Ten years ago, the Beltramos started dreaming of building townhomes at 1460 El Camino Real. On Tuesday, Jan. 11, the Menlo Park City Council will decide whether that dream takes a step closer to reality.
The city and developer haggled for months over the number of below-market-rate (BMR) townhomes to be included. The original plan followed city policy by setting aside three BMR units, but the Beltramos have now asked to include only one in light of declining real estate values.
In October, the Planning Commission voted to accept a deal that allows the Beltramos to include only one BMR townhome, in exchange for 10 to 20 percent of sales revenue on each remaining unit if the unit's sales price exceeds $1 million, according to the staff report.
The commissioners also agreed to accept in-lieu fees on five market-rate townhomes and up to $382,704 in commercial linkage fees for a two-story office building the developer plans to build on the same site.
The deal was not wholeheartedly approved by the Planning Commission, despite a 5-0 vote. Katie Ferrick abstained after saying she was troubled by the BMR issue but didn't want the project to fail.
Before reaching the planning commissioners, the project first passed the Housing Commission. However, Commissioner Anne Mozer said she wished she could retract her vote.
"I finally decided I needed to stand up and say I made a mistake," Ms. Mozer told the Planning Commission in October.
Too many people are waiting for BMR housing, she said, and there aren't enough units in Menlo Park.
Tonight's meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the civic center (701 Laurel St.).