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Menlo Park Downtown Specific Plan - The Forgotten Issue

Original post made by Raymond Mueller, Menlo Park: other, on Jun 5, 2011

On Monday, June 6, the Menlo Park Planning Commission will take up and discuss the Menlo Park Downtown Specific Plan Environmental Impact Report.

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Comments (4)

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Posted by Jason
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm

This is a very important issue and I appreciate it being brought up. Does anyone know if this will be a topic at the next city council meeting? I think we should hear from the residents and also look at other cities that have dealt with these issues and see what happened to their home values.

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Posted by plan ahead
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

There seem to be two main ways that the plan can affect residential property values (it appears that the plan will have a positive affect on commercial values, but that is a different issue.)

First, if the downtown/ECR development negatively impacts the quality of life to the point that people no longer choose to live here, values could fall. If normal errands start taking much longer, if our kids have to spend twice as long on the bus to get to school, that potential has an adverse effect on values.

More significantly, the current plan calls for a lot of new housing. Although housing developers always insist that their homes will be bought by people who never drive and don't have kids, in reality, people buy these starter homes to get their kids into a good school district. Even though our district has renovated all the K-8 schools, there is a realistic limit to the number of kids who can be educated. If the new housing pushes us over that limit, our schools will decline and property values will follow.

I attended many of the community planning meetings, and the emphasis was always on maintaining the village character: a walkable downtown with a vibrant array of stores and restaurants. Sidewalks. Bike lanes. How we moved from that vision to this plan I do not know, but it's hard to see it as an improvement, and I hate the vacant buildings on El Camino no less than anyone else does.

This is too important a project to try to finesse the numbers, and it's a disservice to the residents to suggest that their home values should be overlooked.

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Posted by Jason
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I agree and I hope the city looks at this seriously. Also, don't they usually run these types pieces as guest opinions? Just a thought.

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Posted by Raymond Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Thank you for the comments. I suppose it's my fault the article didn't run as an opinion piece. I didn't submit it as such. I just posted it in the Town Square Forum. Don't blame the Almanac. Blame me.

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