News

Menlo Park: Stanford 'conflicted' about continuing talks before Measure M is decided

 

Will they or won't they? Stanford University's abrupt announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 16, that it would postpone negotiations over its proposed mixed-use complex on El Camino Real sparked some irritation with city of Menlo Park officials.

Mayor Ray Mueller then called for a special meeting of the City Council on Sept. 23 to discuss "appropriate next steps," and in short order, the university decided, albeit with a certain reluctance, that negotiations could, in fact, continue. The special council meeting was then called off.

"That (Sept. 16) email stated our preference in timing. It should not be construed as a unilateral refusal to meet," Mr. Elliott wrote to the city on Friday, Sept. 19.

The postponement was attributed to the pending outcome of Measure M, an initiative put forward by grassroots coalition Save Menlo to change the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan. Voters will decide the measure's outcome in the Nov. 4 election.

The latest design for the Stanford complex would replace mostly vacant car lots along 300 to 500 El Camino Real with 199,500 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail, and up to 170 apartments. Measure M's passage would impose several changes, including cutting by about 50 percent the amount of office space allowed -- a reduction that the university said would send its project back to the drawing board.

"Considering these obstacles and the timing, just a few weeks before the election that will decide the fate of Measure M, we suggested that we thought it best to wait until the community has resolved this question before continuing work. This continues to be our perspective," Mr. Elliott wrote. However, if the city "feels strongly" about continuing negotiations, "we will of course continue to meet with the Subcommittee to advance such an effort."

Disappointed by the initial letter postponing negotiations without warning, Mayor Ray Mueller said it's obvious that calling for a special council meeting brought Stanford back to the table.

He noted that the council subcommittee, now composed of himself and Kirsten Keith, won't limit the discussion to Stanford's contribution to a bike-pedestrian undercrossing that would connect Middle Avenue with Burgess Park.

"I am committed to working towards the best potential outcome to preserve and enhance the quality of life of Menlo Park residents. Nothing is off the table to that end," he said.

What else is on the table? Mayor Mueller said the size and scope of a public plaza at the center of the complex; the mix of uses, and design features; he is personally "very focused on how traffic exits and enters the sites, and how to keep it away from our residential neighborhoods."

The previous subcommittee, composed of Ms. Keith and Catherine Carlton, worked with Save Menlo as well as university representatives to eliminate all medical offices from the proposal, increase the number of apartments, improve the public plaza, get Stanford's agreement to make "a substantial contribution" to the undercrossing, and collect more traffic data to further evaluate the project's potential impact. The university has stated it will abide by those changes should Measure M not pass.

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Comments

6 people like this
Posted by Peninsula Reader
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Menlo Park needs to be revived. Businesses are closing and then that space stays empty. Sidewalks are filthy dirty. No one wants to open here. New businesses go elsewhere. Menlo Park needs to look at San Carlos, Downtown RWC, Los Altos, Los Gatos and the list goes on.

Wake up folks. You live here you pay your taxes here, your kids go to school here but you take your business else where because we have nothing. Yes limit the traffic but lets bring our town back to a great town.


2 people like this
Posted by Steve Taffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm

It seems perfectly appropriate for Stanford to want to wait until Measure M is decided. To continue as if this ballot initiative does not exist would be an insult to the democratic process. Regardless of how you feel about Measure M. we should let the vote occur without Stanford or the City moving forward with negotiations that give the appearance of ignoring the upcoming vote. Once the outcome is decided, move forward with all deliberate speed continue negotiations with Stanford or any other builders within the parameters of the approved process.

steve taffee


1 person likes this
Posted by Barry Gray
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

@Peninsula Reader: I could not agree more with your sentiment. I doubt, however, that traffic limitation will follow expansion, either according to the specific plan nor with Measure M. Growth equals more traffic, and although some would argue otherwise, forecasting the impact difference of the specific plan vs. Measure M is just kicking the can down the road. The only thing that will limit traffic is to halt development, which is what we all want to avoid (I hope).

@Steve Taffee: I can also see why Stanford would prefer to wait until after the election. After all, the "rules" may change. That said, Stanford should have been more diplomatic. A simple call to Ray Mueller or others would have sufficed to have a discussion about the situation. Come on folks, pick up the phone!

Barry


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Posted by George C. Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

The previous subcommittee, Keith and Carleton, sold out appointed neighborhood representatives and ignored Savemenlo in the unvetted agreement it did with Stanford University under dark of night, and without knowledge or participation of any kind by either Save Menlo or appointed neighborhood representatives. I was one of the neighborhood representatives appointed in writing by the City as “a permanent representative to ensure consistent review of relevant factual material” pursuant to the subcommittee’s charge to “facilitate conversations between neighborhood representative and applicant [Stanford] . . . to ensure that the final project balances the needs of Stanford and the greater Menlo Park community.

On June 24, 2013 I wrote Keith and Carleton that “I have not had any discussions with you about balancing the needs of Stanford and the greater Menlo park Community an am not aware of any facilitation efforts.” “ I have not participated in any review of relevant factual material. ” The ground rules have not been followed and stated my conclusion the subcommittee process may well “simply a shield” for Staff to complete its stated goal of allowing Stanford to complete its development and that the process may well be a “charade and snow job”.

Although we had a brief meeting with the Subcommittee on July 1, 2013, On July 31, 2013 the neighborhood representatives wrote, “ We remain anxious to meet with you or Stanford, or both. What are you doing to help us? What are you doing to provide a framework . . . . Please Work with us.”

The only response we received was a email from Keith on August 5 that Stanford had agreed to agreed to certain things in a meeting with Keith and Carleton. The reported agreement was terrible because it allowed Stanford to keep leverage in the form of a “substantial contribution” to be made to a bicycle undercrossing to be negotiated/determined through the [underground?] project approval process”, while giving up 200,000 sf of office space to Stanford.

I responded 45 minutes later with an email to city council stating the ground rules had not been followed, the subcommittee had usurped ongoing discussions between neighborhood representatives and Stanford, which had started prior to appointment of a subcommittee, and expressly stated;

THERE SHOULD BE NO UNDERSTANDING EXPRESS OR IMPLIED THAT THE NEIGHBORHOOD REPRESENTATIVES TOOK PART IN OBTAINING THEM [SUBCOMMITTEE/STANFORD AGREEMENTS], KNEW OF THEM, GAVE ADVICE OR CONSENT WITH RESPECT TO THEM, APPROVED OF THEM, PARTICIPATED IN THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING THEM, OTHER THAN THE MERE STATUS AS BEING NAMED NEIGHBORHOOD REPRESENTATIVES. (EMPHASIS ADDED).”

Mayor Mueller is right on regarding topics that should be on the table, and would have been in the prior subcommittee process if Keith hadn’t ignored the process and neighborhood representatives and gone off on her own frolic for power. Good luck on getting those topics back on the table. I have no understanding why the council appointed Keith to be on the Subcommitte again after previously throwing the neighborhood representatives “under the bus”, and the horrible agreement surrendering leverage to Stanford while retaining none for Menlo Park.




3 people like this
Posted by get real
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

George, Keith and Carlton got Stanford to drop all medical office, which would have generated much more traffic. Stanford wants to be a good neighbor, but you and you Save Menlo group will never be happy.


1 person likes this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@George Fisher

I love that you are using my "under the dark of night" line, which is how I usually describe how Measure M wrote their initiative. It's more effective if you also throw in "unknow lawyer" too, since it's true and appropriate for Measure M. Quite frankly the term is sometimes accompanied with a reference to a cauldron, but that seems a little over the top.

When you say neighborhood representatives you are not talking about the publicly elected council members, who swore an oath to uphold the law for all the residents are you? You are talking about the NIMBY anti-development crusaders, right? Just wanted to be clear here.

Thanks for the update on how your small group feels the city should be run. I guess democracy is an option in your eyes.

Measure is a MISTAKE
Vote NO on Measure M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by get real
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 3:13 pm

If M passes, Stanford could build 4 to 5 separate projects on the existing parcels, with more office and even medical. To ask Stanford to do other than waht is allowed by M, would be in conflict with M.


1 person likes this
Posted by George C.Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

@Roy Thiele-Sardiña

I am not sure lawyers were involved in the Subcommitte’s dark of night incident. I doubt if any city lawyers were involved given the one-sidedness of the deal.

The neighborhood representatives I was referring to were the three specifically city appointed neighborhood representatives, who had met with Stanford twice along with representatives from the Sierra Club, before the subcommittee interference. I apparently felt more obligated to the neighborhoods, even without an oath, than the councilpersons who chose to ignore the charge given them.

I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the process and actually thought it was democratic to include stakeholders, like residents. I don’t think ignoring them was democratic.

I don’t know whom you are referring to as my small group and how it feels the city should be run. There were three neighborhood representatives appointed, but I am sure most of the public would agree a city should follow the processes it establishes.

Others think I should be grateful because the city did such a wonderful deal to take care of the neighborhoods, even though it ignored the process and stakeholders it had set up. I am not grateful and the deal was not wonderful.

What businessperson in a negotiation would commit to the main goal of the other side in exchange for an unenforceable promise on the never-never plan? Note the recent correspondence by Stanford talks about discussing only a contribution and then only when the undercrossing is ready to be built, which is well after any consideration by the city of architectural review. I bet the city will be afraid to be stern in that process with its potential benefactor, because the benefactor might choose to be more stringent on its unenforceable gift. You’re way to run a railroad, not mine.

It is consistent however with the way the Specific Plan railway was run. I note the staff report of the Boyle Cline subcommittee recommending Perkins and Will as the Specific Plan Consultant to the full council, did not even mention that Perkins and Will was busy in Redwood City at the same time working for Stanford to obtain Stanford zoning entitlements. I would have thought that conflict of getting entitlements for Stanford in Redwood City and protecting Menlo Park from Stanford entitlements in Menlo Park worthy of mention. Stanford was the largest landowner in the Specific Plan area and certainly has benefitted.

Of course City council gave Stanford a seat on the Specific Plan oversight committee as well, and gave Stanford specific plan benefits to their property during the specific plan design process. But, true, Stanford had not disclosed any intent not to build the hotel as shown on the illustrative plan and the basis of the EIR as well as the Fiscal Impact Analysis. It took it less than two months after the plan was adopted to announce that intent. Yes, a different way to run a railroad, indeed.

Incidentally, what benefits has Santa Cruz Avenue business received from the Specific Plan? Any?


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Posted by Oh Please
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Dear "get real"
Get real, Stanford merged their parcels so as to build large monolithic apartments and offices. They also wanted to avoid the requirement of 10,000 SF of retail on each parcel. Poof gone was that requirement.

Stop speculating what Stanford will do. You have no idea.

Just ask yourself why Menlo Park should approve office. What are the benefits to the residents who live in Menlo Park. We know the benefits to the investors in the developments and the benefits to the owners of businesses who will rent the offices but what about us, we who raise our families here?

Keith and Carlton did not get Stanford to do anything. Stanford dropped medical because of the messy uproar from the residents living in Menlo Park. It was an attempt to calm the waters and had zero relationship with Keith or Carlton. The council could have reduced the medical themselves and they were not interested in doing so. No ideas came from the council.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Get real, Stanford merged their parcels so as to build large monolithic apartments and offices."

WRONG - these 6 parcels have NOT been merged and Measure M's 100,000 sq ft per project cap ENCOURAGES Stanford NOT to merge these parcels but to build separate maxed out parcels under the size of the 100,000 sq ft limit with no public benefits and each having separate ECR access and totally uncoordinated designs.


Measure M has huge unintended consequences and is a Mistake.


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Posted by bruce adornato
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Proposition M seems to be a notice by the residents of Menlo Park that there needs to be some limits to
development of the El Camino corridor.
The most vibrant, neighborhood, pedestrian friendly and utilized part of Menlo seems to be corner of Ravenswood and El Camino where Borrone's and Keplers sits. If the buildings along El Camino all looked like that building, two or three stories with open space, there would be no issue. Instead, I see building plans like the Kremlin structure at the corner of Lytton and Alma in Palo Alto, the monkey (survey) building, built up to the sidewalk, monolithic and uninviting.
..
There seem to be so many backstories and hidden agendas in all the letters and articles that probably have to do with money and development. As a very long term resident of Menlo Park, I would like to see a reasonable plan for
growth without creating a massive beehive of office cubicles, with the attendant daily to and fro traffic up and down Sand Hill Road and Willow Road. The employees for these offices arent going to be using buses and trains coming from across the Bay or San Jose, no matter how many vouchers their employers offer.
Menlo Park is such an attractive place that development will proceed despite the relatively small accomodations that Prop M requires.

Vote Yes on M


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Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm

@ohplease: There is only a single 10,000 sq ft retail requirement for the area at Middle Avenue, anticipating a plaza. There are no other retail requirements for El Camino Real. I also don't think buildongs which are either all office or residential are automatically 'monolithic', it depends on the design, over which we have pretty good control.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Stanford CAN'T merge their parcels is measure M passes without a city wide vote. Gone are the things negotiated for by Keith and Carlton. Gone are any funding of public benefit.

Please, let's stick to facts. Stanford has NOT merged their parcels. I know it's hard for the measure M folks, but try.

No, no one knows what Stanford will do with their property but logic tells us it will be one of two things. They will either let the property sit as it is or they will do what Measure M allows them to do to maximize their income from the property. Can you say medical offices? Can you say way more traffic than the plan they have put forward an renegotiated? Can you say large retail outlets? Talk about a ridiculous amount of traffic.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

bruce:

that long term plan was created. It's called the DSP and took nearly six years of public input to create. Sorry you missed it.


1 person likes this
Posted by bruce adornato
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

one more thing.

this venue would be better if there were no anonymous postings. if you have an opinion and a conviction,
stand up.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

bruce:

I'd love to not be anonymous but I have to do business in this community. I can't afford to lose potential business because I'm on the "wrong side" of a political issue from a potential client.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

@bruce adornato, thanks for your comments and your perspective.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Instead, I see building plans like the Kremlin structure at the corner of Lytton and Alma in Palo Alto, the monkey (survey) building, built up to the sidewalk, monolithic and uninviting."

The Specific Plan has detailed street level setback and upper level setback requirements which PROHIBIT such structures.

The Measure M supporters neither understand the limits in the Specific Plan or the perverse incentives created by Measure M which will ENCOURAGE slab sided monolithic buildings because of their bizarre definition of open space.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I disagree with Bruce on the Survey Monkey building. I find it attractive and approachable. It fits appropriately with other structures in the downtown Palo Alto area.


1 person likes this
Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Mike, I tend to agree with you. We drove by the other day and wondered what all the fuss is about.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I'm conflicted about the Almanac displaying a "NO on M" ad directly alongside the start of this story! That suggests the Almanac's endorsement of No on M.

That's bad journalism.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Roy,

I find in quite funny that you and others keep attacking Measure M by waing it was written behind closed doors with an unknown lawyer, etc. You negelct to acknowledge that Measure M us completely transparent (you can read it anytime you want to, and is being voted on by the electorate so required their approval to pass. How can it be any more open than that? The agreements with Stanford and greenheart were made by a small group of people behind closed doors without input from the communities. I have no reason to doubt what George Fisher says and it just adds to the argument that the city council ignored the people they are supposed to represent.


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Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

@ George C. Fisher,

Thank you for posting all of the information about the Keith/Carlton Stanford Subcommittee. It was very useful. I agree with you about Mayor Mueller; he's right on. I wonder if there would even be a measure M if he had been on the original subcommittee?


2 people like this
Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I wish everyone would stop referring to Stanford's proposal as a "mixed-use" development. Including only 10K sf of retail in a >400K sf project--where 200K sf of the project is a suburban office park--will do nothing to promote the vibrancy of this corridor or minimize commuter traffic.

The Downtown Specific Plan provides a good description of the benefits of mixed-use development (see B11 of the DSP):

“Vibrancy is achieved by a rich mix of uses, including residential and public amenities, arranged in a compact manner, in close proximity to transit. This mixed-use pattern supports pedestrian circulation and transit use while reducing relative vehicular trips in comparison to standalone projects of the same size. Also, clustering development near transit can potentially help justify improvements to existing transit.”

Sadly, there is nothing in Stanford's proposal that will promote vibrancy or minimize vehicular trips. If the project is built as proposed, this area will be gridlocked during rush hour and will be a ghost town on nights and weekends. Back to the drawing board, Stanford and Greenheart!


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Posted by vibrant
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

David, the only vibrant place now is the plaza next to the BBC. Having more plazas like that will certainly create more vibrancy. Adding more retail will just add more car trips.

The only candidate to endorse Measure M is Kelly Fergusson. Kelly voted for the Derry Project, then turned around and started working against it, and now we've had a vacant lot sitting there for a decade.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter above please don't use my handle. I've been using it for years.

Thanks!


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm

David Roise, I agree with you. Stanford's proposal has little to do with mixed use. That whole stretch of El Camino will remain dead on the weekends, just like it is now.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Stanford's proposal has little to do with mixed use. That whole stretch of El Camino will remain dead on the weekends, "

Wow - you really think that the people in the 150 residential units planned for the Stanford project are going to stay home all weekend?


Measure M supporters would like you to think that the Stanford project is ALL offices - WRONG it is a balanced development.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Mr. Roise is incorrect in his statement that the Stanford project is not mixed use. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and consider his statement an opinion not a statement of fact. Best I can tell, the Stanford project is the only project that has a public plaza requirement, along with a requirement to provide retail space adjacent to the plaza. The Stanford project is also the only project that has a requirement to allow the City to place a public access easement across their site to connect to a future underpass under the railroad tracks (which Stanford has already agreed to partially fund.) The Stanford project is walkable to public transit, which means that it is one of the most appropriate sites in Menlo Park for offices. (Do you hear that Facebook?) Stanford is also proposing market-rate rental apartments. Building office space in Menlo Park also means that you have requirement to provide below-market rate housing. Can you be more mixed use than that?

I grant you that the initial architecture presented by Stanford was not a good first step, but they have already demonstrated that they are willing to work with the community. (Remember they already cut medical office from their project as the request of Save Menlo. Remember the commitment to partially fund a tunnel even though they are not in the public benefit level of FAR? Best I know, no one else has stepped forward willing to fund the underpass.

I hope everyone recognizes that Measure M will reduce the amount of below market rate housing built in the City, because it reduces allowable office space. (The City has an existing ordinance that requires commercial development to either build or fund below-market rate housing units in the City. If you cut office, you cut how much below market rate housing will be funded or built in our town) Was that the intent of Lanza and Fry or just an unintended consequence of Measure M?

Tune out the noise and look carefully at Measure M. If you are concerned about heights or architecture or setbacks, Measure M does not address any of those concerns. Are you seeking traffic improvements in our area? Measure M does not address that. Did you know that if you cut commercial development, you also cut traffic improvement fees that go toward fixing the traffic problem. Does Measure M attempt to identify alternative funding to fix the circulation problems along El Camino Real? Nope.

I understand those who say if you build more along El Camino REal, that things will get worse. But that statement only makes sense if the projects don't provide any new mitigation measures. Read all the Specific Plan documents and look at the list of intersections that get fixed through the funding of new development in the Specific Plan. Save Menlo seems to forget that part when they tell their bogeyman stories.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Best I can tell, all of Menlo Park is dead on weekends. Why? No where to go/nothing to do. So what do you or I do on weekends? We get in our car and drive to Redwood City or Palo Alto where there is something going on. Hmmm, maybe if we build something new, we can walk to activity instead of driving outside our town.


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Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm

@vibrant

Adding retail and other businesses that cater to the residents of the new development will DECREASE traffic, because those folks won't need to use cars for every little thing they need. That's what mixed-use development is all about. That's the tradeoff for allowing increased heights and densities of development. That's what we thought we would be getting when the Downtown Specific Plan was approved.

By the way, for those who complain that Measure M will handcuff city planners for 30 years, keep in mind that these huge office buildings will be with us for 50 years or more. The lost opportunity of building a vibrant downtown and ECR bothers me a lot more than the minor tweaks that Measure M makes to the Downtown Specific Plan.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"for those who complain that Measure M will handcuff city planners for 30 years,"

Wrong, Measure M's standards, definitions and limits are FOREVER unless and until each of those standards, definitions and limits are changed by a city wide vote.

"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure "

Every person elected by the citizens to the City Council FOREVER will be handcuffed by Measure M unless and until each of those standards, definitions and limits are changed by a city wide vote


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm

the fairy tales continue.
Measure M does not at all preclude Stanford merging parcels.

The long term plan took a long time to create but the scenario it studied and represented as our community's future is not at all what is coming forward. The plan needs fixed. If 2 projects come forward with 400,000 sq ft of office in the 1st 2 years of a 30 year plan that expected 240,000 sq ft, then something is really really wrong with the Plan. When the first projects result in a LOSS of retail on the order of 50,000 sq ft (92,000 sq ft NEW was expected), then something is really wrong with the Plan. The Plan is flawed and the Council turned their head. We will be stuck with something very different than the community bought into. That's why Yes on M is essential, and sadly the only remaining option to preserve our town from the kind of overdevelopment of offices that was not part of the community vision.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"Measure M does not at all preclude Stanford merging parcels. "

You're right EXCEPT, merging those parcels will require a city wide vote. But you know that don't you? Why should Stanford have to cough up almost $100,000 to pay for said vote? That's $100,000 that could go towards public benefit which was negotiated for by our subcommittee. Measure M passes and that agreement disappears. Nice job!

If Stanford can't merge those parcels, two things are likely. Either they sit vacant for who knows how long or Stanford maximizes its investment and build six separate projects which will inevitably include high traffic causing medical. Brilliant fact checker! You've just identified a great way for MP to shoot itself in the foot and not get what it wants. Genius. @@


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm

It is absolutely not true that merging parcels on the stanford site requires a vote. All those parcels are within the boundary of the Plan.
And for properties like the fire station, there are other ways to resolve their project goals without going to a vote.



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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Stanford's proposal is an unfortunate lost opportunity to actually build a vibrant mixed-use development. Based on their behavior up to this point, I believe that Stanford's goal is simply to fill their properties with office buildings and any changes they've made up to this point was done to appease their critics, and not really to improve their proposal.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:52 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

fact:

please quote the language of the measure that will allow Stanford to combine their lots.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 7:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

faceless states - "And for properties like the fire station, there are other ways to resolve their project goals without going to a vote. "

Please explain, using citations from either the current Specific Plan or Measure M exactly how this might be done.


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Posted by George C. Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

On indication of possible bias and credibility is past relationships. I believe one poster is a former executive director of the Stanford Medical Center. Good idea for that poster to disclose any such relationships or correct any inaccuracy.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

George states - " I believe one poster is a former executive director of the Stanford Medical Center. Good idea for that poster to disclose any such relationships or correct any inaccuracy."

The reason you believe that is because 1) I use my real name and 2) I HAVE posted numerous times on the Forum the fact that I worked for Stanford from 1973-1976 . And I have file Form 700s for 9 of the last ten years showing all of my financial interests. No hidden names or secrets here.

What about your affiliations?
What about the affiliations of each of the anonymous posters?
What about the affiliations of the unnamed lawyer who so poorly drafted measure M and who are her other clients?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mike states - " I believe that Stanford's goal is simply to fill their properties with office buildings"

How can that be when the well balanced Specific Plan wisely limits Stanford's office space to 50% of the allowed FAR? All of the Stanford proposals to date have included residences and retail.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

MV - How about pointing to where Measure M says Stanford's parcels can't be merged. There isn't anything there that says that. Nothing.

Remember - Measure M changes 4 things - sets as a limit the total amount of non-residential and office development (each EXACTLY the same as in the Plan EIR and FIA), sets as office limit per project at 100,000 Sq ft, and eliminates counting private balconies as project open space.

PC - Measure M counts sq ft of office and non-residential development in the Specific Plan area. Even if parcels that are outside the area are merged with those inside the area, that counting can still occur. Projects can comprise separate parcels - such as the Menlo Gateway project


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Projects can comprise separate parcels - such as the Menlo Gateway project"

The Gateway project was subject to a voter initiative and as such many of the normal rules and safeguards, such as an EIR, were NOT required.

Projects CAN comprise separate parcels BUT a building cannot be built on two separate unmerged parcels due to mandatory setbacks that exist for each parcel and the different zoning rules that may apply to the separate parcels. All of the parcels in the Gateway project were in the same planning zone.

factless states - "And for properties like the fire station, there are other ways to resolve their project goals without going to a vote. "

Please explain, using CITATION from either the current Specific Plan or Measure M exactly how this might be done. No one else has been able to provide a legal basis for your statement.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

The counting of non-residential and office space, and open space, occurs within the Specific Plan Area. See 3.1 of the measure.

The Menlo Gateway project did go through an EIR and regular review. It was not exempt. See Web Link for all the reviews undertaken.

other questions have been asked and answered many times by me and others.


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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Atherton resident Peter Carpenter shows his ignorance on another Menlo Park issue, the Menlo Gateway project. He writes:

"The Gateway project was subject to a voter initiative and as such many of the normal rules and safeguards, such as an EIR, were NOT required."

Just like so many of Carpenter's posts, they are not factual. The Menlo Gateway project went though a complete EIR and full process. The Council, not wanting to endure the wrath from many of their supporters, and with David Bohannon's approval, conditionally approved the project, subject to a vote of the full Menlo Park electorate in the Nov 2010 election.

Bohannon spent around $500,000 in promotion during that election and managed to get voter approval. At the same time, he spent a mighty sum in a vicious negative campaign against Chuck Bernstein, who was running for council.

This time around Bohannon is fully supporting, especially, Kirsten Keith, having already sponsored her "kick-off" party.

Just trying to fill you in Peter on what really happens here in Menlo Park. You really should stick to issues in Atherton.


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Posted by election politics
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Just pointing out the obvious, but It doesn't matter if Mayor Mueller tries to negotiate a good deal with Stanford for Menlo Park residents if he doesn't have three votes on Council to support him.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

"other questions have been asked and answered many times by me and others."

Haven't you realized yet that that does not matter to Peter, Menlo Voter or some of the other proponents of Measure M?

First off they won't accept any fact that goes against their position. They will continue to ignore them and argue blindly.

Second they will continue to make up facts, mis-quote people and attack people for pointing out where they are wrong. If you can't attack the "message attack the messenger". If you want proof read all the posts above along with the hundreds, if not thousands of other posts on this topic in other forums.


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Posted by Barry Gray
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm

A question I have for the Measure M proponents is this: I read that the Atherton man who funded 65% of the measure, his objective is to halt development until a plan is created that includes planning for traffic congestion. I read this in the Almanac, I'm not making it up. Isn't that the real objective for measure M and if so what's the point of debating these "differences "?


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm

We're for balanced growth and support the vision of the Plan. A number of projects are moving forward that conform with that vision. We hope all will. There is no intention of Yes on M to halt development; we hope the two large projects that don't conform with the community vision will be modified so they do.

The city should create a comprehensive traffic plan. While I agree that the best time was to do it as part of the Specific Plan, the next best time is now.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

fact:

the two projects conform to the DSP. The problem is that you and a small minority of folks didn't get everything you want so now you're throwing a tantrum to stop any development that doesn't happen to fit YOUR vision.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

The rules in the plan are resulting, in this economy, something totally incongruous with the community's vision. The plan's rules were supposed to implement the vision. Remember? What is proposed now was never vetted during the plan process and not studied since then. Can YOU explain the environmental and financial impacts of 50% more office than expected for 30 years, the loss of retail? What about jobs:housing?
Point to where those were studied. They weren't.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I will not speak for anyone else and their motivation for supporting Measure M. For me personally I support it because I love menlo Park and I value the quality of life we have here. I was born and raised in Menlo Park and my family has been living in Menlo for close to a century. We still have a community feeling that I value. I do not want to block all development but I am personally against development that will damage or destroy that sense of community. Having two hugh office complexes in Downtown Menlo park, in my opinion, will do that damage. As I have said in the past I worry about traffic. I have small children and I have seen traffic to and from downtown going from bad to horrible in the last several years. Adding that much office space without mitigating traffic is a huge concern for me. I don't know if the opponents of Menlo Park live in places that will be affected by this increase in traffic, Peter certainly does not, but I doubt they would be pushing so hard against Measure M if it means cars racing up and down their streets during rush hour as a short cut to the freeway.

You live in the Willows as do I. You have seen the increase in traffic on our street and you even said that you have taken the short cut on Woodland to avoid Willow. What do you think it will be like when you add a thousand more cars in the morning and evening (maybe more, maybe less, that is just an estimate)?

I have other reasons but that is a start.

Now having said that I will expect Peter to take parts of my post and try to apply them to every supporter of Measure M as he has in the past. I am also sure he will creatively edit anything I say, as he has also done in the past.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm

"the two projects conform to the DSP. The problem is that you and a small minority of folks didn't get everything you want so now you're throwing a tantrum to stop any development that doesn't happen to fit YOUR vision."

I find it interesting that you call following the democratic process, gaining enough signitures to qualify for the ballot and putting something to a vote by the community "throwing a tantrum". I think the ones throwing a tantrum are the people opposed to letting the voters in Menlo Park have a direct say in their community development.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

fact:

I suggest you go back and read the EIR for the project. These things were most certainly studied. The DSP allows these developments. It was no secret. In fact, the language of the DSP identifies the Stanford properties as an ideal location for just this type of use. I don't know, maybe you missed it. The fact is you and your other Allied Arts neighbors aren't happy with so now want to undue what took nearly six years to put together for you own self centered motivations.

The real hoot is that if Stanford chooses to maximize their use under measure M it will likely result in MORE traffic and what you folks I'm sure will consider a greater degradation of our "village." Never mind we don't live in a village, but whatever.

Measure M is poorly written. It I full of unintended consequences and if passed will cause either on going blight or worse traffic than what has been negotiated for.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

yes they are following the democratic process never mind the fact they had to pay to collect the signatures. Never mind the fact that they wish to overturn a democratic process of nearly six years.

Hopefully the electorate will see this for what it is, an attempt by a small minority to over rule what the majority approved through their elected representatives. See we live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. Our representatives all duly elected are the ones that approved the DSP.

Yes, they can do it. It doesn't make them right.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

"yes they are following the democratic process never mind the fact they had to pay to collect the signatures. Never mind the fact that they wish to overturn a democratic process of nearly six years."

First point, please provide your proof of this "fact". You seem to imply they bought the signitures so I would expect you can provide proof of this? How were signitures purchased? Are you trying to imply voters were cohearsed into signing with the promise of money? Your ask everyone else for facts, so provide them to back up your statement.

Second, maybe you need to study the democratic process a little better before you disparage it so much. The initiative process has some pretty high hurdles, all of which were met by Measure M or it would not have made it on the ballot. You claim "you and a small minority..." but the fact that it got enough signitures by registered voters would indicate it is not a "Small Minority", in fact it got 43% more signitures than were necessary to qualify. I guess we will see how many people support it in November until then both of your "facts" are not facts at all but wild supposition. Pretty much what I have come to expect from your posts.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

I didn't say they "paid for signatures". Nor did I imply it. I said they paid to gather them. That is a fact. They paid signature gatherers to collect signatures. It's in their required filings. But you know that, right? Talk about twisting someone else's words.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm

MV,

I asked for clarification as opposed to posting as a "fact" that you said "Save Menlo paid for their signitures". something like that was done to my words by your buddy Peter. As for paying collectors I don't have a problem with that. The No on M group is paying for advertisment (see the top of this page)and mailers, how is that any different? People signed of their own free will and a lot of people. Even you can not deny that.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

yep, they signed of their "own free will." Problem is, my experience with those gathering signatures, they lied and told half truths and disseminated misinformation. And it wasn't just me. Others posted that experience here as well. If that's what it took to get this measure to the ballot then it is seriously flawed and the folks pushing it can't make a cogent argument in favor of it without lying about what it will do. If they had to tell lies to get it to the ballot is it really legitimate?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Facts are important:

1 - The Gateway EIR was done BEFORE the project went to the voters
2 - Once the voters approved the project the city no longer had the ability to negotiate anything with the developer - that approved ballot measure negated any such negotiations
3 - If project is submitted to and approved by the voters then an EIR in neither required or necessary
4 - IF Measure M passes, which is highly unlikely, any large property owner would realize that submitting a project specific project to the voters and spending $500k to get it approved is a much more certain path than trying to get voter approval for changes to Measure M
5 - IF Measure M passes, which is highly unlikely, any small property owner that want a variance from Measure M is screwed because the cost of an election would outweigh the benefits.
6 - A voter approve project is a legal entitlement and it cannot be reversed EVEN by the voters.

Vote NO on Measure M and reflect the competent council members who produced a well balance and well deliberated Specific Plan.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

factless states - "And for properties like the fire station, there are other ways to resolve their project goals without going to a vote. "

Please explain, using CITATION from either the current Specific Plan or Measure M exactly how this might be done. No one else has been able to provide a legal basis for your statement.

Still waiting for ANYBODY to answer this question.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Brian is a registered user.

MV,

You are back at your accusations without any proof or evidence. "my experience with those gathering signatures" and "Others posted"... Were formal complaints filed? Was an investigation made? If so what were the results? We all know that the answer to that is "NO" or you and Peter would be screaming about it in every post you make.

My experience is that I sought out the Save Menlo table at the farmers market and had to wait in line for a few minutes while others signed to get my chance to add my signature. There were no half truths or misinformation being given, just a discussion of preserving what makes Menlo Park a special place to live. The only lies and misinformation I have heard has been on the Almanac forums and from people like you and Peter.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 26, 2014 at 6:47 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

just what "lies" have I put out on this forum?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Brian:

12 hours and still waiting.

What "lies" have I put out on this forum?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2014 at 7:21 am

Brian:

another 12 hours and still no response.

Please post where I have "lied" on this forum. If you're going to accuse me of lying, please back up your accusation.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:02 am

wild speculation continues
PC suggests that a developer would be able to hoodwink thousands of menlo park citizens into signing an initiative to put a really bad project on the ballot and then thousands more would vote to approve it? Really? In Menlo Park?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Evidently factless has not heard of Gateway project:

In June 2010, the City Council voted to approve the proposal, subject to voter approval of a ballot measure for the November 2, 2010 general election. For more information about the ballot measure (Measure T), please see the city's Candidate and Ballot Measure Information page.

Measure T was approved, and the project approvals became effective with the certification of the election results on December 7, 2010.

Measure M is a poorly crafted and blunt sword produced by two people and an unnamed lawyer. Just imagine what a well motivated property owner with lots of money and good lawyers could produce - more like a sharp sword.

Measure M is a Mistake and it sets a bad precedent for how the citizens of Menlo Park should make planning decisions.

*****************
factless states - "And for properties like the fire station, there are other ways to resolve their project goals without going to a vote. "

Please explain, using CITATION from either the current Specific Plan or Measure M exactly how this might be done. No one else has been able to provide a legal basis for your statement.

Still waiting for ANYBODY to answer this question.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 9:12 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@fact checker

Actually the developer would not have to get a single signature.

Measure M would require the City to put it on the ballot to seek permission to not comply with a parameter of a "city law" They would of course charge the developer the ballot amount (currently $94,000). But the city council would be the one placing it on the ballot.....

No hoodwinking necessary.

Roy


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

Roy - Carpenter asserted "IF Measure M passes, which is highly unlikely, any large property owner would realize that submitting a project specific project to the voters and spending $500k to get it approved is a much more certain path than trying to get voter approval for changes to Measure M" Doesn't that mean getting signatures to put it on the ballot? Or you think that a council would do that for the developer for a single project?

Measure M does not require individual projects to go to the voters. Its whole point is to establish firm limits beyond which there should be an orderly process to review and then reset the limits of the Plan, with community agreement, rather than allow just 3 votes of a council decide what's ok to allow beyond the Plan's current limits (and the amount of office in Measure M).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This discussion points up a NEW unintended consequence of Measure M.

First, two definitions:

1 - an initiative (also known as a popular or citizens' initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote (plebiscite).

2 -a legislative referendum, whereby the Legislature refers a measure to the voters for their approval.

If Measure M passes then any property owner who wishes to exceed the Measure M 100,000 sq ft limit per project (and also do many other things) could submit, without any citizen signatures, a project specific referendum to the City Council. The City Council would be bound to place this REFERENDUM on the ballot per Section 4 of Measure M and the city could charge the property owner for the costs of the election. However, if the REFERENDUM is passed then its passage would negate the requirement for an EIR and the city would have very limited post-referendum control opportunities. Any REFERENDUM that passed becomes an automatic entitlement that cannot be revoked or modified by the city OR BY THE VOTERS.

Without Measure M the property owner would have to submit an INITIATIVE with the required number of signatures.

Measure M would create a whole new business of Measure M REFERENDUMS.

Measure M screws up again........


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure M does not require individual projects to go to the voters. "

This illustrates that Measure M supporters do not understand the INTENDED consequences of Measure M in that anything that exceeds the limits or definitions in Measure M MUST, per Section 4 be submitted to the voters:
"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. "

And also the supporters do not understand the UNINTENDED consequences of Measure M since, if Measure M passes, a property owner can simply use any one trigger in the Measure M definitions and limits (such as the open space definition) to trigger PROJECT SPECIFIC REFERENDUM on their project which requires NO signatures and NO EIR.

Careful what you wish for, particularly if you do not understand what you are wishing for.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Fire station: The specific plan allows Public Safety Facilities as an allowable use in the Downtown Adjacent district, subject to review by Planning Commission (page E7)
The Zoning Ordinance allows Special Uses (Chapter 16.78), including emergency services facilities. And Public Facility (Chapter 16.49).

If the district wants both parcels to be Public Facility, that can happen. If the district seeks to be considered Special Use, that can happen.
If the district needs an exemption or variance, they can ask for it.

Peter keeps forgetting that the STAFF are in charge of interpreting uses, definitions. There is zero need to go to the ballot about definitions.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

fact:

you continue to tell lies. STAFF IS NOT IN CHARGE OF INTERPRETING DEFINITIONS or anything else under Measure M. Measure M requires a vote to change any of those definitions. For god's sake man (or woman), read the measure and stop posting the measure M lies!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Factless - Nice try but all your references are to parcels located within the DSP are and the Hoover parcel is outside the DSP area and zoned Residential.

That parcel cannot be combined with a parcel inside the DSP except if the boundary of the DSP is changed.

Section 3.1 of Measure M freezes the boundaries of the DSP as set in 2008.

Per Section 4.1 of Measure M the DSP boundaries set in Section 3.1 can ONLY be changed by a city wide vote - the staff has NO ability to change the Measure M adopted definitions and standards.

"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."

Bottom line, Measure M has already cost the Fire District taxpayers a lot of money because of uncertainty and delays and in the unlikely event that Measure M passes it will cost those taxpayers a great deal more. This is what happens when amateurs try to write zoning regulations.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm

No. Carpenter is not telling the truth. The prior post about the fire station refers to the zoning of both the Specific Plan and the rest of the city. The fire district can ask for the zoning it needs. There are examples of what they can request. Measure M does not preclude that, or the granting of the request.

There is no such thing as a legislative referendum. A referendum by definition is a request to overturn a legislative action. A referendum is an action initiated by citizens to cancel an ordinance passed by the City Council. The required number of valid signatures must be obtained by the citizens within 30 days of the passage of the offending ordinance to force the election. On how many of the required elements for a referendum does Carpenter's example fail:
- required number of valid signatures
- within 30 days of the passage of the offending ordinance by the Council
- purpose to cancel the offending ordinance?
It fails completely on every element of a referendum.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is no such thing as a legislative referendum."

Wrong - " referendum can be triggered in one of two ways. First, the legislature can send a proposed bill directly to the people instead of deciding on it themselves. In other words, a referendum occurs when a law is referred to the people. In this case, it is called a legislative referendum"

And since Section 4.1 of Measure M requires a city wide vote on any prescribed changes to Measure M the Council would, by law, have to approve such a referendum being placed on the ballot.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"No. Carpenter is not telling the truth."

Factless does not understanding zoning laws, the DSP or Measure M. To build a new fire station at the corner of OakGrove and Hoover the Fire District would need to MERGE the OakGrove parcel, which is inside the Measure M defined DSP boundaries, with the adjacent Hoover parcel, which is outside the Measure M defined DSP boundaries into a single parcel. Such a merger can only occur if both parcels are in the same planning zone. The boundary of the DSP would have to be changed per Section 4.1 of Measure M.

Section 3.1 of Measure M freezes the boundaries of the DSP as set in 2008.

Per Section 4.1 of Measure M the DSP boundaries set in Section 3.1 can ONLY be changed by a city wide vote - the staff has NO ability to change the Measure M adopted definitions and standards.

"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

MV there is no need to take definitions to a ballot. Staff remains responsible to interpret definitions and uses.

Measure M, like every initiative, enacts only what it says it enacts.

All this other stuff is made up by opponents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure M, like every initiative, enacts only what it says it enacts. "

Correct and it says:
"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the VOTER_ADOPTED DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS AND DEFINITIONS SET FORTH IN SECTION 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. "

And Section 3.1 states that one of those DEFINITIONS is:
"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the “ECR Specific Plan Area,” this initiative measure is referring TO THE BOUNDED AREA within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and HEREBY ADOPTED BY THE VOTERS as an integral part of this initiative measure. "

At last we agree.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@fact check

So here is a little more clarity on what/who goes to the ballot.

1. Once the 240K "general office " limit under measure m is met. ANY project that included additional office space would have to go to the voters, either on an individual basis or the city could request (and do a ballot measure) an increase of 100,000 to 240,000 feet so as to not have to go to the voters for every 5,000 new 2nd floor office in Downtown. Because that is exactly what measure M would require. Once the DSp reaches the max, a single incremental foot would require voter approval.

The other major "gotcha" or un-intended consequence from Measure M is that ANYONE who wants to build housing downtown (like they did above the Tibeten Carpet Store) would have to go to the voters to be able to build housing without the required 100 square feet of open space per dwelling. Since there is NO way to capture that in front of the building (think Santa Cruz sidewalk) and the back is parking owned by the city......the no counting balcony rule just made housing in downtown impossible without a citywide vote, so there will be no additional housing unless either the city or a developer goes to the voters to overturn that part of the rule.

We've said it before, this Measure is HORRIBLY written. If they wanted to restrict what Stanford did there were better ways to do it than this, but the authors (who should have known better) used a sledge hammer to pound in a finishing nail (as my father used to say)......one of MANY reasons to vote NO on Measure M.

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on Measure M
Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 5:47 pm

No. Measure M is carefully drafted. It adopts the Plan's process for requiring a Plan amendment when it's time to exceed the Plan's limits and do an environmental study. This is a 30 year plan, folks.

The council is required to review progress against the limits and amend the plan after doing the environmental review. Measure M adds a step of voter approval of the reset limits.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure M is carefully drafted."

Wrong - Measure M was drafted by amateurs and an unnamed lawyer. It is full of mistakes and unanticipated consequences. It has has had no public comment or review. It has had no EIR.

"This is a 30 year plan, folks."

Wrong, there is NO time limit in Measure M. Measure M's definitions and limits last FOREVER.

Measure M is a huge mistake.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm

fact:

[Portion removed; personal attacks violate terms of use.] You have been repeatedly shown the language of the measure which locks ALL definitions and boundaries. They CANNOT be changed without voter approval.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Peter, Menlo Voter, et al.

Let's just ignore this poster for now on, no use wasting our time.

Roy


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Roy:

you read my mind. I'm beginning to thing he's nothing but a troll.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Faceless and NotListening and Gernville are real people whose views are worth listening to; unfortunately they are unable to support their opinions with facts. However it is only through patient and very repetitive exchanges that they expose themselves as having opinions without facts.

In contrast Mike Lanza's approach (Web Link) is to attempt to silence those who disagree with him - a futile strategy.

Ultimately the truth about Measure M will lead to its defeat.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Excuse me editor. I said fact is either a liar or he/she is "nuts." This person is a liar as they have repeated the same factually inaccurate claims regarding measure M. They are "nuts" if they think repeating the same behavior will end with a different result (people believing their nonsense), that's the definition of insanity. Fact is one or the other and deleting my comments doesn't change that fact.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Excuse me. Let's stop name calling.
The measure requires voter approval to modify the specific elements identified in the initiative document section 3 (open space definition. office space definition and limits, nonresidential limits). Only those things. Things not identified as requiring voter approval do not require voter approval. Get it yet?
Other definitions, standards and zoning rules of the 356 page plan are not affected by the measure nor is the council's duty and authority to modify it as needed.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 28, 2014 at 5:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The measure requires voter approval to modify the specific elements identified in the initiative document section 3 (open space definition. office space definition and limits, nonresidential limits). Only those things."

Wrong - READ THE MEASURE.

And Section 3.1 states that one of those DEFINITIONS is:
"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the "ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring TO THE BOUNDED AREA within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and HEREBY ADOPTED BY THE VOTERS as an integral part of this initiative measure. "

"4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the VOTER_ADOPTED DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS AND DEFINITIONS SET FORTH IN SECTION 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. "

This why it is important to actually read and quote from the Measure. I realize that it is poorly written but that is what is going to be voted on.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2014 at 8:19 am

fact:

I wasn't "name calling." I pointed out that you repeatedly lie about what is in the initiative. That makes you a liar. I also pointed out that repeating the same lies with the hope it will be accepted as true is nuts. Repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Both of these are factual observations of your behavior.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2014 at 8:41 am

There is a set of facts and I have shared them. There are only a few definitions and standards in Measure M. Almost all of those definitions come straight from the Plan itself. These affect about 15 lines in the 356 page Plan.

I have pointed out repeatedly that no vote is required for new "office" uses since the staff is fully empowered BY THE PLAN to interpret uses within a project and to count office space. Opponents keep asserting that everything in the Plan is subject to a vote and that is simply not true. They keep asserting that the Council loses all control. and that simply not true.

Readers need to focus on the fact that M's limits for non-residential and office space came out of the environmental and financial analysis done for the Plan. It's clear what M's environmental and financial impacts would be. In contrast, TOTALLY not studied are the environmental and financial impacts of these huge projects with their additional 200,000 sq ft of office beyond what the entire 30 year Plan was expected to produce. Totally not studied is the loss - so far with 8 projects - of 50,000 sq ft of existing retail and no hotel (think city revenue). Also NOT STUDIED are the environmental impacts of these two projects = each of which is undergoing a project level environmental impact study because their impacts are estimated to be IN EXCESS of those expected in the Plan's EIR for all development of the 30 year plan. Common sense says that more impacts, almost always related to excess traffic, and fewer benefits because of far less sales tax and TOT revenue mean a bad deal for Menlo Park residents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There are only a few definitions and standards in Measure M."

Wrong. Section 3 contains TEN separate definitions that are " hereby adopted by the voters. "
3.1
3.2.1
3.2.2
3.2.3
3.2.4
3.2.5
3.2.6
3.3.1
3.3.2
3.3.3

"Almost all of those definitions come straight from the Plan itself"
Correct but NOW these TEN definitions have been "adopted by the voters" and NONE of them can be changed except by a city wide vote - a HUGE difference.

Because Measure M is so poorly written and so confusing even to its supporters it is a Huge Mistake.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Interested readers are encouraged to scroll through this and other Measure M related threads and note that:
1 - Even the supporters of Measure M do not understand what it says and what it means
2 - The supporters of Measure M NEVER quote from or cite the actual language of Measure M

And then ask yourself - WHY??

Measure M is a Mystery

Measure M is a Mistake


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Latest news is that based on the new traffic study and the added traffic is shows on Middle the Mayor has asked Stanford to reevaluate their plans. I find it funny that the traffic that Measure M supporters have been foretelling is not being back up by a new traffic study. The old one was falwed as many have been saying.

I don't see how measure M can be a mystery, it is there for anyone to read and it open for all residents of Menlo Park to vote on. The mystery is how the original traffic study reached its conclusion? and why no one but the supporters of Measure M chose to question it.

Measure M protects Menlo.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 2, 2014 at 4:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian -You think Measure M is so great, well then prove that you understand it.

Please quote in full section 4 of Measure M and then explain and defend that section - particularly the words "or frustrate".


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Peter,

Can I, sure it is not difficult. Will I because you ask or command it, No afraid not. [portion deleted. Make the post about the topic, not about other posters. ] ... if I run into someone that I respect and feel has an open mind regarding measure M, [portion deleted] I will be happy to discuss the details, facts and my opinions of them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian -You think Measure M is so great, well then prove that you understand it.

Please quote in full section 4 of Measure M and then explain and defend that section - particularly the words "or frustrate".

Answer - No he cannot because Measure M is indefensible.


2 people like this
Posted by Voting No
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 4, 2014 at 4:42 am

I plan on voting NO on M, and here is why:

1) The Proponents of M: My view is that SaveMenlo and its leaders are against virtually all development. I've attended council meetings and seen them in action and, rather than making rational arguments, they focused on more typical protest-type comments for Council. If they had more thoughtful ideas, there was plenty of time for them to be expressed. Nothing against the folks personally, just a view on their goals. I think watchers of their website and approach to issues would agree.

2)The Process: When I was approached three times to sign the petition (three different people), the basic pitch was a mild scare tactic (don't let us "be like Sunnyvale") and suggestions that it was fine to sign the petition since, in their view, it did not really do anything -- "just gets it on the ballot". Easy to see how lots of people hoping to get on with their day might just sign. When I asked one of the lead proponents what happens if M is voted in, he indicated that "nothing" happens, implying just that the current project can't move forward, essentially. When I demonstrated some basic knowledge about the fact that, actually, new standards get imposed, he had no further interest in discussing. Again, if there was a crisp knowledge of the facts and a passion around the benefit of the new proposal, there was plenty of time for me to hear it. The fact that a 'proposal" without public input can put MP in this position is an undesirable precedent for the governance of our town's development standards. While one rarely agrees with all elements of developments on private land, having a lengthy process with time for comment or input is critical. This is an entirely unvetted proposal that is only on the ballot because of a signature process that seemed to me to be more sales than substance.

3) Progress: While positive steps build momentum in a town, negative steps and tone defeat momentum. While I am thankful for business owners staying in and moving to MP, I think many others with capital and ideas will look at the tone from these discussions and go elsewhere. One good business encourages another and another. Increasingly empty storefronts do not inspire new investment. I believe new entrants will be rewarded, but we have to show the way. The point here is that improvements along ECR will have positive impacts on the desirability of MP for new businesses, ones useful to all residents. This does not "make us Sunnyvale", just a better Menlo Park.

4) Picking a starting point: This is hard and detailed work for any town and should not be taken lightly. The lengthy process with opportunities for public comment is what is needed and necessary. Even if some do not like the full outcome or regret that they may not have participated enough, voting for a totally unvetted measure with no public comment at all is not the right path, in my view. When the vote is done, I'd rather have a set of standards developed the right way as our go-forward point, versus those pulled together hastily to no serious discussion or review.

So, I plan on voting NO on M because I believe it is time to take steps toward real progress in our town, to send the right message to businesses to consider Menlo Park, and because the initiative itself, in my view, was not intended to be a serious attempt at a better solution. The anti-development tone and the much wider array of unknown implications of an unvetted initiative do not set the right direction for our great town.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

@Voting No: Very well said, many thanks.


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Posted by Skip Hilton
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

I agree with Barry on that point. Very well put @Voting No


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

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