A proposal by residents of the unincorporated West Menlo Park triangle bounded by Santa Cruz Avenue, Alameda de las Pulgas and Sharon Road to have their area annexed into the city of Menlo Park made it onto the City Council's list of projects it plans to work on this year.
The council on Feb. 13 appointed members Catherine Carlton and Ray Mueller to serve on a subcommittee to negotiate with San Mateo County.
Residents of the 52-household territory have for several years asked for consideration to be annexed into the city, and have together raised nearly $11,000 to fund the process, according to Leah Rogers, a resident of the triangle who supports annexation. The council tabled the matter last October, citing more pressing priorities.
Among the reasons residents have offered for pursuing annexation are interest in voting in Menlo Park elections and engaging in civic matters; to more easily secure services and infrastructure such as safe routes to school and sidewalks; and to have more regulation of residential development through the city's zoning and heritage tree ordinances.
One of the big hold-ups with the project is that Menlo Park would have to bring the roads of any territory it annexes up to the city's infrastructure standards, which are higher than those of the county. Doing so would likely be a costly undertaking, given the road conditions in that area of West Menlo Park.
Roughly a decade ago, the county offered to improve Sharon Road, but residents rejected the offer, according to Joe LoCoco, the county's deputy director of road services. Nine times out of 10, people accept an offer for road improvements, but when they don't it's usually because they are worried that nicer roads will attract cut-through traffic, he said.
If Menlo Park were to annex the West Menlo Park triangle, Mr. LoCoco said, the county has offered to fund improvements on Sharon Road to meet county standards. That would cover the costs for the road and gutters, but no sidewalks or streetlights. For any other improvements to Sharon Road or other areas in the triangle, the city would have to take on the costs and construction projects.
"Menlo Park needs to make some decisions as to whether it makes sense for them or not," Mr. LoCoco said.