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Menlo Park: Developer Sam Sinnott asks for police presence at City Council meeting

Original post made on Aug 16, 2013

Menlo Park council meetings are generally noted for a lack of physical, if not verbal, violence, but developer Sam Sinnott seems worried that may change on Aug. 20.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 16, 2013, 10:58 AM

Comments (42)

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Posted by Frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm

So much for outreach to the neighbors.

If this house is built per Mr Sinnott's plan, I feel sorry for the new owner. Let's assume this controversy, including now the need for police presence, will be fully DISCLOSED to the buyer by Mr. Sinnott.


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Posted by bemused
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Interesting that Sam assumes the police will be on his side!


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Posted by Sam Sinnott
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Kiki Kapany admits the people who approached my wife and me on our way to the car came from their group and do not live on Louise Street. She also admits she doesn't know them. Their group is very large as a result of the many emails and messages sent far and wide urging people to show up and fight something they often don't understand. The message is typically a developer is exploiting a neighborhood and it could happen to you.

The first individual to follow us said "I hope you rot in hell!". Other comments followed from other individuals in very close proximity to us as I tried to reason with them. They were a group of approximately 25. We were alone. Kipany was not in the conversation nor was she close by. She should take responsibility for the behavior of her group.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Sam, why blame Ms. Kapany for reporting what she saw? And why do you think it is "her group" to control? Your use of charged words such as "admitted" sound like you are accusing her of being untruthful or at lest disingenuous. If you asked the reporter to contact her & clarify what she said/saw, there'd be some credibility.

You just keep stirring your mess & making it worse by implying that someone quoted in the news article has recanted.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm

". . . as I tried to reason with them." And there you have it. A smart person would have avoided confronting hecklers and thus exacerbating the tensions. To demand police presence over something so minor is ludicrous. This is just a self aggrandizing attempt by Mr.Sinnott to inflate the situation.

I most definitely do not want our money wasted on police protection for a non-existent threats.


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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

The police will not be on anyone's side. The are equal opportunity arrestees. Create a disturbance or violate the law, they will arrest or remove you from the meeting. Keep it civil and show a little respect regardless of what position you are for or against.


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Posted by Michael Schwarz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Sam Sinnott is completely distorting Kiki Kapany's words. She did not "admit" anything. She simply reported what she saw. I saw the same incident. One person approached Sam. Sam then walked back to confront two or three people to whom that person was speaking. His wife quickly came and escorted him away. At no time was Mr. Sinnott ever surrounded by 25 people; we were just milling around outside Council chambers at least 30 yards away from where the incident occurred talking about what had happened at the meeting.

To say that anyone who attends a City Council meeting to support our position "came from our group" and to suggest that Kiki or anyone else on Louise Street "should take responsibility for the behavior of her group" is just ludicrous--especially coming from someone who recently claimed that the multiple Craigslists ads advertising 1825 Santa Cruz Avenue as having three different but equally fictitious Louise Street addresses were not his responsibility because his business partner had posted them without his knowledge!


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Posted by Michael Schwarz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

PS--The people who take the trouble to show up to support us actually do understand what we are fighting for. There is no need to patronize them.


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Posted by A Concerned Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Poor Sam Sinnott. I appears that his mommy and daddy must have always let him have his way. When he doesn't get what he wants he stomps his little feet and makes a huff. Now that he is older and has money he has decided to use his money to threaten the city into submission knowing full well that the City of Menlo Park (purported to be the City he loves) can ill afford a protracted legal dispute. [Portion removed; stick to the issue.]

Ultimately Mr. Sinnott's actions are not only one of a spoiled child, but they are actions driven by greed. Extreme greed.

The sooner the City of Menlo Park learns to control the irresponsible development within the city, the better off we will all be. There is simply too much money to be made at the current time and it is drawing those individuals in who are not professional in the act of responsible development.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

If Mr. Sinnott is so concerned for his safety why doesn't he bring private security to protect him?


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Posted by Long time Menlo resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Schwarz only wants Sam to pay legal fees to his wife Kalpany.
And the other neighbor only wants free land.
Come to the meeting Tuesday and learn the truth about the "green" Louise Street neighbors. The only green they are after is Sam's money.
Any legal dispute will be caused by the City Council violating Sam's property rights.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Hey, bringing private security is a *great* idea! Our former landlords, the infamous Page Mill Properties, had their executives use bodyguards to attend community meetings, even meetings held in a church. We were all bemused, then we laughed at them.

Why am I not surprised that another unpopular developer may be skewing things to gain attention & sympathy? But paying for private security is better for the economy than asking the cops for help. Is Sinnott an Atherton resident? If so, maybe one of their officer-butlers can also be his bodyguard.


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Posted by Michael Schwarz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

To Long time Menlo resident (whoever you may be): Sinnott wants to make an extra $500k to $1 million by flipping his property from Santa Cruz to Louise Street. He hires lawyers, threatens to sue the city and the residents for $1 million in damages, and we're the greedy bad guys??? Give me a break. At Council Tuesday we will fight to keep the green space as is. No driveway, no structures, by anyone, EVER. We want to keep it the way it is. Is that clear enough?


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Posted by Long time Menlo resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Mr. schwarz
Why are you so focused on what Sam's profit? It is none of your business.
And can you answer one or two questions for me. Did you or your wife ask Sam for legal fees?
And since when is an old oleander bush green space. You continue to be dishonest with the public. Sam's property abuts the city property. No matter what the address, why does he not have a right to connect to the city street?
Have a great weekend.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Just more of Sam Sinnott's arrogance. The whole thing could have been prevented if he could have put his ego in his pocket. Unfortunately, that seems to be impossible for Sam.


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Posted by The Old Sage
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Now Now, Sam has been around Menlo Park for years, yes he is a developer "a local one" that provides employment, and understands property rights and of course local issues. What happened to free enterprise he wants to connect to a city street. Yes he will make a profit so what - that is what he is in business for.
Stick to the facts, and act like adults here the name calling and sniveling is a true reflection of your complete lack of common sense and decency.
Good Luck Sam - the good guys here support you and wish you well


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Posted by Miller and Starr
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Access from Louise Street is for the primary use and benefit of the Belle Acres Subdivision Lots on Louise, and city of MP public works dept to maintain its storm drain pumping station at the end of Louise St

SAMs parcel was not part of that subdivision and is strictly limited to pedestrian and service access to his parcel

Use of that Louise Street access for Sam driveway access for a Santa Cruz Ave fronting parcel is strictly at the discretion of the city after city public works decides that it's storm drain system pumping station at the end of Louise Street is unnecessary

Well established case law obviates the need for the city council to back its city attorney rec to proceed with abandonment process

That will still give Sam pedestrian and service access thru his back gate by virtue of historical use, But never permit primary driveway access to his parcel

End of case


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Posted by Menlo resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 17, 2013 at 8:13 am

Miller and Star seems to state the facts in a clear and concise way. Thank you for removing the emotion and hyperbole.

It is easy to understand why both the Louise St. neighbors and sam sinnott feel the way they do. They both feel that they will be losing something; the neighbors lose green space, privacy, tranquility and a way of life that currently exists. sam feel he could lose some of the profit that he will likely make after he develops the property. One loses something they have while the other (Sam) loses something that they could possibly have.

Money (greed) is the evil here. It should be no surprise to anyone as we have all seen it time and time again. sam would openly tell you that he is improving the value of the neighbors' property through his development practices. Most developers truly believe this, but what they fail to recognize is that there is a cost to the neighbors (defined by each neighbor differently based on their personal beliefs, values and ideals).

One purpose of government is to protect the greater good of the community. I hope that the City of Menlo Park continues to take this responsibility seriously and not be intimidated by a small person with a big pocketbook.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

To the Old Sage.

You must be too old. Sam is a wannabee developer. After years of being an Architect and enabling developers to make profits Sam has decided to try his hand at crating profit through development (he is an entrepreneur too) Clearly he got tired of being the least compensated member of the development food chain [portion removed; stick to the topic and be civil] His arrogance got in the way [portion removed; stick to the topic] here when he treated everyone inappropriately. Too bad for him that he underestimated it all.

I suspect that both you and sam would also like to erect a statue of sam as the saving grace for all of our economic woes because he is driving the economy through development. Perhaps he could get a use permit for the property and store toxic waste there.........

Your driving the economy is old and tired just like an Old Sage.


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Posted by Michael Schwarz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

To Longtime Menlo Park resident:
I don't answer any questions from people who hide behind anonymous pseudonyms. But shame on you for alleging that I "continue to be dishonest with the public." You may disagree with my neighbors and me, but we have legal backing and evidence for everything we have been arguing.


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Posted by exaggerating the damages
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Menlo Resident - Will the residents of Louise Street actually lose "privacy, tranquility and a way of life that currently exists" because of a driveway?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the neighbors lose green space, privacy, tranquility and a way of life that currently exists."

Just imagine what it will be like when, lacking a driveway but being guaranteed pedestrian access to Louise, construction begins and all the truck park on Louise and all the construction deliveries are made via Louise.

I would think that it would be much better to have a nice driveway which allows all of that activity to take place on Sinnott's property. Seems like the lesser of two evils.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

"Just imagine what it will be like when, lacking a driveway but being guaranteed pedestrian access to Louise, construction begins and all the truck park on Louise and all the construction deliveries are made via Louise."
What is this about no driveway??? There is a driveway on Santa Cruz Avenue. The site is large enough for trucks to enter, park onsite, and exit. There is no need to use Louise for that. The Louise neighbors should be sure there is a construction traffic management plan they can support and monitor.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what the Louise Street property owners MUST agree to per the Staff Report #: 13-123:
"The adjacent property owners of 1017 Louise Street shall record a Pedestrian
Access Easement against the abandoned portion of Louise Street, ensuring that
the property owners of 1833 Santa Cruz Avenue continue to enjoy pedestrian
access to Louise Street from their property. The Pedestrian Access Easement
shall be granted for the benefit of the property located at 1833 Santa Cruz
Avenue, providing a pathway a minimum of 5 feet in width between the property
at 1833 Santa Cruz Avenue and the new right-of-way boundary at the terminus of
Louise Street. The owners of 1017 Louise Street will work with the owners of
1833 Santa Cruz Avenue to create an easement acceptable to all parties, with
the Public Works Director and City Attorney having final approval of said
easement. The approval of said easement shall not be appealable."

Nothing in here precludes parking on Louise St or the use of Louise St for delivery of anything to this property.

" The Louise neighbors should be sure there is a construction traffic management plan they can support and monitor."

Not with the above required agreement calls for or permits such restrictions.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction:
Nothing in the above required agreement calls for or permits such restrictions.
You cannot guarantee access and then restrict it.


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Posted by Miller and Starr ps
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Belle acres sub map dedicated Louise to San Mateo County, well before incorporated into the city
The city then takes on a responsibility to the Belle Acres lot owners in accordance with the State Subdivision Map Act to maintain access to the Belle Acres lot owners, and not to any other lands that may abut on Louise Street, but are not part of Belle Acres, unless Louise Street were the only reasonable access to those other lands

Sam parcel has Santa Cruz access

His and counsel Garrett argument that Sam has de facto full vehicular Louise Street driveway access at the expense of Belle Acres and city public works storm drain pump station maintenance is without foundation

SAMs predecessor never perfected a full driveway access to Sams parcel from Louise

Nor is it necessary for Sam to enjoy full public street access to his Santa Cruz fronting parcel

Case closed


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Posted by Michael Schwarz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

To Miller and Starr: Amen! It is heartening to hear from someone who understands our position and sees through all of the bogus claims being advanced by Mr. Sinnott and his supporters. Thank you for your support.


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Posted by exaggerating the damages
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

If Louise is a public street and there is pedestrian access to the lot, there will be construction vehicles parked there because the parking is easier than on Santa Cruz.


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Posted by Pat Jacobson
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

To Miller and Star remember Louise Street is 'fee simple' and not an easement...as assumed by you and all neighbours.

The title to Louise Street, including the area proposed to be abandoned, is presently vested in the City of Menlo Park, in fee. In other words, the land area within the bounds of the street is publicly owned land, the title to which belongs entirely to the City, subject only to the appurtenant easements rightfully belonging to the owners of the adjoining lots or parcels of land, for purposes of vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from their lands, by means of Louise Street.

These private easements belonging to the owners of the lots adjoining Louise Street, which burden the public title to Louise Street, will of course not be extinguished by a City Council order vacating the street area proposed to be abandoned. The order vacating part of Louise Street also will not have the effect of transferring the City's fee title to the owners of the adjoining lots. In order to accomplish this, it would be necessary for the City to execute grant deeds describing the boundaries of the land titles to be conveyed. And, in addition to finding that the parts of Louise Street to be vacated were no longer needed for public use, a finding would have to be made by the City Council that an adequate consideration was to be paid by the owners of the adjoining lots, for the City's vested title to the land within the street areas vacated.

Finally, while Mr. Sinnott's abutter's rights for access to and from Louise Street, having arisen by reason of the establishment and maintenance of a public street adjoining their land, might be terminated upon formal vacation of the portion of Louise Street upon which their land abuts, their additional prescriptive rights, and claims of a right to title to an appurtenant easement in Louise Street by reason of other legal causes, would not be eliminated.

Case closed.Mr. Sinnott will win his driveway access on Louise St. now or later.
I personally would not advise paying off any attorney fees incurred by the neighbors. In some circles that is called extortion.


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Posted by Old MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

I live within a couple of blocks of Louise Street.

My advice to all parties: Be nice. Be civil.

To the current residents --- concentrate on what you have to do to convince the city to see it your way. Don't waste your time (and your boiling emotions) on the other guy...because you're really wasting your time.

Study the request. Thoroughly understand your property rights and the city's property rights/responsibilities. Understand your opponents strengths and weaknesses in their *argument*...not their personality and/or business.

Be business-like and professional in approaching your problem and creating an appeal/argument that will be factually sound and not personal (in terms of your opponent).

You will certainly have a much greater appeal and will find a more sympathetic city council if "air tight" your argument and ignore the bad guy on the other side.

My two cents


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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I believe they are so blinded and hard of hearing that its my way or he highway. They love to fight, but old mp is right


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:37 am
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

There are facts, law and equities on both sides - negotiate a settlement. Any political decision will be challenged in court by the losing side.


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Posted by Old MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Bingo. Give that kid a star.


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Posted by interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm

old MP is right.

I think I remember Cline saying something to the tune "if you are trying to solve your problems between two parties at a council meeting, then you have already guaranteed you will both be unhappy.."

Get back to the table and make a deal. Don't waste city time and your own dollars in court.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

@ Old Sage

Sam is not greatly experienced as lead developer. What makes you think his projects benefit "local" economy? Historically, he & his associates bring in out-of-area laborers & subcontractors to work for less money than locals demand. Not sure how that's a boost to MP economy, except for fast food & beer.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm

What does "out of area" mean?

My stucco subcontractor is from Oakley. Is that out of area?

My tile guy is from Pacifica. Out of area?

Let's be honest here - not that many subcontractors and construction labor live in MP.


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Posted by Police Protection?
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Aug 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm


I hope that the real Sam Sinnot did not make the above post about Ms. Kapany's reported statements, because the comments don't cast him in a very good light, and don't even make very much sense. In the very least, the remarks offer a glimpse of what the folks on Louise might be trying to deal with.

If the quotes from the letter printed in this article are being accurately reported, Kiki Kapany did not “admit" to the things Mr. Sinnot posted. He twisted her words into something she didn't write; alleged that she wasn't even “in the conversation nor was she close by" the verbal exchange that resulted in his protection request; yet, he declares that she should accept responsibility for the alleged behavior of “25" people she supposedly was too far away to know anything about, and never claimed to see. Is there evidence that she is somehow the ringleader (“her group") of potentially dangerous people?

I noticed, however, that this poster didn't deny confronting the man (that Ms. Kapany said she saw), and didn't deny being pulled away by his wife. If this behavior is true, I doubt that Mr. Sinnot needs police protection, but maybe those who voice opposition to him might-- just in case his wife isn't there. :<)


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Somewhere along the way, Sam got the idea that switching frontage & street address for his speculative project could be achieved. Whether or not his wife, Lorie Sinnott was still on the MP Planning Commission when this plan germinated, was any there any preferential treatment given to the spouse of a current or recently serving colleague?


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Posted by sammy
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Real Estate runs Menlo. Always has.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

@ Crescent Park (Palo alto?) dad, resident (how?) of menlo park -

Pacifica is of course in the area - San mateo Co.

Oakley? not hardly. It's a 76 mile drive. I doubt if Oakley residents support MP, or your PA businesses. They generally shop in Concord, Antioch, Pittsburg & in fact are closer to Stockton than to MP. That's what I mean by out of the area.

Redwood City, Mountain View, East Palo Alto, even Fremont are certainly "in the area".


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Once again, comments totally deleted by the editors about Sam.

Editors: just what are you afraid of when someone expresses an educated opinion about Sam? Is he threatening you? That would be par for the course for him.


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Posted by Embarrassing
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I'm embarrassed to live in this town. The hypocrisy and 3rd grade antics of most of the participants of this blog are shocking. I'm pretty sure that most of these people live in a house that was built by a developer. A developer that tried to make an .....OMG, a profit! I certainly hope that the developer that built your homes didn't have to go thru the personal verbal attacks, threats, name calling etc. .

Why don't you keep to the facts, let a CIVIL process take place and keep this garbage to a minimum. Who cares if Sam is "arrogant", or has "a short man complex" or is a "wannabe developer", etc., that has nothing to do with the decision that is at hand.

You people scare me.


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