The Menlo Park Planning Commission voted 6-0 on Monday, Feb. 26, with Commissioner Susan Goodhue absent, to approve plans to construct two new buildings to replace the former Beltramo's Wines & Spirits site at 1540 El Camino Real.
The proposed development, by developer Derek Hunter, will add 27 rental apartments in one 35-foot-tall, three-story building, adding up to about 35,000 square feet, with two levels of underground parking; and a two-story, 32-foot-tall, 41,000-square-foot office building at the site.
The plans, which fall within the city's El Camino Real/downtown specific plan, were approved on the condition that certain architectural changes be made, at the request of Commissioner Henry Riggs, to use original-color terra cotta on the office building and add other variations to the design.
Commissioners asked why the applicant did not opt to build at the maximum allowed density, which would require some negotiation with the city as to which "community benefits" would have to be provided. Mr. Hunter said it was a group decision to stick to the more straightforward guidelines associated with the lower level of development.
The developer proposes to add 19 surface parking spaces and 163 parking spaces in the underground parking garage. Bike racks, a pedestrian path through the middle of the site and the requisite amount of open space would also be provided.
The developer also proposes to remove 41 trees, eight of which are considered heritage trees, replace the heritage trees at a two-to-one ratio, and plant some additional trees.
On the below-market-rate housing front, Mr. Hunter has proposed to provide five low-income housing units on site and pay $135,345 in additional below-market-rate housing fees to meet the city's required contribution.