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Sharon Heights Park housing discussions & vote

Original post made by Su, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Sep 10, 2012

While walking at SHP aka The Pond Park, I noticed flyers posted everywhere about meetings 9/10, /11 & /12 about the MP city council considering 2 acres of SHP property being used for housing. And a vote by 9/12.
Does anyone know anything about this? And why did I not read of this somewhere, before today?
This is a terrible idea as we have few parks as it is and there are heritage oaks in great condition on that spot. Would alter the beauty and use of this park.

Comments (3)

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Posted by realist
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Relax. The whining NIMBYs bombarded the city council and planning commissioner with emails insisting that the housing be placed anywhere else in Menlo Park. Squeaky wheel democracy.

Won't they be surprised when their housing values are affected too!

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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This is a disgusting proposal and reflects exactly the kind of thinking our inept City Council and City Staff produce.

The Sharon Heights neighborhood has almost always just voted for fast growth, development types of candidates (DuBoc, Winkler and now Keith and Ohtaki. Now they can begin to feel the pain of their votes.

Menlo Park with approval of large developments, like the Bohannon project and Facebook, will suffer plenty as room must be made to satisfy housing needs. None of this, which was clearly foreseen, made any difference to our Council of the last 4 to 6 years. Although members like Cohen, Fergusson and Cline, got elected into office on a slow growth agenda, once in office they just proceeded to let City Staff dictate policy; that policy for years as been "bring on the development --- development brings fees and revenue and revenue is what pays our wages.

Another of this council's disasters is the $1.5 million El Caminio / Downtown specific plan. A plan that the merchants hate, but which was approved anyway. A plan which bears no resemblance to what the public wanted and voted for in the "visioning" early on.

The current slate of candidates will not offer any resistance or change in the path Menlo Park is now proceeding. What is needed is a reversion to slow growth policies, policies that were enforced by council members like Paul Collacchi and Mary Jo Borak.

All very sad.

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Posted by Patti Fry
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

What is really out of whack is that the Housing Element is being considered standalone, not at the same time as the other Elements of the General Plan that address open space, circulation (traffic and transit) among other things. For a good plan to exist for Menlo Park, these things need to be considered at the same time. That would help our community understand how the Elements are intertwined and how changes to one Element affects the others. Above all, the community could decide what our future will look like. The current General Plan's limits and planning horizon are hopelessly outdated.

The other writers make great points. The push for a lot more housing in Menlo Park has been triggered by approvals of very large commercial projects such as Facebook and Menlo Gateway, neither of which added any housing but theoretically add jobs. It is that imbalance that triggers the push for more housing here. The El Camino plan actually worsens the jobs/housing imbalance even though it's very dense because it, too, is expected to add more jobs than housing. Those projects all required amendments to the General Plan, but the rest of the Elements were not addressed. It has been known for many years that the city was vulnerable to a lawsuit, and that's what happened.

It's high time to tackle the General Plan as a whole rather than continue to whack away at parts of it in isolation of the other parts.
Doing so could allow future development decisions to be based on our community's plan rather than on other organizations' visions and rather than on other organizations' standards of what is considered a negative impact to our community. We even could add an Element a number of other cities have - one that addresses Climate Change.

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