Posted by whatever, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm
It would be idiotic for the Council to approve the loss of 125 senior housing units especially since they're having so much trouble fulfilling the court ordered requirement for nearly 2000 housing units in Menlo Park. It's a no-brainer. [Portion removed. Please stick to the issue and avoid personal attacks.]
Posted by frustrated driver, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm
wow...just what everyone in the surrounding communities needs...another project which will add to traffic and doesn't provide ample parking...let's hope Menlo Park's city fathers are wise enough to look at the bigger picture of the impact on the larger community. Traffic must be a primary concern in all these proposed new projects, not just parking. Menlo is losing its allure as a good place to live.
Posted by Longtime Realtor, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm
We do not have enough Senior Housing as it is. We want to keep our parents close by, we are aging and don't want to leave the community, and the bulging Boomer Generation is fast on our heels. Check the demographics!
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm
With the new Specific Plan's approval, the Council gave away our community's ability to have a voice any longer in most land use decisions. This is an example. The developer can do what they want! We have NO SAY.
Posted by Unrepented, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm
The public most certainly gets to decide what the use is. They will require a use permit to operate the hotel and the public does have input/comment in that decision.
The use permit could also be conditional on them using it for only "hotel" like use (less than 30 days) so the city would get their tax revenue. Which is more than they got from it's operation as senior housing.
Posted by Move Over, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm
Glennwood Inn was an over priced facility. They lost one of my friend's parents that was living there. A haven for many fire calls for service because of the lack of a professional staff. Close it and turn it into a hotel. Set up senior housing and a facility that will be useful to a senior community and not be a burden to our city and county emergency services.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm
I would like to know why decisions of this importance seem to appear in this space on the day of the meetings!! Can't this and like information be given a special spot in the newspaper and on this site, with some advance notice? It's more important than the sports coverage allowed.
Or have I missed something? I admit I'm lazy. It makes sense to me that there be an ongoing column that addresses these issues.
Anyone know who owns San Hill Properties and how are they associated with Marriott or are they selling to Marriott? Aren't they the ones that own Sand Hill Hotel?
Posted by Familiar, a resident of another community, on Oct 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm
Menlo Park and the Mid Peninsula need hotels. If this project succeeds, it could be a winner for a cautious city. A reduced scale project is needed. Better to begin with fewer guest rooms than the applicant's other current properties. Built a phased approach with phased approval. Revenue and area impacts need to be viewed long term.
The major issue with all hotels is parking and traffic. Hotels generate a lot of each. A new hotel would have a greater traffic impact than the site currently allows. One only need look to Sand Hill Rosewood Hotel increased traffic and its inadequate parking. The difference is Rosewood has events and restaurants a residence hotel would not.
There is a large garage under the current site, but it was barely adequate for senior housing with fewer vehicle owners / drivers. Most of the caregivers could not park in the garage and used local streets. Despite assurances, there is not enough parking for future hotel guests and staff. The prospect of using 39 street parking sites along Garwood Way is ill conceived. Those spaces are in railroad right of way and will be eliminated when the rail line is widened during construction on Garwood.. This will burden the streets of Mills, Laurel, Encinal, San Antonio and El Camino with hotel cars.
Further, Glenwood Ave. is a significant commute route. Traffic at peak times often made access to the Casa site difficult. Adding more traffic to entry / exits on Glenwood Ave. is problematic, but more feasible with a new added access drive to El Camino.
Build the first phase if the 1300 El Camino project with a large parking garage. Only then a phased-in hotel project becomes more feasible. Mr. Pau: Please do it entice the city with projected revenue, then burden them with project-created traffic and parking issues.
Casa was struggling. It is a shame it could not be sustained. So many of the seniors who lived there were down-sized, long-time Menlo Park residents. But, that is just the future of the Peninsula. No room for long-term care medical facilities. Land is simply too expensive for such uses. Want your parents close? Rent them an apartment, remodel your home to include them or move the whole family someplace more friendly than Menlo Park's cost of living.
Posted by Adina, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Nov 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm
@familiar I agree your concern about the prospect of deeding over the 39 parking spots on Garwood and agree that sharing parking would be better - with 1300 ECR, Caltrain parking which is empty at night, or some other solution.
But I'm not sure what you mean by "Those spaces are in railroad right of way and will be eliminated when the rail line is widened during construction on Garwood." With the Blended System, that rail right of way is pretty likely to stay the way it is.
Caltrain is looking for the least bad place to put a section of passing tracks (not 4 tracks the whole way). There are several options being considered, including an 8-mile 4-track passing section north or south of here, or possibly a 3-track section that could go through MP. The 3-track option has problems, so it may well not get selected.
So, I think that rail ROW isn't the big reason not to give away those parking spaces. Not giving a way public right of way, better shared parking solutions, and room for future bike routes are all better reasons not to hand those spaces over to a private owner.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 7:06 am
you are dreaming if you think HSR is giong to remain a "blended" system. The blended system is simply the camels nose under the tent to make it easier to shove four tracks down our throats. It's coming. Those parking spaces will be going away. Any planning involving those parking spaces needs to take that into account.
Posted by Adina, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 8:52 am
It is good to be vigilant to make sure that the 4-track system does not awake from its comatose state. Currently, the blended system is what is funded, described in the business plan, authorized in the bill that passed in July, described in the regional funding plan from MTC. The first HSR train won't get to the Peninsula until 2029 if everything goes according plan, which seems unlikely.
HSR can get up to 4 trains per hour using the Blended System. Paris-London and NY-DC have 3-4 trains per hour at rush hour. If there's ever demand to expand HSR beyond 4 tracks, it is going to be decades from now in a very different world from the one we live in.
So I don't think it makes a lot of sense to be guiding Menlo Park's activities today based on something we are afraid might happen decades from now.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 9:55 am
Public parking is PUBLIC parking. The city should never ever get into the business of giving away needed assets like this to a single property owner. One of the many issues with the original Derry project was their attempt to count public street parking towards their required numbers.
This would be a horrendous precedent. What would be the criteria for granting it and for refusing similar requests from other projects?
On-street public parking is needed for a host of reasons, not the least of which is to provide needed parking for visitors and customers of Menlo Park's businesses.
Posted by criteria, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm
Disgusted, the criteria would be nearly $1,000,000 in year 1 TOT. That amount will only increase over the years as the hotel revenue grows. This seems like pretty good criteria given that:
1. It doesn't look like we are going to get our "conference center" hotel that was intended for the Stanford dealership parcels for which Arrillaga is now proposing to be office (and a little bit of housing and retail), so this may be the only sizable hotel our downtown can land in the next few decades,
2. Nobody other than the current property uses that parking anyway,
3. There would be no impacts to bike routes,
4. We have some serious issues with our budget today, and it's only going to get worse without finding new sources of income.
It's not like the city would be giving away the land. I am sure they can figure out a way to make it a mutually beneficial/obligating contract. So why can't it be used by the hotel as long as they are contributing that much TOT to our city? That amount of TOT anyway is greater than what we'd get by increasing the tax rate from 10% to 12%, which is what we are being asked to do next week. So isn't the smart thing to facilitate new TOT sources instead further burden our existing hotels, visitors, and surrounding hotel-dependent businesses?
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm
"I am sure they can figure out a way to make it a mutually beneficial/obligating contract."
Seriously criteria? They just gave away the farm on the property for the Arillaga project. Do you honestly think they are capable of negotiating a good deal for the city that is "mutually beneficial"? That'll be the day.
Posted by criteria, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm
Menlo Voter, I think you are being a little unreasonable. The city has a good staff and the city attorney knows how to write a simple contract/lease/whatever that just says the hotel can use the stalls as long as the hotel is operating and generating TOT. Doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.
Frankly, if they get that right it probably makes up for the Arrillaga project.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm
what makes you think if they couldn't get it right on the Arillaga project they could get it right on this one? The El Camino plan wasn't rocket science. Those that were entrusted to take care of the needs of the city were asleep at the switch. At this point, after watching 18 years of this nonsense, I have little faith in city staff or our elected officials. They are far out classed by the professionals hired by Stanford and developers.
Why was the old car dealerships owned by Stanford sitting idle? Stanford and the likes of Lee Duboc would have us believe it was because Stanford was waiting to find out what the city was going to allow, when ACTUALY what they were waiting for was for the leases to expire. They were still collecting rents. Why would they bother to do anything with those properties? They pretended they were so the fools we have on staff and representing us would hand them the keys to the kingdom, which we just did.
There was nothing magic about any of this. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence could have seen we were being played. BUT, they didn't. So, no cynicism here my freind. Pure observation of past performance forms my opinion.
Posted by +1, a resident of the Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm
We have the worst negotiating team in the Bay Area. They seem to think that our city should be grateful that anyone wants to do a project here. Don't they understand that the rest of the universe considers Menlo Park to be prime real estate? We shouldn't just give it away...but the negotiators do, time after time.
Posted by Criteria , a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2012 at 12:02 am
The difference between the two so far as I can tell is that arrillaga doesn't need city approval but the hotel does because without the garwood parking it doesn't work. I'm just curious -- lets assume arrillaga is going to happen -- are you saying that you would or would not support the hotel, since that is the decision we have in front of us?
I just can't help but think that notwithstanding our city's (inability to?) plan, this tot revenue is a gift that is falling into our laps. Perhaps we should look at it like a bailout, but one you and me can actually be glad for.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2012 at 9:05 am
The Specific Plan is supposed to last for 30-40 years. In that time, it is entirely possible that another hotel project would come along. According to the article, this hotel might NOT provide TOT because it may be oriented to longer stays that don't yield TOT.
Within the Specific Plan period, other businesses and projects should come along and benefit from on-street parking. Are you really saying that street parking is for sale in Menlo Park?
If the city really wants revenue, it should limit the amount of office, esp. for uses that don't generate sales tax revenue. Or the city could impose a fee on such businesses. Most people don't know that services such as law firms and venture capitaiists and banks pay hardly anything to the city. Neither do internet companies unless they sell goods.
The Stanford/Arrillaga project is a prime example of how poor Menlo Park is at playing the negotiation game. In that instance, the city gave away uniquely favorable rights and its negotiating power entirely. The city also gave special rules to the Beltramo project, and the property owner turned around and sold the property to someone else.
Posted by Familiar, a resident of another community, on Nov 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm
Menlo Park has long been expert at attracting professional, non-tax generating businesses; Law firms, venture capital, investment houses, research,, intellectual high tech and banks. At the same time they have seemed almost hostile, limiting and regulatory toward retailers, small stores and manufacturing.
I have long suspected the succession City Councils of the past 40 years have been driven by attracting prestige entities and becoming an academic intitutional satellite, over tax revenue generators. A move likely intended to protect residential property values - at the request of campaign supporters. Politicians look good surrounded by trendy activity. Stanford has looked on Menlo Park, or considered this city, as an extension of the campus and its own image.
From a planning perspective - retail tends to "cheapen" the appearance of commercial areas. Retail commercial is diametric in appearance to academic environments. However, academia tends to ignore the need for necessary retail in their communities. Menlo Park's overused grocery, serving huge local populations and in short supply of everything, are one example.
Vote for academics on the Council, you get an academic community - little to no retail or manufacturing - no tax base except the homeowners. Vote for business owners on the Council, you get thriving retail and hotels (except those completing with them).
Who you choose for every council has a huge effect on your quality of life.
Residents need to speak up: Do you want grocery, hardware stores and hotels or law firms and specialty medical offices?