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Neighbors, city, developer agree on housing project

Original post made on Feb 28, 2012

Residents say OK to a scaled-down proposal to build 26 homes on the former Chevrolet truck lot at 389 El Camino Real.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 9:48 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by Susan, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I am sick and tired of townhouses being built without any consideration of older people who cannot walk stairs! Why doesn't anyone ever think about condominium buildings??? They are just the same, except next to each other rather than up and down!! Is anyone afraid of the expense of installing a building elevator or something?

Posted by James Madison, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

1. One of these days those who build in Menlo Park will realize that, in order to stay in homes, seniors may need either single floors or elevators or, if the single floor is at the second level, both.

2. Is it raising too fine a point to ask whether this project meshes with the proposed plan for El Camino Real?

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Guess what old folks, there are younger people moving into our town. They don't care about stairs or no stairs. There's plenty of housing here that doesn't have stairs. You all have to remember that young folks come in and replace us. Deal with it.

Posted by Enough, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Are you kidding? More housing?
So a former Chevrolet truck lot somehow gets rezoned as housing - in a town that is overcrowded already. That is despicable. Who allowed this? The City Council? Did the developer slip you some cash in an envelope under the table? The City Council is NOT serving the citizens of Menlo Park. If possible, I would fire them all.
If you doubt that Menlo Park is overcrowded, just hang out at key intersections during peak commute hours. Check out our overcrowded schools. And don't buy the bull from the developers that only "empty nesters" will inhabit that new housing. It will be stuffed full of families with kids. That got proven with the two developments that went in to Linfield Oaks a few years ago - the units are stuffed full of families with kids.
It's all about greed. CIty council and the developer should be ashamed.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I agree with Enough.

Why more housing? Just what we need in more traffic, more kids in our schools, etc. The City complains about not having enough revenue so why not businesses to generate income? Housing doesn't produce the same income for the city as businesses do.

What's the overall plan for El Camino? So many buildings and lots vacant for a long time. We have 2 council members running for supervisor; with so much left undone in MP what confidence do we have that either of them would do a better job at the County level.

Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Note that this project is still in its preliminary stages and needs to be approved by the Planning Commission. If you have concerns, you will have plenty of opportunity to express them.

However, in the imminent Facebookification of Menlo Park, don't expect anyone to give a hoot about residents over the age of 35. The powers that be would just as soon ship them off to Mars. And the EIRs do not consider the impacts on schools.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 29, 2012 at 6:58 am


the over crowding at key intersections is not because Menlo Park has too many people. It's because it is too narrow for the traffic volume, most of which is pass through traffic on it's way to or from Stanford. Just wait until they finish their expansion if you think it's bad now.

Posted by Not enough, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

I agree with Menlo Voter. We need to accept the reality that we are merely a pass-through for Stanford, Palo Alto, and Redwood City. Let's turn El Camino, Willow, Middlefield, Santa Cruz, Sand Hill, and Alameda into 6-lane freeways. Let's sacrifice our community for the greater good of our neighbors!

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

Not enough -

No one - EXCEPT YOU - even suggested turning Willow, Middlefield, Santa Cruz, Sand Hill and Alameda into 6-lane freeways.

But El Camino Real is THE main arterial highway on the Peninsula. If not El Camino, what road should be take when driving from, say a home in Atherton to a restaurant on California Street in Palo Alto? That's what El Camino Real is for.

And yes, El Camino Real is a "pass through" for drivers from other towns... just as you pass through Atherton on your way to Redwood City.

Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Cities love new housing developments because they can charge a hefty fee to the builder, ostensibly to offset the additional "burden" on city resources. That's more profitable than basic retail, other than auto dealerships.

I can hardly wait to see the traffic mess this generates.

Posted by Not enough, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm

A paltry 26 units is nothing. Wait until the El Camino plan goes through -- 1600 new homes on El Camino. It will be faster to stroll down ECR than to drive.

Posted by Some Guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Don't forget Facebook, too.
That should REALLY help the traffic on ECR.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Not Enough:

I never suggested turning El Camino into a freeway. My point was the problem on El Camino is not too many people in Menlo Park. Adding 26 homes isn't going to change the traffic problems we have now. What would change those problems radically is requiring Stanford to mitigate its traffic impacts.

Posted by long time resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Menlo Park no growthers voted for traffic in the late 1960's when they killed the Willow expressway. It was to be an east west connection similar to the Oregon Expressway from Willow to Sand Hill. Now that traffic meanders through our streets.

It isn't the housing or development, but poor traffic engineering that has created our traffic problems.

The people in this development will be able to walk to many destinations.

The project is a good thing for our blighted El Camino.

Posted by another long timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Good point! Given the lack of real estate inventory at affordable prices in menlo park, I think this is a good thing. As is MORE housing. Young couples and professional singles will buy these condos, and eventually move up to single family homes (though probably NOT in MP, because a simple 3/2 with a yard is now a crazy $2m!)

Silicon valley and the jobs are not going away and the people have to live somewhere commutable to fill those jobs. Have you been on 101 lately? a mess. Better to have people live/buy/eat local. Housing Growth has to be near job growth. NIMBY attitudes will have the jobs go elsewhere too.

Posted by SFH's, Really???, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

However, I don't believe the can fit the # of true single family homes in a 1.3 acre lot. Those are condos/townhouses with a tiny patch of patio, not sfh. Stretching the truth.

Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

That tired argument about "people having to live somewhere" and "reducing the traffic on 101" has been trotted out to justify every high density development in town.

Reality: most people who buy in MP will do so for the schools (which, so far, have helped keep property values high...though at some point, if we keep cramming in more kids, the quality of schools will decline and our property values with them.) Most new homebuyers don't work in Menlo Park. But let's assume, for a moment, that every single person who buys one of these oversized boxes will be a young professional (no kids in school!) who works in Menlo Park, and that the addition of 26 new units will remove 52 cars from 101. First, no one would even notice. And second, given the longevity of most people's jobs -- on average, young professionals switch companies every three years -- it's unlikely that those new homeowners will continue to work in MP. Are they going to sell their microhomes just because their new jobs are in Sunnyvale? Nope, they're going to hop back on 101.

Can we all agree that "reducing traffic" is not a good reason to add more houses to Menlo Park? It doesn't pass the straight face test in so many ways. Traffic will only get worse.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm


26 units of housing is a blip on the traffic causing radar. No one will notice the difference after they are built. After Stanford finishes its expansion? You betcha!

Posted by another long timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

Actually, my point wasn't that it will reduce traffic on 101, or even that jobs would be IN menlo park.

Rather, people choose to live close to their jobs or main industry, which in the case of silicon valley is mostly MP, PA, MV. If you live in one of those towns you have a commute of less than 30 minutes, and can probably avoid getting on 101 (which is highly desirable). Of course people changes jobs often. Of course 26 units is a blip on local traffic.

Just as someone with a young family, I would avoid buying a place that doesn't have a yard at all costs. Young couples or professionals are more into nightlife and working and have yet to realize the negatives of living on a busy street or having no yard when you have kids! Just my 2 cents on who I would predict would buy these units.

Posted by kos, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I am happy to see SOMETHING get built there. Its ridiculous for it to sit unused in an area where property is in such high demand.

Posted by missing the point, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm

There is or will be a strong market for senior housing for current residents who like this area, don't want to leave, and won't want to maintain a large home. If nice senior housing is available, these residents might vacate single family homes desired by younger families. A location on El Camino or next to the train are not very appealing though because of traffic and train noise and pollution.

Posted by Reality 101, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

No one wants the seniors in Menlo Park. They should leave to free up houses, but why move to El Camino? If you've lived here 40 years, you can cash out and take your money to buy a nice one-story home somewhere with less traffic and more amenities.

P.S.Developers like to build houses and office buildings, but those don't serve the residents. How about using that empty space for something that serves us? Retail. Recreation. Restaurants.

Posted by wpatterson, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

A few townhomes should be designed with elevator to accommodate the senior, particularly in the affordable element.

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