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Menlo Park City Council wants to study impacts of hundreds more housing units on SRI campus

Original post made on May 14, 2022

After getting a request to go bigger on housing, the developer of the 63-acre SRI research campus outlined how the mixed-use project could add up to 530 units at a Menlo Park City Council meeting May 10.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 12, 2022, 10:33 AM

Comments (3)

Posted by Bob McGrew
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 14, 2022 at 2:31 pm

Bob McGrew is a registered user.

More housing at the SRI site is a great opportunity. Menlo Park has to plan for thousands of additional units by state law, particularly units affordable for low and moderate incomes. Here we have a commercial site blocks from Caltrain and a willing developer.

Because it is so close to Caltrain, it’s a great location for individuals who want to give up a car and use the train or bike, or for families who want just one car instead of two. If the Council is concerned about traffic impacts, they could set a parking maximum for the development. Since Menlo Park has no overnight street parking, this would reduce traffic without causing overflow into neighborhood streets. This might mean the developer can’t charge as much for an apartment, but I doubt it would be hard to find people who would trade a car-light existence for a chance to live in a new building by the train and downtown in Menlo Park.

Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 14, 2022 at 10:18 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

"To our City Leaders"

The 63-acre site at SRI creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our City Leaders to be creative and develop housing for low-income, middle-income, and upper-income residents across the board and for future generations to enjoy. Include Rentals, Condos, Townhomes and Single Family Homes. This is the largest undeveloped site West of the Freeway. Don't let this pass you by. Show leadership and that you are forward-thinking about your City, and its Employees, Teachers, Firefighters, Police, and residents not just the developers. There are plenty of developers that would take on this project even with certain guidelines you develop.
Either way, you will be judged by having done the right thing or wasting this opportunity.
My question to you is "Why Not?" set up a committee designed to explore options for development. What Is the downside to taking a break and seeing different options? Is there some kind of hurry or deadline we are not aware of to move this site forward? Bring in some experts that have been involved in other creative developments. If it doesn't pan out the options on the table now won't go away. Of that I'm quite sure.
Look at a Bond Measure that would allow the City to purchase part of the property and sell the above-ground improvements while retaining ownership of the land with long term leases, al a the Stanford model. Thus making homeownership affordable for those otherwise priced out. Create a lottery system to qualify. I'm not an expert these are just ideas, but others are.

My guess is the majority of residents in "Our City" would be willing to take a short pause to see what can be done with this huge opportunity.

The question to you is, where do each of you Stand? Make your positions Public.
I've given you plenty of reasons Why, if you don't agree to a pause, Give us some reasons Why Not?

Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 25, 2022 at 12:30 pm

PH is a registered user.

For the record, this project is a reprise of a similar project first considered by SRI in 2000. At that time, the City of Menlo Park *did* create a task force.

As I write this, I look at a city document entitled, "CITY OF MENLO PARK Public Meeting of the SRI Task Force March 13, 2000, General Information and Draft List of Issues."

The document has two parts. The first is the land use history of the site regarding approvals planning facts, and conditions that appear in the Conditional Development Permit ("CDP". The second is a list of issues.

The first two issues get right to the heart of the point.

1.) What is the best use of this land for the city?

2.) Should the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for the site be reduced from or exceed the 30% maximum FAR of the underlying C-1 (Administrative and Professional, Restrictive) zoning district. If so, by how much?

These issues are also interesting.

5.) Given that the number of workers and visitors is a concern for the project’s potential impacts, consider a maximum number of workers, visitors and/or issues related to the density of building space per worker. Regulations must be considered that provide protections from potential conversion of building space to a higher worker density

6.) Given that the number of trips to the site is a concern for the project’s potential impacts, consider a maximum number of allowable trips to and from the site ...

7.) Consider site and roadway designs intended to minimize or eliminate cut-through traffic in the adjacent neighborhoods ...

8.) Consider dedication of land adjacent to Ravenswood Avenue for future road widening. This may involve the relocation of the Gatehouse at the corner of Ravenswood Avenue and Laurel Avenue

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