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Original post made
on Mar 27, 2013
Since, under the terms of the TOT ordinance passed by the voters, the city will receive the TOT regardless of what else happens the no cost rent of Garwood Way is clearly a gift of public property and as such is prohibited by the California Constitution.
Also I now expect any other hotel in Menlo Park which pays more than $700k in TOT to seek a rebate from the city for the fair market value of the rent for Garwood Way.
All in all a very bad decision.
Congrats, MP. Another bad choice. All for the anticipated transient occupancy tax. The precedent here will cause problems which may cost money later on & the traffic impact will make a bad situation worse.
Now, please, can all the rest of MP have dedicated street parking? What about overnight street parking between 2-6 am?
Here's the 1st project approved under the Specific Plan, and already the city is making deals with developers and ignoring the rules it set up. The onsite parking rules have been thrown out and a bad example about parking has been established for future projects.
The concept of Public Benefit has been turned on end, with the city granting not only bonus square feet because of the hoped-for hotel TOT, and the city also is allowing that same TOT to take the place of rent for on-street public parking. Garwood Way is not a city parking lot; it is a city street likely to to needed and used by the public when other adjacent projects are developed.
If the city wants to negotiate deals for projects on larger properties, it should change the Specific Plan so that is required for every single one of them.
I hope that some MP citizen sues for violation of the California Constitution:
"SEC. 6. The Legislature shall have no power to give or to lend, or
to authorize the giving or lending, of the credit of the State, or of
any county, city and county, city, township or other political
corporation or subdivision of the State now existing, or that may be
hereafter established, in aid of or to any person, association, or
corporation, whether municipal or otherwise, or to pledge the credit
thereof, in any manner whatever, for the payment of the liabilities
of any individual, association, municipal or other corporation
whatever; nor shall it have power to make any gift or authorize the
making of any gift, of any public money or thing of value to any
individual, municipal or other corporation whatever...."
It interesting how your biases affect your arguments. Stanford can do now wrong with a massive project at 500 El Camino, but put a project close to the Atherton border, and it's the end of the world that the City licenses parking spaces...
The Stanford project conforms with the Specific Plan and the California Constitution - the Glenwood project does neither.
Tortured logic from a biased judge.
Too close - do you care/dare to tell us who you are and what are your economic interests, or is that too secret?
Tortured logic - please explain.
1 - The Stanford project conforms with the Specific Plan and the California Constitution
2 - the Glenwood project does neither.
Where is the torture except perhaps in your mind?
Your argument displays the extent of your biases Peter.
Stanford hasn't submitted a project for 500 El Camino yet. But in your mind Peter, it already conforms to the Specific Plan.
"Stanford hasn't submitted a project for 500 El Camino yet."
That is very strange and uninformed comment since that was the Stanford project as submitted was the subject of the Jan 28 Planing Commission meeting
"Study Session/Architectural Control and Environmental Review/300-550 El Camino
Real/Stanford University: Request for architectural control and environmental review for a new
mixed-use office, residential, and retail development on a 8.43-acre site in the SP-ECR/D (El
Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan) zoning district."
Too close - are you in denial? Do you care/dare to tell us who you are and what are your economic interests, or is that too secret?
It surprising you don't know that study sessions occur prior to projects being officially submitted, so the applicant can discuss with the Planning Commission what should preferably be included in their official project submission.
The 500 El Camino project has not been submitted yet.
This conversation has gotten boring.
"This conversation has gotten boring."
I agree - you have brought nothing to the discussion except your unwillingness to step out of the shadows. Do you work for Marriott?
Yet another thread that one poster feels the need to dominate. Even if I am on his side in this situation. Horrible decision, no doubt pushed on the council by certain city staff members. The council needs to stand up to the staff, and, if necessary, replace a few of them, including some of the longest-tenured members.
Too close is right: there is no official Stanford plan. It's pretty well understood by everyone who is following this situation. If there were a formal plan, the discussion would be very different.
El Camino badly needs a transformation. But our city staff cannot be so desperate that they give everyone carte blanche. That's not progress, that's self-immolation.
[Post removed. Please comment on topic, not other posters.]
"Too close is right: there is no official Stanford plan. It's pretty well understood by everyone who is following this situation. If there were a formal plan, the discussion would be very different."
Please explain what the Planning Commission spent 3 hours discussing on Jan 28. The discussion and PUBLIC comments were very specific - where those based on an imagined proposal? The meeting adjourned at 12:05 a.m. (Tuesday, January 29, 2013)
It is very helpful to bring documented facts to any Forum discussion.
No Peter. That was a study session. Not a discussion about a formal plan. If one has been submitted, it's being handled under wraps (which would not be the first time!)
I can't give you "documented facts" about something that doesn't exist!
Stanford University is proposing to redevelop the six properties currently addressed
300-550 El Camino Real, which is an 8.43-acre site that is part of the El Camino
Real/Downtown Specific Plan area. The project parcels are part of the Specific Plan's
"ECR SE" zoning district and "El Camino Real Mixed Use" land use designation. The
existing buildings (current and former auto dealerships) and site features would be
replaced with a new mixed-use development consisting of offices, housing, and retail.
The January 28, 2013 study session will provide an opportunity for the Planning
Commission and the public to become more familiar with the proposal and to identify
preliminary questions and areas of interest, to inform future meeting(s)."
"The applicant is proposing to demolish the existing structures and site improvements,
and construct a new mixed-use development consisting of office (including a portion
that could be used for either medical/dental or business/professional office), multi-family
residential, and retail."
"Stanford University is proposing ..."
"The applicant is proposing..."
While the final project submission has not been made, out of deference for dialogue with the city and the public, if walks like a duck, talks like a duck - sure sounds like the staff and the Planning Commission consider this a PROPOSAL.
Sounds as though you agree with us, Peter. No project has been submitted. Huge difference between "we would like to build an office" and "here are our architectural/engineering plans."
Getting back on this topic - Does anybody care that the council has given away 1-2 acres of prime Menlo Park land in return for nothing?
By voter approved ordinance the TOT must be paid at its full rate and cannot be offset by a gift from the city.
What will the city say to the next developer that wants a gift of public land?
What will the city say to the next developer who does not want to provide the number of parking spaces required by the Specific Plan?
[Post removed. The topic is Glenwood. Please discuss the topic, not other posters.]
I'll comment on the topic in a minute, but first.... From the web page of the City of Menlo Park, under the Community Development Projects tab which is where the Planning Department lists all of the PENDING PROJECTS, the first PROJECT listed is 500 El Camino Real PROJECT. Other projects listed include 555 Glenwood and Facebook among other PROJECTS. 500 El Camino is a PROJECT. To the previous poster who said study sessions are done before projects become projects, totally wrong. When an applicant submits a proposed project, City Staff review the application for completeness and require any adds/edits prior to accepting the application as "complete". THat acceptances starts a time clock by which the applicant has a right to have its project presented for approval. Such acceptance defines the application as a proposed project, and then study sessions are scheduled if deemed necessary or appropriate by Staff;.
Now, on topic, Menlo Park ignored the law and let its Housing Element lapse-twice. It got sued and had to settle to avoid even worse consequences. It has now ignored the law and granted a public asset as a benefit to a private party. The <2% of the population who have jumped on the Save Menlo train and want to void the zoning law in place under the DTSP for the Stanford site want the City to ignore the law and deprive the land owner of their rights. Two more potential law suits that MP would surely lose or have to settle. What MP leadership needs to do has nothing to do with bowing to developers desires or not, they need to accept the fact that they are not above the law and obey it; whether or not the vocal 2 percenters think they are above the law and regardless of whether or not obeying the law puts money in the coffers or keeps cars off the roads. Right is Right.
On last comment- Peter is a "watchdog"(a pain in the a_ _ to some). If he has a bias, it is toward insisting that laws and rules are followed. Personally, I wish there were more people like him and I am humbled that I personally don't have the b---s to be one.
What makes PC more of a "watchdog" than the other vocal 2 percent? If you can discount them, why not discount him?
"What makes PC more of a "watchdog" than the other vocal 2 percent"
Facts and a intimate knowledge of local and state laws.
Opinions are important but opinions are just that;facts and the laws are what should control public actions.
Getting rid of senior housing is always a bad thing to do because we don't have enough of it and elderly people have much more trouble than most of us finding another place to live. This was a bad decision.
The Planning Commission made a recommendation to the City Council. It was a clear, fair recommendation that all parties seemed to accept as a compromise.
For reasons unknown to any of us, our city attorney took it upon himself to meet privately with Marriott and to "negotiate" a much more generous arrangement.
Why did this happen? Who really makes decisions for this city? Why are so many important decisions being made in secret, a clear negation of the public process?
Members of the council, no doubt pressured by the attorney to accept the negotiation, rubberstamped it. No one pointed out that the process had been hijacked. Scary stuff.
Normally I try to avoid responding to totally off the mark comments, but since you were responding to a term I introduced I owe you my definition of the term. My definition of the term "watchdog" is someone who is passionate about insuring individuals charged with carrying out the public's business do so in accordance with established law. The "vocal 2 percent" I referred to are those that want their will be done regardless of the law or of the simple rule of majority. Hope that cleared up the difference for you
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