Tonight: Menlo Park council reviews downtown development plan


More than a month after the topic was tabled, Menlo Park's City Council will return Tuesday, Nov. 17, to its review of the city's El Camino Real/downtown specific plan.

The council could also pass a resolution to launch a Menlo Park Sister City Program, and will receive updates on the Belle Haven Visioning Process and Facebook's new expansion plans.

Changes ahead for downtown specific plan?

The council has decided to conduct periodic reviews of the plan, which it adopted in 2012 following about five years of public meetings. After an initial review in 2013, the council agreed to review the plan every other year.

Proposed changes to the plan were presented to the Planning Commission at its Aug. 3 meeting, and it came before the City Council at its Oct. 6 meeting. But the council ultimately decided to postpone the discussion after spending the bulk of the meeting talking about updates to the city's general plan.

City staff recommendations were generally supported by the Planning Commission, with some exceptions, according to a staff report.

Recommended changes to the downtown plan include revising setback requirements for the rear of buildings, establishing maximum front and side setbacks, and setting sidewalk width standards for streets that do not have sidewalks.

Among other proposed changes are considerations related to transportation demand management programs, electric vehicle recharging stations, and hotel parking rates.

Sister cities

The resolution proposes that the city join Sister Cities International and establish a Sister City Committee. Joining Sister Cities International would cost $580 in 2016 and provide access to a wide network of member communities from around the world, according to a staff report prepared by Jim Cogan, Menlo Park's economic development and housing manager. A Sister Cities Committee of five appointed members would also be established to help lead the project.

The Nov. 17 meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 701 Laurel St., in the Civic Center.

Learn more by viewing the meeting agenda or watch the meeting online.

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7 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

It is incredible really incredible that this specific plan is still being discussed 3YEARS after being and 8Years after first being discussed and NOTHING has been done to make downtown nicer. The sidewalks are still in disrepair, no improvements have been made, no new building have been built. All the while cities all over the peninsula are moving forward and improving their downtowns.

I honestly think that the citizens of menlo park really don't want anything to change. They just want their houses to keep appreciating and do nothing. They'd rather have the infrastructure rot.

Good work all!

Like this comment
Posted by incredible
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Yes, the incredible DSP is something that must be revisited every few years, by design.

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:17 am

Outlaw cars and trucks and buses and trains and motorcycles. Bikes can be dangerous. Bikers are rude. Go back to walking - including walkers for older folks. Maybe allow some wheelchairs. What ever happen to those machines you can ride standing up? Those are out. Make the world safer for pedestrians. That is the ticket. Of course, everything will need to be within WALKING DISTANCE.

2 people like this
Posted by need improvements
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 14, 2015 at 10:50 am

The responsibility for improving sidewalks and parking lots sits squarely in the Council's lap. They have not established a funding mechanism for making those improvements. They have not established a plan for when those will occur (even Santa Cruz sidewalks west of downtown seem to be lost in space). Rather than blame citizens, blame the council and push them to fix the situation. It's their job.

Like this comment
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm

@needs improvement

Yes, the council is responsible for putting these mechanisms in place. The citizens of MP elect the council, so yes we are to blame as well.

Like this comment
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm


I do understand that plans need to be reviewed. However, the council has continuously reviewed the plan over the past 3 years and have nothing to show for it. When do we actually implement the plan?

Like this comment
Posted by Facts
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

@MPer - there a multiple projects in City Planning. Don't forget Measure M caused a year of uncertainty for potential investors in Downtown. Stanford has spent months circulating their new proposal. In the mean time, just to name a few of the projects that have the Council has approved: street dining on Santa Cruz Ave which is being expanded to many more restaurants, multiple hotel renovations along El Camino, a remodeling of the BBC and a sidewalk and bike installation for Santa Cruz Ave. There are plenty of mechanisms in place and they are working.

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

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