talking." I think he will be surprised to find that Stanford has no interest in any discussions which involve changes from what is clearly permitted by the Specific Plan.

This project will produce hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees and millions in property taxes and critically needed housing. Menlo Park's housing plan update is a part of a lawsuit settlement over the city's failure to comply with state housing law for the past 10 years. To catch up, Menlo Park has to find sites where zoning changes could allow construction of about 900 new housing units - the Stanford project provides 170 such units NOW.

Any sensible community would welcome it with open arms - as do the majority of residents of Menlo Park.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

More from the Specific Plan on the three different areas the plan addresses:
"The Urban Design Framework establishes concepts for the
plan area's three principal sub-areas:
 El Camino Real;
 Station Area; and
 Downtown."

The Specific Plan then states:
"El Camino Real
The Urban Design Framework for the El Camino Real
corridor recognizes the street's role as both a local-serving
and a regional-serving arterial roadway. The concept for El
Camino Real enhances overall street character, east-west
connection opportunities and pedestrian and bicyclist safety
and comfort. It recognizes and addresses the character of
various areas along the corridor. The concept of El Camino
Real embraces the following strategies.
 Provide continuity and consistency along the
corridor with coordinated streetscape elements
and regular street tree planting as private
improvements take place.
 Improve pedestrian crossings at key intersections.
 Provide wider sidewalks and more comfortable
walking zones, where possible, within development
setbacks.
 Provide a continuous bike route along the length of
the corridor, with the potential for a dedicated bike
lane in future years.
 Establish development controls and guidelines for
buildings that address various conditions along the
corridor and enhance building character.'

Note no 'village' here.

And more regarding ECR-SE:
"On the east side, the concept for El Camino Real takes
advantage of larger parcel sizes and fewer property owners
(including Stanford University) by incorporating publiclyaccessible
open spaces and a grade-separated pedestrian/
bicycle linkage across the railroad tracks to Burgess Park
and Alma Street. As part of the redevelopment of the
parcels, a continuous, expansive pedestrian promenade
fronts El Camino Real from Ravenswood Avenue south to
the southern city limits. While allowing for higher intensity
of development, including residential uses, standards and
design guidelines modulate building massing, avoiding
monolithic projects and complementing Menlo Park's smalltown
character.:

Again no 'village' here.

And regarding the downtown area the plan states:
"Proposed improvements include the Santa Cruz Avenue
Central Plaza and market place, linked by a pedestrian
paseo on Chestnut Street. These enhancements create a
sense of village center - a "place du village" - in the heart
of downtown, which establishes a new destination and
reinforces downtown's image and identity."

Finally we find the village! Only in the downtown area of the Specific Plan.


Posted by Old News, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Give this a rest


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Does anybody think that these folks are going to invest in a suboptimal project if it has to be redesigned to be part of a village? Note that MP refers to the Merged Pool and NOT to Menlo Park)

"The majority of the University's endowment assets are invested through the Merged Pool (MP), which is a diversified portfolio of actively managed financial and real estate assets valued at approximately $19.5 billion as of June 30, 2011. To facilitate the comparison of returns with results of other endowments and foundations, MP performance measurements are calculated on the 12 months ending June 30, 2011. The following discussion of endowment performance relates solely to investments in the MP. The MP realized a 22.4% investment gain for the 12 months ending June 30, 2011. Over the past 10 years, the MP achieved an annualized rate of return of 9.3%, growing from $7.9 billion to $19.5 billion.
The MP portfolio is constructed on a foundation of modern portfolio theory and strategic asset allocation. The portfolio is designed to optimize long-term returns, create consistent annual payouts to the University's operating budget and preserve purchasing power for future generations of Stanford faculty and students. "


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

o second Peter's thoughts. Stanford (or more accurately the Stanford Management Company) while being polite with Menlo Park and it's NIMBY residents, it is by no means a pushover "small" developer. Their real estate portfolio is worth over $3 Billion, and they've partnered with one of the most savvy, honorable & prolific developers in the bay area (John Arillaga).

While this is a HUGE moment for many of you residents & Menlo Park. Stanford could leave this strip of blight undeveloped for years to come and NEVER feel a tinge of financial pain.

Stanford's ability to wait us out should weigh in our decision of what we "want" them to do vs. what is "required" for them to do.

They think/act on a longer term timeline than Menlo Park does, and we would be wise to remember that.

Roy Thiele-Sardi˝a


Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm

There are many residents who live near the 'strip of blight' (myself included) who expect something better than what Stanford has proposed. A bad development is worse than this so-called blight. Good development that gets strong neighborhood approval is very much possible (e.g. Safeway, Artisan housing). Stanford's proposal demonstrates that they're not really trying very hard.


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

"Stanford could leave this strip of blight undeveloped for years to come and NEVER feel a tinge of financial pain."

Nope. The city can institute some variation of a blight tax which will make it financially infeasible for Stanford not to develop the property. They should have done this years ago!

Stanford will eventually get in line. Too many generous alums in Menlo Park for the university -- Stanford needs to balance the loss of support against the value of a maximum buildout.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Stanford's proposal demonstrates that they're not really trying very hard."

Stanford's initial and their revised proposal BOTH conform to the Specific Plan. Are you suggesting that the rules now be changed? If so you will enjoy the blight for a very long time.

"The city can institute some variation of a blight tax which will make it financially infeasible for Stanford not to develop the property"

Not easily done (do you have any examples) and very easily circumvented by renting existing properties for uses that would generate no MP revenues.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm

With all due respect. The Alum from Stanford with the most clout in this conversation is John Arillaga, he is the most generous alum in Stanford history and one hell of a guy.

If he thinks his offer is fair, it's fair. I've dealt with John and his organization many times. Honest, Fair, Reputable and Savvy.....and generous.

And he has the patience of Job. As witnessed by his refusal to take lower than value rents on any of his buildings on principle (and because it's good business).....my kind of guy. So if you think you can out "alum" him and Stanford to get your way.....don't hold your breath.

Roy Thiele-Sardi˝a


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what State law provides:
For purposes of this section, "failure to maintain" means failure to care for the exterior of the property, including, but not limited to, permitting excessive foliage growth that diminishes the value of surrounding properties, failing to take action to prevent trespassers or squatters from remaining on the property, or failing to take action to prevent mosquito larvae from growing in standing water or other conditions that create a public nuisance."

Not a very heavy burden and one which Stanford already meets.

And, guess what, a "tax" requires a 2/3 vote by the citizens and could not apply only to Stanford properties.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what the old zoning for the Stanford properties permitted:
16.43.010 Permitted uses. Permitted uses in the C-4 district, all within a building and not requiring new construction therefor, are as follows:
(1) Retail stores;
(2) Financial establishments, unless an administrative permit is required pursuant to Section 16.43.015;
(3) Professional and administrative offices, unless an administrative permit is required pursuant to Section 16.43.015;
(4) Personal services;
(5) Cafes and restaurants not serving beer, wine or liquor and not providing live entertainment but not drive-in or fast food restaurants.

And here is what the Specific Plan permits without any approval:
Animal Retail Sales and Service
Automobile/Vehicle Sales & Leasing
Banks and Financial Institutions
Business Services
Cinemas
Restaurants, Full/Limited Service
Restaurants, Take-Out Only
Hotels and Motels
Personal Services General
Retail Sales General
Food and Beverage Sales
Parking Facilities, Public
Residential Dwelling Units

Under either set of rules Stanford would have no trouble leasing these exiting structures for uses which generated NO revenue for Menlo Park.


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Another thread hijacked by one self-important screamer. Too bad this forum doesn't have an Ignore button.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I think Mr. Carpenter has been trying to present the factual history of how this property was zoned and how the legal planning process was followed.

His patience and belief that the facts will calm the screamers is, regrettably, misplaced because it seems to inflame some folks who don't want to be confused with the facts.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Reality 101:

What Peter presents are facts and the factual possibility of what could and probably will happen with the Stanford property. Oh, and you don't need an ignore button. I have a hint for you, if you see Peter Carpenter in the first line you can just scroll on by. No one's holding a gun to your head. Just keep sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "la, la, la, I can't hear you." It seems to work for a lot of people that don't want to be bothered with the facts surrounding the Stanford property. Maybe it will work for you.

Enjoy the view.


Posted by FamilyGuyMP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 5:18 am

There are shreds of truth, and certainly passion, inmost comments. However, I'd summarize with a few key points:

1) Menlo's downtown is stale and without vibrancy. Santa Cruz Ave, sadly, is the street we drive down to go somewhere else. This is unfortunate for our current and prospective residents, particularly those with young kids. They have dollars to spend and a desire to stay local, but choices are very slim. Over time, this also hurts home values when compared to, for example, Los Altos and its desirable downtown.

2) Many organizations, such as SaveMenlo, strike me as essentially anti-everything. What exactly are they trying to save Menlo Park from -- a better downtown? Popping up at the end of every process to protest is not useful to advancement.

3) It is fair to challenge development plans but one must engage in the process early and often. This takes work a time -- most folks simply cannot make the meetings but there are ways to engage with some regularity. That is how it works. The outcomes never please all parties but forward movement is important since the alternative is stagnation.

4) I've never met John Arillaga but given his contributions to this area and the fact that his reputation will be fully on display with this project, who else would you want to develop this parcel? Being a good businessperson does not make him unsuited for the job. Go with the people you know, with a track record and with a stake in the community. It doesn't mean residents should not interact and make their voices known, but do it the right way, with logical arguments, and we'll get a good result.

5) When this is done, there will be positives and negatives, but if this movement is positive for the forward momentum of our town, then good things happen as a result. More businesses find it attractive to locate here vs. Palo Alto or Los Altos, others follow, and the downtown starts to become more vibrant and relevant.

6) Nothing is perfect but doing nothing forever will not move our great MP in the right direction. It can be uncomfortable to move forward but you have to take the first step and then adjust as you go. This one project does not make the entire future of our town, but it is a start.

Go Menlo Park!


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2013 at 6:54 am

Well said Family Guy. Your post was spot on, especially as it relates to savemenlo.


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

I am not a member of SaveMenlo so can't represent their viewpoint. However, I can assure Family Guy that they have expressed no interest in downtown. If you don't like how the Specific Plan is affecting downtown's vibrancy, maybe you should have gotten involved in the process?

Interesting how MV and PC don't point out the errors in the comments of those who agree that the Stanford project should proceed full steam ahead! Despite their blathering, the council is taking the concerns, as stated by hundreds of actual residents, very seriously. Tough noogies for you.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the council is taking the concerns, as stated by hundreds of actual residents, very seriously."

As it should - and the council is also very aware of the consequences of their actions, as they must.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

Reality:

you mean the council is doing its job? That's what they're supposed to do. The problem here is they have the cart before the horse.


Posted by old timeer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

@ Reality 101 and @ Menlo Voter

I did participate in the Visioning process. The result of that process bears no resemblance to what the consultant and the City's planning department produced in the Specific Plan. Really, the Visioning was nothing but a FRAUD. It was nothing more than inviting Menlo Park Citizens to express their view, and then ignore them and do what Staff and their hired consultant wanted.

(in passing this was not the first time this happened in our fair city. Those of us who remember, will recall the "Smart Growth" initiative; staff and then City Manager tried to use that vehicle to please the citizens, and then do what they wanted to do. How fortunate we were then to have a Council that said NO.)

So don't try and use an argument that "you didn't participate" -- "you get what you deserve", because it has no validity here.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

The Visioning process can be cited for a full range if desired outcomes like tall buildings on south ECR and medical buildings on south ECR.

But not every idea in the visioning process made it through the public review process to the adopted Specific Plan and the Soecufic Plan as adopted is the will of the people.

People who vote against something in a democracy are still expected to respect the outcome.


Posted by interesting, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I was in almost every meeting and at no time do I remember a majority of folks asking for one or two story buildings. I heard it from the same small group of folks who took down Derry, but mostly I heard about uses. I attended the recent city council meeting and I think Cline has it right, regardless of Peter's petty insults.

Stanford and electeds and staff and developers and residents and many others sat together for years discussing this outcome. The majority wanted housing, affordable and senior, hotel(s), retail and safe ped and bike access. The height was less the issue.

The office space grab Stanford attempted was and is wrong and should be challenged. But not because it is "big" or "ugly" but because it is not what people wanted.

Anyone claiming this is a fraud is merely another old schooler afraid of change.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 2:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Just as the Federalist Papers preceded the Constitution and the Federalist Papers included many ideas that both were and were not incorporated in the Constitution, the Vision Plan preceded the Specific Plan and the Vision Plan included many ideas that were and were not included in the Specific Plan. And in both cases the later document became the law.

One can find support for many different opinions in the Vision Plan such as:
"During the visioning process, community members generally agreed that the
scale of development allowed in Menlo Park should be altered to allow greater
density and height in certain areas. This opinion was accompanied by an
equally strong desire to carefully identify where development intensity could
increase.
Workshop participants felt that the east side of El Camino Real could accommodate
higher intensity development because it does not have immediate
neighbors (between El Camino Real and train tracks) and the buildings would
not cast shadows onto any other buildings"
"Additional opinions with less support surfaced throughout the visioning
process that contrast the majority vision described above. Specifically, some
community members felt that the existing development intensities in Menlo
Park are appropriate, and should not be altered. Another minority opinion
observed was that the vision should include higher intensity development,
including 4-6 story mixed-use development along El Camino Real and in
Downtown"
"On the east side of El Camino, south of Ravenswood Avenue, new
buildings are up to 4 stories in height. Uses include residential, retail,
office and potentially a hotel with conference facilities."
"-Concentrate taller buildings on southern end of El Camino and Downtown"
"-Attract medical office uses"

Clearly one can pick and choose comments from the Vision Plan to support many different positions. What happened was that the community, the Planning Commission and the Council selected those ideas which they felt were best for Menlo Park and incorporated those in the Specific Plan - just as the Founding Fathers did when they adopted the Constitution.


Posted by FamilyguyMP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 5:54 am

@ Reality, the point is that improvement in one area can have positive benefits in the other. When a Stanford project replaces the current blight, then more residents nd visitors make there way out and to our town. Once this happens, contiguous areas are attractive for new merchants, etc. Residents get better stores and restaurants, home prices ultimately benefit, as do taxes which benefit the community, and so on. Lack of movement pushes in the opposite direction. It is a choice.


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:31 am

"What happened was that the community, the Planning Commission and the Council selected those ideas which they felt were best for Menlo Park and incorporated those in the Specific Plan - just as the Founding Fathers did when they adopted the Constitution."

Did you listen to Rich Cline at last week's council meeting? Have you talked to any planning commissioners? The problem is that the plan, written by Stanford's consultants, incorporated items that had never been discussed by them or the public. That is what most people find so upsetting. The council in particular feels that Stanford misled them.

Although the founders of our country had many lively discussions over the creation of their guiding principles, it borders on heresy to compare this misbegotten document to the Constitution.

@FamGuy: many residents would love a project that attracts new merchants. But this office block is not that project. Visitors and residents are hardly going to flock to it, and the block is far enough from downtown MP that office workers are more likely to go to the Stanford mall. Retail would have been far more acceptable to most residents.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Did you listen to Rich Cline at last week's council meeting? Have you talked to any planning commissioners?"

Both represent a minority of their respective bodies.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:52 am

I keep reading posts that convey the message that there are a lot more people opposed to the Stanford plan and who think the DSP should be revised than others claim there are. For ducks, I went back to the previous thread on this subject; the one that is titled "update: MP council forms subcommittee to guide Stanford Project". There were 107 posts on that thread-a fairly good sample size relative to other threads. I went through and counted the number of posters whose comments fell in to 3 categories; Against the project and/or DSP process, Supportive of the project and/or the DSP process, Other (comments about council members or other posters or other issues.
I only counted each poster once, not the number of times they posted.
Interesting results: Against = 9, Supportive = 9, Other = 6. Not exactly a mandate to justify revising a plan that was 4 years in the making.


Posted by facts please, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

counting the number of posts is a factoid that means nothing other than just the count. One cannot conclude anything other than that of the people who posted, this is how they laid out.

Peter C needs to learn that the C-4 zoning district no longer exists. It's on the city website but was made null by the ECR-D SP.

Downtown is stale but not because of the Specific Plan, which can't fix everything. There have not been zoning impediments for retail for a very long time. There are market factors and ownership issues (longterm absentee landlords who just collect rent). The Chamber and the city business development person could make a concerted effort to recruit businesses. Zoning is not at all the cure-all for ills like downtown suffers.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Learn to read:

Here is what the old zoning for the Stanford properties permitted:


Posted by Dana Hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm

[Portion removed; don't attack other posters.]

Though Reality 101 - like Gern before him - claims "I am not a member of SaveMenlo they both mirror its position and arguments. Good luck, Reality 101. Your behavior, like Gern's, only undermines your credibility. Perhaps you ARE Gern reincarnated? Or, simply, a replacement. Peter, ignore him.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

@Facts Please--your comment that counting the number of posts is a meaningless "factoid" proves the point I was trying to make. You would prefer to count the number of posts from the minority rather than the aggregate number for/against. Yell loud enough, scream often enough, repeat the line often enough, and it will become the "will of the people" Unfortunately, you folks do have some elected officials that fall for that crap.


Posted by Dana Hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Fascinating experience. In my prior post I originally cited two recent quotes from Reality 101 as examples of uncivil boorish behavior. And what happens? The quotes are censored on the basis that I am the one making personal attacks. Strange "unbiased" Almanac censorship????

:)


Posted by FamilyGuyMP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Realty 101 -- we all see the great irony in your screen name. The point is that a project will get built and, while it is fine to object, try to be part of the solution and not one who spends time on an "all or nothing" approach. You seem to have some tangible thoughts so express them where it really counts, at a council or commission meeting. In terms of community benefit, strength on that ECR corridor will be good for Santa Cruz. Areas will connect once portions strengthen. That is how it happens. No need to respond to my posts - -stepping out of thread.


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Please point out where I insisted on an "all or nothing." That land will be developed. The question is whether the development will be an asset or a burden to Menlo Park.

Posts on this forum don't count for much -- mine or anyone else's. This isn't a popularity contest. It's about doing what it best for our city. And the people who make the decisions on our behalf understand that the project, as currently designed, is not appropriate for our city. No one likes delay, but it's worth a little pain now to have a better outcome long-term.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the people who make the decisions on our behalf understand that the project, as currently designed, is not appropriate for our city."

Interesting assertion but it has no basis in fact. If it were true then a whole bunch of people would have violated the Brown Act by making such decisions outside of a properly agendized public meeting.

Time will tell and wisdom will prevail. Who knows Stanford may even propose to make a significant contribution to funding a tunnel connecting the project site to Alma thereby more fairly distributing the traffic over multiple neighborhoods - which would also facilitate the east-west bicycle and pedestrian connection called for by the Specific Plan.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From the Specific Plan:
"D.4.16 Provide a pedestrian and bicycle linkage between
El Camino Real, the new open space and Burgess Park
at Middle Avenue; this linkage would involve a grade
separated crossing if tracks remain at grade."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It would be perfect to have:
1 a pedestrian link between El Camino and Alma at Middle
2 a two way bike path linking the same
3 automobile access to the Stanford site from both ECR and Alma but not a through connection that simply allowed cars to go from Alma to ECR.


Posted by Vincent Bressler, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Before the PC study session, when I saw that Stanford intended to use the pedestrian plaza as a driveway, I was concerned that Stanford or others would push to have a car tunnel under the tracks at the same location.

I asked Thomas Rogers about this at the PC study session, and he told me that this would not happen and that a car tunnel would "go against" the specific plan.



Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Thank you, Vincent. The point is that the traffic belongs on El Camino and other major thoroughfares. Cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets is not acceptable.

I never suggested that anyone had violated the Brown Act. Members of the council and the planning commission have all made public statements about their unhappiness with the plan. That said, the Brown Act's flaws are apparent in these kinds of situations, where staff and developers have carte blanche to negotiate behind the scenes while the council/commissioners are left out of the picture. This "transparency" does not benefit the public; rather, it gives way too much power to staff/developers. There's a good reason why Congress doesn't have a Brown Act!


Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:32 pm

P.S. Before I am lambasted by a certain non-resident, may I change "Members of the council and the planning commission have all made public statements about their unhappiness with the plan." to "Most members of the council and the planning commission have expressed unhappiness with the plan in a public forum."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Healthy questions and reasoned concerns represent neither unhappiness or opposition.

Public officials are properly performing their appropriate responsibilities and wisdom will prevail.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" a car tunnel would "go against" the specific plan."

There is no mention of a car tunnel - either for or against - in the Specific Plan. What is proposed it connecting the project garage to both El Camino and Alma to better distribute the load but not to provide an auto through fare between ECR and Alma. Also including a car tunnel would spread the cost of a bicycle and pedestrian tunnel over all three uses - two lanes for bicycles and pedestrians and two lanes for cars so a 50-50 cost split.


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