Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
This project should be built however the City of Menlo Park is doing such a horrible job of serving as the Lead Agency for the EIR that the project may well and properly be delayed by legal challenges.
From: Peter Carpenter
Date: December 14, 2011 2:04:44 PM PST
To: A variety of local leaders and newspapers
Subject: Draft EIR for Facebook project - Sole Agency vs Lead Agency
The way that the City of Menlo Park has treated its responsibility as the Lead Agency for this project is that the City of Menlo Park has instead become the Sole Agency for this product and therefore the only beneficiary will be Menlo Park.
This project should move ahead and do so promptly. Unfortunately, because the city is blatantly ignoring the impacts of this project on other entities, this process will be delayed rather than accelerated. The EIR is supposed to be an independent analysis of the impacts of this project by an outside expert yet the city has provided detailed and on-going guidance to the contractor as to what to include and what not to include - leading to such crazy statements as "The City of East Palo Alto also raised an issue relating to the potential displacement of East Palo Alto residents. For reasons discussed below, this issue is not evaluated further in the Draft EIR because possible displacement of residents would not result in a significant physical impact on the environment." The initial "independent" analysis looked at the per capita impacts of the additional employees and, since that would have logically lead to having to consider the impacts on other agencies, the city direct the 'independent' contractor to remove that analysis for the draft EIR. EIR's seldom fail on substantive grounds but almost always fail on process grounds - the 'independent' analysis which fails, at the city's direction, to acknowledge the impacts on other agencies will doom this EIR to failure.
Just as it did with the Gateway Project the city is intentionally ignoring the impacts of this project on East Palo Alto, Atherton, the school districts and the Fire District. In the Gateway process the city actually said to the other entities that there is only so much money we can get out of the developer and we are taking all of it - including a last minute demand by Fergusson for $50k of landscape additions.
The result of this unprincipled behavior by the city would be to place an involuntary tax on the citizens of all the other effected entities in the form of a reduction in service levels as the resources of those agencies, unmitigated by Facebook, are diverted to serve the impacts of this project.
Hopefully someone from Facebook is reading this Forum and realizes that it is Facebook that will suffer from the legal delays that will occur if the city continues in its Sole Agency mode rather than being a responsible Lead Agency.
Benjamin Franklin said "You may delay, but time will be lost and lost time is never found again."