Tonight: Menlo Park council takes up general plan changes


After about two years of community meetings on proposed changes to Menlo Park's general plan, the proposals come to the Menlo Park City Council tonight (Nov. 15) for its review.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.

Final action on the general plan is not expected until the council's Nov. 29 meeting, according to a staff report.

For the general plan changes to be adopted, the council will have to approve the findings in a report on expected environmental impacts should all of the development allowed by the changes actually get built.

Proposed changes in the general plan would create new zoning categories for life sciences, office, and mixed-use residential (a mix of office, residential and commercial) development.

Within the "office" zoning there would be a corporate housing area on Facebook's east campus for up to 1,500 dorm-style units.

Zoning changes in the M-2 light industrial area east of U.S. 101 would allow the building of up to 2.3 million additional square feet of nonresidential development, 400 hotel rooms and 4,500 residential units. With full development, an estimated 11,570 more residents and 5,500 more employees would be added to the area.

The council will also consider the environmental impacts from development that is already expected and allowed citywide. The gap between what exists today in Menlo Park and what could exist by 2040, is 6 million square feet of nonresidential development, 920 hotel rooms and 6,780 housing units. Those changes could increase Menlo Park's population by 17,450 and its number of workers by 22,350.

One of the major environmental concerns is the increase in traffic such development could generate. The Planning Commission was divided 2-2 on whether the general plan needed more concrete steps to reduce traffic and increase alternative transportation.

For more information, see these previous Almanac stories:

Menlo Park: How zoning changes could affect traffic, water - June 2016

Menlo Park releases final environmental impact report on city's general plan update – Oct. 10, 2016

Transportation woes leave Planning Commission at impasse over general plan – Oct. 25, 2016

Councilwoman Catherine Carlton is expected to be absent from the Nov. 15 meeting. Councilman Ray Mueller had asked that the review be postponed until all five council members could be present.

In other business, the council will appoint two of its members to a "Dumbarton Corridor Transportation" subcommittee.

Watch the meeting online.

See the meeting agenda.

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