Menlo Park Briefs: Affordable housing on agenda | September 5, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - September 5, 2012

Menlo Park Briefs: Affordable housing on agenda

Affordable housing is the hot topic in Menlo Park right now. As the city tries to figure out where to add to its inventory of below-market-rate housing, one commission is set to consider two sites.

The Housing Commission will discuss whether to recommend that the city allow two developers to pay in-lieu fees instead of building affordable units in the M2 industrial district.

The fees for 20 Kelly Court total $74,497 and for 1035 O'Brien Drive, $53,763. Both sites are currently zoned for commercial rather than residential buildings, disallowing affordable housing on those properties, although that might change after the housing element update is finished. According to staff, the developers don't own lots elsewhere in Menlo Park that are appropriate for off-site construction of the units.

Go to to review the agenda. The commission plans to meet on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the main conference room in the administration building at the Civic Center (701 Laurel St.).

Housing tour

As part of its ongoing effort to get the city's housing plan into compliance with state law, Menlo Park is holding a tour of affordable housing developments on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Register at About 30 seats on the bus remain, according to the tour coordinators. The trip will provide references and information regarding what contemporary affordable housing looks like and how it might fit into the city's plan for growth.

Styrofoam out

That might be an exaggeration, but the Menlo Park City Council did pass an ordinance banning the use of polystyrene containers by food vendors, and the new law takes effect Nov. 1.

The ordinance does not prohibit polystyrene for use with pre-packaged foods or eggs, according to the city, or for non-food uses. It does not include straws, lids or utensils.

Environmental Programs manager Rebecca Fotu said the ordinance is a cost-effect way to help Menlo Park meet a federal mandate to reduce litter in storm drains and waterways by 40 percent by 2014.

Rich Gordon

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, will be at the Menlo Park Farmers' Market on Sunday, Sept. 9, to hold "office hours." Residents may drop by to discuss civic issues from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

The market is located at the parking lot on Chestnut Street, between Santa Cruz and Menlo avenues.

At Kepler's

Journalist Judith Horstman will discuss her new book, "The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain: The Neuroscience of Making the Most of Your Mature Mind," at Kepler's bookstore on Sunday, Sept. 9. The free event starts at 2 p.m. at 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park.