City takes on second Greystar plan to add hundreds of apartments | January 15, 2020 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - January 15, 2020

City takes on second Greystar plan to add hundreds of apartments

by Kate Bradshaw

Menlo Portal, the tentative name for a second proposed project by developer Greystar that would build hundreds of apartments on Menlo Park's Bay side, is moving forward, Menlo Park Principal Planner Kyle Perata announced on Jan. 7.

The proposal would add 335 new apartments, about 35,000 square feet of office space and about 1,600 square feet of commercial space on a 3.2-acre site at 115 Independence Drive and 104 and 110 Constitution Drive.

The project will be entering its environmental review phase with the release of a "notice of preparation" of an environmental impact study. With such proposals, the city is required to conduct an environmental impact analysis to identify potential areas where the project could have a negative impact on the environment, and establish a plan to mitigate or minimize those impacts.

The step comes only weeks after the Planning Commission, on Dec. 16, had the same required discussion with Greystar over the developer's Menlo Uptown proposal. That development would add 483 new housing units — 441 rental apartments and 42 condos — at 141 Jefferson Drive and 180-186 Constitution Drive.

Together, both projects would add 818 new homes to a city where jobs far outnumber housing units.

Last July, when the Planning Commission first discussed the Menlo Portal project, commissioner feedback included: support for more than the required minimum 15% of units designated to be below market rate for a range of lower-income renters; a requirement that the developer create a plan to reduce traffic trips by more than 20%; support for a publicly accessible open space that could be used for seating or live music; and the suggestion that the developer work with the community to figure out what "community amenity" or publicly accessible benefit should be required in exchange for being able to build at a higher density than would otherwise be permitted in the city.

The announcement opens up a 30-day period during which people can comment on the scope of the environmental review process and make suggestions on what topics should be evaluated for potential environmental impact.

The deadline to comment is Friday, Feb. 7. People can submit comments by email to Kaitie Meador at kmmeador@menlopark.org or by mail to Meador at the Community Development Department, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025.

People can also comment during the Planning Commission's scheduled hearing on the topic, set for Monday, Jan. 27. The commission is set to meet at 7 p.m. that night in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in Menlo Park.

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