Town Square

Post a New Topic

Guest opinion: Bigger isn't always better: Menlo Park's zoning wars

Original post made on Aug 19, 2014

The polarization in Menlo Park is not between pro-development and anti-development contingents, but between those who support unprecedented colossal multi-story, mixed-use complexes, and those who support healthy development in keeping with our city's size and character. The two proposed 420-000-plus-square-foot office/housing complexes on El Camino within a few blocks of one another would permanently abolish our small-town character and wreak havoc with our traffic.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (65)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Facts please
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Cherie--

The initiative does NOT reduce the size development, so 'Bigger isn't always better' doesn't make sense. The initiative trades lower traffic inducing uses (Commercial office) for much higher traffic generating permitted uses (big box retail), so the initiative will ultimately cause a LOT more traffic than the current specific plan would.

Here is the impartial ballot measure analysis with the following quote:

"The measure retains the cap of 474,000 Square Feet for all new non-residential development in the Specific Plan Area."
Web Link


Unfortunately it sounds like you are another resident who has been misled by the initiative group into thinking this is a measure that would reduce development. That is not true.

Please vote NO on M.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 20, 2014 at 7:17 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Cherie:

M is a recipe for disaster. You talk about pitfalls. This initiative has more pitfalls and hidden land mines than a video game. And as noted above will likely result in MORE traffic not less.

Vote NO on M


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

Cherie,

I think you've summarized well the feelings of many residents regarding development in Menlo Park, the Stanford development in particular, and how it all led to the initiative.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 11:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Feelings" about the Stanford development need to be replaced with facts.

Under the Specific Plan the council has negotiated a much better project with Stanford with less traffic and significant public benefits.

Under Measure M, poorly worded and conceived as it is, all of that would disappear and be replaced by a hodgepodge of individual projects with multiple accesses to ECR, more traffic, slab faced buildings and a huge impact on our schools.

Measure M's Memories of our Childhood need to be replaced by a Vision for the Future.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George C Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Opponents of the initiative overlook the City's Circulation System (CSA) document which prescribes El Camino Real Office space to be distributed 28% to I 280, 20% to SR 84 (Dumbarton bridge) and 21% US 101. Only 1% goes to sand hill west and only 7% El Camino North and 7% El Camino South. So 69% of office space traffic must travel through our residential neighborhoods to reach their CSA gateways. (See Table 6, page 8 from W-Trans March 7, 2014 report to City re Stanford Project traffic)

On the other hand Retail is distributed primarily locally and El Camino North and South with only 10% to 280, 1% to SR 84, and 5% to 101. In short 16% of retail traffic travels through our neighborhoods to reach the CSA gateways vs 69% of El Camino Real Office space.

When you realize 69% of the over 4,000 additional daily trips added from the new 400,000 square feet of office space, or 2,760 trips per day through our neighborhoods, you can realize the substantial public benefit of limiting the ECR office space to 100,000 sf per project or 24,800 sf total over thirty years, the amount of office space studied in the Specific Plan EIR.

The Initiative also fulfills the compact the city made with the public in the Vision Plan for the Specific Plan and the Guiding Principles expressly stated in in Section C.2 of the Specific Plan: " Enhance Public Space, Generate Vibrancy, Sustain Menlo Park's Village Character, Enhance Connectivity, and Promote Healthy Living and Sustainability."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.



This misinformation by Measure M supporters continues:
George states - "he substantial public benefit of limiting the ECR office space to 100,000 sf per project or 24,800 sf total over thirty years,"

In fact the initiative states:
"After this measure
becomes effective, the maximum square footage of all net, new
Office Space that may be approved, entitled, permitted or
otherwise authorized by the City in the aggregate within the ECR
Specific Plan Area after the ECR Specific Plan's adoption on July
12, 2012 shall not exceed the 240,820 square feet of Commercial
Space disclosed and analyzed in the ECR Specific Plan EIR."


Why is it that the initiative's supporters neither understand the initiative nor ever post sections from the initiative? What are they embarrassed by? Their own clumsily worded and difficult to understand initiative?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Our town
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Obviously you don't have much to say, Peter, if your only comment is to point out a typo.

Measure M doesn't go far enough, but it's a step in the right direction. What most residents would like to see is zoning that reflects the vision that emerged after so many years of public process, the vision that transformed our downtown area into Santana Row 2.0. Somehow, when the Stanford consultants disappeared for a few years to put together the voluminous plan (secret meetings, anyone?) that vision was erased by the need to cater to major property owners.

Measure M focuses on serving the residents of our city. Not on massive overdevelopment that benefits no one. And, as Patti Fry reminded the council so eloquently last night, the current office space fad seems to ignore the fact that the Gateway Project is going to add a million square feet of office in a much more accessible part of our city!

The successor to vacant car lots: vacant office buildings? A new kind of blight that serves no one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure M focuses on serving the residents of our city."

Please post the specific sections of Measure M that will accomplish this.

" the vision that transformed our downtown area into Santana Row 2.0."

And what we have now is Rip Van Winkle 0.0 and Measure M will make that permanent.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George C Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Correct, my prior comment included a typo. The Specific Plan EIR studied 240,820 sf of office space (not my typo of 24,800 sf)) over 30 years which it determined to be the development "most reasonably foreseeable, as envisioned in the Illustrative Plan, based on studies of market demand, the location of opportunity sites, and assessment of the development potential of each property given the Guiding Principles, Urban Design Framework, land uses, development regulations and design guidelines. The net new development analyzed includes: . . . Commercial [Office} Space 240,820 square feet." EIR page 3-11.

The City had several opportunities to remedy any loopholes or incorrect projections, which are currently allowing Office Space exploitation contrary to the Guiding Principles, the Plan Vision, and the above finding in the EIR. The City disregarded each and every such opportunity. The Initiative implements the goals and guiding principles of Specific Plan as intended, rather than pending implementation by office space exploitation. The Initiative implementation of clearly expressed and agreed intent should be the primary focus of any decision regarding the Initiative.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Initiative implements the goals and guiding principles of Specific Plan as intended,"

Please post the specific sections of Measure M which accomplish exactly which goals and guiding principles of the Specific Plan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Isn't it also possible that the two big developers could build what we were led to expect, and our community needs -- hotel, senior housing? There is no proof that the scariest scenarios will or won't happen.

It's pure speculation that ugly big box retail will come to town. There are checks and balances on that -- there's a required review of traffic and other environmental impacts. and there's a required architectural review, too. If the traffic is too much, the project has to go through an EIR and has to show benefits that override impacts.
There's high demand for housing (there is a cap in the plan for that)so there are many potential scenarios of what will happen when M passes



 +   Like this comment
Posted by oversight
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Frank, if M passes, you and other uninformed voters will be in charge of land use. Don't worry about big box retail, we can end up with six projects that are full of medical offices.

Measure M is a Mistake.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 20, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Not so. If there's too much of anything, the council can make changes to the zoning rules. M only imposes caps.
If there's too much traffic, the required environmental reviews will identify that, and the council can decide if the project is worth the extra traffic. And voters could decide if they agree; if not, voters can referend their decision. That's true even if M doesn't pass.

There is way too much speculation and fear mongering.

Nothing has been formally negotiated with stanford btw. If you think there is a firm agreement, you have never dealt with stanford land management.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Frank,

The council will NOT be able to change ANYTHING within the Specific plan (i.e. re-zoning) without sending it to the voters....that's one of MANY problems with Measure M.

On the other hand, if they build less than 100,000 feet per project they are EXEMPT from the rules. So if you were them, what would you do? Spend money, do plans, send it to the voters? Or would you build what you legally can within the plan, WITHOUT an EIR (since the Specific Plan already has one attached to it)? This is a Business IQ test, let's see how you answer.

I am voting NO on M for that and many of the other unitended consequences that it brings to Menlo Park.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Frank:

NO the council CANNOT make changes to the zoning. Measure M requires any changes to go to the voters. Have you actually read measure M?

Zoning by ballot box is stupid.

Vote NO on M


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Our town
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm

There are a lot of potentially scary scenarios, but those are a result of the plan itself, not the measure. We can thank property owner Stanford University, whose consultants authored the plan, for the gift of increased gridlock, decreased safety, additional burden on the city infrastructure and budget, and lack of benefit to residents.

Measure M attempts to plug one of the many deficiencies of the specific plan. But only one. In my opinion, it doesn't go far enough, but at least it establishes limits and closes that big loophole.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Our town
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

"Measure M requires any changes to go to the voters."

Simply false. Repeating lies over and over does not make them true. Read the Measure. Or have someone read it to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure M requires any changes to go to the voters."

"Simply false. "

Why do the proponents of Measure M not read and understand Measure M?
Why do they REFUSE to quote from the Measure?

Here is what it says:
"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election.
Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions. "


Can they not read or are they simply being duplicitous?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Our town:

apparently YOU haven't read or don't understand what you've read. As Peter has posted, the language of the measure above (you know that thing you're hanging your hat on?) NO CHANGES CAN BE MADE WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL. What part of that don't you understand?

You are the one who needs to read the measure or have it read to you.

This measure is a disaster in the making.

Vote NO on M.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Our town:

do you have one iota of evidence that Stanford consultants wrote the DSP? Please post your proof. No one else that has made the same [portion removed - try to keep it civil] claim has been able to do so. Perhaps you can? I won't hold my breath waiting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 8:53 pm

It's not like there isn't a significant amount of high quality office development happening (and proposed) in Menlo Park already:

Web Link

Stanford could have come to the table with a development plan more supportive of the El Camino/downtown area. Instead they've proposed something that will have no activity outside of weekday business hours, just like the current vacant lots.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Yes, I have read the Measure. Others appear not to have done so. Measure M affects caps (limits)on office and non-residential development. It defines what counts as open space and as office. It requires a vote of the people to increase the caps (these were designed for 30 years, remember???).

Other zoning rules remain entirely within the control of the city council. Height, setbacks, FAR, triggers for public benefit, what is consider public benefit, variances, rules for FIRE STATIONS if needed, etc. It is absolutely not true that these kinds of rules are controlled by the Measure. They aren't


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:40 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Frank:

I'll say this slowly. Changes to those things you list require a vote of the citizens of Menlo Park. Zoning control by ballot is stupid.

When the DSP was written the authors were fully aware that these two large areas would be developed right away, not in 30 years. would you build your house one room at a time over thirty years?

Vote no on M


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:45 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Frank:

"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election.
Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions. "


you still think changes don't require voter approval?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:28 am

Voter approval is only required to change the caps on office and non-residential development, and what counts as office and open space. Those are the few things M covers.

The council can change everything else, anytime it wants.

The Stanford site was expected to be built with a hotel and senior housing. Remember? The Greenheart site had an approved grocery/office project and approved (by Planning Commission) mixed use residential/retail/office project. It was NOT expected to be redeveloped in any other way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The council can change everything else, anytime it wants. "

NOT true - read the initiative i ALL of the "voter approved definitions" including the exact 2008 boundaries of the Specific Plan can ONLY be changed by a city wide vote:

"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA VOTER-ADOPTED DEVELOPMENT DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS.
ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the "ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this initiative measure.
1
3.2. OPEN SPACE DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS; ABOVE GROUND LEVEL OPEN SPACE EXCLUDED FROM CALCULATIONS OF MINIMUM OPEN SPACE REQUIREMENTS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITHIN THE ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA.
1. 3.2.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Open Space": "The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios and balconies. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. It is typically located at ground level, though it includes open space atop a podium, if provided, and upper story balconies. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources." The foregoing definition is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios, balconies, and roof decks. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. Open space up to 4 feet in height associated with ground floor level development or atop a podium up to 4 feet high, if provided, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space greater than 4 feet in height, whether associated with upper story balconies, patios or roof decks, or atop a podium, if provided, shall not count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources."
2. 3.2.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Private Open Space": "An area connected or immediately adjacent to a dwelling unit. The space can be a balcony, porch, ground or above grade patio or roof deck used exclusively by the occupants of the dwelling unit and their guests." The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
3. 3.2.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Common Outdoor Open Space": "Usable outdoor space commonly accessible to all residents and users of the building for the purpose of passive or
2
active recreation." The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
4. 3.2.4. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.01 states: "Residential developments or Mixed Use developments with residential use shall have a minimum of 100 square feet of open space per unit created as common open space or a minimum of 80 square feet of open space per unit created as private open space, where private open space shall have a minimum dimension of 6 feet by 6 feet. In case of a mix of private and common open space, such common open space shall be provided at a ratio equal to 1.25 square feet for each one square foot of private open space that is not provided." The foregoing standard is hereby adopted by the voters.
5. 3.2.5. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.02 states: "Residential open space (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 16 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development." The foregoing Standard is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "Ground floor open space up to 4 feet high (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development. Open space exceeding 4 feet in height (regardless of whether in common or private areas or associated with podiums) shall not count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development."
6. 3.2.6. After this measure becomes effective, Tables E6, E7, E8, E9, E10, E11, E12, E13, E14, E15, in the ECR Specific Plan, which, as adopted on July 12, 2012, state that "residential open space, whether in common or private areas, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development" are each hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read at the places where the foregoing statement appears: "only ground floor level residential open space in common or private areas up to 4 feet high and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development; residential open space in common or private areas exceeding 4 feet in height and open space above parking podiums exceeding 4 feet in height shall not."
3
3.3. OFFICE SPACE DEFINED; MAXIMUM OFFICE SPACE ALLOWED FOR INDIVIDUAL OR PHASED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITHIN THE ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA.
1. 3.3.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Business and Professional": "Offices of firms or organizations providing professional, executive, management, or administrative services, such as accounting, advertising, architectural, computer software design, engineering, graphic design, insurance, interior design, investment, and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks, and savings and loan associations." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
2. 3.3.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Medical and Dental": "Offices for a physician, dentist, or chiropractor, including medical/dental laboratories incidental to the medical office use. This classification excludes medical marijuana dispensing facilities, as defined in the California Health and Safety Code." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
3. 3.3.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Banks and Other Financial Institutions": "Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money, including credit unions." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.3.4. The foregoing, voter-adopted Commercial Use Classifications are hereby collectively referred to in this measure as "Office Space."

Section 4.
4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election.
Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions.
PRIORITY.
After this measure becomes effective, its provision shall prevail over and supersede all provisions of the municipal code, ordinances, resolutions, and administrative policies of the City of Menlo Park which are inferior to the Planning Policy Documents and in conflict with any provisions of this measure. "

***************
PLEASE read the initiative before claiming what it will and won't do and then POST the initiative language which proves your point.

So far NO Measure M supporter has posted any of the language from the initiative.
Why do the proponents of Measure M not read and understand Measure M?
Why do they REFUSE to quote from the Measure?
Can they not read or are they simply being duplicitous?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:46 am

The above posting proves the point that ALL other zoning rules are NOT covered by M or Peter would have posted them time and again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Frank - What part of this don't you understand:
" the City shall not adopt ANY other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with OR FRUSTRATE the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions.
PRIORITY.
After this measure becomes effective, its provision shall prevail over and supersede ALL provisions of the municipal code, ordinances, resolutions, and administrative policies of the City of Menlo Park which are inferior to the Planning Policy Documents and in conflict with any provisions of this measure. "

Measure M is a Minefield of unintended and unknown consequences. All someone has to do is claim that a proposed zoning action FRUSTRATE the intent of Measue M and then the issue has to go to the courts and the, if the court so rules, to the voters. In the meantime nothing happens which is the no so hidden objective of Measure M.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

Yo Frank and Our Town:

You seem to be repeating many of the myths and misstatements throw out by Save Menlo and proven false time and time again. Either you are willingly making false statements or you are both not taking the time and effort to substantiate your allegations.

There is no other business in America that does its business in an open and public environment. If you have proof that Stanford's "consultants" wrote the Specific Plan, then document it. BTW, the design concepts AND densities of the Specific Plan mirror almost every other specific plan and master plan approved along the El Camino Real.

If Stanford's consultants wrote the specific plan, why did the Planning Commission and City Council both adopt the original draft document? IF Stanford's consultants wrote the specific plan, why didn't the Planning Commission and City Council make any substantial changes to the document, including height requirements and densities when they reviewed the document after its one year anniversary?

Now "Frank" says Stanford was "expected" to build a hotel. If Stanford "promised" senior housing and a hotel, then why was the specific plan approved to allow offices, medical offices, residential units and a host of other potential land uses? If this was the "expectation" by the City, then why didn't the Planning Commission and City Council recommend that change when they reviewed the document after its one year anniversary? BTW, Stanford already built a hotel in Menlo Park. It is called the Rosewood Inn. How many hotels is Stanford supposed to build in this town?

If the Specific Plan was so flawed, why did Vince Bressler, now a co-author of "Yes on Measure M" ballot statement, vote to approve the Specific Plan or argue to reduce heights or make other substantial changes to the specific plan when he had the chance during the one year review of the plan?

If this is such a juicy conspiracy, why hasn't the Daily Post, Almanac or San Jose Mercury News conducted some independent research to verify these allegations? Certainly if our Menlo Park residents can "uncover" these things, why can't reputable news agencies do the same?

There is only one answer to all my questions. These "claims" by Save Menlo are otherwise known as a "complex question fallacy". That is when a question is asked that contains an unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt). The most common example of complex question fallacy is the oft repeated "When did you stop beating your wife?" Stop the nonsense and either prove your false allegations or move back to the real issues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Stanford knew what Menlo Park wanted. There were many mentions of hotel and senior housing. They never said they would not build them. I agree they never said they would build them, either, and I am not claiming they did.

I also am not claiming that Stanford wrote the plan. I do find it sickeningly unseemly that the same consultant was writing the plan at the same time they were helping Stanford with its 1.5 million sq ft project in Redwood City.

I am not Save Menlo but I support the measure because the 2 big projects don't fulfill the vision that I thought was nicely defined during the plan's creation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George C Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

In its September 25, 2008, Contract with Menlo Park "to prepare the Specific Plan and supportive documents for the El Camino Real/Downtown Menlo Park project area" Perkins and Will's predecessor advised Menlo Park as follows:

"We are also currently engaged with Stanford University for the development of their campus in Redwood City. We have been closely working with the University, the city, community groups and the large consultant team through the Specific Plan and Guidelines process for entitlement."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stefan P
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

For me the key issue is car traffic. Already today, ECR and Middle Ave. are severely congested during peak hours. Neighborhood cut-through traffic is getting worse and worse. Mr. Carpenter, who does not live in Menlo Park, is obviously not as concerned about traffic and tends not to acknowledge it as a valid concerns for those who do live here.
I support the initiative because it hands some control over what gets developed back to the City Council and the citizens.
It is true that the initiative leaves the overall build-out cap of the Specific Plan -- which was supposed to have a 20-30 year time horizon -- in place. This goes to show that the initiative supporters are not the naive or fringe anti-development crowd that their scare tactic opponents portray them as. The initiative will not bring big box retailers to ECR as those simply would not get approved. However, it will prevent the big-box-size, Sunnyvale-style office complexes that are being proposed right now (no real approval required). The initiative steers developers towards smaller, less traffic-generating and more Menlo Park compatible projects that will find approval.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Stefan:

the initiative decidedly DOES NOT steer developers towards smaller, less traffic-generating and more Menlo Park compatible projects that will find approval.

In fact it does the opposite. If the land is built out with medical offices, which it could be under the initiative it will generate MORE traffic than the project that was negotiated by the city. The traffic study backs this up. If you are really worried about traffic then you should definitely vote against M.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BEWARE OF CONS
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 21, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Politicians and big money special interests have big plans for big developments in quaint Menlo Park. The initiative is in the way. They will use con-men, and con-women to relentlessly attack the initiative and anyone supporting the initiative - starting with a paid "consultant" and followed by illegal campaign mailers.from city hall.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by attractively unusual
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2014 at 2:20 am

Quaint: attractively unusual or old-fashioned. "quaint country cottages"

BOC, the blight on El Camino is not attractively unusual, or attractive in any way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 22, 2014 at 6:56 am

As far as I can tell, the voter requirement for the initiative covers only the items referenced in 'Section 3' -- so that's the office space caps, open space and the Plan boundary, since these are the ones mentioned. Still, speaking for many, the 'voter initiative' bit is overkill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2014 at 7:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Measure M also requires voter approval to any change in ANY of the definitions that are included in Section 3 including:

3.2.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Open Space": "The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios and balconies. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. It is typically located at ground level, though it includes open space atop a podium, if provided, and upper story balconies. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources." The foregoing definition is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios, balconies, and roof decks. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. Open space up to 4 feet in height associated with ground floor level development or atop a podium up to 4 feet high, if provided, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space greater than 4 feet in height, whether associated with upper story balconies, patios or roof decks, or atop a podium, if provided, shall not count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources."
3.2.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Private Open Space": "An area connected or immediately adjacent to a dwelling unit. The space can be a balcony, porch, ground or above grade patio or roof deck used exclusively by the occupants of the dwelling unit and their guests." The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.2.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Common Outdoor Open Space": "Usable outdoor space commonly accessible to all residents and users of the building for the purpose of passive or
active recreation." The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.2.4. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.01 states: "Residential developments or Mixed Use developments with residential use shall have a minimum of 100 square feet of open space per unit created as common open space or a minimum of 80 square feet of open space per unit created as private open space, where private open space shall have a minimum dimension of 6 feet by 6 feet. In case of a mix of private and common open space, such common open space shall be provided at a ratio equal to 1.25 square feet for each one square foot of private open space that is not provided." The foregoing standard is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.2.5. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.02 states: "Residential open space (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 16 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development." The foregoing Standard is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "Ground floor open space up to 4 feet high (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development. Open space exceeding 4 feet in height (regardless of whether in common or private areas or associated with podiums) shall not count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development."
3.2.6. After this measure becomes effective, Tables E6, E7, E8, E9, E10, E11, E12, E13, E14, E15, in the ECR Specific Plan, which, as adopted on July 12, 2012, state that "residential open space, whether in common or private areas, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development" are each hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read at the places where the foregoing statement appears: "only ground floor level residential open space in common or private areas up to 4 feet high and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development; residential open space in common or private areas exceeding 4 feet in height and open space above parking podiums exceeding 4 feet in height shall not."

3.3.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Business and Professional": "Offices of firms or organizations providing professional, executive, management, or administrative services, such as accounting, advertising, architectural, computer software design, engineering, graphic design, insurance, interior design, investment, and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks, and savings and loan associations." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
2. 3.3.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Medical and Dental": "Offices for a physician, dentist, or chiropractor, including medical/dental laboratories incidental to the medical office use. This classification excludes medical marijuana dispensing facilities, as defined in the California Health and Safety Code." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
3. 3.3.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Banks and Other Financial Institutions": "Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money, including credit unions." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
4. 3.3.4. The foregoing, voter-adopted Commercial Use Classifications are hereby collectively referred to in this measure as "Office Space."
5. 3.3.5. After this measure becomes effective, the maximum amount of Office Space that any individual development project proposal within the ECR Specific Plan area may contain is 100,000 square
********

Clearly this is not a good way to make public policy or to respond to the many changes in these definitions which would otherwise occur over the next THIRTY years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2014 at 7:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If Measure M were to pass just imagine a really exciting new company shows up wanting to occupy an existing Menlo Park building but its new kind of service does not fit into any of the Measure M's definition. The City would have to say give us $190,000 ( a little inflation in the cost of elections having occurred in the intervening years) and six months or so and we will hold an election. In the meantime, please don't take your great idea somewhere else where they could act on it immediately.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 8:28 am

...or they could just move into Sobrato's new building. Problem solved.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

".or they could just move into Sobrato's new building. Problem solved."

That doesn't do anything to help provide customers for our struggling downtown merchants.

But this comment shows exactly the attitude of the Measure M folks - anything is OK as long as it doesn't impact their narrow self interests. The downtown merchants be damned.

The Specific Plan is a BALANCED approach to meeting the needs of the ENTIRE community not just those of Allied Arts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph Baloney
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

Peter-"If Measure M were to pass just imagine a really exciting new company shows up wanting to occupy an existing Menlo Park building but its new kind of service does not fit into any of the Measure M's definition"

The last time you mentioned this you directed us to the Palo Alto Online announcement of the that exciting new kill-it-and-grill-it restaurant on April Fools Day. The operative word, or course, being FOOL.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joseph Baloney
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

Peter-"That doesn't do anything to help provide customers for our struggling downtown merchants."

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. I live very close to the proposed Stanford development and I walk or bike to Palo Alto or drive to Redwood City at least 10 times for very time I eat in Menlo Park.

Besides, for much of the office space proposed down by the Stanford Park Hotel Patxi's will be closer than Amici's anyway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Baloney - Do you have something substantive to contribute to this discussion or ??

I keep hoping that someone in support of Measure M will actually quote from the measure itself and demonstrate why Measure M makes sense for the community at large.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Allied Arts once again show that they could care less about our downtown merchants - they don't even support those merchants:
" I walk or bike to Palo Alto or drive to Redwood City at least 10 times for very time I eat in Menlo Park."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Measure M supporters' Hall of Shame is growing:

Joe Baloney - " I walk or bike to Palo Alto or drive to Redwood City at least 10 times for very time I eat in Menlo Park."

Brian - "I am fine with the empty lots on El Camino."

Schmidt - "A big box store would presumably be retail and sales tax would be generated. Are you thinking R.E.I. or The Container Store? Underground parking? Not a bad alternative.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stefan P
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm

@Menlo Vpter: The SP has limits on Medical Office and the Initiative does not change those (it does cap per-project and total office space). I don't see how we could end up with more medical office under the Initiative. Much more likely: We will get less medical office since projects will be subject to additional review and approval and medical office is known to be the most traffic intensive (as patients come and go all the time, typical by car). I would characterize the "no-medical office agreement" the City has with Stanford as more of a "vague understanding" as opposed to a binding contract. In particular, I see no assurances that a few years down the road medical tenants wouldn't be able to move into those buildings. Also, what about the the equally large Greenheart project? Even without all this new construction car traffic has grown and congestion is getting worse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Stefan:

we could end up with more medical offices because due to the negotiations on Menlo Park with Stanford ALL MEDICAL OFFICES WERE ELEIMINATED FROM THEIR PROJECT. It's not just some "vague" understanding. The project that Stanford wants to go forward with will result in LESS traffic than what the EIR determined would be generated should the property be built out as allowed by the DSP. So, if you don't want traffic, you don't want Measure M.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Stefan:

part of the reason traffic is worse is because Menlo Park in it's infinite wisdom chooses to choke a six lane road down to four lanes. There's a reason traffic flows well north and south of town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stefan P
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Are you suggesting Stanford or Greenheart would actually want the initiative to pass so they could build more. That doesn't sound right.
What I meant by traffic is getting worse is "worse over time" - not worse compared to PA or Atherton. PA has Alma and Atherton has a lot fewer traffic lights on ECR than Menlo Park. Those are the main reasons their ECR traffic flows better. Sure, an additional lane would probably help but I rather not generate all that extra traffic in the first place.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Stefan:

that traffic is coming whether you like it or not. There is a great deal of building going on to the north and south of us and ECR is a primary route between the two.

I'm not suggesting that Stanford wants the initiative so they could build more. You're missing the point. The city negotiated with Stanford to remove the high traffic generating medical offices from their original proposal. If the initiative passes that negotiation is moot and Stanford can build what the DSP allows which includes high traffic generating medical offices. M Means More traffic not less.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Measure M is not going to improve traffic. At best it'll probably make it worse via status quo. Traffic in this area is all interconnected especially if this area continues to grow and attract people from all over the world. Even if M halts development, commuters will be cutting through MP as PA and RWC are building out.

A good way to try to fix the traffic is a public and private partnership to improve the infrastructure, such as the Sobrato development. M will take away most of this type of partnership in the downtown area, where we need it the most. The alternative is bond measures to pay for it. Fine if you like paying higher property taxes.

Lastly, I would rather give our city council the flexibility to negotiate and spend money on infrastructure improvements vs referendums.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

RE: the exchange about what changes in regulations under Measure M would REQUIRE a ballot, why not ask the city attorney and planning department instead of presenting personal interpretations on Measure M?

That seems pretty straightforward.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Dana - good idea. Our city attorney recused himself from this matter.

There is an official Impartial Analysis prepared by the Special Legal Counsel for the City of Menlo Park:
www.menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/4989

It's pretty clear that the scope of what is must be approved by voters is quite limited.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 23, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Peter & Ray:

I read the document Frank referred to and found this

"The City Council cannot amend the definitions and development standards set forth in the Measure as these provisions can be amended only with voter approval. In addition, voter approval is required to exceed the office space and non-residential square footage limits. Voter approval is not required for the City Council to amend the Downtown Specific Plan to increase the 680 residential unit limit."

Please explain why you and Frank have different ibterpretations.

Has the City settled this?

If not, why not?

Thanks,

Dana


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 23, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Frank:

seems pretty clear to me. From your link:

"The City Council cannot amend the definitions and development standards set forth in the Measure as these provisions can be amended only with voter approval. In addition, voter approval is required to exceed the office space and non-residential square footage limits. Voter approval is not required for the City Council to amend the Downtown Specific Plan to increase the 680 residential unit limit."

The only thing not requiring voter approval is amending the 680 residential limit.

Seriously, you think this means not much needs to be voted on?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As the official Impartial Analysis prepared by the Special Legal Counsel for the City of Menlo Park states the definitions and development standards set forth in the Measure can only be changed by a city wide vote. These standards and definitions include:

"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA VOTER-ADOPTED DEVELOPMENT DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS.
ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the "ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this initiative measure.

3.2.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Open Space": "The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios and balconies. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. It is typically located at ground level, though it includes open space atop a podium, if provided, and upper story balconies. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources." The foregoing definition is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios, balconies, and roof decks. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. Open space up to 4 feet in height associated with ground floor level development or atop a podium up to 4 feet high, if provided, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space greater than 4 feet in height, whether associated with upper story balconies, patios or roof decks, or atop a podium, if provided, shall not count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources."
3.2.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Private Open Space": "An area connected or immediately adjacent to a dwelling unit. The space can be a balcony, porch, ground or above grade patio or roof deck used exclusively by the occupants of the dwelling unit and their guests." The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.2.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following definition of "Common Outdoor Open Space": "Usable outdoor space commonly accessible to all residents and users of the building for the purpose of passive or
active recreation." The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.

***************

That covers a lot of things that the Council cannot touch.

Measure M is a Mistake.
3.2.4. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.01 states: "Residential developments or Mixed Use developments with residential use shall have a minimum of 100 square feet of open space per unit created as common open space or a minimum of 80 square feet of open space per unit created as private open space, where private open space shall have a minimum dimension of 6 feet by 6 feet. In case of a mix of private and common open space, such common open space shall be provided at a ratio equal to 1.25 square feet for each one square foot of private open space that is not provided." The foregoing standard is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.2.5. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.02 states: "Residential open space (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 16 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development." The foregoing Standard is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "Ground floor open space up to 4 feet high (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development. Open space exceeding 4 feet in height (regardless of whether in common or private areas or associated with podiums) shall not count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development."
3.2.6. After this measure becomes effective, Tables E6, E7, E8, E9, E10, E11, E12, E13, E14, E15, in the ECR Specific Plan, which, as adopted on July 12, 2012, state that "residential open space, whether in common or private areas, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development" are each hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read at the places where the foregoing statement appears: "only ground floor level residential open space in common or private areas up to 4 feet high and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development; residential open space in common or private areas exceeding 4 feet in height and open space above parking podiums exceeding 4 feet in height shall not."

3.3.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Business and Professional": "Offices of firms or organizations providing professional, executive, management, or administrative services, such as accounting, advertising, architectural, computer software design, engineering, graphic design, insurance, interior design, investment, and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks, and savings and loan associations." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
2. 3.3.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Offices, Medical and Dental": "Offices for a physician, dentist, or chiropractor, including medical/dental laboratories incidental to the medical office use. This classification excludes medical marijuana dispensing facilities, as defined in the California Health and Safety Code." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
3. 3.3.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan's Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for "Banks and Other Financial Institutions": "Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money, including credit unions." The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
4. 3.3.4. The foregoing, voter-adopted Commercial Use Classifications are hereby collectively referred to in this measure as "Office Space."
5. 3.3.5. After this measure becomes effective, the maximum amount of Office Space that any individual development project proposal within the ECR Specific Plan area may contain is 100,000 square
********

Clearly this is not a good way to make public policy or to respond to the many changes in these definitions which would otherwise occur over the next THIRTY years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

So Section 3 covers development limits for office and non-residential development, and the definitions in section 3 are about how open space and office space are counted. Nothing about all the other things in the Specific Plan.

As someone pointed out in a previous topic on Town Square, the Specific Plan has a staff process for resolving questions about definitions.

The Plan was designed originally to last for 30 years but can be changed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Frank:

AGAIN. FROM YOUR LINK:

The City Council cannot amend the definitions and development standards set forth in the Measure as these provisions can be amended ONLY with voter approval. In addition, voter approval is REQUIRED to exceed the office space and non-residential square footage limits. Voter approval is not required for the City Council to amend the Downtown Specific Plan to increase the 680 residential unit limit.

The only thing not requiring voter approval is amending the 680 residential limit.

Seriously, you think this means not much needs to be voted on?

Zoning by ballot is stupid.

Vote NO on M


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 24, 2014 at 11:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Frank - [Portion deleted.] Please note that ALL the definitions in Sec 3 are "adopted by the voters" and NONE of them can be changed EXCEPT by a city wide vote. Why is that so hard to understand?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 24, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Excuse me. I can read just fine. There are several pages of definitions in the specific plan. Only a few are affected by the initiative and most of those are simply adopted straight from the plan.
MV and PC want to ignore that there is a defined city process for dealing with questions about definitions, and that definitions are broad. That process will continue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Frank:

yes, you can read, but you seem to have a problem retaining what you read or interpreting what you read. Please provide specifics as to where the initiative doesn't change things to require a vote on all changes, rather than your broad generalizations. If you can't, I will conclude I am correct [portion removed]

Vote no on M


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:50 am

The only parts of the Specific Plan changed by the initiative are in initiative section 3. PC has copied that many times so I won't. Definitions for office and open space, overall plan limits for office and non-residential space and per project total office space.
Any doubter should compare the specific plan with the initiative.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Voters who wish to be properly informed should note that ALL of the definitions listed in Section 3 of Measure M, even those adopted unchanged from the Specific Plan, would become "adopted by the voters" if Measure M were to pass. In that case changing ANY of these voter adopted changes would require a city wide vote.

These definitions include the EXACT boundaries of the Specific Plan as those boundaries were defined in 2008. Changing that 2008 boundary to include even one sq ft that was not included on the 2008 map would require a city wide vote.

For example, Measure M includes definitions for such things as "Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money," No provision is made for financial institutions when they no longer engage "in the on-site circulation of money" which will certainly occur long before 30 years.

These detailed and forever binding definitions are just one reason why Measure M is a Big Mistake.

Any reader who does not understand these facts has, regardless of the sensitivities of the Almanac, a reading comprehension problem.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 7:04 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

[Post removed. Post your views on the issue without characterizing other posters.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Let me help you.
On page H2 of the Specific Plan "Use classifications describe one or more uses of land having similar characteristics, but do not list every use or
activity that may appropriately be within the classification."

On page H3 "A. Uncertainty of Uses. When there is uncertainty,the Community Development Director ("Director")shall determine whether a specific use should be considered within one or more use classifications or not within any classification in this chapter. The Director may determine that a specific use is not within a classification if its characteristics are substantially incompatible with those typical of uses named within the classification. Decisions by the Director may be appealed to the Planning Commission."

So let's suppose banks stop circulating physical cash. The Director could decide that the Bank is still a Bank. The Director could decide there should be a new definition about Cashless Bands. Let's be honest -- such decisions would not be contested as long as the space is still counted toward the maximum allowed.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Local picks on 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand list
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 3,429 views

Ode to Brussels Sprout
By Laura Stec | 20 comments | 2,619 views

Charter School Proposal Steeped In Unintended Consequences
By Erin Glanville | 46 comments | 1,952 views

Go Giants! Next Stop: World Series!
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,943 views

Measure M-- I am not drinking Greenheart’s expensive potion
By Martin Lamarque | 14 comments | 613 views