Tuesday: Council to meet on lawsuit against development project at 1300 El Camino Real


At its meeting Tuesday, May 11, Menlo Park's City Council will discuss in closed session a lawsuit against the city's review of an office/retail development project at 1300 El Camino Real.

The City Council approved the 110,000-square-foot project at its Oct. 6 meeting. About two hours before that meeting began, the group "Concerned Citizens of Menlo Park" submitted a 29-page letter with hundreds of pages of exhibits, addressing issues related to ozone damage, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic, and land use. Council members and developer Jeff Warmoth elected to proceed with the approval process.

The group filed the lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court on Oct. 16.

While the suit names both the city and the City Council, City Attorney Bill McClure said at the time that Mr. Warmoth would bear the costs of defending a suit, because it is related to the developer-funded environmental review of the project.

At the time, the San Francisco-based law firm representing the group, Lippe Gaffney Wagner, did not return a call from The Almanac.

The people behind the "concerned citizens" group have not revealed themselves. While representatives from Draeger's market had expressed major reservations about the project because it could include a grocery store, Richard Draeger said at the time that Draeger's was not involved in a suit against the city.

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Like this comment
Posted by why nothing gets built in Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

I'm sure Morris Brown was involved... He doesn't like using his name anymore after what happened with the Derry Project... He fought for the "city" with an end result that has lost millions in tax revenue by now for the delays he caused (he won the battle and lost the war..)... Lets let the elected officials do their jobs, if you don't like it run for council... Nobody ever seems happy in Menlo... I guess the residents like el camino real to look like a ghost town producing $0 revenue...maybe we should raise taxes?

Like this comment
Posted by Insider
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

Frankly, I think this is the Beltramo's and Draeger's efforts. They have been against a Whole Foods coming into that property. It isn't the city's job to limit competition.

On a more serious note, what other litigation is facing the city -- but not known to the public?

And this shows a successful approach to challenge the Bohannon entitlements.

Like this comment
Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I am Morris Brown. I know nothing about this lawsuit. The poster above knows nothing obviously and centainly does not understand anything about the Derry Project. As fiar as my not using my name, I suggest he google me, especially with regards High Speed Rail.

Like this comment
Posted by get real
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm

"Why Nothing Gets Built" must live in a cocoon. One major reason things aren't getting built is that there has been very little credit availableand there are lots of commercial vacancies and struggling businesses. This is a national phenomenon that also affects us here locally.

It is inappropriate to accuse residents of causing the economic problems or the vacancies on El Camino. The revised Derry project was approved by the Planning Commission, and it's up to the owners to put it in front of the Council. Perhaps they will when the credit market improves. Other projects have been approved but not built, such as the Beltramo project one next to the Beltramo's store.

The other primary reason there are vacancies on El Camino is that major property owners such as Stanford are still getting rent even though the car dealers left some time ago.

Like this comment
Posted by Sam Sinnott
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Most lawsuits use traffic as their environmental basis. The traffic loads are analysed realtive to the general plan. Fifteen plus years ago the slow growth city council rewrote the general plan with very restrictive 'level of service' standards for the intersections along El Camino Real. They define how long one should wait at a light. The 'los' standards put in the general plan were so restrictive that they were already exceeded at peak hours 15 years ago. This means that, theoretically, adding even one trip will violate the standards in the general plan.

To avoid more of these environmentally based lawsuits that interfere with the new community supported specific plan, the city council should eliminate level of service standards from the general plan. Many other communities have.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Mr. Sinnott:

do you remember what it was like trying to get down El Camino at 5 pm in 2000? There is a reason for the restrictive traffic regs. El Camino is insuffcient even now with 12% unemployment. Cars sitting and idleing only put excess carbon in the air. In addition, it forces traffic into surrounding neighborhoods looking for alternate routes around the back ups.

Like this comment
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 11, 2010 at 10:25 pm

There are many other elements to traffic flow, including curbside parking and signal timing. Somehow El Camino traffic makes it through Palo Alto mid town, Mountain View and Sunnyvale with less trouble, and yet they are more developed along ECR than Menlo Park. Traffic is part of why the city commissioned the extensive, community based Downtown/ECR process. See Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by try redwood city
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Traffic does not get through Redwood City well at all, and often gets jammed up in Palo Alto near Page Mill (sorry mr. riggs).

Like this comment
Posted by do you really care
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Do we really care about residents living in nearby cities? Apprently not, since we are the one needs to drive to other cities to shop for everything and anything, not everyone can afford to shop at Draegers. I hope you will no longer to shop there as well.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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