Town Square

'It would change my life.' New reports on Flood school apartments show need for staff housing

Original post made on Jul 15, 2022

The proposed workforce housing project at the former Flood School would create less
traffic than reopening a school of the same size, according to Menlo Park city staff.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 14, 2022, 11:07 AM


Posted by smallbusinessownerCZ
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 15, 2022 at 9:57 am

smallbusinessownerCZ is a registered user.

These words are what we should all honor "It would change my life." Let's help change the lives of teachers and school staff and build housing that can make a positive difference for employees who work in the school system and are dedicated to educating our youth! Let's do what we can to help get this housing built. Thank you Almanac for this headline - it's perfect!

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 15, 2022 at 3:56 pm

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

All the heart-string tugging in the word won't stop the homeowners of Menlo Park voting on the ballot measure requiring the voters to approve the rezoning required to plop this monster building on the old school site. Once that passes, it will likely be a number of election cycles until something more modest gets approved. All that time wasted by Mr Eger because he put all of his eggs in the City Council basket instead of working with the Menlo Park homeowners actually impacted.

If Mr. Eger truly wanted to help teachers he would redevelop that large piece of property his low-density office sits on, with all of those small builds spread apart like that. But then again, maybe he wouldn't like to work somewhere that dense.

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 15, 2022 at 4:04 pm

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

"It would change my life," is exactly what the families with small children who live along Hedge Road say. Those families with children and pets who will have to contend with all that increase in traffic.

Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 15, 2022 at 8:04 pm

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Will there be a follow up article by “Menlo Balance” on this subject?

I’m concerned about:

1) Traffic in the neighborhoods that surround Flood Park regarding completion?

2) Entry- Entrance points from the site? There is presently only one.

3) The School District has never disclosed a number of employees that would take the offer to rent there? Would the school district build single story residences, instead of apartments? What an incentive for school employees to have a residence in the area; affordable, and they own outright.

I’m assuming the school district’s incentive is monetary rather than in the interest in their employees. I sure hope I’m wrong on the school district’s incentive and motivation.

Posted by K. Dumont
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 18, 2022 at 4:30 pm

K. Dumont is a registered user.

Thank you for this informative article! It helps paint a fuller picture of the burden of our local housing crisis, not just on our public school employees, but on so many workers, students, and retirees.

When the median income in the county is $166,000 for a family of four and 85% of residential land in the Bay Area is allocated to single-family housing, it follows that a study would find affordable rental units to be severely lacking in our community.

I would love to see the Almanac shine a light on the origins of our current housing crisis, because we certainly didn't get to this point overnight. I know this because I grew up here, in a working-class family. I've witnessed so many friends, family, and coworkers move out of the area, but it was only recently that I became aware of the area's exclusionary residential zoning and redlining practices. Such policies created unequal access to housing and helped fuel today's affordable housing crisis. They have pushed–and continue to push–low and moderate income families to the margins, whether physically, financially, or both.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 19, 2022 at 1:39 am

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In my opinion the dramatic improvement in the lives of those who would live in these homes trumps the small inconvenience imposed on their surrounding neighbors.

How wonderful it would be if Suburban Park, a wonderful community in which I was fortunate to live for two years, welcomed these new neighbors as a beneficial addition to their neighborhood rather than treating them as second class citizens who inconvenience them.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 19, 2022 at 1:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why not extend the Food Park parking area to make it another access/egress point for these new home during the hours that the park is open - spread the load/share the sacrifice.

Posted by Frozen
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 19, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Frozen is a registered user.

Well, of course, everyone wants affordable housing within an easy commute of their work. I notice that the survey carefully avoided asking the real question: would you want to move your family of four to a tiny housing unit that's not within walking distance of anything?

These housing proposals also vastly underestimate the actual vehicle trips per day. Sure, those traffic estimates are valid -- if you've got only one person living in a unit, and that person never goes anywhere other than to a job. Trips to the grocery store, other shopping, recreational activities, doctor visits -- I guess the new residents won't be doing any of that. And, as any parent could tell you, kids are constantly on the go, traveling to sports practices and games, going to music lessons, getting a ride to the library or to a friend's house for a playdate.

Schools, conversely, have limited traffic: mostly during the week and during the school year. Claiming that schools generate more traffic doesn't pass the straight face test.

Clearly there are people who stand to make a lot of money off this development. The passion is real! But so are the concerns expressed by the neighbors. Let the residents decide in November.

Posted by East of Middlefield Road
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 20, 2022 at 10:04 am

East of Middlefield Road is a registered user.

Menlo Lifestyle. “ It would change my life” is exactly what the Flood Triangle says. Suburban Park stop trying to send the traffic to another neighborhood that already has “ cut through “ traffic that Suburban Park does not contend with daily.

Posted by Mary
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 21, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Mary is a registered user.

It is such a poor choice and makes no sense to put high density affordable apartments in the middle of an all single family home development like Sburban Park.
The current traffic study is flawed because it does not take into account that the majority of children that attended that school were bussed in and out on a school bus from Ravenswood School District. The neighbors complained about all the extra vehicles and Flood Park graciously opened their gates and allowed the buses and traffic to go in and out through Flood Park. Thus, reducing the number of vehicles into the Suburban Park neighborhood.
Suburban Park is not anti-affordable housing, or teacher housing. Why not put an appropriate amount of townhouses on the 2 1/2 acres? This would eliminate a lot of the issues circulating around. It would allow the Ravenswood School District to receive the revenue it’s looking for. It would help the residence of Suburban Park and surrounding areas to be more comfortable with the project. It would eliminate the need for a four-story 60 to 90 unit apartment building with parking for the people who live there. These high density apartments would be stuck smack in the middle of a residential area. This would also mean there would not have to be a zoning change. It would make it beneficial to the builder I’m sure.

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 27, 2022 at 8:59 am

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

East of Middlefield Road: Suburban Park isn't "pushing" that traffic solution, your Council Member Combs is pushing it, with the support of Ray Mueller. They were just happy as clams throwing y9our neighborhood under the bus as well. Fortunately, the initiative is on the ballot this fall and RCSD will have to put any solution to the voters in a coming election.

Posted by East of Middlefield Road
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 28, 2022 at 8:04 am

East of Middlefield Road is a registered user.

Menlo Lifestyle, Drew Combs and Ray Mueller are trying to meet the demands of Suburban Park residents. Many residents are insisting the former Flood School site have a second access. See post by Rob Silano above.
The council members did not come up with the “idea” to “ push” through Haven House.
To be clear I am not, as well as most residents, opposed to any housing. This project does not belong where it is proposed.

Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 28, 2022 at 8:58 am

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When driving/riding across our wonderful town it is amazing to see just how many single family neighborhoods also have sections of apartments in them and it seems like it all works out pretty harmoniously. As far as neighborhood design goes, having apartments mixed among SF makes the most sense. The ride down Roble is FILLED with driveways with multiple families using each. Wouldn't it make more sense to spread out multi-family dwellings everywhere? So that lots of income levels have access to the idyllic neighborhoods of our town? Especially given the clear racial segregation roots of our current zoning laws. Putting it to a vote every time is a way to negate the effect of district zoning on city council and silence those voices. We elect a council to do this work. Elections aren't free. if successful, it seems like this measure will also add to the cost of every new multi-family project - again, the desired effect is suppression of interspersed affordable housing in our town and maintenance of systems designed for segregation, even if that is not currently an active component. I hope our town shoots down this alternative power grab.

Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 28, 2022 at 9:28 am

Alan is a registered user.

I'm not sure about the exact number, but there's several thousand new apartments proposed for the area around Belle Haven. Somehow, this small project in Flood Park is getting a lot more attention - in an area that historically had a school, with all of its traffic. My sympathy level isn't very high.

Posted by private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Jul 30, 2022 at 2:08 am

private citizen is a registered user.

@Alan, Flood school is getting attention from BayRd./Dist 2 because it's not, by far, the only outsized project going into our string of three, small, single-family, small-lot neighborhoods. The development, as proposed, will stand 4-5 floors high w/ 90 units. Out-of-scale with the neighborhood. Suburban Park would like to off-load the traffic from the project onto Flood Triangle by opening a road at Haven House on Van Buren so they can keep their semi-private, single-entry neighborhood that has not seen outside traffic since Flood School closed in 2011. The Triangle has problems with unmitigated rush-hour, cut-through, speeding traffic and poor infrastructure.
And because the County just over-rode the statistical majority of feedback from a questionnaire about what people want in Flood Park, deciding instead to pander to a vocal minority of parents, mostly from nearby communities, with their own, beautiful parks and woods, who will pay for Flood to be 2/3rds sports fields and courts, including 2 new ful- size grass soccer fields, a refurbished grass baseball diamond, a full-size basketball court, two tennis courts that will also host 36 pickle ball players, a volleyball sand court, and a pump track. All this'll be built within 100 feet of the neighbor's backyards on Elmonte. The county has shoe-horned in so many amenities, that they cannot possibly all be used at once and there isn't sufficient parking to absorb the demand created.

Posted by Iris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 30, 2022 at 9:00 am

Iris is a registered user.

This initiative is not about Flood Park. It has implications for the future of our town and our neighborhoods.

I believe the housing shortage will never improve until non-residential development, especially of new offices, slows or even reverses.

The ConnectMenlo general plan update and downtown specific plan opened the floodgates to new non-residential development without requiring commensurate new housing, and developments since their adoption have worsened the housing shortage by adding more workers than homes. This has been happening in other nearby cities, too.

Our town council has not acted to remedy our town's part of this problem by modifying non-residential building rules to achieve a healthy balance. Such as converting non-residential to mixed use or all-residential, and limiting non-residential growth. Instead, they seem to be targeting residential neighborhoods as the solution.

Maybe if this initiative passes, the council will look harder at non-residential sites rather than residential sites to address the housing shortage.