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MidPen submits plans for affordable housing project

Original post made on Sep 14, 2018

MidPen Housing Corp., a nonprofit housing developer that owns affordable housing on the 1200 and 1300 blocks of Willow Road, has submitted an application to build 140 affordable apartments at 1345 Willow Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 13, 2018, 11:28 AM

Comments (20)

4 people like this
Posted by Sarah Staley Shenk
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 14, 2018 at 8:35 am

It would be incredibly helpful to also see a rendering of how this affordable housing proposal looks with the proposed Facebook "Village" on the page as well. We absolutely need more affordable housing.

Please, City of Menlo Park, consider this request, but make sure that when all requests come before you that you are also mindful of infrastructure, net new trips, and how we solve for the people who live here as priority #1 - not business priority first. Thanks.


5 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 14, 2018 at 9:18 am

Brian is a registered user.

I agree, Menlo Park is adding high density housing and new office buildings at an unprecedented rate while ignoring the infrastructure problems that have been plaguing us residents for years.

Before approving anything new and that includes Facebook's Willow Village, the City Council needs to address the current issues and the needs of the residents who already live in Menlo Park. It seems the existing council does not care about that, guess it is time to replace Keith and Ohtaki who always seem to side with Developers.


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 16, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Brian, electing Keith is your only hope for representation on this and related projects for the next four years. Combs will be recused from deliberation and voting on this project as well as Facebook Village. Combs was also recused from participating on Connect Menlo and the Transportation Master Plan.


4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm

I'm giving up on the Traffic issue, especially if it's used as a whip to stop affordable housing. We are hamstringed from doing much as the main choked arteries are all CalTrans with other people's cars cutting through Menlo Park. We can gate-off all of Belle Haven and the Willows but I don't see folks rushing to do that.

10 years from now you won't even be allowed to drive a car without a special license as all cars will be AV's. Let the housing grow and get on your bike!


2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 16, 2018 at 9:41 pm

Representation for D2,

Why would Combs have to recuse himself on this project, this is not a Facebook project? I understand that Combs will have to recuse himself on Facebook matters, but I see this as a better alternative than the Rubber Stamp approval that Keith gives to any developer that wants to build big in Menlo Park. With a new person from District 1 and hopefully a replacement for Ohtaki, even with Combs recusing himself reason might prevail on the council (a tie vote is a defeat).

Keith and Ohtaki have done enough damage to Menlo Park, just look at the traffic over the last 8 years. Time for someone who represents the residents and not the developers.


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 17, 2018 at 2:05 am

Brian, this MidPen project is right across the street from Facebook's proposed Willow Village. Sarah Staley Shenk pointed this out in the first post. Combs will be recused.


2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Representation for D2,

Are you a lawyer? Just because the project is near Facebook does not mean that he needs to recuse himself. If that were the case Keith would have had to recuse herself from any votes related to the Willows since she lives there, obviously did not happen.

His recusal from anything Facebook related is because he has a monetary involvement with Facebook being an employee. Monetary involvement is why Carlton has to recuse herself (She and her husband owned stock), though I would point out Combs was upfront about his ties to Facebook while Carlton was not and then tried to downplay it (several Almanac articles on this topic if you want to read more). Even though this project is near Facebook, they are not to my knowledge involved in the project itself so he should be able to participate in discussions and vote.

As for Facebook and Facebook village I will say it again, better to have some rescue themselves and not vote that having a council member with a history of approving any and all big developments within the city and not worrying about the impact it would have on the residents, infrastructure, etc.


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 17, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Brian, I am not a lawyer, but I believe there is a 500 foot rule. You misunderstand the situation when you argue that, "Keith would have had to recuse herself from any votes related to the Willows since she lives there."

Keith does not own the Willows, she owns a home and a plot of land in the Willows. She has been recused from items relating to O'Conner school, now called Laurel Upper Campus which is fewer than 500 feet from her property. Combs will need to be recused from discussions and voting on everything that includes or is within 500 feet of Facebook property.

Here is an image of Facebook Willow Village: Web Link

Here is the address of this housing project: Web Link

The MidPen project is literally right across the street from Facebook's Willows Campus. Combs will be recused. If Combs quits Facebook and sells all his stock (paying the associated taxes), he will need to wait a year before being allowed to participate.

Brian, you say, "Combs was upfront about his ties to Facebook," but the literature he is distributing says nothing about his employment at Facebook, or that he has been recused from numerous items while serving as a planning commissioner.

Keith is the only candidate in District 2 that is proposing limits on office development. "I have served on the Dumbarton Rail Corridor Policy Advisory Committee, and will continue to advocate for reducing afternoon vehicle gridlock by demanding that a world-class commuter rail system to the East Bay is a requirement for any large-scale development near the rail corridor." Web Link

Combs' website says nothing about office development. He is focussed on residential zoning, safe streets and parks. Web Link


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Posted by No growth candidate?
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 17, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Who is the zero commercial growth / zero population growth candidate for D2?


2 people like this
Posted by Whoa!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2018 at 9:13 pm

Keith is proposing limits on office development?
Where has she said that publicity. Isn’t it a little late given her record? Is she proposing a moratorium on the General Plan?


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Posted by Whoa!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Has Keith told the residents of Suburban Park she is advocating for the Dumbarton train to go behind their homes back and forth all day long?


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 17, 2018 at 10:31 pm

Facebook is actively moving forward on a Dumbarton commuter rail line. Voters from every other District won't care about trains running in Suburban Park, especially if the train provides relief from afternoon gridlock. If Suburban Park residents want the train from Stockton to stop at the Willow station, they should be reach out to Keith and rally their neighbors to vote for her. Combs will be recused from discussion and voting on this because Facebook is helping to underwrite the project.

Also, these trains don't run "all day long" as @Whoa! describes. ACE runs 4 trains in the morning and 4 trains in the afternoon. See the ACE schedule for more information. Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Whoa!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2018 at 5:27 am

Keith is proposing limits on office development?
Where has she said that publicity. What are the limits?Isn’t it a little late given her record? Is she proposing a moratorium on the General Plan

This sounds like a half truth.

The office in willow village had already been up zoned in the General Plan, as has the housing.

Is Keith proposing a moratorium on office development? Is she proposing rolling back the general plan? If not the half truths from trolls are misleading voters.

I agree with Brian. The Keith campaign is over stating Combs recusals.


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

The general plan is not a specific plan. Keith can push for whatever restrictions she sees fit. Combs was recused from discussion and voting on the general plan update. He was recused from Connect Menlo where these limits were set. Combs will be recused from general plan changes. If Combs is elected, District 2 will have no voice for the next four years when council votes on these projects.


2 people like this
Posted by Judy A
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

Judy A is a registered user.

What we need is low-income housing - where on the pricing spectrum of low-income to affordable will rentals be?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 18, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Saying Keith is proposing limits on office development is a huge laugh. In the 8 years she has been on the council they have approved every major development in Menlo Park. That includes two major Facebook buildings, Greenheart which is huge, Stanford office and residential buildings along El Camino (which won't be paying property taxes to support schools or other resources, that falls on the residents of Menlo Park), The new hotels and other major business development in the Bohannon area which includes that huge building at Marsh and 101 occupied by Facebook. So the evidence does not support anything you are claiming. I would also point out that the "20 year plan" reached its development goals in a few short years. If we stopped approving any new development tomorrow we would already be at the goal/limits set in that plan but instead they want to revise the plan. Doesn't sound like any development limits to me. I prefer to look at what she has done and not and what she "proposes" to get reelected.
"Voters from every other District won't care about trains running in Suburban Park"
I don't agree with that either. The train would also cut through Belle Haven so I am sure they would care about it. The noise from that train will also carry to other nearby neighborhoods so I bet they would care. You might not be concerned with what bothers your neighbors but others are.
As for your comment on Combs not disclosing his employment at Facebook on his campaign material. I went to the sites for both Comps and Keith. It is right there on the “Meet Drew” page for Combs. For Keith all I saw was a mention that she has her own law .I also found Almanac articles and articles in other local papers that all at least mention that Combs works at Facebook. Finally you seemed to be aware of it so it doesn’t look like he is hiding that fact.
Finally on the matter of recusal, you are not a lawyer and neither am I so I suggest we wait until we get a definitive answer from the city attorney. However you are right about the 500 foot rule, she owns property so must recuse herself on decisions within 500 feet, but Combs does not own Facebook property.


4 people like this
Posted by Something's rotten in MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
21 hours ago

Something's rotten in MP is a registered user.

Mid Pen is adding to the concentration of low-income housing in the Belle Haven. While MP needs affordable housing, I see nothing to cheer about in Mid Pen's actions. Instead, the organization should be working with Menlo Park to identify sites for low income projects in other parts of MP. It's a violation of the Fair Housing Law to concentrate low-income housing in one part of Menlo Park: Belle Haven. The facts show that 70-80 percent of all affordable housing in Menlo Park is located in Belle Haven. The Council should have questioned this concentration years ago -- instead of going along to basically perpetuate poverty. An executive from Mid-Pen is listed as a campaign contributor to Kirstin Keith. Kirstin Keith has not served the residents and small business owners of Menlo Park. I suggest voting for Drew Combs.


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
18 hours ago

Brian, you are very confused. Bohannon's Menlo Gateway project was approved by the voters in 2010, not the city council. Ohtaki and Keith were not even on council when that development was proposed. Keith and Ohtaki did later approve the Downtown Specific Plan, but Combs was living in Mountain View at the time and never registered to vote in Santa Clara County (according to the Daily Post). Combs was recused from Connect Menlo and the general plan update, so there is no way to evaluate his record on "major development" in Menlo Park.

It is true that the train would also cut through Belle Haven, but Cecilia Taylor lives fewer that 500 feet from the train tracks, so no guarantee Belle Haven will have representation there. Finally, you declare that Combs does not own Facebook property. If he owns Facebook stock, he owns part of Facebook, and getting a paycheck from Facebook is an even bigger conflict.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
5 hours ago

Brian is a registered user.

Representation for D2,

Maybe I am mistaken but it seems you primary goal is to attack Combs which makes me wonder who you are since you choose a non-registered anonymous account. Not sure why Combs living in a different city or if he registered to vote is relevant in any part of this discussion.

Keith does have a record and it is bad, all Pro-development to the point where the impact to the residents is ignored. For example the current council refused to make the Willows Corridor part of the traffic study for the Stanford development. You say you live in the Willows, this is a concern to just about everyone I have spoken to in our neighborhood. Keith did not have a record 8 years ago either and we trusted her to look out for our best interests. I would say she failed that trust so keeping her in office would be asking for more of the same (More development, more traffic, etc.).

And let me just put this out there: I am not affiliated with Drew Combs, I have not contributed to his campaign (time or money) nor am I in any way related to him. I met him 4 years ago and liked his position on the topics of interest to me and I met with him this year to confirm that his positions have not significantly changed. I feel he would be better for District 2 and Menlo Park than Keith who has had 8 years already and has failed the residents of this district and the city


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Posted by Representation for D2
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
5 minutes ago

Brian seems to think my primary goal is to attack Combs. Not true. I'm just pointing out that Drew has never been able to vote on anything related to large scale office development, and will likely be unable to vote on anything east of HWY 101.

Keith has always been in-sync with the voters. We elected Keith in 2010 to get rid of the blight on El Camino Real. In 2014, Measure M was a referendum on the Downtown Specific Plan, but Measure M "died in a landslide" (as reported by the Daily Post).

Had Combs been elected in 2014, he would have been recused from voting on the General Plan Update, which would have still passed with a 3-1-1 vote. Combs may be the most exciting candidate we've ever seen, but he's horrible for District 2 because so many impacts are related to Facebook.

Brian, you say you are not affiliated with Drew Combs. I just checked his website, as of today, September 19, 2018, Drew Combs lists no endorsements or supporters. In the history of Menlo park politics, we have never seen a viable candidate that is unwilling to list supporters so close to the election.


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