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El Camino facelift begins with housing project

Original post made on Aug 1, 2012

A lot left vacant at 389 El Camino Real when a car dealer abandoned Menlo Park will now come to life again as a housing development.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 10:12 AM

Comments (12)

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Posted by Mrs. B.
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I second the comment by Peter Ohtaki: I too am pleased to AT LAST see some movement on turning an unsightly vacant lot on El Camino into an attractive development. I know that the requirement for "affordable housing" comes from the state, but I must register my total abhorrence of this concept. Any housing that sells at a market price is "affordable" to someone; if it was not the price would be adjusted! Call "affordable" housing what it really it, which is low income housing, and then admit that it is taking private property for a (presumed) public benefit. I would like an "affordable" 1 acre property (with pool and tennis court) in Atherton. The marketplace should determine housing prices and private buyers and sellers should come to their own terms. No seller should be coerced to sell at a below-market price and no buyer should be given the privilege of buying at a below-market price. That just awards a benefit to the properly connected or categorized.


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Posted by Terri G
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I'm so happy to see the MP City Council moving in a constructive direction towards the development of the El Camino corridor, which has long been a blight to the city.


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Posted by James Madison
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Let the building of one wall of El Camino de Grande Canon begin! (Those who are unaware of what the recently approved plan will beget need only drive on El Camino at Maple in Redwood City). Matteson must know the market, but I find it difficult to believe anyone will pay $1.45 million cost plus a profit for a town house with no yard and automobile access only to and from 40 mph El Camino.


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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

But it's not about you, Mrs. B. It's about the need to uphold state law, not how you think property prices "should" work.


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Posted by Gov't out of control
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I live on one of the major streets which crosses El Camino Real. The road noise is so bad, that even during non-peak traffic times, I have to close the windows to hear someone on the phone, and my hearing was recently confirmed as normal. I guess these units are going to have phenomenal noise insulation, and everybody will just be running central air all day anyway.

26 housing unit on 1.23 acres sounds like a lot to me, but I guess that's not a lot by California standards.


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

This sounds like a nightmare, putting that many homes on a lot smaller than many Atherton single-family homes. It means upward and massive. Totally changes the MP corridor. At least there will be some low cost housing...and the problem with that..is??


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm

The problem with "low cost housing" is that is basically socialism. If someone doesn't make enough money to live here that's the free market. Forcing developers to provide BMR's is socialism pure and simple. This country is based on capitalism. Real estate prices are the ultimate supply and demand items. High demand to live in Menlo Park drives up the price. Those at the lower end of the wage spectrum can't afford to buy here. So what? I can't afford to live in Atherton. I wish I could, but I can't and I don't expect PPG to provide me with a housing unit when they build their next ugly McMansion. I'll live. Fortunately my wife and I make enough to live in Menlo Park. I like it here, but I don't think developers should be forced to pay for people that can't afford to live here so that they can.

I have a novel suggestion. Since the bank tellers and sandwich makers and others at the low end of the wage scale can't afford to buy here, how about we force their employers to pay them enough so they can? Same socialist concept. Of course, no one would accept this, but somehow it's acceptable to take money from a developer to do the same thing?

Think about it.


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Posted by follow the money
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

The problem is that it's all about housing. Why? Because there are people who stand to benefit from its development, and they have a lot of clout with legislators.

Very little attention has been given to the fact that adding hundreds of new residences to El Camino will adversely impact traffic and that we have no space for new roads. Those new residents will want to shop in Menlo Park. They will want their kids to play soccer and baseball in Menlo Park. But we have allocated very little additional space for retail, and none, that's a fat zero, for recreation. Why not? Well, because you can't make much money with a park.

Open your eyes, folks. This isn't about us, the people who live in Menlo Park. We're the frogs in the pot, trying not to notice the flame getting hotter. All we can do is try to slow the erosion of our quality of life, but we're pitted against some powerful developers who are motivated by the prospect of making millions of dollars. People who don't care if we suffer (and our property values plummet) because they live in communities that are immune to this market manipulation. People who have sold our council (and others) on the idea that it's anti-American and totally un-PC to criticize the concept of "affordable housing."

It's not about fixing up El Camino. It's not about "doing the right thing to help others" or providing "affordable housing." It's about transferring more wealth to a few people who already are rich. Stupid and shortsighted.


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Posted by Concerned about crowding
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

I have lived in Menlo Park for 20 years, and often travel the corridor on El Camino between the Stanford Park Hotel and Kepler's on Ravenswood. I'm not sure if it's the timing of the lights, or volume of traffic, or both, but it can take a very long time to go just those few blocks. I can't imagine how increasing the traffic load by some 26 housing units is going to improve the situation.

In the past year, our council has approved the expansion of Facebook's headquarters from 3600 to 6600 employees, the Bohannon Project (3 eight story office buildings, 230 room hotel, 3 parking structures, etc), and the Stanford Hospital expansion.

I understand that these projects will provide Menlo Park with needed revenues, and that some of the money will be used to help mitigate traffic problems, but where in the heck are all of these cars going to go? And what happened to my sleepy little town?


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Posted by Kim Glenn
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm

We are delighted to see our city moving forward on the Matteson project...a terrific and environmentally sound design certain to increase the beauty of the El Camino corridor while satisfying the desires of those eager to live in this great city with market rate and below market rate homes. Congratulations to our elected officials in honoring the desires of many of its citizens to see progress and in a timely manner. And thanks to the Matteson Companies for sticking through the long arduous process to secure approval and your dedication to the well being of MP citizens as well! We can't wait for the Grand Opening!

K & T Glenn


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Posted by ironic
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Isn't it ironic that this project is virtually unchanged from what was proposed BEFORE the recent approval of the Specific Plan? The economy is improving. Other projects approved BEFORE the Specific Plan are likely to move forward, but wait, they can be even bigger now due to the Council's give-away to developers.


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Posted by Ranch Gal
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

Come November vote for LESS government !!!! This is what the end result is. Mrs. B and James Madison are correct. El Camino and Maple monstrosity and the ugly Chevron on Oak Grove and El Camino. I have lived here since 1956 and now it's all about the $$$$$$ with these greedy politicians. vote them out. Go back to common sense thinking and a love of neighborhood not pocketbook.
All of a sudden we have awakened to the knowledge of 90% public retirement pensions in some cases resulting in bankruptcies here in CA. Deals done years ago behind closed doors.
Less government is better government.


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