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Town Square

Stanford-Arrillaga plan: Boon or doom?

Original post made on Jan 30, 2013

What's worse than a string of empty car lots? Eight acres of mixed-use office space, retail and apartments, according to the many public speakers and some Menlo Park officials at a recent meeting.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 10:54 AM

Comments

Posted by George C. Fisher, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Actually, what occurred at the meeting, as stated by one Planning Commissioner summing up the meeting, was "vehement opposition" by a large number of Menlo Park Residents, primarily in the neighborhood of the project. Characterization of the opposition and views expressed as that of an organization diminishes the resident's objections. Among the significant objections discussed at the meeting, included the lack of infrastructure to support the project, the scale of the project creating a canyon like effect, the lack of architectural style of the Office Building portion, overemphasis of Office and Medical Office space, causing an increase in housing problems, the disharmonious relationship between the project and Allied Arts Neighborhood, referred to as vegetables and rhinoceroses, as well as safety and circulation issues imposed by cut-throughs due to insufficiency of El Camino Real, and focus on the Middle and Cambridge Intersections. The Planning staff did seem to diminish the concerns on the alleged basis of the Specific Plan. I am surprised the Almanac seems to diminish the almost overwhelming concerns stated by the residents, choosing to describe the issue as a choice between development and vacant space. Substantial issues remain regarding the magnitude and density of this proposed development in the El Camino Real bottleneck at the entrance to Menlo Park from the south


Posted by Approved, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

As noted on the other thread, the Almanac apparently ran this article by Stanford and our city attorney to make sure the notes had been adequately sanitized. We need another investigative news organization to get the back story!

Save Menlo is not an entity like the Sierra Club, although they have done a good job of getting the word out. Many of us who attended the meeting were not residents of Allied Arts. Everyone who spoke was opposed to the plan for a variety of reasons including scale, hideous architecture, school overcrowding, and lack of tax revenue as well as the obvious traffic and cut-through impacts.

Seeing such a diverse group of people from all over Menlo Park voice their concerns had a profound effect on the commissioners. Somehow the reporter missed all that.

Editor's note: For the record, the Almanac does not "run its articles" by Stanford, the city attorney or any other source.


Posted by Nick Baldo, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

The whole notion that having a handful of 3-5 story mixed-use buildings near a downtown train station is a bad thing strikes me as crazy. Are we really that petty? This is some of the most valuable real estate in the country, and it ought to be turned over to more productive use. If you ask me these plans are nowhere near ambitious enough.


Posted by Approved, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Not only is the complex about 3/4 mile from both the Palo Alto and Menlo Park train stations, it will generate no taxes for the city. And it's hideous.

I think we all prefer a more productive use. This effort fails on just about every count.

P.S. But perhaps the folks in Belle Haven would like to absorb those 1000 high density housing units that no one else wants?


Posted by Sam Sinnott, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Residents deserve a voice and opposition is part of the democratic process but this project conforms with the detailed parameters of the specific plan and it is what the residents of Menlo Park want as expressed through that lengthy process.

The Stanford - Arrillaga plan should be improved architecturally if necessary, but fundamentally supported and approved.

If cut through traffic actually materializes in the future(doubtful), Allied Arts can engineer barriers to their neighborhood. Even in that extreme case the traffic increase could not be directly attributed to this project.

A vocal minority driven by fear does not trump the rule of law.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sam has stated the case quite well - thank you.


Posted by Approved, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Yes, it's exactly what the residents want. Except we don't. And for sure, drivers are going to take the Middle Road exit out of this monstrosity and turn onto El Camino -- even though El Camino is going to be gridlocked -- rather than proceed straight down Middle.

Must be fun to live in a dream world. Not very productive, though.


Posted by not so fast, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Sam and Peter - No - this is not what the community workshops said we could expect. We thought we were getting a nice public plaza, not an island in the middle of a multi-lane driveway. We thought we were getting senior housing or a hotel and conference center. The mixed use buildings weren't this tall.
This project is not what the EIR said. It didn't study medical offices, it didn't study cut-through traffic, it didn't study the pedestrian and bicyclist safety of intersections such as ECR and Middle, Middle and Safeway lot. Let's do a new EIR for this project and then decide. Those facts will determine if the fears are groundless and if it's what was expected. I don't think so!


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Sam:

in case you weren't aware, there's already problems with cut through traffic in this area. If you don't believe me drive up some of the side streets between Sand Hill and Middle. On a number of them you will find traffic slowing "humps." Why do you think those are there? Because the city likes paying for unnecessary traffic controls? No, the problem ALREADY exists. It will only get worse. I know there's no development project you've seen you didn't like, but let's be factual here. Cut through traffic is already a problem and will only get worse with the construction of this dense a project. Bet on it.


Posted by Voice Outside, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

This "project" is atrocious! Have any of you tried to drive the El Camino through Menlo Park and been frustrated by the traffic congestion at any hour? This horrendous project promises it will get worse! Whatever the dubious motive for this, GET RID OF IT!

No way is this a good deal for Menlo Park! :-(


Posted by easy does it, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Did anybody notice the comments by Thomas Rogers? Sounded like he was saying the Planning Commission has no power to do anything but rubber stamp this project. Stanford must love him. Shortly after the Commission was reminded of their power to kill projects that don't fit in with the city's character, Rogers basically said that's just for show--they better not try it. He seemed to be out of touch with what 135 residents and a number of Planning Commissioners see all too plainly: this project is the biggest most obvious misfit ever to come before the Commission.If they can't stop it, what on earth do we have a Planning Commission for?


Posted by Who's to blame, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jan 30, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Sam says: "the traffic increase could not be directly attributed to this (Stanford's) project" Huh? First off there will be 5,500 more cars coming and going into this development every day. That's an increase related to this project. Secondly, much of the traffic on ECR is due to Stanford campus, hospital, medical offices, Children's hospital, and shopping center.

There's a big difference between standing around attractive renderings of buildings on the wall at the Specific Planning meetings and understanding the reality of 474,000 sq feet of buildings on shallow parcels along ECR. These sites should be all housing which has a different kind of car trip use.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rogers is absolutely correct that any attempt to deny Stanford its right to develop under the current zoning ordinance would be a HUGE mistake. It would be very costly and it would fail.


Posted by Stefan P., a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm

The petition at saveMenlo.org is now at 431 signatures and growing. This project is not just a problem for Allied Arts but for everybody who wants to get across the city. There are times during the day when you cannot add another car to ECR. The tenants of these new buildings will be at risk of suffocating in their cars as they are waiting to leave the underground parking garage while ECR is gridlocked.
Also worth noting is that this project consumes ~95% of the office space that was studied in the EIR as part of the Specific Plan.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 9:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There are times during the day when you cannot add another car to ECR"

All of the alternatives proposed by the opponents involve adding cars to ECR. So obviously the only answer is to leave these parcels empty.


Posted by Non-NIMBY, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:51 am

Guess what, Menlo Park NIMBYs. You're not going to get a zero-impact use for that empty space/blight. Even a park or recreation fields would increase traffic in ECR. What *should* happen is that the complex is built at the same time the lights/traffic on ECR is evaluated and SYNCHRONIZED so that people can get in and out easier. I believe the Rolling Stones said it best: "You can't always get what you want."


Posted by not so fast, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Who's to Blame said it well -- it's one thing to look at pretty pictures and be told about all the good things that will come of the specific plan, and another thing to look at a project that does almost nothing to help Menlo Park except fill a couple vacant lots. If stanford uses the properties for academic purposes, the value would be negative to Menlo Park as it wouldn't even pay property taxes as it does now.
There are many alternatives between doing nothing and doing this project. Hardly anyone has said do nothing.
Maybe we can't get exactly what we want, but we can get a lot closer than this.


Posted by No Easy Solutions, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Interesting how most of the proponents for the development as-is, do not reside in Menlo Park.

@Non-NIMBY: From reading the various threads on this topic, it seems that most MP folks are for some form of development as long as quality of life is not severely degraded (traffic/noise/safety) and that there is adequate offset (tax revenue/public benefits) for the development. You are probably mistaking us for Atherton ;).


Posted by Easy Does It, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Peter Carpenter sure seems interested in Menlo Park. Interesting that not only does he live in Atherton, he is apparently a former director of the Stanford Medical Center. Makes one wonder where his loyalties lie...


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Makes one wonder where his loyalties lie..."

My loyalties are to good government (I have also served as an elected local official and as a planning commissioner) and active citizen participation BEFORE decisions are made, not to changing the rules when a few people don't like the outcome.

On the other hand we have no idea who Easy Does It is or what are her credentials.


Posted by George C. Fisher, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 31, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Peter, please confirm you are a former director of the Stanford Medical Center.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Peter and the others that have pointed out that we cannot change or prevent this project from going forward are correct. It's very unfortunate that the city got nothing in writing from Stanford instead relying on pie in the sky promisses. Yes, it's bait and switch, but our city set it up so it could happen and Stanford is famous for shoving their problems into our city.

We're stuck with this abomination and all its attendent problems. If the city allows a few hundred people to get this project stoped you can forget having any other developers come in and develop the vacant car lots on El Camino. Or anywhere else for that matter. Why would they? So they can spends hundreds of thousands of dollars developing plans and jumping though city hoops just to have the rules get changed on them after the fact? Next life. Developers are not that stupid. You can't change the rules after you've agreed to them.

We can only hope to mitigate this mess not prevent it. Planning should pay close attention to the look of the architecture (it's the only thing they can look at) and make sure it is in keeping with the rest of teh city.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, please confirm you are a former director of the Stanford Medical Center."

Yes, from 1973-1976 - a pretty long time ago. And a former Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and a former Menlo Park (!) Fire Protection District Director and a former Federal official (OMB, the Price Commission and the White House) and a Vietnam veteran and a former Smokejumper - anything else???


Posted by Who's to blame, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jan 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm

The Menlo Park Staff and council selected a consultant to oversee the specific plan process that was at the same time (2008) the paid consultant to Stanford University. The company was SMWM and Stanford had hired it to create the Master Plan for a 35 acre Stanford campus in Redwood City. The letter SMWM sent to the City in September 2008 was honest about its relationship with Stanford. SMWM was soon acquired by Perkins & Will so the names change but the point is the same. The fox was invited into the hen house. What we have today is a Specific Plan that Stanford shaped to their interests. Stanford has needed to get car intensive uses off campus. Stanford was asked by the consultant to be on the Oversight and Outreach committee. One has to wonder what was inserted into the specific plan at Stanford's direction. The end result is a plan that is mighty friendly to Stanford. How could the council select a company that had ties to Stanford. Council Members Cline, Robinson, Fergusson, Cohen, and Boyle: Step up and explain yourselves.


Posted by Too Big To Fail?, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Managers of The Farm suffered a mortal blow from NYC electorate in its ill fated Roosevelt Island campus overture

They dare to think that well organized highly educated Menlo residents won't put up a similar effort to derail the Stanford juggernaut ?

Rogers, Elliott, Perkin Will and the Menlo city hierarchy got caught with their pants down Monday night

It's our homes and families against your so called "Academic Mission" revenue generation with grandiose community destroying development schemes


Wanna place bets?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Too big to fail:

you and the rest take on Stanford at Menlo Park's loss. The city gave Stanford the keys to the kingdom. They are producing a project that complies with the zoning requirements. If Menlo Park tries to stop this project they will lose. They will either lose by losing a lawsuit with Stanford or, in the extremely unusual chance that the City prevailed, they would lose. If the city prevailed in preventing this project from moving forward they would lose big time as there is no devloper in their right mind that will do anything in our city if the city were to prevail. Bottom line - we still lose. Unless, of course, you LIKE vacant lots on El Camino.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Wanna place bets?"

Yes, Stanford will win. Now start working to make the project a win-win and quit bitching.


Posted by TBTF, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:13 pm

You're on!
Menlo Voter. First you excoriated Sinnott about Allied Arts traffic impacts from Arrillaga & then you acquiesce to Menlo giving keys to the kingdom to Stanford
FYI lots of developers with more Menlo friendly plans are waiting in the wings
They just dont want go full bore against demigod Arrillaga until he gracefully withdraws in the best interest of genuine Menlo residents and Voters! , unlike Herr Carpenter


Posted by Arrillagaville, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Welcome to Neo Feudalism!
Serfs, assume your position


Posted by Approved, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm

For years, Stanford rubbed our collective faces in those ugly vacant lots at the entrance to our city. They could have developed them in accordance with existing zoning. They chose not to do so. Our city could have imposed a tax on them for failing to maintain their properties, but our city chose to look the other way.

"Public process" aside, the fact is that the city hosted a meeting this week and not one resident liked the Stanford proposal. Not one. We all believed in change, but that was not the change anyone wanted to see.

Now the question at hand is whether the planning commission has the authority to require Stanford to rethink its project to fit the neighborhood. Many smart people believe the commission does. And Stanford will soon realize that instead of dealing with a bunch of inept city staffers, it's facing a lot of bright, motivated residents. (Many of whom are alums!)

As far as Stanford is concerned, this is about foisting their excess traffic on us. For us, it's about our homes, our families, and our quality of life. It could go either way, but it's by no means a slam dunk for Stanford.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 1, 2013 at 7:16 am

TBTF:

I excoriated Sinnot because his statment was demonstrably false.

I don't aquiesce to Menlo Park giving Arillaga the keys to the kingdom. That's already been done. What I acknowledge it that has already been done and I really don't want the city spending my tax money on a futile law suit. Just so we're clear - I don't like this project at all. It's going to cause huge problems and exacerbate already existing problems. None of that matters. The City Council in its "infinite wisdom" saw fit to screw this deal up.

News flash: Arillaga isn't going to "gracefully withdraw" and neither is Stanford. They've got too much time and money invested in this. Stanford owns the land and Stanford does not sell off its property. They will develop that property and maximize its income potential. Stanford could care less what we think.

If the city is allowed to change the rules on this project after the fact, I can guarantee you those other developers "waiting in the wings" will disappear. Would you put a ton of money at risk on a development project in a city that is known to keep changing the rules and not abiding by its decisions? Didn't think so.


Posted by Easy Does It, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Who's to Blame has it right: Stanford's consultant advised our city on the details of the Downtown Plan. The Plan is in every way friendly to Stanford and hostile to Menlo Park. The Planning Commission has every authority to turn it down at this point, and can't in good conscience do otherwise.
Here's an excerpt from the Fiscal Impact Report on the Specific Plan, referencing the hotel Stanford dangled in front of the city:
"Draft Specific Plan revenue is heavily dependent upon transient-occupancy tax; the Draft Specific Plan could result in negative impacts to the General Fund without inclusion of a hotel. The Draft Specific Plan allows that two hotels with a total of 380 rooms could be built as part of the overall development program. Strategic Economic's analysis shows that over 60% of plan revenues would be generated by transient-occupancy taxes levied on these hotels. The plan therefore could result in a negative impact to the General Fund without inclusion of approximately 80 hotel rooms (varying based on quality level and nightly rates). Upon build-out, proposed development under the Draft Specific Plan without any hotels could result in General Fund losses of approximately $250,000 annually (in 2009 dollars)." And that's just ONE of the problems we'd be facing if we were to let Stanford get away with its bait-and-switch. If Stanford sues, so what? It's about time Menlo Park stopped bending over backwards to avoid lawsuits and started standing up for the residents.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

Easy does it:

Stanford already has gotten away with this bait and switch. The only thing the planning commission has any authority over at this point is the appearance of the project. The planning commission absolutley does not have the authority to overturn the approved zoning. They cannot demand reductions in size below what our council stupidly approved. Your anger is misdirected. Staff and council blew this. Instead of getting Stanford's intentions in writing they let them blow smoke up their skirts and then handed them the keys to the kingdom. It's not like Stanford hasn't pulled this kind of garbage before. Our staff and council should have known better.

At this point all we can do is demand that the appearance be something we can live with. If the city tries to deny a use consistent with approved zoning they will get the city sued. And the city will lose. Personally, I'd rather my taxes be spent on something besides a losing lawsuit.


Posted by WHo's to blame, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Maybe not: The planning commission has more authority than Easy Does It thinks. However, the planning commission members need to stand up to Staff in order to do their job.
The commission must determine if the development is detrimental to the harmonious and orderly growth of the city; and if the development impairs the desirability of investment or occupation in the neighborhood. These are extremely important questions. Also, the commission must make sure Stanford's project complies with the specific plan. The commission is not limited to how Stanford's buildings look and if the material is pleasant. With 5,500 more cars coming in and out of this development, the will surely be a loss of harmonious and orderly growth of the city. Let's think big and be proactive. Stanford can do better and our council will follow the Planning Commission's deliberations so that residents will be heard.
The planning commission meeting monday, the 28th showed the residents that we have a commission that is savvy and concerned.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Prediction: the city somehow stops this project and the city gets their a**es sued off, AND LOSE.

Another prediction: if the above comes to pass there will be no more developers interested in doing anything in Menlo Park becasue they don't have the legals deep pockets to fight like Stanford does.

Further prediction: if the above comes to pass those eye sores on El Camino not owned by Stanford will still be there.

Please think this through. It has long term concequences. And not the ones you think it does.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The planning commission has more authority than Easy Does It thinks."

i think not. Planning Commissions have NO independent authority, they are advisory to the City Council. And the City Council is bound by its prior zoning determinations.

I served for 4 1/2 years as a Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and I can assure you that such commissions have NO final authority.

Stomping your feet trying to stop this project will only hurt your feet - start focussing on developing win-win improvements and mitigations.


Posted by Who's to blame, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

How insulting: no one is stomping their feet. There is an EIR, a specific plan, zoning regulations, a planning commission and a city council. There are people with expertise in every aspect of land use planning. The City wants to get their specific plan right. Stanford wants to build a well designed office complex and residential buildings. It would help if Mr. Carpenter would contribute to the process of finding solutions that work for Menlo Park. Our current council has 2 new council members and 2 other council members who have only been on the council for 2 years. I believe those 4 and Cline will take a new look at the specific plan and see where it can be revised to address the El Camino real portion. What Menlo Park doesn't need is sarcasm from an out of town source.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This project conforms with the specific plan and the current zoning ordinance. Nothing whorupeople suggests can require any change in the proposed plan.

Start focussing your energy on developing win-win improvements and mitigations such as I have posted on other threads on this topic.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2013 at 10:37 am
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

With a little creative management and perhaps some incentives Stanford should be able to attract housing residents who wok in this complex - thereby generating zero automobile trips for those residents to go to work.
****************
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

Why not, as WhoRUpeople and Menlo Voter suggest, devote energy into making this a great project. Lot's of creative win-win things could be done such as encouraging people who work in the new complex to live there, ensuring the the free Stanford provide Marguerite Web Link shuttle serves the complex, good pedestrian and bike access etc.

Beating Stanford over the head won't accomplish anything - they HAVE the development rights.


Posted by Who's to blame, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm

No one is beating Stanford over the head. relax. all this passion for Stanford is weird. Stanford can defend itself without little people puffing up their chests. It's silly to say that nothing can change this project. Menlo Park residents are not in win/lose battle with Stanford. Together Stanford and Menlo Park residents will work this out. We don't need this carping from the sidelines, especially from people who do not live in Menlo Park.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Start focussing your energy on developing win-win improvements and mitigations.


Posted by Who's to blame, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm

How about helping us Mr. Carpenter. What do you want on El Camino real on the Stanford Parcels? Menlo Park is trying to provide housing, unlike Atherton. Be part of the solution, instead of stirring up the mud.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"How about helping us Mr. Carpenter."
I have tried hard to explain why this project, consistent as it is with current zoning, will inevitably move forward. I have also tried to offer suggestions as to how the project might be improved and have encouraged, without success, others to do the same.
*******************
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

With a little creative management and perhaps some incentives Stanford should be able to attract housing residents who wok in this complex - thereby generating zero automobile trips for those residents to go to work.

****************
"How about helping us Mr. Carpenter"


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

Why not, as WhoRUpeople and Menlo Voter suggest, devote energy into making this a great project. Lot's of creative win-win things could be done such as encouraging people who work in the new complex to live there, ensuring the the free Stanford provide Marguerite Web Link shuttle serves the complex, good pedestrian and bike access etc.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 4, 2013 at 7:14 am

Who's to blame:

you consistently ignore the fact that this project is consistent with the approved zoning. The EIR is meaningless, it comes BEFORE the council sets the zoning. The zoning has been set and it can't be changed unless the council changes it. If the council changes it you can bet Stanford will sue. And you can bet no other developers will be interested in dong anything is this town, knowing that we have no compunction against changing the rules after we set them.

The specific plan is in place. The council didn't get it right, but there is nothing we can do about it at this point other than to try to make sure the exterior of the building is in keeping with what the town wants. The zoning is set. This project complies. The council blew it. You can't stop this project without getting the city into a lawsuit. Get it?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2013 at 9:32 am

Carping from people who don't live in Menlo? How stupid. This effects everyone who wants to spend $$ in your town and/or gets stuck in your horrid traffic or works near the project. Of course locals who know how these things work should weigh in - wisdom clearly isn't restricted to Menlo residents.


Posted by serious questions, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

If the Stanford project would actually use up 95% of the office space allowed in the Specific Plan area, can't the Planning Commission and Council oppose it on that basis and require yet more housing? ALso it seems sily to put so many offices so far from the train station - the furthest of all the Specific Plan parcels.

Finally, medical offices are much more traffic intensive than other types of offices. That needs to be taken into account now in approving or denying this and probably doesn't match what was assumed for the project-wide EIR.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Serious Questions - the issues you highlight may well be examples of issues that the DSP should have addressed better, but they are now examples of moot points. Those who really want to affect changes to the landowners plan that will have less of a negative impact should really spend their time, effort and brainpower concentrating on suggestions to make that the landowner might view as a greater benefit than their current rights. The FACT that many well intentioned posters here really don't seem to understand is that when the City set the zoning allowances for these parcels, it bestowed VESTED property rights upon the land owner. To take those rights away at this point is illegal. Many of you appear to be very passionate about this; I would encourage you to focus that passion on working with Stanford to find some common ground. Your City leadership understands the issues and I would be shocked if they pursued a strategy that would result in fruitless litigation.


Posted by Approved, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Unless it can be proven that what the council did was illegal, which appears to be the case. There are grounds for reversing their magnanimous gift.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Unless it can be proven that what the council did was illegal, which appears to be the case."

Do you have any FACTS to back up your statement or is it sheer fantasy?


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

To Approved -- I just need to set the record straight, I did not say the Council did anything illegal. In fact, they, by zoning the property to conform with the DSP, they did exactly what the law requires they do. What I said was that to now try to deny the property owner those zoned rights, that would be illegal and your City leadership knows better than to do so. You, and others who want to do something about this, should really read up on your zoning laws and the process of vesting landowner rights first


Posted by Approved, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I am so grateful that the wisdom of outsiders is guiding the dolts and buffoons who reside in Menlo Park. Clearly, we all must have been given our houses because we are way too stupid to get jobs that would pay us enough to afford a mortgage or rent in this overpriced town.

The DSP itself appears to be illegal, and even an innocent recipient cannot keep stolen property. Some of you Stanford sycophants, especially those of you who like to invent zoning laws, may not be happy with what transpires over the next few months, but Menlo Park residents should be pretty pleased.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The DSP itself appears to be illegal"

Interesting theory - do you have any facts and legal opinions to support this position?

"those of you who like to invent zoning laws" - Those of us who have posted on this issue have done so based on intimate knowledge of zoning laws and not ones that we have invented.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink - even if you have to lead the horse by its back end.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Approved:

as a Menlo Park resident I can assure you I will be damned displeased if the city gets itslef involved in fruitless litigation over this issue. The city council declared the zoning. it's a done deal it doesn't mater upon what they made their decision, It's done. I for one don't want my tax dollars being poured down a rat hole of fruitless litigation.

To be clear - I am decidely not a "Stanford sycophant." If you 've paying any attentio to what I've said here and on other threads that should be clear. This project stinks. I do not like it. The council blew it.

That said, the council cannot now go back and try and change the zoning they've already granted. I don't know what is so hard for people to understand about that.

Oh, and could you please enlighten us as to what property has been "stolen?"


Posted by not so fast, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

The Council can and should fix the Specific Plan now that it's obvious what is being proposed was not what was expected.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Council can and should fix the Specific Plan "

Sure they can but that action would not change Stanford's vested rights under the current zoning.

The horse has left the barn so don't waste too much time shutting the barn doors.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm

not so fast:

and everyone else. the specific plan was used by the council to set the zoning, not the other way around. This is a done deal. No amount of jumping up and down is going to change the zoning that has been granted.