The Menlo Park City Council could vote Tuesday, May 24, to move forward with plans to create street cafe spaces on Santa Cruz Avenue.
The spaces would be considered "parklets," or mini outdoor spaces that would occupy the parking spots of participating businesses along Santa Cruz Avenue.
To convert the parking spaces to mini-parks, the city would pay most of the cost to install platforms and place concrete planter boxes around the perimeter of the platforms. Each would be disability-accessible.
Participating businesses would provide all of the furnishings of the space, such as tables and chairs, and would be responsible for creating a "unique" setting compared with the other street cafe spaces, according to city staff. Custom features, such as wood panels, paint, plants, lighting and furniture, would be paid for by the business.
The project started in May 2014 as a pilot at Left Bank. In January 2015, the council gave directions for the program to be expanded.
Between June and July 2015, six restaurants Left Bank, Bistro Vida, Mademoiselle Colette, LB Steak, Angelo Mio and Galata Bistro and one other business Harvest Furniture on Santa Cruz Avenue applied to participate.
In previous meetings, two options for cost-sharing between the city and private businesses were approved. If the business pays costs upfront, then the city could cover 70 percent of costs at angled parking spaces and 75 percent for parallel parking spots. If the business were to pay costs over a two-year period, then the city could pay 60 percent to convert angled parking spots and 70 percent for parallel spots, setting $30,000 as the maximum the city would pay for each site.
After detailed drawings for each of the street cafes were completed and cost estimates gathered, estimated costs could be too high for some businesses, even with city's help. For instance, the projected costs for LB Steak and Left Bank were about $64,000.
City staff plan to ask council members if they'll consider increasing the city's maximum contribution by $10,000 or $15,000 per business. Providing more funding to the businesses, the staff report says, will enable more small businesses to participate.
If the council approves the project, construction could begin as soon as July.
In any case, according to the staff report, the city would have to pay the upfront construction costs, estimated to be $524,000 for all seven parklets. That would require the council to increase the budget allocated to streetscape improvements in the next fiscal year's budget by between $336,000 and $355,000.
Go to the staff report to see the designs for the different locations.
Other items on the agenda:
The city manager could get council approval to sign on to an agreement as part of the Peninsula Joint Powers Board that is working to switch Caltrain to an electrified system, according to the staff report.
Caltrain plans to put into writing that it will cover city costs to review and inspect the project, make city improvements, discuss anticipated work hours and encroachment, and iron out other policies.
Secondary dwelling units
The council could extend a provision that allows some accessory buildings to be converted into secondary dwelling units if they meet certain criteria. The extension would last until June 13, 2017.
The city is also considering allowing a study that would explore the possibility of annexing roughly 14 acres of unincorporated county land, spanning from 2111 to 2121 Sand Hill Road.
Currently on the site is a residence owned by Stanford University and a two-story office building, where the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is located. The site is located in unincorporated San Mateo County. Planned for the site at 2121 Sand Hill Road, west of the Hewlett Foundation office, is a new, two-story, 39,000-square-foot building.