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Election could disrupt plan for city center

 

Menlo Park's City Council had been scheduled to vote on a long-term planning effort in the city center right before the November election. Now, the vote will be held after the election.

The City Council approved the delay with no discussion at its April 27 meeting, to allow the city to address an environmental review issue it hadn't anticipated it would need to. Not doing so could leave the city open to a lawsuit, City Attorney Bill McClure said in a staff report.

The scheduling change to the three-year-plus, nearly $1 million plan could have a considerable impact on the election. While under the original schedule the election might have served as a referendum on the plan, it could now determine the outcome of that plan, if new council members don't agree with its direction.

The plan, guided almost entirely by input from residents, has been the most significant undertaking of the council majority elected in 2006, with council members waiting until the end of the process to weigh in. It has elicited opposition from a group of downtown property and business owners, who say they fear the impact on local businesses.

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