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Menlo Park: Planning Commission meets today on general plan

Questions will be answered at 5 p.m. town hall before 6 p.m. public hearing

Talks about possible general plan changes that could shape how Menlo Park's eastern side develops between now and 2040 are scheduled for much of the evening tonight (July 11).

First, from 5 to 6 p.m., the city will host a town hall meeting at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers (701 Laurel St.) to answer questions and present information to people about the findings of the draft report describing the potential impacts to the environment that could happen if Menlo Park decides to allow three new kinds of zoning in the city's M-2 area.

The proposed changes could allow life sciences offices, other office space and residential/mixed-use development in the area of Menlo Park bounded by the San Francisco Bay, University Avenue, U.S. 101 and Marsh Road. Such changes could allow:

● Up to 4,500 housing units to be built, accommodating about 11,250 residents.

● Up to 2.3 million square feet of nonresidential space to be built, including office space to accommodate about 5,000 new employees.

● Up to 400 hotel rooms.

Including what's already permitted to be built in Menlo Park, that could mean 4.1 million square feet of new nonresidential space and up to 5,500 new housing units in the city.

Beginning at 6 p.m., people will be able to comment during a public hearing on the subject at the Menlo Park Planning Commission meeting. Comments will be recorded.

The Planning Commission will not take action on the proposed general plan changes at the meeting, but will hear comments, ask questions and add their own comments.

Issues that may be discussed are the areas for potential environmental impact the proposed development allowances could have on the city: local air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, housing and traffic.

The commission could also discuss what alternatives or mitigation steps the city could take to reduce those impacts, according to the staff report.

Comments on the environmental report for the general plan update, if not made at the meeting, may be submitted in writing by 5 p.m. Friday, July 15. They may be emailed to connectmenlo@menlopark.org with "Menlo Park General Plan Update EIR" in the subject line, or mailed to: Deanna Chow, city of Menlo Park Planning Division, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park 94025.

Facebook EIR comments due today

The commission was originally scheduled to have this talk at its June 20 meeting, but did not because it spent the bulk of the meeting discussing Facebook's large campus expansion, which also has a draft environmental impact report out now. Comments on that project's report of possible environmental impacts are due at 5:30 p.m. today, July 11. Comments should be submitted to Kyle Perata at ktperata@menlopark.org or by mail to Planning Division, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Related Stories:

Two huge reviews on General Plan, Facebook for Menlo Park Planning Commission

Councilman Mueller: Menlo Park Planning Commission has too much on its plate tonight

Menlo Park: Comments sought on general plan, Facebook expansion reports

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