Plans to redevelop the 82-year-old Stanford Inn at 115 El Camino Real appear to be headed in a direction favorable to the Menlo Park Planning Commission, following a discussion on the proposal July 29.
The owners, the Pancholy family, plan to construct a mixed-use building with two ground-floor commercial condominiums, which could be used for personal services, retail or nonmedical office use, with four condominiums on the second and third floors. The third floor would be a single penthouse, with four bedrooms and terraces on all sides. There would be 14 parking spots.
The site, situated at the intersection of El Camino Real and Harvard Avenue, is in the Allied Arts neighborhood. In several written comments submitted to the commission, nearby residents said they favored a newer, more sightly building and requested that a restaurant occupy some of the commercial space.
It's a marked change from the last time the commission reviewed the project. "The last time you were here was, I guess, painful is the word I would use to describe the process," said commission Chair Andrew Barnes.
Since the last review, the owners hired a new architect, who made some changes to the designs.
"This is a wonderful response to the project," said Commissioner Henry Riggs. "I hope it also meets your needs."
The 13-room Stanford Inn has been used as short-term housing, but some tenants have stayed longer.
Two tenants wrote letters to the Planning Commission noting that they'd lived at the inn for more than a year when they received a notice giving them 60 days to move out. They asked the commission to consider a condition of approval for the plans that would give them more time to move, such as a 120-day notice landlords are required to provide tenants in apartments that undergo condominium conversions. They also requested relocation assistance to prevent them from becoming homeless.
"This demolition would result in the loss of a source of affordable housing to the community without a plan to replenish that source," tenant Toby Sanchez said.
The commission did not discuss the issue.
Commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of recommending approval of the project to the City Council. It will need final approval from the council because it is considered a "major subdivision."
The council is scheduled to discuss the proposal at its Aug. 20 meeting.