News

Bohannon doesn't agree to share profit with city

 

Land developer David Bohannon has reiterated his company's refusal to engage in a profit-sharing plan with the city of Menlo Park, in the event that the Menlo Gateway office/hotel project far exceeds revenue projections.

City Council members at their May 11 meeting had asked the city's negotiators to try to work out a provision for a profit-sharing deal with the Bohannon Development Co., if the project generates "windfall" profits. Several community members have said they think the city is vastly underestimating the value of the zoning concessions it's considering granting, urging the council to press for more money.

The city would have to make major zoning and general plan changes to allow for three eight-story office buildings and a 230-room hotel near Bayfront Expressway and Marsh Road, with the project totaling nearly 1 million square feet of floor area. The council will hold a public hearing on the project Tuesday, May 25, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, on several issues, including environmental concerns, land use considerations, traffic and greenhouse gas mitigations, and architectural plans.

But it's possible that approval of the project will hinge on monetary terms. Several residents have repeatedly warned council members that they're getting snookered.

"I don't see this project as a contribution to the city," resident Chuck Bernstein told the council at its May 11 meeting. "I do understand, though, how a handful of Europeans managed to obtain Manhattan from the Indians for a few beads, because I think that's potentially what's happening here."

In approving zoning changes, the city would essentially be selling Mr. Bohannon 32 acres of land, he argued. At $2 million an acre, that's $64 million. "Menlo Park ought to get that money up front."

The city has said that the value of the zoning concessions could be worth anywhere from nothing at all (if real estate markets don't recover) to $100 million, under standards used in the real estate development world. Several residents have argued that the concessions are worth far more than even the $100 million figure.

In a May 20 letter to the city, Mr. Bohannon, vice president of the Bohannon company, said that, while his company earnestly investigated the concept, a profit-sharing agreement would likely make it more difficult to get financing for the project, and could delay its construction. He stressed that the company has already agreed to major public benefits, saying that a revenue guarantee the company has agreed to is unprecedented in the state of California, based on his research, for a development project a city is not investing in.

In an interview, Mr. Bohannon said he could not find examples of any case in California in which a developer had agreed to share profits with a city under similar circumstances. He noted that his company will bear "enormous" financial risks in developing the project, a risk the city is not sharing in.

"We believe that we can overcome hesitancy in the lending community about the Menlo Park guarantee at some cost to ourselves and the project," Mr. Bohannon wrote in the letter to the city. "We do not believe that we would be able to do so, if some sort of back end windfall provision is added.

"The long and the short of it is this," he continued. "If the city wants the economic performance that is currently proposed by Menlo Gateway, with the substantial backup of the Bohannon guarantee … this is as far as we can go."

City consultants estimate that the project will provide $1.67 million per year to city coffers, a number that doesn't include mitigation fees, or various other payments the Bohannon company has agreed to provide. After the May 11 meeting, the company agreed to add a one-time payment of $250,000 to the Belle Haven neighborhood, in addition to the $1 million it has already agreed to provide for Belle Haven, and for Bayfront Park.

Since that meeting, the company has also agreed to guarantee the city additional hotel tax, regardless of whether the city raises its hotel tax rates in the future -- netting an additional $150,000 annually, the city estimates.

This was the second time council members have asked for a profit-sharing agreement, a provision the Bohannon company rejected in its first round of negotiations with the city.

"I think we're approaching a very fair deal here, but I'm not ignoring some of the concerns that have been raised, that it may be (worth) quite a bit more" than a city consultant's estimate of $27 million, Councilman Heyward Robinson said at the May 11 meeting.

Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson argued that a profit-sharing agreement could help compensate for some of the potential adverse impacts on the city, such as increased housing demand.

"Despite the great progress that has been made (in negotiations), when we do look back at the caveats and conditions council members talked about, a lot of those have not been achieved," she said at the meeting.

Councilman John Boyle said that his vote didn't hinge on the inclusion of a profit-sharing agreement.

"I agree with the concept, but I'm very suspicious we would be able to come up with a way to make this palatable to the applicant, and viable," he said.

At the May 11 council meeting, Mr. Bohannon said he viewed the project itself, rather than monetary payments, as the main benefit to the city.

"We will have to work long and hard to make (the city's financial) expectations a reality, but if the city demands too much, we may regrettably be forced to fold our tent and go home," he said. "I urge you not to push us to that brink."

"It is good for the city, and it's good for my family, but only we can determine what makes sense for us to proceed," he said. "We will not apologize for seeking to make a profit."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Don't give em another cent David. The council will just waste the money as they always do.


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Posted by No, Bo, it's not a go
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

If Bohannon wanted to develop his land as currently zoned, the obstacles would be minimal. Instead, he is asking the city to turn the rules upside down solely to accommodate him. Adding this much office space -- offices that will not produce sales tax revenue -- will burden the city without commensurate benefit.

The city deserves to be compensated, and we need better negotiators. Hope our council can hang tough here and not cave to Bohannon just because he's rich. I'd call his bluff and let him fold his tent. What's he going to do, move the land to Redwood City? Secede from the country and become Bohannon Nation?


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Yes, let's make it as difficult as possible for someone to invest their money and bring good paying jobs into our community.

The last thing you want is for Bohannon to pick up his marbles and go elsewhere.


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Posted by No, Bo, it's not a go
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Most of the jobs created by this leviathan are short-term construction jobs that will vanish after the buildings are complete. No one is going to start a law firm or go into venture capital -- the kinds of professional use that Bohannon expects to attract -- just because there's a new building. If anything, the complex will siphon its tenants from existing MP office buildings and depress the rents for those buildings. Those owners will also pay the price for this development and will receive no compensation.

If Bohannon were developing the site for light industrial, as currently zoned, the project would be far more likely to create meaningful long-term jobs for unskilled and low-skilled labor. The kinds of jobs that would provide real benefits to the Belle Haven community.

As currently configured, the project is destined to flood our neighborhoods with traffic, require us to add thousands of housing units, and further strain the capacity of already overloaded schools -- solely for the purpose of enriching Bohannon. The city owes him nothing. If he wants to invest his money without hassles, he should develop in accordance with the general plan and existing zoning. No one is above the rules.


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Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

No Bo,
These are the same brilliant negotiators that never read the City garbage service contract thoroughly and now we citizens get hit with fee hike by a lame duck contractor. These are the same brilliant negotiators that have driven out all the tax-generating car dealerships which once kept the City cofers in the black.
What are our council people smoking? Has anyone else offered to buy 32 acres of marsh land with a nice view of Hwy 101 for $2 million per acre?
Why should the city get to share in profits that Bohannon's project might generate? It's like, if you sell a car to someone for a reasonable price and they invest a bunch of money in the car and end up winning a NASCAR Race in it - you should get part of the purse?
Council greed is going to squelch this project, and in turn screw all of us in Menlo. Look for another parcel tax in the next election to bail the city out.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Government should not be in the real estate business.

Just my opinion


Like this comment
Posted by Oak Knoll Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2010 at 9:49 pm

An objective look at both Santa Cruz Ave. and El Camino Real should awaken this council to the hard facts of business at this time. The city is not thriving at all and we should be happy that the Bohannon Corporation is choosing Menlo Park for such a project. It will bring valuable revenue to the decreasing city coffers and asking this developer to take all the risk and share their revenues is foolish. Again our council as they did with the Derry Project and our forever boarded movie theatre shows that all they are concerned with is obstructing any project from coming to completion. What a great record.


Like this comment
Posted by No, Bo, it's not a go
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Some of you don't seem to understand the issues or are being deliberately obtuse. Let me provide an analogy to help clarify.

I live in an area zoned for single family housing, but it has occurred to me that I can quadruple the value of my property by razing my home and building a four-story condominium complex on the lot. Of course, there are those nasty setbacks and lot coverage restrictions that would prevent me from making my condos big enough to bring me as much money as I'd like, so I ask the city to do away with the zoning rules.

Needless to say, there won't be parking onsite for my buyers and Menlo Park doesn't allow overnight parking, but I expect them to make an exception for me. This will inconvenience my neighbors, but why should I care about them? My new condos will prevent about half of the people around me from getting any sunshine, but that's not my problem.

The construction of my condominiums will provide work for a few dozen laborers and of course I'll be adding to the city's housing stock. So I will be doing more than my share to help the city.

Why shouldn't we all be free to do whatever we want with our property? Isn't life all about our making as much money for ourselves as possible?


Like this comment
Posted by Vincent Bressler
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 21, 2010 at 11:22 pm

This zoning action will create a lot potential value. Most people posting here seem to think that David Bohannon is entitled to keep all of the potential value.

Why?

Do you actually believe that the Menlo Park City Council should create this potential value without making sure that the city is duly compensated when and if the project is a success?

I agree that the city wastes money, but that is a separate issue.

Risk is not the issue here. The potential value only comes after risk.

Of course this project won't happen if the city demands too much. But the city has not demanded any portion of the potential value that would be created by the zoning action.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 22, 2010 at 8:35 am

Oak Knoll Parent:

this project will decidedly NOT bring revenues to the city. When you look at the costs this project will generate for the city, the tax revenue from the hotel won't be enough to cover the added costs. So, no, this is not a revenue generating project for the city.

In addition, the way the deal is set up there is no requiement that if the land is sold, with its valuable up-zoning that a hotel or anything else described in the project actually be built. I have my suspicions that once Mr. Bohannon gets his up-zoning and his property value jumps in value because of it, he'll sell it.

This is NOT a good deal for the city the way it is structured. If Bohannon isn't going to develop something that is tax revenue positive, then he needs to come up with a way to cover the added costs the city will incur.


Like this comment
Posted by Gee
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2010 at 9:49 am

Gee, why did the Almanac remove their own article so quickly from the news page of their web site. Guess it's not as important as Sudden Oak Death Forum or Author Speaks at Keplers.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

No bo -

You stated, "Most of the jobs created by this leviathan are short-term construction jobs that will vanish after the buildings are complete. ... If Bohannon were developing the site for light industrial, as currently zoned, the project would be far more likely to create meaningful long-term jobs for unskilled and low-skilled labor. The kinds of jobs that would provide real benefits to the Belle Haven community."

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I always thought construction jobs were highly valued jobs and it is one the most depressed segments of our community. Those jobs pay very well and provide employment to those economic segments who have been most adversely impacted by the recession (ie, with the highest unemployment rates).

Wouldn't that be a good thing? Given your admission that there would likely be a need for "thousands of (additional) housing units," it would appear this project could provide the stimulus for good construction jobs for YEARS to come.

You don't want any of that? What DO you want?

Finally, even though Mr. Bohannon may be getting a bit of break from the City Council in exchange for taking a multi-million dollar risk, remember that his tenants DO NOT get that break. If you know anything about business, they still will pay payroll taxes, sales taxes on everything they purchase, require maintenance and upkeep and lots of services, and pay an annual asset tax to the county on every desk, computer and garbage can in their offices. And I haven't even noted all of the businesses in the area that will benefit by serving us with lunch and catering, janitorial services, car services, dry cleaning, entertainment, etc.

But why would you want any of those things...


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Posted by another no
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm

POGO - this project will bring thousands of cars to clog the roadways, pressure on our schools (the school money doesn't go to MP school district), use up most of the city's water allocation. There is no guarantee anything will ever get built, the vast majority of the project is offices that won't bring in tax revenue to the city unless the council wises up to the fact that they could limit the proportion that could be used by lawyers and venture capitalists and the like. Nothing may happen for 8 years - no jobs of any kind, no money to the city, no fixing up of the area - but the city would be restricted from imposing any future requirements regarding environmental or other impacts. There is absolutely no need to approve this as proposed right now.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

One way to avoid giving the property new commercial zoning without commitment to a specific plan would be to rezone the property as a Planned Community or PC zone. With such a PC zone the specific development and development schedule is codified and cannot be changed without the City's approval.

Here is the description of a Planned Community zone from the Palo Alto ordinance:

"The PC planned community district is intended to accommodate developments for residential,commercial, professional, research, administrative, industrial, or other activities, including

combinations of uses appropriately requiring flexibility under controlled conditions not otherwise attainable under other districts. The planned community district is particularly intended for unified,

comprehensively planned developments which are of substantial public benefit, and which conform with and enhance the policies and programs of the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan."

And here is how what is done within a PC is controlled:

"each application for a PC district shall be

accompanied by a development program statement, a development plan, and a development schedule.

The development plan shall, as approved by the city council, become a part of the zoning regulations applicable within the respective PC district."

Under such an approach the City would have control over what was done and Bohannon could not sell the PC zoned land for any other use or development except as provided in the established PC zone.


It turns out that Menlo Park already has a version of a PC zone in its ordinance - a Planned Development or PD zone.

"16.57.010 Establishment of a P-D zone. Applications for the establishment of or reclassification to the P-D zone classifications must include a development plan as described in this chapter. The zone reclassification shall not be approved until a permit approving the development plan has been issued by the planning commission and the city council.

The planning commission and city council, after public hearings, may approve, disapprove, modify or attach conditions to a development plan."

"A development plan shall be accompanied by a development schedule indicating the approximate date when construction of the project can be expected to begin (which date shall be no later than one year from the effective date of the rezoning of the property) the anticipated rate of development, and completion date. The development schedule, if approved by the city council, shall be adhered to by the owner of the property in the P-D zone and his successors in interest."

So now the question is - why isn't Menlo Park using this tool for the Bohannon project?????


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 23, 2010 at 9:48 am

Another no -

You stated: "POGO - this project will bring thousands of cars to clog the roadways, pressure on our schools (the school money doesn't go to MP school district), use up most of the city's water allocation." You follow that with: "There is no guarantee anything will ever get built" and "Nothing may happen for 8 years..."

So what is it that you're worried about - the congestion or that it won't be built at all?

If it's extra cars on the road, then I'm reminded on an old saying in the hotel business that "we could run a hotel quite nicely if it weren't for the guests." That's the price of growth. ANY new businesses, homes, schools or churches will bring new cars into the area, won't they? Things change, Mr. No. You want those jobs, you want those tax revenues, you want those programs? Who do you think pays for them - business taxes and employee taxes.

And I maintain that contruction jobs are GREAT jobs and they help a specific part of our community that is in greatest need. And think of all of the outfitting that will be required. I remember when Stanford moved into the former Excite building - they were busy remodeling those interiors for a couple of years I'm sure local businesses loved that work.

You also imply that venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road will take that new office space. I'm not sure that's true, but if so, is that a bad thing? Do you think venture firms don't employ people or pay taxes? Do you think they don't employ support services, eat at neighborhood restaurants, and stay at hotels? They bring in a fantastic amount of money to the area.

For those who consistently oppose growth, if you do a little research, I'll very sure you'll find that there were people who were against the construction of your neighborhood or your house. It's just that you're here now and you want to shut the barn door behind you.

It doesn't work that way.


Like this comment
Posted by No, Bo, it's not a go
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

Last time I looked, Woodside had a pretty restrictive building code. From a resident's perspective, I have a hard time accepting that Menlo Park should be a dumping ground for a level of construction, traffic, and pollution that neighboring communities would never countenance.

Since we're talking about venture capitalists, the fact is that they do not "bring in a fantastic amount of money." They pay a modest business tax, and that's about it. That's the problem with buildings designed for professional offices: they generate no sales tax revenue for the city.

If the name of the game is to cram as many jobs, houses, and construction opportunities into Menlo Park as possible, that's easy. Let's just disband the council and the planning commission and fire 90% of the city staff and tell everyone they can do whatever they want with their property. But that wouldn't fly in Woodside and it won't fly in Menlo Park. We're charged with finding the balance between an acceptable level of development -- development that will preferably enhance the quality of life for current residents (Bohannon's project most assuredly will not) and long-term provide more revenue than expenses (Bohannon's project probably will be in the red as far as city cash flow is concerned)-- and a reasonable profit for the developer.

I don't oppose growth as much as greed and an unwillingness to consider the bigger picture and the best interests of the community. There were probably people who opposed the development of my neighborhood, and you know what? They were right. One major problem with Menlo Park is that it was built out way too much in the post-war period, leaving us without enough space for schools or recreational areas. Too bad our city leaders in the 1950s didn't have the foresight of some other communities that set aside adequate land for green space. Menlo Park seems to have a history of falling for projects that promise short-term benefits without considering the long-term consequences. Let's try not to repeat that mistake.


Like this comment
Posted by No, Bo, it's not a go
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 23, 2010 at 11:40 am

P.S. Before extolling the virtues of this project, be careful to remember that it's not the only massive project under consideration. The just-released Draft EIR for Stanford Hospital states that it will cause serious and unavoidable congestion in the Bayfront area. Stanford +Bohannon=gridlock on 101 and in many areas east of El Camino in MP. At least there is some benefit to having the hospital. Bohannon, harder to justify.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 24, 2010 at 11:40 am

No Bo -

I read your reply and you make some very good points.

One of the problems with growth is that it means change. I recall the resistance to the IKEA store while it was under review, but no one seems to complain about the massive tax revenues that this shopping center delivers or the resulting higher home values. Is the new traffic and congestion inconvenient to some of the nearby homes - absolutely. It's the price we pay for progress.

But please tell me why new construction jobs would be a bad thing for our community? The construction industry has taken a very hard hit in this recession. I would think you would favor putting these unemployed workers back to work!

Do you know of another project that's got investors willing to write those kind of checks?


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2010 at 11:53 am

Bohannon should not give any money to the City. Instead, he should give it directly to the SEIU and streamline the process.


Like this comment
Posted by interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Somebody took the muzzle off Hank.


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Do you ever notice how the far left only wants first amendment protections for itself and not for anyone else who has opinions that diverge from theirs?


Like this comment
Posted by interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Yawn.


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Posted by another no
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Any construction jobs are not going to happen any time soon. The first part of the proposed project might not start for 8 years. Forget about that argument. If jobs in the down economy were coming, the deal would be for the project to start soon. That is not the case.

There is no revenue to the city coming from the office buildings that are more than 3/4 of this enormous project, even though there could be significant additional rent for the developer if built. Unlike IKEA, all the traffic would not be offset by something of value to the city - just traffic congestion, more demand to build housing in a built-out town, and more kids for the schools in districts that don't get additional money from the project. That isn't "progress" we need.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

another no -

Then come up with your own idea, get an architect, plan a project, get some investors, and built it.

It's just to easy to sit there and so "no" to everything.

These projects employ LOTS of people who pay LOTS of taxes and buy LOTS of stuff.


Like this comment
Posted by No, Bo, it's not a go
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 24, 2010 at 7:52 pm

If I weren't reading all these posts so carefully, I might get the impression that the objective is to find jobs for construction workers. Note, however that:

* Bohannon does not plan to start building anything within the next few years (and may never build at all; he may simply resell the land after it's been upzoned)

* Construction jobs, by their nature, are temporary. And that's great if the workers are building something of value for the longer term. I don't think Menlo Park should be in the WPA business.

* Even if there are people who pay "lots of taxes" and buy "lots of stuff" (not sure if we are referring to construction workers or office workers here) the business tax is minimal. Given the project's convenient 101 location, anyone who wants to go shopping is likely to head over to East Palo Alto (Ikea, Home Depot, Nordstrom Rack, etc) or San Antonio (Costco, REI, etc).


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 25, 2010 at 7:10 am

If the Bohannon family owned the property befored it was zoned then they should not pay one dime to the City of Menlo Park. If however the proeprty was zoned at its current level prior to the Bohannon family acq


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 25, 2010 at 7:12 am

If the Bohannon family owned the property before it was zoned then they should not pay one dime to the City of Menlo Park. If however the property was zoned at its current level prior to the Bohannon family acquiring the property then the City has increased the property value and deserves some revenue sharing arrangement.


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Posted by Fact Giver
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 25, 2010 at 8:12 am

The financial analysis notes that the entitlement may be worth up to $100M to Bohannon, that is the value of what the city is creating through the stroke of a pen.

The Bohannon "project" is really a development option that would rezone the existing 16 acres by allowing Bohannon to build 3X ("three times") more than he is currently allowed to build under the current zoning, and gives him up to 8 years to build a hotel and 20 years to build office buildings.

It also allows him to build nearly 1M sf of above-grade parking structures that DO NOT COUNT toward the building mass. Because the current zoning restricts building height to 35', parking must be at-grade with four spaces per 1000 sf of office building, meaning much of the land must be used for parking rather than building.

Parking aside, the upzoning is equivalent to 32 acres of land.

The city is under no legal obligation to grant the rezoning, and any revenue sharing negotiation between the parties must take place by mutual consent.

For the Rosewood, Menlo Park granted only 100,000 sf of office to Stanford, and Palo Alto recently approved a hotel East of 101 which required no office space.

For the record, I don't need a construction job, and Bohannon won't build the offices for up to twenty years. My own personal wealth is growing quite nicely without David Bohannon, and without soiling my own nest. Personally, I don't need or want anything from David Bohannon, and I thank him for his offer. I would suggest he consider renovating Detroit, or Mexico City. I very much like the Peninsula they way it is now.

The city cannot build its way out of today's deficits by approving a project that won't be built for 20 years.

I think the city should balance its current budget using other methods than building, and, if it wants to encourage hotels, it should just rezone M-2 to allow for them, without increasing the existing office entitlements.

And yes, given that city salaries and pensions are under control, I am willing to pay a bit more in taxes out of my own wallet rather than build the hell out of the Peninsula.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 25, 2010 at 9:18 am

Let's try to bring this thread back on point (read the topic title).

Do you believe that whenever the city changes a property's zoning, that it should share in the benefits that MAY accrue to the landowner? Really?

So if you want to merge two adjacent parcels that you own, should the city demand some of your gain when you sell it? It's certainly worth more money and they enhanced your property. If you obtain a variance to change your set backs, should the city extract additional money from you because you'll benefit by having a larger building footprint?

And will it work the other way, too? What if the city needs to impose an easement on your property so people can access a park or a bike trail? Should the city "make up" for your lost value?

Our elected officials are supposed to make these decisions based on the best interests of citizens and their community. If you think that the city should participate in property value gains and losses that result from their zoning changes, then you are setting up your elected officials for corruption on an unimaginable scale.


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Posted by another no
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

This project brings with it many significant adverse impacts that cannot be mitigated. It also locks up part of town before the city has a plan for the area around it. So, yes, it is fair to seek adequate benefit to justify an approval. The only benefit is the possibility of hotel tax but most of the project is office space that doesn't really do anything good for the city to offset all the negatives that come along with all that space.


Like this comment
Posted by another
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

1) Up-zoning is the only thing a city can "sell" and they should be compensated for it either directly, or in the form of expected future NET revenues or benefits (through income, or also jobs, needed housing) just as the developer expects compensation. If they can't come to terms there is no great loss to anyone other than Bohannon. I don't see the purpose of growth for growth's sake when "quality of life" suffers by cramming more stuff in a relatively fixed insfrastructure with no net cost benefit to the area. Seems like circular logic to me. The discussion seems to talk a lot about new revenues from the project but not much about the costs in roads, new schools, city and public safety employees. A new school or public facility will eat through millions in a heartbeat, PAs new library and proposed police station are over $50M.

Re: " If you think that the city should participate in property value gains and losses that result from their zoning changes, then you are setting up your elected officials for corruption on an unimaginable scale." Corruption can occur whether the city benefits or not, in fact I have never heard of an individual taxpayer bribe a decisionmaker, isn't it the developers that have enough benefit to pay bribes? You'd have to freeze zoning to avoid that threat.


Like this comment
Posted by logic dictates
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Re: "If the Bohannon family owned the property before it was zoned then they should not pay one dime to the City of Menlo Park. If however the property was zoned at its current level prior to the Bohannon family acquiring the property then the City has increased the property value and deserves some revenue sharing arrangement."

I guess then maybe Menlo Park should actually research back to the Spanish Land Grants and reimburse any owners for any zoning changes that might have impacted their land's value?


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

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