What no-one is saying about the Ace hardware, is that it occupies only a small portion of the front of the building and that a church meeting room occupies the larger back portion of the building.
The building is 8000 square feet and the Ace hardware occupies about 3000 square feet.
The net/net of the deal is that Menlo Park allowed a non-sales tax producing use to occupy a retail space. I voted against it.
The Chamber also understood this and wrote a polite letter of objection.
It was nothing personal against the church, but I wanted all 8000 square feet to be retail.
Elsewhere in Menlo Park we are replacing former sales-tax paying auto dealers with high-density condos, and in the east we have replaced sales-tax paying light manufacturers with non sales tax paying offices.
Office conversions and condo conversions have wiped out the sales tax base. Is it any wonder that sales tax revenues are at a 13-year low?
While its perfectly understandable that property owners would want to maximize their rents, it is incomprehensible to me that city council members would also want to maximize rents particularly when rent maximization leads to the elimination of retailers and sales tax and hence city revenue.
Its perfectly "fair" for the community to guard its tax base, and to preserve retail uses in retail zones.
Before this week, Mickie Winkler's only policy was "streamlining", a euphemism for eliminating community discretion in land-use matters. Mickie wants to make Menlo Park safe for spec development, even at the expense of the sales tax base.
Now, in the election, she's getting beaten up over the fact that she ran the sales tax base into the ground. Suddenly, Mickie has a plan for sales tax. It will take a long time for Menlo Park to undo the damage and rebuild its lost sales tax base.