If Menlo Park residents believe the specific plan governing development in Menlo Park's downtown and El Camino Real corridor is still flawed, they didn't share their views with the city's Planning Commission when it met on Aug. 3 to review the plan.
Patti Fry, the former planning commissioner who was one of the authors of 2014's Measure M, which unsuccessfully sought to have parts of the plan changed, and Greenheart developer Steve Pierce were the only members of the public to speak at the meeting, although several others sent letters.
The public will have another chance for input when the City Council continues the two-year review, tentatively scheduled for its Sept. 8 meeting.
Ms. Fry said she'd like the city to look at how the plan is working compared to what was expected by the residents, city staff and consultants who spent years developing it.
"I think you need more information to evaluate how we're doing," she said. "There's a perception that we've lost retail, for example."
She urged the council to make sure the plan contains "mechanisms where we can manage the impacts of growth -- not stop growth, but manage it."
Planning commissioners spent most of the meeting reviewing staff recommendations for refinements in the plan.
Two staff proposals they did not support had to do with reducing parking requirements one for hotels and the other for businesses that fall into the category of "personal services," such as yoga and dance studios or driving schools.
Six commissioners supported retaining the current recommendations for hotel parking, with commissioner John Kadvany abstaining, but said the staff should remind developers the requirements can be modified case by case.
On the personal services parking issue, the commissioners were divided, with four (Larry Kahle, Katherine Strehl, John Kadvany and John Onken) voting not to reduce the parking requirements for such services. Katie Ferrick, Drew Combs and Susan Goodhue voted for a change.
Commission Chair John Onken said he'd instead like to see research on building a city parking garage.
By the time the commissioners finished with the staff's proposals and began to discuss Commissioner Kadvany's ideas on how to determine the value of the additional square footage a developer requests in trade for "public benefits," it was nearly 10 p.m. They asked to talk about it more at a future meeting.
Even later in the evening, Mr. Kadvany suggested considering lowering the threshold at which a project's proposed size and scale would trigger a public benefits requirement. He received no feedback from commissioners, who may just have wanted to go home and go to sleep.