Letter: Frustrated By Menlo Blight & Downtown Vibrancy
Original post made by 20 Frustrated Residents, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Jun 19, 2014
The Downtown Specific Plan (DTSP), which included 6 years of very open public participation and environmental impact analysis, was approved by the City Council as a framework for thoughtful development and improvement of these blighted areas. A small group of residents seek to derail the approved DTSP plan by way of a deeply flawed initiative, without any transparency or involvement from the City's decision-makers or the community at large.
In 2006, Council approved a development plan for the north end of El Camino. A small group of neighbors drafted a petition calling to overturn that council approval, again in private and without any involvement from Council or Planning Commission.
Nearly eight years have passed and we still have that land sitting empty and blighted. Had the original project been built, our community stood to collect millions of dollars in taxes and fees and contributions to the below-market-rate housing stock. The people living/working there would be spending money in our downtown, helping our small business owners, creating vibrancy, and generating additional sales tax revenue, jobs, and other benefits.
We hoped the very open, very public DTSP process would finally rid our city of this blight. Sadly, it looks like 2014 might be "déjà vu all over again." Menlo Park deserves better.