News

Menlo Park sends off its housing element to the state

After months of work, Menlo Park sent off its draft housing element, a plan for future housing growth that requires approval by the state. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Menlo Park submitted its draft housing element to the state for review on July 25, putting forth its vision for housing growth over the next eight years under a mandate to plan for 3,830 new units by 2031.

The housing element going to the state is largely similar to the initial proposal created after multiple community meetings. Of units up for development, 2,161 must be affordable housing to meet the city's Regional Housing Needs Allocation. which encompasses very low-income, low-income and moderate-income housing.

California requires that cities and counties throughout the state update zoning and adopt policies to show an adequate supply of housing can be built in eight-year cycles, and do not have regulations that dissuade housing projects and accessibility. While not required to produce the units, cities must prove that there is the capability to develop and provide housing for current and future residents, including a percentage in price ranges considered affordable.

The updated Menlo Park Housing Element designates 69 housing opportunity sites made up of 83 parcels, slightly less than the 73 sites and 84 parcels in the first draft.

The city is anticipating 3,644 housing units from "pipeline" projects that are already in the works — either proposed, approved or under construction — of which 594 are designated for affordable housing. Four of those projects are already under construction, comprising 925 units and including 140 of affordable housing. Among those projects is Menlo Uptown on Jefferson Drive, which is an eight-story mixed-use building proposal with about 15,000 square feet of office space and commercial space.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Another 454 units of affordable housing are coming from projects that have been proposed but aren't yet under construction. Some notable ones include the Parkline SRI redevelopment project and Meta's Willow Village. Menlo Park has designated 85 units of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) could be built, of which 77 are affordable housing. One program encourages the city to adopt policies that incentivize the building of ADUs.

There are 2,153 units listed at so-called opportunity sites, where housing could be possible in the future, of which 2,108 are designated as affordable housing. One notable opportunity site is the Flood School lot, which has sparked contentious community debate and become a focal point for both proponents and adversaries of the controversial Menlo Balance initiative, which would revoke the Menlo Park City Council's ability to change the zoning of single-family lots unless voters approve it in an election. Some critics say that this would halt future developments for high-density housing in large swaths of the city.

The Flood School lot is zoned for single-family housing, but Ravenswood City School District hopes to build 90 units of affordable housing for staff at the vacant site.

One section of the housing element draft aims to identify blockages to fair housing in the city and propose ways to assist in furthering fair housing.

Several high priority issues are listed, along with the programs in place to work toward fair housing access. One of these problems addressed in the housing element draft is housing affordability, with the notation that people of color are more highly impacted by this disparity. One of the programs listed on the list of ways to rectify the disparity is modifying the Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) to encourage building affordable units with incentives.

The housing element has been sent to the state for a 90-day review. The city plans for adoption and certification of the housing element plan in winter of 2022.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Cameron Rebosio
 
Cameron Rebosio joined the Almanac in 2022 as the Menlo Park reporter. She previously wrote for the Daily Californian and the Palo Alto Weekly. Read more >>

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

Menlo Park sends off its housing element to the state

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 12:05 pm

Menlo Park submitted its draft housing element to the state for review on July 25, putting forth its vision for housing growth over the next eight years under a mandate to plan for 3,830 new units by 2031.

The housing element going to the state is largely similar to the initial proposal created after multiple community meetings. Of units up for development, 2,161 must be affordable housing to meet the city's Regional Housing Needs Allocation. which encompasses very low-income, low-income and moderate-income housing.

California requires that cities and counties throughout the state update zoning and adopt policies to show an adequate supply of housing can be built in eight-year cycles, and do not have regulations that dissuade housing projects and accessibility. While not required to produce the units, cities must prove that there is the capability to develop and provide housing for current and future residents, including a percentage in price ranges considered affordable.

The updated Menlo Park Housing Element designates 69 housing opportunity sites made up of 83 parcels, slightly less than the 73 sites and 84 parcels in the first draft.

The city is anticipating 3,644 housing units from "pipeline" projects that are already in the works — either proposed, approved or under construction — of which 594 are designated for affordable housing. Four of those projects are already under construction, comprising 925 units and including 140 of affordable housing. Among those projects is Menlo Uptown on Jefferson Drive, which is an eight-story mixed-use building proposal with about 15,000 square feet of office space and commercial space.

Another 454 units of affordable housing are coming from projects that have been proposed but aren't yet under construction. Some notable ones include the Parkline SRI redevelopment project and Meta's Willow Village. Menlo Park has designated 85 units of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) could be built, of which 77 are affordable housing. One program encourages the city to adopt policies that incentivize the building of ADUs.

There are 2,153 units listed at so-called opportunity sites, where housing could be possible in the future, of which 2,108 are designated as affordable housing. One notable opportunity site is the Flood School lot, which has sparked contentious community debate and become a focal point for both proponents and adversaries of the controversial Menlo Balance initiative, which would revoke the Menlo Park City Council's ability to change the zoning of single-family lots unless voters approve it in an election. Some critics say that this would halt future developments for high-density housing in large swaths of the city.

The Flood School lot is zoned for single-family housing, but Ravenswood City School District hopes to build 90 units of affordable housing for staff at the vacant site.

One section of the housing element draft aims to identify blockages to fair housing in the city and propose ways to assist in furthering fair housing.

Several high priority issues are listed, along with the programs in place to work toward fair housing access. One of these problems addressed in the housing element draft is housing affordability, with the notation that people of color are more highly impacted by this disparity. One of the programs listed on the list of ways to rectify the disparity is modifying the Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) to encourage building affordable units with incentives.

The housing element has been sent to the state for a 90-day review. The city plans for adoption and certification of the housing element plan in winter of 2022.

Comments

MiddleAged Menlo Parker
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 5, 2022 at 4:42 pm
MiddleAged Menlo Parker, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2022 at 4:42 pm

"The Flood School lot is zoned for single-family housing, but Ravenswood City School District hopes to build 90 units of affordable housing for staff at the vacant site."

This is like the 3rd article this week on this topic. The Almanac keeps referring to "affordable housing", but they neglect to clarify it is affordable RENTING - not owning.

Also missing is the fact that back in 2018, Ravenswood considered building 28 single-story units, which at the time was within the density limits the site was zoned for. However, the
proposal was ultimately deemed economically unfeasible - aka, they wouldn't be able to make enough $ off of it. Is no one is paying attention to the fact that all the Ravenswood school district wants to do is make money on the deal? And as much $ as possible?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.