Derry project gets back in line


A stalled development project for a parcel between El Camino Real and the train tracks looks set to start moving through Menlo Park's approval process again soon, according to City Manager Glen Rojas.

The Derry family has told the city that it's preparing to complete the final steps in the approval process for a development project off Oak Grove Avenue, on the east side of El Camino Real. Shortly after the Planning Commission's final meeting on the project in March 2008, the family asked the city to halt the process for reasons it did not disclose.

The proposal is for 108 condominium units and 24,925 square feet of commercial space, a scaled-back version of an approved project that nearby residents waged a referendum campaign to overturn in 2006. Rather than send the project to a citywide vote, the City Council at the time instructed the developer to negotiate with citizens who led the referendum drive.

The O'Brien Group, the company developing the site, is still "completing its due diligence," Mr. Rojas said. After it completes that work, the city would set up a timeline through which the council could approve the project.

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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 14, 2010 at 7:11 pm

The last thing Menlo Park needs is more housing. Our schools are stuffed to the gills. Our streets are plugged up during commute hours. More and more humans make Menlo Park a less pleasant place for all who live here, work here, or drive through here on their way somewhere else. And besides that, I really enjoy an occasional burger and cone at Foster's Freeze.
Just say NO to Derry.

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Posted by agreed!
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I agree! Menlo Park is OUR little corner of paradise! You all out there unlucky enough to not have a million dollars or the good sense to have selected parents that had the foresight to locate here decades ago, move to Tracy. You may be nice people, you may have great kids, you may have good jobs, or add strength and vitality to our community, but WE care much more about our traffic, WE care much more about the never having to wait in line for a cash register, WE care more about always getting a parking spot right in front of the store.

Never mind that our community had many more children decades ago, never mind that whole neighborhoods look more like retirement communities. WE find it great that old folks pretty much never leave their homes. That way, our streets are ghostly quiet, businesses are shuttered, we LIKE it that way!

Yes, let's just say NO to Derry because tumbleweeds on the lot never generate the INFERNAL traffic and noise that is bane of us all and we never need to invest in the education of children, the worst generator of INFERNAL noise ever!

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Posted by Enough is enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 15, 2010 at 12:04 am

Wow, agreed!, maybe you need to get out more. Plenty of kids in my neighborhood, lots of traffic in the streets. Right now, Menlo Park is a great middle class community to raise a family, but if you build-at-all-cost people had your way, it would be an overrun slum. We are so lucky that there are people in our city who care about the future of this town.

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Posted by An ABAGGER
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 15, 2010 at 11:12 am

What about our ABAG commitments?

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Posted by been there
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm

The Derry project is great project in a great location. It is centrally located near Caltrain and along the El Camino Real. I have lived in this area for more than half a century.
Do you remember Johnny's smoke shop and Hippo Restaurant? Laurel School wasn't even built. A lot has changed since then. Change is inevitable. Think smart and plan for the future.
Don't forget that the Cafe Barrone and Kepler's Bookstore building almost wasn't approved by the Council.
If you don't like change, there are some lovely towns in Iowa that are dying. They would love to have you move there where the only things that change are the seasons.

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Posted by Enough is enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Change for the sake of change puts us on the fast track to self-destruction. No need to go as far as Iowa -- there are plenty of towns in the Bay Area that have greedily allowed developers to do whatever they wanted. How come none of you laissez faire pro-development folks are choosing to live in Milpitas or Tracy?

For once, let's try to think about what is right for our city, and what kind of change works best for us. Not what will make a developer get richer quicker.

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Posted by More Fear From Slow Folks
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 15, 2010 at 8:38 pm

All that normal, levelheaded, smart thinking, "ok with change" type people want is improvement. However, once again, we hear from the "Slow Growth At All Cost Folks" with their ridiculous exaggerations: "fast tract to self-destruction", "allow developers to do whatever they want", "build at all costs", "infernal traffic", "change for the sake of change"........seriously, are you all just so entrenched in being slow, grumpy and angry that you honestly think this type of stance will last? We are inches away from approving a new plan, and I HOPE that developers grab this plan and start submitting bids, we've got to clean up these abandon lots, closed store fronts and push any backward thinking folks out of this city, you're making the process painful!

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Posted by James Madison
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 16, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Let's not forget that the current Derry project is the result of a compromise reached after a successful referendum against the original monstrosity. We can live with the project, as distinguished from vacant lots. No one is interested in building or living in detached single family houses immediately adjacent to El Camino and the existing rails, let alone the potential HSR, and there is little demand for more commercial space.

Let us hope, however, that a new home is found for the Foster's Freeze.

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Posted by i remeber
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 16, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Mr Madison, the referendum never happened. Brown et al suppressed the submission to a vote and negotiated directly with the developer. All those people who signed the petition with the understanding that they would get a say at election time were out of luck. The complicity of the developer in negotiating with Brown and company was revolting.

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Posted by i remember 2
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm

In addition to blocking the referendum vote, Morris Brown and his unelected friends negotiated a deal with the developer that also included a confidential side agreement. So in addition to nearly four years of delay (and counting), we MIGHT get to see a project someday, but we'll never know what the full deal was. What ever happened to transparency? I guess open government doesn't apply when self-appointed, unelected activists are calling the shots. One thing for sure: four plus years of delay means millions of property taxes lost for those years.

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Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Dear been there,

How can you lump Johnny's Smoke Shop in the same breath as The Hippo!
Johnny's was an institution in Menlo. The Hippo lasted only about two years.
If you've been here for half a century, then you'd remember how viable that little strip of businesses was. Foster's, Johnny's, Congdon-Crome Stationers and the French Laundry lasted for years at that same location. Johnny's was a hub in Menlo. Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, great penny candy counter, nudie magazines, the best pinball machine in town and Bill the shoeshine man. Plus, you could place "bookie" bets with Johnny. Young and old loved Johnny's. Now those were the good ol' days in Menlo Park. Heck, for a while, you could even venture across the street to break your neck at the in-ground trampoline concession. Good, better times in MP.
Man, it almost makes me want to hang out in the parking lot and cup a cigarette in my hand, so my Mom won't see me smoking!

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 18, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Something as fun as that would no longer be allowed in today's America, Land of the Perpetually Bagdered.

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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

You could even bet on the ponies at Johnny's.

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