News

Menlo Park council to weigh development moratorium next week

Spurred by a proposal from two council members, the Menlo Park City Council will next week consider adopting a moratorium on new nonresidential development, as well as on large-scale housing development on the city's Bay side.

After receiving a written request from Vice Mayor Cecilia Taylor and council member Betsy Nash to discuss freezing commercial development, Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller has scheduled a special City Council meeting to discuss the matter on Tuesday, June 11, starting no earlier than 7 p.m.

"It is my expectation that the request for (a) moratorium will evoke passionate feelings and strong debate on all sides of the issue both within and outside our city borders," Mueller said in a written statement.

In an email, Nash told The Almanac, "Menlo Park’s jobs/housing imbalance seriously affects the quality of life for residents throughout the city. A temporary development moratorium gives us a chance to pause and assess our situation and possible policy responses."

While the city has development caps in some areas of the city, she wrote, "now we need to examine how much development has already been built or is in the pipeline, the traffic and other impacts of that development, and make good decisions about mitigating the impacts of development going forward."

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In a memo Taylor and Nash submitted to Mueller, City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson and City Attorney Bill McClure, they asked that the council consider a citywide moratorium on all new nonresidential construction, including hotels, and any increased FAR (floor-area ratio, an indicator of building density) for existing nonresidential construction.

Citing unprecedented development and congestion, historic under-investment in the neighborhood, the presence of "sensitive populations" and proximity to major roadways, they also ask that the council consider a moratorium on residential development in District 1 – the area of the city on the Bay side of U.S. 101 – for all housing projects larger than 100 units, as well as for any increases in FAR for developments over 100 units. Among the "sensitive populations" in District 1 are those vulnerable to displacement due to the lack of affordable housing, such as seniors, and youth who they say don't have access to quality education.

They said that they're asking for the moratorium in order to ensure that the city's general plan update and El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan "reflect current community values" and address "opportunities and challenges."

"Our definition of a moratorium is to allow us to step back and look at the City's goals and quality of life for residents – here is where we are, now how do we fix it?" they wrote.

They are asking that the city further evaluate the city's jobs-housing imbalance, including breaking down the jobs-housing ratio by district, figuring out where additional housing can be encouraged through city zoning and evaluating how development proposals fit with the existing development caps.

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They also want the council to consider rezoning some commercial areas to be residential, upzoning current housing in some areas, or promoting residential and retail mixed-use development as well as potentially passing a citywide housing affordability policy.

They also want to study how each type of development impacts access to education, community services, emergency services, clean water and air, as well as traffic and public transit impacts.

If the council decides to move forward with the moratorium, the city attorney may be asked to draft an ordinance to be considered at a future meeting.

The proposal comes at a time when the city is seeing an uptick in large commercial development proposals.

Since the city's El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan was approved in 2012, about 84% of the 474,000 square feet of net new noncommercial development the plan permits has already been claimed by developers, and about 72%of the permitted 680 new housing units have received entitlements, according to an April report.

Growth in the city's Bay side has been even faster: Within two years of the city's general plan update being completed, which upzoned much of the city's Bay side, developers have submitted proposals for five projects that cumulatively represent more than the 1.3-million-square-foot maximum of office space the plan permits.

One of those is Facebook's Willow Village proposal, which continues to move forward.

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Menlo Park council to weigh development moratorium next week

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 5, 2019, 9:30 pm

Spurred by a proposal from two council members, the Menlo Park City Council will next week consider adopting a moratorium on new nonresidential development, as well as on large-scale housing development on the city's Bay side.

After receiving a written request from Vice Mayor Cecilia Taylor and council member Betsy Nash to discuss freezing commercial development, Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller has scheduled a special City Council meeting to discuss the matter on Tuesday, June 11, starting no earlier than 7 p.m.

"It is my expectation that the request for (a) moratorium will evoke passionate feelings and strong debate on all sides of the issue both within and outside our city borders," Mueller said in a written statement.

In an email, Nash told The Almanac, "Menlo Park’s jobs/housing imbalance seriously affects the quality of life for residents throughout the city. A temporary development moratorium gives us a chance to pause and assess our situation and possible policy responses."

While the city has development caps in some areas of the city, she wrote, "now we need to examine how much development has already been built or is in the pipeline, the traffic and other impacts of that development, and make good decisions about mitigating the impacts of development going forward."

In a memo Taylor and Nash submitted to Mueller, City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson and City Attorney Bill McClure, they asked that the council consider a citywide moratorium on all new nonresidential construction, including hotels, and any increased FAR (floor-area ratio, an indicator of building density) for existing nonresidential construction.

Citing unprecedented development and congestion, historic under-investment in the neighborhood, the presence of "sensitive populations" and proximity to major roadways, they also ask that the council consider a moratorium on residential development in District 1 – the area of the city on the Bay side of U.S. 101 – for all housing projects larger than 100 units, as well as for any increases in FAR for developments over 100 units. Among the "sensitive populations" in District 1 are those vulnerable to displacement due to the lack of affordable housing, such as seniors, and youth who they say don't have access to quality education.

They said that they're asking for the moratorium in order to ensure that the city's general plan update and El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan "reflect current community values" and address "opportunities and challenges."

"Our definition of a moratorium is to allow us to step back and look at the City's goals and quality of life for residents – here is where we are, now how do we fix it?" they wrote.

They are asking that the city further evaluate the city's jobs-housing imbalance, including breaking down the jobs-housing ratio by district, figuring out where additional housing can be encouraged through city zoning and evaluating how development proposals fit with the existing development caps.

They also want the council to consider rezoning some commercial areas to be residential, upzoning current housing in some areas, or promoting residential and retail mixed-use development as well as potentially passing a citywide housing affordability policy.

They also want to study how each type of development impacts access to education, community services, emergency services, clean water and air, as well as traffic and public transit impacts.

If the council decides to move forward with the moratorium, the city attorney may be asked to draft an ordinance to be considered at a future meeting.

The proposal comes at a time when the city is seeing an uptick in large commercial development proposals.

Since the city's El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan was approved in 2012, about 84% of the 474,000 square feet of net new noncommercial development the plan permits has already been claimed by developers, and about 72%of the permitted 680 new housing units have received entitlements, according to an April report.

Growth in the city's Bay side has been even faster: Within two years of the city's general plan update being completed, which upzoned much of the city's Bay side, developers have submitted proposals for five projects that cumulatively represent more than the 1.3-million-square-foot maximum of office space the plan permits.

One of those is Facebook's Willow Village proposal, which continues to move forward.

Comments

Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2019 at 8:55 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2019 at 8:55 am
34 people like this

I applaud this move and thank council members Taylor and Nash for putting it forth, I hope it passes and that it includes projects like Willows Village. The very rapid expansion of office space in Menlo Park has had a large impact on the quality of life for many residents, especially those in Belle Haven and along the major traffic routes for commuters. I am happy to see these council members, and hopefully the whole council, put the wellbeing of the residents above those of the commercial developers.


really?
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2019 at 9:13 am
really?, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 6, 2019 at 9:13 am
11 people like this

Two years from now, well into a moratorium, traffic will still be worse. Unless there's a recession. This is a short-sighted small-town knee-jerk solution that needs visionary and aggressive action instead.

Maybe we should pull a 'Chris Christie' and close Willow Road for a week, just to see what happens?


Pot Meet Kettle
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:13 am
Pot Meet Kettle, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:13 am
17 people like this

I hope the other three members of the City Council take this discussion seriously, and Drew Combs will be pivotal. History has shown time and again that unless there is direct effect on central or west Menlo, the City Council will basically shrug its shoulders and be like "oh well".


Jeremy Hoffman
another community
on Jun 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm
Jeremy Hoffman, another community
on Jun 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm
9 people like this

I commend Councilmember Nash for recognizing "Menlo Park’s jobs/housing imbalance seriously affects the quality of life for residents throughout the city."

Rents have skyrocketed. More than half of renters are rent-burdened. Mega-commutes and homelessness are rising. People are being displaced and communities are being disrupted.

By definition, the solution to a jobs-housing imbalance is encouraging housing growth and discouraging job growth.

So I see the logic behind a moratorium on new job centers, but I don't see the logic behind a moratorium on the kind of larger, more dense housing that could actually put a dent in the imbalance.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2019 at 2:52 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 6, 2019 at 2:52 pm
9 people like this

The more inclusive a moratorium is the more likely it is to withstand legal challenges.

The more selective a moratorium is the less likely it is to withstand legal challenges.


Just maybe?
Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 6, 2019 at 5:39 pm
Just maybe?, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 6, 2019 at 5:39 pm
14 people like this

Jeremy, I wonder if the concern about dense housing developments on the east side of the city is more of a request to consider dense housing developments on the west side of the city. There is an city wide imbalance for both office and housing. We have asked the east side to absorb both kinds of growth. Stanford and Greenheart will add 400 apartments but that pales compared to what the east side has already absorbed and what is being proposed. Think in the thousands of units!

Had the former Council not approved so much office, we would not now be under the gun to build housing for the thousands of office workers that now work in these new buildings. Slowing down or taking a breather on office approvals will give the Council the time to sort out what's possible in the way of building more housing units on the west side of town. Also, the Menlo Park School District needs to join the discussion and identify sites for new schools for the children in the new housing developments.

This should be an interesting discussion. I'm relieved that Nash and Taylor have rung the bell.


Downtowner
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2019 at 8:43 pm
Downtowner, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2019 at 8:43 pm
9 people like this

Increasing commercial development & residential density without improving the basic infrastructures has created the mess we have now. Horrible traffic, inadequate library, crowded schools, etc.
There is a huge injustice in increasing allowable housing density in R-1 zones. Lured by Chamber of Commerce blather, gentry mag promos, etc about the wonder of MP, some people came & bought homes in the last 5-10 years because they wanted to be in single family residential neighborhoods.

Changing the rules now to allow auxiliary residences in R-1 zones where the lot sizes vary up to maybe 1/4 acre, with no requirement for additional off-street parking undermines the concept of ""single family, residential use, mandated covered off-street parking" for a minimum # of cars. The extra noise & street parking, despite the no parking between 2-6 am rule, changes neighborhoods adversely. If I'd known a nearby neighbor would build in a basement apartment (with no permit) from me for a rental 20+ years ago & now an AirBnb, I wouldn't have bought my house.

Does this sound NIMBY? Maybe, but I relied on zoning regulations & expect zoning laws & ordinances to be upheld.until the immediately affected neighborhood votes for a change. I don't expect people who on the planning commission & city council, who live nowhere near me, to sit around & dream up ways to cram more people into a town which has the same 2 lanes each way on El Camino that were here in 1975. Santa Cruz flowed better with parallel parking & no corner or restaurant sidewalk bump-outs. Middle Av? Oak Grove? Valparaiso? The same except Valpo & Santa Cruz west of University eventually got bike lanes.

I completely support a moratorium.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2019 at 9:22 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 6, 2019 at 9:22 pm
7 people like this

"Increasing commercial development & residential density without improving the basic infrastructures has created the mess we have now."

This was exactly why Ray Mueller was the sole dissenter to the massive M 1 rezoning.

Hopefully Nash, Taylor and Mueller will now redress this error.


GAIL
another community
on Jun 7, 2019 at 12:46 am
GAIL, another community
on Jun 7, 2019 at 12:46 am
2 people like this

How Coincidental?

I was just suggesting this To the East Palo Alto Council on June 4th.

EPA is having the same exact issues next door.
A Developer has proposed in building 5, 8 Story Buildings, which would cause the presence of 5,000-8,000 more Cars into a Area less than 2.3 miles from Menlo Park's Proposed "Willow Village".

When asked of the Developer "How about the Traffic?" (paraphrasing) He stated
"We Build, you figure out the Traffic. You did figured out how not to be the Murder Capital of the USA. You can figure out the Traffic".

In Truth, I would rather See something closer to Menlo Park's "Willow Village" for that Area, rather than OFFICE Buildings.
I took our meeting to the EPA City Council and asked for a review.
Rezoning from Office Space and something that would be more conducive for the Citizens.
Something that would be better for a Higher Quality of Life!

Seeing this Menlo Park article. I feel vindicated that I was not just speaking out of turn, from my intuition.


Menlo Boomer
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 7, 2019 at 9:48 am
Menlo Boomer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 7, 2019 at 9:48 am
4 people like this

This is GENIUS- a moratorium that allegedly is about improving the jobs/housing balance, but which blocks housing projects near jobs? We legacy homeowners get to feel like we're doing something positive, but really continue to benefit from the status quo! Bravo, Betsy and Cecilia- you are true "leaders".


Menlo Boomer
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 7, 2019 at 9:50 am
Menlo Boomer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 7, 2019 at 9:50 am
4 people like this

Also- hopefully no one reads the staff report (Web Link), which points out that the Nash/Taylor request would block a new Belle Haven library and the MidPen affordable housing project. Great work, you two!


really?
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 7, 2019 at 10:20 am
really?, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 7, 2019 at 10:20 am
4 people like this

Is there something in the air since the Guild just played 'All is True', followed by 'Non-Fiction'? Any existential suggestions for the next movie?


West Menlo
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm
West Menlo, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm
8 people like this

@GAIL
Agree. It is the job of developers to develop, businesses to build businesses and employ people, and cities to provide infrastructure for the businesses and residential housing they give permission to be developed in their cities. Places like Menlo Park and Palo Alto get to be the way they are because of short-sighted or incompetent city councils which let development get to be imbalanced. Why? Maybe because of the greed for more easy business tax dollars or stroking of egos when they can claim to be the home of Facebook or Google, etc. Asking a business to provide housing for their employees is more or less a confession from City Council that the council has failed or is incompetent. Council: do your job. Get the jobs:housing mix in a balance that is supportable for your city.


densely
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm
densely, Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm
9 people like this

There's nothing the least bit short-sighted about keeping the creation of jobs in line with the building of housing to provide places for the workers to live. When you start out with a housing deficit it makes sense to slow down job growth while housing catches up.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm
11 people like this

At a minimum the Council should place a moratorium on granting Bonus FARs for any project that has not already been approved.


Dagwood
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 7, 2019 at 4:06 pm
Dagwood, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2019 at 4:06 pm
1 person likes this

There are other means for slowing office growth. An EIR with any unmitigatable impacts must be judged to have overriding benefits which outweigh environmental costs. So the Planning Commission and / or CC can say that’s not so. Given traffic, it’s likely such impacts will occur for projects where an EIR is to be done.


Soylent Green
another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:21 am
Soylent Green, another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 6:21 am
4 people like this

There is a plan for the future of Menlo Park that extends beyond expanding Facebook on one side of town. California Senate Bill 50 (Wiener -SF) and like bills still moving through the State Legislature would empower developers to build high-density housing to accommodate new employees virtually anywhere in Menlo Park and other Bsy Area cities. Out with the old and in with the new. There was a flick about this back in 1973. I forget the title.


Lynne Bramlett
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:07 am
Lynne Bramlett , Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:07 am
7 people like this

A temporary moratorium would allow for time to analyze and evaluate the situation. The Nash/Taylor memo gives topic areas. I would include evaluating the ConnectMenlo General Plan update "Givens" and its "Guiding Principles." The Givens included that the "General Plan would comply with State Law." However, an outside legal review might determine that ConnectMenlo did not comply with California General Plan requirements as it was clearly focused on maximing development in a small area next to a residential community that started as a redlined community. Chapter 2 of the 2018 California General Plan Guidelines gives relevant background details. Web Link

The Guiding Principles also lack metrics. They have never been formally evaluated and the results reported to Council and the general public. Metrics can and should be retroactively developed, and the Principles measured to establish a current-day baseline. Web Link I've written Staff with suggestions as to how to retroactively approach this topic.

The ConnectMenlo-related ordinances were passed at two Council meetings: Nov 29, 2016 and Dec 6, 2016 Council meeting. At the Nov 29, 2016 meeting, Councilmember Mueller was the only dissenting voice. Web Link the Dec 6, 2016 meeting both Councilmembers Cline and Mueller were absent. Web Link subject was also put on the Consent Calendar.


George Fisher
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:57 am
George Fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:57 am
2 people like this

Dagwood, you state;
“There are other means for slowing office growth. An EIR with any unmitigable impacts must be judged to have overriding benefits which outweigh environmental costs.”

Unfortunately, claimed overriding benefits of development have consistently been judged by CC to override impacts found in Specific Plan, General Plan and project EIR’s to be Significant and Unavoidable even after mitigation. For Example El Camino Specific plan specific plan EIR found that its development impacts outweighed Impacts, including

“4.13-53
. . . impacts below, even after mitigation are considered significant and unavoidable

5. Oak Grove Avenue - Middlefield Road to Laurel Street
6. Oak Grove Avenue - Laurel Street to El Camino Real
7. Oak Grove Avenue - El Camino Real to Crane Street
13. Santa Cruz Avenue - Avy/Orange to Alameda de las Pulgas
14. Menlo Avenue - El Camino to Crane
16. Ravenswood Avenue - Middlefield Road to Laurel Street
17. Ravenswood Avenue - Laurel Street to Alma Street
18. Ravenswood Avenue - Alma Street to El Camino Real
28. Middlefield Road - Ringwood Avenue to Willow Road”

A moratorium would allow time for staff to gather all the Significant and Unavoidable impacts, even after mitigation, which have been previously been accepted by Planning commission and CC in the various Specific and General Plans, as well as specific projects. Those impacts must be considered.


No Easy Solutions
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm
No Easy Solutions, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm
1 person likes this

Wait, how does a moratorium on development including "large-scale housing development on the city's Bay side" help address the jobs/housing imbalance? One poster mentioned the MidPen affordable housing project would also be impacted.


2-2-0
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 8, 2019 at 10:33 pm
2-2-0, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 8, 2019 at 10:33 pm
Like this comment

Meet Kettle, unfortunately Drew Combs may need to recuse himself as his employer is the largest developer in Menlo Park.


The vote
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm
The vote, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm
2 people like this

Word is Combs can vote and moratorium needs 4 votes.


2-2-0
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:33 am
2-2-0, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:33 am
Like this comment

Combs told the Daily Post that he is UNABLE to vote. He won't be able to attend the meetings.

"Combs said he’s unsure what role he will play in the discussion because, as a Facebook employee, he is unable to vote on matters related to that company." (Web Link)


The Vote
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:05 am
The Vote, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:05 am
2 people like this

@2-2 being uncertain isn’t saying he can’t vote. That article is a few days old now. Word on the street is he can vote. Also that a moratorium requires four votes.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2019 at 7:27 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2019 at 7:27 am
6 people like this

Combs would not need to recuse himself from a vote on a city wide moratorium.

He would probably need to recuse himself on a vote on a District 1 moratorium.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm
5 people like this

Look at the Roger Reynolds development (133 Encina) as the best example of what residential development in the ECR-NE Low Density zone would look like.

"Project description Hunter Properties has entitled a project to construct 24 new residential units and associated site improvements at 133 Encinal Avenue. The project site is a 1.74-acre parcel that is part of the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan."

The Sagar property at 1703 ECR is1/2 the size of the 133 Encinal project (36,410 sq ft or 0.8358578 acres) and would support fewer units.

"Sagar Patel is proposing to demolish the existing 28-room hotel (Red Cottage Inn) and construct a new 70-room hotel (Hampton Inn) at 1704 El Camino Real, in the SP-ECR/D (El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan) zoning district. The development would consist of a basement parking level and three stories above ground. The proposed development would be at the Public Benefit Bonus level, which would exceed the Base level floor area ratio (FAR) on the subject site. The public benefit bonus proposal includes the contribution of transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues to the City on an ongoing basis."

Sagar has said that he will build single family housing if he doesn’t get the OK for the hotel.

Personally I would much prefer to see 12 residences on the 1704 ECR site rather than this massive hotel.

We need more housing much more than we need more hotel rooms - and other than a cash bribe to the City there is NO public benefit from the massive new hotel being proposed on this very small lot.


see the staff report
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2019 at 4:41 pm
see the staff report, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2019 at 4:41 pm
5 people like this

The City has posted an 8 page staff report on the moratorium issue:

Web Link


Lynne Bramlett
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm
Lynne Bramlett , Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm
8 people like this

The ConnectMenlo General Plan and M-2 zoning changes focused on maximizing development in a 562-acre area out of the City’s overall size of 17.39 square miles. That’s 5% out of the total. Please see 34 in the Existing Conditions Report for the source. Web Link=

The City already considered the M-2 area its financial breadbasket, but the revenue stream was drying up (for various reasons). As the August 27, 2013 Staff Report #13-150 explains on page 2, "The Council has identified the need for the City to focus on the M-2 (General Industrial Zoning District) to explore opportunities to ...increase revenue potential. The M-2 area...has historically been a strong source of revenue for the City and provides an opportunity for continued revenue if planned for appropriately." Web Link= After briefly explaining the problem with trying to maximize development in the area on a case-by-case basis, the report continues, "Therefore, updating the General Plan provides the appropriate venue to deal with this "change area" of the City in a comprehensive rather than project-by-project basis and achieve efficiencies in the review process.”

The ConnectMenlo Guiding Principles must have been reassuring to the Belle Haven residents. They stood like promises from their local government to the people. Unfortunately, they lack metrics and have yet to been measured and enforced.

It's time to half development in the M-2 area until the local government’s promises to the people of Belle Haven (aka ConnectMenlo Guiding Principles) have metrics, are measured, and enforced.


High-rise Atherton
another community
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:35 pm
High-rise Atherton, another community
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:35 pm
3 people like this

I can hardly wait for high-density housing to be imposed on Atherton thanks to Menlo Park's importing so many new high tech workers. YOYBY. Yes Over Your Back Yard!


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:43 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:43 pm
15 people like this

"high-density housing to be imposed on Atherton "

Atherton wants weekday CalTrain service restored so why not locate high density housing at the Atherton train station.

Just think of all of those domestic workers who serve Atherton residents who could reside right there!

And all of those Atherton residents who could abandon their cars for their commute to SF.


Subcommittee
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:05 pm
Subcommittee, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:05 pm
2 people like this

Peter, Ray Mueller was on the subcommittee that created ConnectMenlo. If that rezoning was in error, Ray Mueller should have worked harder to produce something to vote for after the city spent over $100 thousand dollars on that whole process.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:07 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:07 pm
8 people like this

"Ray Mueller was on the subcommittee that created ConnectMenlo."

Correct but that in no way means that Mueller endorsed the massive rezoning as was evidenced by his vote against adopting that zoning.


Liza
Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:49 pm
Liza, Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 10, 2019 at 4:49 pm
12 people like this

Ray Mueller not only voted against the General Plan, he wrote an editorial before the vote saying the City Council shouldn't pass the General Plan yet because the transportation issues weren't fixed in the plan. The rest of the City Council ignored him.

Everyone would agree today he was 100% right. Now look at this mess.


Subcommittee
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Subcommittee, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm
2 people like this

Liza states, "Everyone would agree today [Mueller] was 100% right."

I don't agree that is was a mistake for council to support giving Belle Haven residents the amenities that were demanding. I believe that residents of Belle Haven should get amenities in return for future development. We should respect long time Belle Haven residents like Harry Bims (a former planning commissioner) who asked council to support ConnectMenlo. If you go back and watch the meeting, you will see that many Belle Haven residents asked council to move forward with ConnectMenlo.

It is revisionist history to suggest that Belle Haven residents didn't want ConnectMenlo.


Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:10 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:10 am
6 people like this

So much rhetoric here. For example on the matter of Combs recusing himself, I believe that is determined by the City Attorney and not by the people on this discussion. Let's see what McClure has to say about the matter, shall we.

I believe that the Eastern part of Menlo Park has borne the brunt of the massive office development in the past decade, they have also had to bear the brunt of all the massive housing developments and the addition of low cost housing. This has resulted in massive additions of traffic and impacts on Quality of Life that the west side of Menlo Park has had the ability ignore for the most part. Until you are stuck in traffic for 30-45 minutes just to get home you don't really know how bad it has gotten.

I hope they pass the moratorium if only to give the council and planning commission time to come to grips with the impact of all the development that has already been improved and to allow for a plan to address the problems that it has created and mitigate the problems of future office space.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:25 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:25 am
2 people like this

"on the matter of Combs recusing himself, I believe that is determined by the City Attorney and not by the people on this discussion."

This determination can only be made by the FPPC. The City Attorney may offer an opinion on the matter but that is not determinative.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:37 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:37 am
3 people like this

The problem is that any moratorium is a blunt instrument that needs to be crafted carefully to avoid both legal challenges and undesirable outcomes. Inevitably a defensible moratorium will stop some projects that many people wish to see proceed - that cannot be remedied without endangering the rest of the moratorium.

For example some projects in the pipeline cannot be excluded from a moratorium if other projects in the pipeline are included. Successfully moratoriums usual pick a well defined cut off point such as the issuance of a building permit.
Even approval by the Planning Commission is not a defendable endpoint since PC approved projects are both subject to appeal and, in the cases involving a Public Benefit Bonus, require Council approval.


looking on
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:55 am
looking on, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:55 am
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@ Brian and others

Combs has been cleared by the FPPC to vote

He could abstain in any vote, which would be the same as a no vote. Whether he votes or not, passing a moratorium(s), requires 4 yest votes.


Stu Soffer
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 11, 2019 at 11:04 am
Stu Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 11, 2019 at 11:04 am
4 people like this

I call BS.

"The proposed development would be at the Public Benefit Bonus level, which would exceed the Base level floor area ratio (FAR) on the subject site. The public benefit bonus proposal includes the contribution of transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues to the City on an ongoing basis."

This is a misinterpretation of public benefit. The public benefit should be over and above what is required by statute.

The Transit Occupancy Tax TOT is mandated, and not a unique, exceptional benefit.

Staff and council and maybe the PC fell down.



Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 1:11 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2019 at 1:11 pm
5 people like this

Dear Council,
Whatever the adverse impacts are of the current General Plan and zoning ordinances those impacts are dramatically increased when a Public Benefit Bonus is granted.

It is also not at all clear under the existing procedures that the reputed “Public Benefits” are in fact beneficial to the public. For example, the granting of a PBB for the payment of otherwise legally required Hotel Occupancy Taxes makes no logical sense and is in fact a Blight Tax imposed on the surrounding properties who bear the impact of the PBB but who receive no value from that so-called public benefit.

Moratoriums that can withstand legal challenges and are also effective without having unwanted impacts are difficult to craft however placing a moratorium on the granting of Public Benefit Bonuses is explicit, discreet and well defined.

Please place a moratorium on the granting of Public Benefit Bonuses


Subcommittee
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 11, 2019 at 8:47 pm
Subcommittee, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 11, 2019 at 8:47 pm
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@looking_on, please include a link to the letter from the FPPC confirming that Combs has been cleared to vote on this specific moratorium affecting District 1, where Facebook has proposed the largest development in the history of Menlo Park.


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