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Menlo Park: Council to appeal Stanford medical office approval

Menlo Park is taking a hard stance against Stanford University's growth near its territory, as evidenced by the council's vote Nov. 29 to appeal the approval of a medical faculty office building slated for 453 Quarry Road in Santa Clara County.

The council voted 4-0, with Ray Mueller absent, to appeal an approval of Stanford's plans for its "Center for Academic Medicine" office building.

The 155,000-square-foot, four-story building with three levels of underground parking was approved by the Santa Clara County Planning Commission on Nov. 16. The appeal goes to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Menlo Park staff and the council were surprised that they hadn't been alerted about the project, only hearing about it prior to the scheduled hearing of the matter at the county planning commission.

In fact, the revelation of this project caused Councilwoman Catherine Carlton to renege on her approval of another Stanford office development at 2131 Sand Hill Road, causing the project's approval to be reversed.

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(Councilman Ray Mueller had alerted the city of plans for the Quarry Road development; he says he learned of the proposal due to a tip from Kristina Loquist, a staffer in Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian's office. Mr. Mueller previously worked as chief of staff there. Until recently, he said, Ms. Loquist wanted her name to stay "behind the scenes.")

The appeal comes with a price tag of $1,359 and will require staff time, a commodity in short supply, to be pulled from other city projects, as City Manager Alex McIntyre frequently reminds the council.

One of the council's big concerns about the development is that it moves 115,000 square feet of Stanford's allowed development from its east campus to near Quarry Road.

Even though the building would not add more parking spots than were allowed when Stanford's 2000 growth plan was approved, the Menlo Park council and staff worry that the traffic impacts have not been sufficiently analyzed, and anticipate Sand Hill Road and roads in Menlo Park territory would be be adversely affected with the new building.

Santa Clara County Planning Director Kirk Girard sees things differently. In a previous interview, he said that county planners did take Menlo Park's concerns into account and layered on more analysis as to what traffic might be like when the university's two hospitals – currently under construction – go live. The traffic projections, he said, were comfortably beneath projected traffic volumes estimated in 2000. "This project wasn't making things worse," he said.

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The appeal would likely go before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in January or February, predicted Councilman Peter Ohtaki.

More Stanford growth

The council also voted 4-0 Nov. 29, with Mr. Mueller absent, to approve a comment letter laying out concerns about the findings in a draft environmental impact report on Stanford's general use permit. The university is seeking approval from Santa Clara County to add between the years 2018 and 2035:

● 2.275 million net new square feet of academic and academic-support space.

● 3,150 new housing units or dorm rooms (estimated to be 1.225 million additional square feet).

● 40,000 net new square feet of childcare space.

Among the concerns staff raise in the letter to Stanford are that university's maximum buildout levels and timing are not well-defined, that the report's traffic analysis does not reflect actual congestion levels, that proposed traffic mitigation measures are incomplete, and that housing demand will be generated that will not be accommodated on campus.

Menlo Park joined Palo Alto and San Mateo County in a request for a 60-day extension of the deadline to make comments on the report.

See previous stories:

● Oct. 24: Menlo Park seeks delay in hearing for new Stanford development

● Nov. 16:

Update: Menlo Park council reverses approval of Stanford project

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Menlo Park: Council to appeal Stanford medical office approval

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 11:57 am

Menlo Park is taking a hard stance against Stanford University's growth near its territory, as evidenced by the council's vote Nov. 29 to appeal the approval of a medical faculty office building slated for 453 Quarry Road in Santa Clara County.

The council voted 4-0, with Ray Mueller absent, to appeal an approval of Stanford's plans for its "Center for Academic Medicine" office building.

The 155,000-square-foot, four-story building with three levels of underground parking was approved by the Santa Clara County Planning Commission on Nov. 16. The appeal goes to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Menlo Park staff and the council were surprised that they hadn't been alerted about the project, only hearing about it prior to the scheduled hearing of the matter at the county planning commission.

In fact, the revelation of this project caused Councilwoman Catherine Carlton to renege on her approval of another Stanford office development at 2131 Sand Hill Road, causing the project's approval to be reversed.

(Councilman Ray Mueller had alerted the city of plans for the Quarry Road development; he says he learned of the proposal due to a tip from Kristina Loquist, a staffer in Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian's office. Mr. Mueller previously worked as chief of staff there. Until recently, he said, Ms. Loquist wanted her name to stay "behind the scenes.")

The appeal comes with a price tag of $1,359 and will require staff time, a commodity in short supply, to be pulled from other city projects, as City Manager Alex McIntyre frequently reminds the council.

One of the council's big concerns about the development is that it moves 115,000 square feet of Stanford's allowed development from its east campus to near Quarry Road.

Even though the building would not add more parking spots than were allowed when Stanford's 2000 growth plan was approved, the Menlo Park council and staff worry that the traffic impacts have not been sufficiently analyzed, and anticipate Sand Hill Road and roads in Menlo Park territory would be be adversely affected with the new building.

Santa Clara County Planning Director Kirk Girard sees things differently. In a previous interview, he said that county planners did take Menlo Park's concerns into account and layered on more analysis as to what traffic might be like when the university's two hospitals – currently under construction – go live. The traffic projections, he said, were comfortably beneath projected traffic volumes estimated in 2000. "This project wasn't making things worse," he said.

The appeal would likely go before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in January or February, predicted Councilman Peter Ohtaki.

More Stanford growth

The council also voted 4-0 Nov. 29, with Mr. Mueller absent, to approve a comment letter laying out concerns about the findings in a draft environmental impact report on Stanford's general use permit. The university is seeking approval from Santa Clara County to add between the years 2018 and 2035:

● 2.275 million net new square feet of academic and academic-support space.

● 3,150 new housing units or dorm rooms (estimated to be 1.225 million additional square feet).

● 40,000 net new square feet of childcare space.

Among the concerns staff raise in the letter to Stanford are that university's maximum buildout levels and timing are not well-defined, that the report's traffic analysis does not reflect actual congestion levels, that proposed traffic mitigation measures are incomplete, and that housing demand will be generated that will not be accommodated on campus.

Menlo Park joined Palo Alto and San Mateo County in a request for a 60-day extension of the deadline to make comments on the report.

See previous stories:

● Oct. 24: Menlo Park seeks delay in hearing for new Stanford development

● Nov. 16:

Update: Menlo Park council reverses approval of Stanford project

Comments

bruce adornato
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm
bruce adornato, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Bravo for the MP city council getting real with Stanford and its plans for seemingly unlimited growth
without realistic concerns of the traffic problem.


Roll Call
Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 30, 2017 at 4:02 pm
Roll Call, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 30, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Where is Council Member Mueller? How many council meetings did he miss this year?


Ray Mueller
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm
Ray Mueller, Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm

I was home with my sick daughter. My wife is a middle school counselor. She is away chaperoning her schools trip to the mountains. My daughter was ill, as was I frankly. I actually brought the kids to the meeting at 6:45, but it was too much to ask a sick child to do. We left before the meeting started.

Best,
Ray Mueller


Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 30, 2017 at 7:06 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 30, 2017 at 7:06 pm

Ray,

Saw you there talking before the meeting started but her you were ill and had to leave. Thanks for watching live and your input on the Willows Traffic problems. Limiting Stanford from flooding out streets with more cars is a good start. Looking forward to seeing some action take on the Willows at the next meeting, hope you are better.


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