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Menlo Balance switches up messaging, calls Measure V a 'pro-teacher' ballot initiative as election approaches

A flyer paid for by Menlo Balance the promotes the Yes on Measure V campaign on Sept. 21, 2022.Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Nicole Chessari and Tim Yaeger, co-founders of Menlo Balance, are changing up their campaigning in order to fight what they see as misconceptions surrounding Measure V.

Measure V is a citizen-sponsored initiative on the November ballot that aims to restrict the Menlo Park City Council's ability to rezone single-family lots to higher density. If it passes, the city will have to put any rezoning of lots zoned "R1" to a vote on a regularly scheduled election. Proponents of the ballot measure say that this will give residents a voice in what happens to their neighborhoods, as opposed to letting the City Council make decisions. Opponents warn it will block future development, particularly of low-income housing.

The site of the former James Flood Magnet School has been the focal point of the debate between both sides. Ravenswood City School District, which owns the property, wants to build a 90-unit affordable housing complex that would give priority to Ravenswood teachers and staff. However, this lot is currently zoned for single-family housing. Proponents of Measure V have fought for fewer units on the property and a second access road to decrease traffic.

R1 zoning restricts land uses to single-family homes. While the Flood School site used to house a school, residents of Flood Park and Lorelai Manor approached the City Council in 1985 and requested the property be zoned R1 to protect the neighborhood against future uses of the site. The school closed down in 2011 and the site has been vacant since, but the founders of Menlo Balance say the issue is much bigger than a single lot.

"This is a measure about zoning, and people having a choice about and a vote about what's going to happen where they live," Chessari said. "... At the end of the day, it's very limited in that all it does is it allows people to vote if there is going to be change of single family, residential neighborhoods zoning."

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To Chessari, the measure is about giving voting power back to the residents of Menlo Park instead of the City Council. She said that she believes that residents will vote in the best interest of the city in ways the council won't because residents don't have personal relationships with developers.

A flyer by a newly formed organization called Menlo Balance reads "Residential neighborhoods are at risk" is taped to a light pole on Waverly Street in Menlo Park's Linfield Oaks neighborhood on April 25, 2022. Photo by Andrea Gemmet.

"I trust our neighbors," Chessari said. "I trust that people in Menlo Park are really smart and sophisticated, and knowledgeable of the fact that we do need more housing as well. And so I just, I trust that they're going to make the right decisions."

In the last month, the Menlo Balance campaign has revamped its website, flyers and released a new campaign video for the Yes on V campaign. The campaign's new message is clear: they believe that they are fighting for teachers, housing and residents, even though the measure itself could block or reduce housing proposed by Ravenswood.

The change runs in parallel to their opposition, Menlo Park Neighbors for Affordable Homes (MPNAH) who have made their campaign "Protect Teacher Housing." Both campaigns are advocating themselves as pro-teachers and pro-housing.

The change in campaign messaging, according to Chessari, comes after learning more from supporters and residents on what elements of the measure mattered most. Neither she nor Yaeger have campaign experience, so she aims to reflect the concerns of residents in their messaging. While Chessari and Yaeger said they stand by their earlier messaging and that it hasn't gone away, the new messaging addresses issues that they believe are commonly misunderstood.

Specifically, Chessari said that she does not believe MPNAH to be anti-housing, but rather that Menlo Balance has been painted unfairly as against affordable housing.

"I grew up in affordable housing," Chessari said. "I am the furthest thing you can find from anti-affordable housing. It was very beneficial to me in my life, and I see how it can be very beneficial to others."

She claims that the measure doesn't block any housing projects and that it promotes the responsible building of high-density housing in high-resource areas near transit.

Chessari also believes that Menlo Balance is pro-teachers in ways that MPNAH isn't. She alleges that the Flood School site would not be reserved for teachers, and that most teachers in the Ravenswood City School District make too much to qualify for the low-income housing. Menlo Balance is advocating for the project to require 50% of its units house district employees, rather than the district's current approach of prioritizing all units for district staff. The text of the measure does not address teaching housing requirements for the Ravenswood proposal.

However, according to Will Eger, Chief Business Officer of Ravenswood City School District, a survey of school staff found that 81% of Ravenswood Teachers Association members would be eligible for affordable housing, based on self-reported household income levels.

Still, Chessari and Yaeger believe that Measure V can force developers to build in responsible ways and require community participation and buy-in.

"Our measure doesn't actually prevent anything from going in at (Flood School)," Chessari said. "It allows a vote of the people, period."

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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 >>

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Menlo Balance switches up messaging, calls Measure V a 'pro-teacher' ballot initiative as election approaches

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 23, 2022, 11:29 am

Nicole Chessari and Tim Yaeger, co-founders of Menlo Balance, are changing up their campaigning in order to fight what they see as misconceptions surrounding Measure V.

Measure V is a citizen-sponsored initiative on the November ballot that aims to restrict the Menlo Park City Council's ability to rezone single-family lots to higher density. If it passes, the city will have to put any rezoning of lots zoned "R1" to a vote on a regularly scheduled election. Proponents of the ballot measure say that this will give residents a voice in what happens to their neighborhoods, as opposed to letting the City Council make decisions. Opponents warn it will block future development, particularly of low-income housing.

The site of the former James Flood Magnet School has been the focal point of the debate between both sides. Ravenswood City School District, which owns the property, wants to build a 90-unit affordable housing complex that would give priority to Ravenswood teachers and staff. However, this lot is currently zoned for single-family housing. Proponents of Measure V have fought for fewer units on the property and a second access road to decrease traffic.

R1 zoning restricts land uses to single-family homes. While the Flood School site used to house a school, residents of Flood Park and Lorelai Manor approached the City Council in 1985 and requested the property be zoned R1 to protect the neighborhood against future uses of the site. The school closed down in 2011 and the site has been vacant since, but the founders of Menlo Balance say the issue is much bigger than a single lot.

"This is a measure about zoning, and people having a choice about and a vote about what's going to happen where they live," Chessari said. "... At the end of the day, it's very limited in that all it does is it allows people to vote if there is going to be change of single family, residential neighborhoods zoning."

To Chessari, the measure is about giving voting power back to the residents of Menlo Park instead of the City Council. She said that she believes that residents will vote in the best interest of the city in ways the council won't because residents don't have personal relationships with developers.

"I trust our neighbors," Chessari said. "I trust that people in Menlo Park are really smart and sophisticated, and knowledgeable of the fact that we do need more housing as well. And so I just, I trust that they're going to make the right decisions."

In the last month, the Menlo Balance campaign has revamped its website, flyers and released a new campaign video for the Yes on V campaign. The campaign's new message is clear: they believe that they are fighting for teachers, housing and residents, even though the measure itself could block or reduce housing proposed by Ravenswood.

The change runs in parallel to their opposition, Menlo Park Neighbors for Affordable Homes (MPNAH) who have made their campaign "Protect Teacher Housing." Both campaigns are advocating themselves as pro-teachers and pro-housing.

The change in campaign messaging, according to Chessari, comes after learning more from supporters and residents on what elements of the measure mattered most. Neither she nor Yaeger have campaign experience, so she aims to reflect the concerns of residents in their messaging. While Chessari and Yaeger said they stand by their earlier messaging and that it hasn't gone away, the new messaging addresses issues that they believe are commonly misunderstood.

Specifically, Chessari said that she does not believe MPNAH to be anti-housing, but rather that Menlo Balance has been painted unfairly as against affordable housing.

"I grew up in affordable housing," Chessari said. "I am the furthest thing you can find from anti-affordable housing. It was very beneficial to me in my life, and I see how it can be very beneficial to others."

She claims that the measure doesn't block any housing projects and that it promotes the responsible building of high-density housing in high-resource areas near transit.

Chessari also believes that Menlo Balance is pro-teachers in ways that MPNAH isn't. She alleges that the Flood School site would not be reserved for teachers, and that most teachers in the Ravenswood City School District make too much to qualify for the low-income housing. Menlo Balance is advocating for the project to require 50% of its units house district employees, rather than the district's current approach of prioritizing all units for district staff. The text of the measure does not address teaching housing requirements for the Ravenswood proposal.

However, according to Will Eger, Chief Business Officer of Ravenswood City School District, a survey of school staff found that 81% of Ravenswood Teachers Association members would be eligible for affordable housing, based on self-reported household income levels.

Still, Chessari and Yaeger believe that Measure V can force developers to build in responsible ways and require community participation and buy-in.

"Our measure doesn't actually prevent anything from going in at (Flood School)," Chessari said. "It allows a vote of the people, period."

Comments

Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2022 at 11:44 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 11:44 am

Personally I found it funny and misleading that the "No on V" side is calling a no vote "Pro teacher housing" since the Almanac reported recently that the proponents of the housing development would not commit to building housing for teachers. They say it is teacher housing but when asked to commit to 50% of the housing dedicated to teachers they would not do that. In fact I have not heard any hard commitments to actually setting aside units for teachers. How is it pro teacher housing if they won't commit the units to teachers? As it stands today they could very well build a 300 unit development (the maximum allowed with additional units allowed for with below market rate housing) and not set aside any units for teachers. Granted they say they won't do that but with the push for housing in Menlo Park I would not put it past them and the City Council along with Menlo Together to push for and approve that unless they are prevented from doing so by Measure V. It is all well and good to claim things like maximum of 90 units and "teacher housing" but until you make that legally binding it is all just words that have no real commitment.

Here is the Almanac article:
Web Link


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2022 at 12:41 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 12:41 pm

This called "Putting Lipstick on a Pig" and they even borrowed someone else's lipstick.

Read the full text of Measure V - NOTHING in Measure V, not a single sentence, is pro-teacher.


Karen O.
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2022 at 12:42 pm
Karen O., Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 12:42 pm

Rebrand or not, if the net result is zero affordable housing in Flood Park then it’s clear what Measure V really stands for.


Mary
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 23, 2022 at 12:53 pm
Mary , Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Although measure V pertains to all of Menlo Park, I’m going to speak to the Flood school site. The for-profit developer wants to put in 90 apartments with a 99 year lease. And, as stated by the previous message, the developer has the ability to upsize the number of units to be built on this property. People have stated that other entrances are being explored, but nothing has materialized. Another post talked about high density affordable housing apartments on Encinal Avenue in Atherton. Those apartments have been there for years. They are only two stories tall and have garages to accommodate off street parking. There are multiple entrances and approaches to these apartments. As it stands now there is only one entrance and one exit to the proposed three-story high density apartments to be built on the Flood school site. I envision these high density apartments to mirror the apartments further down 101 adjacent to Home Depot, which also backs up to 101.
Please consider the inappropriate development of these high density apartments in an existing single-family home neighborhood. Please consider voting YES on Measure V to keep this from happening on a vacant lot or property near you!


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:07 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:07 pm

"Please consider the inappropriate development of these high density apartments in an existing single-family home neighborhood. "

The time and place to address this issue is AFTER the plans have been submitted to the city and AFTER any potential rezoning is actually proposed.

THEN you have to roll up your sleeves and do your homework and participate in all the Planning Commission and City Council study sessions and meetings.

Ironically, if Measure V happens to pass (unlikely) and an upzoning of this site is then submitted to a city wide vote the upzoning will be approved. Given the State mandate for more housing in Menlo Park any rational voter would vote to place more housing in some other neighborhood. Only the immediate neighbors would vote against such an upzoning. At that point those neighbors will wish they had the protection of the process and expertise involved in the normal route of project review and approval but sadly the Planning Commission and Council will be have had their hands tied by Measure V.

Measure V is badly flawed and rebranding it won't make any difference.


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:10 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:10 pm

I am glad to see Menlo Balance confronting the false propaganda that Menlo Together is promoting. I was stunned when I saw the NO signs given that the district has refused to prioritize or even plan for teacher housing. It's just a talking point that they are using to sell the project, not a real commitment.

Voting yes on V will ensure that all residents can continue to enjoy a reasonable quality of life even as the area becomes more and more crowded.


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:13 pm

Follow the money. The N on V folks have been given a huge cash infusion by the Arrilaga developers. The developers are happy to use them to block measure V. That’s how they will set precedent to rezone for overbuilding in district 2.

Talk is cheap. Consider Flood school and Flood park to be the tip of the iceberg. And remember Connect Menlo, district 1 and Measure M. Deja Vu all over again.

Frankly it’s about collusion between developers, land owners and some city and county officials. It is not particularly about teachers, school staff or even affordable housing for some of these deep pockets and wanna be deep pockets. When we see specific plans from the RCSD we will know what to expect and what to believe.
Until then, this thing is wide open.

We need a new interest group focused on getting our city to spread affordable housing projects across the city.

Remember the recent study that indicates Menlo Park is one of the most segregated cities? When you followed the bread crumbs, they lead to neighborhoods west of ElCamino. Perhaps that’s why no one is touting that study anymore.


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:26 pm
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:26 pm

One last point. RCSD’s stated concern about affordable housing for staff would be far more believable if their plans included providing a path to purchase rather than turning their employees into tenants.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:29 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:29 pm

Would Measure V backers please post a link to the RCSD plans that they keep referring to.


Menlo Park Citizen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2022 at 2:17 pm
Menlo Park Citizen, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Vote No on V to protect teachers, pure and simple. The "spin" the other side is trying to construct makes me laugh (it's either laugh or cry, given the issues at stake and the teachers and families I care about within the Ravenswood School District). I haven't seen a spin this inaccurate since the Trump administration, and I mean that without exaggeration. Take a look at who endorses what to sanity check for the right answer here: Ravenwood School District endorses No on V! The proposed project in question is for Ravenswood School District teachers and to support a funding stream for Ravenswood School District. To figure out which side of the debate helps the Ravenswood School District get what they need to support their students and teachers, do what Ravenswood School District endorses: No on V. Listen to the source! Erik Burmeister of MPCSD is also formally on the side of No on V. So are the majority of the MPCSD school board (Ackerman, Segre, Chen). Who is on the other side of this? Peter Ohtaki, registered Republican, voted "no" on our local Sanctuary City ordinance during the Trump administration. He also is formally Yes on V. Who else is on the other side? Wishing I could post the pictures of two local homes who currently have the Yes on V signs up but used to have Trump signs up.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2022 at 2:34 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 2:34 pm

If the No on V crowd, which is heavily funded by Sobrato developers ($50,000) and Karen Grove ($30,000) really wants to argue that they are Pro housing why won't they commit a number of the apartments to teachers? Not just say it but make it a binding requirement for the project? The developer won't because they don't want to be tied down to teacher housing, they want to make money. That means that, regardless of what they are saying, they can easily change their plans and go way over 90 units and rent them out to anyone, not just teachers.

The funding says it all. Sobrato, a major developer, certainly wants to make money off of Menlo Park and I doubt they care about the neighborhood in any way other than what they can squeeze out of it. Karen Gove, formerly the Housing Commission chair and a proponent of using city parks for high density housing. From the Almanac:
"Housing Commissioner Karen Grove, a Sharon Heights resident, has suggested the possibility of dedicating a corner of the district's Sharon Park to affordable housing, or perhaps a part of Burgess Park."

Web Link

So it is obvious to me that she, and Menlo Together the group she represents, have little concern for the quality of life in Menlo Park. Those are the two biggest donations to the "Menlo Park Neighbors for Affordable Homes" the group fighting Measure V. Follow the Money is always a good way to find out the real motivation behind something.


menlo parent
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:01 pm
menlo parent, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:01 pm

Calling Measure V “pro-teacher” is the epitome of political doublespeak (aka lying).


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:28 pm
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Menlo Park Citizen,
So interesting how you attempt to link Otaki toVote Yes. He was on the council when they more-or-less Sold district 1 to Facebook. Exactly the opposite of Yes on V.

Keep working to confuse voters and pitt neighbor against neighbor.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:28 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Menlo Parent,

You are saying "Yes on Measure V" is doing the same thing as the "No on Measure V"?


Menlo Park Citizen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2022 at 4:30 pm
Menlo Park Citizen, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Private citizen --

I didn't "attempt" to link Republican-registered Ohtaki; he has formally signed the anti-teacher housing, Yes on V, platform. This is public information, readily available. You will see this on your ballot information when it arrives in your mail.

I will always stand up for people who need it (Ravenswood district, teachers, Ravenswood students who deserve consistent teachers who can afford to live near their jobs despite very low pay). I will do it time and time again because it's the right thing to do. Period. Vote No on V. It's what Ravenwood School District needs, as consistent with its endorsement of No on V.


new guy
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 24, 2022 at 9:41 am
new guy, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 9:41 am

Thinking about how one who does not know anything about V would take seeing a sign that said, "protect teacher housing". So the opposite, means that voting yes attacks teacher housing. Now that I have read the measure again, not sure if either is true. Given the current political climate where words and clearly defined conditions (such as 'recession') can be 'explained away', this is where we are at. I am thinking about starting a petition next year, not sure what it will be for, but my sign will say 'yes on W, everyone gets a pony'. Wonder what the no on W people will put on their sign.


Ronen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 24, 2022 at 10:49 am
Ronen, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 10:49 am

The measure hasn’t changed, these folks are just pretending that it does something different from what it expressly states. Insert eye roll here.

If measure V passes there will be no more affordable housing built in this town, for teachers or for anyone else.

The NIMBYs favorite phrasing is: I’m pro-affordable housing, just not *this* project. We see right through this nonsense. Please vote no on V.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2022 at 3:05 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 3:05 pm

I guess I'm confused. Am I the only one that thinks yes on V will leave it up to a city-wide vote and the chances of the majority of the town opposing increased units on that parcel is nil?

Somebody help me out here.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 24, 2022 at 3:35 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 3:35 pm

Westbrook is correct "yes on V will leave it up to a city-wide vote and the chances of the majority of the town opposing increased units on that parcel is nil?"

The problem is that the Measure V sponsors didn't figure that out before the wrote the measure.

But we should all still vote No if for no other reason than to avoid the unnecessary expense of multiple zoning change elections.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2022 at 1:07 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 1:07 pm


For the Pro-V supporters, You might want to pull your support for this now. This measure will have a deleterious effect on your cause. At least as things are now I believe you have the option to appeal a decision. If it passes you're out of luck if the rest of the Town says great new housing/good for the cause and NIMBY.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:23 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:23 pm

‘Build More Housing’ Is No Match for Inequality

A new analysis finds that liberalizing zoning rules and building more won’t solve the urban affordability crisis, and could exacerbate it.

Web Link

"“Housing is an area where the law of unintended consequences is most powerful,” Storper recently told Planning Report. “The idea that upzoning will cause housing affordability to trickle down within our metropolis, while also setting up Los Angeles and San Francisco as the new golden land for people in less prosperous regions, is just a lot to promise—and it’s based on a narrative of housing as opportunity that is deeply flawed.”

And as Rodríguez-Pose told me via email: “Upzoning is far from the progressive policy tool it has been sold to be. It mainly leads to building high-end housing in desirable locations.”


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:30 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:30 pm

The Global Housing Crisis

Scarce, unaffordable housing is not a local problem in a few places, but is baked into the 21st-century global city. It’s time for cities, nations, and global leaders to start acting like it.

Web Link

The global financialization of housing

It’s not just industry and services that have become global, but housing as well. In the past, housing was built and paid for locally. ...

But with the creation of new financial instruments related to housing, this local connection was broken. Housing, and especially its financing, became a national and then a global industry.

...



... the main players in this market are giant corporations and private equity firms—in 2015, corporations purchased $1 trillion in real estate in the world’s top 100 global cities. ...

... apartments in cities like New York, London, and Vancouver have begun to replace gold as the primary store of wealth for the super-rich.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect about the financialization of housing is the fact that all of the money being poured into housing markets has not contributed to a significant increase in supply, but rather to an increase in ultra-high-end units that are extremely expensive to produce.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:55 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:55 pm

It is interesting to note that the exact language of Measure V reserves the authority to rezone most residential properties to the voters in a city wide election. "..shall not be redesignated or rezoned except by a vote of the people of Menlo Park at a regular election."

The unappreciated impact of this is that Measure V in effect permits the city to put a rezoning on the ballot without any studies or public hearings. And the result of such an election would be unappealable. All of the protections provided by the current process including Planning Commission and City Council studies and public hearings and related appeals are NOT required by Measure V.

Be very careful what you wish/vote for !


Menlo Park Citizen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2022 at 3:42 pm
Menlo Park Citizen, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Thank you, Peter Carpenter, for that crucial last paragraph. I hope we can find a way to amplify this very clear explanation you offered. What you've articulated here feels like one of the major, if not the fundamental, problem with Measure V. Repasting it here. Thank you for explaining this so clearly. Vote No on V.

"The unappreciated impact of this is that Measure V in effect permits the city to put a rezoning on the ballot without any studies or public hearings. And the result of such an election would be unappealable. All of the protections provided by the current process including Planning Commission and City Council studies and public hearings and related appeals are NOT required by Measure V."

No on V!


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 25, 2022 at 3:56 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 3:56 pm

The authors of Measure V even went further to make clear that Measure V supersedes all of the process and protections for rezoning that currently exist by stating "To the extent that any provisions of the Menlo Park Municipal Code, including the Zoning Regulations of the City of Menlo Park, or any other ordinances of the City may be inconsistent with this Initiative, the provisions of this Initiative shall prevail."

So a developer who want an upzoning can simply demand that the city put that upzoning on a general election ballot - no hearings, no studies, no appeals.

The unintended consequences of the Initiative show the risks of having poorly informed and inexperienced individuals drafting such measures.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2022 at 11:19 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 11:19 pm

Personally I put more faith in the residents of Menlo Park then I do in three city council members whom I did not have the opportunity to vote for or against and who do not have a great track record of listening to neighborhoods' concerns. This is also the city council that at least initially would not oppose considering housing from our city parks and only considered it after public outcry. With all of the misinformation being spread around I would encourage anybody who is interested to actually read the measure and to pay careful consideration to who is opposing the measure. The vast majority of the funding coming from a very large developer that wants to make a fortune off of Menlo Park and Karen Grove who initially proposed the idea of developing our parks for high density housing. You can see my comments with the web links above.

Yes on V. Let the voters make the decision.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:13 am
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:13 am

Pro V supporters, If you only understand two things understand this.

!. Citizens will vote to upzone projects in other neighborhoods.

2. You lose your right to appeal,

Measure V will have the opposite result from what you're working towards. If I can make a suggestion, keep the process as it is and fight like hell with all your neighborhood support against any project you oppose. I think you will find other town's people more supportive if you make your case to the commission and council. As I understand it each time a project is brought up for a vote it has to wait for a regular election? Plus there is a cost out of the town's budget for each vote. Some people may actually resent having to vote each time and bear the cost. I understand why you're opposing high density on the site in question.
I and I think many other people would support your cause at the commission and council level. Plus some developers won't push for unreasonable demands to overbuild a project if they know a neighborhood and other supporters will fight it. Including to the commission and the council plus the risk of an appeal. Too much of a time and financial risk. You're really fighting against your own best interest.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:29 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:29 am

"You're really fighting against your own best interest."

Indeed ! Here is what may well happen if Measure V passes:

1 – Measure V passes
2 – RWCSD immediately submits a rezoning application to city and demands that it be placed on next general election ballot. Per Measure V no project specific information is required to accompany the petition and no public hearings or studies are required.
3 – The city-wide vote (at a cost of $30-50K) overwhelming approves the RWCSD up zoning as it will have zero negative impact on the rest of the city and will increase the potential housing stock.
4 – RWCSD submits a development proposal which maxes out the site under the new zoning but which does not include any variances or exceptions.
5 – The city’s only control, given that the proposal conforms with the new zoning, is architectural review.
6 - The city therefore must approve the project as submitted
7 - RWCSD then claims property tax exemption for entire development as an educational facility"


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:30 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:30 am

Brian:

your faith is seriously misplaced. Only around 25% of the registered voters in this city can be bothered to vote on anything. If they are that uninvolved do you really think they will do the work necessary to actually understand the complexities of the zoning they will be voting on? Really? The same people that couldn't be bothered over the course of a SIX YEAR process that created the DSP and then were suddenly surprised after that long process? Those people? Really?

What will happen if V passes is that any zoning change that comes up for a vote will be approved by the majority of voters that DON'T live in the area where the zoning change is requested. And there will be no appeal. So, the up-zoning that the opponents don't want to happen in Suburban Park is guaranteed to happen. And they will have no way to appeal it or change it. The current system has checks and balances, Measure V has NONE. It is a recipe for tyranny by a minority, because only a minority votes in this city.

Vote NO on V. Avoid unintended consequences.


new guy
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:17 pm
new guy, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:17 pm

I do not believe that citywide voters will simply vote for development/rezoning because it is outside their district. We have smart enough people here (and those who vote), who realize that if they vote yes on rezoning in areas outside of theirs because it will not effect them directly, they also realize it could happen to them next time.

Game theory predicts that votes will tend to be NO votes once the game is known. Now it is just a matter of how many games it takes for players to understand this. Threat of harm, I would argue, overweighs any benefits here, other than the virtue signalers who claim otherwise.

MP residents, please make a mental note of what our city livability is like now, then remember once there are thousands of new car trips from the new residences opening along El Camino, additional students packing classrooms, playground even more lacking of space for individual or group play/sports. Remember what your quiet street was like, before the upcoming cut through traffic.


MPMom
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:18 pm
MPMom, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:18 pm

Addressing the misconceptions:
Web Link


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:49 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 12:49 pm

Thank you Measure V.

1 - No one ever claimed Measure V was illegal - it is just unwise.

2 - Amazingly they laud the PURPOSE of Measure V is to keep new homes out of "low density" neighborhoods which clearly has the effect, even if it is not the "intention", of racial discrimination.

3 - Calling something pro-teacher does not make it pro-teacher even if you repeat the claim numerous times. They fail to show how Measure V helps teachers and rather attack a RWCSD "proposal" that has never even been submitted to the city and which Measure V has declined to post.

If this is Measure V's best shot then they really are in trouble.


new guy
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 26, 2022 at 1:33 pm
new guy, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 1:33 pm

Peter:

The no on V yard sign states "Protect teacher housing". How will voting 'no' protect "teacher housing"? Seems like you have run out of arguments, especially since what you wrote on point 3. ((calling something protecting teachers = does not make it so)) Honestly, who would craft a measure attacking teachers? This argument simply doesn't hold.

MP residents are not "racists", only thing you need to move into this town is money, just like any other town around here. Pretty sure the new spec house I toured in a "low density" area of MP this weekend will take the "highest bidder" before any other 'consideration' as you might perceive.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:21 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:21 pm

"How will voting 'no' protect "teacher housing"? "

Let me try to connect the dots for you.

This all started because the RWCSD let it be known that it was considering how to repurpose the now vacant Flood School site. One of the options is to build multifamily housing which would both generate revenue for the district and potentially provide housing for teachers.

Some South Suburban Park (SSSP)residents, who had knowingly moved into a neighborhood adjacent to a school which was later torn down, felt threatened by the thought that this land would be developed more densely than their single family neighborhood and they attempted to get RWCSD and Menlo Park to agree (even before there was a proposal on the table) to limit what might be in that proposal. As public entities neither RWCSD or Menlo Park could make any such agreement prior to a proposal being submitted and the entire public had an opportunity to comment on said proposal.

Because the SSSP did not get the preferential treatment they wanted they then crafted Measure V for the sole purpose of stopping this project and attempted to disguise their efforts as ensuring local control.

If the Measure V proponents have their way they would clearly block this project - or why else would they be spending so much effort in their campaign?

Therefore, voting No on Measure V preserves the possibility that this site in whole or in part might be used for teacher housing.


MPMom
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:18 pm
MPMom, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:18 pm

It's going pretty low when a subsection of a cohesive neighborhood is labeled. You need a muzzle and a compass, Peter. And which section of Suburban Park did you used to live in???


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:32 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:32 pm

"And which section of Suburban Park did you used to live in???"

Greenwood Pl which is in South Suburban Park.

MP Mom - You yourself identified this subset of Suburban Park:
"The residents of Oakhurst, Greenwood Place, Dunsmuir, Bay, all of Greenwood Drive and Hedge, and most especially Sheridan are against the development"


Mary
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:49 pm
Mary , Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:49 pm

Of course, we’re against this development! The placement of 90+ High density apartments jammed into a neighborhood with only one entrance in and out does not make good sense. This measure V was created out of frustration by the residents at no small expense to the homeowners. Please let common sense prevail! Vote yes on Measure V or a high density apartment complex could be built in a vacant lot near you.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:26 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:26 pm

Mary:

as Peter said, you folks didn't even try to let the process work. You went in like entitled children demanding the district and city do what you want them to and when they didn't you stamped your feet and wrote Measure V.

Why didn't you even let the process work? Don't bother answering, I know.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:28 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:28 pm

Mary - I can guarantee that the concerned residents will get a better outcome if they pursued their interests through the established Planning Commission and City Council process which would provide you with multiple opportunities to participate in the decision making process.

In contrast Measure V will absolutely ensure this property will be up zoned and there will be no way to appeal that decision.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:28 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:28 pm
MPMom
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:39 pm
MPMom, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Have to laugh at the "entititled" comment. Imagine the outpour of resistance efforts coming from Allied Arts, Felton Gables, West Menlo, or Sharon Heights, to name a few, if a development in their back yard were proposed. I'll stop there.


Mary
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:12 pm
Mary , Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Well, we are trying to keep the city Council from changing the zoning from single-family homes to high density apartments. After meeting with the majority of the city council members, it was clear to us that they are in favor of changing the zoning from single-family to high density apartments. This measure simply wants to get ahead of that, and not allow the zoning to be changed without a vote by the people. Measure V will take care of that.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:21 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:21 pm

"This measure simply wants to get ahead of that, and not allow the zoning to be changed. Measure V will take care of that."

Sorry but Measure V's requirement for a city wide vote on that zoning change will invariably result in that up zoning being approved since unaffected neighborhoods will vote for the upzoning of this parcel simply to reduce the pressure for more housing in their neighborhood. The drafters of Measure V do not understand the dynamics of a city wide vote.


Mary
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:31 pm
Mary , Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 7:31 pm

Well time will tell! I think people in Menlo, Park are tired of all the traffic back ups, all the construction going on. Not to mention the congestion due to the lack of infrastructure to support the additional housing. Then there is the ever looming water shortage!


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2022 at 7:18 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 7:18 am

MPMom:

the entitledness that runs through this city runs through ALL of it. Measure M was yet another example.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 27, 2022 at 7:22 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2022 at 7:22 am

" After meeting with the majority of the city council members, it was clear to us that they are in favor of changing the zoning from single-family to high density apartments."

Not sure how you can say that since no plan was even submitted. What was it the council was in favor of? That's why the process needs to be followed.

Measure V won't help you. If it passes, the first thing that will happen is the district will put rezoning on the ballot for greater density and the rest of the city voters, not wanting it in their neighborhoods, will vote FOR it. And then they will be able to build what you fear and you will have ZERO recourse.


Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:46 am
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:46 am

Measure V seems to have come out of frustration that residents are not being heard. A site that has long been zoned as single-family residential now is proposed to be zoned at high density. The City's zoning ordinance states that sort of development should be close to transit.
Web Link

There are huge pressures from many sources to add more housing. Menlo Park needs to stop approving big projects that add more housing demand than they satisfy (Willow "Village", SRI...) and work hard to help new housing have minimal impacts on current residents. There are plenty of areas in Menlo Park to put dense housing rather than in the middle of neighborhoods.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:54 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:54 am

"Measure V seems to have come out of frustration that residents are not being heard. "

No, Measure V comes out of the frustration that SOME residents of Menlo Park did not get preferential treatment before all the other residents of Menlo Park had the opportunity to participate in a properly structured review of a project which has not even been submitted to the city.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:51 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:51 am

It's a red herring. The people getting preferential treatment were the School District.

Of course there was no project. The exact same no-project that council not-voted on in a secret meeting that not-violated the Brown Act.

From the draft Housing Element:

"The Ravenswood School District site at the former Flood School WILL be rezoned to a maximum density of 20 du/ac"

By that time RCSD had already announced plans for 90 units.

RCSD and MP staff were in contact and knew the intensity of the non-project enough to propose the necessary zoning well in advance of the non-project non-application.

Staff doesn't have the authority to preemptively rezone without the direction of council.

I can't wait for Staff to pre-emptively rezone my property in advance of my non-remodel before I not-submit my non-application.

So much for "the process" and fair treatment.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:54 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:54 am

"Staff doesn't have the authority to preemptively rezone without the direction of council.
"

Correct and no such rezoning has occurred.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:02 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Here is the latest Yes On V video: Web Link


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:05 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Please watch the Measure V video and ask yourself:

1 - Isn't this just blatant self interest - keep them out of my neighborhood?

2 - How exactly is Measure V pro-housing except to protect the status quo? Measure V does nothing to increase Menlo Park's housing stock.

3 - How exactly is Measure V pro-teacher? Measure V does nothing to make housing more available for Menlo Park Teachers.

The best arguments against Measure V are to read and watch what its proponents themselves say - "protect our neighborhoods from 'them'"


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:02 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Just for the record, Measure V opponents, PeterCarpenter and MenloVoter, believe that under Measure V, voters will approve affordable housing projects.

I agree.

These opponents believe Measure V is neither anti-housing nor anti-affordable housing.

I agree.

The whole "anti-teacher housing" hysteria is therefore irrelevant.

I agree.


Measure V is facially neutral with respect to housing. It's effect is to transfer rezoning authority from council to voters.

That's just a fact.

The debate is not whether housing gets built, but where, when, and how housing gets built under V versus not under V.

I agree.

So Measure V proponents can be pro V, pro housing, and pro affordable housing.

I agree.




Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:55 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:55 pm

Menlo Park can never accommodate all the people who might like to live here.

The solution proposed by the No on V crowd will help ensure that Menlo Park becomes such an unpleasant place to live that no one will want to do so. Problem of housing availability solved.

Yes on V will ensure that our neighborhoods remain family-friendly and livable. There's nothing exclusionary about that. Anyone who can afford the rent/mortgage can move here (and I say that as someone who would not have been allowed to live in my neighborhood before discriminatory covenants were outlawed -- long before most of us moved here).

V neither favors nor disfavors teachers. That's a good thing, because any measure that attempts to privilege one small subgroup is going to introduce market distortions and lead to unintended consequences. Measure V is fair to all current, prospective, and future residents.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 29, 2022 at 8:48 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 29, 2022 at 8:48 pm

Having read the comments some just seem to be misinformed or intentionally misleading. Measure V is about Zoning not about planning or bypassing the current approval processes. If you don't have time to read the full measure read the Impartial Analysis by the City Attorney here:
Web Link

Here are some highlights:
"Measure V does not impact the City Council’s authority to re-designate or rezone
properties that were not designated for Single Family Use on April 15, 2022."

"...certain properties designated for Single Family Use are currently developed with uses that are not single-family homes (such as public utilities, private schools, parks, religious facilities, and a fire station)"

This means the City Council could not re-designate or rezone property designated for Single Family Use to authorize other uses including, but not limited to, multifamily residential developments, open space, public facilities, commercial, or industrial

This is only about zoning and limited to single family housing. Once rezoning is approved plans will still need to go through the same process they follow today to be approved. Keep in mind the development that is being talked about for the Flood site does not have any plans submitted to the city. The developer and No on V people claim it will be 90 units but in reality they could develop up to 300 units of high density housing on that site and the majority of the current city council could very well approve that size of a development. I also don't by the argument put forth about impacting Fire Stations, Churches, Parks etc. That is saying that the voters in Menlo would not approve the rezoning of land that already has a fire station, a church, etc. I do not see that happening, I have faith in the voters of Menlo Park and think they will do the right thing. No on V is saying don't trust the voters.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 29, 2022 at 8:49 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 29, 2022 at 8:49 pm

Sorry got an error so it posted twice.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:38 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:38 am

"No on V is saying don't trust the voters."

You shouldn't trust them. They have repeatedly shown an unwillingness to be informed and involved in the crucial things that go on in the city. There is a small percentage of voters that actually do, but they don't represent the majority of registered voters nor the registered voters that actually vote in local elections. If most voters can't be bothered to be informed how can you have faith they'll "do the right thing"? In my opinion there is nothing worse than an uninformed voter voting on critical issues. It's a recipe for very bad things to happen.

Measure V is poorly thought out, poorly crafted and will result in unintended consequences. A no vote is in order.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:38 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:38 am

Menlo Voter,

It sounds like you are advocating for a system where the residents of Menlo Park have no say in the governing of the city. If you can't trust the voters then don't let them have a say seems like the start of an autocracy to me. Do voters sometimes make mistakes? Can their be unintended outcomes? sure but those mistakes are theirs to make nd they can be fixed. If a topic is important to someone they will vote on it, if they don't then they should accept the outcome. I recently read that over 70% of Menlo Park households have at least a bachelor degree, that goes up over 80% if you include people with "some college". That tells me that voters here are well educated and can make their own decisions.

A wise person once told me that just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they are not right.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:57 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:57 am

Brian:

As I've said before, the residents already have a say, they just have to get up off their rear ends and use it. We have an entire planning process that gives people "their say". They want a say, but don't want to do what is necessary to have it. Problem is they want their cake and eat it too. The authors of this measure didn't even bother to use the process to have "their say". Nothing has been submitted, they think they know what will be submitted and didn't like it so, they threw a tantrum and created Measure V.

Yes, much of MP is well educated, I've never said they weren't. What I have said is that only 25% of registered voters in this city can be bothered to vote in local elections. So a minority of voters in the city will be "having their say". That's called the tyranny of the minority. And even though well educated, most don't bother to inform themselves about the issues. The DSP is a prime example. A process that took SIX years to complete and as soon as it was, some people decided to inform themselves then, not during the six years that they had to inform themselves. Measure M was the result. That just informs my opinion that those that will be voting on V will not bother to inform themselves regarding what it actually means and the potential impacts.

Lastly, the voters that will vote, will vote in their self interest. If V passes and an up zoning comes on the ballot, you can bet they will vote for it if it doesn't impact their neighborhood. While many in MP virtue signal about the need for housing, most of them don't want that denser housing to affect their property values. Measure V guarantees the tyranny of the minority. West Menlo will not stand for higher densities and will, of course, vote for it in Bell Haven.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:35 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:35 am

Menlo Voter

First off I think you are looking it it the wrong way. As I see if if people chose not to vote they are still having their day. Instead of a "No" or a "Yes" vote they are saying it is not important to them. That is still making a decision and having a say in the matter.

Second, this is about zoning and not planning. Measure V is written stop the city from rezoning single family properties without a say by the people of the city. We have a city council but the people impacted by this development did not have a vote on 4 of the 5 council members and since it only take 3 to pass anything they would have effectively had no representation in that decision. You are right, there are no plans for the Flood site yet there are lot of meaningless words being thrown around on what will be there. Words that are not binding. I think of the Trump corollary, he can claim on Fox news that evidence was planted or that he declassified documents but when it comes to make a declaration in the court of law, which has repercussions, he won't do it. When asked to make a commitment on the number of units and the number dedicated to teachers no one on the "No on V" would make that commitment in a binding way. I don't believe this is about teacher housing, this is about Money plain and simple. The district wants more money for leasing the land and the developer wants to make money from building/leasing the apartments regardless of who resides in them.

I think you have a pessimistic view of voters in Menlo Park. I think the voters will make a better decision than the current council and that they will listen to the wishes of the neighborhood being impacted and take that into consideration. If you want to think that they will only vote in their best interests go ahead, but I have faith the majority will think more long term and make the right decision.


Henry Riggs
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:56 am
Henry Riggs, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:56 am

It’s amazing we still see postings referring to “teacher housing” at the Flood School site. The land owner/ developer Ravenswood Sschool District has made clear - including in a June meeting w two council members and the Sub Park neighborhood - that their project is a market rate, income generating business deal. I confirmed this yesterday with both council members. There will be the code required minimum 15% affordable units, only because it’s the law. Sorry but it’s just high rise tech apartments. And they won’t be near transportation or other resources. Lots of Tesla’s and BMWs driving to Safeway.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:09 am
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:09 am

Henry;

People should listen and hear your warnings. As a former MP planning commissioner for many years and a current professional architect. I truly believe your assessment and evaluation. Thank you.


Henry Riggs
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:12 am
Henry Riggs, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:12 am

I was going to ignore this issue but was invited by the No team to co-sign their ballot argument. So I had to read the actual measure (I’ve read a lot of these) and the 96 page staff report (including Karen Groves dictated “analysis”). I ended up understanding the Menlo Balance effort. More than that, I co-signed their ballot argument instead.
It’s not ideal to have to insert voter confirmation of council actions, but “re-zoning” of single family neighborhoods should not be done for virtue signaling by three council members with an agenda. There are better places to put dense housing - the draft housing element list them! If these three are going to declare approval before a project is even designed, then we need to have a public review and vote to confirm any rezoning of single family neighborhoods.
So, Yes on V.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:32 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:32 am

Brian:

yes, I'm pessimistic about MP voters. I've lived here long enough to develop that pessimism.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:39 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:39 am

The issue is not just how many people actually vote but how well informed are those voters.

On complex issues like zoning voters seldom take the time to research the issue before casting their vote yet things like zoning are very complex and the zoning of one parcel cannot be properly understood except in a larger context. In these circumstances the side with the largest campaign budget will generally prevail. Is that really what we want?


Henry Riggs
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 30, 2022 at 12:07 pm
Henry Riggs, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 12:07 pm

Correction, only one council member met with the District and neighbors last June. My error.


Ray Mueller
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 30, 2022 at 3:00 pm
Ray Mueller, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 3:00 pm

I hesitate to be drawn into debate on Town Forum, but have been called enough times today, I will comment on this topic once. To the extent there is speculation what I have and have not said recently regarding this issue, I will be transparent.

I have not said to anyone the Flood Project is a market rate project with 15% affordable housing. Nor was I ever at a meeting with district officials where that was said. I have never been at a meeting with district officials and residents in Suburban Park.

What I have commented on in City Council meetings, is that the project is being run by a for profit developer, which was surprising to me, but apparently is common. Additionally, when asked whether the project is is a teacher housing project, I have said yes, but I have also been transparent in that it is my understanding the project is not guaranteed to be filled by teachers. Units will be offered first to district employees. If spaces are not taken by district employees, it is my understanding units will be offered to members of the public. This makes sense, you wouldn’t want empty units.

Additionally it is my understanding there is a revenue target for the project. It has been explained to me the revenue target is why there is a threshold level for the number of units required by the project.

All of these are items related to me at one point in time that may have changed. I am not editorializing whether they are positive or negative. I am just trying to be transparent what my understanding is with respect to the project.

I am currently writing an update to my prior op-Ed wherein I floated a compromise solution. I will explain from my viewpoint what happened, why no compromise was reached, and what I believe is a prudent path forward for the city from my perspective.

I encourage people on this forum to be respectful to one another. Elections are not won or lost on Town Forum.


James Pistorino
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:48 pm
James Pistorino, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:48 pm

Councilman Mueller - It is nice to hear your views publicly stated.

That said, what matters more are the secret views discussed in the Council's secret meetings. Can you confirm, as reported in this paper on September 16, that a "compromise" was discussed/voted on at the secret Council meeting held on Aug 4? Also, given that the pretext was threatened litigation, who - specifically - threatened litigation? At the moment, the Aug 4 meeting appears to be a clear Brown Act violation and every councilperson who participated is responsible.

If true, why would voters not expect a repeat of that conduct were you elected Supervisor?


Ray Mueller
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Sep 30, 2022 at 6:45 pm
Ray Mueller, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Mr. Pistirino,

Please direct any questions you may have releated to any closed session and litigation matters to the City Attorney's office, which advises the City on the setting of closed session items and litigation matters.

Best,
Ray Mueller


James Pistorino
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:14 pm
James Pistorino, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:14 pm

Respectfully, Councilman Mueller's response exemplifies why, in my view, Measure V exists. Thus, the people are taking steps to strip the Council of some of its powers and return them to the people.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:31 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:31 pm

Both sides should stop campaigning.

AB 2295, signed into law by the Governor this week, makes Measure V irrelevant.

"Notwithstanding any law, a housing development project shall be deemed an allowable use on any real property owned by a local educational agency..........."


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 2, 2022 at 7:59 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2022 at 7:59 pm

Now that AB2299 is law the sponsors of Measure V who saw it as a way to stop the development of the Flood School site need to realize that their efforts are useless. RCSD now has an entitlement to develop this site that cannot be constrained either by the city or by Measure V.


Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:59 am
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:59 am

I hate to say this but I do believe that few understand zoning. Those rules are rarely discussed explicitly.

It is when projects show up that the results of zoning decisions are evident.
Putting zoning decisions in front of people could force attention on what they allow.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 3, 2022 at 8:07 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 8:07 am

"I hate to say this but I do believe that few understand zoning.

Putting zoning decisions in front of people could force attention on what they allow."

So how exactly will all these people be educated about zoning? It takes a planning commissioner or council member years before they understand zoning and some never do.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 3, 2022 at 9:59 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 9:59 am

Long ago former Planning Commissioner Jose Fernandez characterized the directions of the city as Zoning Mayhem.

This reminds me of Zoning Mayhem


Lifelong Learner
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 3, 2022 at 11:12 am
Lifelong Learner, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 11:12 am

Nice cherry picking Peter. You need to look at the entire text.

“ This bill would deem a housing development project an allowable use on any real property owned by a local educational agency, as defined, if the housing development satisfies certain conditions, including other local objective zoning standards, objective subdivision standards, and objective design review standards, as described.”

It has to pass zoning and subdivision standards. It’s not a done deal that RCSD would simply be able to give the city council the one finger salute and move forward on their own. This project can get tied up for decades.

Moreover, that law requires the district to not only offer units to their own staff, but then to surrounding educational staffs and then to local agency employees - all at rates RCSD doesn’t want to rent at. This bill actually scuttles their plans for 90 market rate units. Heck, they could even lose money on the project.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 3, 2022 at 5:59 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 5:59 pm

"This reminds me of Zoning Mayhem"

So by all means let's have uninformed, inexperienced, and untrained people make zoning decisions.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 8:44 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 8:44 am

@Peter Carpenter "AB 2295, signed into law by the Governor this week, makes Measure V irrelevant."

It actually doesn't. It clarifies the issue.

Many of us supported both the Flood project and V because we understood the larger issue.

For most of the 3000 signers Measure V was about retaining voter approval over SB-9 like rezonings in their neighborhood made when council comes under pressure to meet State mandates during 8-year Housing Element updates.

As Silicon Valley grows it is running out of housing sites and has its eyes on the large portions of land now occupied by low-density single family homes.

Measure V's first important benefit will be to encourage council to exhaust all other suitable housing sites before attempting to rezone neighborhoods, thereby risking their political careers.






Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 8:49 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 8:49 am

The Measure V proponents have no shame in switching their pitch every time the wind blows.

Here is their latest:
"So, voting Yes on V is now even more pro-teacher than it was before. With Measure V, RCSD will likely utilize AB 2295 for its project which will open up affordable housing for MPCSD teachers and staff as well as other critical city employees. If Measure V fails, MPCSD teachers and staff and Menlo Park employees will simply be one of many on a wait list if they want to live in these units."

Why in the world would RCSD not take their new entitlement under AB2299 and run with it?

RCSD AND the teachers do not need or want Measure V which could tie up this project for years.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 8:57 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 8:57 am

"Measure V's first important benefit will be to encourage council to exhaust all other suitable housing sites before attempting to rezone neighborhoods, thereby risking their political careers."

Wrong. The council will put one project at a time on the ballot and each of them will win - better to have more housing elsewhere than in my neighborhood.

Measure V is simply a poorly drawn measure that will have unintended consequences.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:05 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:05 am

@MenloVoter "So by all means let's have uninformed, inexperienced, and untrained people make zoning decisions."

Under Measure V, voters would not be making zoning "DECISIONS" they would be making final zoning "APPROVALS".

Your boss OVERSEES your work. She does not DO your work.

Voters did not DECIDE WHICH re-zonings to make for Measure T, the Bohannon Office/hotel project. They simply voted FOR or AGAINST the project approvals requested by the developer, once council had fully analyzed and negotiated the details of the request.

So it is with measure V.

The most likely scenario is at the end of an 8-year Housing Element planning update after which council must rezone neighborhoods to meet State housing mandates.

The re-zoning and analysis would be done as usual by the City in advance of submitting the needed rezonings for final approval by the voters.










PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:14 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:14 am

@Peter Carpenter "Wrong. The council will put one project at a time on the ballot and each of them will win - better to have more housing elsewhere than in my neighborhood. "

Tell me, Peter, when was the last time a developer or council made an ad hoc request in Menlo Park to rezone a privately owned R-1 parcel already occupied by a single family home?

Name one.

Now, find five in the entire Bay Area. Just five.

I appreciate that you believe council will become so factionalized that majority factions will vote to put housing in districts of other members, and maybe this will trigger an endless internecine karmic war between council members and districts who cannot figure out how to work together.

I am less cynical than you.

You need to work on your game theory.



Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:48 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:48 am

"Tell me, Peter, when was the last time a developer or council made an ad hoc request in Menlo Park to rezone a privately owned R-1 parcel already occupied by a single family home?"

Irrelevant. If Measure V passes then why in the world would the council put all of any proposed upzonings on the same ballot knowing that the more upzonings on a single ballot the lower the chance that they would be approved.

The game theory is pretty clear - if Measure V passes put each proposed upzoning on a separate ballot.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 10:24 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 10:24 am

"Your boss OVERSEES your work. She does not DO your work."

The ability to oversee assumes the knowledge to do so and most bosses have better skills than do the people they supervise - or why else would they be in charge.

Measure V would put the least competent(in terms of understanding zoning) people in charge of one of the most difficult local government decisions.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 10:51 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 10:51 am

@PeterCarpenter "most bosses have better skills than do the people they supervise - or why else would they be in charge"

Again you're talking past my point which is a metaphor. But even your rebuttal to the metaphor is inaccurate. Regardless of their skills, managers do not perform the work of their subordinates, and voters will not perform either the rezoning or review work of staff or council.

Most of my managers did not have my skill sets. That's why they hired me. Good managers excel at managing.

Its actually absurd to think that Council Members know land-use law themselves. They rely on staff.

Like all managers, they trust staff, and stick to the big values picture.

Your confidence in council doing its homework is misplaced.

And not because council is "bad." This small understaffed city is right now processing multiple HUGE approvals for entities with trillions of dollars of assets and whose corporate staffs and resources dwarf the capabilities of the city.

Once upon a time, with fewer, smaller projects maybe staff and council were something of a match for private developers, but now, Meta, et al. No chance.

You know this because you opposed the Bohannon hotel/office project because it was not properly mitigated with respect to the impacts on the Fire Department. Was that council more knowledgeable about those impacts than you, a non-council member?




Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 4, 2022 at 10:57 am
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 10:57 am


With the new bill signed by the Governor, my concerns for the Flood Project with 70 Units? RCSD gets their project, but smaller if they agree to the restrictions. “ No on Measure V” loses their mission and path now.

CONCERNS:

SAFETY for future residents there and the high threat for disaster evacuations and fire fighting capabilities?

One ( 1) entry- exit point: will MP provide another entry- exit point.. safer for 2; a huge problem with only one.

California Water Department: can they provide enough water and water pressure for the sprinkler system needed or will a costly 55,000 gallon plus water storage tower needed. This will have to be paid for by their developer as with the Ikea EPA Facility. The sections of Suburban Park and Flood Triangle infrastructure supports only single family homes now. Can
that infrastructure support a large apartment complex?

NEW PLAN or SOLUTIONS:

RCSD needs to re-evaluate their plan to provide their project to teachers..city, and public safety employees first. They would lose 20 plus apartments? Is that cost effective for them and their developer?

SUMMARY:

1) Will they RCSD reduce the amount of apartments and size of project?

2) Will MP build an additional entry- exit point?

3) What is the water infrastructure solution?

Is it now cost effective for RWSD, MP, and the “ for profit developer?

Let’s see?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:07 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:07 am

"Its actually absurd to think that Council Members know land-use law themselves. They rely on staff."

I don't think that is at all absurd to think that many elected officials are actually well informed and work to becoming better informed.

I have know a lot of council members who were well informed on both zoning and zoning law.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:16 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:16 am

@PH "Tell me, Peter, when was the last time a developer or council made an ad hoc request in Menlo Park to rezone a privately owned R-1 parcel already occupied by a single family home?"

@PeterCarpenter "Irrelevant."


All right, so you admit that no such rezoning has ever occurred.


You can amuse yourself over whether "do unto others before they do unto you" logic is good game theory for both council members and voters.

What could possibly go wrong if my council member votes to rezone a neighborhood in your district? ....... Or vice versa?

Yet 3000 neighbors, many from far, far away in Sharon and West Menlo, signed the petition that in your view, would protect Flood neighbors from a rezoning for dense housing in their neighborhood.

According to your "logic" when a factional council majority adopted a housing element that promised to rezone a neighborhood in non-faction member's district, the rest of the city should NOT have signed the Initiative petition, because, to them, it was better to put the affordable housing in Flood than in their own neighborhoods.

And yet, here we are.

And the council member whose district was impacted is running UNOPPOSED, and the council member in the faction favorable to the rezoning, is in a contested election, in a district far, far away.

I hope you are a paid adviser for the NO on V campaign, Peter.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:30 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:30 am

"I hope you are a paid adviser for the NO on V campaign, Peter."

Wrong. I don't get paid by anybody for anything that I do.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:14 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:14 pm

""Tell me, Peter, when was the last time a developer or council made an ad hoc request in Menlo Park to rezone a privately owned R-1 parcel already occupied by a single family home?"

Easy - The house on Hoover that was purchased by the Fire District and then rezoned so that Station 6 could be rebuilt to modern standards.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:25 pm
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Peter:

You are correct. It took 6-7 years to get Station 6 built. Appears, a ballot measure would have been faster dealing with Menlo Park.

Why is MP so hard to deal with? As you are aware SMC and EPA are way easier to work with on those issues.

Maybe that’s why the Measure V movement was established and that was a different majority council.

Oh well?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:31 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:31 pm

"You are correct. It took 6-7 years to get Station 6 built. Appears, a ballot measure would have been faster dealing with Menlo Park."

Actually dealing with Measure M added at least two years to the Station 6 project. A good example of the unintended effect of even failed measures.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:47 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 1:47 pm

PH:

it's a distinction without a difference. Voters may be making the final decision, but they will be no less uninformed, inexperienced and untrained. It doesn't matter if they're doing the work or overseeing it, their lack of experience, training and for that matter interest in bothering to get informed, makes them unsuited to be making those decisions. Ever work for a boss that didn't have a clue as to what they were doing? Didn't work out well did it?


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:43 pm

I’d say an offer of 60 units reserved for teachers is pretty “pro-teacher housing.” Especially when it’s compared to 90 units where teachers only get a first crack at renting in the first round.


About that
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:40 am
About that, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:40 am

It is interesting how those who want to vote NO never give any real arguments but consistently refer to protecting teachers. I wonder if people really understands the vote.

In its simplest form this is about who decides over your immediate neighborhood, you or a small number of council members who don't live there?

Why would it be important to stop a vote that wants to protect people's right to vote on local matters? Not saying council members are corrupt, but they don't live in your neighborhood, and the No vote is sponsored by developers harping on the one string that make people emotional "protect the teachers". If this was true they would commit to how many of proposed units are dedicated to teachers. Please do the math here.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2022 at 1:03 pm
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 1:03 pm

I don't think this logic passes muster.

Not just you, and not just your neighborhood get to vote on any change if Measure V passes. It's the entire city. The city that elected those council members who may or may not represent you. 4/5 council members went to meet with Suburban Park residents and look at their site. They were a captive audience in public meetings where those residents spoke up. And their votes on the issue were public.

I don't think 4/5 of Menlo Park residents would take the same care about a vote to upzone some land somewhere in the city where they don't live and don't work. And we'll never know whether they did their homework, or what their thought process was before they filled in their ballot.

The only ways to reach those voters would be the awful/awkward process we have now: canvassing, ads, fundraising, arm-to-arm combat on Nextdoor and in the Almanac message boards, churches and school boards feeling under siege, etc. In other words, the stuff we're experiencing now.

This election is horrible – divisive, expensive, bad for our community. Why on earth would anyone vote for more of the same?


About that
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 13, 2022 at 2:12 pm
About that, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Westbrook made a thoughtful argument above:
"Pro V supporters, If you only understand two things understand this.
!. Citizens will vote to upzone projects in other neighborhoods.
2. You lose your right to appeal."

One problem with this argument is that further down it is argued that no one is interested in voting, and not even 25% understands the issue, which make you wonder why the city's voters would show up in force and push through a rezoning in my particular neighborhood? Is it not far more likely that a rezoning vote only interests those affected locally? Are you saying that the rest of the city's voters are so savvy and ill-willed that they would vote you down and add high density zoning to your neighborhood out of spite?

Peter Carpenter further argues that isn't measure V just a blatant self-interest? I guess sort of saying that it is about a bunch of rich Menlo Park residents that don't want to share the land? It is suddenly shameful to live the American dream and be able to afford a house in an area without heavy traffic, strong community and safe streets? Well, if multi family housing suddenly pops up in our neighborhood blocks your dream is likely to come true, as it will convert those neighborhoods to high density areas and destroy the Menlo Park lifestyle that attracts people here to begin with. The affluent people will gone, and so will the school donations and the support that makes these schools top grade, and the reason teachers wants to be here.

I think No arguers are looking to one-sided on the 90 unit housing at the core of the debate, but it is really a much more principal issue at stake. Should a small number of council members be able to rezone your neighbor to a multi family housing without you being able to vote against it?

Teacher housing is important, that is not the issue, but high density housing belongs at arteries and where there is public transport and infrastructure.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 13, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 2:43 pm


I'm sure it's too late but wouldn't it have been best to set this up as a city-wide stand-alone vote on whether to upzone this particular parcel and not make it about every single parcel in the city in perpetuity?


About that
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:07 pm
About that, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:07 pm

"I'm sure it's too late but wouldn't it have been best to set this up as a city-wide stand-alone vote on whether to upzone this particular parcel and not make it about every single parcel in the city in perpetuity?"

I personally don't have all the details on that particular parcel, but what is important with measure V is that it takes away random rezoning of parcels. All home owners living, and having invested in, a neighborhood should have the right to sleep at night knowing that the rules for the neighborhood can't be changed without their say and vote.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:13 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:13 pm

"It is interesting how those who want to vote NO never give any real arguments but consistently refer to protecting teachers."

Then you haven't been reading all posts or reading comprehensively. My stated objection to V has never been about "protecting teachers". It has always been that measures are blunt instruments and are not suited for dealing with complex issues. They always result in unintended consequences and usually don't really solve the problem they purport to solve.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:02 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:02 pm


If everyone is truly looking for affordable housing, give it a little more time, Biden is accomplishing that nationwide on his own, As prices continue to fall based on his economic policies


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:49 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:49 pm

Westbrook:

There's always got to be someone like you that brings up something totally unrelated to the subject. It's nothing more than a shot at the current POTUS. If you don't have anything to say about the subject, start your own thread and complain about the POTUS there.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:57 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:57 pm

About that:

If only 25% of voters in MP typically vote, it's 25% of voters city wide. If a rezoning comes up for a vote, voters will vote for it as long as it's not in their neighborhood. And that will be more voters than those in the neighborhood that doesn't want it. They don't need to know anything more about it than that. People always vote for their own self interest. People in this city also love to virtue signal and voting for a rezoning that will supposedly allow for low income housing, something that helps create more homes or helps provide housing for teachers will be a two-fer for them. They voted for something they can pat themselves on the back for AND it's not in their neighborhood.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 13, 2022 at 9:36 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 9:36 pm


MV, This whole conversation is about affordable housing,

What I said is not hyperbole, While everyone is talking about minor reductions in housing and rental costs, ie: "affordable housing" We are seeing and will continue to see prices drop currently a 15% reduction on its way to a 25%+ reduction in property values. Along with that rental prices.

Hence more affordable housing,

You can't dispute the numbers.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2022 at 7:59 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 7:59 am

Westbrook:

No, you can't dispute the numbers, but that wasn't what you were doing, and you know it. You were taking a shot at the POTUS.


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2022 at 10:00 am
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 10:00 am

Just remember Menlo Park homeowners, when you vote to lose say in your neighborhood zoning don’t complain when they do things that cut your property values. The “NO” vote is backed by developers, renters, and housing advocates whose stated goals are to make Menlo Park far more affordable. Guess what that means for your existing property values? Or do the homeowners who are voting “NO” think that everyone else’s values will plummet except theirs? They’re using teachers to distract you from protecting your investment. The progressives on the city council have signaled a desire to drop in low income housing in every neighborhood across the city. And the surrounding properties will adjust in value to match. If you vote “NO” you lose your say on zoning on your street.


Jlincoln
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 14, 2022 at 1:59 pm
Jlincoln, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Tim and Nicole resorting to making up facts to pass stupid measure. Spinning the facts
Measure V is anti housing, the facts are in black and white. Anyone voting for it is anti housing
Don’t be duped !


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 15, 2022 at 7:54 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 7:54 am

Menlo Lifestyle:

What you are saying is false. If you vote no on V you actually maintain your ability to have a say. The process is already in place for people to have a say and even appeal decisions they don't like. V puts it to a city wide vote which is guaranteed to give only a small number of people a say since only 25% of registered MP voters actually vote on local issues. And if they approve a rezoning, there is ZERO ability to appeal the decision. So, the virtue signalers from all over town can vote to up zone someone else's neighborhood so they can pat themselves on the back for helping "do something" about the housing problem, AND it won't be in their neighborhood. In the mean time, the neighborhood that gets stuck with that up zoning has ZERO recourse.

Let's be clear, the whole idea of affordable housing in this area is stupid. It's a myth. The land acquisition costs are too high and so are construction costs although both are likely to come down in the future it won't make enough of a difference. So, the Flood school property is a one off because it doesn't have to be acquired. There isn't going to be a flood of developers coming into town trying to up zone properties and add density. If they had any interest in doing that they'd be doing it already.

That said, due to the cost of construction, the only way it works financially is greater density. Personally, I don't see how it really will work that way either since the property is publicly owned that makes this a publicly funded project which must be done at "prevailing wage" labor rates which are much higher than non-prevailing wage. If the developer tries to do it without paying prevailing wage you can bet the labor unions will file suit.

No, Measure V is a tantrum by entitled folks that are trying to short circuit or, do an end around on a well established process to ensure they get their way. The project hasn't even been submitted yet. They don't actually know what it is.


About that
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 15, 2022 at 11:25 am
About that, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 11:25 am

"There isn't going to be a flood of developers coming into town trying to up zone properties and add density. If they had any interest in doing that they'd be doing it already."

Menlo Voter, I think we all mean well here and wants what's best for the neighborhood. Of course, those sitting on now valuable properties of course have more to lose than those in peripheral areas or with older houses on them.

But your statement above is just not true. Looking it at neighboring Atherton they had a plan to convert 6-7 properties already in what would be considered prime locations. This is entirely developer driven as it is good business, and the city used an external consulting firm that agreed. The pressure on cities and council members to fulfill state mandates is immense, Atherton needed something like 300 new units over 5 years and they don't have the space for it.

What is frightening is that Atherton already have multiple regular family lots adjacent to schools that are zoned as public use. What happens is that a school or a developer buys a property and then lobbies council for a rezoning, and the neighborhood is not informed. Yes, you can follow the agenda for every council meeting but who does that? At least with a public vote a rezoning is treated as the big deal it really is.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 17, 2022 at 4:17 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 4:17 pm



We should get the arguments straight. This is not about teachers - that's blowing smoke. May as well say be for about Mom's Apple Pie - which it isn't either.

It's about zoning.

It's about being considered when there's a relevant zoning issue or consequence - like intrusions into daylight plane. Come by and I'll show you consequences with a walk in the neighborhood.

(I'm former MP planning commissioner). (Maybe I should return to it.)

I'll show you what a zoning map looks like. I keep one in my car.

And let's get ready for the next council election.

PS. Jen Wolosin should make public the CC&R's (Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions) which apply to homeowners in her subdivision. Just for comparison.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 17, 2022 at 4:20 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 4:20 pm

We should get the arguments straight. This is not about teachers - that's blowing smoke. May as well say it's about Mom's Apple Pie - which it isn't either.

It's about zoning.

It's about being considered when there's a relevant zoning issue or consequence - like intrusions into daylight plane. Come by and I'll show you consequences with a walk in the neighborhood.

(I'm former MP planning commissioner). (Maybe I should return to it.)

I'll show you what a zoning map looks like. I keep one in my car.

And let's get ready for the next council election.

PS. Jen Wolosin should make public the CC&R's (Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions) which apply to homeowners in her subdivision. Just for comparison.

And the city needs Peter Ohtaki's governmental finance experience in District 4.




Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 17, 2022 at 4:53 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 4:53 pm

" What happens is that a school or a developer buys a property and then lobbies council for a rezoning, and the neighborhood is not informed. "

The current Atherton and Menlo Park rezoning rules require that neighboring property owners be given written notice of any planning commission or council discussion of a rezoning. Rezoning cannot be done except in open meetings with a publicized agenda that details the item being considered.


Paul Roberts
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2022 at 6:23 pm
Paul Roberts, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 6:23 pm

Most of us voting on Measure V will not vote on Measure I – the Ravenswood District’s bond measure to improve its decaying old school capital equipment. Most Menlo Park residents don’t reside in the district – most of which is East of 101. Those of us outside the district let its residents vote to improve the capital of their schools.

All Menlo Park residents, however, will vote on whether the Ravenswood District can attract talented teachers with subsidized housing (land value – not construction -- is the largest cost of new housing and the relatively poor District can utilize that). Somehow those of us West of 101 are weighing in on whether the relatively poor district can improve its labor.

Beyond 101 and the poor school district that barely straddles it, Measure V requires a straddle-the-whole city-wide vote on any rezoning proposal no matter what planning process could have gone into it. Why have a planning staff and commission when everyone votes on everything?

Don’t believe the histrionics of Yes on V. After 3 decades of incredibly high price appreciation, Menlo Park’s population will not suddenly grow by 20% if I vote No on Measure V (that last happened in the 1950s). Nor will a 4 story building suddenly appear right on top of my property line (recent scare mailer with a Jack-O-Lantern colored building). There is a HUGE difference between what is proposed, what is planned and what gets built – especially under a professional planning and building process. The City of Menlo Park will do quite well without the crude private property constraints of Measure V.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 17, 2022 at 6:27 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 6:27 pm

"Yes, you can follow the agenda for every council meeting but who does that? "

I do. Yes, it's difficult. Democracy is difficult and it should be. Part of the planning process, especially if a zoning change is contemplated, has the city sending out mailers to every home in the neighborhood. You can't say they don't get notified.

As I've said before, you want the people that are too lazy to pay attention to what is going on in their own neighborhood and can't be bothered to inform themselves to vote on something as complex as planning/zoning. You might was well be asking them to vote on heart surgery. It's absurd.

Governing by measure and proposition is a bad way to govern.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 17, 2022 at 8:37 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 8:37 pm

"It is interesting how those who want to vote NO never give any real arguments but consistently refer to protecting teachers."

I agree with Menlo Voter. It's an attack line I see often that ignores lengthy fact filled posts about why so many people feel this is a terrible plan for our city. This measure is a terrible way to do city planning. I would imagine that a developer wanting to see a large project on a site requiring a ballot measure would put together a campaign to talk to everyone but the neighbors nearest the project. Way more voters far away from the project than close to it. See, nothing about teachers at all, but still offering up why it's a bad idea. Vote No on V. Let's not put city zoning into the hands of a haphazardly informed and participatory electorate. Let's let the highly informed members of council who are accountable to the neighborhood they are most closely connected to, but swear an oath to work for the whole city, be responsible for citywide zoning and planning. I will be voting No on V.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 17, 2022 at 9:22 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 9:22 pm

"The unappreciated impact of this is that Measure V in effect permits the city to put a rezoning on the ballot without any studies or public hearings. And the result of such an election would be unappealable. All of the protections provided by the current process including Planning Commission and City Council studies and public hearings and related appeals are NOT required by Measure V."

Thanks, Peter for this explanation. I don't understand why supporters keeps saying they want people to have a say over their own neighborhood instead of a handful of people who don't live there.

"In its simplest form this is about who decides over your immediate neighborhood, you or a small number of council members who don't live there?"

The measure would give 4/5ths of the town who don't live in their neighborhood a vote over what happens there. And those people will have done varying amounts of research ranging from attending debates and reading measures to grabbing the top flyer on their mail stack. I think that city planning and zoning should always be more thoughtful than that.

This ballot measure has divided our community and sets up a system that would require us to do this again and again and again in order to help make space here for people who support the residents of this town, but can't make enough to live in the community. Menlo Park residents should vote No on V.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 17, 2022 at 9:41 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2022 at 9:41 pm

The last message from the Measure V proponents makes their objective clear:
"Vote YES on Measure V ✅ A YES for protecting low-density neighborhoods from overdevelopment "

Measure V is sheer selfish protectionism with no interest in teachers or anybody who isn't already in their very comfortable lifeboat. It is no wonder that dozens of local religious leaders have come out in opposition yo Measure V - Measure V is a moral disgrace.


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 19, 2022 at 10:46 am
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2022 at 10:46 am

Now it’s a “moral disgrace.” Enough of the shaming. If you’re a homeowner in Menlo Park and you vote “NO” on Measure V, you have zero business complaining when the city council votes to screw up your neighborhood and property values. You won’t have a voice - you will have given it away.

Or you can “trust us” as so many are saying. Sure. Go ahead, trust the council and the developers opposing your voice. See how that works out. On the plus side, maybe the council will grant you a property tax reduction after they get done making Menlo “affordable.”


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 19, 2022 at 12:34 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2022 at 12:34 pm

"You won’t have a voice - you will have given it away."

Wrong. We elect the City Council.

The City Council operates in public view and must accept public input before making a decision.

****
"Now it’s a “moral disgrace.” Enough of the shaming"

It is a moral outrage as is evidenced by the dozens of our local religious leaders who have come out in opposition to Measure V. You should be ashamed if all you want is to keep others out of "your" neighborhood.

When you purchased your home in Suburban Park did you bother to investigate the school site that has been there for a very long time? Did you think it would remain vacant forever so as to not create any "new" traffic in Suburban Park. Do you have any idea how many daily trips the old school produced?


Andrew C.
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 19, 2022 at 5:05 pm
Andrew C., Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2022 at 5:05 pm

Peter Carpenter writes: "When you purchased your home in Suburban Park did you bother to investigate the school site that has been there for a very long time? Did you think it would remain vacant forever so as to not create any "new" traffic in Suburban Park. Do you have any idea how many daily trips the old school produced?"

In my case, my family purchased in this area while it was still an operating school. You've probably seen it explained many times, but to explain again...when it was last operating as a school, the primary entrance/exit was through Flood Park. School traffic is also not even comparable to residential traffic anyway. Even if the traffic had gone through the neighborhood public schools operate for fewer than half the days in a year. On those days, traffic is concentrated for approximately one total hour daily (30 minutes prior and 30 minute post). It's not remotely comparable, and despite the many times this has been pointed out, the erroneous argument seems to exist.

You obviously put lots of thought into your approach to these forums, and to try to make this a "moral" decision undercuts your credibility. I don't know a single neighbor who is concerned about "who" could live on that site. Every single one I know is concerned about "how many" homes can be built and be supported by the infrastructure. I think you actually do know that's the crux of the argument, and it's a shame that you've turned this into a moral theme.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 20, 2022 at 9:23 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2022 at 9:23 am

"Local planning in the United States is unique in the amount of land it reserves for detached single-family homes. This privileging of single-family homes, normally called R1 zoning, exacerbates inequality and undermines efficiency. R1’s origins are unpleasant: Stained by explicitly classist and implicitly racist motivations, R1 today continues to promote exclusion. It makes it harder for people to access high-opportunity places, and in expensive regions it contributes to shortages of housing, thereby benefiting homeowners at the expense of renters and forcing many housing consumers to spend more on housing."

Web Link

You cannot enjoy the benefits of R 1 zoning without realizing the inequality impact of that zoning.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 20, 2022 at 12:03 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2022 at 12:03 pm
Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 20, 2022 at 12:04 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Thank you, Peter. I miss the + button that used to be available for posts we agreed with.


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 20, 2022 at 3:47 pm
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2022 at 3:47 pm

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
when I purchased my home in Suburban Park the school was up and operating.

And I do not remember how many daily trips were made on our streets. But I do remember the school busses that drove at safe speeds and the many, daily cars that sped by at dangerous rates after them.


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 20, 2022 at 3:53 pm
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2022 at 3:53 pm

“You cannot enjoy the benefits of R 1 zoning without realizing the inequality impact of that zoning.”

So now single family homeowners in Menlo Park are all racists? THAT’s what the “NO on V” side is really about. Sticking it to the current homeowners of Menlo Park for all of the inequities and evils in the world. Destroying every neighborhood at the diversity altar, eh? I don’t see you telling the “NO on V” voters that if they’re homeowners and we get all of the affordability it will come at their expense. No one seems to mention that making Menlo Park “affordable” means that when you go to sell your house it’s back to 1990 prices.

Homeowners that vote “No on V” need to understand it’s they who will pay for it.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 22, 2022 at 4:40 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2022 at 4:40 pm

Here is the latest messaging from Measure V proponents:

"56.2% of land in Menlo Park is unaffected by Measure V and can be rezoned or up zoned for affordable housing without the need for a public vote if Measure V passes. Menlo Park can meet it’s housing needs through this land, while preserving our safe, low-traffic, family-friendly neighborhoods! "

Unbelievably they come right out as state their totally protectionist philosophy.

It is one thing to enjoy the benefits of long standing exclusionary zoning but quite another to work so hard attempting to preserve that exclusionary zoning.

And to add insult to injury they have now burdened their fellow citizens with about $50000 for the Measure V election and dozens more $50000 elections if it passes.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 22, 2022 at 4:45 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2022 at 4:45 pm

Another very interesting scenario emerges.

1 - Measure V passes
2 - Since the city no longer has rezoning authority it is unable to submit a HCD compliant housing plan
3 - The "builder's remedy" kicks in. This is a 1990 amendment to the Housing Accountability Act informally called the “builder’s remedy” which says that "noncompliant cities must allow housing at any density and any height, anywhere in the city, as long as at least 20% of the new homes are affordable."
"All Bay Area cities have until Jan. 31, 2023, to certify a compliant housing element. Until last week, many cities, including San Francisco, incorrectly assumed they had a “grace period“ of a further 120 days before penalties started.

They don’t.

These cities will likely be unprepared to submit a compliant plan before Jan. 31. If that happens, builder’s remedy applications would open on Feb. 1."
4 - RCSD submits a plan for 150 units in a 5 story complex on the Flood site with 20% being affordable.
5 - the fun begins


HelloHanalei
Registered user
another community
on Oct 27, 2022 at 9:53 am
HelloHanalei, another community
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 9:53 am

I may be late to the party with my comment, but I've been reading the Almanac articles over the past couple of months, and I finally decided to comment.

My family lived in Suburban Park for many years, raised our kids there, and only moved a few years ago. Given my deep knowledge of both the neighborhood and the former Flood School site, it's my considered opinion that the notion of putting up a multi story apartment building on that site is, to put it bluntly, INSANE.

How many people who've commented on these articles, and have accused Suburban Park residents of everything from NIMBYism to elitism, have bothered to visit the neighborhood and look at the proposed site for this apartment building? As so many people have pointed out, there is one road leading into and out of Suburban Park, with a posted speed limit of 25mph, although most residents drive through the neighborhood's quiet, narrow, curving streets, filled with dog walkers, strollers, and kids playing outside, at slower speeds than that.

Years ago, when Flood School was operational, parents were supposed to drop off and pick up their students via a designated road that didn't pass through Suburban Park, but sometimes when people were running late, they would rip through the neighborhood ~ on several occasions, when I asked people to slow down while walking with my newborn and toddler, I received the middle finger and curses shouted out an open car window in response. So I know for a fact, from experience, what the traffic impacts of this planned multi level building would be, and I fear that they would destroy the neighborhood.

How about if developers propose, and Council pre-approves (as certain members have done with the Flood project), multi story apartments in every Menlo Park neighborhood? Every neighborhood gets density, everyone deals with the impacts, and no one gets to call anyone else elitist for not being happy about those impacts. Sound fair??


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 27, 2022 at 10:59 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 10:59 am

I have also lived in Suburban Park and I have walked this site. Neither it nor any other is a perfect site for high density housing but this in one of the best in the city for such development.

Menlo Park must by law increase its housing stock and to take this "best choice" site off the table would be foolish.

Wether or not Measure V passes this site will be developed with high density housing. Those concerned about this should us their efforts to help shape the best possible design.

Worst case the "builder's remedy" will become available on 1 Feb 2023 and then all bets are off.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 27, 2022 at 12:35 pm
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 12:35 pm

"How about if developers propose, and Council pre-approves (as certain members have done with the Flood project), multi story apartments in every Menlo Park neighborhood? Every neighborhood gets density, everyone deals with the impacts, and no one gets to call anyone else elitist for not being happy about those impacts. Sound fair??"

1) People keep claiming that some subset of council members (or even all council members) have "pre-approved" a project; that's impossible. No project can be approved before it has been submitted. No subset of council voted on anything related to Flood Park, although the entire council agreed to upzone the site to 20 du/acre in our housing element. But the community input sessions, decisions about architecture and layout and daylight planes and landscaping, traffic study, and prescribed safety mitigations won't/can't happen (there's simply no mechanism for them to happen) until a developer submits a project for review. And that won't/can't happen until Measure V has been decided (what developer would do the work if they weren't sure that the site could even be upzoned?)

2) It would be nice if every neighborhood had a 2.5-acre vacant lot of public land with a property owner interested in developing affordable housing. Unfortunately there's just the one.


new guy
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 27, 2022 at 1:51 pm
new guy, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 1:51 pm

thankfully this will all end soon, 12 days to go!

nice to see that someone else finally looked at a map and found that there are no other open parcels of land left in MP. what that means to anyone is that all the "mandated" new housing units, and the people who will cram into them, will simply crowd our limited park spaces, limited school capacities, limited police/fire, etc.

but all of this is mostly waisted breathing, as cost of building is so high, hardly any of this will get built.


HelloHanalei
Registered user
another community
on Oct 27, 2022 at 2:26 pm
HelloHanalei, another community
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Peter Carpenter, you may have lived in Suburban Park for a few years, but if I'm not mistaken you then lived for many years in Atherton. I lived in Suburban Park for 21 years and raised my family there. Suburban Park isn't just a place where I lived; it's the place where my heart dwelled. Apples and oranges, in my opinion.

Several council members declared their support for the Flood project before the process was subject to public scrutiny, so the outcome of the process certainly appears to be predictable. None of those Council members were voted in, or can be voted out, by Suburban Park residents, however, so what other recourse were residents left with, other than to take proactive steps to protect their neighborhood from misguided development?

This parcel of land is empty, but the proposed usage of it doesn't make sense. And it simply isn't fair, or right, for residents of neighborhoods completely unaffected by the push for density to accuse Suburban Park residents of bad intent simply because they're pushing back on an ill-conceived project.

Suburban Park is a unique community, and a large part of what makes it so unique is the neighborhood's bucolic setting and quiet streets. It's simply not fair to shove a development that will destroy those qualities down the throats of residents, and then call them elitist when they say, ummmm no, this isn't a good idea. Everyone here would respond in the same way, were they put in the position in which Suburban Park residents have been placed, and if they're honest, they'll at least admit that much.


Andrew C.
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 27, 2022 at 4:34 pm
Andrew C., Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 4:34 pm

How many homes can this site support? How many entrances will it need to have? Will emergency services be able to access the space effectively? What will be the traffic implications for the local neighborhood? What other infrastructure needs will occur at different size points?

All of these questions should be addressed before a zoning change is requested or completed. It's logical. Once the zoning was to be changed, there would be no looking back, and every honest reader of this forum knows this is true.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 27, 2022 at 6:17 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 6:17 pm

"All of these questions should be addressed before a zoning change is requested or completed. "

Wrong. You have the cart before the horse. Zoning changes do NOT address these issues. A proposed project which complies with the existing zone must address these issues.

So zoning change comes first.

Then a project which conforms to the new zoning is submitted.

In the staff, planning commission and council review of the project issues related to access etc are addressed and the public has full opportunity to comment and to appeal any planning commission decision to the council.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 27, 2022 at 6:22 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2022 at 6:22 pm

Iy you want to be well educated on this issue then watch this excellent presentation:

Web Link


Andrew C.
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 28, 2022 at 9:59 am
Andrew C., Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2022 at 9:59 am

Peter, thank you for pointing out how it's a broken system. Approving a zoning change without studying or even understanding the implications is a poor system that needs to be changed. Since you use the "horse" metaphor, I'll build on that. If a zoning change is approved before doing the necessary study of whether a neighborhood can support such a zoning change, then you're asking us to examine a result once the "horses" are already out of the barn. Somebody might say "that's just how it works," which is easy to say in somebody else's back yard. I believe that you and I both know that if the zoning change is approved, this project will very likely happen at the largest capacity that will be financially viable for the school district.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 2, 2022 at 9:40 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 9:40 am

With a rezoning the order is propose, analyze, and then adopt (or not.)

A zoning change is considered a "project" for the purposes of CEQA. Though some, and unfortunately more and more rezonings are being exempted from CEQA.

What that means is that either a city-initiated rezoning, or a developer requested zoning as part of a physical project application, must both be examined for impacts on the local environment, under CEQA, prior to being approved.

In the city-initiated case, the city presumes a likely virtual project, consistent with the zoning, and analyzes its impacts. Think DSP or ConnectMenlo.

The CEQA findings must then be approved and certified, usually at the same time as the first reading of the rezoning.

I don't know what the debate is about chicken vs egg, but cities cannot rezone (adopt a new zoning ordinance) in advance of a certified EIR or negative declaration.




Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2022 at 1:51 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 1:51 pm

PH:

That's correct, but what the Measure V folks want to do is short circuit the entire process.


Lynne Bramlett
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2022 at 3:25 pm
Lynne Bramlett, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 3:25 pm

I don't like Measure V, but I also do not like the idea of three Council members deciding major zoning changes. That brought us ConnectMenlo with its sweeping high-density zoning changes in District 1. On Dec 6, 2016, three Council members approved most of the zoning changes. Web Link One signer was Peter Ohtaki, who is running for office again in District 4. Two were absent. At minimum, I believe that major zoning changes should require an unanimous City Council vote.

ConnectMenlo was presented to the public as an authentic general plan land use update. It was not. ConnectMenlo unfairly concentrated the development in District 1. There were other State requirements it did not follow. There was a public process, but concerns were basically dismissed due to the "overriding [benefit] considerations." These are detailed in Resolution No. 6356. The CM major Ordnances were Numbers 1024, 1025, 1026, 1027, 1028, 1029 and Resolution No. 6356. On Nov 29, 2016, four signers (including Ohtaki) approved Resolution 6359 and 6360. I list all here as they took considerable time on my part to find. Web Link

Yes, ConnectMenlo had a process to collect public input. However, I would describe the process as one designed to get approval for the changes. The program-level EIR (Resolution 6359) also serves to "green-light" subsequent development in District 1. It's more than time to conduct a post-implementation review of the ConnectMenlo process so we can learn from what went wrong and fix what can still be changed.

To begin the change, I suggest that the new Council form a resident-led Blue Ribbon Commission to evaluate the City's long-range planning efforts and recommend changes. Naturally, this body would need a formal statement of work, etc.


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 2, 2022 at 3:48 pm
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 3:48 pm

Think about what you’re saying Lynne.

“Yes, ConnectMenlo had a process to collect public input. However, I would describe the process as one designed to get approval for the changes. … I suggest that the new Council form a resident-led Blue Ribbon Commission to evaluate the City's long-range planning efforts and recommend changes.”

You’re asking the foxes to create a panel to figure out where all the chickens are going! You’ve made the central and only point of Measure V - that is the city council listens and then does what they want. Our Mayor heard the housing plan, heard the people’s objections, and said “Not my problem.” Not even an adjustment or compromise.

No, we need a check on these progressives that are telling everyone in Menlo Park “your neighborhoods need to change and we’re going to do it.”


JH
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 3, 2022 at 12:10 pm
JH, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 12:10 pm

I voted No on V for some concerns similar to Lynne’s. As best one can tell, the proponents (who are I’m sure great folks working hard for their neighborhood) of V were not driven by a concern about the long-standing Council structure that allows for approval as needing affirmative votes from three of the five members. That has been the case for years so its not new. Instead, the proponents simply believed that it was likely that three specific council members would vote in an unfavorable way on the proponents’ desire to not have higher density housing built in their specific neighborhood. Had they believed instead that the three votes would likely support their position, V would not have been created, so their issue was not the Council structure itself, but the possible outcome on a very localized issue. So, the only way to improve the odds of achieving their local goal was to scope in the entire city of Menlo Park with a proposal to bypass the Council and bring the issue to a city-wide vote. As a result, V was drafted with no broad public vetting or consideration, ever-changing and often inaccurate (as widely reported)assertions, and what many have called “fear mongering” messaging. In that regard, it is unfair to the citizens, including the voters, who have not had any genuine opportunity to understand and consider the important and complex issue.

As to related concerns about the new “single district” Council voting structure, versus the previous model of at-large voting across all districts, that change was in furtherance of helping to ensure balanced representation across the city, which will hopefully allow for more equitable housing options and outcomes. By moving zoning away from the Council to a city-wide vote, this essentially bypasses the very important benefits this new voting structure sought to create. While this may be an unintended consequence, its a negative consequence nevertheless. Let’s move forward in a more thoughtful way.


JH
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 4:00 am
JH, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 4:00 am

To amplify a point above, the V proponents are again making a claim that V is pro housing and pro teacher. The measure is simply neither of those. Just the opposite.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2022 at 8:00 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 8:00 am

JH:

it is "pro housing", pro THEIR housing. Funny thing is that if V passes, up-zoning of the Flood site will be put on the ballot and the majority of "woke" MP voters will approve it. The authors of Measure V will have screwed themselves as there will be no way for them to appeal that decision. Can you say "unintended consequences"?


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 4, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 4:16 pm

Menlo Voter et al:

You just don't know. For example, how will renters perceive what is their interest in this dog race?? They are the anonymous forgotten, and will likely use this as any opportunity to "stick it to the man."


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