The Menlo Park City Council continued its evaluation of the draft downtown/El Camino Real specific plan on Sept. 13, starting on Tuesday night and carrying on until the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
After public comment, the council methodically tweaked recommendations made by the Planning Commission for the downtown area.
Speakers included local merchants Richard Draeger of Draeger's Supermarkets and furniture merchant Mark Flegel, who opposed some aspects of the plan, such as the option to fill in parking plazas with mixed-use development, forcing customers to park farther away from stores.
• Implement a trial installation of a Chestnut Street paseo for at least a full week and up to several months.
• Ensure that Menlo Park merchants have access to the paseo and that it won't compete with the Farmers' Market.
• Install wider sidewalks in phases, and only where there's a logical reason to have a wider sidewalk for an adjacent business.
• Keep parking garages at the same height and scale as buildings next door, and encourage employees to park in the garages via permits to save surface parking for customers. Provide opportunities for merchants to voluntarily help fund the garages, and also discourage any mixed-use development either on top of the garages or as parking plaza infill.
That leaves the El Camino Real portion of the specific plan and the fiscal impact analysis, as well as a discussion of public benefit associated with development within the plan's zone, for the next council meeting on Sept. 20.
Click here to review all documents associated with the specific plan, including recommendations.