Tuesday: Menlo Park council to review proposed changes in general plan


If and when Menlo Park is fully built out under proposed zoning changes, the amount of revenue the city will receive is somewhat less than originally estimated, according to the final fiscal-impact analysis on the city's general plan update.

The analysis is one piece of the puzzle the Menlo Park City Council will consider Tuesday, Nov. 15, when it reviews proposed changes to the general plan, which governs future development in the city.

The final fiscal analysis, conducted by the consulting firm BAE Urban Economics, shows that a full buildout of the city under proposed general plan changes would result in the city receiving an additional $8.3 million a year in revenues from sales taxes, hotel taxes, property taxes utility users taxes and other sources. An earlier estimate in the draft fiscal analysis was $9 million.

The amounts are estimates of city revenue based on a full buildout under existing zoning plus the proposed rezoning of the M-2 area east of U.S. 101. The rezoning would allow the addition of 4,500 housing units, 2.3 million square feet of commercial development and 400 hotel rooms in the M-2 area.

The analysis also studied the fiscal impacts of two alternatives to full buildout:

• Cutting by half the amount of new nonresidential and hotel space that could be built, which would add an estimated $5.2 million a year to city coffers.

• Reducing all development allowed by 25 percent, which would add an estimated $6.8 million a year to city revenues.

The draft version of the fiscal impact analysis was released in September.


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11 people like this
Posted by Richard Vaughan
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2016 at 10:22 am

This is a copy of a letter I sent on 11/11/16 regarding the proposal to rezone the M-2 Area East of 101and the Bohannon Office Park off Marsh Rd.

Dear Ms. Chow and the City Council of Menlo Park,

I am in receipt of your notice of Public Hearing regarding the General Plan and M-2 Area Zoning Update. I am unable to attend your meeting on November 29 but hope that these comments can be added to the discussion.
I am a resident of Redwood City and work in Menlo Park as the Music Director at Hillview Middle School. I live on 17th Avenue and commute daily on Marsh and Middlefield Rd.
My reason for commenting is with regards to traffic. I am very concerned, to put it mildly, that an additional 4.1 million ft of non-res dev. and up to 5,500 residential units in the Facebook/Baylands corridor without taking into account the already congested streets in the area, especially at peak rush hour times, will lead to more and more gridlock.
There have already been times when it has taken me over 60 minutes just to get from Marsh and Bohannon to the Dumbarton Bridge.
This sort of gridlock creates a nightmare for emergency personnel, environmental quality and has a deleterious impact upon the surrounding community as commuters try to find an escape route and drive through residential neighborhoods looking for whatever shortcuts their traffic apps suggest.
I cannot emphasize enough the Negative Impact traffic has upon the Quality of Life for anyone living in or near this area.
I would highly suggest that before you simply approve any increases to the General Plan that you also seriously look at ways to mitigate traffic and encourage the creation of mass transit, bike and foot traffic corridors. To date, the Dumbarton Rail Project seems to have stalled yet this rail line and side easements could provide the way for an emergency access route, designated bike lanes as well as light rail or ACE commuter trains into the peninsula.
To this end, I would ask that any future development should require the installation of a second rail bridge over 101 (the footings are already there) and the creation of a mass transit hub in this region to facilitate the expansion of Facebook and all additional housing.
As I look beyond simply Menlo Park, I see building up and down the 101 Corridor with no consideration for the number of cars each new project brings. Redwood City is fundamentally changed and traffic is worse than ever. The new construction of Stanford's Medical facilities on Spring St coupled with the current plan for the Broadway/Bay Plaza
Web Link
will also lead to more traffic. I'm sure that many of us are waiting for the next shoe to drop with regards to what Bohannon has planned for its properties, as well.
All of these taken together, without consideration of a formal region-wide traffic plan, display a mindset that is narrow and local. It is time to broaden our viewpoint. We are negatively impacting the things that make the peninsula such a great place to live. Were I in such a position, would never consider bringing a new company into this region if traffic mitigations are not addressed. You want to discuss lost productivity? Spend 2 hours trying to get from Menlo Park to SF on 101 at 4pm on a weekday.
While I am grateful that bringing Facebook to this region of Menlo Park has increased the value of my RWC home to those nearby in MP, the increased traffic and continuing degradation of my family's Quality of Life caused by uncoordinated regional growth up and down the peninsula and the lack of a committed Traffic Plan to deal with this growth forces me to consider moving out of the area.
Please put traffic at the top of your list when it comes to any Re-Zoning and large construction projects.

Most Sincerely,

Richard Vaughan

4 people like this
Posted by less is more
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Thank you Richard V for outstanding comments.
Do we really need all this growth approved when it makes our quality of life and safety so much worse?
I took a peek at the financial analysis. The big difference in revenue between what is proposed and a less intense option is the hotels. The analysis assumed hotels would be reduced by half. If that were not reduced, the benefits would be similar and the impacts much less.
Can anyone explain why Bohannon isn't required to provide housing? I heard that the enormous project under construction didn't provide any, and the new plan would not, either. Bohannon has so much land that would be ideal for housing or mixed use on the west side of 101.

2 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 11, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Mr. Vaughn expresses the gridlock that takes more than time wasted due to traffic with all the building and insufficient studies.

We notice the council routinely fails to force these large developers to assess and accommodate the quality of life in Menlo Park. They are single-mindedly focused on making money. Period. So it's our community's governing bodies that need to be responsible, first to its citizens.

I no longer can drive to Bayfront park for exercising and to soak in the refreshing, calm simplicity of the place. This was something I've done for decades, but no more with traffic as it is. And having that monstrosity they and the planning commission approved (Bohannon's 'expression') has markedly stained the feeling of Bayfront when looking toward the western hills.

I find the council's actions the last 2 years appalling in this regard, and having this latest problem with the estimates being 'off' is no surprise.

We deserve better.

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

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