Town Square

Post a New Topic

Menlo Park council weighs Stanford project review

Original post made on Apr 2, 2013

Debate has raged since Stanford and developer John Arrillaga first proposed building eight acres of mixed-use office space, retail and apartments on El Camino Real in Menlo Park late last year. Now the City Council is getting involved a bit ahead of schedule. [Web Link ==B Click here==] to view the meeting video.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 9:30 AM

Comments (25)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Cline seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth.

"We're looking at the integrity of the specific plan by considering the impact the Stanford project will have."

vs

"We think that this project site is unique and that the concerns regarding this project and
site are not generally applicable to any other sites in the Specific Plan area."

And

"This is a request that the Council place the proposed Stanford Project referred to as 500
El Camino Real, Menlo Park on the April 16, 2013, City Council agenda for review and
discussion."

vs

"If we were to take zoning laws into our own hands, then we'd be wholeheartedly stepping all over the Planning Commission's responsibilities."

***********
Hopefully the council will reject this unwise intervention into the ongoing review of this project by the Planning Commission.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Long time resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I agree completely with the remarks that are made by Peter Caprenter, which are above, about Cline's off-base view!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

"Residents and city officials have expressed disappointment with the (Stanford) proposal." - The Almanac.

Some? Many? A minority ? A majority? Almost all? The loudest? The NIMBYs? Most influential?

Let's not lose sight of this very important distinction!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pragmatic
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

It's impossible to know the exact level of resident interest because not everyone in Menlo Park has been asked to comment. And that is irrelevant: most residents have little (or no) opinion about most of the issues the council addresses. But a sufficient number of people have expressed concern for the council to consider additional action.

The property belongs to Stanford and they will build something there. But the EIR did not consider medical office uses, nor did anyone know that a project would be configured so as to deposit traffic directly onto Middle. The EIR showed very little impact on that street; obviously, this project will have significant impact.

The financial impact for the city will be almost exclusively negative. Very little sales tax. More traffic. And additional office space which will increase our obligation to build even more dense housing. Our schools are full and our recreation areas oversubscribed. Our infrastructure is already at its max.

On top of that, the design is hideous, similar to that of Stanford's Redwood City medical building visible from 101. That kind of architecture may be acceptable for an off-freeway site, but it's not appropriate as the gateway to our city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"But the EIR did not consider medical office uses,"

Wrong - Here are just a few examples from the Final EIR:
1 -"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."

2 - "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. Using the negotiated public benefit FAR, the projects would be consistent with the allowed office FAR of 0.55 and close to the allowed medical office use of 0.366."

3 - "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."

plus many more......


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"project would be configured so as to deposit traffic directly onto Middle. The EIR showed very little impact on that street; obviously, this project will have significant impact."

Wrong - Here is what the EIR states:

"Middle Avenue is an east-west two-lane collector roadway. It extends between Olive Street and El Camino Real. The ADT for this roadway is approximately 8,000 vehicles."

"Existing Traffic Volumes and Intersection Levels of Service
Study Intersections - 8. El Camino Real and Middle Avenue (Caltrans/Menlo Park)"

"TABLE 4.13-8 (Continued)
EXISTING PLUS PROJECT INTERSECTION LEVELS OF SERVICE - #8 El Camino Real & Middle Avenue (Ct/MP) "

etc, etc, etc...

PLEASE do your homework before posting erroneous information.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by review is good
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Given the level of legitimate concerns about impacts of the Stanford proposal, a review of its status and those concerns is in order. This is the single largest site in the Specific Plan area, so its impacts could be much greater than previously anticipated.
Since the project is still being defined by Stanford, this is a good opportunity to provide some input in hopes of creating a project more desirable to Menlo Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the design is hideous, similar to that of Stanford's Redwood City medical building visible from 101. "

Wrong - The Specific Plan requires 45 deg setbacks for the upper stories which is a very different design.

"Building massing and modulation consider both vertical and
horizontal modulations. The modulation of buildings refers
to change or variety across a building plane to provide
distinction in the building as well as provide visual interest.
Vertical modulation is the introduction of façade articulation
that creates a rhythm or pattern across the façade of a
building. Horizontal modulation provides visual clarity
between ground fl oors, upper stories and roofs."

"Figure E11. 45-Degree Building Profi le for
Floors above the Maximum Allowable Façade
Height"

PLEASE do your homework before posting erroneous information.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This is the single largest site in the Specific Plan area, so its impacts could be much greater than previously anticipated."

Wrong - the project as proposed falls within the limits defined by the Specific Plan and the limits of the Specific Plan were addressed in the EIR.

There is nothing unexpected here unless you slept through the years long process which led via a draft EIR and a Final EIR to the adopted Specific Plan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pragmatic
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Peter, your posts simply corroborate that it's a good idea for the council to look into this. Citing large chunks of irrelevant materials does not make your case any stronger.

If this project is truly as wonderful as you seem to believe, it will withstand scrutiny. Time to untwist the knickers!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Citing large chunks of irrelevant materials"

Each of my above posts was to prove that the statements made by a previous poster were wrong - and all of the posts were direct extracts from the EIR and the Specific Plan.

Please explain why you consider these facts as irrelevant unless you prefer a factless discussion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

"Some? Many? A minority ? A majority? Almost all? The loudest? The NIMBYs? Most influential? Let's not lose sight of this very important distinction!"

Dana Hendrickson's wooden portrayal of the dispassionate observer fell flat in a previous thread on this topic but, in the unlikely event s/he does wish to have some idea how many people are disappointed by this project, s/he can always peruse the 513 signatures found here: Web Link . Or s/he may read the many dozens of letters to the City Council asking that the very item in question be added for review to the Council agenda, found here: Web Link . Or s/he may always review the citizen comments in the Planning Commission meeting minutes from January 28, found here: Web Link .

Please forgive the snark but two of the three items above were already shared in the aforementioned thread and presumably Dana Hendrickson chose not to avail him or herself of that information. Or, perhaps in accordance with Peter Carpenter's world view, any group of people greater in number than three which does not agree with one's position remains "a few."

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Or, perhaps in accordance with Peter Carpenter's world view, any group of people greater in number than three which does not agree with one's position remains "a few."

No, as previously noted 513 people are only 1.6 % of Menlo Park's 32,026 residents.

mi•nus•cule adj. 1. very small.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Spot-on
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm

know′-it-all` n.
a person who acts as though he or she had better knowledge or understanding than anyone else.

Fortunately, Peter Carpenter's endless stream of Stanford boosterism, along with his condescending attitude toward Menlo Park residents, and his incessant comments in a relentlessly authoritarian tone, have done more to stir up Menlo residents against the Stanford Plan than his arguments have done to discourage them from opposing it. Thank you, Peter!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm

"No, as previously noted 513 people are only 1.6 % of Menlo Park's 32,026 residents."

But still a number which appears to be 510 greater than the supporters of your position, Peter (and we've already discussed the silliness of your including the entire non-voting population (children) of Menlo Park in your figure).

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the petition which Gern noted above along with what had already been done BEFORE the petition was even written:

"With this petition Menlo Park citizens ask the Menlo Park City Council and Planning Commission to put a hold on the implementation of the Stanford/Arrillaga proposal until the following recommended actions are taken:

Commission a study to fully understand traffic congestion and neighborhood cut-through traffic issues arising from such a large and traffic intensive development - DONE in the EIR

Study pedestrian and bike safety implications along El Camino Real, on school routes, across the railroad tracks and on neighborhood streets, including Allied Arts, and the intersections of Middle at El Camino, Cambridge at El Camino, and College at El Camino in particular. -DONE in the EIR

Provide an EIR because of the intensity of the project and the fact that medical office use wasn't studied previously in the Specific Plan - Wrong, medical offices were studied in the EIR

Find ways to receive public benefits from the developer in exchange for the Specific Plan's generous re-zoning that allows this developer a 77% increase in size than was previously allowed. - The Specific Plan offers bonuses for public benefits and Stanford proposes some such benefits; the city cannot require Stanford to provide any public benefits except those already included in the Specific Plan such as the right-of-way at the east end of Middle.

Negotiate with the developer a project that better fits with Menlo Park's small-town character and achieves the stated goals of the Specific Plan - and what exactly does the city negotiate with since what Stanford had proposed is PERMITTED by the Specific Plan? The Plan states "Encourages infill development of vacant and
under-utilized lots along El Camino Real through
increased intensities, coupled with strict building
modulation and ground-floor setback and building
profile requirements that both attenuate the mass
and scale of larger buildings and create wider
public sidewalks;"

Study and implement suitable traffic mitigation and transportation demand management measures before approving additional traffic sources of such scale. - Done in the EIR and its approval by the council


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"your including the entire non-voting population (children) of Menlo Park in your figure)."

Fair enough. There are 18, 044 registered voters in Menlo Park and 513 people (not all of them registered voters) represent 2.8% of the registered voters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:03 am

[portion removed.]

2.8% of registered voted concerned about...

.0014 of the total MP acreage.

Sounds like more people vs. land.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

"Fair enough. There are 18, 044 registered voters in Menlo Park and 513 people (not all of them registered voters) represent 2.8% of the registered voters."

Apparently the 513 petition signatures, the dozens of email messages sent to the City Council, the large number of people who spoke at City Council and Planning Commission meetings, as well as the phone calls, face-to-face conversations, and private emails to our elected officials, all expressing concerns about the Stanford project on El Camino, had the desired effect in a functioning democracy: the Council voted unanimously to review the project during their April 16th meeting.

One Planning Commission member, Vince Bressler, spoke eloquently and sensibly about the need to remove the Stanford project/zone from the Specific Plan altogether, and city staff was directed to explore that and other options in preparation or the coming Council meeting.

Your pipe overfloweth, Peter -- time to smoke it.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

To all you folks that think pulling the Stanford parcel out of the specific plan is just going to effect the Stanford parcel, think again. There isn't a developer around that is going to invest time, energy and money in our community knowing that the decisions of the council and planning commision are meaningless. You can pat yourselves on the back for the next ten years as you drive past blighted properties on El Camino, because that's what you've caused. I hope you enjoy the view and thanks for nothing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

To all you folks that think pulling the Stanford parcel out of the specific plan is just going to effect the Stanford parcel, think again. There isn't a developer around that is going to invest time, energy and money in our community knowing that the decisions of the council and planning commision are meaningless. You can pat yourselves on the back for the next ten years as you drive past blighted properties on El Camino, because that's what you've caused. I hope you enjoy the view and thanks for nothing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by review is good
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Oh, please. All this gloom and doom is nonense. There are several projects on El Camino that have begun construction recently. Each was approved under the rules in place before the Specific Plan So don't tell us that nothing will happen if the Specific Plan is modified as well it should be.

Whether in the public record or not, decision makers were led to believe that Stanford was going to build something quite different from the current project. Yes, they were naive, but they can fix the situation so our town isn't stuck with Stanford's traffic and little to benefit our community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Remember that anything developed under the Specific Plan WILL generate traffic and that traffic WAS carefully studied in the EIR. The Stanford project conforms to the traffic estimates generated in the EIR and is reflected in the constraints of the Specific Plan.

If you want to 'save the village' then you will have to prohibit any new development - and that will lead to huge lawsuits, abandoned property and a reduction in property and sales tax income to the city - but you will have a village.

"Whether in the public record or not, decision makers were led to believe that Stanford was going to build something quite different from the current project." This is an interesting assertion but lacks any documentation. "something quite different" refers exactly to what and in which document or submission did Stanford make such a representation?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""Whether in the public record or not, decision makers were led to believe that Stanford was going to build something quite different from the current project."

This is what the public record clearly states:
"In public correspondence and through remarks at meetings, the applicant repeatedly supported the community planning process and stated an intent to pursue a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment proposal in compliance with the adopted Plan. At various points, the applicant provided detail-type critiques of some draft regulations and Draft EIR elements, but did not submit correspondence or make in-meeting remarks that committed to a particular type of future development proposal, nor did the Planning Commission or City Council make findings that their Plan-related actions were based on any particular assumption of what the applicant ultimately might propose on this site. "


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

God forbid anyone should pay attention to the facts Peter.

It's no wonder many developers go to Palo Alto or Redwood City. If you can't rely on what the city zones why put any money there?

review said: "Oh, please. All this gloom and doom is nonense. There are several projects on El Camino that have begun construction recently. Each was approved under the rules in place before the Specific Plan "

There you go review, BEFORE the specific plan was approved. BEFORE. The plan has been approved. The zoning has been granted. To change it now will result in lawsuits and no developers interested in doing anything in this town. BEFORE is the operative word. We're now dealing with AFTER.


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

Email:


Post a comment

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

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

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

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

*Required Fields

Standardized Test Prep: When to Start and Whom to Hire?
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,388 views

King of the Slides
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 1,259 views

Finger Food and a Blood Lite?
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,025 views

Where the Sidewalk Ends
By Paul Bendix | 3 comments | 457 views