Menlo Park now allows less medical office space within the boundaries of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, following a unanimous vote by the city council on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
With Mayor Ray Mueller calling in from China, the council voted 5-0 to limit medical office space per project within the specific plan area to 33,333 square feet for projects of 100,000 square feet or more; smaller developments may include up to one-third of their total size as medical offices. The mayor was out of town on work-related business.
The Planning Commission had also unanimously supported the changes, which were first proposed in 2013 during the first specific plan review. The amendments then underwent analysis as required by state law, and were brought back for approval this fall.
Not everyone was pleased. Former council member Steve Schmidt, who supports Measure M, the specific plan ballot initiative, described the council's action as "political silly season theater."
Referencing the analysis done by the attorney who drafted Measure M, Mr. Schmidt said the changes could have been made in the future if the measure passes, contrary to the analysis by the city's contracted attorney. He decried the city's "commitment to misinformation."
His comments sparked the ire of Vice Mayor Cat Carlton and Mayor Mueller, who asked for politeness.
"I am so tired of the inflammatory rhetoric and innuendo," Mr. Mueller said. "The public is tired of the inflammatory rhetoric and innuendo. For months as mayor I sat quietly while people said terrible things about my colleagues and myself. And that kindness has been met with nothing but further rebuke and character attacks."
The night's vote had nothing to do with Measure M, he said. "The world does not revolve around Measure M. This is just action that needs to be taken." He urged everyone to consider how to work together in the future regardless of the election's outcome.