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Stanford-Arrillaga project: Boon or doom?

Original post made on Feb 5, 2013

What's worse than a string of empty car lots? Eight acres of mixed-use office space, retail and apartments, according to the many public speakers and some Menlo Park officials. What's better than a string of empty car lots? Eight acres of mixed-use office space, retail and apartments, according to Stanford University, developer John Arrillaga and other city officials.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (129)

Posted by Massive Stanford Development, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Why is Menlo Park wanting this massive Stanford-Arrillaga development to bulk up even more? I understand the need for "housing" but why are we ADDING on square footage. Let's keep Menlo Park a SMALL-TOWN charm/feel like Los Altos . . not copying Palo Alto! The developer needs to offset impacts more with more road/railroad grade separation and public/open space/pedestrian-friendly areas. How about adding some ground-floor retail community-serving businesses to keep El Camino a vital part of MP Business Community and thoroughfare for residents/citizens of the community. Keep MP and El Camino alive and vibrant . . not a boring street filled with massive boring office buildings. Make them green/clean in the process . . it's the wave of the future and the right way to develop for the planet.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"How about adding some ground-floor retail community-serving businesses to keep El Camino a vital part of MP Business Community and thoroughfare for residents/citizens of the community."

Good ideas - let's find some win-win improvements to this project. It would be a great place for a pharmacy and for eating places for the tenants and visitors.


Posted by K Djordjevich, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 6, 2013 at 8:49 am

I would like to know how this project will fit in with the High Speed Rail planned for the Peninsula? When the additional tracks required are in place, will they be on the east side or west side of the existing tracks? Seems to me there is a potential conflict, especially if new track and electric power towers take up some of this space. Has this even been mentioned?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

HSR claims that they can operate within the existing right of way. If they can't then they will have to pay the displaced property owners lots of money - and even more if the property has been developed than if it is vacant.

IF HSR really needs a wider right of way then the wise thing to do would be to buy it now - however HSR has no money for such acquisitions and the right of way acquisitions it is now trying to make in the central valley are not going smoothly. I suspect peninsula acquisitions would be both much more difficult and vastly more expensive.


Posted by Overbuilt Overdeveloped El Camino, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Why is MP pushing 5-story height buildings here? Aren't there height restrictions in town or do we want to see the nice "town" turn into more high-rise and over-developed with large buildings that crowd out natural light and take up valuable open space?

Come on folks . . stand up here!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Come on folks . . stand up here!"

You have missed the boat - these decisions were made when the new zoning was adopted. That would have been the time to stand up.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Overbuilt:

It's too late to stand up. That horse has left the barn. The only thing people can do now is try to keep the appearance in keeping with the rest of the town. The project is within the allowed zoning.


Posted by Perla Ni, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:16 am

Hey guys,

Let's be clear here. We are working with the City Council and Planning Commissioners and plenty is being done to find ways to improve the Stanford project. If you came to the Planning Commission meeting last week - you know that Stanford/Arrillaga proposal was soundly rejected and sent back to the drawing board.

Sign up for updates at www.savemenlo.org. Join your fellow neighbors and don't let a bully or two roll over Menlo Park.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:58 am

Perla:

changes will be made, but I seriously doubt Stanford is going to build anything less than the allowed square footage.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"you know that Stanford/Arrillaga proposal was soundly rejected and sent back to the drawing board."

Don't confuse your sound and fury with real change.

Stanford will politely listen, make cosmetic changes and then, as is its right, build the proposed project without any change in scope or scale.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:47 am

"Soundly rejected"??? No such action happened. A couple dozen people spoke against the project, the commissioners discussed their concerns but nothing got rejected or "sent back the drawing board." Don't make the meeting out to be more than what it was.


Posted by Perla is correct, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

The blowhards on here are simply wrong.

Zoning is only one component of project approval. You cannot build whatever you want simply because your project meets zoning requirements.

Not only are there major flaws with the S/A plan, their proposal deliberately ignores one key zoning element.

The planning commission meeting the other night was a study session, so there was nothing to reject or accept. But with widespread resident concerns regarding the plan and no apparent support, I'd suggest that some of the more patronizing posters soften their stance lest they ruin their credibility.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Zoning is only one component of project approval. You cannot build whatever you want simply because your project meets zoning requirements."

Wrong. Zoning, by definition, defines what can and what cannot be built. The only other requirement is that the structure must meet building and fire codes. This project did not request or require an variances or exceptions and hence the zoning ordinance and the building and fire codes are the controlling law.

Here are the uses permitted under the current ECR zoning:
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.

If you think differently please cite that law or ordinance which proves your point.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

Say about 1.5% of the Menlo Park population has signed the petition. That's not "widespread." It's also a leap to then assume the remaining 98% does not support this thing.


Posted by Interesting, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

Looks as though the Stanford sycophants are becoming a little anxious.

There's a lot more to this project than the zoning.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There's a lot more to this project than the zoning."

Please cite that law or ordinance which proves your point.


Posted by interesting, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

If you define the parameters narrowly enough, then you are sure to be always right. And being right is so important!

If this project were only about the zoning, then it wouldn't require approval, would it? And in point of fact, the project violates the zoning.

Sorry, Stanford, not interested in your pretty beads.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" And in point of fact, the project violates the zoning."

What specific aspect(s) of the project violates the zoning?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Interesting:

please explain what part of the zoning ordinance this project violates. I can't find any.

You also misunderstand what the approval is about. It's not about the zoning as that has been decided. It's now about architectural review and confirming the plan complies with zoning. It complies with the zoning so the only thing left to apporve is archtectural.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Useful information:

Web Link
"Hearing Bodies

In most communities, the city council or board of supervisors has appointed one or more hearing bodies to assist them with planning matters. The titles and responsibilities of these groups vary from place-to-place, so check with your local planning department regarding regulations in your area. Here are some of the more common types of hearing bodies and their usual responsibilities:

The Planning Commission: considers general plan and specific plan amendments, zone changes, and major subdivisions.
The Zoning Adjustment Board: considers conditional use permits, variances, and other minor permits.
Architectural Review or Design Review Board: reviews projects to ensure that they meet community aesthetic standards.
In some cities and counties, these bodies simply advise the legislative body on the proposals that come before them, leaving actual approval to the council or board of supervisors. More commonly, these bodies have the power to approve proposals, subject to appeal to the council or board of supervisors. These hearing bodies, however, do not have final say on matters of policy such as zone changes and general or specific plan amendments."


Posted by Ears & Mouth!, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Peter Carpenter, do you really have to quote, re-quote, comment on everything, and take up all the comment space with re-hashing of laws, legal mumbo-jumbo, and side issues? Let others comment! Thanks


Posted by Peter Carpenter , a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I welcome contributions by others. The purpose of this Firum is to exchange opinions and facts - I try to do both.


Posted by Perla is correct, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Let's hope that Stanford is equally limited and shortsighted in its thinking. Mistakes have been made but they can be substantially remediated by our PC and CC. If Stanford is too arrogant to anticipate that, well, these are interesting times. And we can all look forward to Peter taking a vacation from these boards.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I don't need to take a vacation - others need to get off their butts and starting contributing both facts and coherent opinions.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 6:52 am

Perla:

perhaps you have some facts you can contribute? I already asked intersting for some facts and they haven't come up with any. Could it be because they don't have any? Do you?


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:30 am

"If this project were only about the zoning, then it wouldn't require approval, would it?"

Right. It doesn't require approval. That's the point.


Posted by dana hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I just read this long string of posts and still do not understand what basis anyone has to force Stanford to materially change their development plans. Peter Carpenter (I do not know him) appears eager to help the discussion move forward, presents his perspectives and cites FACTS. Others, who appear unwilling to accept his conclusions, suggest he is overlooking important facts but do not provide them. And some simply want him and his views to go away. What a strange and disappointing reaction. I regrettably signed the SaveMenlo position. Please remove my name!


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

@Dana Hendrickson,

What Peter Carpenter, Stanford, and all the merry Stanford apologists have singularly failed to do is provide a coherent and reasonable traffic mitigation plan for this project. And there's a very good reason no such plan is forthcoming: there's simply no way to accommodate an additional five to ten thousand daily car trips on the affected stretch of El Camino Real.

Now, you'll see Peter and others suggesting that if ECR were widened to three lanes, if parking were banned, if traffic lights were better timed, and if tea leaves were sprinkled throughout Menlo Park the traffic issue might disappear. Or lessen. Or nothing in particular might change -- their assertions about traffic impacts are as vague and mixed as Stanford's are absent.

I was at the Planning Commission meeting a couple weeks ago when the project was discussed at length, I listened to every single public comment speaker voice opposition to the proposal, citing the myriad reasons discussed here and elsewhere, and I can assure you that Peter and company do not represent the views of most of the Menlo Park citizens who will be affected by the impacts of this development. One of my favorite traffic "mitigations" advanced by our own Senior Planner (Tom Rogers, I believe) was a northbound double left turn lane onto Middle Avenue from El Camino, which in itself is a farce, but Tom completely neglected to mention (or didn't think about) the fact that that intersection will be further slowed by the additional bike and pedestrian traffic making use of the proposed but unfunded tunnel under the railroad right-of-way.

In any case, the naysayers would have you believe there's nothing to be done since this dung-awful office park complies with the general plan, but as a Menlo Park home owner and neighbor of the property in question I'd sooner have Tesla and empty car lots than ~440K square feet of medical office in that location. To that end, signing the SaveMenlo petition was an important statement, no matter what happens from here forward.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The city has zoned these properties for the proposed use and I do not believe that a project that conforms with the current zoning has to provide any mitigation. IF the property owner had requested a variance then mitigation could be part of the negotiation.

As I have frequently suggested individuals concerned about the impact of this project should focus their efforts on stimulating discussion and ideas on how this project might be improved and how Stanford might be encouraged to adopt win-win changes.

For example - what about a tunnel connection between the project's underground parking and Alma solely for parking lot access? Of course the residents on Alma would scream about that!

There is no doubt in my mind that this project will bring jobs, housing and revenues to the city. And remember that when the auto dealerships were in full operation they generated thousands of trips a day. I have no sympathy with the clearly selfish neighbors who prefer the current dramatic underutilization of these properties.

Regarding ECR I have posted elsewhere:
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

In my opinion parking should be removed from ECR and it makes no sense to create exclusive lanes for the very few buses which carry very few passengers.


Posted by curious, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

No one is willing to discuss how this project will fit in with the High Speed Rail project which our governor is promoting. Only to say that HSR will have to purchase any additional right of way -- if needed....
but WHAT right of way will be needed, and when - maybe after this complex is built? and where will the funds come from


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 9:12 am
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

HSR claims that they can operate within the existing right of way. If they can't then they will have to pay the displaced property owners lots of money - and even more if the property has been developed than if it is vacant.

IF HSR really needs a wider right of way then the wise thing to do would be to buy it now - however HSR has no money for such acquisitions and the right of way acquisitions it is now trying to make in the central valley are not going smoothly. I suspect peninsula acquisitions would be both much more difficult and vastly more expensive.


Posted by curiouser and curiouser, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

This begs the question. Has this project addressed the potential impact of HSR? Has it even been mentioned? The wise thing to do would be to know what is planned. Does this project simply assume that the HSR will not happen?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

My response does not beg the question. As I already stated HSR's official position is that they will operate within the existing right of way which means it will have no impact on this project.

What will happen in the future is anyone guess. I predict that hSR will run out of both money and public support - but I could well be wrong.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Peter Carpenter wrote:

"The city has zoned these properties for the proposed use and I do not believe that a project that conforms with the current zoning has to provide any mitigation. IF the property owner had requested a variance then mitigation could be part of the negotiation."

This is exactly the sort of non-answer to the question of traffic impacts I mentioned in my previous post. You, Peter, may be comfortable letting the traffic cards fall where they may but it was clear that *all* of the *Menlo Park* residents who spoke at the most recent Planning Commission meeting vehemently disagree with you.

"As I have frequently suggested individuals concerned about the impact of this project should focus their efforts on stimulating discussion and ideas on how this project might be improved and how Stanford might be encouraged to adopt win-win changes."

And, again, that's exactly what concerned *Menlo Park* citizens did at the most recent Planning Commission meeting. The message couldn't be more clear to Stanford -- give us a project which better conforms to our town character and the traffic realities on El Camino Real! Whether Stanford decides to play the good neighbor or reprise "The Octopus" remains to be seen.

"For example - what about a tunnel connection between the project's underground parking and Alma solely for parking lot access? Of course the residents on Alma would scream about that!"

And shunt how many thousand daily car trips into the Linfield Oaks neighborhood?! How magnanimous of you! It's just too bad your immediate Atherton neighborhood cannot be called upon to bear the brunt of this traffic -- problem solved!

"And remember that when the auto dealerships were in full operation they generated thousands of trips a day. I have no sympathy with the clearly selfish neighbors who prefer the current dramatic underutilization of these properties."

When were the auto dealerships last doing a thriving business, Peter? Sometime in the 1980s? Before the widening of Sand Hill and much of the other development in the area, of course. If you still wish to claim, as you have elsewhere, that these dealerships, even during their best days, generated as many daily car trips as would the proposed medical office complex, well, there's nothing for it. And what you term "selfish" I label "enlightened self-interest," a distinction you certainly understand.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - Unfortunately for your position the project cannot be required to do any traffic mitigation. What is it about that fact that you don't understand.

Yes, some people are upset about the traffic impact but those feelings do not translate into any legal basis for altering a zoning conforming project.

I guess it is simply futile to try to encourage those who are concerned to come up with win-win proposals which would be attractive to Stanford. You simply dismiss the ones that I have proposed out of hand.

Enlightened self interest would lead one to trying to improve the situation given the constraints not to just keeping screaming NO.


Posted by THINK BIG, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

MP is no village. It is a city and part of a regional N/S transportation corridor. Future regional growth is inevitable. If we value our open rural spaces - as most of us do - then concentrating population in urban centers (cities), especially near transportation hubs, makes good sense for many reasons. That is what a majority of MP residents have expressed in supporting the zoning changes for the ECR corridor. Fundamental changes in use of transportation (personal automobile) for sustainable cities will be a long time in coming. Until then, we will need to find ways to accomodate increasing traffic resulting from new developments. If the existing ECR corridor can't carry more traffic in the existing R/W and provide desired pedestrian amenities, then perhaps we have to look for new lanes either above or below the existing. Above ground is aesthetically unthinkable (remember the Embarcadero Freeway in SF) but undergrounding may be worth exploring. It is technically feasible but obviously very expensive. Just think about the possibilities of landscaping ECR with only one lane of traffic in each direction.
This is not merely a MP issue but one of much larger regional importance requiring commensurate financial solutions.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Peter Carpenter wrote:

"Gern - Unfortunately for your position the project cannot be required to do any traffic mitigation. What is it about that fact that you don't understand."

Nowhere have I stated that Stanford is required to do any such thing. But if the University is listening to its neighbors it certainly understands the problems posed by this project, problems of scale which Stanford alone can easily fix, it would seem.

"Yes, some people are upset about the traffic impact but those feelings do not translate into any legal basis for altering a zoning conforming project."

You may downplay the traffic disaster this project presents all you like, Peter, but it's just a shame that common sense doesn't trump what is clearly a flawed legal standing. Common sense tells me El Camino cannot bear the added traffic presented by this project, irrespective of the foibles which led to its approval (and foibles is being generous).

"I guess it is simply futile to try to encourage those who are concerned to come up with win-win proposals which would be attractive to Stanford. You simply dismiss the ones that I have proposed out of hand."

Here's an idea: What if Stanford were to build the project originally shared during the visioning process, the our the city council, planning commission, and most Menlo Park citizens thought they would build? Failing that obvious choice, what do you think Stanford would accept as win-win?

"Enlightened self interest would lead one to trying to improve the situation given the constraints not to just keeping screaming NO."

You were clearly not at the most recent Planning Commission meeting, where all manner of suggestions were put forth, but Stanford has shown no interest in compromise, far as I've seen.

Gern


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

For crying out loud! What is it you folks don't understand about the fact that the ZONING HAS BEEN GRANTED AND THIS PROJECT COMPLIES!!!!?

The city council and Stanford screwed us! It's a DONE DEAL!!

The only opportunity we have here is to try to keep the architecture in keeping with the rest of the city.

Stanford doesn't have to do anything about traffic mitigation - it's not required by the zoning. Stanford isn't asking for a variance which MIGHT require mitigation.

The city CAN'T stop the project from moving forward. IT COMPLIES WITH THE ZONING.

The time for your ire regarding this situation was long ago. The city council gave the keys to the kingdom to Stanford because they believed the smoke Stanford blew up its' skirts. Council BLEW IT!

Let's try to find ways to make this project more palatable and in keeping with the look of our town.

Claiming you're going to "stop it" is simply nonsense. If the council is stupid enough to try to stop this project the town will end up in a lawsuit with someone with very deep pockets and THE CITY WILL LOSE.

Council blew this one pure and simple. Stanford pulled a bait and switch. I'm shocked! Of course it's not like they haven't done it before.

Please, for the sake of not throwing our tax money down a lawsuit rat hole, let's work together and try to find a way to make this project more palatable. It's NOT going away. And you're NOT going to "stop it."


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Gern:

When have you ever known Stanford to give a damn about its impacts on Menlo Park. Do you really think they are going to suddenly start caring now?


Posted by Perla is right, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

You Stanford apologists sound a little nervous, posting every few minutes to reassure yourself that you're right.

We are not going to see this project on El Camino. Accept that, and move on.


Posted by dana hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Okay, now THINK I understand what is going on. But maybe not. As Peter has repeated a number of times, Menlo Park has NO legal basis to prevent Stanford from building its development, AS PROPOSED, and no one has provided facts that proves he is wrong. Despite this, a number of residents are very upset with the development and feel they can pressure Stanford to change it. Is this a correct interpretation???


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You were clearly not at the most recent Planning Commission meeting, where all manner of suggestions were put forth, but Stanford has shown no interest in compromise, far as I've seen."

Gern - please provide specific examples of these suggestions which do not involve changing the size or scope of the planned project.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Perla:

I'm hardly an "appologist" for Stanford. Is your reading comprehension really that poor? Can you provide any FACTS, yes, FACTS to support your contentions that we will "never see this project on El Camino?"

Please advise if these facts involve anything besides a lawsuit which the city will decidely lose.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm

dana:

yes, your interpretation is correct. What we are seeing here is a bunch of people having a temper tantrum over something they ignored before and now have no control over. Think four year olds holding their breath until they turn blue.


Posted by Perla is right, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Please note, I am not Perla.

Getting favorable zoning is a necessary but not sufficient condition for project execution. Some of you are clueless about the approval process, but this is far from over. And that's without litigation. Perhaps a conversation with a planning commissioner would be educational?


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Peter Carpenter wrote:

"Gern - please provide specific examples of these suggestions which do not involve changing the size or scope of the planned project."

Perhaps a dozen or so residents asked about the far greater percentage of senior housing which was indicated in Stanford's visioning plans, Peter. Does that count? Others proposed a larger retail mix, and one or two people asked why the site couldn't be devoted almost exclusively to housing, with better access to Caltrain, to help Menlo Park with its infernal housing element obligations. And, yes, just about everyone raised the valid concern about the size and scope of the project.

I get, Peter, that you, Arrillaga, and other members of the ALF (Atherton Libertarian Front) will not be swayed from the sanctity of property, that private property trumps community, but Stanford remains an integral part of this community, and the manner in which they proposed one plan, rich in senior housing, during the visioning process then dropped the medical office turd now before us is beyond shameful. You appear to condone this behavior; I do not.

Gern


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

OK. Perla is right:

[Portion removed; be respectful of other posters.] The zoning is a done deal. The only thing the city has any control over at this point is architecture. [Portion removed; see above.]


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Gern:

it doens't matter what Stanford "said" during the visioning process. What matters is what made it to paper. Did ANY of the BS promises Stanford made make it to PAPER? NO? Didn't think so. We got screwed by Stanford. AGAIN! Big surprise.

If the city tries to deny this project we will be embroiled in a lawsuit we will LOSE. I prefer not to throw our tax money away.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - all of the suggestions you have given change the scope of the project and therefore are beyond the city's control .

What about access to Alma?
What about including the project in Stanford's shuttle routes?
What about encouraging people who work in the project to live there?
What about dedicated bike paths?
What about other new win-win ideas?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Peter:

Gern and his ilk don't want "win-win" ideas. They want to stamp their feet and hold their breath's until they turn blue and believe that somehow the law doesn't make any difference. It's all about what they want not about what the facts are.

The FACTS being that the city council screwed the pooch and that all thes screamers and yellers don't have a chance in hell of stopping this project.

Given that they can't ackowledge they can't stop it, there's no way they're going to participate in ideas to minimize or better its impact.

They'd rather act like spoiled children.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Menlo Voter wrote:

"it doens't matter what Stanford "said" during the visioning process. What matters is what made it to paper. Did ANY of the BS promises Stanford made make it to PAPER? NO? Didn't think so. We got screwed by Stanford. AGAIN! Big surprise."

This goes without saying, MV. You appear to be railing at everyone about forgone conclusions and the frivolity of a lawsuit, and while one or two legal avenues may yet be worth pursuing (EIR, shared consultant's conflict of interest), most of us merely wish to shame or cajole Stanford into "doing the right thing" by the community, unlikely as that may prove when dealing with a profit-focused bureaucracy.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you want to cajole Stanford into doing something then you need to be specific and you need to propose something which Stanford thinks is also in their interests.

What about additional housing without reducing any other element of the project?
What about transit subsidies for people working on this site?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Gern:

EIR is condition precendent to granting of zoning. Get it? The EIR was done and zoning was granted. The project complies with zoning. Get it?

As I've said before, you aren't going to shame Stanford into anything. They don't give a rat's behind what you, I or the rest of Menlo Park thinks. Just look at past practice. Stanford doesn't care.

Which leaves a losing lawsuit which I do not care to participate in. Our city has trouble enough paying its bills without an unnecessary lawsuit to pay for.

Let's try and mitigate the impacts of this project instead of sticking our fingers in our ears and going "la la la la" because we don't like the truth or the facts. How about expending that energy on figuring out ways to improve this behemoth that the city council ensured would be shoved down our throats?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

After reviewing all of the above postings I am forced to conclude that, except for the very first posting, there have been no suggestions made by the opponents of this project except to reduce the size and/or scope of the project - which is legally impossible - and that only a very small number of people are opposed to the project.


Time to move on to other matters.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Peter Carpenter wrote:

"Gern - all of the suggestions you have given change the scope of the project and therefore are beyond the city's control."

I'm neither interested in nor arguing the scope of the "city's control" in this matter, Peter. I'm talking about ~30 Menlo Park residents standing before Stanford planners and architects during a Planning Commission meeting and telling them, to a person and in no uncertain terms, that the proposed project doesn't work for our community. You, and apparently Manic Voter, find this quaint, ridiculous even. But if resounding community input adds nothing to these proceedings then, well, the process is broken.

The things I listed in a previous comment are perfectly reasonable alternatives Stanford could pursue if it weren't so focused on maximizing profit at Menlo Park's expense, as well as shifting its onerous traffic impacts from one county to another. Your suggestions, however:

"What about access to Alma?"

Nonsense, would decimate an entire neighborhood -- my neighborhood -- and Stanford would be the sole beneficiary.

"What about including the project in Stanford's shuttle routes?"

A good idea, since the Marguerite is free, available to everyone, and already runs down El Camino, but I doubt this would save many car trips.

"What about encouraging people who work in the project to live there?"

Another good idea but there will be too little housing not already slated for senior occupancy to make an appreciable difference to traffic impacts, even if it were all occupied by office staff.

"What about dedicated bike paths?"

Where? Not on El Camino, much as I'd like to see them here, since we need every inch of that road for car traffic, it would seem.

I applaud some of your ideas, Peter, but for my part I will continue to solicit compromise from Stanford, because that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Gern




Posted by Floodgates opened by Slocum/Scmidt, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm

NTMP pushed by Slocum in 1994 General Plan ,no mandatory protection for MP neighborhoods from cut through traffic, just pits designated arterial and collector streets against adversely affected local residential street, unwieldy process for traffic calming.

Unlike county areas North Fair Oaks and UniversityvHeights where county was pro active in installing traffic calming measures

Schmidt pushed for Sand Hill extension at expense of Allied Arts and west Menlo residential streets which still suffer from excessive cut through traffic as Sand Hills 2 lanes,from ECR to Arboretum,
numerous signals, and no Alma connection ,
plague our west Menlo neighborhoods
Where to fight?
ECR Specific Plan and MP 1994 General Plan don't correlate as both have policies to restrict office development along ECR while "protecting" adjacent impacted residential areas
Stanford ECR proposal is not in compliance with either the general plan nor ECR specific plan, regardless of the "adopted zoning"
Our outdated General Plan doesn't even analyze Sand Hill extension to ECR!

Zoning must follow the general plan, not the other way around

There are significant legal challenges to MP on its gross planning document contradictions and lack of compliance with state mandates of a clear set of policies and implementation measures to protect our residential neighborhood from runaway office development


Posted by Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 9, 2013 at 8:37 am

Gern:

solicit Stanford all you want. I hope you like waisting your time. Stanford and Arillaga are all about maximizing profit. Period.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

According to the city website, the following decisions must be made about this project:
"As established by the Specific Plan, the proposal requires Architectural Control review and action by the Planning Commission. The proposal is also anticipated to require approval of Heritage Tree Removal Permits and a Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing Agreement.

The proposal also requires consideration under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Some or all of the project may have been adequately considered by the program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was completed as part of the Specific Plan, although this is subject to detailed review."

Each of these reviews are considered discretionary, meaning that whatever Stanford has proposed is not at all a slam dunk, take it or leave it.

In Menlo Park, the Planning Commission is the architectural review board so it has the power to make the determination as to whether a project meets the required findings:
"(1) That the general appearance of the structures is in keeping with character of the neighborhood;
(2) That the development will not be detrimental to the harmonious and orderly growth of the city;
(3) That the development will no impair the desirability of investment or occupation in the neighborhood;
(4) That the development provides adequate parking as required in all applicable city ordinances and has made adequate provisions for access to such parking;
(5) That the development is consistent with any applicable specific plan."

Unless the Commission's decision is appealed to the Council, that is it.
At the study session, the Commission echoed a lot of concerns raised by the public, so Stanford should be listening.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"City staff cautioned against using architectural review to stymie a proposal. "The Planning Commission has a track record of how it has applied the architectural control findings" Mr. Rogers said. "I would say that those findings have not been used in a way to extend beyond the look and feel, which is a very meaningful part of the process, but not extend beyond those to arbitrarily deny a use or size of a building if it conforms with another set of ordinances or design guidelines."


It is useful to pay attention to the city's expert on these matters.


Posted by MenloFam, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

One suggestion and one comment:

1) The true state of affairs here seems to not be fully clear to many so perhaps there is an opportunity for The Almanac to do some legwork and publish a useful status update to set the record straight on where it stands, next procedural steps, and realistic options for each side. Then I think residents can look to participate in what is left of the process in ways that might be helpful. Absent this, most will not take it upon themselves to get up to speed.

2) As to the project. We surely need improvement of that real estate. Doing nothing is not a good option for MP, regardless of which side you are on. Yes, Stanford can be a formidable counterparty as can Mr.Arrillaga Being smart business people does not make them ill-suited for this project. Quite the contrary. It is not in Stanford's interest, nor that of Mr. Arrillaga to put their stamp on a project of low quality or one that is forever detrimental to the area -- they have an important stake in getting things right. I have no connection to either but just observing their "work" to date, I am hard pressed to find better parties to partner with -- quality work by parties with a vested interest in success. That said, MP should not just roll over on the key issues. Trust but verify. Be heard in the proper forums and work hard in the proper arena for your voice to be heard. Taking extreme views on either side won't work nearly as much as using the forums available to get to the table. Then, lets get it done and move on.

Menlo Park needs to move forward. We all like and want to maintain the small town feel. As one said, "like Los Altos". The fact is we are a long way from Los Altos' downtown, which is diverse, current and vibrant generally. MP is sorely lagging and it is uninspiring to drive down Santa Cruz -- which could be GREAT -- on the way to another town with better and more diverse restaurants, stores and amenities. Lets work together to head in that direction.




Posted by Perla is right, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

Interesting, isn't it, that a city planner would want to strip the planning commissioner of their responsibilities. You have to wonder if he is going to follow the career trajectory of his Palo Alto counterparts and leave for a job with either Stanford or Arrillaga.

I believe our planning commissioners, who are residents of this city, understand that their first loyalty is to their fellow residents. We should not have staff whose allegiances lie elsewhere.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Interesting, isn't it, that a city planner would want to strip the planning commissioner of their responsibilities."

On the contrary, he is simply reminding them of the limits of their responsibilities. Remember the PC is only an advisory body and it has no final authority - that rests with the elected council.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

Until the Specific Plan came about, the Commission's architectural review accompanied Use Permit review for almost all commercial projects (exception was retail on Santa Cruz Ave.). So the "traditional" way the Commission reviewed things is not applicable.
The Commission does have final authority unless its decisions are appealed. If Stanford doesn't like their decisions, then yes, it is the council who decides, but the Commission is not just advisory. Sorry, Peter, but that is a fact according to state law as stated on the city website about the Commission: "Established according to State law, the Planning Commission makes decisions in many areas of the land use process and also makes recommendations to the City Council in other areas: "

The Almanac would do us all a service to not paint the situation as all or nothing. Ditto for some of the postings. Almost everyone wants to get rid of vacant lots, but not for just anything, and certainly not for a project that decreases safety or quality of life in our neighborhoods. There are many ways to get a great project for Menlo Park at this site. Unfortunately, as proposed, the great boon for Stanford is doom for Menlo Park. This can be better and there is a process in play for doing so.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Given that the land use decision , I.e the zoning, has already been made for this site the PC has no discretionary authority over the size or scope of this project.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Yes, there are zoning standards in the Specific Plan. And there remains discretion to determine if the environmental impacts of a particular project are beyond those analyzed in the Specific Plan EIR. Those impacts relate to such things as uses and circulation. The Commission does have some discretion here, and it was specified in the Specific Plan that they do.


Posted by MenloFam, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Dear Almanac: See earlier comment about your opportunity to re-set the facts and status. The messages subsequent to mine make the point for me. Emotion around intentions of parties, differences on facts, etc. You can elevate the discussion with your paper.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is always useful to go to the source documents:
"Requests for administratively-permitted
uses are reviewed and acted on by the Community
Development Director in accordance with Zoning Ordinance
Chapter 16.82, Section VII (Administrative Permits), and
requests for conditionally-permitted uses are reviewed and
acted on by the Planning Commission in accordance with
Zoning Ordinance Chapter 16.82, Section I (Use Permits).
Both action types have appeal processes, culminating in
City Council review and action."
MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL/
DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLAN
p.E 5

Everything in the Stanford proposal, including residential units on upper floors, involves permitted uses under the ECR Specific Plan. See Table E 1.


Posted by Sam Sinnott, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Menlo Fam and Peter Carpenter have the right attitude. Get the facts straight and then work within the system to make the project better. Be detail oriented and make specific suggestions.

Sweeping condemnation of the project is counter productive. It factionalizes the City and leads to a lower quality project and life.

For those concerned about traffic I suggest looking carefully at the driveway locations and circulation patterns. It may also be useful to map El Camino and determine where existing parallel parking and dedicated right turn lanes choke traffic. Be aware that bike advocates are also pushing for dedicated bike lanes that may also choke traffic.

If the architecture bothers you figure out why and make suggestions for the outside of the buildings. The lower floor at the street is particularly important to pedestrians.

Private development is what ultimately pays for public benefits. Our downtown is extremely tired because there is no money to improve it. If we change our pattern of the last 25 years and become more receptive to private development we may just get some of the public benefits that are desperately needed.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Just think of the people and their buying power that this project will bring to Menlo Park.
Just think of the jobs that will be the result of the construction of this project.
Just think of the tax revenues that will accrue to Menlo park.


Just think........


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm

... gridlock!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Park is the ONLY jurisdiction south of Highway 84 that only has two lanes on ECR since it uses one lane simply to provide parking for a handful of vehicles that sit there all day - STUPID.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 10, 2013 at 8:57 am

Gern:

it's already gridlocked. We need ot eliminate the parking along ECR and provide more lanes. Get rid of dedicates bus lanes and right turn lanes as well. We need to do this now.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Medical offices and most general office uses do not provide any sales tax revenue. Neither does housing.
If Stanford uses this site for academic purposes, whether offices or housing, the city will not get any property tax revenue, either.
So this project may provide no financial benefit to Menlo Park.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The medical office that were on Welch Road generated a lot of property taxes for Palo Alto and the non-student housing on the campus and on Oak Creek also generate a lot of property taxes. The retail space will generate both property and sales taxes. I huge improvement over the current vacant car dealerships including Tesla which is not a point of sale but just a display point.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm

As stated, if Stanford uses the project housing and offices for its own purposes there will not be any property taxes. The examples Peter C gives are for commercial, not academic, uses.
MP really doesn't get any sales tax from Tesla? Really?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

"Tesla, you may remember, is selling its electric cars online, not through franchised, independently owned dealers, and delivering them directly to buyers from the factory.
In doing so, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has removed the two parts of car shopping that customers clearly hate most: haggling and buying.
Its Tesla Stores, it says, are simply educational showrooms where no cars are actually sold."

Fox News


Read more: Web Link


Posted by Massive Overdevelopment!, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I agree with Additional Facts comments above. All this massive development will do is provide office/medical space for Stanford-Arrillaga with NO direct benefit to MP's tax revenue base, add traffic/congestion, block natural sunlight, add terrible traffic congestion to MP on El Camino and make navigating the city hell during commute hours. No public benefits are guaranteed such as bike/car tunnels near the development site, no railroad/grade separation improvements, and no guarantees for any much needed revenue for city coffers, no creation of community-serving ground-floor businesses, or much-overdue jobs to residents/citizens!We have a sleeping giant sneaking into our city! Where are all the Planning geniuses in MP when you need them? They were not evident either when they had their bone-headed ideas to build high-density housing on prime precious city parks or open space in the RESIDENTIAL areas of the city! Let's have recall efforts for terrible planners in MP!


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

There are stretches of El Camino in Redwood City with only 2 traffic lanes plus parking on each side. Let's deal with facts.

Private development doesn't always pay for public benefits. Academic uses don't even pay property taxes. Some development adds to costs without paying for itself. The Financial Impact Analysis for the Specific Plan concluded that the Plan would not provide net financial benefit to Menlo Park unless at least one hotel is built.

SS should know that a primary reason Santa Cruz has vacancies is because of high rents charged by absentee landlords. Retail uses have not required a use permit on Santa Cruz for many years, just a building permit.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There are stretches of El Camino in Redwood City with only 2 traffic lanes plus parking on each side." - So what?

Most of the southbound traffic on ECR in MP comes onto ECR at or after highway 84 and all of ECR between 84 and MP is three lane.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm

"SS should know that a primary reason Santa Cruz has vacancies is because of high rents charged by absentee landlords."

Bingo! These landlords would rather let the property sit vacant than not get above market rent, just becasue they demand it. Never mind their buildings look like hell. Why should they care? They don't live here and due to the buildings having been put in trust and the trust being transfered and not the property, they're paying property taxes far below what they should be.

That is the primary problem on Santa Cruz Ave. with vacant storefronts and no amount of "visioning" is going to change the greed of the absentee landlords.


Posted by concerned, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 6:21 pm

We have wonderful neighborhoods, and then something like this comes along. Sad


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

concerned:

you can thank your city council.


Posted by Vote early, but not too often, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

PCarpenter is not Menlo voter. Atherton is close but in a different orbit
Maybe Peter should vote with his feet, step away from the computer, go retrieve his MP Fire District antique toy fire truck from the empty former car dealer showroom owned by Stanford, and let the "true" Menlo Voter" and "true" Allied Arts residents have a dialogue without former Stanford Med Center director Peter (also former Palo Alto Planning commissioner ) dissing neighbors to this massive development
Like the size of 4 Walmarts, that's BIG!
We don't need Atherton based pontificating


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 12, 2013 at 7:07 am

Vote early:

you may not like what Peter has to say, but I challenge you to find something in what he has said which is incorrect.

Rather than ad hominem attacks, perhaps you could address the issue FACTUALLY not emotionally.

No, I am not Peter Carpenter and I am a "true" Menlo voter. Every election for the last 19 years.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 12, 2013 at 10:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Vote early... Do you have anything constructive to sat "so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."

Interesting that you want to ban the users of ECR and those who shop in Menlo Park from these discussions - and yet you aren't willing to add anything substantive yourself.


Posted by dana hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

This is my first return visit to this forum since my second post (Feb 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm) and it appears that little progress has been made. Many opponents of the development continue to either dismiss or diss anyone who disagrees with them, characterizing them as "foreigners" (from Atherton) or Stanford apologists....even when the targets are NOT proponents. I simply would like to understand what legal basis either the city or upset citizens have available to materially change Standford's plans and sense that's VERY LITLLE . Suits or Shouts, are these truly the only options for upset citizens? If so, constant name-calling will undermined both sympathy and support for your efforts.

Peter, you are one of the most constructive contributors more patience than Job. Thanks!


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

@Dana Hendrickson,

If you are laboring under the misapprehension that you will see a full and balanced discussion of the issues surrounding the Stanford development in this forum you are sadly mistaken (and I may have a used car lot or two to sell you). If you wish to learn more about the current state of the project and about Menlo Park residents' concerns with project impacts I urge you to attend the Planning Commission meetings, such as that held in late January, wherein 32 residents spoke with a unanimous voice against the project's as-designed unmitigatable traffic impacts.

Neither Peter Carpenter nor [portion removed; please be respectful of posters] Menlo Voter, possess sole understanding of all the legal and procedural hurdles this project must yet overcome, despite their manic assurances to the contrary. Attend the Planning Commission meetings, watch the videos of previous meetings, and, honestly, don't waste your time here.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" all the legal and procedural hurdles this project must yet overcome,"


Please enumerate those including the applicable ordinances for each.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm

You're a little off your game today, Peter (and your game is argumentation, of course): My point was simply that no one has anticipated all the legal and procedural hurdles awaiting this project. There may very well be none, but that would surprise me given how passionately many residents oppose Stanford's latest Schadenfreude.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"" all the legal and procedural hurdles this project MUST yet overcome,"

Yet when asked to cite the specific ordinances and required such hurdles none were cited.

Instead the statement was changed to "There may very well be none"

The number of residents who have expressed opposition to this project is minuscule and does not come close to the size of the opposition that has been expressed regarding other projects - which nevertheless were built.

And, most important, there are simply no legal impediments that can stop this project.

While I and others have worked hard to ensure that the voice of citizens is always included in every public meeting agenda please do not think that simply by speaking out you can change the legal facts. Once again, I urge those who are concerned to try to make suggestions to improve the project given the constraints not to just keeping screaming NO.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

As stated earlier in this thread, there are two discretionary approvals required yet regarding this project - CEQA and Architectural Control.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" there are two discretionary approvals required yet regarding this project - CEQA and Architectural Control."

Neither can reduce either the scope or the scale of this project. Architectural Review can deal with appearances and cosmetics. CEQA was done when the Specific Plan covering this area adopted and no new conditions can be applied to this project.

I welcome anyone providing Menlo Park ordinance or CEQA section citations that show otherwise.

Once again, I urge those who are concerned to try to make suggestions to improve the project given the constraints not to just keeping screaming NO.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm

CEQA might have an impact. It is unlikely though as CEQA requires an EIR which was done before the council decided on the alowed zoning. Architectural review won't as it only deals with the appearance of the building, not the allowed square footage.

@Gern: Ad hominem attacks now? It's clear from that and your posts you don't have a clue as to the legal and procedural hurdles of this project. You've been asked numerous times to cite some legal authority for your opinions and yet you haven't. Just keep sticking your fingers in your ears and saying no. The rest of us will attempt to make an impact on that which we can ACTUALLY have an impact.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Peter Carpenter wrote:

"The number of residents who have expressed opposition to this project is minuscule ..."

This is a ridiculous, unfounded statement, of course, and one I would ask you to support with facts (as you are so fond of asking of others). Again I state: 32 people sat through the most recent four-hour Planning Commission meeting to speak against the project and its traffic impacts, while zero public comments supported the project as-is. You were notably absent from that meeting, Peter, which is odd given your passionate defense of the project online.

In addition, over 500 people have signed the savemenlo.org petition opposing the project. Where is your corresponding petition supporting this project, Peter? Where is the groundswell of support for Stanford's unbridled development? Is this forum the only place where you and yours gather?

Peter also wrote:

"And, most important, there are simply no legal impediments that can stop this project."

What an amazingly pompous statement, Peter, even for you. Much as you insist that to be true the rest of us simply don't have access to your crystal ball and therefore cannot share your certainty. And that is why I stated, twice, that not all legal and procedural challenges may have surfaced to date -- I simply do not know what may arise in response to a clearly inadequate EIR, or during architectural review of the project. You, clearly, are in the vaunted position to suffer no doubters, but the Derry Project supporters were guilty of hubris, too, you may recall.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"32 people sat through the most recent four-hour Planning Commission meeting "

The 2010 United States Census[8] reported that Menlo Park had a population of 32,026.

32 is exactly 0.1% of the population of Menlo Park = miniscule.

"500 people have signed the savemenlo.org petition opposing the project"

500 is 1.56% of the population of Menlo Park = miniscule

" the Derry Project " did not conform to the existing zoning and it's approval would have required variances which this project does not.

" I simply do not know what may arise " and the moon may be made of green cheese but not according to the astronauts who have been there.

My facts are documented above and my opinions are based on years of officially reviewing projects like this in a much more demanding city (Palo Alto) than Menlo Park.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

CEQA Guidelines §15126.4(a) requires lead agencies to consider feasible mitigation measures to avoid or substantially reduce a project's significant environmental impacts.

Nothing in CEQA can require that the size or scope of a project be changed; at best CEA requires the City of Menlo Park to consider feasible mitigation measures. It is then a matter of negotiation with the applicant to decide which mitigations to pursue and how those mitigations will be paid for.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"CEQA applies to projects that require discretionary approval by a government agency. A discretionary approval requires the use of judgement or subjective criteria on the part of the approver. For example, if you wanted to have your property rezoned so that you could subdivide for housing, a discretionary action would need to be taken by the Board of Supervisors. This simply means that the Board of Supervisors could approve or disapprove your request. Your proposal would be considered a project and would need initial CEQA review.

CEQA does not apply to non-discretionary (ministerial) projects. A ministerial approval simply involves a comparison of a project with specific standards or checklists. For example, the County building department will check your house plans against electric and plumbing standards to make sure that the plan complied with adopted safety and sanitary regulations. This type of approval is not considered a "project" requiring CEQA review.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A PROJECT UNDER CEQA?
A project is a discretionary proposal (or any part of a proposal) which might result in physical changes to the environment. Some examples of projects are applications to change adopted plans, road development projects, use permit requests, and subdivisions of property."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"WHAT IS A MITIGATION MEASURE?
A mitigation measure is a strategy taken to reduce or eliminate a project's expected environmental damage; e.g., "No heritage oak trees may be removed." Sometimes, mitigation measures are designed to repair, restore or rehabilitate a damaged area; e.g., "All illegal fill will be removed from the floodplain and natural vegetation restored." Others may provide compensation for losses by providing substitute resources or environments; e.g., "Trees will be planted off-site to replace those removed during construction."


Note that a mitigation measure does NOT include changing the size or scope of a project.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Gern:

stop digging. You're way over your head.


Posted by dana hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm

While I will continue to follow the discussion I have learned enough to understand that no one has identified AND presented any specific legal basis for changing Stanford's development plans. I realize this situation must be disheartening for those residents who strongly oppose the current plan - for any reason, and I understand why they hope to discover a legal bargaining chip. Personally, I feel that is unlikely.

Since the ECR stretch of Menlo Park lacks any small town charm and suffers from long-standing vacant properties, I believe the current Stanford plan is a BIG NET Positive for Menlo Park. The architectural design is on-balance acceptable (to me) and if the development creates significant new traffic problems, I expect our city to mitigate them.

A final note, no one needs to attend long emotionally filled meetings to learn facts, and I believe I have learned a great deal from the exchange in this forum. Thanks!


Posted by Simple, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Let me spell it out to the doubters: the EIR was seriously flawed. Hence, legal, legitimate grounds for reconsideration. Zoning does not equal project. If it did, we wouldn't be having these public reviews.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Zoning does not equal project. If it did, we wouldn't be having these public reviews."

The reviews are NOT to approve or reject the project but to provide input on ARCHITECTURAL features. Yes you have the right to speak up at these meetings but no you cannot thereby change the fact that this project complies with the zoning and it cannot be turned down.


"the EIR was seriously flawed." The time for challenging the validity of the EIR has passed and you simply have no recourse.

"Statute of Limitations: Filing a Notice of Determination triggers a 30-day statute of limitations for CEQA litigation. If the notice is not filed with the County Clerk or OPR, the statute of limitations becomes 180 days from the date the decision is made to carry out or approve a project, or where no formal decision is required, 180 days from the date the project is commenced (PRC Section 21167 and Guidelines Section 15112)." In this case the project and its EIR was for the Specific Plan and its zoning. It is over and done with.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

The environmental review is not over yet. The Specific Plan states on page 1-3
"This Program EIR may be used to evaluate future specific development proposals consistent with CEQA Guidelines Section 15168. New proposed projects within the Specific Plan area will require discretionary architectural review. If the City determines that an individual roject is consistent with the Specific Plan, then it must examine the project to determine if it would have effects that were not examined in this Program EIR. It is anticipated that projects will typically fall into one of the following categories:
 Smaller buildings/additions (under 10,000 square feet of floor area, typically) may be categorically exempt under Class 1 ("Existing Facilities") or other provisions of the CEQA Guidelines, and no further review needs to be done. However, environmental review may
be required even for future projects that would normally be categorically exempt if there is a reasonable possibility that a project would have a significant effect due to unusual circumstances;
 Any project that is not categorically exempt will be required to complete an Initial Study to determine if all potential impacts were reviewed in this Program EIR; and
 If the Initial Study identifies any impacts that were not analyzed in this Specific Plan EIR, then either a Mitigated Negative Declaration or a project-level EIR will be prepared, depending on whether all of the new impacts can be mitigated."
and on page 1-5
"Once the Final EIR is certified, the City will consider the Specific Plan for approval. As part of the approval process, the City will make written findings for each significant impact identified for the Specific Plan. The findings will indicate whether feasible mitigation measures have been incorporated into the project that will avoid or substantially reduce the significant environmental effects identified in the Final EIR. The findings will also address alternatives considered in the EIR to avoid or reduce significant impacts dentified for the project. If the City finds that all impacts have not been avoided or substantially reduced, it must make findings of overriding
consideration, stating why the Specific Plan's benefits justify its approval, to approve the Plan."

So if there is a project-level EIR, which clearly is allowed, what if the city cannot make the finding that there are sufficient overriding considerations? Seems to me that the city could reject the project.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"15168. Program EIR
Use of the program EIR also enables the Lead Agency to characterize the overall program as the project being approved at that time. Following this approach when individual activities within the program are proposed, the agency would be required to examine the individual activities to determine whether their effects were fully analyzed in the program EIR. If the activities would have no effects beyond those analyzed in the program EIR, the agency could assert that the activities are merely part of the program which had been approved earlier, and no further CEQA compliance would be required."

The burden of proof is on others, not the applicant or the city, to show that there ARE effects beyond those analyzed in the program EIR. Frankly I doubt that that would be possible given statements like those by Senior Planner Thomas Rogers "As such, the 500 El Camino Real proposal would represent between 20 and 23 percent of the residential uses and 45 percent of the non-residential uses."


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

we shall see. Medical uses weren't studied at all


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are the uses permitted under the current ECR zoning:

"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."

Item 3 includes medical offices - for which the city has no separate category.

If you think differently please cite that law or ordinance which proves your point.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Not in EIR though


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are some excerpts from the Specific Plan re medical offices:

"In the short-term, there is demand for additional medical
office space in the project area. Brokers report that they
are seeing a high level of demand for medical space in the
project area because of plans to demolish some medical
buildings as part of the new Stanford Medical Center.
Demand for medical office space is slightly higher in the
downtown than on El Camino Real due to the high quality
pedestrian environment and retail amenities."

"The plan area attracts mostly small and midsize
companies in real estate, venture capital,
attorneys, and medical/dental. Downtown
also attracts a small number of high-tech and
internet companies"

"E.3.1.02 Medical and Dental offi ce shall not exceed
one third of the base FAR or public benefi t bonus FAR,
whichever is applicable."

"Community members expressed interest in limiting certain
types of uses for a variety of reasons, including limiting
competition with independent retailers (discussed in
more detail below), limiting uses that can generate higher
amounts of traffi c, such as medical and dental offi ces, and
ensuring a desired retail mix downtown, particularly along
Santa Cruz Avenue."

************
It is hard to argue that either the Specific Plan aor its EIR did not address medical offices.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Not in EIR though"

PLEASE do your homework:

Here are just some of the mentions of MOBs (medical office buildings) in the EIR:
"Office Market
The Plan states that 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 source 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.
In the short-term, there is demand for additional medical office space in the Plan area because some
medical buildings would be demolished as part of the new Stanford Medical Center. Demand for
medical office space is slightly higher in the downtown area than El Camino Real due to the
pedestrian environment and retail amenities. However, there is some community concern with
medical office uses in the Plan area since they can generate a higher number of trips than non-medical
offices, but typically do not have the same potential for revenue. In the mid- to long-term, there would
likely be demand for additional office space in the Plan area. Proximity to Caltrain and the
walkability and amenities of downtown are significant draws for office tenants."

3.5.4 Special Land Use Topics
Uses Permitted with Limits: A guiding principle is that limiting uses should relate to specific
concerns of the community. Community members have expressed interest in limiting certain
types of uses for a variety of reasons, including limiting uses that could generate higher amounts
of traffic, such as medical and dental offices;

TABLE 3-1
MINIMUM PARKING RATES lists MOBs

E.3.1 Development Intensity
Standard
E.3.1.01
Business and Professional office (inclusive of medical and dental office) shall not exceed one half of the base FAR
or public benefit bonus FAR, whichever is applicable.
Standard
E.3.1.02
Medical and Dental office shall not exceed one third of the base FAR or public benefit bonus FAR, whichever is
applicable.
***************


So, Please do your homework before making a clearly false statement.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

no need to lecture. It's not a false statement.
You are quoting from the Specific Plan, not the EIR.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Some more from the EIR that additional factless missed/ignored/or lied about not being in the EIR:

"The downtown area of the Plan area is characterized by local retail, medical, commercial office, and restaurant uses, including one active movie theater"

"The project
FARs are close to the base FAR allowed for general office uses at 0.375 but would be higher than
the base FAR of 0.25 allowed for medical office use."

"To address potential changes in medical office demand in downtown
Menlo Park, the Specific Plan limits medical office uses to one-third of the floor area that would
otherwise be allowed. This provision would further reduce potential impacts to land use
character.

"The Specific Plan has also been drafted to minimize the impacts of certain uses. In particular,
medical offices are limited to one-third of maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR), while other offices
are limited to one-half of maximum FAR."


Posted by Simple, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm

No need for long diatribes, Peter. Your most appropriate response can be summed up in one word: "checkmate."

Maybe it's time to push away from the computer and get some fresh air?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Maybe it's time to push away from the computer and get some fresh air?"

Great idea. I get very tired of doing the other side's homework for them but I have been reading a very challenging book today, Spillover:Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic and the forum offers me an opportunity for less challenging issues.

Cheers.


Posted by Additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

The impacts were not studied in the EIR. Period. Cut through traffic wasn't either. A project level EIR appears warranted.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You are quoting from the Specific Plan, not the EIR."

Wrong. These quotes were all from the EIR. PLEASE do your homework.

"The impacts were not studied in the EIR. Period"

Wrong - they were all studied in the EIR and if you did not think that they were then you had the opportunity to comment after the Draft EIR was published and the opportunity to challenge the Final EIR after it was adopted - neither you nor anyone else did so.

The time for challenging the validity of the EIR has passed and you simply have no recourse.

"Statute of Limitations: Filing a Notice of Determination triggers a 30-day statute of limitations for CEQA litigation. If the notice is not filed with the County Clerk or OPR, the statute of limitations becomes 180 days from the date the decision is made to carry out or approve a project, or where no formal decision is required, 180 days from the date the project is commenced (PRC Section 21167 and Guidelines Section 15112)." In this case the project and its EIR was for the Specific Plan and its zoning. It is over and done with.


Posted by TBTF, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Thx Peter, you've quoted from the Specific Plan, Sec.3.5.4,
Special Land Use Topics, Uses Permitted With Limits..."including limiting uses that could generate higher amounts of traffic, SUCH AS MEDICAL AND DENTAL OFFICES" You have finally focused all readers on that critical section, the very concerns expressed by the community about "limiting traffic generating uses", especially medical on a large scale, such as the Stanford proposal.

Time will tell whether a legal challenge on the Specific Plan "adequate specificity", and it's state mandated legal compliance/conformance with the 1994 General Plan Land Use and Circulation Elements (now out of date), together with an ex parte CEQA challenge on the adequacy of the Specific Plan CEQA analysis, adequately analyzed the adverse impact of the scale of the Stanford project. CEQA's guiding mandate is "informed decision making".

This massive proposal was not contemplated in the adoption of the Specific Plan, and Menlo Park voters and residents feel betrayed by the former Cline led council. The power now vests with the Planning Commission and City Council to revisit the adequacy of the Specific Plan and adopted CEQA document relative to this proposal.
Then with the Appellate Courts.
Stay tuned!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The 3.5.4 Special Land Use Topics quote is from page 3-21 of the Final EIR, not from the Specific Plan.

Therefore the Final EIR DID address the medical office issue as did the Draft EIR. There was NO challenge to the treatment of the medical office issue in the Draft EIR so the Final EIR treatment of the issue cannot be challenged. And the time for challenging the validity of the EIR has passed and you simply have no recourse.


If you want to play the game you need to know the rules. Anyone can file a CEQA lawsuit - very few win; particularly when opposing the very smart Stanford CEQA experts.


Posted by Very very smart CEQA expert, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Looks like MP EIR and Specific Plan consultant Perkin Will didnt disclose its prior contractural relationships with Stanford to MP City Council
They collected $1.5mm of MP taxpayer money to complete a half baked plan that is soon to be subject to current city council and judicial review


Posted by Purveyors to the Ill informed, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Perkin Will. I went to the first community outreach meetings at Menlo Prez owned back of Ace Hardware. Heard their pitch after Robinsons intro
Left midway after I couldnt believe how contrived the whole "community driven Downtown ECR specific plan" was a calculated developer driven con job on Menlo Park residential neighborhoods to increase commercial building heights and density and neighborhoods get screwed


Posted by Inconvenient lies, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Wouldn't it become also obvious if Mr Carpenter discloses his "pension and related benefits" from Stanford?


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

The consultants were disclosed their Stanford work from the get go. Repeatedly. All public record, folks, and the records are right there on the city's website for everyone to read. As Peter said, PLEASE do your homework.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Wouldn't it become also obvious if Mr Carpenter discloses his "pension and related benefits" from Stanford?"

Since I worked at Stanford only for a short period from 1973-76 and almost 40 years ago, my Stanford pension and benefits are almost nothing and actually come from TIAA not Stanford.

"Very very smart CEQA expert" - please document your so-called expertise.

"Inconvenient lies" - are you describing yourself?

"This massive proposal was not contemplated in the adoption of the Specific Plan," - The proposal falls well within what was contemplated by the Specific Plan. Senior Planner Thomas Rogers stated "As such, the 500 El Camino Real proposal would represent between 20 and 23 percent of the residential uses and 45 percent of the non-residential uses."


Posted by Simple, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

I expect we will see Thomas Rogers leaving for a plum job elsewhere very soon. He's the Trojan horse of the planning department. And his opinions are not law.

What I don't understand is the >>>GOTCHA!!!<<< mindset of some posters here. "You missed the fine print at the bottom of page 213, so now you are stuck. Ha ha, suckers." Is that really how anyone wants to plan our city? With stealth and duplicity?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

Simple:

No that's not how anyone wants to plan our city, but that's what we got. And it was hardly a matter of reading the fine print. One of the planning commission members warned about this happening before council adopted the downtown plan and zoning.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The simple facts are that most of the above posters were asleep when the Draft EIR was published and they did not read it or comment on it,

The simple facts are that most of the above posters were asleep when the Final EIR was published and they did not read it or comment on it,

The simple facts are that most of the above posters were asleep when the Planning Commission reviewed the Specific Plan and they had not read it nor did they make public comments on it,

The simple facts are that most of the above posters were asleep when the City Council reviewed the Specific Plan and they had not read it nor did they make public comments on it,

And these simple like people now want a redo because they were asleep all this time.

Folks, it is not the fine print you need to be worrying about it is just being awake.

If you don't know, and have no interesting in knowing, the rules then don't try to play the game.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

The simple fact is that the final EIR and Specific Plan documents and several more (zoning ordinance and general plan amendments) were not discussed in community workshops like the Vision was.
The Planning Commission and Council spent only a few meetings discussing the myriad details in the documents.
A number of people who do read the fine print made comments at the time, and several warned of some troubling details, but the majority of that Commission and past Council decided to proceed, and to see what happens.
Well, now we know. And key decision makers have expressed their surprise and disappointment with that.
So as someone else pointed out, isn't there a way to fix some things that aren't turning out as the decision makers hoped?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 10:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the majority of that Commission and past Council decided to proceed, "

That is what is called Representative Democracy - and it was all done in accordance with the rules.


If you don't like the decision then vote for new representatives.


Posted by additional facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

There is a new Council. We expect them to act on the flaws.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is a new Council. We expect them to act on the flaws."

The zoning has BEEN done.

The project complies with the zoning.

The "new' council cannot revoke the applicant's vested rights.

If you don't know, and have no interesting in knowing, the rules then don't try to play the game.


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