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Item D3 7/21 Economic Development Plan

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2015 11:47:45 -0700

Dear Council -
The Economic Development Plan needs to place more emphasis on retention and
attraction of retail businesses that support Menlo Park's residents and
enterprises by adopting strategies and plans that promote
live-work-play-shop. Otherwise local residents and businesses will go to
other towns to shop/dine, increasing traffic and shifting retail sales tax
revenue away from Menlo Park.

Menlo Park's current level of retail is low relative to other land uses and
in comparison with other thriving communities, as shown in the Economic
Development Plan. Although that same Plan shows projected capacity and
development pipeline for housing (table 14), it does not show similar
estimates or projections for retail and other non-retail commercial
development. You should ask for this information and ensure that the ratios
match a goal of live-work-play-shop.

The Economic Development Plan has a goal to "capture the economic potential
of "pass-through" traffic" but none of the strategies seems to address the
potential to do that along key roadways through Menlo Park such as El
Camino Real, Bayfront Expressway, Marsh Road, and Willow (the latter two
are mentioned only in relationship to future Stations, in M-2). This is a
critical missing element of the Plan.

Why does this matter? Retail uses generate sales tax revenue that is an
important part of a revenue mix for our town. Retail uses support
residents and businesses so they do not have to travel to other towns and
instead can find what they need within Menlo Park. Local retail uses are a
way to turn some business campuses "inside out" so that employees are
served by local businesses outside the walls of their employer so others
can also benefit, including our city coffers.

It is extremely insufficient, dare I say naive, to assume that
"flexibility" of commercial uses will result in retention and attraction of
more retail. Economic forces for other uses, particularly office, are too
strong. Menlo Park can avoid going down the same path as Palo Alto, which
has lost considerable retail to other commercial uses and is trying to
figure out how to turn that around. Our town already has lost retail, and
large projects on the development horizon don't add much, if anything. Our
town needs a conscious effort to regain and add retail so that retail is a
larger balance of Menlo Park's revenue picture and a larger portion of
future development.

Please establish explicit goals for the amount of and general locations.for
retail, creating strategies and clear implementation plans that accomplish
this (in addition to those listed on page 51), and monitor progress,
adjusting programs as appropriate. The Economic Development Plan is one
mechanism to utilize for this purpose and it falls short at this time.

Patti Fry
Menlo Park resident
Received on Sun Jul 19 2015 - 11:45:18 PDT

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