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Menlo Park: To sign or not to sign, that is the question

Original post made on Mar 25, 2014

As Menlo Park waits for a consultant to analyze an initiative to downsize the city's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, the group backing the measure is busy collecting the signatures needed to get it on the November ballot. The timing leaves residents facing a quandary: Should they sign now? Never? Wait and see?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 8:27 AM

Comments (102)

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

Who really is Save Menlo?

There are have been many comments accusing MP staff, elected officials, Stanford, developers, etc. of making back room deals.

Who put Save Menlo's initiative together?

Did they provide an opportunity for public input into their process?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the group has decided not to provide a tally of its progress."

Save Menlo is the most secretive group in town - why?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

"Who really is Save Menlo?"

As far as I've seen and been able to determine, no one knows except them.

"Who put Save Menlo's initiative together?

Good question and they're not telling.

"Did they provide an opportunity for public input into their process?"

No. None.


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I am Save Menlo. My spouse is Save Menlo. My across-the-street neighbors are Save Menlo. My across-town friends are Save Menlo. What kind of people are we? We are Menlo Park home owners who stand to suffer from the gross over-development of our town. We also stand to suffer from the gross over-development of Palo Alto, Stanford, Redwood City, Mountain View, and other cities on the Peninsula. How will we suffer? More people sharing limited resources of land, water, parking spaces, space on the roadways, public schools, private schools, preschools, recreational facilities, restaurant tables, public services like police and fire, need I go on? We are already full way beyond ideal occupancy. Some development and improvement on existing development is fine (example the new Safeway shopping center) but growth to satisfy ABAG, growth to satisfy the greed of a few, and growth to turn Menlo Park into a San Francisco-dense town, are NOT what *I* want. We do NOT need more people in the finite space of our town. We do not need more people living here. We do not need more people commuting here to work. I am Save Menlo.


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Posted by let the residents decide
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Anyone can attend Save Menlo meetings. I have been to one of their events. The same cannot be said of the private, secret negotiations that the city held with Stanford to finalize the wording of the specific plan. For all the outreach the city did, the document that resulted was hugely biased in favor of one and only one property owner. Not a surprise considering that Stanford's consultant wrote it.

The initiative does not change the specific plan. It sets limits and clarifies the wording. Why should we residents give our city away to Stanford? Development should benefit residents, not just one big property owner.

With the initiative on the ballot, the residents get to decide. Maybe PC and MV can explain their problems with democracy?


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

But roughly how many people are actually members of Save Menlo?

It feels like a vocal minority attempting to impose its will on the majority

If Save Menlo were in the majority, or represented a view held by the majority of MP, wouldn't the elected representatives already be advocating for the position taken in the initiative?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the private, secret negotiations that the city held with Stanford to finalize the wording of the specific plan. "

Please document this often repeated but never verified assertion.

" Maybe PC and MV can explain their problems with democracy?" - I am a great support of democracy and for that reason wonder why Save Menlo has so attacked the open and lengthy democratic process which yielded the Specific Plan and instead has proposed an initiative written in secret and without any opportunity for public review and comment - just
'take it or leave it"?

Save Menlo refuses to answer any questions and says that the council must meets its demands or suffer the consequences - not very democratic.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I hope that Save Menlo will take a deep breath and reflect on all of the things which could be along MP's border besides a world class university with a spectacular, open campus and many resources/opportunities accessible to all.

And funds to invest in neighboring communities.


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Posted by Allied Arts Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Mr. Riggs: You say "the initiative will be voted on by a few people 'who care a lot, and may or may not understand it as well as they think, and many people who don't much know or care. What a dumb way to write law governing our town for 30 years.'"
Arent' these the same people, and same process, that was used to elect you to the planning commission? Are you calling your constituents "dumb?"


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

"Observer", what is your interest in Save Menlo? And why are you campaigning for overdevelopment in Menlo Park from your perch in Portola Valley, which is famous for it's no-growth approach?


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Posted by Allied Arts Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm

To "Observer" and "Menlo Voter" -- there is a public website (which takes Google all of .05 seconds to find) for Save Menlo. If you want to know who is leading it, it is one click away ... Web Link .
They have been very out in the open, and have publicized their meetings. Our elected officials represent the large donors (most often businesses and developers) who contribute to their campaigns.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Again with the "secret meetings" Do any of you have any proof that such meetings took place? Didn't think so.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Allied:

I looked at your link. So we know two whole people that are involved in Save Menlo. Doesn't sound like much of a ground swell of support.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Let the residents decide:

I have no problem with democracy. I have a problem with a small vocal minority trying to hijack the democratic process for their own narrow interests. The DSP was developed through a years long, public, democratic process. A representative democratic process, which is the system we have. What Save Menlo is proposing is direct democracy and it doesn't work very well which I suspect Save Menlo well knows. They know that if the initiative passes any change will have to be voted on. This will assure virtually no change to what they are proposing which is exactly what they want. NO CHANGE and no growth.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Are the folks behind Save Menlo the same ones who were behind the lawsuit MP brought to try to stop Stanford from using its own money to widen Sand Hill Road from one lane to two at its choke point approaching Santa Cruz/Alpine years ago?

A multi-year expenditure of MP tax payer money, including an unsuccessful appeal, which accomplished nothing except delay (and perpetuated the diversion of traffic into West MP neighborhoods).


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:40 pm

"Observer", be careful about lumping the supporters of Save Menlo into one unified group-think. I personally support Save Menlo, am against overdeveloping already too-dense Menlo Park, but was absolutely IN SUPPORT of widening Sand Hill. Again, what is your interest in Menlo Park, being you live in Portola Valley? See my post earlier today asking you this same question. You're off topic with the diversion of the widening of Sand Hill - that already took place, thankfully. But if we overdevelop Menlo Park, even the widened Sand Hill will again become a choke point with too much traffic stuffed onto it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Enough - there are many of us who do not live in Menlo Park but who both spend a lot of time and a lot of money in Menlo Park and who wish to see Menlo Park remain a vibrant, dynamic community.

Think carefully about Menlo Park would be without Stanford, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside as your neighbors and economic supporters.


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Posted by let the residents decide
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm

It's a logical error to equate the leaders of Save Menlo -- most of whom are new to city politics -- with the leaders of a group you don't like, and therefore condemn Save Menlo because they remind you of that other unrelated group! Says more about you than about Save Menlo!

If the city council members are so biased against the initiative, then the city should save the $150k it's planning to spend on a consultant. I am actually shocked that a couple of elected officials agreed to be quoted for this article. It speaks to their lack of integrity and hints at corruption.


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Peter, I don't appreciate you advocating for overdevelopment in my town. We are "vibrant" enough, and in fact quite over-vibrant and heading for worse. I applaud Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for not caving in to developers and ABAG, and for not allowing their towns to become too dense with over-development. I condemn Palo Alto, Redwood City, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale for allowing gross over-development. And Stanford is a neat place, but they are fouling their own nest with over-development, and the spillover is fouling my nest.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

"Enough" - Peter said it well. Our communities are interrelated in many ways. And if someone has a valid point or comment, it should not matter where he/she happens to reside.

Your point that not everyone thinks the same way on every issue is a fair one.

I am anti-initiative (both because it is not typically the best way to formulate sound, long-lasting policies)and because I feel that this particular one is not well-conceived; it seems rather selfish and counter-productive. But this does not mean I am "pro-growth" (however that might be defined).

Nevertheless, some sensible sprucing up/upgrading along ECR in MP is certainly long overdue. We cannot continue to do nothing (or make it so hard to move forward that "nothing" is the de facto result).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am actually shocked that a couple of elected officials agreed to be quoted for this article. It speaks to their lack of integrity and hints at corruption."

Once again the anonymous charges against elected officials without any basis in law or fact.

"Peter, I don't appreciate you advocating for overdevelopment in my town" First, I am not advocating overdevelopment but rather the carefully discussed and thought through development that is specified in the Specific Plan.
Second, I actually don't care what you think about my advocacy.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

"Let the residents decide"

It is not "logical error" to ask a question, as I have several times now without any substantive response: Who is Save Menlo? (Beyond the two names listed on its website). If "they" had nothing to do with the Sand Hill Road issue years ago, it is a simple matter for "them" to say so.

And "Enough" I can assure you that I am not for "overdevelopment" as you have accused.

But more to the point, what is your (or Save Menlo's) proposal to positively, productively address the situation with the long row of vacant car dealership buildings and parking areas along ECR in MP?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"But more to the point, what is your (or Save Menlo's) proposal to positively, productively address the situation with the long row of vacant car dealership buildings and parking areas along ECR in MP? "

Save Menlo doesn't want anything there. One of them a number of months back suggested it should be a park. Of course they don't want their tax dollars used to pay Stanford for the property. Bottom line is they don't want ANY development.


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Posted by SCB
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 12:05 am

SCB is a registered user.

It is inappropriate for you Menlo Park residents to dictate what Stanford can do with THEIR land. I think that Save Menlo is wrong to try to dictate to Stanford what they can and should be able to do. Just because you need to travel through or live by that area shouldn't give you a right to dictate to Stanford University, who owned that land long before you lived there, what they can do with THEIR land. Population growth happens everywhere, so get used to it or leave. I think "Save Menlo" is what needs to leave the area; they are just trying to stop each separate car from traveling on El Camino Real. They don't own the street, and I approve of Stanford University's ORIGINAL PLAN so they can open as many doctors offices as they want, along with everything else they wanted to do. How rude of you to try to dictate what Stanford can and should do. Just get out of here!


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Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

Many of the Savemenlo folks are homeowners who for the first time are involved in a grassroots campaign. Like many of the posters on this blog, they have never filed an initiative or a referendum nor have they studied land use documents, such as the city's Specific Plan. They do, however, have an attorney who has advised them that an initiative must include the full description of the changes that will be made in the Plan. 12 pages is as brief a description as legally possible.

The simplicity of the Initiative's content does not require distortion. I hope my posting clarifies what the Initiative, if approved by the voters, would do in modifying the Specific Plan:

It eliminates the counting of private balconies as required open space.
It limits the amount of office space in any single development to 100,000 square feet.
It limits within the Specific Plan area total office development to 240,820 square feet and total non-residential commercial development, such as retail, hotels, health clubs and including office to 474,000 square feet. These were the amounts analyzed by the Final Environmental Impact Report as the likely buildout during the 30-year life of the Plan.
None of the above revisions could be changed without voter approval.

We know that in just the first 2 years of the Specific Plan, the first two project submissions from Stanford and Greenheart will consume 170% of the office space and about 93% of the total non-residential development that was analyzed. SaveMenlo's modest measure seeks to correct this imbalance, preserve opportunities for other smaller developers well into the future, provide certainty for residents and encourage a diversity of uses consistent with the goals of the Specific Plan that were expressed by Menlo Park's residents during the 5-year planning process.

Steve Schmidt







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Posted by Matt
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:12 am

What makes Menlo Park worth saving?


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Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:55 am

Let's get back to the original question: to sign or not to sign the initiative petition. In my view, any public planning process, particularly one as extensive as was involved in the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan, is likely to result in some unintended consequences. For example, most participants in the public review of the Plan, while agreeing with the Plan's "overall intent … to preserve and enhance community life, character and vitality through public space improvements, mixed use infill projects sensitive to the small-town character of Menlo Park and improved connectivity", probably didn't expect that the first two proposed developments falling under Plan review would result in over 400,000 square feet of new office space along El Camino Real. (For comparison, the University Circle development at US101 and University Avenue in East Palo Alto includes about 450,000 square feet of office space.) Such a result clearly wouldn't have been expected by anyone participating in the process, given that even the Environmental Impact Report for the Plan only considered 240,000 square feet of new office space for the Plan's entire 30-year lifetime.

The Menlo Park City Council had an opportunity to address this problem in its review of the Plan last fall but chose to do nothing about it. Although I am not normally a fan of the initiative process, I think it makes sense in a situation like this, where our elected officials have failed to correct an obvious mistake in a recently-approved planning instrument. Indeed, I suspect that many of the same people now complaining about the SaveMenlo initiative were backers of the Pension Reform initiative several years ago that put Measure L on the ballot. Wasn't that also a case where a small group of residents felt that the City Council had failed to act on a problem that the group considered important enough to do something about? (By the way, section 3 of the ordinance adopted as a result of the approval of Measure L included the following section: "The City may modify the limitations imposed by this Act only upon approval by a majority of voters in a regularly scheduled election." Would it be hypocritical for anyone who supported Measure L to complain now about a similar clause in the SaveMenlo initiative that requires voter approval for future modifications? Just asking.)

I urge anyone who has concerns about signing the initiative to take a look at the SaveMenlo web site: www.savemenlo.org (or see Steve Schmidt's recent post above). If you're still not sure about the initiative, read Patty Fry's spot-on response to the Almanac editorial here: www.almanacnews.com/print/story/2014/03/12/editorial-initiative-would-shrink-menlo-projects. Patty's response addresses much of the disinformation that has been put forth by opponents of the initiative, who seem intent primarily on sowing confusion and fear. The initiative is a modest attempt to align development in a way that will provide a more appropriate and sustainable ratio of jobs to housing in Menlo Park. As Patty points out: "the initiative does not shrink or alter the total development any particular project can build under the Plan. It does not change the allowable height. It does not change the amount of retail, restaurants or other non-office uses that would make up the rest of the Plan's Maximum Buildout of non-residential development. It does not change the Plan's Maximum Buildout of housing units. It [updates] Plan definitions to make it clear how office and open space would be counted after the initiative is adopted."

I personally would like to see a truly vibrant, walkable, bikable, community-oriented, and sustainable downtown Menlo Park. That means a lot more transit-oriented residential development, where residents don't necessarily need to own or use cars. That means a lot more mixed-use retail/residential development, where small businesses can be successful by providing goods and services to their neighbors, not just to commuters or other customers who need to drive to Menlo Park from elsewhere and park. That doesn't mean huge new office buildings, where workers commute by car to massive underground parking garages and disappear from Menlo Park at the end of the day and on weekends. If you think office buildings bring vitality to an area, try spending an evening at University Circle in East Palo Alto. If you're not doing something at the Four Seasons hotel, you'll have a pretty boring and lonely night.

Finally, does anyone else find it ironic that this thread was started by someone known only as "Observer", who suggests that the SaveMenlo group is somehow hiding something? What about "Menlo Voter"? No one knows who you are, except you. I may not agree with some of SaveMenlo's tactics, nor do I agree with everything the group has previously said, but at least they have a web site, and I also know some of them personally as neighbors. That's more than I can say about most of the people posting comments on this forum.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Mr. Roise makes some fair and respectful points. Unfortunately, there is a history in MP of a certain faction whose persistent strategy has been to use the guise of "sensible limitation," to cloak their real goal of dissuading and obstructing any development whatsoever.

Mr. Schmidt's summary above makes it clear that the initiative is all about "limits" and "eliminations" and what they don't want done; it includes nothing about what can or should be done.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm

The people that need to know or I want to know, know who I am. Also, I am a consistent contributor this forum and always post under the same moniker. So, you can take that for what it's worth.

The problem with Save Menlo being virtually anonymous is that there is no way to know who or why they are actually pushing this initiative. An initiative that, unlike what Mr. Schmidt would like us to believe, makes changes that are not simple. If the initiative passes no changes can be made, no matter how simple or how necessary in the future without an election. That is decidedly not the way to handle planning and zoning decisions. At least if you want anyone to actually build something in this town. Not having anything built, from what anyone can tell, is the actual motive of Save Menlo.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm

And Mr. Schmidt's summary of the initiative above suggests that there is at least some overlap between "Save Menlo" and the MP faction behind the unsuccessful lawsuit against Stanford aimed at obstructing the widening of the choke point on Sand Hill Road. (See the Almanac summary/timeline below).

Perhaps Mr. Schmidt -- as a member of the City Counsel supporting the Sand Hill Road lawsuit against Stanford -- would be willing to disclose how much MP taxpayer money was spent on that ill-fated effort? We know that Save Menlo's initiative has already cost MP taxpayers at least $150K.


Publication Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Sand Hill Road chronology

Why does the Sand Hill Road dead-end into the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot?

It was a common question, and one that Stanford University officials attempted to address during the past 30 years with several building project proposals that all included extending Sand Hill Road to El Camino Real, but none met with success. The Sand Hill corridor projects had a long and expensive battle before finally winning Palo Alto's approval.

A brief history of the project:

** 1992. Stanford University publicly introduces a new proposal for widening Sand Hill Road and connecting it with El Camino Real, building hundreds of apartment units on the site known as Ohlone Field, building a senior housing complex and expanding the Stanford Shopping Center with new retail buildings and parking garages.

** November 1996. Menlo Park City Council candidates Paul Collacchi and Chuck Kinney, along with incumbent Steve Schmidt, win seats, shifting the council majority to one that is opposed to widening Menlo Park's quarter-mile stretch of Sand Hill Road, as well as other aspects of the Stanford project.

** July 1997. The Palo Alto City Council gives final approval to a slightly modified version of the Sand Hill corridor projects and certifies the environmental impact report.

** July 1997. A divided Menlo Park City Council votes to file suit against Palo Alto over the Sand Hill Road projects, arguing that the environmental analysis, particularly regarding traffic, is inadequate.

** November 1997. Palo Alto voters signal their approval of Stanford's Sand Hill Road projects on two ballot measures.

** September 1998. A trial court judge rejects Menlo Park's lawsuit. A subsequent appeal is rejected by California's Sixth District Court of Appeal in December 1999. Council members reiterate that they will not approve expanding the city's short section of Sand Hill Road from two lanes to four lanes.

** February 1999. Construction work begins on the first phase of the projects. In November, Sand Hill Road is connected with El Camino Real.

Web Link


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Posted by let the residents decide
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I find it interesting that some of you are obsessed with the identity of posters and "who is behind Save Menlo." If you want to attend Save Menlo meetings, then email them and ask to be added to the list! Unlike the Stanford-MP private negotiations, nothing is secret. And this initiative is about what is best for the city, not about individuals who are trying to claim as much space on this forum as possible.

David Roise frames the concerns very well. Most MP residents and neighbors still think that El Camino is going to be developed according to the pictures and articles that were published everywhere. ie: a scaled down Santana Row. Never, in any public forum, did a resident or commissioner or council member say: "I'd love to see a 60-foot tall office building with hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space on El Camino." That's not vitality. That's not serving the community. That's just traffic and pollution and net revenue loss.

To the poster who thinks that Stanford should be allowed to do whatever it wants with its property. Well, yeah, that's one school of thought. But surely you wouldn't want to extend that privilege only to the richest landowners, and we should all be allowed to build whatever we want on our propert. Alas, there is zoning, and without zoning this would be a much less desirable place to live.

The residents spoke eloquently and often during the public process and asked for retail, housing, maybe a hotel. Now the residents will have a chance to vote for the development that we prefer.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

let:

you keep repeating the story of "secret negotiations." Please provide proof or stop making the accusation. You smear honest people with your constant statement that something underhanded occurred involving city officials and Stanford. It didn't happen. The DSP process was quite transparent and public as opposed to the creation of the initiative and the people behind it.

As you point out, there is zoning. The zoning for the Stanford property allows exactly what they have proposed. So what you're suggesting is that zoning is ok as long as it coincides with what you think is right as opposed to the majority or those who were elected to represent us.


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Posted by let the residents decide
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Tinfoil hats getting a little itchy?


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

To: let the residents decide

Re:
"To the poster who thinks that Stanford should be allowed to do whatever it wants with its property. Well, yeah, that's one school of thought. But surely you wouldn't want to extend that privilege only to the richest landowners, and we should all be allowed to build whatever we want on our propert. Alas, there is zoning..."

Excellent point. Yes. Equal application of the law to all should be the criteria.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm

To: Menlo Voter
Re: "The zoning for the Stanford property allows exactly what they have proposed"

Is this true?

Listen, I'm getting so confused I don't know what side I'm on anymore.

I WILL say that good observations have been made, both sides.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

To: Menlo Voter and anyone interested
Re: "secret negotiations"

This is the explanation that was posted re secret negotiations. I guess that is what is being referenced.


Posted by The Deal, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 24, 2014 at 8:30 am
The deal that appeared to be secret that "Fed Up" is referring to is when Keith and Carlton met privately with Stanford numerous times without the residents, while serving on the sub-committee. Stanford agreed to reduce medical use and to contribute money towards the bike tunnel. Then, Keith and Carlton brought that compromise to the city council and ended their sub-committee. I appreciate that "Fed Up" used the word "appears" in their sentence because it appears to me that even though the deal was negotiated in private without the residents, the sub-committee was doing its job.
Report Objectionable Content


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

And, to be clear, the post, in explanation, was a reply to my post, here:


Posted by Julie, a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2014 at 5:12 am
Re: Menlo Voter's Inquiry To Fed Up

Re:"what actual evidence do you have that Keith or Carlton negotiated a "secret deal" with Stanford? Please bring it forward. "

Menlo Voter's question is a fair question. And people/readers should be asking it.

If it is true... then it should be brought to the attention of the public....and there should be some guarantees that future dealings be open and a matter of public record.

If, on the other hand, it is NOT true...then the assertion that this happened, when in fact it did not, is verging on slander.

"Stanford" is often referred to as an entity, as was the reference in Fed Up's post. Which Boards or people at Stanford are we talking about in these accused secret dealings? Who's accountable?

Regarding the statement in Fed Up's post, is it the same thing to say: "...APPEAR to have negotiated a secret deal" or..."HAVE negotiated a secret deal"? I would say that the implications are very close.

I agree with Fed Up's statements about Mayor Meuller.

Menlo Voter has asked some very important questions about a serious issue: what is true?

When it regards events that will affect many people...and the public's assumptions are that the decisions made have been arrived at by people (Councils) who have the individual and collective authority to do so...and are acting in a representative capacity...then that's what we should be able to trust as true.
Report Objectionable Content


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Posted by Jared
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

To Enough: inconvenience is not 'suffering'. Those in poverty suffer. What you want may not be what the majority wants or agrees with. Look at the results of Menlo Gateway.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"Tinfoil hats getting a little itchy?"

You tell us. You're the one that keeps saying there's some kind of nefarious conspiracy going on or went on in regards to the DSP.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Julie:

Yes, Stanford's plans comply with the allowed zoning. That's why Save Menlo started this initiative. They hate the fact they slept through the DSP process when the planning commission and the council approved zoning in that area that allows what Stanford has proposed. Or they simply don't like the decision because it's not what THEY want. God knows no one's more important than them and their narrow interests.

The really funny thing is that they keep saying they don't want Stanford's project because of traffic. Here's the thing, the traffic study they DEMANDED shot down their concern. Yet they still continue harping on it though it is not factual. They keep saying they want "retail and residential and maybe a hotel." Here's the interesting thing about those uses: overall, those uses generate MORE traffic than office space. So, one has to question what Save Menlo truly wants since they can't have it both ways. The logical conclusion is they want NOTHING to be built.

If they manage to get this thing to the ballot and by some strange twist of fate manage to get it passed all I can say is enjoy the view. We'll be looking at vacant car lots for a long time to come.


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Posted by minority
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Julie, the purpose of a subcommittee is to meet with various groups and report back to council. As long as only a minority of council members are on the subcommittee, the meetings do not need to be noticed. Additional council members can join any of these meetings as long as the meetings are properly noticed. If there was a "secret deal", you would not know about it, because it would be secret. For the sake of argument, we can just say there was a deal. If this deal was to reduce office space and remove medical offices, then that sounds like a great deal for the city, especially for people that are worried about increased traffic.


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Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm

To conclude Observer's chronology of Sand Hill Road events:
January 2002 - I initiated discussions with Stanford to rebuild the Sand Hill/Santa Cruz intersection and lift the $10M cap on Stanford's contribution to the cost of the project.
October 2002 - On a 3-2 vote with Jellins, Kinney and Schmidt in the majority, the Menlo Park Council approved the Sand Hill agreement with Stanford to rebuild the Alpine/Sand Hill/Santa Cruz Intersection including widening the bridge over San Francisquito Creek and making Sand Hill from the Creek to the intersection 4 lanes.
Two years later, the project was completed at a cost of ~$14M. By waiting and litigating the City saved over $3M. The cost of all the litigation may have approached $200K. I don't recall the exact figure.
There were elections in 1996, 1998 and 2000 that affirmed the Menlo Park electorate's opposition to widening Sand Hill Road. By January 2002, we had exhausted all options for doing anything but finishing what Palo Alto and Stanford had started.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I will repost my concerns regarding the petition.

A - Process
1 - The petition was created in secret
2 - Without any opportunity for public review
3 - And hence without the opportunity to improve/clarify the initiative to reflect the concerns of those outside the small group that wrote it.
4 - Once the first signature is gathered the language cannot be changed without starting the entire filing process again.
5 - No effort has been or seems to be planned to ensure that potential signers of the petition have even read it.

B - Substance
1 - The initiative is lengthy and covers a number of different issues
2 - Therefore the opportunity for mistakes and conflict are significant
3 - The initiative is a 'forever' document which will, as intended, preclude some changes to the Specific Plan without another vote and will also, as an untended consequence, make it difficult to make any changes to the Specific Plan, particularly given the Priority Clause:
"PRIORITY.
5.1. After this measure becomes effective, its provision shall prevail over and
supersede all provisions of the municipal code, ordinances, resolutions,
and administrative policies of the City of Menlo Park which are inferior to
the Planning Policy Documents and in conflict with any provisions of this
measure."
4 - Some of the language, as noted, does not and cannot accommodate changes in commerce such as banking and medical offices.
5- The initiative would force individuals with adjacent parcels to develop them separately thereby precluding integrated design and shared amenities.

C - Impact
1 - The initiative, even if not passed, will signal to any interested party that Menlo Park's planning process and established rules cannot be relied upon and they will make their investments elsewhere.
2 - The initiative, even if not passed, will delay moving forward with the Specific Plan.
3 - The initiative, even if not passed, will send a chilling message to the Planning Commissioners, the City Council and the planning staff that their efforts to have an open and inclusive process can be thwarted by a small group of disgruntled citizens.

I am sure that others can add concerns that I have overlooked.

My concern is that each of the petition signers actually read the entire proposed initiative before they sign their names. Typically the signature sheet only includes the title of the proposed ballot measure. Hopefully all the parties involved will work collaboratively to make sure that each prospective signer is fully informed as to the contents of the proposed initiative.

The irony is that Save Menlo is proposing an initiative whose language has never been presented for public comment and which they want to be binding over all other city ordinances for thirty years. No public discussion, no opportunity for revisions or corrections - just take it or leave it. Correcting even a single error in the initiative ( and a 12 page document produced in secret without public input and review is likely to have a number of both errors and policy misstatements) would require another expensive ballot measure:
"the voter adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."

Save Menlo wants to substitute their judgement and their choice of words for a multi-year, deliberative, iterative process including scores of open forums, Planning Commission meetings and Council meetings, all with public input, that produced the current Downtown ECR Specific Plan.

I welcome debate on the specific language in the initiative and I am confident that such debate will illuminate its flaws and educate the voters.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Mr. Schmidt's additional "chronology" re the Sand Hill Road issue is interesting (and actually quite relevant). It emphasizes that the majority of the MP City Council at that time felt it had a mandate from the electorate to sue, delay and ultimately cut "a better deal," with Stanford.

Was the deal really "better" after all of the acrimony, expense and delay?

And isn't it also then fair to ask why Mr. Schmidt/Save Menlo have now resorted to pursuing the initiative route? Has this course of action been chosen precisely because what he/Save Menlo seek to accomplish does not have support from a majority of the current/duly elected MP City Council or a mandate from the electorate?


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm

A comment for those critical of a personal decision to post/comment in a manner entirely consistent with forum rules. There is quite a significant distinction between offering commentary under a member name and what is transpiring with "Save Menlo."

"Save Menlo" is a group of unknown size whose members apparently wish to remain anonymous, but who nevertheless have crafted an initiative with assistance from their own legal counsel (see Mr. Schmidt's acknowledgment above), outside of the view of the general public and outside of the routine legislative process with agenda/discussion/open meeting requirements. This initiative has very rigid, far reaching, long-term implications for MP and surrounding communities and will no doubt cost MP tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars ($150K for the consultant just for starters).

And even greater incidental costs, if responsible developers (removers of ECR blight) come to see MP as an unpredictable, difficult and unduly expensive landscape.

Elected representatives are clearly identifiable members of the community. The have visibility and accountability to the broader electorate.

"Save Menlo" does not.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Just exactly what problem is the initiative trying to solve?

Here is what the Specific Plan ALREADY calls for:
"After the granting of entitlements or building permits for 80 percent or more of either the
maximum residential units or maximum non-residential
square footage, the Community Development Director
will report to the City Council. The Council would then
consider whether it wished to consider amending the
Plan and completing the required environmental review,
or the Council could choose to make no changes in the
Plan. Any development proposal that would result in either
more residences or more commercial development than
permitted by the Specific Plan would be required to apply
for an amendment to the Specific Plan and complete the
necessary environmental review.

Ongoing Review of Specific Plan
The Specific Plan constitutes a significant and complex
revision of the existing regulations, and there may be
aspects of the plan that do not function precisely as
intended when applied to actual future development
proposals and public improvement projects. In order
to address such issues comprehensively, as well as to
consider the policy-related implications of various Plan
aspects, the Specific Plan recommends that the City
conduct an initial review of the Specific Plan one year
after adoption. In addition, the Specific Plan recommends
that the City conduct an ongoing review every two years
after the initial review. Such reviews should be conducted
with both the Planning Commission and City Council, and
should incorporate public input. Any modifications that
result from this review should be formally presented for
Planning Commission review and City Council action. Minor
technical modifications would generally be anticipated to
be covered by the current Program EIR analysis, while
substantive changes not covered by the Program EIR
would require additional review"

I suggest that Save Menlo is simply engaging in an never ending effort to stop all development. ALL of Save Menlo's initial demands ( now removed from their web site but viewable at Web Link) were met when Stanford removed the medical offices and increased the number of houses and made financial contribution to the pedestrian tunnel. Save Menlo then just moved on and insisted in a Specific Plan review, which has been done, and a traffic study, which has been done. Still not satisfied they are now pursuing the initiative and have stated that the council must meet their "demands" or "suffer the consequences" . When asked what they would do if Stanford complied with the terms of their initiative by submitting smaller projects for each of the 6 ECR parcels which Stanford owns they said that they would simply block that with another initiative. And since Save Menlo has no legal identity there is no way to hold 'them' accountable for this constant bait and switch, Stop Menlo at any cost strategy.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

It's a genuine pity that the excellent comments offered by Patti Fry, Steve Schmidt, David Roise and others in this forum are lost among the repetitive noise of two or three self-titled soldiers of representative democracy, Peter Carpenter and a "Menlo Voter" chief among them. These two would have us believe that a voter-led initiative is an affront to the "rule of law," that the carefully crafted decisions of our City Council and staff are above reproach in matters of planning and policy.

And yet, as David Roise has already pointed out, there was that little matter of Measure L a scant four years ago, one which involved a "Menlo Park volunteer group working to put a 'pension reform' initiative on the November ballot," per the Almanac News article found here: Web Link

And what did Peter Carpenter have to say about this voter-led initiative? Did he rail against the misguided voters for following their narrow self-interests or for attempting to impose their will on the passive majority of our fair city? Not in the least -- here's but one of Peter's choice comments from the article linked above:

"I suggest that change in pension plans (or tree planting requirements) will NOT come from the Council or the City but must come from enraged and committed citizens."

Bald-faced hypocrisy is the only way to understand your statement above, Peter, when compared to the manner in which you continue to vilify the SaveMenlo-led initiative.

And "Save Menlo" was another stalwart supporter of this voter-led initiative, never mind his more recent claims in this forum that the entire initiative process is a travesty at all levels of government. Perhaps more interesting, he let slip in the comments of the same article the he is a *builder* by profession, something he has never divulged in any of the discussion centered round the DSP, though he was prodded many times for just this sort of information.

Hypocrisy will out, gentlemen. "I suggest that change in downtown specific plans (or tree planting requirements) will NOT come from the Council or the City but must come from enraged and committed citizens."

Gern


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Apologies, the second-to-last paragraph in my previous comment should read "Menlo Voter" and not "Save Menlo":

And "Menlo Voter" was another stalwart supporter of this voter-led initiative, never mind his more recent claims in this forum that the entire initiative process is a travesty at all levels of government. Perhaps more interesting, he let slip in the comments of the same article the he is a *builder* by profession, something he has never divulged in any of the discussion centered round the DSP, though he was prodded many times for just this sort of information.

Gern


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm

If "Save Menlo" would say who they really are and what they are truly "for" as they try to supplant MP's elected representatives and open/public processes, that would be a productive first step.


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Posted by SCB
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:57 am

SCB is a registered user.

Yes, I believe that "Save Menlo," if not secret identity with secret plan, should publish when and where their meetings are held so that the PUBLIC could attend these meetings. Since they do not do this is why it is a secret plan and no one actually knows what is really going on. The public is not invited to their meetings; rather a person has to email some special place to be put on the list to be able to attend. That, in itself, is outrageous! That is why it is secret! No one is able to argue with any of Save Menlo's propositions and why Save Menlo prefers that NOTHING be built on the Menlo Park land that belongs to Stanford University. Save Menlo wants to make it as difficult as possible for anything to happen there and to delay matters in any manner possible.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 6:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - You are confused on the facts and are unduly fond of attributing to me statements that I have never made.

I have always supported the right of citizens to use the initiative process but I have always cautioned that it is a blunt tool which must be used carefully.

I supported Measure L because it was a well crafted initiative preceded by a lot of dialogue with a lot of people about its content and I oppose Save Menlo's initiative because, among other things, it is not well crafted and was not preceded by a lot of dialogue with a lot of people about its content.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 27, 2014 at 7:22 am

Gern:

yet again you misstate the facts. I didn't "let slip" that I am a builder. I've never made a secret of it and have in other discussions surrounding this same subject posted that I am a builder. I, like Peter, have noted that the initiative process is a "blunt instrument" and should be used sparingly. Our state is to a great degree in the shape it is today because of the over use of the initiative process. As Peter noted, Measure L was not written in secret, the authors were known and the public had a great deal of input into that measure. That is 180 degrees from the Save Menlo initiative. So you can take your lame attempt at making me out to be a hypocrite and put it where the sun doesn't shine.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 27, 2014 at 7:25 am

"If "Save Menlo" would say who they really are and what they are truly "for" as they try to supplant MP's elected representatives and open/public processes, that would be a productive first step. "

Bingo. We know what they're against. Aside from some platitudes about "walk ability" and "village character" we really don't know what they're FOR. I suspect, based on their actions, that I know what they're for.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

While everyone is concerned with Membership in the "Save Menlo" organization. They are allowed to associate with whomever they want, simply understanding who their leaders are and their past views is enough to be concerned......Patti Fry, Steve Schmidt and Brielle Johnck (Steve's wife) have a LONG history of being anti-development. and they mean ANY development at all.

That is just unrealistic in Menlo Park and on the Peninsula. Steve carried that sentiment to Menlo Park detriment whilst on the council.

And that is EXACTLY what they are proposing here.

Anyone who thinks Stanford will not wait them out (and leave the blight there forever), doesn't understand how Stanford Management works. They have the patience of Job (see James:5.11). Stanford's other option is to build in 100,000 square foot chunks (uglier) or build housing (higher quick value) which would punish our school system.

They are BAD for Menlo Park, this initiative is insulting to ALL the residents who helped craft the Specific Plan.

Roy Thiele-Sardina
roy@sardina.com


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Schmidt states " They do, however, have an attorney who has advised them"

Who was that lawyer and what other clients does he/she represent?


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Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I am glad to be living outside the Menlo city limits in Ladera, where there is little room for expansion other than building very large homes after tearing down older ones. Menlo has changed only little on a relative scale since I moved into the area in 1964. - I compare that to what happened to the little town of Walnut Creek where I lived the previous 8 years. It has grown from a small, comfortable place to an incredibly large town, with high rises, incredible traffic and two freeways. A budding metropolis. Why? because there the people on the council were interested in growth and expansion, because that would benefit their businesses. Few bona fide residents were on the council in those day.
Want to become another Walnut Creek? Vote for expansion and GROWTH.


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I recommend that everyone simply ignore Gern who is consistently long on presumptions, innuendo, conspiracy theories, and personal attacks BUT short on facts. Everyone who opposes or questions the iniative, the initaitive proceess or Save Menlo becomes a target. if you would like to learn more facts about how either the SP was developed or the currently proposed projects evolved you need to do your homework (or ask Peter C).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - you keep asking question now please answer the ones that have been asked of you repeatedly:

1 - If you own a parcel and want to build a totally conforming ten room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 - Save Menlo got everything they asked for in their original petition, why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 - Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 - Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters."

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

To: Menlo Voter

Thank you for your post in answer to my question regarding zoning. It also provided me with other background events of which I was not aware.i.e., the traffic impact report.


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Posted by Johnck/Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

The label of No-Growth for Steve Schmidt is utter nonsense and a fabrication that is repeatedly sent out on the mass email distribution by Micki Winkler and Lee Duboc who were thrown out of office in 2001

Here's the list of the good developments Steve Schmidt approved during his 8 years on the council:

1. The 1600 ECR, a beautifully designed 50,000 sq. ft office building that saved the oak trees on the site.
2. 1000 Marsh Rd. Bohannon Law firm buildings, near Marsh Manor.
3. Classic Community single family project of 33 units on Laurel Street across from the Burgess Swimming pool. Homes that now sell for nearly $2M. This development included Below Market units.
4. Major office renovation & expansion on Middlefield Rd near USGS for Heller Ehrman law firm
5. Nine units single family on Avy Dr.
6. Cambridge and ECR commercial bldg.
7. Office building on Jefferson in Bohannon land.

Each vote was based on the merits of each project and often angering some of the people who voted Steve into office.

In addition to this list Steve Schmidt opposed the Derry Project Referendum, did not oppose the Gateway project, supported the medical office buildings that replaced two defunct restaurants on ECR, favored Dumbarton Rail, Caltrain Electrification and HSR. and put together the Sandhill Rd Agreement with Stanford that saved the city over $3M. In addition Schmidt joined Dave Bohannon and Sam Sinnott to convince the council to rescind an ordinance that would have caused a divisive election in 2004.

His only no was against a Bohannon office building on Bayfront expressway that is now Gateway.

So, to those who did to live in Menlo Park from 1994 to 2002, here are the facts. To those who massage the truth, take note. Inso far as Steve's wife. she opposed Gateway for several reasons and not the least, the disgraceful way in which Me. Bohannon's hired consultant sent out a flyer misquoting a MP candidate Chuck Bernstein. I ask all the MP residents who use this blog to criticize people to run for city council, win and serve.

The initiative is a moderate document that will either succeed or fail but in the meantime, step back and give it the respect it deserves. If there is one city council member who can honestly say that it was their intention to have 800,000 sq ft. of development on ECR in the first 2 years of the Specific Plan, We would take our hats off to him or her. If there is one resident participant in the visioning process who can honestly say that they were told that today's reality of 800,000 sq. ft of development within 2 years of the Specific Plan's certification was described during those meetings, We will want to meet them


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If there is one city council member who can honestly say that it was their intention to have 800,000 sq ft. of development on ECR in the first 2 years of the Specific Plan, We would take our hats off to him or her. "

The Council approved Specific Plan clearly states:

"The Specific Plan establishes the maximum allowable net new development as follows:
• Residential uses: 680 units; and
• Non-residential uses, including retail, office and
hotel: 474,000 Square Feet." page G 16

Talking about 800,000 sq ft is just more disinformation /lying by the Save Menlo faction - have you no shame?


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm

To: minority
Re: "Julie, the purpose of a subcommittee is to meet with various groups and report back to council.

Ok then, if that is the process.

Thanks for filling me in.

Then, after the subcommittee reports back to the Council, with any new information or agreements arrived at as a result of the subcommitee meeting, am I right in assuming that the council members vote yes or no on the new parameters of the issue, if changes have been made as a result of the subcommittee meeting?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"that the council members vote yes or no on the new parameters of the issue, if changes have been made as a result of the subcommittee meeting?"

Yes and they do so ONLY in open session with the opportunity for public comments BEFORE they vote on the matter in question.


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Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:02 pm

For Peter, The two proposals from Stanford and Greenheart consist of 442,500 sf of non-residential and 386 units of housing. The mix of housing types remains unknown. However, a reasonable assumption for average gross floor area per unit might be 1000sf. That requires about 386,000sf. Add 386,000 and 442,500 and we get 828,500sf of development. Hardly misrepresentation and probably in the ballpark.
There was a mistake in the earlier Johnck/Schmidt posting. Where were the fact checkers? Winkler & Duboc lost their seats on the Council in 2006.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Schmidt mistakenly confuses what might be proposed with what is permitted by the Specific Plan.
What does he not understand about:
"The Specific Plan establishes the maximum allowable net new development as follows:
• Residential uses: 680 units; and
• Non-residential uses, including retail, office and
hotel: 474,000 Square Feet." page G 16"

Creating a straw man of 800,000 sq ft as the alternative to the Save Menlo initiative is simply dishonest. But that seems to be the strategy that Save Menlo has chosen.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm

"Creating a straw man of 800,000 sq ft as the alternative to the Save Menlo initiative is simply dishonest."

Peter, last I heard [from your friend, Sandy: Web Link] the Greenheart project will comprise 420,000 square feet of combined office/retail/housing while the Stanford project was slated to add 209,500 square feet of office/retail and 170 apartments. If we accept the perfectly reasonable 1,000 square feet per dwelling given by Steve then Stanford nets out at ~380,000 square feet. Kindly share with us, then, why 800,000 square feet is in any way a straw man or a dishonest number.

Gern


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm

"Gern - You are confused on the facts and are unduly fond of attributing to me statements that I have never made."

On the contrary, Peter, this statement is yours and yours alone: "I suggest that change in pension plans (or tree planting requirements) will NOT come from the Council or the City but must come from enraged and committed citizens." Almost a rallying cry, really, for citizen-led initiatives everywhere. Readers must decide for themselves whether Peter Carpenter is the final Lindenwood armchair arbiter of well-crafted Menlo Park initiatives, but his clear and unrepentant bias in this case makes the decision an easy one for me.

Menlo Builder stated, "I didn't 'let slip' that I am a builder. I've never made a secret of it and have in other discussions surrounding this same subject posted that I am a builder."

Perhaps you can provide one example from a DSP-related forum thread in which you state you are a builder? I don't remember your having done so and would appreciate being corrected in the matter. Just one example will suffice.

Sadly, Peter Carpenter and Menlo Builder are fast becoming the Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck of this forum: repeat the nonsense ad nauseam and it must be true or, at the very least, it will bury the more reasonable commentary.

Gern


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2014 at 4:59 am

To: Peter Carpenter
Re: "
Yes and they do so ONLY in open session with the opportunity for public comments BEFORE they vote on the matter in question.

Thank you for this information. I've attended council meetings but I was not clear about the procedures for subcommittees.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:04 am

Gern:

if you missed it when I've previously said I was a builder that's too bad. I'm not going to waste my time digging through old postings trying to find it for you as I have better things to do. You wouldn't accept it even if I did. And what difference does it make if I am a builder? I happen to build single family custom homes. I've done large commercial in the past, but that isn't what I do now. So, my being a builder doesn't weigh into what I think about the Stanford project and the DSP.

If you have been paying any attention at all you would know that I have stated that I'm not a fan of the Stanford project. I don't like it's size. BUT it complies with the allowable zoning and as such is allowed to be built. Save Menlo is attempting an end around on a process that took many years and was very public. It's clear you and Save Menlo have your own narrow agenda, which best I can tell, is zero growth. A stupid and totally unrealistic idea.

You and Save Menlo are the only ones repeating "ad nauseum" the same "nonsense." You've repeatedly been asked questions regarding your position and you never answer. You have no credibility because of it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - you keep asking question now please answer the ones that have been asked of you repeatedly:

1 - If you own a parcel and want to build a totally conforming ten room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 - Save Menlo got everything they asked for in their original petition, why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 - Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 - Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters."

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2014 at 8:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern simply refuses to do his homework:

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
The initiative process is an important tool in a democracy but it is a blunt tool that needs to be used with great care.
The current Save/Stop Menlo initiative fails the standard of being done with great care due to its length, number of issues covered and its permanence.


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Posted by Johnck
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Peter, do the math and admit you are wrong. Greenheart and Stanford add up to 800,000 sq ft. The numbers you are quoting are what the EIR studied and these two developments exceed those numbers.

Show some grace or go home


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Posted by Just Sayin'
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Peter writes: "If you own a parcel and want to build a totally conforming ten room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years."
In reality its more like this, which I'll explain in painful detail in my next post. "If you own a parcel of land, and the current standard is to allow two story houses, but you propose a zoning ordinance that allows four story houses, coupled with a Special Plan that asserts a soft limit of only two four story houses over the next 30 years, and the accompanying EIR assumes that no-one will build more than two story houses within the next 30 years, and based on that, council adopts the the new zoning ordinance, and the first two projects proposed are four story houses, why should we complain?"
There are two basic reasons to complain.
1.) The "process" understated "reasonably foreseeable" development and the impacts possibly having the effect of getting the new zoning ordinance adopted in the first place, while not telling the community that the zoning ordinance supported ALL four-story houses.
2.) After seeing the soft limit of two four-story houses built within two years the community reasonably suspects that the soft 30 year four-story limit will be relaxed and more four story houses will be built.


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Posted by Just Sayin'
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Now to fully address one of Peter's biggest mis-understandings, and get the to heart of the problem.

The "Special Plan" process produced two major outputs, a Special Plan ("SP") and a zoning change or new zoning ordinance ("ZO"). Under CEQA, the combined SP/ZO is considered to be a "project". Therefore it required an EIR.

The SP term "Maximum Allowable Buildout" is a relatively weak and meaningless one. It does *NOT* refer to the maximum amount of development allowed by the ZO, which is the usual meaning of the Planning term "build out." (Hereafter, I will call the former, the SP "Maximum Allowable Buildout," the "SP buildout", and the latter, the maximum amount of development allowed by the rezoning, the "ZO buildout." )

To summarize: The SP is not the ZO, and the "SP buildout" is not the maximum allowable development under the "ZO Buildout."

The ZO buildout is greater than, possibly much greater than the SP buildout. Hence, the full impacts of the ZO Buildout are greater than and possibly much greater than those disclosed in the SP EIR ("EIR"). Why? Because in the EIR, the SP buildout (not the ZO buildout) was used to define the size of the so-called EIR "project", the amount of development whose environmental impacts would be analyzed in the 30-year time horizon of the SP EIR.

To summarize: The SP is not the ZO; the SP buildout is not the ZO buildout. The ZO buildout is much greater than the SP buildout. The EIR analyzed the impacts of the SP buildout not the ZO buildout.

How much development should have been analyzed in the EIR? The amount of development that is "reasonably foreseeable" over the 30-year time horizon of the EIR. Reasonable people can argue about this. However, if there is a large discrepency in the amount of development "allowed" by each of the SP and the ZO individually, then the SP/ZO EIR should look more like a ZO EIR than an SP EIR. In this case it appears that the EIR predicted and analyzed the smaller SP rather than the large ZO.

We know that the amount of development in the SP EIR was mis-stated and understated because the projected 30 years worth of development has essentially been proposed after two short years, and the City Attorney has already said that the Greenheart project will require its own project EIR. This is important. A project that underwent a Program EIR less than two years ago will need an individual EIR. This is the fingerprint of piecemealing. Piecemealing refers to the tactic of breaking up development and its CEQA analysis in pieces and over time to avoid full disclosure of impacts at the start. Piecemealing is illegal under CEQA.

To summarize: The SP/ZO EIR bad mis-stated and understated the true impacts of the SP/ZO. Essentially it was made to analyze the smaller looking SP not the larger ZO. Proposed projects are already requiring more Environmental analysis.

Finally, the SP is a weak development limit. The ZO is the real limit, legally and politically. A zoning change for an individual parcel is much more of a political obstacle than a Special Plan Amendment which, like a General Plan amendment, happens frequently without much notice.

To summarize: The Special Plan is a weak legal limit on development and should never be confused for the maximum allowable development allowed by the ZO buildout.

Now here is my tentative lede:

In the Menlo Park SP/ZO process, an extremely generous and impactful ZO was paired with a modest looking SP. The official language and process emphasized the SP while ignoring the ZO. This distraction was continued into the EIR analysis where the EIR assumed and analyzed the smaller amount of development described in the SP than the much larger amount enabled by the ZO. As a result, The EIR disclosed a much smaller subset of 30-year impacts than those likely and possible under the ZO. The confusing language and understatement of impacts could have had the effect of making the community and council believe that the SP/ZO EIR analyzed the complete potential ZO buildout when in fact, it did not. They would also make the SP/ZO package more palatable for adoption by a council in a community known for its sensitivity to overdevelopment.

When the first two projects were actually proposed the huge discrepancies between reality and the fictitious imagination of the SP/EIR were exposed to the community. As a friend likes to say, 30 years worth of build out in 2 years isnt a smoking gun, its a smoking cannon. And there are many, many more "dots" to connect. Which I will connect later, here I simply describe some of the smoke.

Two years after adopting a generous ZO sold as a modest looking SP, and after a Program EIR that was supposed to predict and analyze ALL the impacts of the proposed SP/ZO for the next 30 years, the first two projects proposed exceed the development analyzed in the 30 year EIR horizon. The SECOND project in the pipeline ALREADY requires a new project EIR, and the first project in the pipeline, the one and only project in the pipeline that doesn't require a zoning change, a special plan amendment, and an EIR, and therefore the only project over which Menlo Park has little discretionary approval, is the one proposed by Leland Stanford Junior University.

Was Menlo Park stone cold asleep at the wheel when the SP/ZO was adopted? Probably.

Was it told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth BEFORE adoption. Maybe not.


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Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm

@Just Sayin: thanks for the write up as you put a lot of effort into. However, you lost me and probably a lot of other readers with the length and abstract logic. Just sayin.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2014 at 6:09 am

To: No easy solutions / Just Sayin'

Like "No Easy Solutions" I appreciate the time and effort made by "Just Sayin'" to attempt to make a multi-faceted issue more clear...however the explanation lost me too.

Not to be sarcastic, or unkind, but after trying to understand the post, I left the reading thinking: ...omg, it sure would make a student a nervous wreck if this was a part of a Reading Comprehension exam.

"Just Sayin' " says: "Now to fully address one of Peter's biggest mis-understandings..."

I don't know if Peter had a mis-understanding, or mis-understood something. But if he did misunderstand something, I'm not sure the explanation made by "Just Sayin'" facilitates anyone's understanding...of what they may have "misunderstood".

In fact, it has made me wonder whether or not I understand the issues as well as I thought I did.

I guess sometimes we over-explain things, which sometimes leads to confusion, which is just the opposite to our original goal of making them more clear.


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Posted by I followed it
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 29, 2014 at 7:16 am

Just saying, I followed what you wrote just fine and appreciate the effort you put in to educate from your point of view rather than denigrate. But you didn't provide numbers or page cites. What's the actual difference between the SP buildout and ZO buildout. Where did you get those numbers? For those trying to understand this issue who are reading the plan, what are the page cites? Finally, how is it possible the ZO can legally be so different from SP, as you allege.

If someone disagrees with just saying substantively, please bring your A game with page cites and numbers. It's time this board was elevated. And that doesn't mean blanket posts from the plan text.


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Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

These are over-thought threads that give way too much credit to what SaveMenlo is attempting to do. I've been to meetings where they have asked that their membership come out in support of the protest and, for all intents and purposes, not one shows up. Not zero, but less than 10 or so for sure. It is really a small handful of people -- please just admit that. BUT, because they are small and, in my view, solely looking to delay and ultimately eliminate development in Menlo Park, does not mean they can go this route. Herein lies the problem.....for a complex subject, you can bet that the dozen SM members will cover downtown and cite bad facts and try to instill fear. With this approach, citizens going about their business just sign to get them out of the way. It reduces the dialogue to sound bites, which is all they have since the protest did not work through the multi-year process, where details could have been addressed.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

To: Just Sayin' / and "I followed It"

My apologies. You're right. My intention was not to denigrate. But my head was spinning trying to understand what was being said. I'll take some of the responsibility for that: I could know more about the SP.

Assuming what Peter's misconceptions are, if he even has any, is not fair though.

Sorry if I came-off sounding overly critical. Some of what I said was meant in a somewhat humorous way. But it did not translate to print that way.


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Posted by the facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Page 174 of the Final Environmental Impact Report Appendices has a table prepared by consultants showing anticipated changes by use per sub-area and total for the Plan area. These predictions were the basis of all analysis done on the Specific Plan financial and environmental impacts for the 30-year plan. In other words, this was the basis of what we residents and our Council were told to expect.

The ZO part of the Specific Plan with the development rules work differently than the FEIR predicted. For the Stanford site in zoning district ECR-SE (part of ECR-South quadrant and 8.43 acres of the total 130 acre area), the rules allow office to be 50% of the Base or Bonus FAR. If built to the maximum it could, the 50% "limit" of office FAR for the Stanford project translates to 321,309 SF [8.43 acres x 1.75 FAR x 50%], way more than the total of 240,820 SF of office predicted for the entire 130-acre Specific Plan area for the Plan's life.

The El Camino South quadrant was predicted to get a total amount of new office of 221,020 SF for the entire area south of Ravenswood. Stanford's proposal of November 2012, a few months after the Plan's approval included 229,500 SF of office. The last version had 199,500 SF. There are other large sites in this same quadrant that could be redeveloped, including Big 5 shopping center, Safeway shopping center.

The El Camino North quadrant, entire area north of Ravenswood (except Station Area and Downtown) was predicted to have 51,600 SF of office, and 76,200 SF of new non-residential development. Greenheart on just a portion of the quadrant is reported to include 210,000 SF of office and 243,000 SF of non-residential.

The same consultants who provided the development predictions were assisting Stanford to obtain entitlements for 1.5 million SF in Redwood City.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 29, 2014 at 1:51 pm

"Cmon" makes some excellent points. A very small minority trying to lock in a rigid 30 year "policy" by way of an initiative -- which you either sign/don't sign -- is quite different from an open, inclusive, "grassroots" community group, proudly disclosing its membership, soliciting input and encouraging others to express their opinions so that the ultimate result is truly optimal for MP and has the broadest support possible.

So: "To sign or not to sign?"

If one can't honestly attest that he/she has read and thoroughly digested the available information, fully understands the process to date, the implications of the limitations/eliminations, has carefully reflected on the pros and cons and agrees with the initiative 100%, I would respectfully suggest that he/she not sign, but instead, form your own opinion (leaving some room for it to change), weigh in with MP's elected representatives, make some suggestions -- even raise objections -- but participate in a process which has proper notice/public meetings/decision-making, visibility and accountability to the broader electorate.


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Posted by the facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Signing the petition provides the opportunity to learn more about the initiative and what it is trying to do, and to put it in front of council to decide to adopt or put on ballot.

If you think the council should alter the plan, signing puts pressure on them to act. Sign and talk to council.

The pension reform initiative had the same characteristics of being created "secretly" by a small group and requiring a vote of the people to modify its effect.


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Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

The facts.......there has been ample time to consider options in a public forum. SM did not participate in a manner that made for constructive dialogue, obviously. So, what makes you think that dynamic will change with this tactic? I believe it is solely there as a scare tactic to alter the current course. It is an option available to them and they will take it but don't assume they are looking to participate fairly in a debate. Please also remember that whatever the outcome, none of it forces the land owners to move forward. Unreasonable standards reduce returns and you are more likely to have empty space for years to come. The fact that this is an acceptable, if not desirable, option for SM says a lot.


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Posted by the facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:20 am

cmon - "there has been ample time to study options in a public forum"?

When exactly was the Greenheart project discussed in the context of the plan's rules and what was predicted by expensive experts for that part of El Camino? That project hasn't been submitted to the city, isn't posted on the city's web site, but has been in the papers.

What standards are "unreasonable"? The initiative incorporates what the consultants predicted for the next 30 years. The new limit of 100k sq ft of office per project still allows a lot of office.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The list if unanswered questions grows:

1 -Just exactly what problem is the initiative trying to solve?

Here is what the Specific Plan ALREADY calls for:
"After the granting of entitlements or building permits for 80 percent or more of either the
maximum residential units or maximum non-residential
square footage, the Community Development Director
will report to the City Council. The Council would then
consider whether it wished to consider amending the
Plan and completing the required environmental review,
or the Council could choose to make no changes in the
Plan. Any development proposal that would result in either
more residences or more commercial development than
permitted by the Specific Plan would be required to apply
for an amendment to the Specific Plan and complete the
necessary environmental review.

Ongoing Review of Specific Plan
The Specific Plan constitutes a significant and complex
revision of the existing regulations, and there may be
aspects of the plan that do not function precisely as
intended when applied to actual future development
proposals and public improvement projects. In order
to address such issues comprehensively, as well as to
consider the policy-related implications of various Plan
aspects, the Specific Plan recommends that the City
conduct an initial review of the Specific Plan one year
after adoption. In addition, the Specific Plan recommends
that the City conduct an ongoing review every two years
after the initial review. Such reviews should be conducted
with both the Planning Commission and City Council, and
should incorporate public input. Any modifications that
result from this review should be formally presented for
Planning Commission review and City Council action. Minor
technical modifications would generally be anticipated to
be covered by the current Program EIR analysis, while
substantive changes not covered by the Program EIR
would require additional review"

2 - If you own a parcel and want to build a totally conforming ten room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

3 - Save Menlo got everything they asked for in their original petition, why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

4 - Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

5 - Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters."

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 - What are the financial interests of the unelected people who wrote this initiative?

6 - Who is the lawyer who assisted in the writing of the initiative and who are his/her other clients?

7 - One Save Menlo member has stated that there would be another initiative and law suits if Stanford elected to fully COMPLY with the terms if the initiative by developing its six ECR parcels separately. What is enough? Will Save Menlo ever be satisfied?


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Posted by 4-Story Oversized Bldgs
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 31, 2014 at 10:37 am

Do we REALLY need 4-story massive, oversized commercial buildings along the prime El Camino/Cal-train corridor for MORE OFFICES??! . . . Offices do not generate tax revenues for the City of MP, they adding more density/people/crowding/traffic/pollution/stress on city infrastructure of water/sewer/electrical grid/energy/storm water/roads & streets/air pollution/garbage. Additional negatives: Minimal city revenues from ground floor retail/public-serving businesses like cafes, restaurants, stores, shops, services; Loss of prime housing sites along Cal-train/transportation corridor for compliance with state/local requirements for affordable housing which would preserve parklands/open space which retains the residential charm/character of the city; Stressing the already-congested main throroughfares while no improvements to the El Camino rush hour traffic mess and spill-over volume onto residential streets, pricey Cal-Train grade separation improvements BADY needed and not adding additional crossing points over Cal-Train tracks to take stress of few railroad crossing intersections and eliminating deadly pedestrian/biker/passenger/auto-train accidents at Ravenswood and Oak Grove railroad crossings. Seems Stanford-Arrillaga could do a lot more with less. 2-story (from street/eye level ) buildings with one level underground parking should be a reasonable compromise for density/sizes of the development. Nothing higher/denser than the Cafe Borrone/Kepler's building(s) should be allowed in Menlo Park. Go underground! Providing additional bike and car tunnel "southern" crossing point location(s) should also be preserved at the Stanford-Arrillaga location for possible now/future public usage and benefit; or building of the additional bike/car tunnels simultaneous with the building of the development. A demand that the buildings should be green, renewable, and sustainably built with public plazas/parks/greenbelt uses must be an integral part of the plan as well, along with a promise for an increasing level of tax-support for the City's tax coffers to ensure the city's tax-base will grow in the future. Common sense items to help ensure the City is not gaining some benefits from the massive development while easing some of the stresses of the local citizens/residents who have to deal with the DAILY added stress(es) and demands of the developments in town.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 11:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

4 story - You sure have a lot of wants -"2 story, underground parking, additional bike/car tunnels , buildings should be green, renewable, and sustainably built with public plazas/parks/greenbelt uses."

Do you have any idea just who is going to pay for all of these things? Certainly not a landowner who cannot make a return on his investment by building what you want.


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Posted by Sam Sinnott
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm

At the Farmer's Market last week I asked a petitioner why the specific plan should be eliminated or changed. One of the responses was that 'planning staff is not enforcing the plan and are approving development projects that are larger than the regulations allow'. This is NOT TRUE.

It was was one of a number of false statements used to get people to sign the petition. These tactics make the petitions INVALID.

The SaveMenlo folks lost the debate during the informed discourse of the specific plan visioning and community workshop meeting with other citizens.

They now hope to persuade uninformed voters to support the referendum by using exaggerated misinformation.

This type of petition fraud should stop. The referendum should be able to stand on its own, but it can't.





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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Asking once again:

Is "Save Menlo" willing to identify its members and be held accountable?

Please... no one else jump in and "answer (non-answer)" for them. If there are more than six of you, please identify yourselves. We know who the MP Council Members are. We know who the Planning Commission members are. We know who the MP staff members are. We know who the landowners/developers are.

You are attempting to implement something which impacts the general public; everyone in MP and beyond.

You have already forced a significant expenditure of public resources.

But who are you? And why won't you say?


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Posted by Council $150k Iniative Approval
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 31, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Council unanimously approved untainted consultant at $150k to facilitate election year debate on the SP Initiative
Signing the petition affirms the councils direction to have an open dialogue on SP evolution with the massive projects proposed that were not what was presented during the community workshops and years long community involvement to maintain the Village Character of Downtown ECR

Sign the petition and you hope for a substantive transparent dialogue with all stakeholders , as State Law requires the Specific Plan to comply with the city's currently adopted General Plan Goals and Policies (adopted 1994)

The adopted General Plan Policies currently in effect require reduced office space on ECR and encourage retail
The city is required by adopted General Plan policy to protect residential neighborhoods from traffic generated by ECR commercial development
The city's adopted General Plan is our Constitution to guide guide orderly growth and development within the limits of our infrastructure and must correlate with the Land Use and Circulation Elements of the General a Plan
Menlo Park lacks the infrastructure to support buildout in the Specific Plan for Downtown ECR

Any one can see that by prior Menlo Park council led by Steve Schmidt , genuflected to Stanford and Palo Alto by allowing only a 2 lane Sand Hill along the shopping center without an Alma connection, and a 4 lane width at Santa Cruz would increase Allied Arts and Oak Knoll School neighborhood cut through traffic generation from significant Downtown ECR development
Steve couldn't get but 2 other mp council colleagues to approve by a 3-2 vote the current Sand Hill mess that is his legacy of screwing Allied Arts and Oak Knoll School neighborhoods with ever increasing cut through traffic which wiil get worse with downtown ECR office buildout

Time for Former MP Transpirtation commissioner and current MP Ray Mueller to show what he really stands for!
Protecting West Menlo neighborhoods from cut through traffic generated by the downtown ECR massive office developments, or play the "I didn't vote for the Specific Plan because the city counsel said I sold my Alma condo within a year of the council vote on the Specific Plan discussion-approval "
Time to MAN UP Ray!!!

Show the West Menlo voters what you showed as Transportation commissioner challenging the Stanford Hospital expansion impact on MP

Please google Specific Plan via Ceres.gov.ca to get educated on why Specific Plans are required to comply with adopted General Plan policies


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Posted by C'mon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 5:34 am

The facts. Interesting that you ask......"unreasonable" essentially is a reminder that the market will decide here. Ok to have a real dialogue on this but pls recall that this is not a public works project. This is privately owned land, on which the owner would have an expectation of a reasonable return. So, the size restriction suggested ay or may not allow for a reasonable return. It surely seems to be a figure that was pulled from the air by SM as a way to force more discussion. Nothing against SM but they have never suggested why their proposal is what it is, other than suggesting that development is generally bad. Disagree?

This is nice space for Stanford as they consider their own growth.It is hardly their only option, I presume, but expecting a good project and financial outcome is not an unreasonable expectation. I have no association with Stanford and I do think that we do need to be good guardians of our town. Thus, standards. It feels like this is all positioned as 2 extremes vs. a reasonable dialogue.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Save Menlo originally petitioned Stanford and the city for changes in Stanford's original plans. That petition has gone missing from Save Menlo web site (but can be found here Web Link).

The result, based on the work of the council appointed subcommittee and Stanford's willingness to compromise, was the elimination of all medical offices, an increase in the number of homes and substantial contributions by Stanford to the cost of a pedestrian underpass, etc.

This was an excellent compromise - but not for Save Menlo who simply erased their initial demands and then changed their 'demands' or 'suffer the consequences/ to the current ill worded initiative.

The effect is a continuing delay in much needed development, the turning away of developers interested in new retail to support the people who would be working in the Specific Plan conforming projects and increased city expense for the analysis of the initiative per Sec 9212 of the State Election Code and the cost of any eventual election.

Save Menlo has no interest in compromise, facts or dialogue - they just want to Stop Menlo period.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is the kind of innovative retail investment that Stop Menlo is keeping out of Menlo Park because if you don't have more customers there is no reason to invest in new retail:

Web Link

"The Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission has approved a plan by billionaire philanthropist John Arrillaga to demolish the former downtown Apple store and its next-door neighbor, Footwear etc., and build a combination farm-restaurant.

The 451 and 463 University Ave. spaces will become the new home for F.I.Y., which stands for "forage it yourself."

Arrillaga plans to completely demolish the current building and construct an actual farm, where diners can come to forage their own meals. He envisions an open-air space where people can come to eat, learn and share with others.

He's also partnering with various local entities to execute on his vision for F.I.Y. A group of Stanford University graduate students who have been studying local food systems and farm-to-table trends will help with the planning process, and two d.school graduates who work at Palo Alto design firm Ideo will design the space."

This could easily have been done in Menlo Park but Arrillaga sees that Save/Stop Menlo will delay or prevent the implementation of the years long, publicly debated, planning commission and council approved Specific Plan.


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Posted by Not Pompous
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Peter Carpenter doesn't recognize the April Fool's Day Joke.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mateo
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

omg....when pomposity meets arrogance meets April 1.....

Priceless.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Yep - I fell for it!!


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Posted by made my day
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Now everything makes sense. Peter C. has been pulling our leg this whole time.

Thanks for all the hilarious posts over the years--you really had us going.

Well done, sir!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It turns out that the Greenheart holdings include at least five, and probably closer to ten, individual parcels so both Stanford, with six parcels, and Greenheart could easily submit multiple projects of under 100,000 sq ft (thereby complying with the proposed initiative's 100,000 sq ft per project limit) using one or more of these individual parcels. Such projects would lack mutiparcel integration and benefits and not be subject to the requirement to contribute land to a plaza or funds to a pedestrian tunnel. A compliant result but not a good result.

Clearly the proposed initiative was not well thought out.


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Posted by cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

SM had 2 folks at the food trucks. Pitch was to avoid being like Sunnyvale and how much traffic will increase. The key pitch was that it was "just" a petition and that you'd have time to think about it once on the ballot. Again, they have the right to follow this process but the concern should be that a pitch with sound bytes is not a thoughtful dialogue. They were respectful and pleasant, for the record.


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Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Apr 8, 2014 at 11:21 am

In the print edition of the Almanac just out on the streets today (4-09-2014 edition) are two ViewPoint articles, both strongly urging Menlo Park voters to sign the Initiative.

I could not agree more. Reading numerous posts by non-resident Peter Carpenter has really gotten stale. Now nine former Mayors of Menlo Park in these articles urge all voters to sign. Let us get this on the ballot.

morris brown
stone pine lane
menlo park


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2014 at 11:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Morris - Please post more often - that will make the Forum a more "thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Let us not get this on the ballot. It's a waste of taxpayer money and in the small chance it gets passed, it will destroy any chance of anyone doing any development here.

Enjoy the view.


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